Interesting story, thank you. Expanded info here:
Swiss destroy evidence in nuclear smuggling case
By HANSPETER HAEFLIGER, Associated Press Writer
Switzerland destroyed nuclear arms plans seized as evidence in a case linking a Swiss family to Libya’s now-abandoned atomic program. But President Pascal Couchepin stressed Friday it was to prevent them from falling into terrorists’ hands.
The documents formed part of a case against three members of the Tinner family who are suspected of involvement in the nuclear smuggling ring of Abdul Qadeer Khan, a key figure in Pakistan’s atomic weapons program. Khan has admitted selling nuclear arms technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Couchepin said federal prosecutors discovered that the information contained in the files could be “explosive” for Switzerland’s national security.
“There were detailed construction plans for nuclear weapons, for gas ultracentrifuges to enrich weapons-grade uranium as well as for guided missile delivery systems,” Couchepin told reporters in the Swiss capital, speaking publicly on the matter for the first time.
Couchepin said the decision to destroy them was taken to prevent the documents getting “into the hands of a terrorist organization” or a rogue state.
He did not comment on the potential impact the destruction of evidence could have if the defendants are ever brought to trial, but implied only that the security and international policy risks were too great to permit its continued existence.
The documents were destroyed under the observation of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, he said. The government in November ordered the files to be destroyed, but did not make the decision public at the time.
Couchepin, who holds Switzerland’s yearly rotating presidency, read out a prepared statement and declined to answer questions about the case.
His appearance followed a week of media reports that the files were secretly ordered destroyed by the government last year after pressure from the United States, which was concerned that its efforts to clamp down on nuclear smuggling might be compromised.
The U.S. declined comment. “The embassy does not comment on intelligence issues,” spokeswoman Lisbeth Keefe said.
The documents were among those seized from the Tinners in the course of a government investigation that started in October 2004.
Prosecutors allege that Urs Tinner, who was arrested in 2004, oversaw machine work in Malaysia on gas centrifuge parts that were intercepted by Western intelligence services. Gas centrifuges are needed to enrich uranium for use in nuclear weapons.
Marco Tinner, whose Swiss-based company reportedly sold equipment to the Malaysian firm that manufactured the parts sent to Libya, is being held alongside Urs in investigative custody.
Friedrich Tinner, their father who has admitted knowing Khan since the 1970s, was released earlier this year.
All three are being investigated on suspicion of violating export laws on controlled goods and war materials. A trial date has not been set.
Associated Press writer Frank Jordans in Geneva contributed to this report.
1975 LATE : (SWITZERLAND : A Q KHAN ATTENDS NUCLEAR TRADE SHOW) Dr. Khan studied in Pakistan and Europe. After he secured a job in the Netherlands in the early 1970's at a plant making centrifuges - the devices that purify uranium - Dutch intelligence officials began watching him. By late 1975, they grew so wary, after he was observed at a nuclear trade show in Switzerland asking suspicious questions, that they moved him to a different area of the company to keep him away from uranium enrichment work. "There was an awareness," said Frank Slijper of the Dutch Campaign against Arms Trade, who recently wrote a report on Dr. Khan's early days, "that he was a potential danger." Dr. Khan suddenly left the country that December , called home by his government for its atomic project. Years later, investigators discovered that he had taken blueprints for the centrifuges with him. In Pakistan, Dr. Khan was working to develop a bomb to counter India's, and Washington was intent on stopping the project.--------- "As Nuclear Secrets Emerge in Khan Inquiry, More Are Suspected," by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, New York Times, 12/26/2004
1977 : (SWISS FIRMS PROVIDE TECHNOLOGY TO S AFRICA'S URANIUM ENRICHMENT PROGRAM-- SEE CENTRIFUGES) To Fedora: In 1977, one firm began to supply ``highly sensitive technology'' to South Africa's uranium enrichment program. Hug said another Swiss company helped supply aluminum vacuum outlets, which ``played an important role in uranium enrichment.''
Do you think Blix would consider an "aluminum vacuum outlet" to be an aluminum tube?
12 posted on 02/02/2007 10:29:49 PM PST by piasa
1980s : (A Q KHAN VISITS CHINA) Dr. Khan quickly led the agents to Beijing. It was there in the early 1980's that Dr. Khan pulled off a coup: obtaining the blueprints for a weapon that China had detonated in its fourth nuclear test, in 1966. The design was notable because it was compact and the first one China had developed that could easily fit atop a missile.
American intelligence agencies only learned the full details of the transactions earlier this year  when the Libyans handed over two large plastic bags with the names of an Islamabad tailor on one side and a dry-cleaner on other - one of several clues that it had come from the Khan Laboratories. The design inside included drawings of more than 100 parts, all fitting in a sphere about 34 inches in diameter, just the right size for a rocket.
