by Luke Ryland
September 5, 2008
In last Monday’s New York Times, David Sanger and William Broad wrote a front-page article about the CIA’s involvement in the nuclear black market.
The article demonstrates (again) that the New York Times, Sanger & Broad in particular, has simply become a mouthpiece for the government (see my previous articles 1, 2, 3) but they did let one fact slip through to the readership. I can only presume that the slip was accidental, because they don’t appear to have understood the ramifications of what they reported:
The US Government is covering up the fact that US citizens and entities are involved in the nuclear black market.
Three members of the Tinner family in Switzerland were key suppliers to AQ Khan’s nuclear black market ring. They were arrested in 2004 and have been awaiting trial but the US government has been trying to sabotage the Swiss trial because “compromising and embarrassing information about the CIA’s activities with the Khan network” would be exposed if the trial were to proceed.
The New York Times reported that in July 2007, the Swiss Justice Minister came to the US to discuss the case with high-level US officials, apparently to find a mutually-acceptable arrangement regarding how to deal with the Tinner case.
According to an anonymous former Bush administration official:
“The State Department wanted the bomb plans destroyed as a way to stem nuclear proliferation, while the C.I.A. wanted to protect its methods for combating illicit nuclear trade.”
Whether those two things are true or not I don’t know – but the NY Times also notes, without elaboration, that the Swiss Justice Minister met with former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller (and Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence).
Domestic US Involvement
The US Dept of Justice and FBI have exclusively domestic jurisdiction. Why would the Swiss Justice Minister meet with Mueller and Gonzales regarding the planned destruction of evidence in a Swiss case involving the nuclear black market? The only logical explanation is that the case also involves US persons and US entities who have yet to be named and indicted. I presume that Gonzales and Mueller desperately argued that the Swiss needed to derail the Tinners’ trial by destroying all the evidence because the FBI had an ‘ongoing investigation’ which would otherwise be exposed. What else could they have argued? Of course, there is no ‘ongoing investigation, and there will not be any forthcoming indictments.
The AQ Khan network was officially exposed in 2003. Now we have proof that the Bush administration is well aware of the involvement of US persons and entities, and is apparently refusing to bring indictments against these people.
Sibel Edmonds Case
We know from the case of former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds that the FBI has long been aware of nuclear black market activities within the US and has failed to do anything about it, going to such extraordinary lengths to gag Sibel using the State Secrets Privilege, and to illegally gag congress involving Sibel’s case.
We know that high-level US officials were directly involved in these activities. We know that the Pentagon and State Department actively shut down the investigations that Sibel was involved with, and they also actively facilitated the gagging of Sibel.
We even know at least 3 of the US persons/groups that were actively involved in the nuclear black market:
Former #3 at the State Dept, Marc Grossman, was heard on FBI wiretaps facilitating the theft of nuclear secrets “from every nuclear agency in the United States.” Other participants in the ring include officials from Pakistan, Turkey and Israel who were operating out of their respective embassies. Once the ring stole these secrets they were sold to the highest bidders on the nuclear black market.
Could it be that the US government was desperate to sabotage the Swiss case because they were afraid that Grossman’s role in criminal activity would finally be exposed?
American Turkish Council (ATC)
We also know that the CIA, via Valerie Plame’s cover company Brewster Jennings, was investigating the ATC for its role in illegal nuclear proliferation.
Sibel Edmonds heard wiretaps of phone traffic between the Turkish embassy and the American Turkish Council involving dealings in the nuclear black market.
Could it be that the US government was desperate to sabotage the Swiss case because they were afraid that the ATC’s role in criminal activity would finally be exposed?
Zeki Bilmen & Giza Technologies
Turkish businessman and US citizen, Zeki Bilmen, illegally supplied nuclear hardware to Pakistan’s military program via Asher Karni, an Isaeli businessman in South Africa. Karni was indicted, but Bilmen was never charged, and his company, New Jersey-based Giza Technologies, continues operating to this day, with shipments to and from from proliferation hotspots “like Dubai, Spain, South Africa, Turkey.”
Bilmen was also heard organizing the transfer of nuclear technology on wiretaps translated by Sibel, meaning that his FBI file is at least seven years old.
Could it be that the US government was desperate to sabotage the Swiss case because they were afraid that Zeki Bilmen’s role in criminal activity would finally be exposed?
Former CIA official Phil Giraldi:
“Nothing deserves more attention than the possibility of ongoing national-security failures and the proliferation of nuclear weapons with the connivance of corrupt senior government officials.”
The involvement of domestic US agencies in the decision to destroy evidence in the Tinner case in Switzerland proves that there is a domestic US component to the nuclear black market. Five years after the public exposure of the AQ Khan network, the US government still refuses to bring indictments against a number of criminal US participants.