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History of Israel getting nuclear weapons

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April 20, 2019 Posted by | history, Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration and Israel helping Saudi Arabia towards getting nuclear weapons

 

Concerns over Saudi plan to build nuclear plants after US deal | Al Jazeera English

Trump Admin Complementing Israeli Effort to Give Nuclear Weapons to Saudi Arabia   https://www.mintpressnews.com/israel-saudi-arabia-nuclear-weapons-2/256761/  

Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.  March 29th, 2019, By Alan Macleod

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reuters revealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.

While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark anuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high.

In reality, Iran does not have, nor is it trying to acquire, nuclear weapons technology (something quietly conceded by both the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and the CIA), and has lived up to its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, any such move from Saudi Arabia might provoke a response in kind from Iran, its chief adversary in the region and would sound a death knell for the hopes of the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. The United States has long accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons technology and has placed sanctions on the country.

The Israeli connection

An important nuclear player in the region is Israel, one of the few nations in the world that has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Israel is estimated to possess 100 to 200 nuclear weapons and has taken a strongly adversarial position towards Iran. In 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared before a joint session of Congress with a cartoon image of a bomb to give a speech denouncing Iran and warning of an Iranian military threat. Israel has been key in pushing the United States into a more confrontational stance on Iran through a continuous public-relations drive to present the country as a menace.

Last year Mint Press News reported that the Israeli government had begun selling Saudi Arabia nuclear weapons secrets. Ami Dor-on, a senior official and nuclear specialist at the organization Israel’s Homeland Security, blew the whistle on the clandestine practice. The Israeli actions were the latest evidence of a growing cooperation between the two nations. However, the prospect of a nuclear Saudi Arabia has many concerned.

The threat of a nuclear Saudi Arabia

For some time, Saudi Arabia has been making its presence felt in the Middle East, leading to the destabilization of the entire region. In 2011 Saudi tanks rolled into Bahrain to crush the Arab Spring uprising in the island country, and it continues to be a primary driver of the war in Yemen, labeled by some as genocide. At least 22 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the Saudi bombardment of the country.

Riyadh also continues to fund various jihadist groups in Syria and is one of the largest financiers of terrorism in the world. Before his election, Trump claimed Saudi Arabia was behind the 9/11 attacks and the White House more recently insisted it would hold the kingdom responsible for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. However, as with unabated American support for the Saudi war in Yemen, these proclamations have fallen short.

The Saudi armed services are already a formidable force. Saudi Arabia spends the third most of any country in the world on the military, behind only the U.S. and China, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The Saudi military’s size is estimated at nearly a quarter-million active personnel, who are equipped with the most advanced weapons available.

Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military burden are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.

Top Photo | U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for Israe from Saudi Arabial, the next stop in his international tour, at King Khalid International Airport, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP/Evan Vucci)

Alan MacLeod is an academic and writer for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. His book, Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting was published in April.

March 30, 2019 Posted by | Israel, politics international, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UN raps Israel’s use of ‘unlawful force’ against Gazans 

  Press TV, 23 Mar 19, The United Nations (UN)’s Human Rights Council has denounced Israel’s use of “unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against unarmed Palestinian protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Gazans started protesting along a fence that separates the Gaza Strip from the Israeli-occupied territories on March 30, 2018 demanding the right to return for those Palestinians driven out of their homeland by Israeli aggression and calling for a halt to Israel’s inhumane blockade of the enclave.

Israeli forces deployed to the area have used force from across the fence against the protesters, killing over 260 Palestinians and injuring thousands since the protests started.

On Friday, the Humans Rights Council adopted a resolution on accountability tabled by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The resolution was adopted with 23 votes in favor, eight against, and 15 abstentions. The delegation of one member state was absent.

The text also called for cooperation by the Israeli regime with a preliminary examination that was launched by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2015 into Israeli human rights violations.

The resolution was based on a UN Independent Commission of Inquiry report that found that Israeli forces had committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that “may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity” in killing 189 Palestinians and injuring thousands between March 30 and December 31, 2018……..https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/22/591676/UN-Human-Rights-Council-Israel-lethal-excessive-force-Gaza

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Gaza, Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change taking its toll on the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River

The Sea of Galilee: A Sea of Miracles Disappearing

Where Jesus once preached, the holy waters are draining away,  Climate change and conflict have left the river Jordan a stagnant stream and the Sea of Galilee critically low, Guardian, Oliver Holmes Sun 24 Feb 2019  

Once a raging torrent, the lower Jordan has been starved of water to become a stagnant stream, filled with sewage and dirty run-off from farms. Around 95% of its historical flow has been diverted by agriculture during the past half-century. And the river’s primary source, the Sea of Galilee – where Christians believe the son of God walked on water – has for years been dammed to prevent its demise.

Biblical bodies of water in the Holy Land, eternalised in Christian, Jewish and Muslim ancient texts as godly, are now facing very human threats: climate change, mismanagement and conflict.

