Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 75, January/February 2004
In the News
President Bush and Mohamed ElBaradei on WMD Proliferation
Remarks by the President on Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation, Fort Leslie J. McNair, National Defense University, February 11, 2004
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm honored to visit the National Defense University. For nearly a century, the scholars and students here have helped to prepare America for the changing threats to our national security. Today, the men and women of our National Defense University are helping to frame the strategies through which we are fighting and winning the war on terror. Your Center for Counterproliferation Research and your other institutes and colleges are providing vital insight into the dangers of a new era. I want to thank each one of you for devoting your talents and your energy to the service of our great nation....
On September the 11th, 2001, America and the world witnessed a new kind of war. We saw the great harm that a stateless network could inflict upon our country, killers armed with box cutters, mace, and 19 airline tickets. Those attacks also raised the prospect of even worse dangers - of other weapons in the hands of other men. The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological or nuclear weapons.
In the past, enemies of America required massed armies, and great navies, powerful air forces to put our nation, our people, our friends and allies at risk. In the Cold War, Americans lived under the threat of weapons of mass destruction, but believed that deterrents made those weapons a last resort. What has changed in the 21st century is that, in the hands of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction would be a first resort - the preferred means to further their ideology of suicide and random murder. These terrible weapons are becoming easier to acquire, build, hide, and transport. Armed with a single vial of a biological agent or a single nuclear weapon, small groups of fanatics, or failing states, could gain the power to threaten great nations, threaten the world peace.
America, and the entire civilized world, will face this threat for decades to come. We must confront the danger with open eyes, and unbending purpose. I have made clear to all the policy of this nation: America will not permit terrorists and dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most deadly weapons.
Meeting this duty has required changes in thinking and strategy. Doctrines designed to contain empires, deter aggressive states, and defeat massed armies cannot fully protect us from this new threat. America faces the possibility of catastrophic attack from ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction. So that is why we are developing and deploying missile defenses to guard our people. The best intelligence is necessary to win the war on terror and to stop proliferation. So that is why I have established a commission that will examine our intelligence capabilities and recommend ways to improve and adapt them to detect new and emerging threats.
We're determined to confront those threats at the source. We will stop these weapons from being acquired or built. We'll block them from being transferred. We'll prevent them from ever being used. One source of these weapons is dangerous and secretive regimes that build weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors and force their influence upon the world. These nations pose different challenges; they require different strategies.
The former dictator of Iraq possessed and used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. For 12 years, he defied the will of the international community. He refused to disarm or account for his illegal weapons and programs. He doubted our resolve to enforce our word - and now he sits in a prison cell, while his country moves toward a democratic future.
To Iraq's east, the government of Iran is unwilling to abandon a uranium enrichment program capable of producing material for nuclear weapons. The United States is working with our allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that Iran meets its commitments and does not develop nuclear weapons.
In the Pacific, North Korea has defied the world, has tested long-range ballistic missiles, admitted its possession of nuclear weapons, and now threatens to build more. Together with our partners in Asia, America is insisting that North Korea completely, verifiably, and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programs.
America has consistently brought these threats to the attention of international organizations. We're using every means of diplomacy to answer them. As for my part, I will continue to speak clearly on these threats. I will continue to call upon the world to confront these dangers, and to end them.
In recent years, another path of proliferation has become clear, as well. America and other nations are learning more about black-market operatives who deal in equipment and expertise related to weapons of mass destruction. These dealers are motivated by greed, or fanaticism, or both. They find eager customers in outlaw regimes, which pay millions for the parts and plans they need to speed up their weapons programs. And with deadly technology and expertise going on the market, there's the terrible possibility that terrorists groups could obtain the ultimate weapons they desire most.
The extent and sophistication of such networks can be seen in the case of a man named Abdul Qadeer Khan. This is the story as we know it so far.
A. Q. Khan is known throughout the world as the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. What was not publicly known, until recently, is that he also led an extensive international network for the proliferation of nuclear technology and know-how.
