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Political wrangle in Israel, following admission that Israel destroyed a Syrian reactor in 2007

Israel finally admitted it destroyed a Syrian reactor in 2007 — and set off a battle of egos, WP,  March 22  JERUSALEM — Israel’s admission Wednesday that it was behind a mysterious attack on a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria more than a decade ago has caused a storm.

But not in the way one might think.

Within hours of the Israeli military censor permitting local media to publish most of the details of the 2007 air attack on a secret desert facility in northeastern Syria, as well as releasing blurry black-and-white video footage, former political and military leaders went to war over who should be credited for the operation.

In Israel’s eyes, the operation was a resounding success. It prevented its northern neighbor from obtaining nuclear capabilities. Ultimately, it also ensured that the Islamic State militant group would not possess nuclear weapons when it took over the region several years later.

But since Israel’s confirmation of its role in the airstrike, a battle has played out on Israeli television and radio and online, pitting two former Israeli prime ministers, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak; a former Mossad chief; and a former military intelligence chief against one another.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman later said he regretted allowing the material to be published.

The attack occurred in the early hours of Sept. 6, 2007. Eight Israeli fighter jets flew north along the Mediterranean toward their target 280 miles from the Syrian capital, Damascus. Close to 1 a.m., they dropped 24 tons of ammunition on an isolated desert building, suspected to be a secret nuclear reactor being built by President Bashar al-Assad……..


March 22, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics, Syria | Leave a comment

Iraq is left with long term toxic legacy of USA’s use of depleted uranium weapons

Iraq, 15 years On: A Toxic US Legacy, March 18, 2018, by  Middle East Eye   Fifteen years ago this month, the United States spearheaded a fantastically bloody war on Iraq as part of its ongoing effort to ensure the Iraqi nation’s perpetual misery. Common Dreams, by Belén Fernández,  Fifteen years ago this month, the United States spearheaded a fantastically bloody war on Iraq ….

Increasing rates of cancer and birth defects …..

Consider, for instance, Cockburn’s 2010 article for The Independent, headlined “Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima'”. In it, he outlined the results of a study by British scientist Chris Busby and colleagues Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi on the increase in reports of cancer, birth defects, infant mortality and other forms of suffering in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the focus of a particularly vicious US assault.

To be sure, as one of the top polluters on the entire planet, the US military has never been thrilled about acknowledging what would appear to be obvious: that saturating the environment with toxic materials will have repercussions on both environmental and human health, including the health of the United States’ own warriors, as underlined by the afflictions affecting veterans of the Vietnam War and first Gulf War, among other imperial escapades.

According to Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an award-winning toxicologist based in Michigan, “around six billion bullets were expended into the Iraqi environment” between 2002 and 2005 alone – which, along with bombs, have led to “public contamination with … toxic metals”.

Depleted uranium: a long-term hazard

But the US military arsenal extends far beyond traditional guns and bombs. In 2012, Robert Fisk wrote about a 14-month-old Iraqi named Sayef who had a severely enlarged head, was blind, paralysed and unable to swallow. Noting that much blame for the rise in congenital birth defects in Fallujah had been directed at the United States’ use of white phosphorus there, Fisk was nonetheless forced to include the caveat: “No one, of course, can produce cast-iron evidence that American munitions have caused the tragedy of Fallujah’s children.”

Yet the possibility of a cause-and-effect relationship becomes more and more difficult to deny. Already in 2009, the Guardian had reported that doctors in Fallujah were “dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants” as the previous year, such as a baby born with two heads.

In 2013, Al Jazeera quoted Sharif al-Alwachi of the Babil Cancer Centre in southern Iraq, who attributed escalating cancer rates since 2003 on the US military’s use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. Al Jazeera also threw in the following uplifting note: “The remaining traces of DU in Iraq represent a formidable long-term environmental hazard, as they will remain radioactive for more than 4.5 billion years.”

Indeed, DU constitutes a can of worms unto itself. A 2016 Washington Spectator essay titled “Irradiated Iraq,” by Washington, DC-based investigative journalist Barbara Koeppel, remarks on the convenient US classification of its own uranium weapons as “conventional” when in fact “they are radioactive and chemically toxic”.

Destructive capacity

This is the same US, of course, that goes into warmongering hissy-fits each and every time the word “radioactive” comes up in the context of Iran while also engaging in countless other varieties of hypocritical rampage.

Koeppel cites former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter‘s observation: “The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its non-existent WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties.”

