terror in delhi 10/29
Monday, March 20, 2006
  Hollandse schijnheiligheid
Pardon our linguistic irreverance since the post title means 'Dutch hypocrisy'. Here is why (via IANS):
A group of influential Dutch MPs currently on a week-long visit to India Monday said they would prefer it if New Delhi signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

'We would still like India to sign the NPT. We do not know the details of the India-US (nuclear) pact and therefore can't comment on whether it contradicts provisions of the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group),' said F.W. Weisglas, president of the House of Representatives.

Readers who have seen this video (higly recommended), may recall that the most infamous A.Q. Khan started his proliferation career while he worked in the Dutch uranium treatment company Urenco. The failure of the Dutch authorities to prevent Khan from stealing Uranium enrichment details is actually a violation of the NPT to which it is a signatory. Meanwhile, the German media has been all over the trial of one, Gotthard Lerch, a German citizen tightly linked with the Khan network throwing even more light on the Dutch and other perfidies.

via Deutsche Welle (article in English):

Gotthard Lerch, who goes on trial on Friday, was investigated extensively by German authorities in the 1980s for the misappropriation of blueprints at a joint British, German and Dutch uranium enrichment facility in the Netherlands. That was apparently also when he came into contact with Abdul Qadeer Khan. Lerch, however, was never convicted.

via Der Spiegel, see map of the Khan proliferation network with involvement of several European firms (The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland) all being signatories of the famed NPT. Quoting from the accompanying Spiegel article (in English):

Khan remained at Urenco until 1975, when he copied the company's most important plans and then fled to Pakistan to build the bomb for his country. However, in addition to being theoretically complex, uranium enrichment poses extremely difficult technical challenges -- especially for a scientist without access to a high-tech laboratory and working in a third-world country like Pakistan.

To solve his dilemma, Pakistan's nuclear spy set out on a search for suppliers. At Leybold Heraeus in the German city of Hanau, a global leader in vacuum technology, Khan found what he was looking for in a young engineer, Gotthard Lerch. Lerch soon attracted the attention of German export inspectors, who wanted to know what he was doing in Pakistan. He admitted that Leybold Heraeus had shipped valves, vacuum pumps and a gas purification system worth 1.3 million German marks to Pakistan. When Lerch left Leybold in 1985 and went to Switzerland, a similar know-how transfer took place. Lerch had hardly begun working for his new employer in Switzerland before a company began producing gas ultracentrifuges remarkably similar to those featured in construction blueprints at Leybold Heraeus. The centrifuges were destined for Khan's laboratory in Kahuta.

Even worse, the Dutch let go of Khan without prosecuting as early as 1975 upon the 'request' of the CIA who too were apparently interested on the case wanting to catch an even bigger fish. That fishing expedition never happened even after 1998 when Pakistan exploded its nuclear weapons. It was only when Khan's best customer, the Libyan dictator Muammar Khadafi having caught red-handed with weapons material spilled out everything he knew to the IAEA in 2003 that the world started taking notice of Khan. India has a strong case against the Netherlands and other European nations with an 'high' moral-standing for being a passive spectators during the entire nuclear saga resulting in Pakistan's 'beg, borrow or steal' nuclearization which drastically affected India's collective security. While India is not publicly raising any of these issues, it would be wise for the honorable Dutch MPs to likewise concentrate on bilateral trade and other issues of mutual interest. Related: The Acorn on NPT: Born with a fatal flaw. Maverick on the shocking silence of many of the the non-proliferation ayatollahs during the entire Khan episode.
 
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