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What a Difference a Year Does Not Make in the Life of Mordechai VanunuEileen Fleming Exclusive to Salem-News.com
"For 18 years in prison I felt like a man at a train station, waiting for my train..." - Mordechai Vanunu
(CLERMONT, Fla.) - A year ago on Tuesday, the 14th of December 2009, I phoned Vanunu after his Supreme Court date in Jerusalem and he told me he expected their decision regarding the 3-month jail sentence for speaking to foreign media in 2004, "in a few weeks” and was confident that he would be freed, as "they have no case against me."
Instead, Vanunu spent 78 days in solitary during the summer of 2010; his punishment for speaking to foreign media in 2004-and all have been missing in action ever since.
On 11 October 2010 Israel denied Vanunu’s appeal seeking to rescind the restrictions that have kept him captive under 24/7 surveillance since emerging from 18 years in a tomb sized windowless cell on 21 April 2004.
On September 14, 2010, after receiving the news that he had been awarded the Carl von Ossietzky Medal for 2010, Vanunu wrote the Board of Trustees of the International League of Human Rights:
“I am honored to get your announcement about the FIDH – award. I will accept the award only in one condition, that I myself will be present to receive it. If it is not possible to guarantee that this condition is met then I would prefer that you do not give the award to me now, and keep the option to give it to me in time when I am free.”
When Vanunu forwarded me the above he explained:
“This is my decision. If I am worthy to this award, then they wait 24 years to decide now, I can wait to be free to get it. To get it in Israel prison is to cooperate with this barbaric prison. And to play like Israel is a free democratic state, that I can get the award like I am free man while in fact I am in 24 years prison. Also remember with all the awards and public awareness, no one care or did any thing to prevent the prison sentence.”
The 12.12.10 Carl von Ossietzky Medal ceremony in Berlin was renamed a protest and Pravada reported:
“At the Berlin gathering, the name of Julian Assange, and another popularizer of disclosing secrets was very present, the Irish Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize 1976, calling the enforced absence of Vanunu 'shameful'. Corrigan-Maguire and five other Nobel laureates, including the German Günter Grass, called for Vanunu to be allowed to go to Berlin, without obtaining even an answer. In his absence, some pacifist Israeli Vanunu partners were informed at once and participated in the event, including the journalist, Gideon Spiro, founder of the support committee for Vanunu [who stated] “Vanunu said he had seen the weapons with his own eyes and he took pictures of them. He spent 18 years in prison…eleven years in solitary confinement…The purpose was to drive him crazy and to place him for life in a mental asylum.’ 
“The authorities cannot forgive him after 18 years in prison, he comes out of prison with the same idea with which he entered: the abolition of nuclear weapons. His position did not move an inch. That drives them crazy, and they continue harassing and abusing him...Vanunu is a Christian today.” [Ibid]
The harassment and abuse continue but in November 2009, Vanunu returned to atheism that he first embraced at 16 until stumbling into Christianity just days before being kidnapped by the Mossad in 1986.
In 2005, Vanunu told me, “I really had no clue what I was doing by getting baptized a Christian; I just felt like I had to do it. It was my way to become a new being. It wasn’t until after my trial that I started to read the New Testament. While I was in prison, I would read aloud for a half hour, twice a day. I would read the entire New Testament and begin it again when I finished the Book of Revelation. I did this for myself, as well as for my captors--not so much the prison guards, but the ones who watched me on camera twenty-four hours a day. Once I covered up the camera that spied on me and was punished with one month in solitary, without any books or radio; no contact with anyone anywhere was allowed. It was just them, watching me, constantly watching me.
“The Shen Beet, you know, like the FBI and the Mossad, like your CIA— they were watching me. They tortured me by keeping a light on in my cell constantly for two years. They told me it was because they were afraid I would commit suicide, and the oppressive camera was for my safety. They recruited the guards and other prisoners to irritate me. They would deprive me of sleep by making loud noises near my cell all night long. I chose to read them 1 Corinthians 13 instead."
