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All Things Nuclear Must Pass: US, Israel and IranEileen Fleming Salem-News.com
"Is any government qualified and authorized to produce such weapons." - Mordechai Vanunu
(CLERMONT, Fla.) - Dr. Avner Cohen, is an Israeli-born philosopher, historical researcher and a leading expert in Israel's nuclear policy of deception, which is spun as 'Ambiguity' and his latest release is The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb.
In an interview with Haaretz, Cohen stated, "There was a secret even before there was anything to hide. Some students were sent overseas to study nuclear physics, and a group started to look for uranium in the Negev. There was none. Nonetheless, this small group, which merely had a vision, already maintained a cult of secrecy. In those years, there was not yet an international regime against nuclear proliferation - this was a decade before the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But even then, when theoretically anything was allowed, there was a sense of taboo. That the subject could not be discussed. David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres understood that in this sphere you don't really want to state your objectives precisely. The sense was that designating goals would, in itself, stir an argument, and that it was better to avoid such debates, both internal and external. The idea was that it was crucial not to raise these questions. I read materials that are kept in archives around the world or are in memoirs. In particular, I carried out a large number of interviews and conversations with people. In my opinion, I have not written anything that harms the State of Israel; perhaps some things will help it." 
An American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, also researched archives and memoirs and wrote in The Unspoken Alliance: Israel's secret alliance with Apartheid South Africa that Israeli officials "formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal" and that PW Botha, South Africa's defense minister asked Shimon Peres-who was then Israel’s defense minister-for nuclear warheads.
Peres offered them "in three sizes" which are understood as conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.
The two signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.
On 4 June 1975, Peres and Botha met in Zurich and by then, the Jericho project had been renamed Chalet. The top-secret minutes of that meeting recorded that:
"Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available…Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation." 
Botha did not go ahead with the deal because of the cost and the fact that final approval was dependent on Israel's prime minister. South Africa did build its own nuclear bombs and also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its nuclear arsenal.
The documents confirm also that former South African naval commander, Dieter Gerhardt admitted there was an agreement between Israel and South Africa called "Chalet" that involved an offer by the Jewish state to arm eight Jericho missiles with "special warheads" understood as atomic bombs.
"Some weeks before Peres made his offer of nuclear warheads to Botha, the two defence ministers signed a covert agreement governing the military alliance known as Secment. It was so secret that it included a denial of its own existence: 'It is hereby expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement... shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party.'" [Ibid]
The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres and P W Botha of South Africa. Photograph: Copyright Guardian:
"From 1963 onward, Ben-Gurion and Peres directed [Israel’s nuclear weapons] project under a thick cloud of secrecy, Cohen says. Even senior figures involved in it did not know whether Israel was in fact determined to attain nuclear weapons, or whether it wanted to simply move closer to that watershed. Cohen's book includes a historic anecdote that shows how even at crucial phases in the project's development, Israel's decision-makers refrained from specifying, even in their own internal discussions, its genuine objectives.
"In the days of high anxiety prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, researchers around the world have claimed that Israel passed the nuclear threshold…In the few days before the war, Israel did something it had never done before. In an intensive crash effort, Israeli teams improvised the assembly of the nation's first nuclear explosive devices.
"As Israeli scientists and technicians were 'tickling the dragon's tail,' meaning assembling the first nuclear cores for those devices, only a few of them were even aware that there was a military contingency plan in the works. As Israeli leaders contemplated the worst scenarios - in particular, the failure of the Israeli air force to destroy the Arab air forces, and/or the extensive use by Egypt of chemical weapons against Israeli cities - authority was given for preliminary contingency planning for 'demonstrating' Israel's nuclear capability."
Cohen claims that "like John Kennedy's government before it, the Johnson administration believed that it would be a mistake to allow Israel to develop nuclear weapons, and thus tried to keep Israel at the 'threshold' status" but LBJ’s failure to protect and honor the lives that were on board the USS LIBERTY, reflect a moral, ethical and political failure, for he refused to allow the assassinations of "a few sailors to embarrass an ally."
