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Aug-08-2011 07:55printcommentsVideo

Israel's Test of Goodwill - the Freedom of Nuclear Weapons Whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu

New Video examines plight of engineer who spilled the beans about Israel's arsenal of undeclared nuclear weapons. Officials there decide this week if after nearly 20 years in prison, Vanunu can leave.

Mordechai Vanunu
Mordechai Vanunu's future is in the hands of Israeli officials who will decide this week if he can relocate.

(TEL AVIV / SALEM) - Most Americans are unaware of Israel's possession of several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons

Eileen Fleming

that have been aimed at neighboring countries for decades, leaving regions in this world just a red button's push away from full blown nuclear disaster. Strong words, but true words.

Mordechai Vanunu is the man who told the world about Israel's nuclear weapons program in 1985. He's been imprisoned almost two decades all told, for blowing the whistle on Israel's dirty secrets, and now he is in the final days of a pending decision over whether or not he will be able to leave Israel, and live in another country.

Eileen Fleming says it is all he's wanted since she's known him: "to have a job, a family, a home, that's it. Just what everybody else wants".

Most Americans don't know his name, but Fleming, a nurse turned journalist from Florida, has interviewed Vanunu several times in her travels to Israel and Palestine.

She learned about his outing of Israel's deadly nuclear weapons program and ultimately, gave up her career as a nurse to investigate and write about one of the world's most pivotal stories. She says this information has been well kept from the American public.

"By 1985 when he took these photos they had upwards of 200 nuclear warheads and this was corroborated by Frank Barnaby and other nuclear physicists, and also that Israel had gone to work on thermo nuclear technology. Nobody but Israel knows what they have now, 24 years later, because no international nuclear weapons inspectors have been allowed into their facilities, nor have they ever fully, totally admitted that they are a nuclear power, yet they continue to deny Vanunu his right to leave the state, claiming that he still has something he hasn't told, but he hasn't stopped talking since he left prison, almost all in solitary, April 21, 2004, he's still waiting for freedom".

Europeans are largely aware of Israel's large but undeclared nuclear arsenal, but Americans are not... that, in spite of the fact that the matter was revealed by Vanunu in the mid 80's, and fully corroborated in a 1989 book Fleming referred to which is titled The Invisible Bomb: The Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East by author Frank Barnaby, who trained as a nuclear physicist and worked at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, and today is Nuclear Issues Consultant to the Oxford Research Group, a freelance defence analyst, and a prolific author on military technology, based in the UK.

Fleming says it is because western writers are reluctant to explore Israel's nuclear weapons program due to political pressure. Veteran White House Reporter Helen Thomas lost her career spanning more than fifty years for questioning Israel, and prior to that, Thomas attempted to see if President Obama was going to talk squarely about it:

He did not, as Eileen cites: "People are so afraid to speak out against Israeli policy, and it's not just that, it's American foreign policy, and it is understood everywhere in the world as a U.S./Israeli collaboration in the occupation of Palestine, which began when civilized men decided to carve up The Holy Land which is today in pieces, because what we did to the American Indians is what is going to happen to the Palestinians because they are being forced into disconnected enclaves, and if a two state solution means the way it is now, that's no solution at all because there is no connection. Apartheid roads, Jewish only settlers, and they're all; every West Bank settlement- is a colony, they're all a colony, they're all illegal under international law, as is the wall, it is an apartheid wall, we Americans paid at least $1.5 Million per mile, to build this wall. (and those are 2007 numbers). It divides Palestinians from Palestinians, denies them the right to get to their jobs, their lands, their Holy site, their family".

Stranger than fiction Order Now

It was just a decade ago that Fleming, like many other American Christians believed Israel was an idea she was supposed to support. Like so many tens of millions, she was told in church that Israel was the 'promised land' of God's 'chosen people'. It is a simple fact. Most Americans are told Israel is the only Middle east democracy and a national ally and they don't really question those teachings. They don't realize that Palestinians are ruled in Israel by segregation and human rights abuses.

"But when I went over there and I saw that we were not being told the truth, I knew I had to act, I knew I needed to do something, it is a matter of conscience. You can not go over there with a conscience, I think, and not be so angry and righteously determined".

I asked Eileen when it occurred to her that she could become a link between this knowledge of Israel's nuclear weapons program, and the American public, and an author and reporter.

"Well its been driving me crazy since June 2005 which is really the last interview I had with Vanunu and this is when I knew I had to become a reporter, until then I was just writing my first book; historical fiction- Keep Hope Alive, but when Vanunu said, 'did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from developing weapons of mass destruction?"

This was new information, and shocking for Eileen to absorb at the time as she explained, "I had not a clue about it until he told me and Shimon Peres was at that time, I believe, defence minister, and he was at the White House and President Kennedy asked him, 'what can you tell me about this?' and Perez lied, he replied saying Israel's nuclear program was for peace and they would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons, they also told me that during the LBJ administration, two senators would come to inspect but they didn't know had boarded up/locked up the elevators and stairways that led down to the seven story clandestine underground weapons of mass destruction facility called the Dimona- it's in the Negev. When Nixon was president he said, OK we'll just ignore it, we won't send our senators, not any international weapons have ever been allowed into Israel's nuclear facilities".

She says shortly after shooting the program, 30 Minutes with Vanunu, in March 2006, just a few weeks after Vanunu's freedom of speech trial began, on January 25 2006, the same day Hamas was democratically elected, "and it really was rescheduled at the last minute to fall on that date", Fleming added.

"No reporters were really there and nobody bothered to document the freedom of speech trial in the democracy of Israel and what Vanunu told me was that ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN BBC, all the major media outlets, all wanted to interview him, but their editors said, 'no' - because they didn't want trouble with the Israeli authorities, because everything has to go through the Israeli censors. But I was not even a reporter when I began a series of interviews with Vanunu, I was interested in his childhood, and his Christianity, how that helped get him through prison, but it was not until January 2006 that I began to become a muckraker documenting I think, the most phenomenal story of our generation".

A tireless reporter today, Eileen Fleming reminds us that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us, "the world is pulled by extremism, and we have to decide what we are going to be extreme for, so the truth of all faiths is essentially the same: 'do unto to others as you would have them do unto to you'. Love God and you're going to love every sister and brother on the planet because we're all connected, but what we've got is a big problem with bad religion, fundamentalism, religiosity, a superiority complex of particular people, that they are more chosen, that God made a real estate deal, and that they have no responsibility to uphold the basic tenets of what Judaism is about, which is justice and, 'do not oppress the stranger'."

For years now, she has been cultivating her new role as a reporter and author, yet her roots are still in caring for the health of human beings.

"Well I'm a nurse by education, I'm a writer by vocation, but of course once a nurse always a nurse, so you know more than most people of what happens to children because of particular environments, can you imagine being a little boy seeing your father, your brothers, your uncles, humiliated, being arrested for no reason other than being against the occupation, standing for hours and hours and hours at over 600 checkpoints in the West Bank, just to get to the other side, just to get to 'your' family, to your Holy site, and these little children, what have they done?

She says the only thing the children was to be born in occupied territory where they suffering unbelievable psychological torture, and emotional torture.

"But yet I spend time in the refugee camps... I've been to Jenin Camp, in the homes of underground Fatah, and I've seen the family values, I've seen the way they love their children, I've seen their patience, it's not put on, if we could only be so patient with our children, I immediately thought of myself, what I have seen there, in every single Palestinian home that I have been in, and I have been in many, the love for their children, and all they want is for their children to have a better deal than they have now, and so do I, and it begins with ending the occupation... equal human rights".

In pondering how human rights violations and illegal nuclear warheads can be in existence simultaneously, many abandon their personal quests and accept the unthinkable as they feel powerless over it at best in most cases. The western media is here to ensure a deprivation of critical information and knowledge as they cowtow to their advertisers and shareholders, many of whom support Israeli apartheid.

"It's totally not on their radar screens", Eileen said. "As it is not on our radar screens, we don't use the word in our media, our government talks about he colonies/settlements as neighborhoods, and they are not, they are illegal under international law, as is the apartheid wall".

Regarding Mordechai Vanunu, it was the opening of a window that spurred Eileen into action.

"Because Israel did not allow Vanunu to leave in 2004, 2005, '06, '07, '08 and '09, I found that in 2010, somebody had to write about his freedom of speech trial, so I did it and my third book is, Beyond Nuclear - Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial and my life as a Mukraker.

She says legal restrictions against Vanunu began the day he walked out of prison April 21, 2004, "and he has been forbidden to have a cell phone, an Internet connection, to speak to any foreigners, to leave the state; but of course he has a cell phone, he has a Website, he's on YouTube, and he's spoken to anybody".

Eileen says Vanunu has shared his story with as many as 5,000 people during his six years of walking through Occupied East Jerusalem, and now he's in Tel Aviv.

Israel put him back into jail last year for 78 days, as punishment for speaking to foreign media in 2004. It was an interview with Amy Goodman from 2004 that was used as major testimony against him in Israeli court.

Fleming said, "Amy did not bother following up with Vanunu until July 2, 2007, which was when he was sentenced to six-months in prison for talking to her and she phoned him that day for a follow up and he told her to get lost because, 'Where have you been? since 2004' and so he was not talking to media on that day. I showed up a few weeks later, he did talk to me, there are details about that in the book about what happened during that experience".

Mordechai Vanunu

Fleming and Vanunu have had a somewhat on again off again relationship but she has never stopped trying to help, and it led to her new book which is more important than people realize at this point, as it is a personal exploration of a story so important that it can't be overstated.

"Through the five years I have known Vanunu, sometimes he talks to me, sometimes he doesn't talk to me. So the book is not just about his freedom of speech trial; it is also all the other experiences I was having during those seven trips to Israel/Palestine and the bottom line for me is, I want change in the U.S.A. foreign policy. I have a dream, and that is to run for House of Representatives, because I know that the security, safety the peace of every resident in Florida is entwined with all of the United States, which is entwined with all of the world, and I am a bigger supporter of all human rights but I want to dismantle the military, security/surveillance complex so that's a huge thing to take on, but I also feel I have taken on something by continuing to report on Vanunu's story when the media won't touch it with a ten-foot pole".

_________________________________________________________
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Arnold Joseph White November 23, 2011 3:04 am (Pacific time)

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Elias August 25, 2011 7:17 am (Pacific time)

Tim you're going to love these video on youtube. Definitely worth posting the first 5 on your website. "Common knowledge Gaza 101 part 1" "Common Knowledge Gaza 101 part 2" "Common Knowledge - Creation story Judeo-christianity vs Islam" "Common Knowledge - Status of women in Judeo-christianity vs Islam" "Common Knowledge - Common misconceptions about Islam and Muslims" "Rabbi Exposes Jewish Racist Zionism"

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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