Elias Akleh: American Nuclear Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is the most prominent characteristic of the successive American administrations. The observer could easily detect this hypocrisy when it comes to administration’s policies towards the Middle Eastern countries generally and towards the Palestinians specifically. One of the administration’s latest hypocritical acts was the cancellation of the Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone conference that was scheduled mid this month in Helsinki, Finland.
The international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was opened in July 1968 for member signatures in an attempt to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. It stressed the importance of developing nuclear-weapons-free zones especially in regions of conflict such as in the Middle East, as well as establishing zones free of all weapons of mass destruction. The treaty encourages the cooperation, respect and support of all nuclear-weapons states for its protocols in order to maximize the effectiveness of creating nuclear-weapons-free zones.
In its May 2010 conference, 189 member countries of the NPT agreed to develop a plan for a meeting to lay the groundwork for creating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East (ME). The US, UK, and Russia are the co-sponsors of this meeting. All the Middle Eastern countries, except Israel, agreed to attend the meeting. A ME nuclear-free zone would be the sixth such zones in the world. The other five are the 1986 Rarotonga Treaty with 13 southern Pacific states, the 1997 Bangkok Nuclear Disarmament Treaty with 10 countries, the 2009 Central Asian States nuclear free region with five countries, the 2009 Pelindaba Pact in Africa with 28 countries, and the 2002 Tlatelolco Pact with 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Only Iran and Israel possess nuclear technology and industry. Iran is a member of the NPT and had subjected its nuclear facilities for many inspections by the IAEA. The agency has installed video cameras mounted in every Iranian nuclear facility constantly monitoring every move. All indications including CIA reports indicate that the Iranian nuclear facilities are peaceful. Israel, on the other hand, is not a member of the NPT, and is known to have nuclear weapons, some of which are mounted on German-made submarines sailing in the Persian Gulf.
Mordechai Vanunu was an Israeli nuclear technician, who worked in the Israeli Negev Nuclear Facility in Dimona, where Israel was building nuclear weapons. In October 1986 he revealed, with pictures, in the British Sunday Times, the fact that Israel had developed 150 nuclear bombs. For his revelation Vanunu was kidnapped by Israeli Mossad agents from Italy, imprisoned in Israel for 18 years, including more than 11 years in solitary confinement, before being released in 2004 on the conditions not to leave the country and not to talk to press.
Most intelligence agencies, including CIA and FBI, knew that Israel has been developing nuclear weapons as early as the 1960s. It is also known that France had helped Israel build the nuclear facilities, Britain had provided Israel with the necessary heavy waters, and the US has provided Israel, or allowed its agents to steal US government-owned weapons-grade nuclear material from Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC); a nuclear processing facility in Apollo, Pennsylvania. The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) posted its investigative report about this theft.
In the early 1980s Israel, with the full cooperation of Milco International Inc.; an American company, had deceptively and illegally smuggled approximately 800 krytron tubes from the US. A krytron is a small tube filled with gas and functions as a very high-speed switch that is part of the detonation system in nuclear weapons. Krytron is considered as a dual-use product by the US and its purchase and/or export requires a special permit from the US. Corbett Report Radio had conducted an interview with Gant F. Smith, Research Director for IRmep, discussing Israel’s theft program of the American nuclear material to build Israeli nuclear weapons since the 1960s. Smith also goes over some declassified government documents tying Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to the smuggling ring. You can watch the whole interview here. IRmep posts many documents on its website proving that Israel had been spying on the US and stealing its nuclear technology and nuclear materials since early 1960s.
Israel did not only build many nuclear bombs but is also selling them. The case of Israel’s attempt to sell nuclear bombs to apartheid South African government is just one example that is well know and well documented. The Guardian published the memos and the minutes of meetings between Shimon Perez, then Israel defense minister, and Pieter Willem Botha, then South Africa’s Minister of Defense, known as “The Big Crocodile”, during a 1975 sales deal that included nuclear bombs mounted on Jericho missiles. I wonder who else Israel had sold nuclear bombs to!
Amazingly, and despite all these and other evidences of Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons and of Israeli crimes against the US, successive American administrations are still not only covering up these crimes but also rewarding Israel with latest American military technology and weapons, and each presidential candidate hastens to throw himself in AIPAC’s arms and kowtowing in Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Israel to receive the Zionist blessings.
