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Middle East arms race? Started by Israel!

flag-IsraelIsrael, Not Iran, Started Middle East Nuclear Arms Race Claims that the Iran deal will spark a nuclear arms race in the region ignore the fact that Israel has led the race for the last 65 years. US News, By: Bruce Riedel, Columnist for Al-Monitor , 31 July 15 

The debate about the P5+1 agreement with Iran on its nuclear program has already produced a storm of angry rhetoric and a tsunami of opinion pieces. But one issue is notably absent from the debate: the fact that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal and sophisticated delivery systems that are decades ahead of anything Iran could develop in the foreseeable future. Iran should be constrained by a global regime from getting the bomb, but the notion that Israel is a weak powerless state like Czechoslovakia in 1938 is ludicrous.

The American intelligence community first detected the development of the Israeli nuclear weapons program through U-2 overhead imagery at the end of the 1950s……….

The debate about the Iran deal should be conducted within the context of an understanding of the balance of power in the Middle East. A comprehensive and thorough discussion of the balance of power should include Israel’s real strategic situation. Hysteria is not the answer when the stakes are high. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/07/29/israel-not-iran-started-middle-east-nuclear-arms-race

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat.

flag-IsraelInternational Nuclear Hypocrisy  JULY 21, 2015   NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat. Shouldn’t the world impose on Israel harsher financial and economic sanctions, boycott and political seclusion than they had imposed on the NPT signatory peaceful nuclear Iran??By Dr. Elias Akleh, Intifada-Palestine.com    The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been turned into oppressive tools to limit the spread of safe nuclear technology and to prevent states other than the five nuclear states (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; US, UK, France, Russia and China) from acquiring nuclear weapons. These nuclear states want to maintain its arms superiority and hegemony…….. .

In 1992 after the IAEA inspected all the Iranian sites they requested, the Director General Blixreported that all activities they observed were consistent with the peaceful use of atomic energy. In fact all the inspection reports by IAEA had stating the lack of any evidence that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapon program.

The American National Intelligence Estimate reported in 2007 that Iran had discontinued its nuclear weapon program in 2003. This was again confirmed by US Intelligence Agency officials, who were interviewed by The New York Times in March 2012 stating that Iran had not restarted its nuclear weapon program. Even the Israeli Mossad shared this findings contradicting their Prime Minister Netanyahu, who never got tired of warning of the alleged Iranian nuclear bomb.

The whole world knew that Iran did not have a nuclear weapon program. Yet the Western pressure continued due to the fact that Iran opposes the Zionist Israeli project in the Middle East, and has supported Hamas and Hezbollah in their struggle against Israeli occupation. ………..

The five major nuclear powers (US, Russia, UK, France and China), who seem to enthusiastically promote the NPT are themselves the biggest violators of the NPT. Overtly they pretended to reduce their own nuclear bombs by eliminating the bulky unstable old bombs, yet covertly they develop new smaller tactical and more devastating mini-nukes. These mini-nukes are part of the US-NATO arsenal and were cleared for use in the conventional war theater by the US Senate in 2002. The US, who had nuked Japan, has also used nuclear weapons, in the form of Depleted Uranium, to devastate Iraq in 2003, contaminating Iraqi soil and water, and causing all kinds of cancer and birth deformations in the children of both Iraqi citizens and of American veterans.

Recently we see a nuclear weapons arms race between the US and Russia. When the US declared its intent to deploy a major troop force near Russian borders, Russia countered, last month (June), by announcing plans to increase its nuclear arsenal with more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. This month (July) the US revealed that US military had successfully tested an upgraded nuclear gravity bomb; B51-12 that will replace four older versions of the bomb. Hippocratic Obama’s administration is upgrading its nuclear weapons while, at the same time, is using the NPT to limit Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

The US and European nuclear states do not have the slightest genuine intention of enforcing the NPT unless when it serves them in controlling and punishing other developing countries. In 2010 the Obama administration cancelled the NPT conference that intended to discuss nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Last May 2015 Obama’s administration, again, stopped the UN’s effort to make the Middle East a nuclear free zone. The reason of course is nuclear Israel.

Most intelligence agencies, including CIA and FBI, know that Israel has been developing nuclear weapons as early as the 1960s confirming the reports of the Israeli whistleblower nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu. ……………..

