Speak Up to Help Vanunu
March 20, 2009
Dear Washington Report Readers,
We are writing to update you on the situation of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli whistleblower who was convicted of treason and imprisoned for 18 years (many of them spent in solitary confinement) after telling a British newspaper, The Sunday Times, in 1986 about his work as a technician at Dimona, Israel’s secret nuclear reactor. He was released from prison in 2004, but has not been allowed to leave Israel or speak to foreigners or the press. In 2007 he was sentenced to six months in prison for talking to foreigners in violation of the terms of his parole. He has appealed that sentence. On April 21, 2009, the fifth year of Israeli restrictions that deny him the right to leave the country and the right to speak to non-Israelis, those restrictions expire.
Vanunu has twice asked for asylum in Norway, where he has been offered a job. He continues to hope that the government will allow him to leave Israel. Vanunu, who converted to Christianity, is forbidden to worship in Bethlehem or travel to the West Bank.
Vanunu is considered by many to be a “hero of the nuclear age” and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 1988. He declined his nomination in 2009 in a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo. He wrote:
I am asking the committee to remove my name from the nominations…I cannot be part of a list of laureates that includes Simon Peres…Peres established and developed the atomic weapon program in Dimona in Israel…Peres was the man who ordered [my] kidnapping…he continues to oppose my freedom and release…WHAT I WANT IS FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM….FREEDOM AND ONLY FREEDOM I NEED NOW.”
Now is the time to remind the new administration of President Barack Obama that Mordechai Vanunu, who acted in the interest of the entire world, has served his time and should finally and truly be released from Israeli restrictions on his liberty. Americans can support Vanunu by urging the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to demand that Israel allow him to at last live as a free man.
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
White House Comment Line: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
State Department Public Information Line:
1. Israel’s nuclear weapons are no longer secret:
Page 37 of the U.S. Joint Forces Command report states: “ In effect, there is a growing arc of nuclear powers running from Israel in the west through an emerging
Iran to Pakistan, India, and on to China, North Korea, and Russia in the east.”
In a December 2006 interview with the German television network SAT 1, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted that Israel had nuclear capability, letting it slip that “They [Iran] are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia.”
2. Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
3. The United States and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August 2007 committing the U.S. to give Israel $30 billion in military aid over the next decade. The United States provided $2.55 billion in military aid in 2009. Since 1949, the United States has provided Israel with $101 billion in total aid, of which $53 billion has been military aid.
4. The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act stipulates that no aid may be provided to a country that engages in a consistent pattern of violations of international human rights laws.
5. Israel violates the Arms Export Control Act, which stipulates that U.S. weapons must be used only for “internal security.” The Symington Amendment, Sec. 101 of the Arms Export Control Act, also prohibits most U.S. assistance to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside of international safeguards.
6. For more information on Mordechai Vanunu or to contact him visit his Web site:
7. For previous Washington Report articles on Mordechau Vanunu see:
8. At President Obama's first televised White House press conference on Feb. 9, longtime UPI reporter Helen Thomas asked him if he knew of any Middle Eastern state with nuclear weapons. The president dodged her question. Watch:
Obama upholding Israel's policy of 'nuclear ambiguity': "I don't want to speculate.."