When it comes to criminal Israel, American administrations go as far as criminalizing themselves by violating their own American laws to protect and support Israel financially, militarily, and politically. Under the Symington Amendment to the Constitution, it is illegal for the American government to give any military or financial aid to any country, which refuses to become a signatory to the NPT, and not allow its nuclear sites to be inspected. This violation, by itself, forfeits US status as an honest broker for peace in the ME. This explains the reason why the Arab and Islamic Worlds perceive the US as a complete partner to Israel in its occupation of Palestine and in its terrorist wars against its neighbors.
Although it is known to the whole world that Israel is a nuclear power, its government defiantly maintain a policy of deliberate ambiguity; neither acknowledging nor denying its possession of nuclear weapons. Yet some of its high ranking politicians, rabbis, and military leaders had often times threatened to nuke Mecca in Saudi Arabia and to nuke Iranian peaceful nuclear facilities.
In 2010 when the decision to have a conference discussing nuclear weapon-free zone in the ME was made, Israeli President Netanyahu hurried to meet US President Obama, who assured him that his administration would do everything to make sure that such conference would not single out Israel. Obama kept his promise by cancelling the conference. The State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, announced:
“As a co-sponsor of the proposed conference … the US regrets to announce that the conference cannot be convened because of present conditions in the Middle East and the fact that states in the region have not reached agreement on acceptable conditions for a conference.”
“acceptable conditions” Nuland was undoubtedly meant the American condition that nobody is allowed to mention Israel’s nuclear weapons.
Nuland also explained that “a deep conceptual gap persists in the region” on how to handle regional security and arms control, adding that “outside states cannot impose a process on the region any more than they can dictate an outcome.” Alleviating Israeli fears of the outcome Nuland continued: “We would not support a conference in which any regional state would be subject to pressure or isolation”
Nuland’s statement is just full hypocrisy contradicting American actions. American administrations want Zionist Israel to be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the ME. Reagan’s administration approved and gave the green light to Israel’s 1981 attack against Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility. The Bush administration, also, approved Israel’s 2007 attack against Syria’s alleged nuclear facility. Under the false claims that Iraq has nuclear and chemical weapons the US imposed severe economic embargo against Iraq, and finally invaded Iraq murdering at least one billion people, and creating three billions refugees. In the process the US used nuclear weapons in the form of depleted uranium against the population. Also under the false accusations that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, the US has imposed economic sanctions against Iran and against any country trading with Iran. On Friday 12/1/2012, the US Senate had approved a new round of economic sanctions against Iran. So much for Nuland’s statement that a process cannot be imposed by outside states, and subjecting one state under pressure or isolation. What naked flagrant hypocrisy!
The US and Israel should welcome the conference if curbing Iranian nuclear programme is their real concern. Iran had explicitly welcomed the conference and vowed its full participation and cooperation. During his August 2012 visit to Iran UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Ayatollah Khamenei, who reiterated Iran’s stand on a ME nuclear weapons-free zone and that the UN should make serious efforts to allay the concerns regarding nuclear weapons. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the UN IAEA told reporters: “Iran is determined to participate actively in the Helsinki conference … We are of the strong belief that all countries should be mobilizing themselves to make sure that this noble goal of a Middle East free from all the weapons of mass destruction will be realized.” Iran is the present Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and is very active in pushing for nuclear-free zone in the ME. The NAM, the largest international organization after the UN, with 120 members, had dismissed the US allegations for cancelling the conference, and has demanded that Israel join the NPT.
The American nuclear hypocrisy was lately demonstrated when the US National Nuclear Security Administration had detonated plutonium in a deep shaft in Nevada National Security Site on Wednesday 12/5/2012, allegedly to test the safety and effectiveness of the American nuclear weapons. The test, known as Pollux, was conducted jointly by the Nevada National Security Site, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. International inspectors were not allowed to witness the test since the US had prevented access to its test sites since late 1990s.
Let us not forget that the US is the only country that used nuclear bombs against civilians in 1945. The US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima incinerating at least 140 thousand civilians in seconds. Three days later the US dropped another nuclear bomb on Nagazaki incinerating further 70 thousand civilians. Hundreds of thousands others died later due to radiation.
Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent born in the town of Beit-Jala. His family was first evicted from Haifa after the "Nakba" of 1948, then from Beit-Jala after the "Nakseh" of 1967. He lives now in US and publishes articles on the web.