Posted by: Administrator | 5 January, 2008

President with CBS 60 Mins ‘US threatened to bomb to Stone Age’

23 Sept 2006

Watch Video of Interview

Most heads of state wait until they are comfortably in retirement before sitting down to write their memoirs, but in  President Pervez Musharrafthe case of Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf there are no guarantees that he will live long enough to have one. The book is appropriately called “In the Line of Fire.” It presented correspondent Steve Kroft with the opportunity to sit down with Musharraf in Islamabad and talk about things that he has never or rarely spoken about: including threats made by the United States after 9/11 to enlist his support against al Qaeda and the Taliban, and Dr. A.Q. Khan, the Pakistani hero who sold Pakistan’s most sensitive nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

 Pakistan with its nuclear weapons and Islamic militancy is been called the most dangerous country in the world. So, after 9/11 how did Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage get President of Pakistan to cooperate with the war on terror?

President: He said be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.

Steve: Richard Armitage said that you should be prepared to be bombed back into the Stone Age?

President: Yes

Steve: Were you insulted?

President: Yes, I thought it was a very rude remark.

Most heads of State wait comfortably until they are at the age of retirement for sitting down and writing their memoir. But in the case of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf there are no guarantees to live long enough to have one. The book is appropriately called, “In the Line of Fire.” It presented us the opportunity to sit down with Musharraf in Islamabad and to talk about things that he has never or rarely spoken about, including threats made by the US after 9/11 to enlist its support against al-Qaeda and the Taliban and Dr. A. Q. Khan; Pakistani hero who sold Pakistan’s most sensitive nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Pakistan with its nuclear weapons and Islamic militancy is been called the most dangerous country in the world and one of the most dangerous places/ person in it is riding in the motorcade Pervez Musharraf. Twice suicide bombers have tried to blow it up, killing 14 people in the process. Both times, Musharraf barely escaped.

Steve: A half a dozen plots against your life?

President: Yes

Steve: Why is it that so many people are trying to kill you?

President: These people are extremists, terrorist, they believe in forcing their views on others. So, I am standing in their way frankly.

Steve: The suicide attack, I mean, you discovered that most of the plotters were from the Pakistani Air Force?

President: Yes

Steve: Did that disturb you?

President: It did. It’s all the lower rank. They are susceptible to such extremist, terrorist tendencies and to be indoctrinated to do these things. An alliance that was forged on Sept 11, 2001. At the time Pakistan was one of the few countries supporting the Taliban government in Afghanistan which harboured Osama-bin-Laden. US made it clear that the relationship would have to end and Musharraf says that the message was delivered by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in the most undiplomatic terms.

Steve: Richard Armitage said to your Director of Intelligence, right after September 11?

President: The Director of Intelligence told me that he said be prepared to be bombed, be prepared to go back to the stone age.

Steve: Richard Armitage said you should be prepared to be bombed back to Stone Age?

President: Yes

Steve: What was your reaction?

President: One has to react, one has to think and take action in the interest of the Nation and that’s what I did.

Steve: Were you insulted?

President: Yeah, I thought this was a very rude remark.

Armitage disputes the exact language. It does deny and that the message was so strong.

Musharraf says he believes in the Director of Intelligence and says that he took it as a threat.

President: It was a threat certainly and I took it that US after having whatever happened to the World Trade Centre would be wound his country, would be wound the sole super power. And there would do anything to counter and to punish the perpetrator. Now if we stand in the way of that, we are going to suffer.

Musharraf would seize power in a military who barely two years earlier decided that Pakistan could not survive the US as an adversary and offered its cooperation. But another crisis was already brewing. There was intelligence report that highly sophisticated nuclear technology including centrifuge designs for enriching uranium is a critical step in producing the atomic bomb, were finding their way to the North Korea.

Steve: In April 2000, the senior officials confirm that the Clinton administration complain to you about transfer of technology and material to North Korea, do you remember that?

President: I don’t remember the days exactly, but yes these complains were coming and my reply used to be, “give me evidence, give me proof”

That proof would be presented without 2-3 years later and what Musharraf calls one of the most embarrassing moments in his career. During trip to the US it was asked by President Bush to meet with CIA Director Geroge Tennet on a very importance matter, where he was confronted with sensitive document that proved someone in Pakistan was selling nuclear secrets.

President: Yes it is. Passed me the papers, told me to have a look. And I saw that, it was centrifuges design with all its numbers and signatures of Pakistan. It was a most embarrassing moment.

Steve: What was it about the blue print that was so incriminating?

President: It’s our centrifuges design. It’s not supposed to be with CIA. That was a top secret.

Steve: And where did the CIA get it from?

President: I didn’t ask him. Frankly.

Musharraf said that he took the documents and begin his own investigation, discovering that a highly sophisticated nuclear technology was not only cantered in North Korea but also to Iran.

The culprit was Dr. A. Q. Khan, the country’s most famous scientist. For years Khan controls some of Pakistan’s sensitive nuclear facility. And claim its credit as, “The Father of Atomic Bomb.”

Steve: So, you found out that Dr. Khan had given technology, design, material to both North Korea and to Iran?

President: Yes

Steve: What exactly did he give them?

President: He gave them centrifuge designs, he gave them centrifuge parts and he gave them centrifuges. To make matters worse the British and US intercepted shipment of nuclear supplies that Libya purchased from Pakistan in 2003. The world was demanding harsh punishment for A. Q. Khan. But Musharraf said that he believed the Pakistani people would not tolerate a long trial in the prison.

President: Today he is a hero of Pakistan because he has given us the Atom Bomb.

Steve: You arrested him?

President: Yes

Steve: On what charges?

President: He conveyed national secrets. I don’t really remember the charge as such.

Steve: And then you pardoned him?

President: Yes, but kept him under house arrest.

Steve: House arrest?

Living a life in spender – correct?

President: He was comfortable, alright but now he doesn’t even when speaking on telephone.

Steve: Why did he do it, do you think?

President: Ego, satisfaction and money. Musharraf describes Khan as a self-promoter, obsessed with fame and power alone who would observe personal control over key aspects of Pakistan’s nuclear operations and was able to transfer top secret technology with no official help.

Steve: By your own account A. K. Khan shipped 2 dozen centrifuge to North Korea and 18 tons of material of centrifuges to Libya and Iran. How was all of this material moved without the government or the army finding it out?

President: First of all being the centrifuge or their parts, these are not huge elements. They can be put into your car and moved.

Steve: You think he moved 18 tons worth of material and in his car?

President: No, it was not done in once and 18 tons I don’t know where was this done for Libya I think. Is that correct?

Steve: For Libya and Iran

President: Yes, they must have been transported many times.

Steve: We’ve been though your nuclear facilities and not to know that they have been very heavily guarded and the military is all around them.

President: Yes, the military is

Steve: It’s a national security installation, how was all of this stuff gotten out, and sent to Iran and Libya?

President: Ok, what is the military meant for? That is to safeguard from the outside attack.

Steve: So, obviously your internal controls were a little weak?

President: No, they were not weak, they were very strong.

Steve: Except for the man who was running the operation?

President: He tells his security man that this vehicle has to move to the airport. Put it on C130 and send it?

Steve: I think because no one from the outside has talked to him or been allowed to talk to him, there are suspicions that perhaps that because the reason Dr. Khan, might say something about army participation in the sale of nuclear technology?

President: And that is absolutely not the case. The President or Mr George Tenet, I don’t think, they are very satisfied and they have quite comfortable with whatever we want

Pervez Musharraf has been praised by both the US and Britain for rounding up more than 600 al-Qaeda members, including some of its top leaders. But there is also frustration and disappointment.

Some of the suicide bombers who blew up the London subway a year ago in July had connections to the Pakistan and travelled there shortly before the attacks. So did some of those accused had been planning to blow 10th commercial airliners this summer.

Steve: Seven of the accused people involved in that plot are Pakistani. Does that bother or surprise you?

President: It disappoints me, yes. But at the same time, you can deny that also. They are not Pakistanis. They are born and bred in Britain and they are British.

Steve: Seven of them had endorsed for the citizenship?

President: Yes, that is what really disappoints me. As I said, I do get disappointed. They have linkages with Pakistan and also some of them may have travelled here. Yes, that is disappointing.

Steve: I mean the British terrorists, seem to feel it necessary to have come to Pakistan and talk to somebody to get their blessing?

President: This is because of what has happened for twenty six years. So, this place becomes a boiling pot.

He is talking about the Mujahideen. The Islamic warriors that Pakistan, the US and Saudi Arabia recruited, armed and sent of to Afghanistan in 1979 to drive out the Russian infidels. Musharraf says that they and their children are still in the cities like Peshawar and in the no-men’s land along the Afghanistan’s border.

A Frankenstein Monster that now goes by the name of al-Qaeda and the Taliban

These recruiting tapes, which show young man being trained to make IEDs are being edited and sold in Pakistan. This man is believed to have passed on explosive training to some of the London Subway bombers. The skills and tactics once used against the Soviets are now being employed in Afghanistan against American and NATO convoys.

Steve: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai believes Musharraf is complicit. President Karzai has complained for long time that the Talibans have been getting help from inside Pakistan. Does that point end?

President: Yes indeed, people could be coming here. People could be training and going back; on their own and we will act against them and we are trying to do our best.

After years of Pakistan’s support for the Talibans open and covert, Musharraf now says in its radical brand of Islamic fundamentalism represent a greater threat than a weaker al-Qaeda

President: It’s a totally shifter environment.

Steve: We believe that the Taliban must be defeated?

President: Absolutely, 100%

It’s not a popular notion with most Pakistanis. But then Musharraf knows that his future is not likely to be decided by popular opinion. He carries a gun or makes sure there is always one nearby. His immediate predecessors have been exiled in prison or died under mysterious circumstances, which a very strong motivation to survive.

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