Israel has never signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty but all the Arab states have

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by 2cents, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. funny, no?
    Mordechai Vanunu
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    Mordechai Vanunu in the garden of St. George's Cathedral. This picture was taken two days after his April 21, 2004 release from prisonMordechai Vanunu (help·info) (Hebrew: îøãëé åàðåðå; born Marrakech, Morocco, October 13, 1954), also known by his baptismal name John Crossman, is an Israeli former nuclear technician who revealed details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986. He was subsequently abducted in Rome by Israeli Mossad agents and smuggled to Israel, where he was tried in secret and convicted of treason.

    Mordechai Vanunu spent 18 years in prison, including more than 11 years in solitary confinement. Vanunu was released from prison in 2004, subject to a broad array of restrictions on his speech and movement. Since then he has been briefly arrested several times for multiple violations of those restrictions, including giving various interviews to foreign journalists and attempting to leave Israel. The court proceedings are ongoing, as well as Vanunu's appeal to the Supreme Court of the restrictions on his speech and movement.

    On February 22, 2006 in a Jerusalem court it was revealed that Israel had asked Microsoft to hand over all the details of Vanunu's Hotmail account before a court order had been obtained [1].

    Vanunu was seen by some human rights groups as a prisoner of conscience. In its press release of April 19, 2005, Amnesty International said "If Mordechai Vanunu were to be imprisoned for breaching the restrictions imposed on him, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience."[1] Vanunu has been characterized by some as a whistleblower [2] [3]and by others as a traitor.[4][5][6][7] He has been highly critical of Israel's political actions, refuses to speak Hebrew[citation needed], and rejects the need for a Jewish state to exist.[8]

    Contents [hide]
    1 Early life
    2 Negev Nuclear Research Center
    3 Disclosure, abduction, and publication
    4 Imprisonment
    5 Release
    6 Latest arrests
    6.1 2004
    6.2 2005
    7 Most recent trials
    8 Vanunu's human rights
    9 Support, awards, and honors
    10 See also
    11 Bibliography
    12 References
    13 External links

    [edit] Early life
    Vanunu was born in Marrakech, Morocco to a Jewish family; his father was a rabbi. In 1963, at the age of nine, he emigrated under the Law of Return with his parents and 11 brothers and sisters to Israel. Vanunu completed his three years of military service in the sapper unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, with the rank of sergeant. After completing his service, Vanunu became a philosophy student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where he became critical of many policies of the Israeli government, forming a group called "Campus" with four other Jewish students and five Arab students. Vanunu was also affiliated with a group called "Movement for the Advancement of Peace." He never graduated from the university.

    [edit] Negev Nuclear Research Center

    Vanunu's photograph of a Negev Nuclear Research Center glove box containing nuclear materials in a model bomb assembly, one of about 60 photographs he later gave to the British press.Between 1976 and 1985, Vanunu was employed as a nuclear plant technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Center, an Israeli facility which, according to the majority of defense experts, is used for manufacturing nuclear weapons and nuclear research;[9] it is located in the Negev desert south of Dimona. Most worldwide intelligence agencies estimate that Israel developed nuclear weapons as early as the 1960s, but the country has purposely maintained a "policy of deliberate ambiguity", neither acknowledging nor denying that it possesses the weapons. It was during his employment there that one of the left-wing groups in which Vanunu held membership, protested against Israel's 1981 destruction of Iraq's Osiraq nuclear reactor, which was believed to be part of the Iraqi nuclear weapons development program. The Jerusalem Post stated that Vanunu took active part in these protests,[10] arguing that this showed that he was motivated by antipathy to Israel in his later actions. Vanunu has not responded to these claims.

