The Dimona Reactor Dome: picture courtesy of Mordechai Vanunu
March 8, 2006
to the latest news, the U.S. is increasing the pressure on Iran about
the fictitious atomic bomb that it is building. This is the same bomb
that Iraq was working on in 2003 prior to the U.S. invasion.
the world turns its eyes again to the Middle East and watches a buildup
to a war created by the U.S. over a mythical atomic bomb, there is one
country in the neighborhood that actually has hundreds of atomic
weapons; "poor beleaguered Israel," as many writers (conservative and
liberal alike) refer to the only atomic power in the Middle East.
mentioning Israel’s stock of weapons is a no-no in polite western
societies. The U.S. has destroyed Iraq under the pretense of it
attempting to make a nuclear weapon and it is on the verge of creating
the same calamity in Iran. Ask a question about Israel’s nukes and the
response is mute. In fact, most U.S. journalists won’t even entertain
the thought of asking such a question.
In 1996, The Alternative,
a magazine I published at the time, ran the following in-depth article
about Israel’s nukes. It was written by investigative journalist Husayn
Al-Kurdi is one of the most comprehensive works on the subject. It’s
all here: the ties between apartheid South Africa and Israel in
developing nuclear weapons; the imprisonment of Mordechai Vanunu, the
whistleblower of Israel’s nuclear program; and the utter deceit by the
U.S. to keep the subject under wraps. Even today, few U.S. citizens
have any clue that Israel possesses hundreds of atomic weapons. With
Iran currently in the U.S. crosshairs, this piece is even more relevant
today than it was a decade ago.
THE JEWISH BOMB
by Husayn Al-Kurdi
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was extended indefinitely on May 11,
1995. The 178-nation agreement basically reaffirmed the official
monopoly on nuclear weapons to be enjoyed by the "Big Five" nuclear
powers — The United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — who
also happen to be the same states that hold veto power in the United
Nations Security Council. The extension was pushed through at the
behest of the United States, which was the first to build, develop and
actually use the atomic bomb on civilian populations. "Off the books"
of the NPT, with a U.S.-sponsored exemption from having to submit to
the treaty or its terms, is the state that is regarded as the Sixth
Nuclear power in the world today — Israel.
Jewish state has been developing its nuclear capabilities since the
mid-1950s. At first in collaboration with France, and subsequently with
the cooperation of the white regime in South Africa and others, the
Jewish state has built what has been referred to by Israel officials
proudly as the "Third Temple," testing its nukes in New Caledonia in
the Pacific, in Algeria when it was a French colony, off the coast of
South Africa, and in underground tunnels in the Sinai Desert.
media accounts of "Islamic," "Arab," and "Third World" nuclear bombs
are bruited about as a matter of course, usually with reference to
nations which do not actually possess nuclear weapons (Libya, Iran,
North Korea) while Israel’s substantial nuclear reservoir receives
scant and sporadic attention at best. Were it not for the efforts of
two Jews, one a nuclear technician and the other a Pulitzer
Prize-winning American journalist, the world would be much more
ignorant about Israel’s nuclear capabilities.
Vanunu, the Israeli who blew the whistle on Israel’s nukes and
facilitated subsequent investigations by others, was a technician at
Dimona. In late 1985, after working for over nine years at the
facility, he had had enough. He moved to Australia, taking two rolls of
photographs with him. The pictures provided incontrovertible evidence
that Israel was producing nuclear weapons.
Vanunu approached the London Sunday Times
with detailed pictures of the nuclear bomb factory several levels below
ground, where plutonium was being reprocessed. The world had been shut
out of the tightly-controlled facility since it first came into
existence in 1957. Israel has always refused to sign the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, keeping its plants closed to outside
inspections of any kind. U.S. congress people have been denied access
to Dimona, and an Israeli plane was shot down when it happened to
accidentally strayed over the plant. A false control room was even
installed at Dimona to fool U.S. inspectors who were let in before 1969.
is widely believed that the CIA turned a blind eye to the development
of the Israeli bomb from the very beginning. In 1973, when alarmed
Israeli scientists brought the CIA photographs of nuclear warheads
stacked underground, there were no signs of interest. In 1979, when
Israel and South Africa conducted one of their joint nuclear tests in
the South Atlantic, some brief notice was taken in a few newspapers.