For decades, Mr. Khan remained on the Pakistani government payroll, earning a modest salary. Yet, he and his associates financed lavish lifestyles through the sale of nuclear technologies and equipment to outlaw regimes stretching from North Africa to the Korean Peninsula.
A. Q. Khan, himself, operated mostly out of Pakistan. He served as director of the network, its leading scientific mind, as well as its primary salesman. Over the past decade, he made frequent trips to consult with his clients and to sell his expertise. He and his associates sold the blueprints for centrifuges to enrich uranium, as well as a nuclear design stolen from the Pakistani government. The network sold uranium hexafluoride, the gas that the centrifuge process can transform into enriched uranium for nuclear bombs. Khan and his associates provided Iran and Libya and North Korea with designs for Pakistan's older centrifuges, as well as designs for more advanced and efficient models. The network also provided these countries with components, and in some cases, with complete centrifuges.
To increase their profits, Khan and his associates used a factory in Malaysia to manufacture key parts for centrifuges. Other necessary parts were purchased through network operatives based in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. These procurement agents saw the trade in nuclear technologies as a shortcut to personal wealth, and they set up front companies to deceive legitimate firms into selling them tightly controlled materials.
Khan's deputy - a man named B.S.A. Tahir - ran SMB computers, a business in Dubai. Tahir used that computer company as a front for the proliferation activities of the A. Q. Khan network. Tahir acted as both the network's chief financial officer and money launderer. He was also its shipping agent, using his computer firm as cover for the movement of centrifuge parts to various clients. Tahir directed the Malaysia facility to produce these parts based on Pakistani designs, and then ordered the facility to ship the components to Dubai. Tahir also arranged for parts acquired by other European procurement agents to transit through Dubai for shipment to other customers.
This picture of the Khan network was pieced together over several years by American and British intelligence officers. Our intelligence services gradually uncovered this network's reach, and identified its key experts and agents and money men. Operatives followed its transactions, mapped the extent of its operations. They monitored the travel of A. Q. Khan and senior associates. They shadowed members of the network around the world, they recorded their conversations, they penetrated their operations, we've uncovered their secrets. This work involved high risk, and all Americans can be grateful for the hard work and the dedication of our fine intelligence professionals.
Governments around the world worked closely with us to unravel the Khan network, and to put an end to his criminal enterprise. A. Q. Khan has confessed his crimes, and his top associates are out of business. The government of Pakistan is interrogating the network's members, learning critical details that will help them prevent it from ever operating again. President Musharraf has promised to share all the information he learns about the Khan network, and has assured us that his country will never again be a source of proliferation.
Mr. Tahir is in Malaysia, where authorities are investigating his activities. Malaysian authorities have assured us that the factory the network used is no longer producing centrifuge parts. Other members of the network remain at large. One by one, they will be found, and their careers in the weapons trade will be ended.
As a result of our penetration of the network, American and the British intelligence identified a shipment of advanced centrifuge parts manufactured at the Malaysia facility. We followed the shipment of these parts to Dubai, and watched as they were transferred to the BBC China, a German-owned ship. After the ship passed through the Suez Canal, bound for Libya, it was stopped by German and Italian authorities. They found several containers, each forty feet in length, listed on the ship's manifest as full of "used machine parts". In fact, these containers were filled with parts of sophisticated centrifuges.
The interception of the BBC China came as Libyan and British and American officials were discussing the possibility of Libya ending its WMD programs. The United States and Britain confronted Libyan officials with this evidence of an active and illegal nuclear program. About two months ago, Libya's leader voluntarily agreed to end his nuclear and chemical weapons programs, not to pursue biological weapons, and to permit thorough inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We're now working in partnership with these organizations and with the United Kingdom to help the government of Libya dismantle those programs and eliminate all dangerous materials.