NPT non-signatory nuclear armed Israel is the global threat. Shouldn’t the world impose on Israel harsher financial and economic sanctions, boycott and political seclusion than they had imposed on the NPT signatory peaceful nuclear Iran??? http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2015/07/international-nuclear-hypocrisy/

July 22, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel’s Dimona Nuclear Reactor – poisoning Palestinians?

Is waste from Israel’s nuclear programme poisoning Palestinians? http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/6/30/is-waste-from-israels-nuclear-programme-poisoning-palestinians  By: Anas Abu Arqoub 30 June, 2015 Israel’s nuclear programme has operated in the shadows with little international oversight. Now it appears accidents and the unsafe disposal of nuclear material could be poisoning the West Bank.

Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor may be responsible for the increase in illnesses and still-births in nearby Palestinian populations, it has emerged.

It is the one of the few nuclear facilities in the world not subject to international safety inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The reactor has already been implicated in illnesses and environmental damage among the area’s Israeli population.

Ibrahim, from a small village 11km south of Hebron, told the story of his still-born child.  “When the midwife told me my child had died at birth, I was overcome with sadness,” he said. “However, the sadness became easier to bear when I learned that my child was born with one eye and birth defects that would have stayed with him for life.”

Dr Mahmoud Saadah, the head of the Palestine branch of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), holds the Dimona nuclear reactor directly responsible for the increase in deformities in the area and surrounding villages. Ignoring Palestinian victims The Dimona nuclear reactor is located 10km southeast of the city of Dimona, the third-largest city in the Negev.

Dimona Israel Nuclear

Construction on the nuclear reactor began in 1958 with French assistance, and Israel has another nuclear reactor for research and medical use at the Soreq Nuclear Research Centre.

An Israeli documentary film named The Dark Secret of the Dimona Reactor investigated the facility. The film revealed information about Israelis affected by the reactor and the environmental damage it has caused to the surrounding area.

However, the documentary film ignored Palestinian victims, so al-Araby al-Jadeed set out to discover the harm done to Palestinians from the reactor, in addition to the reason the Israeli military allowed the disclosure of information previously classified.

Al-Araby 
met Dr Khalil Thabayneh, a nuclear physics researcher at Hebron University. Thabayneh is the only Palestinian specialist who has conducted studies over a number of years to measure radiation levels in the West Bank, using advanced equipment to detenct levels of radioactive material in water, rocks, soil and plants.

Thabayneh’s studies reveal levels exceeding international permitted averages in the Hebron governorate. The most commonly radioactive element in the southern West Bank, according to Thabayneh, is Caesium-137. Any amount of Caesium-137 in the environment is considered dangerous.

“This isotope does not exist in nature and only occurs due to nuclear activity. When found in high concentrations, the source is either nuclear experiments, radioactive leaks or the detonation of nuclear weapons,” said Thabayneh.

“The only places found to have higher concentrations than in the West Bank were after the explosion of the Chernobyl reactor in the Ukraine in 1986 and in Fukushima in 2012. These two cases had the highest recorded levels of Cesium-137 in the world, which means the southern West Bank has the highest levels of Cesium-137 in the world if we exclude areas that have witnessed nuclear disasters,” added Thabayneh.

The dangers

Thabayneh revealed the greatest danger to humans from Caesium-137 is cancer. Other elements such as uranium and polonium aso pose great dangers to children, and can cause cancer and affect the reproductive system, causing infertility in both men and women and cause birth defects and repeated miscarriages.

Dr Saadah, of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, has been practicing medicine in the area for decades.

He confirmed Thabayneh’s findings through his personal observations. Saadah confirmed there had been an increase in birth defects among newborns in the southern Hebron region.

“The reason is not a genetic defect, because that would cause one or two cases and would be limited to a family instead of a number of families, as was discovered in the area south of Hebron,” Saadah said.

Birth defects are above average here, and in many cases children were born with only one eye, or with only one hand.

“The families usually don’t announce the issue, especially if the deformed newborn dies, fearing that other families will not marry their other daughters,” said Saadah.

Saadah and a group of volunteers conducted tests in 2005 without the knowledge of the Israeli authorities to discover the levels of radiation in the southern West Bank.

The results showed that radiation levels were four times higher than areas that had not been contaminated. Saadah attributed the high levels to either a radiation leak from the Dimona reactor or to the burial of nuclear waste. Rare cancers

The town of Yatta has the highest reading of Caesium-137 in Hebron region.

This led researchers to focus on Yatta, and, in 2007, an International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War committee documented 280 cases of cancer in the town with a population of approximately 50,000.