The Carter administration tried to cover up by ascribing the nuclear
"double flashes" picked up on the radar of orbiting satellites to
quirky atmospheric phenomena of some kind. Israel and South Africa had
long cooperated in developing nuclear and other weapons. The two
apartheid states got closer as they became increasingly regarded as
international pariahs before their recent U.S.-sponsored
rehabilitations. Israel helped South Africa develop nuclear-capable
artillery pieces. The militaries of the two states had a mutual wartime
agreement to assist each other in times of armed conflict. South Africa
gave Israel carte blanche to conduct nuclear tests in the Indian Ocean,
with or without South African supervision. South Africa provided Israel
with uranium, and even allegedly conducted the first Indian Ocean
atomic bomb test "on Israel’s behalf" in 1968.
the "Citizen Spy," has paid a typically harsh price for his efforts at
revealing Israel’s nuclear arsenal to the world: he was lured to Rome
from London by a female Mossad operative who used the promise of sexual
favors to entice him, pounced upon on his arrival at a Rome apartment,
drugged, kidnapped and taken to Israel, where he landed in chains,
crated up under diplomatic immunity and delivered to the Israeli courts
for their pronouncements. He got 18 years in prison for treason.
According to Sam Day of the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu,
"Mordechai Vanunu continues to deteriorate physically and mentally in
the six by nine foot cell he has occupied since the fall of 1986 in
went on to remark about the lack of interest in the Vanunu case shown
by "peace" and "progressive" circles in the United States. "Mainline
peace and justice, human rights and science policy groups have chosen
not to become involved" in the effort to obtain Vanunu’s release. This
comes as no surprise to defenders of Palestinian rights or to anyone
critical of Israel. The "progressive community" has often been ready to
excuse numerable atrocities which they would hardly condone if the
perpetrator did not happen to be the Jewish state.
hostility toward Arabs and Muslims, combined with a reverence for
"heroic" Israel, was brought out in bold relief on June 12, 1982, date
of the largest anti-nuclear demonstration ever. Israel had just invaded
Lebanon and was in the process of tearing that country apart,
destroying all and everything in its way. Cluster bombs, napalm,
phosphorus shells, all manner of heavy and light artillery and
thousands of tons of bombs were unleashed on Arabs.
the massive "peace" demonstration in front of the United Nations, the
predominantly Caucasian and Jewish revellers hooted at a Lebanese
speaker who was expressing anguish over the fate of his country, making
it clear that "peace" should not necessarily extend to Israel’s
victims, just as the recent feverish concern over nuclear proliferation
seems to overlook the world’s sixth-rated nuclear power. At a large
demonstration in San Diego on the very day that Desert Storm was being
unleashed on Iraq in January 1991, a Jewish peace official with ties to
"Left" organizations, including both the Communist Party of the United
States of America and the Democratic Socialists of America, announced
that there was a report that "chemical missiles" had been launched
against Israel. The "peace" crowd she relayed this false report to were
hushed into a stunned silence. Concern for "poor beleaguered Israel"
remains a preoccupation with many of the "progressive" milieu. Many in
the "peace" crowd joined in breathing a sigh of relief that there were
so few AMERICAN casualties with the war ended. A couple of hundred
thousand Iraqi Arabs who lost their lives did not count, as the
more-than-a-million who have perished since as a result of the
U.S.-driven U.N. sanctions similarly do not figure in the hearts and
minds of policy makers and even many who profess an interest in
achieving justice and peace.
The other Jew who played a prominent role in exposing the Jewish Bomb to public attention was
Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who wrote The Samson Option,
published by Random House in 1991. Hersh put the pieces together and
came up with a portrait of Israel as an unstable, dangerous player in
the nuclear game, a state with both the capacity and the propensity to
resort to methods of extreme and indiscriminate terrorism.
its activities were, and are, largely tied in to attacking and invading
Palestinians and other Arabs in whose midst it has implanted itself as
a colonizing entity, the danger of accidental (or purposeful) nuclear
detonation is obvious. Until and unless Israel changes its course of
evermore paranoid confrontationism, something it shows no real sign of
doing at the present time, the Jewish people will be in peril, in
Israel and elsewhere.