Equally remarkable were the handwritten notations in the margins. "They made reference to Chinese ministers, presumably involved in the deal," one official who reviewed it disclosed. And there was also a reference to "Munir," apparently Munir Khan, Dr. Khan's rival who ran the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and was in a contest with Dr. Khan to put together a Pakistani weapon that would match India's. In that race, size was critical, because only a small weapon could be put atop Pakistani missiles.
One note in the margin of the design, the official said, was that "Munir's bomb would be bigger." Intelligence experts believe that Dr. Khan traded his centrifuge technology to the Chinese for their bomb design.----------- "As Nuclear Secrets Emerge in Khan Inquiry, More Are Suspected," by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, New York Times, 12/26/2004
1984 : (LUGANO, SWITZERLAND : CHIEFLY FOUNDED BY THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD'S AHMED IDRIS NASRUDDIN, MALAYSIAN SWISS GULF AND AFRICAN CHAMBER aka MIGA IS REGISTERED -- SEE AL QAEDA, UN / IRAQ OIL FOR FOOD PROGRAM) ...the Sept. 11 Commission has shown a tracery of contacts between Saddam and Al Qaeda (search) that continued after billions of oil-for-food dollars began pouring into Saddam's coffers and Usama bin Laden (search) declared his famous war on the U.S.Now, buried in some of the United Nation's own confidential documents, clues can be seen that underscore the possibility of just such a Saddam-Al Qaeda link clues leading to a locked door in this Swiss lakeside resort. Next to that door, a festive sign spells out in gold letters under a green flag that this is the office of MIGA, the Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber (search). Registered here 20 years ago [1984?] as a society to promote business between the Gulf States and Asia, Europe and Africa, MIGA is a company that the United Nations and the U.S. government says has served as a hub of Al Qaeda finance: A terrorist chamber of commerce. ... ...As is typical of terrorist financial webs, the details surrounding MIGA quickly become bewildering part of the point being to camouflage the illicit flow of funds with legitimate business. Part of the problem in finding the truth is that cross-border transactions out of such financial havens as Switzerland are smothered in banking secrecy.
But even with that secrecy and shortly after the Sept.11, 2001, attacks on the United States both MIGA and its chief founder and longtime president, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, landed on the U.N. watchlist of entities and individuals belonging to, or affiliated with Al Qaeda. Nasreddin is a member of the terror-linked Muslim Brotherhood (search).------- "Possible Saddam-Al Qaeda Link Seen in U.N. Oil-for-Food Program," Friday, September 17, 2004 By Claudia Rosett and George Russell http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,132682,00.html
1988 to 1998 : (SWITZERLAND : IRAQI LEADER SADDAM HUSSEIN'S HALF BROTHER BARZAN IBRAHIM HASAN AL TIKRITI SERVES AS IRAQ'S AMBASSADOR TO THE UN IN GENEVA, SETS UP MONEY LAUNDERING NETWORK AT SOME POINT-- SEE TARIQ AZIZ) Hasan, the five of clubs in the U.S. deck of most-wanted Iraqis, was Iraq's ambassador to the UN in Geneva for 10 years, ending in 1998. During that time, he helped set up and manage a money-laundering network that was among the most sophisticated in the world, said investigators. A second manager was Tareq Aziz, Iraq's Foreign Minister, according to a Treasury Department source. Aziz, also in U.S. custody, traveled widely under diplomatic immunity. Estimates of the hidden loot range as high as $40 billion, but Saddam's personal trove "is in the single-digit billions, not more than 10," according to investigator John Fawcett. "I'm kind of conservative in calculating his wealth," said Fawcett, who has focused on Saddam's finances for more than three years, most recently on behalf of Kreindler & Kreindler, a Park Ave. law firm. The firm is trying pinpoint the links between Saddam's assets and financing of Al Qaeda. Once identified, those assets could be seized, recovered in court proceedings and distributed to families of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "We think Saddam's laundered money was used in part to provide financial support to Al Qaeda, and we're looking at billions of dollars hidden in financial institutions and companies," said lawyer James Kreindler. -----How Saddam hid his dirty money - Billions in oil sales stashed overseas New York Daily News ^ | 5/04/03 | WILLIAM SHERMAN