Luckily for the US, there are plenty of members of the national media and wider domestic landscape willing to succumb to the notion that DU is simply Something We Don’t Talk About; you might even say the issue itself is radioactive.

Others, however, have wholeheartedly embraced the destructive wonders of DU, as was the case with a US special operations soldier I spoke with earlier this year. This young man had just completed tours of duty in Iraq and Syria, where the US recently came under criticism for its renewed use of DU; he expressed dismay that sectors of the international community had failed to appreciate the effectiveness of the weaponry in question.

Back in 2001, the International Committee of the Red Cross offered some watered-down thoughts on DU, gently suggesting that international humanitarian law “prohibit[s] weapons, means or methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, which have indiscriminate effects or which cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment”…..

March 19, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, environment, health, Israel | Leave a comment

Netanyahu says Israel could act against Iran’s ’empire’

Robin EmmottThomas Escritt  18 Feb 18  MUNICH (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation………

February 17, 2018 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Risk of cyber hacking of medical CT scan machines

CT machines can now be hacked to boost radiation and cause ‘severe damage’ to patient, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers warn that medical imaging devices aren’t properly protected against cyberthreats. Tech Republic By Conner Forrest | January 30, 2018 

  • Medical imaging device (MID) manufacturers and healthcare providers must work harder to protect these machines from cyberattacks. — Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2018
  • An attackers could compromise a computer behind a CT machine, increase the radiation levels and cause “severe damage” and harm to a hospital patient. — Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2018

In a new report detailing cyberattacks on medical imaging devices (MIDs), researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Malware Lab noted that attackers could hack a computed tomography (CT) device and cause “severe damage” to a patient.

In the paper— Know Your Enemy: Characteristics of Cyber-Attacks on Medical Imaging Devices—researchers explain that many medical devices like CT and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines don’t receive regular updates and are easy to exploit. For CT machines, an attacker could compromise the computer that controls it and up the radiation levels to hurt a patient. Attackers could also disable or block MIDs during a ransomware attack, according to a BGU press release.

Many traditional industries, such as healthcare, often rely on legacy tools as a means of remaining compliant or avoiding the arduous task of migrating data. Unfortunately, if these tools aren’t patched, they could easily be attacked and leveraged for financial gain………

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Israel, safety | Leave a comment

Israel’s 54-year-old nuclear reactor a safety risk 

Aljazeera,  by Harry Fawcett  

The Dimona reactor, which began its life in 1963, is one of Israel’s most closely guarded secret installations.

A study made public last year found more than 1500 fissures within the reactor core.

Israel is estimated to have more than 100 nuclear warheads, the plutonium for which comes from its Dimona reactor…….

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Israel, safety | 1 Comment

Israel is ‘reviewing’ travel restrictions on nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu

Israel ‘reviewing’ nuclear spy Vanunu’s travel restrictions, Foreign Ministry to determine appropriate restrictions for Dimona secret-spiller who wants to join his wife in Norway, October 1, 2017 The Foreign Ministry said on Sunday it’s reviewing the travel ban imposed on Israeli nuclear secret-spiller Mordechai Vanunu after Norway granted him permission to immigrate so he can be united with his wife.

“Israel will continue to review updates of the situation in order to determine appropriate restrictions in accordance with security dangers posed by Vanunu,” a statement said.

Vanunu’s wife, Kristin Joachimsen, told Norway’s TV2 channel Friday the couple requested family reunification after they wed in May 2015. Norway’s Directorate of Immigration confirmed permission had been granted.

Vanunu served 18 years in prison for leaking details and pictures of an alleged Israeli nuclear weapons program to a British newspaper. He sought asylum in Norway after his 2004 release……..

Israel is the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power, refusing to confirm or deny that it has such weapons.

Israel has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or to allow international surveillance of its Dimona plant in the Negev desert in southern Israel.

October 2, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, Israel | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear deal is best option, says Israeli general

 The Times, Israel’s former nuclear chief has expressed support for the nuclear deal with Iran and criticised the attempts of President Trump and Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, to try to tear up the agreement.

Uzi Eilam, 83, a retired brigadier-general who for a decade was director-general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, said that while he had no doubt that Iran wanted to develop nuclear weapons the agreement signed in July 2015 was “the best of options”.

Mr Eilam, who was also chief scientist of the defence ministry, has been an outspoken critic of the Netanyahu government’s policy on Iran and its campaign against the nuclear deal championed by President Obama.