Following five consecutive years of drought, the Sea of Galilee has sunk to a 100-year low. A number of small islands have emerged at the water’s surface, and several holiday homes that were built on the shoreline now stand at least 100 metres from the boggy edge.

Overuse has also taken its toll. Last summer, the level of the lake dropped close to a black line, a level at which it could lose its status as a freshwater body. “The black line is our best guess of that point,” says Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of EcoPeace, an organisation of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian environmentalists. “It was tens of centimetres above the black line,” he says, adding that such a shallow depth has not been seen in records taken over the past century.

As the lake’s level falls, it cannot wash away salt fast enough, and its salinity rises. If the Sea of Galilee’s waters were left to hover around the black line, its flora and fauna would start to perish. A glimpse of the lake’s grim future might be seen 350km downriver at the lowest place on the planet: the Dead Sea, a body almost devoid of fish and plant life. “Once the lake becomes saline, that could be irreversible,” says Bromberg, speaking at the muddy edge of the water, reeds poking up behind him………

As long as the Sea of Galilee is under threat, the river Jordan will be too. And their eventual deaths could have explosive ramifications as water in this region has been a key source of conflict. The river Jordan is shared by Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan and Syria, all of which use its depleting reserves………

EcoPeace hopes that good water management will spur on peace to the region. Bromberg is now advocating for a deal in which Israel, which is on the Mediterranean, supplies desalinated water to Jordan. In exchange, Jordan, which is low on water but full of open desert with 320 sunny days a year, will supply solar power.

In the meantime, the river Jordan remains polluted. Most Christian pilgrims who want to be baptised in the holy waters do not venture to the original site where John the Baptist is believed to have led Jesus into the water. That location is in the occupied Palestinian territories next to Jordan, and the Israeli army mined it decades ago. Pilgrims were only allowed to return some years ago……… https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/23/israel-where-jesus-preached-holy-waters-draining-away-sea-of-galilee-river-jordan?CMP=share_btn_tw

February 25, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Israel | Leave a comment

Super Weapon: Israel Could Arm Stealth F-35s with Nuclear Weapons 

  National Interest, by Zachary Keck 20 Jan 19, There is no reason to think that Israel doesn’t have the technical capability to make its new F-35s nuclear capable

By the end of this year, Israel is expected to become the second country after the United States to declare Initial Operational Capability for its F-35s. Already, Tel Aviv has taken possession of five of the multirole fighters,and following an agreement late last month to buy an additional seventeen planes, will ultimately purchase fifty planes. All fifty F-35s are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2024.

(This first appeared in 2017.)

Israeli officials typically describe the F-35s purpose as ensuring the country’s continued air superiority in the region. In particular, they focus on how the plane’s stealth capabilities will allow them to evade Iran’s increasingly capable, Russian-built air defense systems. One mission that is not being discussed is that Israel will likely use its F-35s as a nuclear delivery system.

Although the government refuses to officially acknowledge it, Israel is known to have a nuclear arsenal with as many as 100 warheads. The Jewish State is also believed to possess a nuclear triad, consisting of ground-based Jericho missiles, Dolphin-class submarines equipped with sea-launched cruise missiles and some combination of nuclear-capable aircraft.

It’s likely that the F-35 will be the newest addition to the air leg of Israel’s triad……….At the same time, Israel also assured the United States that it would not “introduce” nuclear weapons in the Middle East, which Israel interpreted to mean it could build a nuclear arsenal as long as it didn’t publicly acknowledge its existence. ……https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/super-weapon-israel-could-arm-stealth-f-35s-nuclear-weapons-42097

January 21, 2019 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

History of Israel’s Secret Nuclear Reactor

The papers, which include notes, memorandums, drafts and summaries by senior Israeli officials of the time, including Israel Galili, an adviser to prime ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir, Eshkol himself, cabinet member Yigal Allon and IDF commander Moshe Dayan, defence chief-turned prime minister Shimon Peres, and senior diplomat Abba Eban, helped Raz piece together important details about the clandestine project.

Moral Qualms and Cost Concerns

The papers revealed that Galili had several concerns about the nuclear endeavour, known as “the enterprise,” including its potential to undermine Israel’s “moral status,” or cause then-Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to attack Israel to try to take out a “justified target.” Finally, he feared that the program could incite Cairo to start work on its own nuclear program.

The documents also indicated that the cost of the Dimona reactor, estimated at about $53 million by Peres in April 1962, was revised upwards by Alon to “three times” the $60 million discussed by the cabinet in 1964. An undated note, presumably written sometime between 1963 and 1966, indicated that the real cost may have been as much as $340 million (about $2.75 billion in present day dollars, accounting for inflation).

“If it were known in advance that it would cost $340 million – would we have voted for Dimona?” the note, written by Eban to Galili, reads.

