Our colleague and friend WPS Sidhu has written a thought-provoking column about recent revelations of nuclear proliferation – from a most unusual source:
Playboy magazine is not the most obvious choice for those preoccupied with nuclear proliferation. Yet, Joshua Pollock’s article on “The Secret Treachery of A.Q. Khan” in the January/February 2012 issue has proved to be as titillating as the all-revealing photos that made the publication infamous.
The article, written in the whodunit oeuvre, uncovers that in addition to the three known customers of the Khan network—Iran, North Korea and Libya— there was a fourth hitherto unknown customer and reveals the “last country on the list: India, Pakistan’s foe.”
It’s worth reading the whole column. But I want to know whether the publication of Pollock’s piece resulted in a big rise of sales of Playboy in news agents around the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Vienna headquarters. Was some aspiring Hans Blix sent out in a grubby mack to purchase copies of the top shelf magazine for his superiors? Did IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano have to flick through pages of poorly-clad minor celebrities to find the article (curiously, there is no mention of it in his “Director’s Corner”)? Is the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which has a slightly stronger pedigree on nuclear issues, going to change its approach to illustrations now?
These are all puerile questions. But you know you want them answered.