Journalist and author, James Scott wrote in The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship:
"More than twenty minutes before the fatal torpedo strike killed twenty-five sailors; Israel's chief air controller conclusively identified the Liberty as an American ship" and many years after the attack, Lieutenant Colonel Shmuel Kislev, the chief air controller at general headquarters in Tel Aviv, confessed that he knew the U.S.S. LIBERTY was an American ship as soon as an Israeli pilot radioed in its hull numbers.
"Two months before the sailor's mass burial at Arlington Cemetery, Navy analysis also uncovered that the Israeli torpedo boat gunners had targeted the spy ship with 40-mm tracer rounds made in the United States. In 1967, the Republican representative from Iowa, H.R. Gross asked questions that still demand an answer today:
"Is this Government now, directly or indirectly, subsidizing Israel in the payment of full compensation for the lives that were destroyed, the suffering of the wounded, and the damage from this wanton attack? It can well be asked whether these Americans were the victims of bombs, machine gun bullets and torpedoes manufactured in the United States and dished out as military assistance under foreign aid."
By November 1967, lawmakers were willing to spend six million USA tax dollars to build schools in Israel but during the debate, Representative Gross spoke with the voice of conscience and introduced an amendment that "not one dollar of U.S. credit or aid of any kind [should] go to Israel until there is a firm settlement with regard to the attack and full reparations have been made [and Israel] provides full and complete reparations for the killing and wounding of more than 100 United States citizens in the wanton, unprovoked attack…I wonder how you would feel if you were the father of one of the boys who was killed in that connection-or perhaps you do not have any feelings with respect to these young men who were killed, wounded and maimed, or their families." 
Cohen also told Haaretz, that in a late-1969 meeting between Golda Meir and Nixon, "the United States and most of the Western world agreed to accept Israel's special nuclear status. In other words, Israel did not join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it received special status, and pressure was not exerted on it with regard to this topic. Ambiguity is the Israeli-American policy. Without the West's agreement, there would be no ambiguity.
"I'm often asked why I don't drop this topic of ambiguity. I refer to historic and geopolitical circumstances, but I mainly believe that on the most basic and deepest level, ambiguity is simply not enlightened behavior, not in terms of the state's citizens, and not in foreign relations.
"The bitter irony is that right now, ambiguity serves the interests of Israel's rival in the Middle East. Iran is creating its own version of ambiguity: not the concealment of its project, but rather ambiguity with regard to the distinction separating possession and non-possession of nuclear weapons. It reiterates that it has no intention of building a bomb, but that it has the right to enrich uranium, and even come close to developing [nuclear] weapons - while still remaining true to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is straddling the line, and in my opinion, Iran wants to, and can, remain for some time with the status of a state that might or might not have the bomb. Iran is a state of ambiguity."
In 2006, Virginia Tilley, Professor of political science wrote:
"In his October 2005 speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad never used the word 'map' or the term 'wiped off.' According to Farsi-language experts like Juan Cole and even right-wing services like MEMRI, what he actually said was 'this regime that is occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.'
"In this speech to an annual anti-Zionist conference, Mr. Ahmadinejad was being prophetic, not threatening. He was citing Imam Khomeini, who said this line in the 1980s-a period when Israel was actually selling arms to Iran, so apparently it was not viewed as so ghastly then.
"Mr. Ahmadinejad had just reminded his audience that the Shah's regime, the Soviet Union, and Saddam Hussein had all seemed enormously powerful and immovable, yet the first two had vanished almost beyond recall and the third now languished in prison.
"So, too, the 'occupying regime' in Jerusalem would someday be gone. His message was, in essence: 'This too shall pass.'" 
In 1963, Shimon Peres, was Israel's Deputy Minister of Defense and he met with President John Kennedy, at the White House.
Kennedy told Peres, "You know that we follow very closely the discovery of any nuclear development in the region. This could create a very dangerous situation. For this reason we monitor your nuclear effort. What could you tell me about this?"
Peres replied, "I can tell you most clearly that we will not introduce nuclear weapons to the region, and certainly we will not be the first."
By September of 1986, Peres was convulsing over Mordechai Vanunu, who had been employed as a lowly tech in his progeny; Israel’s clandestine underground nuclear weapons centre in the Negev called the Dimona.
Peres ordered the Mossad, to "Bring the son of a bitch back here."
Peres ordered Vanunu's kidnapping that included a clubbing, drugging and being flung upon an Israeli cargo boat back to Israel for a closed-door trial.
