Ominous signs of Israeli attack on Iran

This article originally appeared

Bushehr nuclear power plant facts

in the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka of August 20, 2010

By Ameen Izzadeen

The scene: Hundreds of Israeli war planes are on their way to attack Iran’s nuclear sites. They may have to cross the Iraqi airspace, which is controlled by the United States.
The question: What will the US do if the Israeli war planes enter Iraq’s airspace on their way to attack Iran?
The answer: Don’t shoot them.
This is the advice the Pentagon is said to have given the US Central Command which runs the war in Iraq.
The latest Atlantic Magazine’s cover story titled “Israel is getting ready to bomb Iran” gives details about this and many other aspects of the soon-to-be carried-out Israeli attack on Iran.
The article by Jeffrey Goldberg says the attack will not have the prior US nod because of a possibility that Washington, fearing the unpredictable repercussions, may persuade Israel not to go ahead with the strike. The Americans will be informed only when Israeli war planes are airborne.
The Israelis will tell the Americans that “they are taking this drastic step because a nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat, since Hitler, to the physical survival of the Jewish people. The Israelis will also state that they believe they have a reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear programme for at least three to five years. They will tell their American colleagues that Israel was left with no choice. They will not be asking for permission, because it will be too late to ask for permission”.
The author of the article says he is not a warmonger and that his analysis is not a one-man war game. He points out that Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear programme. In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting-forever, as it turned out-Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean-built reactor in Syria. “An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.”
He also claims that his analysis is based on interviews with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and 40-odd present and past decision-makers.
The article has renewed the debate on a war on Iran, particularly in Israel and the United States. The timing of the article is also significant. It came days before Iran is to commission its first nuclear power reactor built with Russian assistance. The ceremony to bring the Bushehr reactor online is scheduled for tomorrow.
Recent polls carried out by various survey and media groups in the US show the Americans are split over an attack on Iran. Almost all the surveys show that not many Americans are supportive of military action to stop Iran’s nuclear programme. What is interesting to note in these polls is that the one conducted by Fox Television indicates that 65 percent of the Americans support a military strike on Iran as opposed to 23 percent who approved military action in a CNN poll.
A quick analysis of the discrepancy in the two polls shows that the neocons, who are a minority in the US but disproportionately influential and powerful in US politics, are promoting or clamouring for a war on Iran.
A leading neocon, John Bolton, on Monday called on Israel to attack Iran “now”.
He said Israel had “eight days” to launch a military strike against Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility and stop Tehran from acquiring a functioning atomic plant.
Bolton, who was the United States’ UN envoy during the last days of the George W. Bush administration, called on Israel to attack the plant before Iran injected enriched uranium obtained from Russia into it. Any attack after August 21 “will be too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because it would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians,” Bolton said.
If Iran was not stopped now, he said, “it will achieve something that no other opponent of Israel, no other enemy of the United States in the Middle East really has and that is a functioning nuclear reactor.”
But Bolton was of the opinion that Israel had missed the opportunity.
Iran dismissed Bolton’s war cry as just a bark. Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said “these threats of attacks had become repetitive and lost their meaning.”
Reports from Iran also say the government there has taken adequate security measures to protect the Bushehr nuclear power plant from any attacks.
Though the Atlantic magazine article gives the impression that President Obama would not formally endorse an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear sites, the United States has been warning Iran of a military response. Perhaps, this was to apply pressure on Iran and prevent it from pursuing a nuclear weapons programme. Perhaps, Obama is compelled to take such a hardline stance to avoid charges that he is soft on Iran in spite of the tough sanctions the US has imposed and got the UN to impose on the Islamic republic.
At a White House news briefing early this month, Obama said Iranian officials “should know what they can say ‘yes’ to.”
If “national pride” drove Iran to develop nuclear weapons, Obama continued, “they will bear the costs of that.” He said that “all options” were open, to “prevent a nuclear arms race in the region and to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”
Obama’s warning, followed by the Atlantic Magazine article, Bolton’s war cry and Iran’s commissioning of the Bushehr plant – all in August — also coincided with another significant event – the August 08 release of Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician from an Israeli jail. He was released again on the same condition which applied to his previous releases. He should not talk to the media or any foreigner or leave Israel.
It was Vanunu who in 1986 first revealed that Israel had nuclear bombs. His revelation came in an article the British Sunday Times had published on October 5, 1986.
The Israelis had him kidnapped while he was holidaying in Italy and jailed him for 18 years — till 2004. Vanunu was arrested again and again for talking to foreigners and violating the terms of his release. Amnesty International has pointed out that restrictions on Vanunu’s movement, speech and association violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Israel has ratified and is obliged to uphold.
Israel’s showing little respect for international law is no surprise. But what is surprising is that there is little pressure from the United Nations, the United States or any other Western nation on Israel to let Vanunu enjoy his freedom of speech and movement. The United States does not call on Israel to restore Vanunu’s fundamental rights because the Israeli nuclear technician is privy to damning evidence that proves US collaboration with Israel in the making of the Zionist state’s nuclear bombs.
In his limited meetings with foreign journalists after his release in 2004, Vanunu had claimed that Israel’s nuclear arsenal was the biggest threat to peace in West Asia and it was Israel which assassinated US President John F. Kennedy because of his strong opposition to Israel’s secret nuclear weapons programme started by Ben Gurion, the then Israeli Prime Minister.
While Israel prepares for an attack on Iran, disregarding the devastating consequences such an attack could have on the region and global oil supplies, Iran says it is ready for talks with P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
But it has one condition – the US sanctions and military threats should be lifted.
“Put away the threats and put away the sanctions,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday.

