|Israel's Open Secret: Nuclear Armed and Dangerous|
For many years, Israel's open secret is that it's one of eight known nuclear powers, including America and Russia with about 97% of the world's arsenal according to Helen Caldicott in her book "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer." The others are Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel - North Korea a declared but unverified one.
In her January 20, 2009 Canadian Medical Association Journal article titled, "Obama and the opportunity to eliminate nuclear weapons" Caldicott wrote:
"The Cold War is over, but the threat of nuclear war is not. Little progress has been made since 1989 when the Berlin Wall collapsed. In fact, the threat of nuclear annihilation has escalated. In 1972, when 5 nuclear nations....signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, they agreed to rapidly disarm. They have done the opposite," resulting in a greater than ever threat, the Pentagon's new Nuclear Posture Review and US-Russia deal doing nothing to reverse it. See http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/04/obamas-brave-nuke-world.html.
In his 1991 book, "The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and America Foreign Policy," Seymour Hersh discussed its strategy to launch a massive nuclear counterattack if it felt its existence threatened, the stark message being the next regional war may be nuclear.
In his 1997 book, "Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies," Israel Shahak said that, helped by the Israeli Lobby (and Christian Zionists), "Israel (is) clearly prepar(ing) itself to seek overtly a hegemony over the entire Middle East (with no) hesitati(on) to use for the purpose all means available, including nuclear ones."
Shahak also explained that Israel regards "the launching of missiles (onto its territory) as 'nonconventional' regardless of whether they are equipped with explosives or poison gas." In turn, Israel's nuclear doctrine dictates that a "nonconventional" attack requires one in response, meaning a nuclear one, the foundation of its grand strategy, according to Shahak.
According to Hebrew University's Professor of Military History Martin Van Creveld, "We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you (it) will happen before Israel goes under."
Israel maintains a double standard. It won't let another Middle East state acquire nuclear weapons, but will never give up its own or the right to use them preemptively.
Background on Israel's Nuclear Development
It began with its 1948 founding, David Ben-Gurion (Israel's first prime minister) having told Ehud Avriel, a European operative and later MK, to recruit East European Jewish scientists who could "either increase the capacity to kill masses or to cure masses; both are important."
One was Avraham Marcus Klingberg, later an Israeli chemical and biological weapons (CBW) expert and deputy director of the Israel Institute of Biological Research in Ness Ziona, south of Tel Aviv. More on Israel's CBW program below.
Another was Ernst David Bergmann, "father of the Israeli bomb" in charge of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC). Ben-Gurion was determined to have a "nuclear option" and other "non-conventional" weapons (WMDs) to counter the Arabs' numerical advantage. In his farewell address to the Israeli Armaments Development Authority (RAFAEL), Ben-Gurion defended the strategy saying:
"I am confident, based not only on what I heard today, that our science can provide us with the weapons that are needed to deter our enemies from waging war against us."
Ben-Gurion and later prime minister Shimon Peres became the leading forces behind Israel's nuclear and CBWs programs.
In the late 1940s, Israel and France began collaborating, at the time the IDF Science Corps searched the Negev desert for recoverable uranium. In 1952, the IAEC was established. The Dimona Nuclear Research Center/reactor was secretly completed in 1964 near Bersheeba in the Negev - a heavy water moderated, natural uranium reactor/plutonium reprocessing plant to make nuclear weapons. Designed as a 24 megawatt facility, its cooling system had far more capacity than needed, none for electrical generation, and its plutonium reprocessing capability signified an intent to produce nuclear weapons.
After the 1967 Six Day War, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered full-scale production, averaging 4 - 12 bombs per year. US presidents since Lyndon Johnson supported the program. At the same time, it's believed testing took place in the Negev, jointly with France in Algeria, later in the Indian Ocean, and perhaps elsewhere.
By the early 1970s, Israel had advanced nuclear technology, world class scientists, and several dozen bombs ready to launch. Today it's believed it has hundreds and a delivery system able to hit distant targets accurately.
Earlier, with inadequate uranium supplies, it acquired some clandestinely, and by the late 1960s through close collaboration with South Africa - supplying technological expertise in return for the needed material, the arrangement lasting until apartheid ended in the early 1990s.
France and South Africa were Israel's main collaborators, but also America by going along, staying silent to this day, and initially providing a 5 megawatt highly enriched uranium research reactor as part of Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program. According to journalist Mark Gaffney, Israel's program "was possible only because of (its) calculated deception....and willing complicity on the part of the US."
Israeli scientists were trained at US universities and had access to domestic weapons labs. Since the early 1970s, advanced technology transfers were made, including supercomputers able to design sophisticated nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Mordechai Vanunu's mid-1980s documented revelations provided proof.
Mordechai Vanunu - Heroic Whistleblower/Victim of Israeli Retaliatory Viciousness
A Dimona nuclear technician, he smuggled out dozens of photos and scientific documents, published by the London Sunday Times on October 5, 1986, headlined:
"Revealed - the secrets of Israel's nuclear arsenal/Atomic technician Mordechai Vanunu reveals secret weapons production," saying:
"THE SECRETS of a subterranean factory engaged in the manufacture of Israeli nuclear weapons have been uncovered by the Sunday Times Insight team.
Hidden beneath the Negev desert, the factory has been producing nuclear atomic warheads for the last 20 years. Now it has almost certainly begun manufacturing thermo-nuclear weapons, with yields big enough to destroy entire cities."
The Times named Vanunu as its source, having worked at Dimona for nearly 10 years in "Machon 2 - a top secret, underground bunker built to provide the vital components necessary for weapons production...."
Nuclear experts examined Vanunu's documents, called them genuine, and concluded that Israel's sophisticated technology enabled it "to build up a formidable nuclear arsenal."
According to Theodore Taylor, a world expert at the time:
"There should no longer be any doubt that Israel is, and for at least a decade has been, a fully-fledged nuclear weapons state....considerably more advanced than (earlier) indicated...."
Other top nuclear scientists agreed - Israel was, and today is, a world nuclear power, possessing sophisticated technology and weapons. Vanunu's revelations cost him dearly. On October 12, 1986, The Times headlined his September 30 disappearance, five days before his story broke.
Mossad lured him to Rome, then beat, drugged, and kidnapped him. He was secretly tried in 1986-87, and sentenced to 18 years in prison for espionage and treason - in harsh isolated confinement in a six square meter cell.
Released in 2004, his behavior and movements were restricted. As a result, harassing arrests followed after giving foreign journalists interviews and trying to leave Israel. He said he suffered "cruel and barbaric treatment" in prison, no surprise since torture is official Israeli policy, usually for Palestinians, but for anyone security services target.
On July 2, 2007, Vanunu was again imprisoned for six month for speaking to foreign journalists, later reduced to three months by the Jerusalem District Court "In light of (his) ailing health and the absence of claims that his actions put the country's security in jeopardy."
Daniel Ellsberg called him "the preeminent hero of the nuclear era." He says "I am neither a traitor nor a spy, I only wanted the world to know what was happening." On December 28, 2009, he was arrested again following his alleged meeting with his girlfriend, a Norwegian national, then transferred to house arrest.
On April 14, 2010, Vanunu said "The restrictions, not to leave the country for one more year (were) renewed. Now 7 years since my release AFTER 18 years in Israel PRISON."
He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize each year from 1988 - 2004. In March 2009, he asked the Nobel Committee to remove his name from consideration, and in February 2010 again declined the honor, most often given war criminals.
In 1979, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize, "for outstanding vision and work on behalf of our planet and its people," and in 2001, Norway's University of Tromsoe honored him as a Doctor Honoris Causa (History).
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