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Israeli caught smuggling WMD technology out of USA



*** An Israeli arms dealer has been indicted by the US government for illegally selling nuclear weapons technology to Pakistan, an unstable Islamic state next-door to Afghanistan. ***

Illegal export of nuclear devices: US government indicts Pakistani businessman, Israeli

WASHINGTON: The US government has indicted Islamabad-based Pakistani businessman Humayun A Khan and his Israeli partner Asher Karni for illegally exporting devices from the US that could be employed to test, develop and detonate nuclear weapons.

A federal indictment against Humayun A Khan was unsealed on Friday along with a guilty plea by his alleged partner, Asher Karni, who admitted routing sophisticated oscilloscopes and high-speed electrical switches through South Africa to avoid raising authorities’ suspicions. The scopes and the switches were then shipped to Pakistan, the Associated Press reported in an exclusive story run by Washington Post.

The export of the switches – also known as triggered spark gaps, which can be used in medical and military devices – to Pakistan and some other countries is prohibited under US law as part of Washington’s nuclear non-proliferation efforts.

However, Humayun A Khan has denied any wrongdoing. During a February 2004 interview with the Associated Press, while admitting his ties to Karni, he said he had done nothing wrong. Although his company is a supplier of high-tech products to the Pakistan Army, he said he had imported military products only for use in army-run repair shops. He said he also supplies equipment to civilian companies and Pakistan’s Education Ministry.

“There is a saying we have that robbers and thieves wear masks. Would I openly go and ask this man for something that I wanted to put in a nuclear system and use my own name? It is absurd,” he told the American news agency. But according to a Homeland Security official, the case raises “serious concerns” because nuclear proliferation is not a domestic American threat but a global one.

The indictment against Humayun A Khan was unsealed on Friday in a US District Court in Washington. Authorities said Khan, owner and chief executive of Pakland PME Corporation in Islamabad, sought help from Karni, an Israeli citizen living in Cape Town, South Africa, to export oscilloscopes manufactured in Oregon. Oscilloscopes can be used to test and develop nuclear weapons and missile-delivery systems. They require special US Commerce Department export licences. Karni exported the oscilloscopes without licence three times between March and August 2003, routing them through South Africa to Pakistan, officials said.

Meanwhile, authorities believe, Khan asked Karni to buy triggered spark gaps for a Pakistani customer. The switches can be used in medical equipment to treat kidney stones, but they can also be used as nuclear weapons detonators. An anonymous source tipped federal authorities to Karni’s plans to ship 200 triggered spark gaps from New Jersey to Pakistan through South Africa, authorities said.

But the switch manufacturer, PerkinElmer Optoelectronics of Salem, Massachusetts, agreed to ship malfunctioning triggered spark gaps in a plot to foil Khan and Karni. Karni was arrested on January 1, 2004, as he entered the US at Denver (Colorado) International Airport. He pleaded guilty in September to five federal felonies, including conspiring to export controlled nuclear technology items to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, by all accounts, Humayun A Khan is free and living in Pakistan.


SOURCE

Daily Times, "Illegal export of nuclear devices: US government indicts Pakistani businessman, Israeli", 12 April 2005.
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_10-4-2005_pg7_28


FURTHER READING

New York Times, "U.S. Says Banned Nuclear Technology Went to Pakistan and India", 9 April 2005.
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/09/politics/09nuke.html
    ...
    Asher Karni, an Israeli who lives in South Africa, entered the guilty plea last September and has been cooperating with investigators, prosecutors said. The prosecutors, however, kept the proceeding secret until Friday, when they unsealed the plea agreement and charges brought against Humayun Khan, an Islamabad businessman with longstanding ties to Pakistan's military. Mr. Khan is said to be Mr. Karni's partner
    ...

"The Insider" mailing list article, 12 April 2005.

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