Colonel Ghadafi made the right decision, and the world will be safer once his commitment is fulfilled. We expect other regimes to follow his example. Abandoning the pursuit of illegal weapons can lead to better relations with the United States, and other free nations. Continuing to seek those weapons will not bring security or international prestige, but only political isolation, economic hardship, and other unwelcome consequences.
We know that Libya was not the only customer of the Khan network. Other countries expressed great interest in their services. These regimes and other proliferators like Khan should know: We and our friends are determined to protect our people and the world from proliferation.
Breaking this network is one major success in a broad-based effort to stop the spread of terrible weapons. We're adjusting our strategies to the threats of a new era. America and the nations of Australia, France and Germany, Italy and Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom have launched the Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict lethal materials in transit. Our nations are sharing intelligence information, tracking suspect international cargo, conducting joint military exercises. We're prepared to search planes and ships, to seize weapons and missiles and equipment that raise proliferation concerns, just as we did in stopping the dangerous cargo on the BBC China before it reached Libya. Three more governments - Canada and Singapore and Norway - will be participating in this initiative. We'll continue to expand the core group of PSI countries. And as PSI grows, proliferators will find it harder than ever to trade in illicit weapons.
There is a consensus among nations that proliferation cannot be tolerated. Yet this consensus means little unless it is translated into action. Every civilized nation has a stake in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. These materials and technologies, and the people who traffic in them, cross many borders. To stop this trade, the nations of the world must be strong and determined. We must work together, we must act effectively. Today, I announce seven proposals to strengthen the world's efforts to stop the spread of deadly weapons.
First, I propose that the work of the Proliferation Security Initiative be expanded to address more than shipments and transfers. Building on the tools we've developed to fight terrorists, we can take direct action against proliferation networks. We need greater cooperation not just among intelligence and military services, but in law enforcement, as well. PSI participants and other willing nations should use the Interpol and all other means to bring to justice those who traffic in deadly weapons, to shut down their labs, to seize their materials, to freeze their assets. We must act on every lead. We will find the middlemen, the suppliers and the buyers. Our message to proliferators must be consistent and it must be clear: We will find you, and we're not going to rest until you are stopped.
Second, I call on all nations to strengthen the laws and international controls that govern proliferation. At the U.N. last fall, I proposed a new Security Council resolution requiring all states to criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls, and secure all sensitive materials within their borders. The Security Council should pass this proposal quickly. And when they do, America stands ready to help other governments to draft and enforce the new laws that will help us deal with proliferation.
Third, I propose to expand our efforts to keep weapons from the Cold War and other dangerous materials out of the wrong hands. In 1991, Congress passed the Nunn-Lugar legislation. Senator Lugar had a clear vision, along with Senator Nunn, about what to do with the old Soviet Union. Under this program, we're helping former Soviet states find productive employment for former weapons scientists. We're dismantling, destroying and securing weapons and materials left over from the Soviet WMD arsenal. We have more work to do there.
And as a result of the G-8 Summit in 2002, we agreed to provide $20 billion over 10 years - half of it from the United States - to support such programs. We should expand this cooperation elsewhere in the world. We will retain [sic] WMD scientists and technicians in countries like Iraq and Libya. We will help nations end the use of weapons-grade uranium in research reactors. I urge more nations to contribute to these efforts. The nations of the world must do all we can to secure and eliminate nuclear and chemical and biological and radiological materials.
As we track and destroy these networks, we must also prevent governments from developing nuclear weapons under false pretenses. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was designed more than 30 years ago to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons beyond those states which already possessed them. Under this treaty, nuclear states agreed to help non-nuclear states develop peaceful atomic energy if they renounced the pursuit of nuclear weapons. But the treaty has a loophole which has been exploited by nations such as North Korea and Iran. These regimes are allowed to produce nuclear material that can be used to build bombs under the cover of civilian nuclear programs.
