Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Happy Birthday Mr Vanunu

Israel have hired a British PR firm to brush up its image around a World which doesn't place Israel that high on it's list of favourite nations. The story of Mordechai Vanunu, 58 today, doesn't help present Israel in a good light.
Depending on your viewpoint, Vanunu is either a hero or a traitor for blowing the whistle on his country's covert atomic weapons programme.
Vanunu starting to suffer a crisis of conscience while working at the secret Dimona plant which was clandestinely producing nuclear weapons and during a trip to London, divulged to a journalist Israel's deadly secret. Targeted by a Mossad honey-trap, he was drugged, gagged, bound and returned to Israel, tried in secret and convicted of treason and espionage and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, twelve of them served in solitary confinement.
As his story emerged, he become a symbol for the international peace movement, was nominated for a Nobel peace prize and was finally released in 1994, re-arrested months later, then again in 2007 and is currently banned from travelling beyond Israel's borders
After being heckled by a hostile crowd of CND and Vanunu supporters in London in 1997, Israeli President Ezer Weizman said at a press conference: "He was a spy who gave away secrets, and the fact that he did so for conviction rather than for money makes no difference. He was a traitor to his country."
On his release a defiant Vanunu said: "I was right to reveal the madness of the Israeli nuclear secrets. I am not a spy, but a man who helped all the world to end the madness of the nuclear race."


Cheezy said...

I'm don't know a great deal about this business, but I will say this: My sympathy for Vanunu is considerable, but possibly limited by the likelihood (can anyone confirm?) that he signed some sort of 'official secrets act' before he started working for the Israeli nuclear industry... And, presumably, Vanunu already knew that his country wasn't always a paragon of straight-dealing virtue when he did??

If he didn't intend to keep to his side of the deal, he shouldn't have signed it in the first place.

Same goes for that strange fellow, Peter Wright, who wrote the book 'Spycatcher' about his time in MI5.

About 15 years ago I signed the British official secrets act myself, and I took it very seriously... (it's OK, I'm not a spy... it was before I started work in the company bar of a military installation!).

Falling on a bruise said...

I don't know if he signed an official secrets act, i assume he did. Really does depend on your point of view whether he was a traitor or a hero.
I have respect for whistleblowers who talk out of principle rather than money even though they know the consequences.
If an Iranian scientists came out and said that Iran were indeed building nukes, he would be lauded by the West.

Nog said...

The nuclear weapons projects were obviously covers for the true clandestine activities of the Jewish-Zionist World Media Empire. I'll bet that even his alleged treachery is just part of their greater plot for Zionist World Domination...

No, actually I'd agree that there are double standards, even if The Mullahs are not as nice as Israeli MPs.