About ameenizzadeen

journalist and global justice activist
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4 Responses to Ominous signs of Israeli attack on Iran

  1. In 2004, John Bolton traveled to Israel, just prior to Mordechai Vanunu’s release from 18 years in prison for providing the photographic proof and telling the truth that Israel had already manufactured upwards of 200 nuclear warheads by 1985, in their still un-inspected Dimona WMD facility in the Negev.

    As President G.W. Bush went searching for WMD’s in Iraq, Vanunu offered to direct him to the only site in the Middle East where WMD’s can be found:

    Bolton’s 2004 visit to Israel sought to squelch the truth regarding America’s collusion in Israel’s WMD program, and to support Israel’s draconian restrictions against Vanunu which denied but failed to prevent him from having contact with internationals, to use and own a cell phone and have Internet access.

    On August 8, 2010, Israel released Vanunu from 78 days in solitary confinement, punishment for speaking to foreign media in 2004.

    A few hours later Vanunu was busy on his laptop making hundreds of new friends on Facebook:!/profile.php?id=1685685101&v=info

    Spreading the word about the International Petition to free him:

    And he continues to express his inalienable right to freedom of speech on Youtube:

    In 2006, Yossi Melman wrote:

    “Vanunu was one of the very few prisoners in Israeli history whose sentence was not reduced for good behavior, nor was he given a single day’s furlough. For many years, he was imprisoned in solitary confinement, which nearly drove him insane. Two years ago, he was released and asked to leave Israel. That’s when the vengeful machinery of the defense establishment – Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the Shin Bet, and Yehiel Horev, head of security for the defense establishment – went into action. They imposed a series of limitations on Vanunu, restricting his freedom of movement and his right to social contacts. The worst of these restrictions is the ban on him leaving Israel…Morally and legally, and from a democratic perspective, it is intolerable that someone who has been punished should be punished over and over again for the same sin for which he served such a heavy sentence…the man’s ongoing harassment…is entirely motivated by the defense establishment’s hunger for vengeance over the way he outwitted it.” [1]

    This man’s ongoing harassment has also been enabled by a Media that has failed to fulfill its commission to seek and report the truth.

    On July 23, 2010, the National Archives and Records Administration released declassified files from a Senate investigation into Israeli-funded covert public relations and lobbying activity in the United States.