So today, as a fourth step, I propose a way to close the loophole. The world must create a safe, orderly system to field civilian nuclear plants without adding to the danger of weapons proliferation. The world's leading nuclear exporters should ensure that states have reliable access at reasonable cost to fuel for civilian reactors, so long as those states renounce enrichment and reprocessing. Enrichment and reprocessing are not necessary for nations seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The 40 nations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group should refuse to sell enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technologies to any state that does not already possess full-scale, functioning enrichment and reprocessing plants. This step will prevent new states from developing the means to produce fissile material for nuclear bombs. Proliferators must not be allowed to cynically manipulate the NPT to acquire the material and infrastructure necessary for manufacturing illegal weapons.
For international norms to be effective, they must be enforced. It is the charge of the International Atomic Energy Agency to uncover banned nuclear activity around the world and report those violations to the U.N. Security Council. We must ensure that the IAEA has all the tools it needs to fulfil its essential mandate. America and other nations support what is called the Additional Protocol, which requires states to declare a broad range of nuclear activities and facilities, and allow the IAEA to inspect those facilities.
As a fifth step, I propose that by next year, only states that have signed the Additional Protocol be allowed to import equipment for their civilian nuclear programs. Nations that are serious about fighting proliferation will approve and implement the Additional Protocol. I've submitted the Additional Protocol to the Senate. I urge the Senate to consent immediately to its ratification.
We must also ensure that IAEA is organized to take action when action is required. So, a sixth step, I propose the creation of a special committee of the IAEA Board which will focus intensively on safeguards and verification. This committee, made up of governments in good standing with the IAEA, will strengthen the capability of the IAEA to ensure that nations comply with their international obligations.
And, finally, countries under investigation for violating nuclear non-proliferation obligations are currently allowed to serve on the IAEA Board of Governors. For instance, Iran - a country suspected of maintaining an extensive nuclear weapons program - recently completed a two-year term on the Board. Allowing potential violators to serve on the Board creates an unacceptable barrier to effective action. No state under investigation for proliferation violations should be allowed to serve on the IAEA Board of Governors - or on the new special committee. And any state currently on the Board that comes under investigation should be suspended from the Board. The integrity and mission of the IAEA depends on this simple principle: Those actively breaking the rules should not be entrusted with enforcing the rules.
As we move forward to address these challenges we will consult with our friends and allies on all these new measures. We will listen to their ideas. Together we will defend the safety of all nations and preserve the peace of the world.
Over the last two years, a great coalition has come together to defeat terrorism and to oppose the spread of weapons of mass destruction - the inseparable commitments of the war on terror. We've shown that proliferators can be discovered and can be stopped. We've shown that for regimes that choose defiance, there are serious consequences. The way ahead is not easy, but it is clear. We will proceed as if the lives of our citizens depend on our vigilance, because they do. Terrorists and terror states are in a race for weapons of mass murder, a race they must lose. Terrorists are resourceful; we're more resourceful. They're determined; we must be more determined. We will never lose focus or resolve. We'll be unrelenting in the defense of free nations, and rise to the hard demands of dangerous times.
May God bless you all.
February 11, 2004,
"There is a consensus among nations that proliferation cannot be tolerated. Yet this consensus means little unless it is translated into action. Every civilized nation has a stake in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction."
President George W. Bush, February 11, 2004
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) poses the most serious danger to the peace of the world. Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists or outlaw regimes could bring catastrophic harm to America and the international community. Recent developments, as highlighted by the President today, demonstrate the new, complex, and challenging threats to the international community from WMD.
President Bush today proposed seven new steps to help combat the development and spread of weapons of mass destruction. The policies will:
-- Improve and modernize nonproliferation laws to address new and changing threats;
-- Restrict the sale and transport of nuclear technologies and equipment;
-- Close a loophole in the nuclear nonproliferation regimes that allow states to pursue WMD under the false cloak of legitimacy; and
-- Expand efforts to secure and destroy nuclear weapons and materials.
Law Enforcement Cooperation
The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), announced by President Bush in May 2003, currently focuses on taking practical steps to interdict proliferation shipments of WMD, delivery systems, and related materials at sea, in the air, or on land.