In 1985, before quitting the Dimona, Vanunu shot 56 photos of the top-secret labs and production processes that proved Israel had become a major nuclear power by stockpiling between 100 and 200 atomic bombs within the six underground levels where plutonium production, and secret nuclear weapons were assembled without any knowledge, debate or authorization from its own citizens. Israel has yet to allow International Inspectors into the aged Dimona plant, which is leaking and endangering the health of its own citizens.
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." 
Cohen also wrote about Yechiel Horev, who was the official responsible for security in the Defense Ministry and Cohen claims that Horev, "personally" hounded him in the early 2000s, and would have "been happy to see [him] put on trial."
In 2004, Harretz journalist Yossi Melman wrote regarding Vanunu and Horev:
"This is the secret that hasn't yet been told in the affair: the story of the security fiasco that made it possible for Vanunu to do what he did, and the story of the subsequent attempts at cover-up, whitewashing and protection of senior figures in the defense establishment, who were bent on divesting themselves of responsibility for the failure.
"The 18-year prison term to which Vanunu was sentenced is almost exactly the same period as that in which Yehiel Horev has served as chief of internal security in the defense establishment [who has been] involved in the affair as deputy chief of security at the Defense Ministry, and also after Vanunu's abduction and arrest, as a member of an investigative commission.”
Melman describes Horev as devoted to duty and bland, petty and acutely suspicious, but also a man of personal integrity with a desire to expose corruption and failures coupled with a penchant for vengefulness.
"The affairs of the secrets that leaked from the two places considered Horev's holiest sites - the Biological Institute, which produced a senior spy in the person of Prof. Marcus Klingberg, and the Dimona nuclear plant, about which secret information was revealed through Mordechai Vanunu - were formative events in the development of his world view. Shortly after taking office as chief of security at the Defense Ministry, Horev began to take punitive measures to hobble Vanunu. He is responsible for the harsh conditions in which Vanunu was held, which included years in solitary confinement, and the sharp limitations on the number of visitors he could have…[and has fought] a rearguard battle to prevent Vanunu from leaving Israel and to place him under supervision and restrictions that will be tantamount to house arrest. Horev has always been considered the strictest of all the security chiefs in Israel, especially in regard to the protection of institutions such as the Dimona facility and the Biological Institute. He is apprehensive that if Vanunu goes abroad, he will continue to be a nuisance by stimulating the public debate over Israel's nuclear policy and the nuclear weapons he says Israel possesses…all the hyperactivity being displayed by Horev and those who support his approach is intended only to divert attention from what has not yet been revealed: the security blunders and their cover-ups." [IBID]
On April 5, 2009, President Obama stood on the world stage in Prague and admitted, "As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act…When we fail to pursue peace, then it stays forever beyond our grasp. We know the path when we choose fear over hope. To denounce or shrug off a call for cooperation is an easy but also cowardly thing to do. That’s how wars begin. That’s where human progress ends…the voices of peace and progress must be raised together…Human destiny will be what we make of it…Words must mean something."
In 1987, from Ashkelon prison, Mordechai Vanunu wrote:
"The passive acceptance and complacency with regard to the existence of nuclear weapons anywhere on earth is the disease of society today…This struggle is not only a legitimate one - it is a moral, inescapable struggle...no government, not even the most democratic, can force us to live under this threat. No state in the world can offer any kind of security against this menace of a nuclear holocaust, or guarantee to prevent it.
"Already now there are enough nuclear missiles to destroy the world many times over…This issue should unite us all, because that is our real enemy…Any country, which manufactures and stocks nuclear weapons, is first of all endangering its own citizens. This is why the citizens must confront their government and warn it that it has no right to expose them to this danger.
"Because, in effect, the citizens are being held hostage by their own government, just as if they have been hijacked and deprived of their freedom and threatened…Indeed, when governments develop nuclear weapons without the consent of their citizens - and this is true in most cases - they are violating the basic rights of their citizens, the basic right not to live under constant threat of annihilation.
"Is any government qualified and authorized to produce such weapons."[IBID]
"All things must pass, all things must pass away. Sunset doesn't last all evening. A mind can blow those clouds away. Now the darkness only stays the nighttime; in the morning it will fade away. It's not always going to be this grey; all things must pass, all things must pass away."
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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