1989 : (SWITZERLAND : RASSAM IS APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SADDAM HUSSEIN FAMILY PENSION FUND) Hussam Rassam, a 67-year-old Iraqi businessman who established residency in Switzerland in 1987, was the administrator of the Saddam family pension fund, valued at $41.6 billion in 1990, according to a Kroll report. Hussam "was appointed [administrator] in 1989 after the execution of his predecessor for skimming funds," said the report. A telephone call to Hussam's home in the Swiss Canton of Vaud was answered by a French-speaking woman who told a reporter, "Mr. Hussam isn't here." ----How Saddam hid his dirty money - Billions in oil sales stashed overseas New York Daily News ^ | 5/04/03 | WILLIAM SHERMAN
DECEMBER 1993 : (PAKISTANI PM BENAZIR BHUTTO VISITS NORTH KOREA) LONDON-Pakistan bought long-range missile technology from North Korea after a December 1993 visit to Pyongyang by then-Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto made the revelation in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun in London, where she lives in self-imposed exile. The former leader also pointed out that some advisers in her government had suggested Pakistan sell its nuclear technology to gain foreign currency. Bhutto said her country's military government had, before she first came to power in 1988, apparently negotiated with several Islamic nations about the possibility of selling of nuclear technology....Bhutto also suggested her predecessor had considered selling Pakistani nuclear technology to other Islamic nations. Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq came to power in 1977 after he ousted Benazir Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in a coup. <,BR> ``There was talk that Zia planned to arm a whole host of Islamic countries with nuclear (technology), but it never came to my notice that he had actually done it,'' she said. ``I heard reports that he was negotiating before he died to do it, but I never heard that he actually did it.'' ---"Bhutto: We bought missile technology ; Pakistan paid North Korea cash for know-how, says the former leader," By EISHIRO TAKEISHI, The Asahi Shimbun http://www.asahi.com/english/world/TKY200407190155.html
[BHUTTO WAS LATER ASSASINATED]
FEBRUARY 26? +/-, 1999 : (A Q KHAN'S GROUP TRAVELS TO NIGER, CHAD AND THEN TO SUDAN WHERE THEY VISITED THE SHIFA "ASPIRIN" FACTORY WHICH THE US HAD DESTROYED EARLIER) After spending a couple of days [in Timbuktu] we were on our way back and our first stop was Niamey, capital of Niger." Siddique also writes that after a stopver at N'Djamena, capital of Chad... they we flew to Khartoum. After Khan had attended to "some business", they visited the Shifa factory that was destroyed by American missiles (launched by the Clinton administration on grounds, false as it turned out, that the factory was making WMD). - "Khan made trips to Niger, Sudan," CHIDANAND RAJGHATTA, TIMES NEWS NETWORK, THE TIMES OF INDIA, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2004 11:52:23 AM , http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow/497486.cms
MARCH 1, 2003 : (KSM CAPTURED IN PAKISTAN-- AND QUESTIONAD ABOUT HIS SAFE HOUSE OPERATOR WHO IS ALSO CONNECTED TO PAKISTANI NUCLEAR SCIENTIST A Q KHAN) Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the No. 3 leader of al-Qaeda, who was captured in Pakistan on March 1, has been questioned extensively about his relationship with Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 hijackers. But his U.S. interrogators have also grilled him about another figure of much concern to Washington: Abdul Qadeer Khan, the maverick Pakistani scientist who has been called the father of the Islamic Bomb. U.S. intelligence, according to one official, has information that the al-Qaeda man and the nuclear scientist had connections with the same safe-house operator and may have crossed paths. They were "reported to be at the same place at approximately the same time," the official said. Under questioning, according to the source, Mohammed denied seeing Khan and downplayed any usefulness Khan may have had to al-Qaeda. Khan declined repeated requests from TIME to comment on the accusations. - "Al-Qaeda's Nuclear Contact?," by TIM BURGER AND TIM MCGIRK, Time , Monday, May. 19, 2003
OCTOBER 2003 LATE : (THE BBC CHINA IS SEIZED -- SEE CENTRIFUGES, LIBYA, A Q KHAN) But in late October 2003, the United States and its allies seized the BBC China, a freighter bearing centrifuge parts made in Malaysia, along with other products of Dr. Khan's network, all bound for Libya. Confronted with the evidence, Libya finally agreed to surrender all of its nuclear program. Within weeks, tons of equipment was being dismantled and flown to the Energy Department's nuclear weapons lab at Oak Ridge, Tenn. ------ "As Nuclear Secrets Emerge in Khan Inquiry, More Are Suspected," by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, New York Times, 12/26/2004
OCTOBER 2003 : (SHIP CARRYING GAS CENTRIFUGE PARTS BOUND FOR LIBYA IS INTERCEPTED - ) ------- "Switzerland Opens Nuclear Investigation," by BALZ BRUPPACHER, AP, 10/13/04