-- The President proposes that participants in the PSI and other willing nations expand their focus and use Interpol and other mechanisms for law enforcement cooperation to take additional actions to pursue proliferators and end their operations.
Swift Passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution
-- The President calls for swift passage of the resolution he proposed in September 2003, requiring all states to criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls, and secure sensitive materials within their borders.
Expansion of G-8 Global Partnership
-- To ensure the nations of the world are doing all they can to secure and eliminate WMD and dangerous materials, the President proposes the expansion -- in funds, donors, and recipients -- of the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
-- The Partnership originally provided $20 billion in nonproliferation assistance to the former Soviet Union, it should now also work to reduce and secure dangerous materials elsewhere in the world.
Controls Against Enrichment and Reprocessing
Currently, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows states like Iran to develop the capability to produce weapons material under the cover of peaceful programs by pursuing a nuclear enrichment and reprocessing capability. The world must create a safe orderly system to fuel civilian nuclear reactors without adding to the danger of nuclear proliferation.
-- The President has proposed that the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group ensure that states which renounce enrichment and reprocessing technologies have reliable access, at reasonable cost, to fuel for civilian reactors.
-- The 40 states in the Nuclear Suppliers Group should refuse to sell uranium enrichment or reprocessing equipment or technology to any state that does not already possess full-scale, functioning enrichment or reprocessing plants.
Strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The President offers three key proposals to strengthen the IAEA in its work against nuclear proliferation.
-- First, all states should sign the IAEA Additional Protocol, which greatly expands the Agency's tools to detect clandestine nuclear activities. Signing of the Additional Protocol should be a condition for countries seeking equipment for their civilian nuclear programs by next year.
-- Second, the IAEA Board of Governors should create a special committee on safeguards and verification, to improve the organization's ability to monitor and enforce compliance with nuclear nonproliferation obligations.
-- Finally, no state under investigation for proliferation violations should be allowed to serve or continue serving on the IAEA Board of Governors or on the new special committee.
Today, President Bush welcomed key accomplishments in our determined efforts to prevent and protect against the proliferation of WMD.
Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan Network
The President provided details on the activities of A. Q. Khan, who led an extensive international network for the proliferation of nuclear materials and knowledge. The President also discussed the actions of the U.S. and British governments in penetrating and ultimately shutting down this network:
-- Khan and his associates used a factory in Malaysia to manufacture key parts for centrifuges, and purchased other necessary parts through network operatives based in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Libya, Iran, and North Korea were customers of the Khan network, and several other countries expressed an interest in Khan's services.
-- Over several years, American and British intelligence services gradually uncovered the network's reach, and identified its key experts, agents, and financial network. This work involved substantial risk - and all Americans can be proud of the hard work and dedication of our fine intelligence professionals.
-- As a result of our penetration of the network, American and British intelligence identified and tracked a shipment of advanced centrifuge parts. As part of the PSI, German and Italian authorities stopped the ship as it was heading for Libya, seizing several containers filled with parts for sophisticated centrifuges manufactured at the Malaysia facility.
-- The Government of Pakistan is interrogating the network's members, and learning critical details that will help prevent the network from ever operating again. President Musharraf has promised to share all the information he learns about the Khan network, and has assured us that his country will never again be a source of proliferation.
The President welcomed the historic decision of Colonel Qadhafi to end his weapons of mass destruction programs, and expects other regimes to follow his example. On December 19, 2003, Libya pledged to:
-- Eliminate all elements of its chemical and nuclear weapons programs;
-- Declare all nuclear activities to the IAEA;
-- Eliminate ballistic missiles with more than 300 km range when carrying a payload of 500 kg;
-- Accept international inspections to ensure Libya's complete adherence to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and sign the IAEA Additional Protocol; and
-- Eliminate all chemical weapons stocks and munitions, and accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Libya is now working in partnership with the United States, United Kingdom, the IAEA, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on implementing those commitments.
