Dutch Nuclear Whistleblower Suddenly Dies At 76
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – Dutch whistleblower Frits Veerman, who was punished for turning in a colleague for selling nuclear secrets used to build Pakistan’s atomic bomb, has died.
Veerman passed away unexpectedly Tuesday in his home in the Dutch town of Huizen at age 76 following a turbulent life, Dutch media reported.
Veerman launched a multimillion-dollar damage lawsuit against the Dutch government, which he accused of undermining his life for decades. His problems began in the 1970s when Veerman worked as a technician at the Dutch nuclear enrichment plant URENCO in the city of Almelo in eastern Netherlands.
Veerman reportedly discovered that his colleague shared nuclear secrets with Pakistan and warned the company and the Dutch government. Instead of being praised for trying to prevent another nuclear arms race in Asia, Veerman was briefly jailed and lost his prominent job.
His colleague, nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, eventually left the Netherlands and ended up building Pakistan’s atomic bomb. That heightened tensions with Pakistan’s nuclear-capable neighbor India. Khan also sold the technology to other countries, including North Korea, Iran, and Libya.
Khan was praised as a hero in his native Pakistan. But back in the Netherlands, there was no appreciation for Veerman, who had warned authorities that Khan was leaking information.
Veerman described Khan as “a really nice man.” However, he said, he later realized something wasn’t right with his colleague but that the company “did nothing” with his reports.
After Khan failed to return from a holiday in Pakistan, Veerman’s suspicions about the espionage became correct. To his surprise, however, Veerman was targeted himself. He was eventuality fired and forced to take on odd jobs, with secret service agents looking over his shoulder, Veerman later told media.
Veerman was even detained in the Amsterdam Bijlmer prison for two days, where numerous officials and police officers allegedly told him that he had “interfered too much with the situation.” He was warned that he should “keep his mouth shut about it,” Veerman recalled.
At one point, he was reportedly even interrogated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.
Veerman believed that he was punished for seeing it as his mission to guard state secrets. He fought for rehabilitation for 45 years.
In the end, that only came last year when a whistleblowers authority concluded that Veermans’ actions were justified and that “it is plausible” the whistleblower was disadvantaged by his employer.
The House of Whistleblowers also noted that Veerman correctly reported several times of possible state secrets theft. He reported this not only at URENCO, but also to secret services, the group stressed.
An investigation into Khan did not come until around 1980 at the request of Parliament, but it eventually failed in court.
Veerman said last year that he was always concerned about the theft of nuclear secrets which he claimed was enabled by the Dutch government and others working with nuclear technology.
The fact that Dutch state secrets “fell into the wrong hands” and had a major impact on the world bothered him the most. “The fact that the Netherlands allowed this makes me wonder what country does that? It made me anxious”, he said at the age of 75.
Veerman claimed the Netherlands violated the non-proliferation treaty which was established to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. “Take a look at the impact of these violations on international society,” he said recently. “In Iran, there are even centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium, of Dutch origin. Please believe me.”
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