The same committee documented 200 cases of cancer in the town al-Dahiriya, 17km away from the reactor, which had a population of 35,000 at the time of the study.

The committee also documented a case of heart cancer in the town, which occurs in five out of each 100,000 people and usually in patients over 50.

However, in that town, it was diagnosed in a young boy. This comes in addition to other rare forms of cancer that were discovered.

Burying nuclear waste

According to the accounts of villagers in the governorate, Israel buries its nuclear waste close to Palestinian towns or in areas along the green line, which Israel plans to withdraw from in return for other areas if a resolution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were to take place in the future.

Villagers from Beit al-Roush told Saadah that, in 1989, they saw trucks going into the mountains followed by a cement mixing truck. The trucks would be buried whole, they said. After this time, residents noticed an increase in cancers.

Al-Araby 
spoke to a number of residents in the Bani Naim area in the governorate of Hebron, who said that, about ten years ago, the Israeli army buried barrels in a cave in the Bani Naim desert – after which the cave was sealed with reinforced concrete.

Access to the area is still restricted by the Israeli army. The residents believe the area contains dangerous nuclear waste, buried in their land.

The head of the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority, Adala al-Atirah, told al-Araby that Israel prevents Palestinian environmental inspectors from visiting areas which residents complain are being used as nuclear dumping grounds by Israel.

Furthermore, Israel does not allow for the import of equipment that could be used to measure radiation – and it prevents international and UN experts in the field from entering the Palestinian territories.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

– See more at: http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/6/30/is-waste-from-israels-nuclear-programme-poisoning-palestinians#sthash.pcw6PdbY.dpuf

July 4, 2015 Posted by | health, Israel | Leave a comment

What if Israel signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

What I fear will is one of Shavit’s more depressing conclusions: Dimona’s nuclear weapons success “that allowed Israel to flourish . . . will become the biggest threat facing Israel. It might turn the lives of Israelis into a nightmare.”

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag-IsraelIsrael should consider signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, The Age, 21 June 15 Walter PincusWhat if Israel suddenly changed course and announced it was prepared to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and work toward establishment of a Middle East nuclear-free zone?

I’m not saying this is in the works. Far from it. As negotiations between the United States and five other world powers, known as the P5+1, and Iran head toward some sort of conclusion, it’s apparent that no matter what any agreement contains, there will be a fight in the United States about its merits. And if the agreement survives, the years ahead inevitably will see allegations from all sorts of quarters that one side or the other has violated its terms.

This seemed like an opportune moment to ponder the “what if?” question, which was also triggered by re-reading a section from Israeli columnist Ari Shavit’s 2013 book, My Promised Land, The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Continue reading

June 21, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Influence of Israel in railroading the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Israel in Action: Spoiling the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty By Binoy Kampmark Global Research, June 11, 2015 More should have been made about it last month, but the security patrons and aficionados heaved a sigh of relief more than despair when it concluded.  Effectively, efforts to obtain a consensus document at the end of the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference held between April 27 and May 22 were railroaded.  The UK delegation suggested that there was only one key sticking point: that of the establishment of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East.

As a review in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists noted, “It came down to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada supporting Israel’s position on a conference to pursue a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”[1]  The 2010 final document had demanded that a conference be convened on the subject of the zone prior to the end of 2012, to be hosted in Finland with the facilitator Jaakko Laajava.  So much for that.

Such reviews, which come every five years, tend to be ceremonial gestures of box ticking and smug denial.  They focus, ostensibly, on assessing the progress made towards halting the proliferation of nuclear weapons; provide states complying with the provisions of the treaty access to non-weaponised nuclear technology; and, rather dreamily, the efforts of nuclear weapons disarmament on the part of the Permanent Five (P5) states.

Those fascinated by the dynamics of the nuclear club see the NPT as a successful document, one that has 191 signatories and has stalled the creation of more nuclear states. Once the atomic genie was unleased in August 1945 with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the spectre of total nuclearisation became all too real.  But getting countries on board the regime of non-proliferation has entailed a rather empty promise as outlined by Article VI of the Treaty.  Not developing nuclear weapons on the part of 186 states was bought by the assurance that the nuclear club would dismantle their arsenals.

The non-nuclear states have over the years found the exchange unsatisfactory.  The P5 continue going about wistfully refusing to engage in serious dismantling. The old logic of refusal prevails, and with just under 16,000 nuclear weapons available at the push of a trigger, this balance of terror is something that established nuclear states would not do without.  If one has them, the rest have to.

All that seemed to transpire at this conference was a desperate attempt to keep an ill patient afoot.  It reached an absurd point where a skeletal, poor document of 184 paragraphs was backed by a majority of delegates for no other reason than there was no other alternative. Austria’s representative, speaking for over 20 signatories of the Austrian Pledge on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, noted continuing legal deficiencies in the quest for disarmament.  But even that creation, with severely diluted language about disarmament, was rejected by the US, Britain and Canada.

Israel’s role as a spoiler was vital. Being itself outside the NPT framework, it has manipulated it with a degree of determined ruthlessness.  Its official stance, which neither affirms or denies its nuclear stockpile, suggests how singular approaches will be tolerated………

Delegates familiar with their history of the NPT noted that its indefinite extension was only bought because of the 1995 resolution on a Middle East WMD Free Zone.  Egypt’s delegation was particularly vocal on that score, while the Tunisian delegate insisted that the resolution continued to hold force.

For all that, the singular stance of Israel, one that its allies took note of, doomed an already deficient review document to oblivion.  The NPT will simply going on being a shadow of itself, degenerating, as the South African delegate observed, “into minority rule – as in apartheid-era South Africa – where the will of the few reigned supreme over the majority.”

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com     http://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-in-action-spoiling-the-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty/5455013

June 13, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

‘Dirty bombs’ tested by Israel

radation sign dirtyflag-Israel  Israel tested ‘dirty-bomb cleanup’ in the desert Haaretz 10 June 15 Series of tests in conjunction with four-year project at Dimona nuclear reactor measured damage and other implications of detonation of radiological weapon by hostile forces. By  | Jun. 8, 2015 

Israel recently carried out a series of tests in the desert in conjunction with a four-year project at the Dimona nuclear reactor to measure the damage and other implications of the detonation of a so-called “dirty” radiological bomb by hostile forces. Such a bomb uses conventional explosives in addition to radioactive material.

Most of the detonations were carried out in the desert and one was performed at a closed facility. The research concluded that high-level radiation was measured at the center of the explosions, with a low level of dispersal of radiation by particles carried by the wind. Sources at the reactor said this doesn’t pose a substantial danger beyond the psychological effect.

An additional concern stems from a radiological explosion in a closed space, which would then require that the area be closed off for an extended period until the effects of the radiation are eliminated.

In 2010, staff from the Dimona nuclear reactor began a series of tests, dubbed the “Green Field” project, designed to measure the consequences of the detonation of a dirty bomb in Israel. The project was concluded in 2014, and its research findings have been presented at scientific gatherings and on nuclear science databases. The researchers explained that the experiments were for defensive purposes and that they were not giving consideration to offensive aspects of the tests.

Public concern over radiological terrorism began after the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the threat by representatives of Al-Qaida to use such weaponry against the United States. The radioactive material is available to the medical and industrial sectors, and those who threaten its use as a weapon aim to augment the damage and fear caused by an explosion by adding the threat of radiation to the mix……

In the course of the experiments, 20 detonations were carried out involving between 250 grams and 25 kilograms of explosives together with the common radioactive substance known as 99mTc, which is used in the health care field for medical imaging. The experiments made use of the reactor’s most innovative technology, including tiny drones used to measure radiation and sensors to measure the force of the blast.

In the course of the project, there was an additional test known as “Red House,” designed to examine another kind of radiological scenario in which a substance would be left in a crowded public space but not exploded….. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.660067

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Security benefits to Israel in Iran nuclear deal – say Israeli military

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IsraelIsraeli Military Sees ‘Security Benefits’ To Iran Nuclear Deal http://www.mintpressnews.com/israeli-military-sees-security-benefits-to-iran-nuclear-deal/206312/ The Israeli military says that the deal, and increased inspections, would provide increased clarity on Iran’s civilian nuclear program and the risks of a “breakout” to military use. By June 6, 2015 Once again underscoring the profound disconnect between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his nation’s security apparatus, the Israeli military has held a “closed door” briefing in which they seemed to praise the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, saying it provided “security benefits” for Israel.

Though the details of the briefing were not supposed to be fully made public, some details got out, including the military saying that the deal, and increased inspections, would provide increased clarity on Iran’s civilian nuclear program and the risks of a “breakout” to military use.

Netanyahu has repeatedly and loudly condemned the talks, claiming any deal with Iran on any terms would be a threat to Israel’s existence. The military, however, said it believed the threat from Iran was waning, and would more so with a nuclear deal.

Netanyahu has struggled to keep military and intelligence officials backing his public narrative, and earlier this year Israeli intelligence briefed the US Congress against imposing sanctions demanded by Netanyahu on the grounds it would sabotage diplomacy. Netanyahu’s pre-election visit to the US Congress was the result of efforts by him and hawkish Congressional leaders to try to undo the “damage” done by the briefing.

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Time for a Mideast Nuclear Free Zone and for Israel to join the NPT

flag-IsraelIsrael should join the NPT in return for a Mideast Nuclear Free Zone i24 News, YAKUB HALABI, 2 JUNE 15 “…….The Middle East and world politics, however, have gone through tremendous political, economic and social changes in the past four decades that not only render Israel’s ambiguous nuclear policy obsolete, but turned the whole project of Israel’s nuclear program into a liability.

First, Israel is no longer under an existential threat: as reflected in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, the Arab states are willing to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for full withdrawal from the 1967 occupied territories. And second, instead of being a deterrent against the Arab states and Iran, its alleged nuclear arsenal may be stimulating not only a nuclear arms race in the region, but also political tension and conventional wars as Israel seeks to preserve its monopoly as the region’s only nuclear power. Israel struck twice at Arab states in order to deprive regional states from possessing nuclear power: in 1981 against Iraq and in 2007 against Syria. More recently it has said it would not rule out a strike against Iran for the same objective.

It is true that the powers’ negotiations with Iran could beget a bad agreement or none at all. The outcome for the regional players, however, would be the same: Iran would continue to march slowly but safely towards manufacturing a nuclear bomb. Under these circumstances, Israel would have no choice but to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, in order to maintain its monopoly over nuclear power, prevent a potential regional nuclear war, and deter other states from following in Iran’s footsteps.

Further, Israel wants the United States to apply a double standard: Israel would remain an exception to the rule and privileged over the Arab-Muslim states. In this regard, the question looms large: can the US continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear weapons (according to foreign media reports) and impose sanctions on every other Middle Eastern state which dares follow in Israel’s footsteps?

A few weeks ago, the American assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation, Thomas Countryman, visited Israel in order to examine the likelihood of creating a nuclear weapons free zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East.

In my opinion, Iran would be more willing to abandon its nuclear aspirations under a regional NWFZ agreement than under the current conditions of preserving its monopoly. In short, Israel should take part in the P5+1 negotiations in which it would declare its willingness to strip itself of nuclear weapons and join the NPT in return for signing a Middle East Nuclear Free Zone.

Yakub Halabi is an Arab-citizen of Israel, assistant professor of international relations and fellow at the Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies, Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. http://www.i24news.tv/en/opinion/73445-150602-israel-s-alleged-nuclear-arsenal-a-liability-not-an-asset

June 6, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA and Israel tried a Stuxnet type computer worm to muck up North Korea’s nuclear program

computer-worm-nukeTHE US TRIED TO STUXNET NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM  KIM ZETTER  Wired,  05.29.15 A PRECISION DIGITAL weapon reportedly created by the US and Israel to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program had a fraternal twin that was designed to attack North Korea’s nuclear program as well, according to a new report.

The second weapon was crafted at the same time Stuxnet was created and was designed to activate once it encountered Korean-language settings on machines with the right configuration, according to Reuters. But the operation ultimately failed because the attackers were unable to get the weapon onto machines that were running Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

WIRED reported back in 2010 that such an operation against North Korea would be possible in light of the fact that some of the equipment used by the North Koreans to control their centrifuges—the devices used to turn uranium hexafluoride gas into nuclear-bomb-ready fuel—appeared to have come from the same firms that outfitted the Iranian nuclear program………

While the plan worked beautifully in Iran, it ultimately hit a snafu against North Korea where the nuclear program is even more tightly controlled than Iran’s and where few computers—belonging to contractors or anyone else—are online and accessible via the internet.

As WIRED reported in 2010, “someone would have to infiltrate the Hermit Kingdom’s most sensitive sites and introduce the worm into the command systems, a hard bargain to say the least. In other words, don’t go thinking the United States or an ally could magically infect North Korea with Stuxnet. But if more information emerges about the North’s command systems, that might provide fodder for a copycat worm—provided someone could introduce it into Yongbyon.” http://www.wired.com/2015/05/us-tried-stuxnet-north-koreas-nuclear-program/

May 30, 2015 Posted by | Israel, North Korea, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Hidden horrors of Israel’s nuclear history of the Dimona reactor

exclamation-Smflag-IsraelDimona: Israel’s ‘Little Hiroshima’, Middle East Eye Richard Silverstein Tuesday 19 May 2015 Despite the utter lack of utility of Israel’s WMDs, the state’s nuclear workers have paid a huge and terrible price In the early stages of research, before Dimona existed, there were accidents that exposed scientists to lethal levels of radiation. Some of them died and their names are known (though not well). Less known is that Dimona had a series of accidents – the most serious in 1966 – that exposed hundreds of its workers to similarly lethal doses.

Avner Cohen, the world’s leading scholar of the Israeli nuclear programme, told me that in the first 20-25 years the processes used to protect workers were primitive and sloppy. Mistakes were common, often not intentionally, but because relatively little was known about the proper handling of radioactive materials. In some cases, documentation was fabricated.

This is the subject of Orna Ben Dor’s riveting two-part documentary, The Dark Secret of the Dimona Reactor (Part 1 and Part 2, both in Hebrew), produced for Israeli TV. Workers there call the nuclear plant “Little Hiroshima,” alluding not only to the destructive power of what’s produced there, but the tragic impact that the reactor has on those who work within it.

The documentary, while it exposes many secrets and crimes of the state against its workers, is also unintentionally maddening because it deals with a subject that the nation deems justifiably opaque. For that reason, no one in the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, which runs Dimona, will speak on the record to the cameras. No journalist is allowed within the facility. Few if any records are made public regarding the functioning of the reactor.

According to Ben Dor, the medical oversight of workers was a sham. They were given tests that were never processed and told they had a clean bill of health, only to find out months or years later they were dying of cancer. The few records that are accessible happen only because of lawsuits that pry them loose from the fingers of the state.

The real story of the film is the extraordinary lengths to which the state will go to shield itself and its nuclear project from public awareness. Following on from this is the nation’s willingness to treat those scientists, engineers and researchers who devoted their lives to this sacred project as refuse to be discarded once they get sick and die, no longer providing any useful service. There is a schizophrenic nature both to the documentary and the victims portrayed. On the one hand, they are patriots who understand the danger posed and accept it for the sake of protecting the state from its enemies. But on the other, they are human beings who demand that the country treat those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with dignity.

Treated as garbage

Continue reading

May 23, 2015 Posted by | health, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Israel’s ‘KGB nuclear state’

secret-agent-Smflag-IsraelDimona: Israel’s ‘Little Hiroshima’, Middle East Eye  Richard Silverstein Tuesday 19 May 2015

.…..The secrecy of the nuclear programme, one interviewee calls it a “KGB state,” goes hand in hand with the Israel’s overall opacity around all manner of security issues. It’s not surprising that Israel has put its fate in the hands of a few nuclear bureaucrats like those who run Dimona, because it runs its overall military apparatus in the same way. No civilian oversight to speak of. The generals get what they want. All in the name of protecting the state. It’s a devil’s bargain.

Ben Gurion could have chosen a different path. He could’ve followed the path Shimon Peres advocated to deter the 1973 war: he urged a public nuclear test to warn the Arab states what they confronted if they attacked. In the longer term, such transparency might’ve gone a long way to ameliorate some of the worst offenses of the nuclear security state. But Ben Gurion believed the quieter Israel was about it, the less opposition he might face from the world, especially the US.

He made a choice to create a nuclear arsenal in order to offer the state a mechanism to guarantee survival in the face of imminent defeat. But now Israel has ensured its existence. There is no existential threat (no matter what Bibi says regarding Iran). Nuclear weapons don’t guarantee security. In fact, many serious analysts argue just the opposite.

Israel may eventually realise nuclear weapons are an albatross around its neck. They were never needed in the course of all Israel’s previous wars and likely will never be needed (especially if it would agree to a regional nuclear-free zone – a prospect that is an anathema to it, so far). Yet despite the utter lack of utility of Israel’s WMDs, its nuclear personnel have paid a huge and terrible price.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/dimona-israel-s-little-hiroshima-1962915520

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA officials talk with Israel about a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons

Flag-USAflag-IsraelUS pushes Israel for progress on nuclear-free zone, Y Net News
State Department officials speak with Israeli counterparts on efforts to ensure Mid-East remains nuclear nuetral.Itamar Eichner, Associated Press 05.21.15, 20:18 / Israel News

05.21.15, 20:18 / Israel NewsThe United States has sent a top official to Israel in an effort to revive talks on a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, a central issue of a nuclear treaty review conference that some fear will end Friday without progress on global disarmament. The State Department confirmed that the assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation was in Israel to discuss the issue. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman declined comment on Thomas Countryman’s visit, saying it was a “very sensitive” matter.
Ynet was informed that conversation lasted until 3a.m.

Establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons in one of the world’s most tense regions is a rare point of agreement between the United States and Russia these days. Frustrated by the delay of a conference on the zone that was supposed to take place three years ago, Russia has proposed that UN-led talks be held no later than March 2016.

Secretary of State John Kerry this month called the proposed zone an “ambitious goal and fraught with challenges” but worth pursuing. The pressure comes as the president of the review conference, Taous Feroukhi of Algeria, on Wednesday pleaded with countries to close the “still wide” gaps on major issues under disarmament and non-proliferation…….
The review conference for the landmark Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty takes place just every five years, and a failure to agree on a way forward would highlight the growing frustration of countries without nuclear weapons to get the nuclear-armed ones to take concrete steps to disarm. The United States and Russia hold more than 90 percent of the estimated 16,000 nuclear weapons in the world today.

Israel is not a party to the treaty but showed up this year as a surprise observer…..
Israel did not say why the talks were discontinued, but noted that the consultations were “the first direct engagement between Israel and its neighbors on this issue in over 20 years.”

Iran, a party to the treaty and engaged in talks with world powers on its own nuclear program, this month spoke on behalf of more than 100 mostly developing countries in calling for Israel to give up its nuclear weapons, calling them a regional threat.

Israel has never publicly declared what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program.http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4660237,00.html

May 22, 2015 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel has 400 nuclear weapons – Iran claims

Iran’s claim that Israel has 400 nuclear weapons, WP By Glenn Kessler May 1 “It’s laughable that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has become everybody’s nonproliferation guru. He is sitting on 400 nuclear warheads, nuclear warheads that have been acquired in violation of the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty].”–Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking in New York, April 29, 2015

In the debate over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the unacknowledged nuclear stockpile of Israel often comes up.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Israel secretly acquired the technology and material to build nuclear weapons, frequently misleading the U.S. government about its intentions. (France was Israel’s partner in the building of the Dimona reactor in the Negev desert, while South Africa is believed by some to have assisted Israel in conducting at least one nuclear test in the 1970s.)

Zarif quickly noted that Israel (unlike Iran) is not a member of the NPT, but added:  “Those who provided them with the technology were members of the NPT and violated the NPT to provide them with the technology, and we know who they were. And now they are the proponents of nonproliferation.” (Actually, France’s cooperation with Israel ended in 1966, before the NPT went into effect in 1970.)

Zarif’s estimate of Israel’s stockpile seemed rather large. Does Israel really have 400 nuclear weapons?

The Facts For a secret and unacknowledged program, the history of Israel’s quest for nuclear weapons is relatively well-documented. Our colleague Walter Pincus recently recounted how Israel misled the Kennedy and Johnson administrations about the facility in the Negev, describing it at one point as “a textile plant” and later as “a metallurgical research installation.”

Requested inspections by U.S. experts were cursory and often postponed — Israel refused to accept visits from the International Atomic Energy Agency – and later it was learned that the Israelis had built fake walls around the elevators that led to an underground reprocessing plant, according to a 2014 account in The Guardian newspaper.

By 1968, the CIA was convinced Israel had nuclear weapons – just as negotiations on the NPT were completed and the treaty designed to thwart the spread of nuclear weapons was opened for signature by members of the United Nations. U.S. officials concluded it was too late to turn back the clock and make Israel abandon its nuclear capability………….

Given that some 50 years have passed, how many nuclear weapons does Israel have?

Since Israel has never officially admitted having weapons, the answer relies on a bit of guesswork, principally how much plutonium might have been produced in Dimona. A key factor is the power level of the reactor, which (according to satellite imagery) does not appear to have increased much over time.

A leaked 1999 intelligence assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, published in Rowan Scarborough’s 2004 book “Rumsfeld’s War,” estimated that Israel had 60 to 80 weapons at the time, and would have 65 to 85 by 2020. (The report also said Iran would have 10 to 20 nukes by 2020.)……..