Meir Proposes Switching From Defense to Offense

The documents showed that after Eshkol succeeded David Ben-Gurion as prime minister in 1963, the new PM’s foreign minister, Golda Meir, proposed admitting the existence of the program in a bid to get support from America’s Jews.

“Our situation will be stronger when the struggle becomes public,” she insisted, adding the need to “switch to offence instead of defence.”

Interestingly, the papers reportedly show that Israeli leaders had to resist pressures to place the project under international supervision, not only from Charles de Gaulle of France, but even from the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations, who urged Israel to sign on to the non-Proliferation Treaty, which was being developed at the time. In one memo, Peres reportedly told Galili that “in order to overcome the supervision [that the US wanted], cooperation by both sides is needed.”

Nuclear Status Undefined

One particularly important note, again by Galili, seems to indicate that even several years into the reactor’s construction, Tel Aviv did not commit to building actual nuclear bombs. “There is no decision by the government of Israel to manufacture atomic weapons,” the note says.

In another bombshell document cited by Raz, Yigal Allon refers to a phraseology agreed between himself and Nixon Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, whereby a nuclear state is defined as “a state that has exploded a bomb or a device.” This definition allowed the US not to classify Israel as a nuclear state subject to the NPT.

“I am constantly using a phrase agreed with Kissinger — that Israel is not a nuclear state,” Allon wrote in one of the papers.

Nuclear Option in 1973

Finally, without providing any direct quotations from the documents, Raz noted that the subject of the possible use of nuclear weapons during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which Israel came dangerously close to defeat at the hands of Egypt and Syria, was also discussed in the papers. In brief, Raz confirmed that Defence Minister Dayan had arrived at defence headquarters in Tel Aviv on the afternoon of 8 October 1973 to recommend preparations to activate the nuclear option.

On October 9, Meir told Israeli Atomic Energy Commission Chief Shalhevet Freier that preparations would not be made without her explicit authorisation. Israel Lior, Meir’s military secretary, similarly indicated to Dayan and Freier that the nuclear option was a no-go.

Citing censorship, Raz indicated that the information he provided addresses “only a small portion of the subject that came up in the notes,” and urged Israeli authorities to allow for a more open discussion of the country’s nuclear program.

 

January 21, 2019 Posted by | history, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Secret Handwritten Memos Reveal How Israel’s Nuclear Program Came to Be

January 19, 2019 Posted by | history, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) a front for Israeli weapons smuggling, and a danger to 1000s of Americans

FBI and CIA’s ‘Duty To Warn’ Victims of Israeli Nuclear Smuggling  https://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2018/12/26/fbi-and-cias-duty-to-warn-victims-of-israeli-nuclear-smuggling/

$500 million Pennsylvania NUMEC toxic cleanup restarts   December 27, 2018 In 2015 the intelligence community acknowledged that it had a “duty to warn” U.S. persons of impending threats of “serious bodily injury.” The objective of that “duty” – which has many loopholes – is to compel intelligence agencies to warn individuals or organizations of threats so they can take evasive measures. It affirms a moral obligation intelligence agencies have to those funding – willingly or not – their operations. The duty to warn demands they no longer stand idly by – or worse attempt to exploit credible threats to Americans – as leverage or for other, secret intelligence purposes.Last fall the US Army Corps of Engineers announced it was finally ready to resume a $500 million toxic waste cleanup of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) dump. An earlier attempt at the Pennsylvania site to excavate was stopped after the discovery of unexpected materials. NUMEC’s plant sites in Apollo and Parks Township have long been the subject of litigation over wrongful mass deaths and illnesses caused by toxic pollution.

NUMEC was launched and managed by Zalman Shapiro, a nuclear chemist credited with solving engineering issues for naval nuclear propulsion in the 1950s. His partner, David Luzer Lowenthal was a smuggler with murky ties to Israeli intelligence and industrialist. Luzer organized the emergence of NUMEC from a complicated merger and acquired facilities for NUMEC in a defunct steel mill in the middle of Apollo, Pennsylvania. The Zionist Organization of America, originally chartered to “do any and all things that may be necessary” to support Israel, supplied three of NUMEC’s executives. Zalman Shapiro, Pittsburgh region president of ZOA, Morton Chatkin and Ivan J. Novick who became ZOA’s national president.

Officially NUMEC was a startup supplier of highly-enriched fuel for the US Navy. But two Central Intelligence Agency officials claimed NUMEC’s true purpose was to amass and divert US government-owned highly enriched uranium into Israel’s nuclear weapons program. 300 kilograms of highly enriched uranium disappeared from NUMEC between 1957-1978, with most of it gone by 1966. Material stolen from NUMEC would have been the most likely source for Israel’s ability to ready nuclear weapons for use during the 1967 Six-Day War.