who demand that other countries sign the NPT or open their nuclear
facilities to international inspection are seldom, if ever, heard
making the same demands when it comes to Nuclear Power #6. The
obsession in both the establishment "policy" circles and in much of
what remains of the moribund "peace" movement is with what
establishment policy player Paul Warnke described as "the drive to
enter the nuclear club by countries like North Korea, Iraq and Iran, or
the growing number of terrorist groups gaining access to nuclear
materials." Liberals like actor Robert (The Great Peace March) Blake
and "Ecology" guru David Browder were raising the spectre of Libyans
crossing the borders into America with nuclear bombs in their backpacks
in the mid-1980s when Libya was declared U.S. Enemy Number One. There
was barely a peep from the "Left" when Libya was repeatedly attacked by
U.S. military forces. If it is Arab or Muslim, it already has three
strikes against it to many of the self-appointed custodians of
international social progress.
"Samson" or "Madusa" complex involves a willingness to unleash any
horror in maniacal pursuit of strategic goals, or even obtain a
tactical advantage in a crisis situation. It is an element hardwired
into Israeli strategic plans. Israel has often threatened to use the
bombs at its disposal. During the 1937 Arab-Israeli war, the Jewish
state had 13 nukes all loaded up and ready to go on B-52s. Noam
Chomsky, in his masterful post-Lebanon invasion study, The Fateful
Triangle (South End Press 1983), describes the threatened use of the nukes at that time as a ploy to speed up massive
U.S. shipments of conventional weaponry to Israel.
Chomsky’s ongoing attempts at stirring the "peace" crowd to an awareness of the dangers
inherent in such a force possessing the nuclear option have gone virtually unheeded. An article he wrote for Worldview,
an organ of the Council on Religion and International Affairs, was
edited to specifically exclude Israel from mention as one of five
examples Chomsky offered of conflicts posing possible nuclear
voice in the "progressive" wilderness has been the veteran peace and
social justice activist David Dellinger. He received a wake-up call
when he heard an Israeli Colonel Hamuzrahi bluntly state, "We are not
going to yield an inch to the Arabs even if it means atomic flashes in
New York." The fact that nearly two million Jews live in the New York
area would presumably not deter the execution of such an unspeakable
currently possesses hundreds of nuclear warheads which may be launched
on missiles which have a range to Tripoli, Tehran, Turkey and Sudan.
The very existence of this arsenal remains unmentioned or obscured. The
Oxford Companion to Politics of the World
(Oxford University Press, 1993) makes no mention of Israel under the
heading "Nuclear Nonproliferation." Although it does state that
military expenditures amount to "about 30% of GNP," in the main article
on "Israel," it does not mention the nukes. The sole reference to the
Israeli bomb occurs under the heading "Nuclear Weapons" and confirms
that "Israel has built as many as several hundred nuclear weapons as
weapons of last resort in the ongoing Middle East conflict." Israel is
almost inevitably portrayed as beleaguered and defensive, getting an
exemption from norms applied to others on that basis.
The liberal-leftist 4 Walls 8 Windows Press published a book, Deadly Business
by Herbert Krosney, which justifies the Israeli nukes by claiming, "The
specter of an Israeli Bomb (has) provided a measure of deterrence,"
dovetailing neatly with the Israeli view expressed in a volume on Arms
Control and the New Middle East Security Environment released by the
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University in 1994,
that the priority is on "preventing a multi-nuclear Middle East" and
that "Israel should not be expected to give up its nuclear capacity."
According to The Other
a newsletter put out by the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian
peace, "All mainstream politicians (government and opposition alike)
support the continuation of the nuclear option" although "The
government did issue the very unobliging undertaking to 'open
negotiations on a nuclear-free Middle East two years after full peace
agreements with all members of the Arab League, as well as with Iran,
are signed.’" An opinion poll by a major Israeli daily newspaper found
71% of Israelis against the NPT.
The widely cited Jane’s Review of
London confirmed in its November 1994 issue that Israel has seven
nuclear installations and over 200 fully-armed nuclear weapons, any one
of which could destroy a major city. Hydrogen bombs, neutron bombs,
Cruise missiles and nuclear cannon are only a few among the weapons
that have been perfected and added to Israel’s arsenal in recent years.
Chomsky rates Israel as the world’s fourth greatest military power in The Fateful Triangle. Only the "Big Five"
(USA, Britain, Russia, France and China) can claim to surpass Israel in
terms of nuclear war capability. People throughout the Middle East and
even citizens of New York may be legitimately disturbed by the
knowledge of the prospects this may entail.