“The most critical element is fissile material. When you don’t have fissile material you don’t…(subscribers only)

September 30, 2017 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Trump, Netanyahu – hatred of Obama fuels their opposition to Iran nuclear agreement

Obama-complex Fuels Trump and Netanyahu’s Fight Against Iran Nuclear Deal, Haaretz, Chemi Shalev Sep 17, 2017 
Both were slighted by the former U.S. president and both are seeking payback by expunging his signature foreign policy achievement.
Donald Trump is obsessed with Barack Obama. The U.S. president never misses an opportunity to insult and taunt his predecessor. Trump does his best to diminish Obama’s achievements as he endeavors to erase them from the history books as well. His task is naturally easier in foreign affairs and national security, where his independent authority is wider. He withdrew from the Trans Pacific Partnership, backed away from the Paris Accord on global warming and scaled back Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba.
But just as repealing Obamacare was and remains the principle objective in expunging Obama’s legacy on the domestic front, so is Obama’s nuclear accord with Iran seen as the red flag that won’t let Trump rest until he tears it to shreds.
The hostility between the 45th president and the 44th, unprecedented in recent presidential history, is the product of Trump’s feelings of inferiority, his narcissistic personality and his cynical political exploitation of American racism, which he may or not share…….
he can’t stand the fact that as a direct consequence of his problematic presidency, most of the world misses Obama today more than it appreciated him when he was in office.
Benjamin Netanyahu shares Trump’s Obama-complex but seeks to exploit it as well. Obama handed Netanyahu a stinging defeat, perhaps the worst of his career, when he moved the Iran nuclear deal through Congress, notwithstanding Netanyahu’s objections and despite his controversial speech before a joint session in March 2015. Obama didn’t hide his disappointment from Netanyahu, though there is a marked difference in his assessment of Trump and of the Israeli prime minister; the latter, as Obama has often conceded, is intelligent. What Netanyahu and Trump have in common, among other things, is their inability to accept criticism, their tendency to turn critics into enemies and their fervent wish to wipe the smile off what they see as Obama’s condescending face.
This is the backdrop to the meeting in New York on Monday between Trump and Netanyahu, the two senior members of the Obama Victims Club, who are both seeking payback by trying to erase his signature foreign policy achievement. In principle, the two are unlikely to disagree.

September 18, 2017 Posted by | Israel, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Israel STILL punishing Mordechai Vanunu

The Ferret 18th July 2017, On 10 July 2017, Mordechai Vanunu was given a two-month suspended jail
sentence by Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. Vanunu is a former nuclear
technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Centre in Dimona, Israel, who
served an 18-year prison sentence for revealing information about
Israel’s atomic program in 1986.

He was sentenced earlier this month for
violating the conditions of his release from prison, having met with
foreigners in recent years. After his release from jail in 2004, Israel
banned Vanunu from travelling abroad or speaking with foreigners without
approval, alleging he has more details to divulge on the Dimona atomic

Billy Briggs has been to Jerusalem twice to interview Vanunu. In
2005, Vanunu was arrested three days after they met and charged with
speaking to foreigners and violating the conditions of his parole.

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Israel, politics | 1 Comment

French President Emmanuel Macron assures Israel of ‘vigilance’ on Iran nuclear pact

Macron assures Israel of ‘vigilance’ on Iran nuclear pact,  French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday assured visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his “vigilance” regarding the 2015 nuclear accord reached by Western powers with Iran.

Netanyahu “expressed his concerns regarding the Iranian regime,” Macron told reporters with Netanyahu at his side.
“I assured him of our vigilance, in particular over the strict implementation of the accord… in all its provisions.”
Netanyahu was a vocal opponent of the deal, which saw sanctions against Iran eased in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. The French presidency said Sunday’s meeting, the first official talks between Macron and Netanyahu, would be an occasion to “signal our lack of complacency towards Iran”.
Israel was rattled last month when Tehran launched fired six missiles from western Iran targeting bases of the Islamic State group in retaliation for attacks in Tehran that killed 17 people in the first Isis-claimed operations in the country.
Netanyahu has repeatedly said Iran is a threat to the Jewish state, the Middle East and potentially the world.

July 17, 2017 Posted by | France, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Corruption in Israel-Germany submarine deal – suspects held

Suspects remanded in Israel-Germany submarine deal probe, 
JERUSALEM (Reuters) by Maayan Lubell, JULY 10, 2017- Three suspects were remanded in custody and a fourth ordered held under house arrest on Monday after Israeli police questioned six people on suspicion of corruption in a $2 billion deal to buy submarines and patrol craft from Germany.