CIA Tel Aviv Station Chief John Hadden, who performed field operations to sample the environment around Dimona for highly enriched uranium – material Israel was incapable of producing on its own – claimed NUMEC was “an Israeli operation from the beginning.” CIA Directorate of Science and Technology Deputy Director Carl Duckett testified that “NUMEC material had been diverted by the Israelis and used in fabricating weapons.” There were other telltale signs.

Inside NUMEC’s underfunded, ramshackle facilities an Israeli scientist, Baruch Cinai, learned to handle samples of plutonium, a skill subsequently useful to plutonium production at Israel’s Dimona facility. Israeli covert operatives Raphael Eitan, Avraham Bendor and Ephraim Beigun all visited the facility at Shapiro’s invitation in 1968 undercover as various Israeli energy specialists, in the company of Avraham Hermoni, chief of Israel’s nuclear weapons development program. The FBI’s investigation of NUMEC-related activities ultimately shook loose eyewitness testimony that Shapiro was collaborating in the illicit diversion of highly enriched uranium from NUMEC’s U.S.-government owned stockpile to Israel. Under increasing pressure, NUMEC’s regulator, the Atomic Energy Commission, subsequently engineered NUMEC’s corporate buyout and the exit of its management team to save face, after many years of denial and providing easily refuted excuses for NUMECs extreme and inexplicable material “losses.”

That NUMEC was a front operation, following in the footsteps of Israel’s 1940s-era conventional weapons smuggling operations from the US such as Martech, Service Airways, and the Sonneborn Institute, is well-known by the FBI and CIA. Both have released extensive archives of intelligence reports and surveillance photographs of Israeli conventional weapons smuggling from the United States through overseas networks. But both FBI and CIA have fought attempts at full disclosure of clandestine Israeli nuclear weapons related activities in the US, ostensibly because such smuggling has been unpunished and unabated. It is also US policy, under penalty of prosecution, that no federal agency may admit that Israel has nuclear weapons or release information about its program.

A February 2015 lawsuit seeking all of the CIA’s “thousands” of files about NUMEC was ended when the presiding judge refused to allow adding the US Department of Justice – which has worn many hats in the NUMEC affair – as an additional defendant. However some CIA documents were released during the court battle, revealing how the CIA had refused to cooperate with two separate FBI investigations of NUMEC, preferring to cover up damning information obtained from clandestine CIA operations in Israel confirming the diversion.

Documents grudgingly released by the FBI so far reveal the intelligence community likely knows that cost-cutting at NUMEC to achieve its smuggling aims was what made it such a toxic polluter. On May 5, 1969, Shapiro discussed a major toxic spill caused by such shortcuts, most likely with David Lowenthal, since the acquisition of other US companies was also part of the conversation. Shapiro ordered NUMEC workers – who often worked with no protective gear of any kind – to dampen down the spill with picks and shovels to avoid the spread of toxic dust and rain runoff carrying away the waste. Shapiro’s call was wiretapped by the FBI.

The full phone call summary reveals how Shapiro – who commuted every day from Pittsburgh – considered NUMEC workers as mostly replaceable and expendable.

“It’s not only a bad spill but ‘actually they are operating outside compliance.’ They had the drums all together. They have about 200 drums and estimate that about six a day will corrode through. The trouble lay with a fluoride which was put in to help the decay, and this was not checked. CENSORED said they are also about $230,000 over on their construction costs for the scrap plant. Z [Zalman Shapiro] said if they could get other people, there would be a lot of firing.”

NUMEC workers and town residents, exposed to radiation levels hundreds of times higher than health standards allowed, continue to suffer fallout and death from NUMEC. In addition to residents, the US Army Corps of Engineer contractors restarting the cleanup could benefit greatly from knowing what material is likely present – as well as what is not – at the site. Residents and the cleanup crew would also benefit from knowing of any intelligence on the potential threat that materials stolen decades ago might be returned or buried under cover of the cleanup at the site for crews to “find.”

Legal precedents suggest such toxic exposure as occurs at NUMEC could amount to “oppression, fraud, or malice” and be sufficient for victims to recover damages from polluters. However, neither the CIA nor the FBI have met their current obligations under “duty to warn” to officially alert the victims of NUMEC and contractors precisely what dangers they are still facing as the cleanup recommences.

Such overdue disclosures could also allow NUMEC’s victims to pursue claims against the perpetrator and beneficiary of the fraud and pollution – the Israeli government. Evidence stored away in FBI and CIA files could fully reveal ZOA’s NUMEC involvement. If ZOA did more than unwittingly provide key members of management, ZOA’s $40 – plus million in current assets could go a long way toward compensating the long-suffering Pennsylvania victims of Israeli nuclear smuggling and partially shift the burden of paying to clean up after NUMEC away from American taxpayers.

Grant F. Smith is the author of the book Divert! NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro and the diversion of US weapons-grade uranium into the Israeli nuclear weapons program. He is director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington, D.C. and plaintiff in the 2015 lawsuit calling on the CIA to release all NUMEC-related files.

