MAC: Mines and Communities

London Calling - February 7 2004

Published by MAC on 2004-02-07

London Calling! February 7 2004

Anything Khan can do, Blair will bluff better

Britain's prime minister is basking in the sunshine of apparent acquittal over any role he might have played in the life-taking of scientist Dr David Kelly during the Iraq conflagration.

Meanwhile another weapons expert, Pakistan's Abdul Quader Khan, is squeezing the last ounce of sympathy from his fellow country people, as he acquits his government of responsiblity for nuclear weapons proliferation.

We doubt that Russia's Nicolai Gogol (whose classic "Dead Souls" depicted a government inspector head-counting non-existent citizens for personal gain) would have been hard put to parody Blair's recent performance better than he's done himself. Over the past few months the architect of New Labour has performed a masterpiece of political self-reconstruction. Who now remembers that he not only lied about the true motive for waging war on Iraqis, but also came near to pledging he'd resign, were his murderous calculations proven derelict?

The episode underscores Goebbel's repugnant adage that "the bigger the lie the greater the number who will believe it". But more particularly, it shows that the more egregious and your whipped-up confections, the more intimidated your opponents become over pinning down your lies.

At least Professor Khan has now publicly sought forgiveness for his betrayals - even though he hasn't apologised to his erstwhile fellows in URENCO from whom he filched uraninum enrichment blueprints in the mid-seventies; or from the millions of Indians and Pakistanis who've suffered as a result of the nuclearisation of the subcontinent which he measurably assisted.

While Khan falls on his rubber sword, the successive regimes which benefitted from his traitorship appear to have escaped responsibility scot-free. Who says? Well the professor does himself, claiming he acted alone.

Ribald though this "confession" may be, at least it benefits from some sort of transparency: a concept which Blair's regime - more than any other in recent British history - has so cynically confounded, even as it's trumpetted as the new mantra for industry.

Talking of which, London Calling would love to know when other links within the Pakistani nuclear nexus will be revealed. Or if they never will be. Among the companies and agents who assisted Pakistan's trajectory of proliferation may well have been Rio Tinto. Whether or not it actually supplied uranium to Iran the Middle Eastern state was, for a period, actually a shareholder in the British company's Namibian subsidiary, Rossing Uranium.

[Sources: The Hindu, February 5 2004; Business Times, February 2004; Plunder! Partizans CAFCA, London and Christchurch 1992]

[“London Calling” is published by Nostromo Research, London. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of any other individual, organisation or editors of the MAC web site. Reproduction is encouraged with full acknowledgment]

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