The 2016 deal has been under public scrutiny since it emerged that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer also represented the local agent of the German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems set to build the vessels.

The six, who were questioned under caution on suspicion of bribery, fraud and tax offences, include public officials and private citizens, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said. No further details were immediately available.

German authorities also are looking into the deal.

In June, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Germany’s national security council had approved the sale of the three nuclear-capable submarines to Israel and that authorities inserted a clause into the contract giving it the right to void it if corruption allegations were proven……

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Israel’s secret plan to detonate nuclear weapon in 1967

‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display, NYT,  JUNE 3, 2017 On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula as a warning to Egyptian and other Arab forces, according to an interview with a key organizer of the effort that will be published Monday.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Court case: $234B In Aid To Israel Violates US Law Against Supporting Secret Nuclear States

Lawsuit Warns $234B In Aid To Israel Violates US Law Against Supporting Secret Nuclear States, Mint Press, By Kit O’Connell Follow on Facebook |  @KitOConnell | August 16, 2016

The lawsuit warns that the U.S. gave Israel about $234 billion in foreign aid since the passage of the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976, despite a ban on support for secret nuclear weapons programs.​
By Kit O’Connell AUSTIN, Texas — A lawsuit warns that U.S. aid to Israel violates a law meant to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation, even as the United States prepares to increase the already massive Israeli aid program.

Filed Aug. 8 by Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy, or IRMEP, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the suit alleges that U.S. aid to Israel violates two amendments to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, known as the the Symington and Glenn Amendments, which collectively ban support for countries engaged in clandestine nuclear programs.

In the lawsuit, Smith alleges that violating these amendments means that Israel has received approximately $234 billion in illegal aid since the passage of the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976.

The lawsuit reads:

“This lawsuit is not about foreign policy. It is about the rule of law, presidential power, the structural limits of the U.S. Constitution, and the right of the public to understand the functions of government and informed petition of the government for redress.”…….

Israel’s dangerous ‘nuclear ambiguity’

The IRMEP lawsuit argues that Israel’s policy of official secrecy on its nuclear weapons program perfectly fits the definition of the 1976 Export Control Act, and that the U.S. government broke the law through its “failure to act upon facts long in their possession while prohibiting the release of official government information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program, particularly ongoing illicit transfers of nuclear weapons material and technology from the U.S. to Israel.”

Smith wrote that the U.S. offers material support to Israel’s nuclear program while helping suppress information about the program. He continued:

“These violations manifest in gagging and prosecuting federal officials and contractors who publicly acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons program, imposing punitive economic costs on public interest researchers who attempt to educate the public about the functions of government, refusing to make bona fide responses to journalists and consistently failing to act on credible information available in the government and public domain.”

This policy of secrecy goes by many names, he noted. “These acts serve a policy that has many names all referring to the same subterfuge, ‘nuclear opacity,’ ‘nuclear ambiguity,’ and ‘strategic ambiguity.’”

Although long denied by both American and Israeli politicians, Israel’s nuclear program was first revealed by whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, who spent 16 years in prison for sharing secret details of the program with Britain’s Sunday Times in 1986, and has been repeatedly arrested for continuing to publicly speak out.

Although the program is still not officially acknowledged, a November report by the Institute for Science and International Security suggested the Israeli government has amassed enough material to create at least 115 nuclear warheads. That would put Israel, a country roughly the size of New Jersey, on nearly equal nuclear footing with India and Pakistan…….

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Israel, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

The secretive Israeli nuclear weapons program

The World’s Most Mysterious Nuclear Weapons Program (And Its Not North Korea) National Interest, Kyle Mizokami, 15 Apr 17, 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.

Israel set off to join the nuclear club in the 1950s. …..
By the late 1960s the United States assessed Israeli nukes as “probable,” and U.S. efforts to slow the nuclear program and get Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty went nowhere. Finally in September 1969, Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir reportedly reached a secret agreement that the United States would cease its demand for inspections and Israeli compliance with antiproliferation efforts, and in return Israel would not declare or test its nuclear weapons……..
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. …….
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……
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. ……

April 17, 2017 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Did Israel hire assassins to murder Iranian nuclear scientists?

Iran accuses Israel of hiring assassins to take out nuclear scientists,7340,L-4933589,00.html
Iranian rep. at International Atomic Energy Agency describes Israel as a threat to entire Middle East, claims it targeted Iranian experts and criticizes Israel for not joining Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

March 13, 2017 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment