More nuclear fallout from Olmert
There was more nuclear fallout today from Ehud Olmert's stupid statement on German television
. Mordechai Vanunu, who spent eighteen years in an Israeli prison for sharing Israel's alleged nuclear secrets with the Sunday Times of London, told Germany's Der Spiegel
today that if Olmert can say Israel has nuclear weapons, so can he.
"If the prime minister has said it, why should I not be allowed to say it?" he asks. In any case, everyone else already knows what Olmert now seems to have admitted, Vanunu says.
But I don't see Vanunu being freed anytime soon. In fact, his interview with Der Spiegel
probably violated the terms of his parole:
Prior to the Sunday Times story, even the CIA didn't know the true dimensions of the facility -- parts of which are buried 23 meters under ground. The site was even visited a number of times by United States Congressmen in the 1960s, and they were allowed to tour the two floors which were above ground. But they never suspected the existence of the seven floors below ground -- the entrances were carefully hidden prior to any visits.
Vanunu lost his job at Dimona as a result of budget cuts, converted to Christianity and began traveling the globe -- visiting Thailand, Nepal, Australia and elsewhere. All the while, he carried secret photos of the nuclear complex. Upon making the acquaintance of a Sunday Times journalist, he unveiled Israel's nuclear secret and handed over the images. The story was published on Oct. 5, 1986. And not long after, Vanunu was nabbed by the Mossad in Rome, taken to Israel for trial, and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
"Of course it's not fair, says Vanunu now. As far as he is concerned, he spent almost half of his life in jail for revealing something that, as he says, everyone knew already -- and which now seems to have been confirmed at the highest of levels. "But what can I do? The last 20 years belong to the past," he says.
Now, he hopes that Olmert and Israel will be confronted more often with questions about its nuclear capabilities and that the "hypocrisy," as he sees it, will come to an end. "That would help me to lead a normal life," he says. He would love to be able to travel and speak freely again.
But he may be hoping for the impossible. Israeli government officials have been hard at work in recent days claiming that Olmert was misunderstood, that the quote was taken out of context and that Israel won't be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East. It looks like ambiguity may win out in the end after all.
Vanunu is a traitor. It's a pity that he can walk the streets in Israel, and he certainly should not be allowed to spread his venom anyplace else. I hope that the security services will look into his interview with Der Spiegel
and draw the appropriate conclusions.