December 29, 2018 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Israel has the World’s Most Secretive Nuclear Weapons Program

Introducing the World’s Most Secretive Nuclear Weapons Program (Not North Korea) Who could that be? National Interest, by Kyle Mizokami 24 Dec 18 

That can only mean one nation…

In a private email leaked to the public in September of 2016, former secretary of state and retired U.S. Army general Colin Powell  alluded to Israel  having an arsenal of “200 nuclear weapons.” While this number appears to be an exaggeration, there is no doubt that Israel does have a small but powerful nuclear stockpile, spread out among its armed forces. Israeli nuclear weapons guard against everything from defeat in conventional warfare to serving to deter hostile states from launching nuclear, chemical and biological warfare attacks against the tiny country. …….

Not much is known about early Israeli weapons, particularly their yield and the size of the stockpile. The strategic situation, in which Israel was outnumbered in conventional weapons but had no nuclear adversaries, meant Israel likely had smaller tactical nuclear weapons to destroy masses of attacking Arab tanks, military bases and military airfields. Still, the relatively short ranges between Israel and its neighbors meant that the Jericho missile, with only a three-hundred-mile range, could still hit Cairo and Damascus from the Negev desert.

Israel does not confirm nor deny having nuclear weapons. Experts generally assess the country as currently having approximately eighty nuclear weapons, fewer than countries such as France, China and the United Kingdom, but still a sizeable number considering its adversaries have none. These weapons are spread out among Israel’s version of a nuclear “triad” of land-, air- and sea-based forces scattered in a way that they deter surprise nuclear attack.

…….. Israel’s first land-based nuclear weapons were based on Jericho I missiles developed in cooperation with France. Jericho I is believed to have been retired, replaced by Jericho II and -III ballistic missiles. Jericho II has a range of 932 miles, while Jericho III, designed to hold Iran and other distant states at risk, has a range of at least 3,106 miles. The total number of Israeli ballistic missiles is unknown, but estimated by experts to number at least two dozen.

Like other nuclear-armed nations, the Israeli Navy has reportedly deployed nukes to what is generally agreed to as the most survivable seagoing platform: submarines. Israel has five German-built Dolphin-class submarines, which experts believe are equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. The cruise missiles are reportedly based off the Popeye air-to-ground missile or the Gabriel antiship missile. This ensures a so-called “second-strike capability”—as long as one submarine is on patrol, some portion of Israel’s nuclear deterrent remains invulnerable to a nuclear first strike, guaranteeing the ability to launch a nuclear counterattack.

The establishment of a nuclear triad demonstrates how seriously Israel takes the idea of nuclear deterrence. The country will likely not declare itself a nuclear power any time soon; ambiguity over ownership of nukes has served the country very well. The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and general instability across the Middle East has ensured that Israel will likely remain the only nuclear-armed state in the region for the foreseeable future, but a collapse of the agreement or some new nuclear program could easily change that.https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/introducing-worlds-most-secretive-nuclear-weapons-program-not-north-korea-39722

December 29, 2018 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UN is being pressed by Iran and Israel – each wanting action against the other

Iran and Israel call each other nuclear threats, ask U.N. to take action, Bozorgmehr SharafedinDan WilliamsLONDON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) 21 Sept 18,  – Iran asked the United Nations to condemn what it described as Israeli nuclear threats against it on Thursday, while Israel said it was stepping up security around its atomic sites as a precaution against threats from Tehran and its regional allies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a visit to a secretive Israeli atomic reactor in August to warn the country’s enemies that it has the means to destroy them, in what appeared to be a reference to its assumed nuclear arsenal.

“The United Nations’ members should not turn a blind eye to these threats and must take firms actions to eliminate all Israeli nuclear weapons,” Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gholamali Khoshrou said in letters to the U.N. secretary general and the security council, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency. Khoshrou asked the United Nations to force Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and bring its nuclear program under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a U.N. atomic watchdog.

The director general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission said on Tuesday that Iran and Syria posed significant proliferation threats to the region and called for U.N. action at the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency now taking place in Vienna.

………Israel, which is outside the NPT, neither confirms nor denies having a nuclear arsenal, a decades-old “ambiguity” policy. It is trying to lobby world powers to follow the United States in withdrawing from the 2015 deal with Iran that capped the Islamic Republic’s nuclear capabilities in return for lifting of sanctions. The Israelis say the agreement does not do enough to denying their arch-foe the means to eventually build a bomb. Tehran, which is a signatory to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), denies wanting to so…….. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-israel/iran-and-israel-call-each-other-nuclear-threats-ask-u-n-to-take-action-idUSKCN1M00ML

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September 22, 2018 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran Says Israel Must Be Forced to Join  Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

Reacting to Nuclear Violation Claim, Iran Says Israel Must Be Forced to Join NPT, Sputnuk News, 21 Sept 18   Iran’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a biting response to his Israeli counterpart’s claim that Iran and Syria posed “significant proliferation threats” to the Middle East and the world.

Iranian IAEA Ambassador Kazem Gharibabadi urged the international community to pressure Israel to sign onto Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), saying that doing so would be the only way to bring peace to the Middle East.

Speaking at the 62nd Annual Session of the ongoing IAEA General Conference in Vienna, Gharibabadi charged Israel with threatening its neighbors, pointed to its possession of nuclear weapons, and chastised the IAEA for giving in to Israeli pressure and not following up on what he said were the country’s “dangerous” nuclear activities.

According to the ambassador, little progress has been made on nuclear disarmament, one of the NPT’s major stated objectives, in the fifty years since the treaty was signed. Gharibabadi also pointed to the Middle East Nuclear Weapon Freeze Zone idea, a UN project dating back to 1970s aimed at prohibiting nuclear weapons in the region, and how this proposal too has suffered from a “lack of political will.”

Gharibabadi’s remarks came on the heels of comments at the conference by Israel Atomic Energy Commission chairman Ze’ev Snir, who also called on the international community to take action against alleged Iranian and Syrian nuclear activities……..

srael, which has a policy of neither admitting or denying the existence of a nuclear weapons program, is presently believed to be the only country in the Middle East to possess nuclear weapons, with estimates that it has anywhere between 80 and 400 warheads deliverable by a variety of air, sub and missile platforms.

Iran, an NPT signatory under observance by the IAEA over compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, is barred from the creation of nuclear weapons. The fate of the 2015 deal, which was signed by the Iran, the United States, Russia, China, and several European countries, was put into question after Washington withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and vowed to impose unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic…….. https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201809211068234829-iran-responds-to-israeli-nuclear-claims/ 

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

More evidence of Israeli secret nuclear bomb test – radioactive sheep in Australia

Radioactive sheep shed light on secret nuclear weapons test, https://nypost.com/2018/08/14/radioactive-sheep-shed-light-on-secret-nuclear-weapons-test/ Christopher Carbone, Fox News, August 14, 2018 Newly discovered data from radioactive sheep provides strong evidence that a mysterious “double flash” detected almost 39 years ago near a remote island group was a nuclear explosion.

Ever since the flash was observed by a US Vela satellite orbiting above Earth in September 1979, there’s been speculation that it was produced by a nuclear weapon test by Israel. International researchers in the journal Science & Global Security analyzed previously unpublished results of radiation testing at a US lab of thyroid organs from sheep in southeastern Australia in order to make their determination.

The flash was located in the area of Marion and Prince Edward islands, which are in the South Indian Ocean about halfway between Africa and Antarctica.

“A new publication sheds further light on the Vela Incident of 1979,” said Professor Nick Wilson of Otago University at Wellington, who highlighted the findings but was not involved with the study itself. “[The research] adds to the evidence base that this was an illegal nuclear weapons test, very likely to have been conducted by Israel with assistance from the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Wilson, an epidemiologist and member of the Australia-based Medical Association for the Prevention of War, said the test would have violated the Limited Test Ban Treaty signed in 1963, and urged the United Nations to mount a full inquiry.

The researchers conclude that iodine-131, which is an unstable radioactive form of the element iodine found in the thyroids of some Australian sheep, “would be consistent with them having grazed in the path of a potential radioactive fallout plume from a [Sept. 22, 1979] low-yield nuclear test in the Southern Indian Ocean.”

Thyroid samples from sheep killed in Melbourne were regularly sent to the US for testing — monthly in 1979 but also in the 1950s and 1980s, researchers say.

According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the sheep had been grazing in an area hit by rain four days after the flash incident was observed, which would have been in the downwind path from the suspected explosion site.

Researchers also said the detection of a “hydroacoustic signal” from underwater listening devices at the time is another piece of evidence pointing to a nuclear test.

Israel, which has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of a nuclear program, dismissed the claim that it was responsible for the 1979 incident.

srael’s ambassador to New Zealand, Itzhak Gerberg, told the Herald, when asked if Israel was responsible for the explosion: “Simply a ridiculous assumption that does not hold water.”

However, the country’s former Knesset speaker, Avrum Burg, told a conference in 2013 that “Israel has nuclear and chemical weapons” and called for public discussion.

Commenting on the findings, US nuclear weapons expert Leonard Weiss of Stanford University said in the online Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the “important” new evidence “removes virtually all doubt” that the flash was a small-yield nuclear explosion.

Weiss added that there was “growing circumstantial evidence” that it was conducted by Israel.

“Israel was the only country that had the technical ability and policy motivation to carry out such a clandestine test,” he said.

August 15, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel flagrantly violated the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

A double-flash from the past and Israel’s nuclear arsenal, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Leonard Weiss, 12 Aug 18 , August 3, 2018 

For more than half a century, Israel has maintained a cover of silence and opacity regarding its nuclear program and arsenal, backed up by the threat of severe punishment and persecution for any Israeli (see Mordechai Vanunu) who dares publicly breach the cover. In return for this silence, plus a pledge of restraint on certain nuclear development activities, the United States has reportedly agreed in writing not to pressure Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or get rid of its nuclear arsenal. (See this recent New Yorker article by Adam Entous.) US policy on Israel also includes its own public silence concerning Israeli nuclear weapons. But this policy should change as a result of a new scientific study of an event that took place nearly 40 years ago, during the Carter Administration. That study makes it virtually certain that the event was an illegal nuclear test. This strengthens previous analyses concluding that Israel likely carried out a nuclear test in violation of US law and the Limited Test Ban Treaty. The response to this new study will determine whether the United States and the international community of nations are serious about nuclear arms control.

On September 22, 1979, a US Vela satellite, designed to detect clandestine nuclear tests, recorded a “flash” off the coast of South Africa that every nuclear scientist monitoring the satellite’s detectors at the time believed fit the classic description of a nuclear explosion. President Jimmy Carter’s book based on his White House diaries notes that he was immediately informed of the “flash” by his national security team; with the information came speculation that the event was an Israeli nuclear test at sea, with South African participation. ……..

Important new and dispositive evidence that the “flash” was a nuclear test has been added recently by two respected scientists, Christopher Wright of the Australian Defense Force Academy and Lars-Eric De Geer of the Swedish Defense Research Agency (Ret.), writing in the journal Science & Global Security. (The 22 September 1979 Vela Incident: The Detected Double-Flash, Science & Global Security, 25:3, 95-124, DOI: 10.1080/08929882.2017.1394047) ……….

The new study by Wright and De Geer should receive wide attention because it provides a test of the commitment by the international community to nuclear arms control and nonproliferation norms. While a comprehensive nuclear test ban is yet to be achieved, the nations of the world did manage to put in place an extremely important arms control, non-proliferation, and environmental protection measure called The Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT). This treaty, which went into force in 1963, bans nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water, thus rendering legal only those nuclear tests performed underground. Israel signed the treaty in 1963 and ratified it in 1964. The Israeli nuclear test puts Israel in violation of the LTBT, which has been signed by 108 countries, including all the officially recognized nuclear weapon states plus India, Pakistan, and Iran. Israel would also be in violation of the Glenn Amendment to the Arms Export Control Act, a US law passed in 1977, requiring the cutoff of military assistance to any country setting off a nuclear explosion. The president can waive the sanction, but he has to face the issue.

In the meantime, what should be a consequence of the flagrant violation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty?

At a time when public demands for nuclear transparency are loudly and justifiably trumpeted toward Iran and North Korea, which are pariahs in many Western eyes, it is illogical at best and hypocritical at worst for the world, and particularly the United States, to maintain public silence on Israel’s nuclear program, especially in the face of a violation of an important nuclear norm. For the sake of future progress on arms control, on steps to reduce nuclear risk, and on honest public as well as private communication among governments and their constituents to achieve such progress, it is time to end an existing double standard that has allowed Israel to escape accountability for developing advanced nuclear weapons by violating a major international treaty. https://thebulletin.org/2018/08/a-double-flash-from-the-past-and-israels-nuclear-arsenal/?utm_source=Bulletin%20Newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20email&utm_campaign=August10

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel said to have 300 Nuclear Weapons. And Some Are in the ‘Ocean.

Israel Might Have as Many as 300 Nuclear Weapons. And Some Are in the ‘Ocean.’ National Interest
Thanks to Germany, 
by Sebastien Roblin, 24 July 18
Israel has  never officially admitted to possessing nuclear weapons.

Unofficially, Tel Aviv wants everyone to know it has them, and doesn’t hesitate to make thinly-veiled references to its willingness to use them if confronted by an existential threat. Estimates on the size of Tel Aviv’s nuclear stockpile range from 80 to 300 nuclear weapons, the latter number exceeding China’s arsenal……..

Though Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is preoccupied by the fear that an adversary might one day attempt a first strike to destroy its nuclear missiles and strike planes on the ground before they can retaliate. Currently, the only hostile states likely to acquire such a capability are Iran or Syria.

To forestall such a strategy, Israeli has aggressively targeted missile and nuclear technology programs in Iraq, Syria and Iran with air raids, sabotage and assassination campaigns . However, it also has developed a second-strike capability—that is, a survivable weapon which promises certain nuclear retaliation no matter how effective an enemy’s first strike……….In the 1990s the United States declined to provide Israel with submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles due to the rules of the Missile Technology Control Regime prohibiting transfer of cruise missile with a range exceeding 300 miles.

