Mordecai Vanunu shocked the world (and the Israeli government) in 1986 when he revealed that Israel was secretly building an atomic bomb. He spent 18 years in an Israeli prison, 11 of them in solitary confinement. The Israeli government has just laid new charges against him. A Canadian priest who knows Vanunu speaks about the issue. Read more.
The Israeli government has laid new charges against a 62 year old pacifist whistle blower, who has been out of jail for more than ten years. His new crime? He spoke on Israeli television to Israelis about their government’s dangerous nuclear program.
In a short video interview, Canadian Anglican Priest Reverend William Roberts, who knows Vanunu well, argues that the new charges have little to do with Israeli security and a lot to do with an ongoing program of Israeli harassment against him.
The specific grounds for these new charges, ten years following Vanunu’s release appear to be rather flimsy. According to his attorney, the indictment accuses him among other things of moving to another apartment IN THE SAME BUILDING’ without telling police, something the lawyer calls a “record low in Israeli harassment” of the former whistleblower. But the real reason appears to be that after 18 years, Vanunu is unrepentant.
Vanunu was born in Morocco in 1954. His Orthodox Jewish family moved to Israel in 1963, when he was 9 years old. After his Israeli military service, he worked as a nuclear technician at Israel’s super secret nuclear facility in Dimona, in the Negev desert.
However, in 1986, his growing opposition to Israel’s development of weapons of mass destruction led him to flee, first to Australia and then to Britain . He brought with him proof of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, at that time not known to the world.
The story of how Vanunu was lured to Italy from Britain by a Mossad agent, where he was drugged and abducted by Israeli intelligence agents, transported to Israel and ultimately convicted in a secret trial, was exposed by the BBC in a 2007 television documentary that has all the cloak and dagger style of a fictional James Bond story.
But for the now 62 year old pacifist, it was all too true.
Vanunu spent 11 years in solitary confinement – a kind of torture that makes most men go crazy. But he survived. Released from prison over a decade ago, Vanunu remains under close Israeli surveillance in Jerusalem. Although all the nuclear information he has is now more than 30 years old, Israel refuses to allow him to leave the country, and imposes harsh conditions on him including limiting his contacts with outsiders.
As Reverend Roberts suggests, readers who want to help Vanunu can probably best do so by talking about the issue or sending this blog post or the BBC documentary around to their friends.
Another approach might be to write directly to the Israeli ambassador in Canada, His Excellency Rafael Barak. He can be reached at: Ambassadorfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments? Do you think Vanunu still has valuable secrets 30 years after he left Dimona? Or is this just vindictive harassment of a courageous pacifist? Do you think Canada should offer Vanunu asylum? All opinions welcome.
Perhaps sending this blog onto Tim Hudak to provide some enlightenment to his filmy knowledge of facts on the Israel/Palestine issue.
It is worth noting that MV served his full sentence, no mercy. After completing his sentence, until recently, he was confined to the Anglican Cathedral grounds in Jerusalem. An Ottawa Anglican parish tried to sponsor him to no avail. By refusing him freedom of movement, Israel’s vindictiveness knows no bounds.
Currently he is caught up the anti-whistleblower sentiment whipped up by Obama, allowing Israel to mistreat him further without impunity.
It should be no surprise the way he has and is mistreated. After all this is “The only democracy in the Middle East”. Perhaps a more suitable slogan would be “Most criminal state in the Middle East”. It abuses any one it does not like, being it’s own citizens or otherwise.
In 2005, I was just an American in Jerusalem in the midst of writing my first fiction, when I met Mordechai Vanunu and we began a series of interviews. I became a reporter because Vanunu told me:
“The French were responsible for the actual building of the Dimona. The Germans gave the money; they were feeling guilty for the Holocaust, and tried to pay their way out….
“Did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons? In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’
“When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.
“Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year.”
My first 2 Questions to Vanunu were about his Christianity and message to America:
In “30 minutes with Vanunu” he sends an invitation to “Hillary Clinton and all the Christians”
When I last saw Vanunu in 2013, he told me a CNN reporter had recently asked him for an interview but Vanunu said “NO, because everything is already on the internet.”
Thank you ellen. very interesting.
I just got an email from Ruth Heller in Israel. She forwarded me a copy of a petition that has been signed by 100 Israelis and sent to the High Court demanding Legislative oversite of Israel’s Nuclear Program. This is courageous because Israel still denies it has such a program. See here: http://disarmament.org.il/english/?page_id=1096
That is good news especially because in April a Scientific forum in Tel Aviv released the ultrasound examination of the Dimona which revealed 1,537 defects in the aluminum core of the Dimona.
Haaretz reported: “Fears for the condition of the [Dimona] reactor were palpable at the conference…Israel received its nuclear reactor from France at the end of the 1950s and it was put into operation for the first time at the end of 1963. Such reactors are intended to be operational for about 40 years, to ensure they remain in one piece. The main problem with aging reactors is that the core is irreplaceable. For political, scientific and economic reasons, Israel has no capability or desire to replace the core, an operation that would mean building a new reactor…”
In April 2015, The National Security Archive of George Washington University published documents corroborating much of what Vanunu has been saying for thirty years.
Those documents detailed the discovery of Israel’s nuclear deceptions, debates over Israel’s lack of candor and efforts to pressure the Israelis to answer key questions about the Dimona dating back to the Eisenhower years.
Israel detonated a complex warhead in the 1970s as seen (though at the time there was some ambiguity to what extent it was South Africa’s). We know from USA government releases the Israelis were acquiring materials only consistent with a thermonuclear program. We know that about 25 years ago Israel started investing heavily in a space program and now has advanced rocketry. We’ve seen and Israel frequently brags about advanced guidance systems.
Israel has ICBMs. There is no ambiguity.
“Snowden is the best example of what I did 27 years ago – when the government breaks the law and tramples on human rights, people talk. That’s what he did, he speaks for everyone, and that’s what I did – I spoke for everyone.”-Vanunu Mordechai, 25 December 2013 http://thearabdailynews.com/2014/01/10/mordechai-vanunu-snowden-israel/
Good morning from USA with deep gratitude to Peter Larson for inspiring: “RULE OF LAW AND ISRAEL’S WMD”
Reblogged this on QCpal.
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