Simon Jones "Mordechai Vanunu Interview"

Repost from the old blog. Although it is four years old, it is still interesting because Vanunu has not given many interviews. This is guest poster Simon Jones’ transcription and cleanup of an informal interview Israeli nuclear dissident Mordecai Vanunu gave on a Norwegian chat site.
Note: I have added my own editing to the piece, with the proviso of changing only grammar, style and punctuation, not substance.
Anyway, the interview below is with Mordecai Vanunu. Vanunu, a Sephardic Moroccan Jew, worked as a nuclear technician in Israel’s top secret nuclear laboratory, the Negev Nuclear Research Center, from 1976 to 1985.
It was there that he learned about Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Vanunu somehow managed to sneak a tiny camera into Israel’s most heavily-guarded facility, leading most to assume he was a Mossad agent at the time.
He amazingly took many photos of the lab, then, even more shockingly, managed to leave the country after he was laid off from the plant in 1985. Even more oddly, Vanunu, while getting his Master’s Degree at Beersheba University in Israel in 1975, had gained a reputation as a far Leftist who spent most of his time hanging around with Arab students. Given his background, why was he hired for this ultra-sensitive job?
After he left the country, he wandered to Nepal, where he thought of converting to Buddhism, then wandered to Burma and Thailand. Next he drifted down to Sydney, Australia, where he lived in a hostel and worked odd jobs.
He began going to a local church and later converted to Christianity, which caused his Jewish family back in Israel to renounce him. In Sydney, he met Peter Hounam, a British journalist working for the British paper The Sunday Times.
Hounam and Vanunu then took a plane to London, where Vanunu showed his nuclear evidence to the paper’s editors. The paper took their time confirming the story, fearing a hoax. The paper was wary because it had been previously burned when it published a fake diary of Hitler that it had thought was genuine.
Frustrated with the delays, Vanunu naively approached another London paper, the Sunday Mirror, now The Daily Mirror, which was run by Zionist Jew scumbag mega-millionaire Robert Maxwell, who according to a later report, was a longstanding Mossad agent. Vanunu tried to sell the story to Maxwell but Maxwell notified the Mossad instead.
Very quickly (possibly within a day) a beautiful female spy was dispatched to London, and she someone managed to seduce the naive Vanunu and begin a wild love affair with him (also within a matter of days). Within a matter of maybe only four days, she convinced Vanunu to go off to Rome with her.
Once in Rome, she got him alone and somehow drugged him. On September 30, 1986, a team of Mossad agents somehow managed to sneak him through Rome’s traffic and the next thing Vanunu knew, he was being shipped out of Italy via freighter.
The ship took him back to Israel, where he was secretly tried and convicted of treason. Around the same time, the Sunday Times published its blockbuster story based on Vanunu’s photos, claiming that Israel had 200 nuclear weapons. The details the paper published about Israel’s nuclear weapons program rocked the world.
Given all the bizarre particulars of the case, many have long assumed that Vanunu was a Mossad agent. A more recent analysis by Uri Avnery in Alexander Cockburn’s brilliant Counterpunch magazine indicates that Vanunu was probably not a Mossad agent.
Avnery concludes that the bizarreness of the case is due to the fact that Vanunu was an idealistic, naive Leftist, and that Israel’s much-touted Mossad is, at times, much more incompetent than anyone thinks.
Vanunu, son of well-off Moroccan Jewish immigrants, spent his early years in Israel in a primitive camp before moving to Beersheba, where his family lived in poverty. He still managed to get a Master’s Degree, but complained of discrimination and rude treatment by the Ashkenazi Jews who have always run Israel. All of these experiences seem to have alienated Vanunu, and pushed him into leftwing politics.
At his secret trial, Vanunu was convicted of treason and received a long sentence at a trial that made international headlines. He was sent to prison and spent 18 years there, 11 of them in solitary confinement, for which there was probably no justification for, only punishment.
While in prison, Vanunu infuriated guards and prison officials by befriending Arab freedom fighters at the prison who were jailed for waging attacks on Israel. Vanunu says the Arabs accepted him completely and they got on famously. Soon Vanunu was asking to have his exercise breaks at the same time as his Arab brothers.
Vanunu’s jailers spent most of the time trying to break him psychologically, but he says they never succeeded. Vanunu was released from prison almost exactly one year ago in the midst of a media circus. Interestingly, one of the first things he said upon his releases was that the female agent who entrapped him was either a CIA or FBI agent, and not a Mossad agent.
In my opinion, Vanunu has failed to make a good case of this. Vanunu bases his reasoning on the fact that the agent was an American, and therefore must have been a US agent. But it’s well-known that the Mossad has recruited many Americans, especially US Jews like the agent in question. I believe that the female agent was a Mossad agent.
A little-known fact about this spy movie case is that the entrapping agent, known as “Cindy”, is actually a woman named Cheryl Hanin Bentov. Bentov now lives with her husband, a former Israeli military intelligence officer, in Orlando, Florida, where they run a successful real estate business. Bentov is not talking about this incident.
Another bizarre side story to this case is that Robert Maxwell, the Jewish media mogul who apparently alerted the Mossad to Vanunu, was later revealed to be a longtime Mossad agent himself. In 1990, a former Mossad agent fingered Maxwell and his top editor as longtime Mossad agents. Only a few weeks later, Maxwell was out yachting in the ocean when he “had a heart attack and fell overboard”.
His “accidental” death was long regarded as suspicious, and now another ex-Mossad agent has stated that Maxwell was killed by the Mossad. Different reasons are given: one theory says that Maxwell, who cheated many people, also cheated the Mossad out of a large sum in a shady deal. A more compelling theory notes that Maxwell died only a few weeks after he was outed as a Mossad agent.
His assassination by the Mossad would seem to be related somehow to his outing as an agent – possibly to keep him from talking? Given the serious unlikelihood of a heart attack victim falling overboard on a boat after their heart attack (“He had a heart attack and fell off the boat” is a classic spy assassination, straight out of James Bond movies), we need to consider other scenarios, such as homicide.
A Discovery Channel show this year decided, after examining all the evidence, that Maxwell was first injected in the heart with cyanide, which caused him to have a heart attack, then thrown overboard by his assassins. In other words, he was clearly murdered, probably by the Mossad.
Now that he is released, Vanunu’s probation terms are very strict: he is limited to one town, he cannot go near any foreign embassy, he cannot speak to any foreigners and he cannot leave the country. Hence, since his release, Vanunu has been under a form of house arrest. Vanunu, as per his style, has been testing the limits of all of these onerous terms, resulting in numerous run-ins with the state.
The terms themselves are idiotic – Vanunu clearly has spilled all the beans he had to spill long ago, and since then he has been in prison, where he was obviously unable to learn anything more about Israel’s nukes. Therefore, the restrictions seem to be simply Israeli state revenge on Vanunu.
However, in Avnery’s piece above, Avnery states that the restrictions are to keep Vanunu from talking about the probable US role in the development of Israel’s nuclear program, at least in the 1970’s. Avnery buttresses his case by noting that the pseudo-fascist US war criminal State Department diplomat John Bolton rushed to Israel as soon as Vanunu was released.
Why? For urgent talks with his Israeli counterparts about Vanunu’s release. What could possibly have caused Bolton to race to Israel for these urgent discussions? To urge the Israelis to keep Vanunu from spilling the beans about the US role in Israel’s nuke program?
After his release, Vanunu’s home in Israel has become both a camp and a circus, as a small army of Israeli dissidents have moved in and surrounded Vanunu to serve as human shields to protect him from the Israeli state. Vanunu, like me, wants to see Israel dissolved. “Jews don’t need a state”, Vanunu said recently. “We should give the land back to the Palestinians.”
On that note, let us move on to the interview!
Here are some of Mordechai Vanunu’s answers to questions fielded by Net surfers in an informal, 3-hour interview on a Norwegian chat site. What follows is just a short summary of some of Vanunu’s statements during the interview.
I have corrected most of the grammar and spelling of the interview and included the surfer’s question only when it was necessary for clarification. I see now why the Israeli government doesn’t want Vanunu to leave – he is eloquent, has a sharp wit, and will be a brilliant world peace campaigner once he is freed. Let’s keep up the pressure to free him.
Peace, SJ
The Interview:
Q by Anonymous: Were there more people like you who wanted to tell the world that Israel had a nuclear weapons program, or were you the only one?
****
MV: There is no one else in Israel who wants to speak about Israel nuclear weapons because you need to be not only against NW’s but also believe in peace and criticize Israeli policies in many fields, including their own Jewish religion.
****
*****
The way to survive [in prison] is to be very, very strong, trusting your humanity and believing in humanity. But the human race is good and we are doing this for the survival of the human race on this earth. I decided that they can imprison my body but not my mind and spirit, so I keep this belief all the time.
I practice my freedom by exercising the freedom to read and write what I want. Also, I listen to classical music like opera. I studied philosophy and geography in Beersheba University. I have my first degree. I started my second degree but didn’t finish it. But now I have a doctorate in modern psychological brainwashing in a modern spy mind war. That’s what I learned in 18 years in prison.
I am not at all bitter [about prison]; I’m very sad for Israelis that they are not mature enough to accept my acts and my life and to respect me as a human being. We need to save the Jewish people of Israel from their past history and bring them to live in this new age.
I would do it again and again without any regret. Israel is a military dictatorship governed by security and secrecy. This is a modern phenomenon in a democratic system. Israel is destroying the democratic system from the inside and exporting this policy to the US and Europe.
Your ‘Israel – the only democracy in the region’ is demolishing houses of families without any crimes; is arresting thousands of young people without trial. Israel invaded Italy to kidnap a citizen [Vanunu himself] and they have been occupying foreign territories for 35 years, building settlements.
They expelled 80% of the Arabs from their land, took the Arabs’ land and brought people who were not born or raised here to build this anti-democratic state. Israel is no longer a democracy. Israel is an apartheid racist state. The problem is time. We cannot waste more time with this Israel power dictatorship imposing on us their barbaric policy and aggressiveness in the Middle East.
*****
Q by Sigurd: Are you guided by a scientist’s ethics, or are you a genuine humanist? Perhaps it is something else that drives you?
*****
MV: Yes, something from our humanity that no one can control is driving us to save this earth from crazy militarism spy power. I am very proud and happy that I have 6 billion people around the world regarding me as a hero.
*****
Q by Joakim: Are you still interested in art and do you have a favorite Norwegian artist/painter?
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MV: I like Edward Munch’s The Scream.
*****
*****
I know you have very beautiful fjords and very beautiful women! And very beautiful human rights activists and the Alfred Nobel Peace Prize.
*****
*****
Why is it when someone like Salman Rushdie writes a book about Satan writes ‘hate all Muslims’ poetry, you all lift Rushdie to the sky and worship him? But now when a man is imprisoned for 18 years because he let the world know about a nuclear project… And I am still paying for it.
*****
*****
Terrorism is not a real threat. The real danger is nuclear weapons in secret – that is the main problem for every state, including Norway.
*****
*****
About the US – we are now in the new century post-Cold War and we need to have a new world order. That could be started by all of Europe and US together behaving fairly with Israel to end the Middle East conflict. That could happen if both Europe and US made the right decision to confront Israel with a series of demands.
They should demand that Israel become a secular democracy, that she give equal rights to every citizen and that she end her colonialism of the Middle East with her nuclear weapons. Next, we need all the world to be free from nuclear weapons – to take from the nuclear weapons away from every superpower.
That is the only way for a new world order, governed by the people of the world, by the United Nations for the people of the world, and not for any State.
*****
Q by Ken: You converted to Christianity from Judaism. Was it because you believed in Jesus? Was it because you disliked Judaism? Or was it another reason? What was the reason?
*****
MV: All the answers are very good. One more reason I converted is that Judaism is one of the faiths that believes, supports, and encourages racism, and is based on supremacy – creating an apartheid regime. Israel is government by Judaism. But I believe in secular democracy. Jews should accept and respect Jesus’ teaching, values, and the New Testament as much as the Old Testament.
I’m a Christian. I was converted in Australia in 1986 because I reject the Jewish traditional beliefs of Judaism supremacy. I believe all human beings are equal. In Israel if you are Jewish you have all the rights. If you are Christian or Muslim, you are second-class with no rights. The best solution is a secular state with equal rights for all citizens. Not a Jewish religious state or Muslim religious state, but one secular state.
I am a Christian and no one hates Jews [now]. All the world now respects any human being. Europe has all kinds of minorities. There is no more anti-Semitism. I think if I was [still] Jewish the Israelis and US would have loved me very much and received me as a hero in all the world.
But because of my Christianity the Israelis [are] trying to destroy my image and deny me the right to celebrate my freedom. In Israel I am still regarded as a double traitor – for the nuclear weapons issue and for my Christianity.
*****
Q by Gabriel: What reason do you believe Israel has for being a nuclear power? Offensive or defensive? Threat and power or war?
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MV: In my view, in 1950’s, Israel decided as an act not to go for peace but to trust power and impose on the Palestinians and the Arab world this Israeli Jewish apartheid state. They did that instead of making peace and receiving back the Palestinian refugees. Now they say the nuclear weapons are for defence. But for defence of this racist state.
*****
Q by Innsendt: Is Israel capable of using these horrible weapons of mass destruction and do you think they will use them?
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MV: Yes, yes, they have them and they will use them.
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Q by Innsendt: I guess you must now know what it is like to be a Palestinian living in Occupied Palestine under tough restrictions?
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MV: Yes. And I knew before, and I was against it since 1967.
*****
Update: This blog is offering respectful readers the interesting opportunity to contact Mordecai Vanunu on your own. We only ask that you be respectful in your dealings with him. His email address is here.
He also goes by his new Christian name of John Crossman. MV may be reached at St. George Cathedral, 20 Nablus Road, East Jerusalem, PO Box 19122. His mobile phone number is 052 2260908. MV was elected rector of Glasgow University in Scotland in December 2004 in a ceremony at the church above, St. George.

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2 thoughts on “Simon Jones "Mordechai Vanunu Interview"”

  1. You have posted some mis-information above and also missed the NEWS that Vanunu’s Supreme Court Appeal fighting 3 months in jail for speaking to foreign media in 2004 has been rescheduled three times this year.
    On June 14, 2009, while in occupied east Jerusalem, I interviewed Vanunu again and he is talking to anyone-on all topics EXCEPT nuclear weapons- during the hours of 3-5 PM in the garden restaurant at the American Colony.
    You can also see and hear Vanunu speak for himself in 2005, 2006 and 2008 video interviews and learn all about his FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial @ VANUNU ARCHIVES:
    http://www.wearewideawake.org/

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