Israel's long known open
secret is its formidable nuclear arsenal. Less is known about its chemical
and biological weapons (CBW) capability. More on that below.
In 1986, Dimona nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu revealed documents
showing what many long suspected. Israel had been secretly developing,
producing and stockpiling nuclear weapons for years.
Experts called his information genuine. They revealed sophisticated
technology able to amass a formidable nuclear arsenal. Today it's more
potent than ever.
In his 1991 book titled "The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal
and America Foreign Policy," Seymour Hersh discussed its strategy to
launch massive nuclear counterattacks in response to serious enough
In his 1997 book titled "Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies,"
Israel Shahak said Israel won't hesitate using nuclear or other weapons
to advance its "hegemony over the entire Middle East."
In 2006, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Germany's Sat. 1 channel:
"Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly, threatens to wipe Israel off
the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring
to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel and Russia?"
Later he denied what viewers clearly heard him say. Calls for him to
step down followed. So did accusations of ineptitude for acknowledging
Israeli nuclear weapons publicly.
Israel always stuck to its nuclear ambiguity position. Olmert later
backtracked. Damage control didn't assuage criticism. Opposition party
members called him irresponsible.
Meretz party member Yossi Beilin said:
"The prime minister's amazing statement regarding nuclear capability
indicates a lack of caution bordering on irresponsibility."
Olmert's approval rating plunged. Aides tried frantically to limit damage.
His spokesman, Miri Eisin, said his comments didn't mean Israel had
or wants nuclear weapons.
Of course, the cat was out of the bag after Mordechai Vanunu revealed
it 20 years earlier. Damage control made things worse. Vanunu
welcomed Olmert's admission, accidental or otherwise. He hoped he said
it intentionally, saying:
"For 20 years, they tried to deny me and my story, but the policy of
cheating and lying didn't succeed."
Changes are taking place, he added. He hoped his situation would improve.
It didn't. He still chafes under repressive Israeli policies. Practically
under house arrest, he's harassed. His fundamental rights are denied.
He wants his citizenship revoked and permission to leave, but Israel
won't grant either right.
He's a legend in his own time. He only wants to live free. After what
Israel put him through for decades, he deserves that much and more.
Israel refuses to discuss its nuclear capability. Others are less
reticent. On May 4, Haaretz headlined "Israel's atomic arsenal could
fall victim to a new US nuclear policy," saying:
Visiting Hiroshima last February, escorts "drew (Israeli Defense Secretary
Ehud Barak's) attention to a map of the world listing the number of
nuclear warheads in the possession of the atomic powers. There is a
number next to Israel's name, too: '80.' Barak did not respond."
Most experts believe Israel has hundreds of warheads and sophisticated
long-range delivery systems.
"According to a (late 1990s) secret document of the Pentagon's Defense
Intelligence Agency....leaked during the period of the George W. Bush
administration, Israel had '60 to 80' nuclear warheads in 1999."
The Pentagon updates its data regularly. It keeps close watch on all
nuclear powers and suspected ones like North Korea.
Israel never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). In 1969,
Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir mutually agreed that Israel's nuclear
capability wouldn't harm relations. In 1998, so did Clinton and Netanyahu.
In 2009, Obama continued past policy.
Expect change eventually. Israel's belligerency over Iran's peaceful
nuclear program may "boomerang" on its military one.
Israel's Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW)
Israel signed the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), but didn't
ratify it. It never signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).
Its policy is CBW ambiguity.
In 1993, the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment WMD proliferation
assessment included Israel as a nation having undeclared offensive chemical
warfare capabilities. In 1998, former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary
Bill Richardson said:
"I have no doubt that Israel has worked on both chemical and biological
offensive things for a long time. There's no doubt they've had stuff
Israel tests new weapons in combat. Against Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza
during Cast Lead, it used direct energy weapons, chemical and/or biological
agents, and others producing injuries and symptoms medical professionals
never previously saw.
For example, bodies with dead tissue had no apparent wounds. Corpses
were found shrunken. Civilians had heavy lower limb damage requiring
amputations. Nonetheless, unstoppable necrosis followed (death of cells
and living tissue) followed by death.
Internal wounds had no trace of shrapnel. Corpses were blackened but
not burned. Some badly wounded victims didnít bleed. The Palestinian
health ministry said Israel used a new type explosive in Gaza. It contained
toxins and radioactive materials. They burned and tore victimsí bodies
from the inside. They also left long term deformations.
