The man who knew too much
October 13, 2007 3:00 PM   Subscribe

The man who knew too much. "He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
posted by homunculus (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Small world. I know Richard. Seymour Hersch wrote an article about Richard for the New Yorker in 1993: On The Nuclear Edge.
posted by ericb at 3:11 PM on October 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, via The Agonist.
posted by homunculus at 3:23 PM on October 13, 2007

Thanks for that link, ericb.
posted by homunculus at 3:25 PM on October 13, 2007

I love how Cheney seems to be consistently linked to foreign affair debacles concerning WMDs. And I particularly love how each time this happens, be it now or 20 years ago, the end result leaves America and the rest of the world in a more precarious position because of it.

And by 'love' I naturally mean 'want to weep openly about'
posted by quin at 3:33 PM on October 13, 2007

Lies $ lies $ lies.
posted by four panels at 4:01 PM on October 13, 2007

Very interesting article.

At least these guys who got it so wrong in the 90's are now trying to get it right on Iran in this decade.
posted by caddis at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2007

Sibel Edmonds is another national security whistleblower who is the subject of a documentary: "Kill the Messenger".
posted by homunculus at 5:34 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Another great post, homunculus. Thanks.
Sibel Edmonds is a hero.
posted by McLir at 6:49 PM on October 13, 2007

Great article. Now forgive me if the conduct it describes makes me sick to my stomach and the fact that such articles are a rarity in the mainstream consciousness.
posted by juiceCake at 6:53 PM on October 13, 2007

Karen Kwiatkowski is another national security whistle-blower. She went public with how her intelligence work was distorted to sell the Iraq war.
posted by McLir at 7:17 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

wow. Excellent post homunculus. A staggering article depicting a classic Orwellian nightmare. I really feel for this Barlow guy. He kept hoping and hoping. When it came to him going back the third time, I too hoped for him...until I read the name Cheney. So typical of pathologically malignant narcissists that they create a smear campaign to discredit those who speak the truth. It's a miracle Rich Barlow is still among the living. My best wishes for his survival and well being. I'm happy he's in Bozeman, Montana, it's beautiful.

That article is amazing validation for something I and many people living in India knew about increasingly from 1980 on. As an American I was horrified why the hell the USA was arming a dictatorship like Pakistan with nuclear warheads, in effect putting India, the world's largest democracy, in danger of being nuked. These nukes were being paid for by the Pakistani government with the sale of Afghani heroin routed through Pakistan, sold to the USA. I read about the heroin part of the story in the Herald Tribune in 1980 and learned about the 'ordinary' arms being purchased with the heroin for dollars first in the early 80's, then the nukes part hanging out around the big hotels' swimming pools in New Delhi in the following years.

Surprised to read the first part of the story was any kind of whistleblowing until I came to this holy shit paragraph, "Pakistan had a vast network of procurers, operating all over the world." A secret nuclear facility near Islamabad, known as the Khan Research Laboratories, was being fitted out with components imported from Europe and America "under the wire". But the CIA obtained photographs. Floor plans. Bomb designs. Sensors picked up evidence of high levels of enriched uranium in the air and in the dust clinging to the lorries plying the road to the laboratories.

Nuclear chronology in India.

In May 1983 The Hindustan Times reports that India has received a "secret nuclear consignment" from the Soviet Union. "Top secret consignment boxes, possibly containing enriched uranium" were offloaded from a Soviet Aeroflot Jet and placed on trucks bound for the Anushakti Atomic Power Project, Kota, Rajasthan.

I wondered if the USA supplying Pakistan with nukes was in retaliation for India's nuclear relations with Russia at that time.

In 1983 Schultz, Secretary of State under Reagan, didn't give India needed equipment for making a nuclear power plant, saying (oh puleeez), Under the US Nonproliferation Act of 1978, the Untied [sic] States is forbidden to supply nuclear related materials to countries that refuse full-scope international safeguards.

And then, later that year in 1983, there was an almost nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Incidentally, George Schultz came to Delhi July 1984. That was the year when Pakistan declared to the world it had nukes. Mrs. Gandhi and most of India were appropriately outraged. Several months later in October Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated.

After Indira Gandhi's assassination, Schultz was quoted in the New York Times as saying, ''we in the United States have to wake up'' to the threat of international terrorism. ''We have to recognize it and be prepared to defend ourselves and our values against it,'' the Secretary said, speaking in New York. Mr. Shultz, who will head the United States delegation to [Indira Gandhi's] funeral

Right, so that's why the USA under Reagan armed Pakistan with nukes. To stop terrorism. Not. The Republicans armed dictators, trained the terrorists who turned against the USA and then boo hooed with alligator tears that they were victims of terrorists. That reads more and more like a Sopranos script. Except for the ending..

"And it is too late to contain the flow of doomsday technology that Pakistan unleashed on the world."
posted by nickyskye at 11:25 PM on October 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Why do they all go to Montana?
(Edmonds is also quite striking)
But yeah, Pakistan. S'like a mantra.
Part of the problem is the organizational incest that's been going on for the past 20 years. Cheney ( go into public office, then into a defense industry related corporate gig, then flow back into the public chain somewhere. It's got to be made non-profitable. (Although I understand a certain General Butler said the same sort of thing some time ago).
I'm less concerned with the neo-con ideology, that seems to be just the pseudo-ideological pawns of this generation, of the same stripe as, say, the American Protective League (granting me some latitude here in the analogy - e.g. Wilson was a "progressive" but the whole nationalism schtick is very much the same) - dupes for the money guys and the goofy sort of (sometimes elected) aristocracy we have. There's more politics infiltrating the lower ranks and traditionally non-partisan areas of government service (As opposed to the APL which was completely illegal, but merely given a wink and nod as opposed to actually occupying a place in the chain of command).
Which is why, especially lately, whistleblowers are having a hard time
posted by Smedleyman at 11:37 PM on October 13, 2007

Sibel Edmonds is a hero.
(Edmonds is also quite striking)

Yes, she is both. You'd think after her 60 Minutes interview the press would be falling all over themselves to interview her, but the gag orders bring everything to a screeching halt. Lame.
posted by homunculus at 12:40 AM on October 14, 2007

this holy shit paragraph, "Pakistan had a vast network of procurers, operating all over the world." A secret nuclear facility near Islamabad, known as the Khan Research Laboratories, was being fitted out with components imported from Europe and America "under the wire".

posted by homunculus at 12:51 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Since 2001, the United States has asserted that it has the right to use nuclear weapons preemptively against nations that do not possess nuclear weapons, ironically providing a strong motivation for such nations to acquire nuclear weapons as a deterrent to a U.S. attack.
posted by nickyskye at 1:06 AM on October 14, 2007

Kaboom. Political science.
posted by nickyskye at 1:28 AM on October 14, 2007

posted by hortense at 10:43 AM on October 14, 2007

I heartily recommend William Langewiesche's The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor. Terrific book on the subject.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:55 PM on October 14, 2007

Then of course you have Scott Redd.
posted by caddis at 6:50 PM on October 17, 2007

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