That verse is: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with THE TRUTH! It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails."
On 11 November 2009, Vanunu emailed me the following message:
1 FREEDOM 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not FREEDOM, I have become sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.
On 22 November 2009, Vanunu officially returned to atheism and edited his email signature:
AFTER 24 YEARS,NOW I AM SENDING GOD AND RELIGION,FREE FROM MY CASE22/11/2009. FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM I NEED NOW. VMJC.
Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Israel ratified and is obliged to uphold, stipulates: "everyone [has] the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence" and that "everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own".
"Mordechai Vanunu should not be in prison at all, let alone be held in solitary confinement in a unit intended for violent criminals. He suffered immensely when he was held in solitary confinement for 11 years after his imprisonment in 1986 and to return him to such conditions now is nothing less than cruel, inhuman or degrading. Mordechai Vanunu is a prisoner of conscience. The prison authorities might claim that he has been put in isolation to protect him from the risk of attack by other inmates, but if the Israeli government is really concerned for his safety it should release him without delay. His re-imprisonment is both harsh and unjustified. The restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu arbitrarily limit his rights to freedom of movement, expression and association and are therefore in breach of international law. They should be lifted and he should be allowed to start his life again as a free man."- Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East Programme, 18 June 2010.
On 24 April 2004, Uri Avnery wrote:
“Everybody understands that Vanunu has no more secrets. What can a technician know after 18 years in jail, during which technology has advanced with giant steps? But gradually it becomes clear what the security establishment is really afraid of. Vanunu is in a position to expose the close partnership with the United States in the development of Israel’s nuclear armaments. This worries Washington so much, that the man responsible in the State Department for ‘arms control’, Under-Secretary John Bolton, has come to Israel in person for the occasion. Vanunu, it appears, can cause severe damage to the mighty super-power. The Americans, it seems, are very worried. The Israeli security services have to dance to their tune. The world must be prevented by all available means from hearing, from the lips of a credible witness, that the Americans are full partners in Israel’s nuclear arms program, while pretending to be the world’s sheriff for the prevention of nuclear proliferation.”
In 2005, Vanunu told me:
"President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons. Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. 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."
On 16 September 2010, Vanunu emailed me, "Your book can not cause any damages, many more books like Frank Barnaby book was really written about nuclear weapons. So go ahead with your book, and start your next book. VMJC."
On 30 October 2010, I published BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker feeling my book might just help Vanunu and confident that it will discomfort the comfortable, irritate the arrogant and confront the willfully ignorant.
On 15 December 2010, I wrote and mailed:
December 15, 2010
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres, Minister of Defense Barak, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lieberman and Minister of Justice Ne’eman,
Your copy of BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker, is enclosed. Please know it would not have been written if Israel has allowed Vanunu the right to fade into the world in 2004 through 2009, or at least the right to write his own book.
Everyone who meets Vanunu understands the only way he can harm Israel is with bad publicity and the longer he is denied the right to leave the state, the greater his legend will grow. My hope in offering you my third book is that you will feel compassion and show mercy and allow Vanunu the right to fade into the world instead of continuing to make history.
Most sincerely and in solidarity with Micah 6:8,
Salem-News.com is supporting Mordechai Vanunu's struggle for Freedom and a free press by shipping a copy of BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker to all 120 members of the Israeli Knesset and by donating 120 more gratis to Universities or any interested readers:
Eileen Fleming is the Producer of "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org, Eileen is a Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com, Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" and the soon to be released "BEYOND NUCLEAR: Some of my Experiences of Mordechai Vanunu and the Holy Land: 2005-2010" youtube.com/user/eileenfleming. Eileen is a unique leader in her state and she intends to run for a Florida Congressional seat in the future, to help speed the process of change that is so demanded today. Like many who walk in similar steps, Eileen, like other writers at Salem-News.com, is an outspoken advocate for humanity and she has no tolerance for the oppressive forces of the world.
You can send Eileen Fleming an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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