A Palestinian doctor accused Israel of using chemical ammunition that
burns and injures soft tissue, but canít be traced by X-rays. Severe
internal wounds were reported. Unknown gases believed to be nerve agents
were used. Those affected lost consciousness for about 24 hours. They
experienced high fevers and muscle rigidity. Some needed urgent blood
In Gaza, white phosphorous was used. It burns flesh to the bone. Depleted
uranium spread radioactive contamination. Close-range explosives caused
severe injuries, requiring amputations. Children had legs cut off, abdomens
sliced open, or died because nothing could save them.
In June 2011, CounterPunch contributor Saleh El-Naami headlined "Exposing
Israel's Most Dangerous Secret," saying:
Only authorized personnel have access to the Israeli Institute for Biological
Research (IIBR). Israel calls it "a governmental, applied research institute
specializing in the fields of biology, medicinal chemistry and environmental
Others reveal IIBR is "where Israel develops its biological and chemical
weapons and prepares for any eventuality of biological or chemical warfare."
Its facility is Israel's "most top-secret military installation...."
Official censorship prohibits anything discussed about it. One exception
only occurred after long-term employee Avisha Klein sued "for harassment
and emotional abuse."
She was part of a team developing mustard gas protective ointment. During
proceedings, more information came out.
IIBR has hundreds of scientists and technicians. Its many departments
specialize in chemical and biological weapons research, development
and production. One is a poison used for assassinations.
In 1977, Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered Mossad to eliminate Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Wadie Haddad. He was fond
of Belgian chocolates. Mossad coated some with "a slow-acting poison,
and had them delivered to Haddad...."
The substance had "undetectable properties." Haddad's health deteriorated.
Flown to East Germany for treatment, he was diagnosed with leukemia
and died on March 29, 1978. Thirty-two years later, the truth came out.
IIBR's poison killed him.
Other assassinations were conducted the same way. IIBR specializes in
toxic substances and protective vaccines. Anthrax research got attention.
Israel feared enemies might use it.
IIBR works closely with Israeli military and intelligence operations.
They list priorities. IIBR works on them.
"For example, information that has come to light during the coverage
of Kleinís suit reveals that many years ago the Israeli military establishment
was concerned that Arab states might use such chemical agents as mustard
gas in an potential assault against Israel and, therefore, instructed
the institute to develop a chemical substance to minimise the effects
of the gas."
Israeli soldiers were used to test vaccines. Some experienced "permanent
physical damage." Lawsuits for damages were filed. Victims want recognition
as disabled veterans and appropriate compensation. Pressure got IDF
officials to announce experiments on Israeli personnel would end.
The Nuremberg Code prohibits medical experiments without human subjects
voluntarily consenting. Recruitment must exclude "coercion, fraud, deceit,
and (provide) full disclosure of known risks."
Experiments are prohibited "where there is an a priori reason to believe
that death or disabling injury will occur." Those permitted must be
expected "to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable
by other methods or means of study...."
In 1948, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered European Jewish scientists
recruited who could "either increase the capacity to kill masses or
to cure masses; both are important."
Avraham Marcus Klingberg became a chemical and biological weapons (CBW)
expert and IIBR deputy director.
Avraham Marcus Klingberg was also recruited. He became the father of
Israel's nuclear weapons program in charge of the Israeli Atomic Energy
Commission (IAEC). Ben-Gurion was determined to have a nuclear option
and other non-conventional weapons to counter numerical Arab advantage.
In his farewell address to the Israeli Armaments Development Authority
(RAFAEL), he defended the strategy saying:
"I am confident, based not only on what I heard today, that our science
can provide us with the weapons that are needed to deter our enemies
from waging war against us."
He and Shimon Peres became leading forces behind Israel's nuclear, biological,
and chemicals development program. Strict secrecy was maintained. Staff
were forbidden to discuss anything related to their work. Prohibitions
Truths eventually leak out. One day much more will be known. Vanunu
was harshly punished to deter other whistleblowers. Bradley Manning
faces similar treatment. In his case, life in prison may result.
Nonetheless, some who know tell others. Suppressing vital truths everyone
needs to know remains hard to do forever. Much is known about Israel's
nuclear program. Perhaps CBW disclosures will expose secrets too important
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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