Vanunu, the Man who Exposed Israel’s Nuclear Dome*
By Stephen Lendman
Heroic whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu paid dearly for revealing Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous – its secret program dating from the 1950s.
It won’t discuss or explain anything about it publicly. Nuclear ambiguity is official policy. David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres were driving forces behind developing its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs – supported by Washington.
In 1986, Vanunu revealed what previously wasn’t publicly known. He became a marked man. MOSSAD agents lured him to Rome. They beat, drugged and kidnapped him.
In 1986-87, he was secretly tried, convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Israel calls responsible whistleblowing espionage and treason.
Vanunu spent 18 years in prison – largely in harsh solitary confinement in a six square meter cell. His behaviour and movements have been severely restricted since his 2004 release.
He suffered “cruel and barbaric treatment” in prison amount to torture, he explained. He was imprisoned several times since release.
“I am neither a traitor nor a spy,” he said earlier.
“I only wanted the world to know what was happening.” Daniel Ellsberg called him “the preeminent hero of the nuclear era.” He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize each year from 1988 – 2004.
In 1979, he won the Right Livelihood award, the alternative Nobel prize – honouring individuals “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today…for (their) outstanding vision and work on behalf of our planet and its people.”
He’s prohibited from leaving Israel or speaking with reporters. He’s vulnerable to re-arrest any time for any reason or none at all.
Surprisingly, Israel let him appear on national television – in prime time Friday evening, his appearance perhaps a step toward official public acknowledgement of its nuclear weapons program.
He was interviewed from a friend’s Tel Aviv apartment. He explained he felt obligated to reveal “to the citizens of Israel and the Middle East and the world” what he called “the (Dimona) powder keg” – “the quantities, the numbers, the types” of Israeli nuclear weapons.
“I saw what they were producing and its significance,” he explained. He called his imprisonment hugely unfair.
“I went against the Shin Bet, the MOSSAD, the army,” he said. “I was not a foreign spy…I acted because I thought it was the right of the people to know…I took the responsibility to inform the citizens of the nuclear danger. Dimona is very dangerous.”
Its nuclear infrastructure includes numerous facilities. Vanunu explained he’s “done with this story. (He) has no more secrets” to reveal.
In May, he married Norwegian Professor Kristin Joachimsen. He wants his citizenship annulled and permission to leave Israel to live abroad with his new wife.
He converted to Christianity, renouncing Judaism.
“Why are they still keeping me here,” he asked? Israel without just cause considers him a security threat – solely for punitive reasons. A High Court hearing on his case is upcoming.
“They should close the Vanunu file,” he says.
He wants the right to live free far from Israel.
The Iron Dome Hoax*