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In 1998 Pakistan succeeded in denoting its first nuclear bomb some 24 years after India had conducted its first nuclear event in 1974. In the view of Pakistan, developing nuclear weapons and their delivery systems was absolutely necessary as a credible deterrent to a nuclear armed India. This altogether fascinating book chronicles how Pakistan managed to acquire the technology and knowledge to build its own nuclear weapons.
At the center of this story is a remarkable scientist, A.Q. Khan, revered today in Pakistan as the "father of the bomb." It was Khan who used his considerable knowledge and expertise to establish a world wide `network' of friends, associates, and businesses that allowed Pakistan to create a nuclear weapons program. China (PRC) greatly assisted this program having `tilted' towards Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan confrontation. Khan worked tirelessly from 1975 to his forced retirement in 2001 to provide Pakistan with a nuclear deterrent capability.
The successive governments of Pakistan over the last 30 years have differed in many things, but all supported Khan and his weapons program. And, as this book makes clear, successive U.S. Governments over the same period did not directly support Khan's work, but they did nothing to hamper it either. Indeed geo-political considerations caused the U.S. not only to ignore Pakistan's acquisition of nuclear weapon technology, but to even ignore its export of that technology to countries such as Iran and North Korea, which according to this book's. authors, continues to this day. The title of the book, "Deception" refers not to Pakistan, but to the fact that every administration from 1976 on purposely misinformed the U.S. public on Pakistan's nuclear ambitions and activities.
"Deception" tells the story of American and English self-deception about Pakistan's nuclear intentions and accomplishments, the consequences of which might not become clear for decades to come. During a 30-year time period, Pakistan went from pleading for an American nuclear umbrella to creating and testing its own bomb, to running an international proliferation effort that aided Iran ('87), Iraq ('90), North Korea ('93), and Libya ('97). The authors also allege that this proliferation was not just a renegade activity by A. Q. Khan, but actually part of Pakistan's foreign policy, plotted and supervised by its military. Regardless, "Deception" contends that the "real scandal" was how successive U.S. (and U.K.) administrations covered everything up, at the expense of several who wanted to speak frankly.
Also of interest is the information on how Khan learned how to make fissile material in the first place. After earning a Ph.D. in metallurgy he went to work with a low-security rating for a Netherlands' consortium that was developing centrifuges for separating fissionable U-235 from yellow-cake - despite coming from a nation known to be seeking nuclear weapons. While there he sought and obtained a position translating German material on a new centrifuge to Dutch and English, thereby providing access to top secret material. The information was split into twelve pieces with the intent of limiting any single person's access to only a few portions; Khan, however, obtained the entire document through offering to get it retyped on site (management had been prepared to send the material back to England for typing; Khan had befriended the secretaries numerous times).
The new gas centrifuges required six foot tall aluminum tubes that were injected with a gas refined from yellow-cake.Read more ›
A fascinating account of AQ Khan - self-styled "father" of Pakistan's bomb - and his extraordinary relationship with Pakistan's military rulers, who encouraged him to supply nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran; then denied that they had any part in the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The authors' central thesis that, successive US administrations ignored the intelligence regarding Pakistan's nuclear programme and lied to Congress in order to obtain funding for Pakistan at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and, more recently, during the 'war on terror' is supported by compelling evidence. A big book - but an easy read - I bought it at an airport and read it on two flights. If (when?) a major US city is destroyed by terrorists using a nuclear bomb, readers of this book will at least have the benefit of knowing whom to blame.
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One of the best books I have read on the proliferation of nuclear weapons and WMDs and on the 'Proliferators' specially Pakistan. A telling indictment on the 'World's Policeman':the US and the ones who are at the helm of its affairs and their duplicity when dealing with Pakistan.Of how short-term business goals and business interests have come in the way of a rational, global policy of preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons, and sale of related technology to 'rogue' regimes. A shocking expose of the covert support of the US Administration and its 'don't care' policy to the wheeling-dealing of Pakistan's successive governments and its military and what kind of apocalypse this can lead to, if the weapons fall into the wrong hands !! Unputdownable !!!
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