OCTOBER 2003 : (GAS CENTRIFUGE PARTS INTERCEPTED ON A SHIP BOUND FOR LIBYA - See Swiss engineer Urs Tinner) ...gas centrifuge parts that were intercepted by Western intelligence ... on a ship bound for Libya. ....Gas centrifuges are needed to enrich uranium for use in nuclear weapons. ------- "Switzerland Opens Nuclear Investigation," by BALZ BRUPPACHER, AP, 10/13/04
FEBRUARY 2004 : (SWITZERLAND : INVESTIGATION OF ENGINEER URS TINNER IS ANNOUNCED -- SEE LIBYAN NUKE PROGRAM, QADEER KHAN NETWORK, MALAYSIA) The Swiss agency that polices adherence to international sanctions disclosed in February that it had opened an investigation to determine whether [Swiss engineer Urs] Tinner had broken Swiss law by making precision parts in Malaysia that were destined for Libya. ------- "Switzerland Opens Nuclear Investigation," by BALZ BRUPPACHER, AP, 10/13/04
OCTOBER 2004 early : (GERMANY : SWISS ENGINEER URS TINNER IS ARRESTED IN GERMANY- SEE LIBYAN NUKE PROGRAM, QADEER KHAN NEWORK) Swiss engineer Urs Tinner ... was arrested in Germany... .. He is believed to have been part of the international clandestine network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, which helped Libya's nuclear program, German authorities said. He is believed to have been part of the international clandestine network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, which helped Libya's nuclear program, German authorities said. German prosecutors said they were preparing treason charges against the engineer. [Swiss engineer Urs] Tinner is alleged to have overseen machine work in Malaysia on gas centrifuge parts that were intercepted by Western intelligence last October on a ship bound for Libya. He's also alleged to have trained Libyans in their use. Gas centrifuges are needed to enrich uranium for use in nuclear weapons. If the Swiss suspects are tried and convicted of violating sanctions and illegally exporting war material they could face as much as 10 years in prison and a $4 million fine.------- "Switzerland Opens Nuclear Investigation," by BALZ BRUPPACHER, AP, 10/13/04
OCTOBER 13, 2004 : (SWITZERLAND : PROSECUTORS OPEN INVESTIGATION INTO TWO SWISS CITIZENS WHO ARE SUSPECTED OF EXPORTING NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY TO LIBYA) BERN, Switzerland - Prosecutors on Wednesday opened an investigation into two Swiss citizens suspected of illegally exporting nuclear-bomb-making technology to Libya, a spokesman for the prosecutors office said. The spokesman, Hansjuerg Mark Wiedmer, declined to identify the suspects. But one investigative source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one was Swiss engineer Urs Tinner, who was arrested in Germany last week..------- "Switzerland Opens Nuclear Investigation," by BALZ BRUPPACHER, AP, 10/13/04
NOVEMBER 2005 : (THE NETHERLANDS : REPORT : ) "Amsterdam, (Netherlands), November 7 : A Dutch businessman accused of improperly shipping sensitive nuclear technology to Pakistan believed the Islamic country "needed an atom bomb" to preserve balance of power in Asia, he said in an interview. Henk Slebos, 62, is accused of shipping dual-use technology to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme who has acknowledged selling secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea."---------"Pak 'needed an atom bomb': Dutch N-accused," Posted online: Monday, November 07, 2005 at 1241 hours IST, http://www.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=57904
SEPTEMBER 12, 2006 : (SWITZERLAND : CIA UNDER ATTACK BY SWISS TERRORIST SUPPORTERS...) BERN, Switzerland -- Swiss authorities have found enough evidence to seek a full investigation into allegations the CIA was trying to obtain personal details of about 500 labor union members, most of them Arabs, officials said Friday. Espionage by foreign agents in Switzerland is illegal and often results in expulsion of the suspects. The investigations began Sept. 12, the same day the daily tabloid Blick first reported that an unidentified CIA agent based at the U.S. Embassy in Bern had paid a Swiss informant in an attempt to obtain information about Arabs in Switzerland suspected of involvement in terrorist financing. Jeanette Balmer, spokeswoman of the Federal Prosecutor's Office, said intensive investigations have confirmed those suspicions. "Moreover, the people in question in the case could be identified," she said. Balmer told The Associated Press authorities had been investigating illegal activity by a foreign state and espionage. She said the prosecutor's office would now seek a warrant from the governing Cabinet which is required for authorities to continue their investigation in cases classed as "political crimes."(Excerpt) Read more at newsday.com ...----- Swiss Find Evidence of CIA Spy Attempt AP ^ | 27 Oct 2006 | AP