In 2014, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists echoed that estimate. “We conclude that many of the public claims about the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are exaggerated,” a comprehensive report declared. “We estimate that Israel has a stockpile of approximately 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by two dozen missiles, a couple of squadrons of aircraft, and perhaps a small number of sea-launched cruise missiles.”

Other analysts believe that the number is closer to 100, and possibly a bit higher. In 2007, the Federation of American Scientists said the estimates range from 70 to 400 warheads………http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/wp/2015/05/01/irans-claim-that-israel-has-400-nuclear-weapons/

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Israel, Reference, weapons and war | 1 Comment

History of Israel’s secrecy in cover-up of its nuclear weapons program

secret-agent-Smflag-IsraelHow Israel Hid Its Secret Nuclear Weapons Program, Politico,  An exclusive look inside newly declassified documents shows how Israel blocked U.S. efforts to uncover its secret nuclear reactor. By AVNER COHEN and WILLIAM BURR April 15, 2015 For decades, the world has known that the massive Israeli facility near Dimona, in the Negev Desert, was the key to its secret nuclear project. Yet, for decades, the world—and Israel—knew that Israel had once misleadingly referred to it as a “textile factory.” Until now, though, we’ve never known how that myth began—and how quickly the United States saw through it. The answers, as it turns out, are part of a fascinating tale that played out in the closing weeks of the Eisenhower administration—a story that begins with the father of Secretary of State John Kerry and a familiar charge that the U.S. intelligence community failed to “connect the dots……..

The Israeli Decision and Lapses in U.S. Intelligence 

The Americans were truly surprised by the audacity of the Israeli nuclear project. Soon after Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion came to power in 1955, he launched a secret initiative to determine whether, and how, Israel could build a nuclear infrastructure to support a national program aimed at producing nuclear explosives. A senior defense official named Shimon Peres took charge of the project. Within three years, he did the almost impossible—transforming the idea of a national nuclear program from a vague vision into a real technological achievement. Unlike the chairman of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, professor David Ernst Bergmann, who preached self-reliance, Peres believed that Israel must not and could not reinvent the wheel—it had to focus on finding a foreign supplier who could provide the most comprehensive nuclear package possible suited for a weapons-oriented program……..

Dimona is the story of a huge secret. Secrecy was essential to shield and insulate the highly vulnerable, newly born project from hostile outsiders. At the very core, of course, it was an Israeli secret—the largest, most awesome and longest-held secret that Israel has ever generated. But it was more than just an Israeli secret; Israel’s partners France and Norway also wanted secrecy.   ………..

The dilemma the Eisenhower administration faced after the discovery of Dimona in December 1960-January 1961 would endure for the entire decade. From then on, three successive U.S. administrations—under presidents Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon—would have to deal with it as well. Kennedy chose the toughest path of struggle and confrontation in his effort to check the program; Johnson realized that the U.S. had limited leverage on the issue and planted the seeds of compromise and looked the other way; finally, in a bargain with Prime Minister Golda Meir, Nixon accepted the Israel’s de facto nuclear status as long as it stayed secret—a controversial and unacknowledged deal that remains in place effectively through the current day.

Avner Cohen is a professor of nonproliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and the author of Israel and the Bomb.

William Burr is a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, George Washington University, where he directs the Archive’s Nuclear Documentation Project and edits its special Web page, The Nuclear Vaulthttp://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/israel-nuclear-weapons-117014.html#.VTAlHtyUcnl

April 17, 2015 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Solar panels on Israel’s parliament to save energy

Israel installs solar panels at parliament to save energy http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/mar/29/israel-installs-solar-panels-at-parliament-to/ By Associated Press8:51 A.M.MARCH 29, 2015 JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has installed solar panels on the roof of its parliament building, creating what it calls the largest solar field of any national assembly in the world.

The office of the parliament speaker says energy generated from some 1,500 solar panels will provide 10 percent of the electricity used at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

The Knesset is also advancing other energy-saving projects, like installing energy-saving lights, automatically shutting down lawmakers’ computers at the end of each workday, and using air conditioning systems to help irrigate the gardens surrounding the building.

The statement says the measures will reduce the Knesset’s energy use by a third.

Scientists will also conduct ecological research on the parliament roof.

The Knesset unveiled the solar field in a dedication ceremony Sunday.

April 1, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, Israel | Leave a comment

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