Instead, Tel Aviv went ahead and developed their own. In 2000, U.S. Navy radars detected test launches of Israeli SLCMs in the Indian Ocean that struck a target 930 miles away. The weapon is generally believed to be the Popeye Turbo—an adaptation of a subsonic air-launched cruise missile that can allegedly carry a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead. However, the SLCM’s characteristics are veiled in secrecy and some sources suggest a different missile type entirely is used. An Israeli Dolphin submarine may have struck the Syrian port of Latakia with a conventional cruise missile in 2013 due to reports of a shipment of Russian P-800 anti-ship missiles. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/israel-might-have-many-300-nuclear-weapons-and-some-are-ocean-27011

July 30, 2018 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The dangers in Israel’s and USA’s policy of deception about Israels’ nuclear weapons

In early May, as the world held its breath in anticipation of the nuclear disarmament discussions between US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and struggled to digest Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, an international meeting on the subject was winding up in Geneva. Over several days, representatives of dozens of states discussed preparations for the fifth review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) scheduled to take place in 2020.

As always, the Egyptian representative attacked Israel for refusing to sign the treaty. The Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Raza Najafi, took the opportunity to take a dig at the United States for its nuclear cooperation with the “Zionist regime.” The Iranian news agency reported that Najafi stressed his country’s full commitment to the treaty.

Also as always, Israel observed the scene from the sidelines, just as it did last July when 122 states signed a treaty banning a series of nuclear weapons-related activity such as attempts to develop, test, produce, spread and stockpile such weapons. Obviously, the world’s nine nuclear states did not append their signatures to the document. Israel, which is not a member of this club, was also absent from the list of signatories. Iran signed.

For over five decades, Israel has been playing both sides. Despite numerous and persistent indications that not all of its nuclear reactors are designed for peaceful use, Israel does not admit to having a bomb. In fact, for years, it has maintained a policy of ambiguity, neither denying nor admitting possession of a nuclear bomb. Last week, The New Yorker reported that shortly after assuming office, Trump agreed to a request by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sign a letter promising not to press Israel to give up its nuclear weapons. According to the report, three previous residents of the White House had signed similar commitments.

The presidential commitment has a caveat. According to The New Yorker, there is an unwritten understanding on Israel maintaining its longstanding nuclear policy. In other words, Israel cannot admit to having nuclear weapons. This ambiguity enables the United States to provide Israel with a diplomatic umbrella and to repel pressure on it to join the NPT. It also requires Israel to keep IAEA inspectors away from its reactors. As a result, Israelis know nothing about the condition of the aging nuclear reactor in the southern town of Dimona and the extent of its compliance with international safety standards.

In order to maintain its policy, Israel’s military censors prohibit Israeli journalists from referring directly to Israel’s nuclear capability. They are obliged to hide behind the absurd phrasing “according to foreign sources” when referring to the matter. Over time, the policy of ambiguity has turned into a policy of deception. In 1976, former defense minister and then-Knesset member Moshe Dayan admitted in an interview with a French TV station that Israel had the capacity to manufacture a nuclear bomb. If the Arabs introduce a nuclear bomb into the Middle East at some point in the future, argued Dayan, it is incumbent on Israel to have a bomb first — but not in order to use it first, of course. In 1996, Prime Minister Shimon Peres said in an interview with the Israeli Maariv newspaper, “Give me peace and I will give up the nuclear [program].”

Talking to journalists in 1998, Peres boasted that Israel “built a nuclear option, not in order to have Hiroshima, but an Oslo,” a reference to the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement known as the Oslo Accord. In 2006, incoming US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the former CIA director under President H. W. George Bush, told a Senate confirmation hearing that Iran was “surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons — Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf.”

That is how Israel managed both to create nuclear deterrence and to prevent inspection of all its nuclear facilities.

Explaining its support for Israel’s nuclear ambiguity in position papers it presented at the recent Geneva conference, the United States said countries in the region were trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction in violation of their NPT commitments. In order to clarify that it was not pointing at Israel, the United States argued that these states refuse “to recognize and engage Israel as a sovereign state … [and] instead pursue divisive actions to isolate Israel.” More so; since a dig at Trump’s predecessor is always de rigeur, the position papers claim that international discussions on the matter between 2010 and 2015 (during the Barack Obama administration) illustrated the limitations of focusing on nuclear weapons without addressing the underlying political and security issues in the region.

Indeed, the vision of a denuclearized Middle East cannot be realized without addressing the region’s political and security issues. However, these issues cannot be addressed without dealing with the prolonged Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and breathing life into the long dormant 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which foresees Arab states normalizing ties with Israel in return for its withdrawal from the occupied territories. To avoid background noise that could disrupt the on-again, off-again Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic negotiations over the years, the American partners in what is known as the Middle East Quartet (which also includes Russia, the UN and the European Union) have been ignoring Israel’s refusal to join the NPT. The US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran as well as the relocation of its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, its boycott of UNESCO and its recently launched trade war are all weakening the Trump administration’s leverage in the international diplomatic arena. The bear hug between Israel and Trump might prove the beginning of the end of Israel’s nuclear ambiguity policy and the opening shot of a wild nuclear weapons race in the Middle East.

June 30, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment