Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Spies from Heidi Land


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A photo showing Switzerland from one of its most beautiful aspects.

Today I read an article in the Sunday newspaper which showed that there is always something to spoil a nice picture. Unbelievable but true. I translated it from the German, so I hope it makes sense and my english grammar is ok.

"Beginning 2006, Atom plant Natans, 130 miles south of the Iranian capital city of Tehran. A laboratory technician dressed in white is in the control room and switches on the power. It whirrs and then an explosion. Fifty centrifuges that can transform Uranium into bomb worthy material explode.

A few thousand miles away in Langley, the CIA headquarters, US agents patting each other on the shoulders. One of their spy satellites shows the battered plant in Natans. Their targeted sabotage act worked – and the spies are in agreement: the Iranian Atom weapon plant is paralyzed for a few months.

Back to Natan, Iranian technicians are examining the melted cable. It is soon obvious. The generators of the centrifuge were deliberately sabotaged. Only later did they find out from whom – from three sly Swiss double agents from the Rhine valley near St. Gall.

Friedrich Tinner and his sons Urs and Marco were paid for many years by Pakistani smuggler Abdul Kader Kahn, who helped vassal states to build their atom bombs. They were given ten million dollars to reveal Kahn’s network and to deliver his customers faulty goods, although the Tinner’s lawyers say it was never so much money, but who knows?. The money was delivered nicely packed in suitcases – at least according to the New York Times. Tinner’s lawyers contested this point. The spy story still remains breathtaking.

Since the mid seventies Friedrich Senior worked for Khan. The Swiss engineer’s expertise helped Pakistan to build their own nuclear weapons. Khan and Tinner both dealt with parts for accumulation plants. With those parts the Libyan dictator Mad Gaddafi started his secretive nuclear programme.

At the end of the nineties the Tinner’s cash flow ceased somewhat. Then a lucrative offer arrived from the CIA. For some months the CIA had observed the people from St. Gall. At the beginning of 2000 they contacted first of all Urs, the oldest son. He also accommodated father Friedrich and brother Marco by the CIA – as moles with roguish enjoyment on brain teasing machines loved by despots. The trio carried on with deliveries to Khan and told the CIA about it. To cause a disturbance in the Iranian and Libyan programmes, the Swiss sabotaged many of the delicate machines.

Even the sleazeball mad Gaddafi was not spared. The Americans desperately wanted to stop the atomic longings of the unpredictable Libyan. For this reason they sent two of their CIA agents to the Kanton of Grison in the village of Jenins, in the middle of Heidi land where the Tinner family lived. They offered Marco Tinner a million dollars for a risky short assignment.

Four months later the Americans impounded many cases with parts for centrifuges that were meant for Libya. The Tinners had told on the sellers. Soon afterwards Gaddafi stopped his atomic weapon programme. The vacuum pump, that he owned, had jammed “thanks to the Tinners” the US authorities say today.

The Swiss government have another view on the occurrence. After the Khan network was exposed in 2004, the St. Gall spies were arrested with suspicion of breach of the war material and commodity inspection laws. Thousands of Tinner documents fell into Swiss hands – to the annoyance of the CIA who were afraid that the documents would come to the public eye if the Tinners were brought to court. It would then have been known how the Americans involved themselves in a lively way in the nuclear smuggle.

Thus the US Justice minister Alberto Gonzales requested that his partner in Switzerland Christoph Blocher should fly to Washington. Blocher flew end July 2007 to the States to talk about “terrorism”. A wilful deception. It was about the Tinners. The American requested that the documents be handed over at once. According to a close friend of Blocher a compromise was reached. The Swiss would not hand over the documents, but destroy them.

As soon as Blocher returned to Switzerland the specialists in Bern began to destroy the explosive material. In May 2008 Swiss President Couchpin confirmed the hurried ordered activity. The documents were a strong security risk for Switzerland and the union of states. As Blocher swindled, so did Couchpin. The shredding machines in Bern were running on American orders."

The Tinner brothers are at the moment under solitary arrest and this since three years. They have no contact to the outside world and only one house per day a walk around the courtyard. Personally I think they should have been rewarded for what they did. In a way we have them to thank that mad Gaddafi and the Iranian criminal band have made no current progress with their atom programme. But Switzerland is a neutral country and handle in a neutral way, with a couple of Ministerial exceptions in the government.

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