    It is believed that at Dimona, Vanunu became increasingly troubled about the widely believed Israeli nuclear weapons program on which he worked. When he was laid off from Dimona in 1985, Vanunu left Israel. He arrived at Nepal and considered a conversion to Buddhism, later traveling to Burma and Thailand. In 1986, he traveled to Sydney, Australia. While there, Vanunu lived in a hostel in Kings Cross and worked in odd jobs, first as a hotel dishwasher and later as a taxi driver.

    Vanunu began to attend the local church, St. John's. There he met the Reverend John McKnight, who worked with the homeless and drug addicts. Vanunu converted to Christianity and was baptized as John Crossman into the Anglican Church of Australia, making him further estranged from his family.

    [edit] Disclosure, abduction, and publication

    On October 5, 1986, the British newspaper The Sunday Times ran the story on its front page under the headline: "Revealed: the secrets of Israel's nuclear arsenal."While in Sydney, he met Peter Hounam, a journalist from The Sunday Times in London. In early September 1986, Vanunu flew to London with Hounam, and in violation of his non-disclosure agreement, revealed to The Sunday Times his knowledge of the Israeli nuclear program, including photographs he had secretly taken at the Dimona site. Anxious to avoid being duped by another Hitler Diaries-sized hoax, The Sunday Times spent extensive time verifying Vanunu’s story with leading nuclear weapon experts, including former U.S. nuclear weapons designer Theodore Taylor, who concluded that Israel had almost certainly begun manufacturing thermonuclear weapons. Vanunu gave detailed descriptions of lithium-6 separation and lithium hydride production required for the Teller-Ulam nuclear weapon design. Vanunu described the plutonium processing used, giving a production rate of about 30 kg per year, and stated that Israel used about 4 kg per weapon.[11][12]

    Vanunu states in his letters that he intended to share the money received from the newspaper for the information with the Anglican Church of Australia. Apparently frustrated by the delay while Hounam was completing his research, Vanunu approached a rival newspaper, the tabloid Sunday Mirror, whose owner was Robert Maxwell. In 1991, a self-described former Mossad officer called Ari Ben-Menashe alleged that Maxwell had tipped off the Mossad, possibly through British secret services, about Vanunu. It is also possible that they were alerted by enquiries made to the Israeli Embassy in London by Sunday Mirror journalists.

    The Israeli government under prime minister Shimon Peres, who was personally responsible for the establishment of Israel's nuclear reactor, decided to detain Vanunu, but determined that to avoid harming its good relationship with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher diplomatic ties Vanunu should be persuaded to leave UK territory under his own volition. Knowing Vanunu's interest in women, on September 30, an Israeli Mossad agent, Cheryl Bentov, operating under the name of "Cindy" and masquerading as an American tourist, persuaded him to fly to Rome with her on a holiday. Once in Rome, Mossad agents captured him, drugged him and smuggled him to Israel on a freighter, beginning what was to be more than a decade of solitary confinement in Israeli prisons.

    On October 5, the Sunday Times published the information he had revealed, and estimated that Israel had produced more than 100 nuclear warheads.

    [edit] Imprisonment

    Vanunu revealed details of his detention by writing on his hand: "Vanunu M was hijacked in Rome. ITL. 30.9.86, 21:00. Came to Rome by fly BA504."Vanunu was put on trial in Israel on charges of treason and espionage. The trial, held in camera (in secret), took place at the District Court in Jerusalem before Chief Justice Eliahu Noam and judges Zvi Tal and Shalom Brener. He was not permitted contact with the media but he wrote the details of his capture (or "hijacking" as he put it) on the palm of his hand, and while being transported he held his hand against the van's window so that waiting journalists could get the information (photo).

    On February 27, 1988, the court sentenced him to 18 years' imprisonment from the date of his capture. The Israeli government refused to release the transcript of the court case until, after the threat of legal action, it agreed to let censored extracts be published in Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper, in late 1999.

    The death penalty in Israel is restricted to special circumstances. In 2004, former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit told Reuters that the option of extrajudicial execution was considered in 1986, but rejected because "Jews don't do that to other Jews".[13]