"Saving Ourselves From Self-Destruction", New York Times Op-Ed, February 12, 2004
"Nuclear proliferation is on the rise. Equipment, material and training were once largely inaccessible. Today, however, there is a sophisticated worldwide network that can deliver systems for producing material usable in weapons. The demand clearly exists: countries remain interested in the illicit acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.
If we sit idly by, this trend will continue. Countries that perceive themselves to be vulnerable can be expected to try to redress that vulnerability - and in some cases they will pursue clandestine weapons programs. The supply network will grow, making it easier to acquire nuclear weapon expertise and materials. Eventually, inevitably, terrorists will gain access to such materials and technology, if not actual weapons.
If the world does not change course, we risk self-destruction.
Common sense and recent experience make clear that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which has served us well since 1970, must be tailored to fit 21st-century realities. Without threatening national sovereignty, we can toughen the nonproliferation regime.
The first step is to tighten controls over the export of nuclear material, a priority President Bush identified yesterday in his speech on nuclear nonproliferation. The current system relies on a gentlemen's agreement that is not only nonbinding, but also limited in its membership: it does not include many countries with growing industrial capacity. And even some members fail to control the exports of companies unaffiliated with government enterprise. We must universalise the export control system, remove these loopholes, and enact binding, treaty-based controls - while preserving the rights of all states to peaceful nuclear technology. We should also criminalise the acts of people who seek to assist others in proliferation.
In parallel, inspectors must be empowered. Much effort was recently expended - and rightly so - in persuading Iran and Libya to give the International Atomic Energy Agency much broader rights of inspection. But the agency should have the right to conduct such inspections in all countries.
Verification of nonproliferation treaty obligations requires more stringent measures, but to date, fewer than 20 percent of the 191 United Nations members have approved a protocol allowing broader inspection rights. Again, as President Bush suggested yesterday, it should be in force for all countries.
In addition, no country should be allowed to withdraw from the treaty. The treaty now allows any member to do so with three months' notice. Any nation invoking this escape clause is almost certainly a threat to international peace and security.
This provision of the treaty should be curtailed. At a minimum, withdrawal should prompt an automatic review by the United Nations Security Council. The international community must do a better job of controlling the risks of nuclear proliferation. Sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle - the production of new fuel, the processing of weapon-usable material, the disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste - would be less vulnerable to proliferation if brought under multinational control. Appropriate checks and balances could be used to preserve commercial competitiveness and assure a supply of nuclear material to legitimate would-be users.
Toward this end, negotiations on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty must be revived. The treaty, which would put an end to the production of fissionable material for weapons, has been stalled in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva for nearly eight years. For the material that already exists, including in some countries of the former Soviet Union, security measures must be strengthened.
Of course, a fundamental part of the nonproliferation bargain is the commitment of the five nuclear states recognised under the nonproliferation treaty - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - to move toward disarmament. Recent agreements between Russia and the United States are commendable, but they should be verifiable and irreversible. A clear road map for nuclear disarmament should be established - starting with a major reduction in the 30,000 nuclear warheads still in existence, and bringing into force the long-awaited Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. If the global community is serious about bringing nuclear proliferation to a halt, these measures and others should be considered at the nonproliferation treaty review conference next year.
We must also begin to address the root causes of insecurity. In areas of longstanding conflict like the Middle East, South Asia and the Korean Peninsula, the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction - while never justified - can be expected as long as we fail to introduce alternatives that redress the security deficit. We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security - and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use. Similarly, we must abandon the traditional approach of defining security in terms of boundaries - city walls, border patrols, racial and religious groupings. The global community has become irreversibly interdependent, with the constant movement of people, ideas, goods and resources. In such a world, we must combat terrorism with an infectious security culture that crosses borders - an inclusive approach to security based on solidarity and the value of human life. In such a world, weapons of mass destruction have no place."
© 2003 The Acronym Institute.