Obama Plays Hardball with
By Mark H. Gaffney
Finally. After many years of official
hypocrisy, a US president appears to be
playing hardball with Israel. The other day,
government declassified a 1987 report
documenting Israelís secret nuclear weapons
I have been a critic of President Obama, but
one has to admire the timing of the release
which I suspect was ordered by the White
House. Next month, Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak
before Congress, at the behest of House
speaker Boehner, and the topic of
Netanyahuís address reportedly will be
Iranís alleged nuclear weapons program. The
fact that neither Speaker Boehner nor the
Israeli government first cleared the speech
with the White House has become
controversial, and for good reason. Several
prominent members of Congress, among them
Senator Leahy, have already indicated they
will boycott the speech, which will be a
transparent attempt at an end run around the
Israeli PM Netanyahu is a smooth talker, but
he is in no position to lecture Iran or any
other state about nuclear weapons. The
just-declassified report shows up Netanyahu
for what he is, a liar.
All sixteen US intelligence agencies agree
there is no hard evidence that Iran is
attempting to develop nuclear weapons. As a
signatory of the nuclear non proliferation
treaty, Iranís nuclear power program is
fully safeguarded by IAEA inspections.
Israel by contrast is a rogue state that
secretly developed nukes while thumbing its
nose at the world. Israel has long refused
to sign the NPT.
The declassified 1987 report indicates that
from the 1980s on the US was well-informed
about Israelís hidden nuclear agenda.
Israelís nuke program is evidently a carbon
copy of the US program.
We know that Israel smuggled nuclear
technology (triggers, known as krytrons) out
of the US, highjacked a ship on the high
seas loaded with uranium ore, deceived US
inspectors, and much more, all the while
lying about its true intentions.
It also appears that Israel provided the
IAEA with phony documents about Iranís
Timing is everything in politics. With the
report now public, Obama will be in a
stronger position to apply pressure on
Israel to sign the NPT and open its nuclear
sites to IAEA inspectors; or face the
prospect of losing US economic and military
aid. Why? Because a US law (the Symington
amendment of the 1961 Foreign Assistance
Act) bars the US from giving aid to nations
that engage in clandestine nuclear weapons
proliferation. For many years, the US chose
to ignore the law. But now that Netanyahu
plainly intends to stir up trouble for Obama
in Congress over Iran, the president has
apparently decided to take off the kid
gloves. If Obama follows through, and I hope
he does, it will the smartest policy move of
his presidency. The president deserves all
the support that we the people can give him
on this issue.
The timing of the 1987 report was no
coincidence either. No doubt it was
occasioned by a three-page expose that
appeared in the London Sunday Times in 1986,
based on evidence provided by an Israeli
whistleblower named Mordechai Vanunu. The
stunning Times expose featured inside photos
and details about Israelís top-secret
plutonium separation plant buried 80 feet
below the Negev desert. For years, Israel
had claimed that its Dimona nuclear plant
was peacefully generating electricity. But
Vanunu showed this was a deception.
For his courage Vanunu suffered a fate worse
than death. Kidnapped by Israeli agents, he
was taken back to Israel in chains and
convicted of treason in a kangaroo court.
The man of conscience spent 18 years in
Ashkelon prison, 11 of them in solitary
confinement, during which time he endured
terrible abuse by his Israeli handlers.
Though Vanunu was released in 2004, he
remains under house arrest in Israel to this
day; a shocking example of double jeopardy.
I want to personally thank Mordechai Vanunu
for the incredible courage he has shown over
many years, which now finally appears on the
verge of bearing positive fruit. Never doubt
that one brave man can change the world.
Vanunu did. He will be remembered for his
strength in the service of truth, while
Netanyahu may well become notorious as the
dissembler who destroyed Israelís
Mark H. Gaffney is the author of Dimona: the
Third Temple (1989), a pioneering study of
Israelís nuclear weapons program.
Translation may take a
moment to load.
What's your response?
Scroll down to add / read comments
before posting -
It is unacceptable to slander, smear or engage in personal attacks on authors of articles posted on ICH.
Those engaging in that behavior will be banned from the comment section.