    Grant F. Smith, director of Institute for Research on Middle Eastern policy stated, “It is frightening how easily some in the American news media surrendered to a foreign public relations campaign that spent the 2010 equivalent of $36 million over two years. Time has proven most of the planted content to be misleading, if not dangerous. These historical documents hold many important lessons for Americans who have long needed—but rarely received—straight reporting on key Middle East issues.”

    The subpoenaed documents expose Israel’s clandestine programs for “cultivation of editors” and the “placement of suitable articles in the major consumer magazines” as well as directly influencing U.S. reporting regarding the Dimona WMD facility, as “most of the press seemed to accept the thesis that the reactor was being built for peaceful purposes and not for bombs.” [2]

    During my 2005 interviews with Vanunu he told me:

    “By the time I was twenty-three, I began working at the Dimona. It was suppose to be a textile plant, but I was hired for the control room. At the time, I had no idea what it was in control of.

    “In August of 1985, I was put on a list of people who should be dismissed from the Dimona. They were laying off 10 percent, but when they told me I was going, I confronted them with ‘Why are you dismissing me? I am a good worker; you are getting rid of me for political reasons, aren’t you?’ The union protected me, and after two months, they told me they were transferring me to a less secure area.

    “I told them I would stay where I was, or else I would resign. They said, ‘Okay, resign.’ And I did. I had already shot the two rolls of film. I worked the night shift and had lots of time alone. I found the keys to the restricted areas in the shower room. I left the film in my locker for a few days before taking it out of the Dimona. I knew they were watching me.

    “I left Israel in January of 1986, and went to search for someone to share my story with. I didn’t develop the film until six months later. I was waiting until I found a newspaper that would cover the story. I met a Canadian author on my way to Greece, but nothing came of it. I traveled to Athens, Bangkok, and then went to Russia. I was 32 years old in a Moscow hotel, wondering if I should tell my story to the Red Army. I decided to leave, instead. The reason I had arrived there was that before I left the Dimona, I had checked out the Palestinian Communist Party to see how the communists worked. I was curious and wondered if they would help me once I left Israel. But when I witnessed the poverty and nothing but military cars everywhere, I decided to get out of there.

    “I went to the Far East and met some people who had run away from Chernobyl, and I told them about the Dimona. Two weeks later I arrived in Sydney and stayed for six months. I went to St. John Anglican Church and became friends with the people I met there. I got a job driving a taxi and met a freelance journalist named Gervevo; I told him my story, and he was enthusiastic to help me get it out. He thought I wanted to make money on it, but I told him I just wanted to prevent a nuclear war and contribute to a positive change in the Middle East. Then I met Peter Hounam” the investigative reporter who broke Vanunu’s story on October, 5 1986, four days after Vanunu was kidnapped by the Mossad.

    Although I was not a reporter when I met Vanunu in 2005, I knew I must and would become one after Vanunu informed me:

    “Did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons? In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’

    “Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection. The French were responsible for the actual building of the Dimona. The Germans gave the money; they were feeling guilty for the Holocaust, and tried to pay their way out. Everything inside was written in French, when I was there.

    “Back then; the Dimona descended seven floors underground. In 1955, Perez and Guirion met with the French to agree they would get a nuclear reactor if they fought against Egypt to control the Sinai and Suez Canal. That was the war of 1956. Eisenhower demanded that Israel leave the Sinai, but the reactor plant deal continued on. Kennedy demanded inspections. When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them. Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year.

    “The only way to peace is peace; the only way is nonviolence. The only answer to Israeli nuclear weapons, their aggression, occupation and oppression, and the wall and refugee camps is to answer them with truth and a peaceful voice. When I became the spy for the world, I did it all for the people of the world. If governments do not report the truth, and if the media does not report the truth, then all we can do is follow our consciences. Daniel Ellsberg did, the woman from Enron did, and I did. The United States needs to wake up and see the truth that Israel is not a democracy, unless you are a Jew. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where America can right now find WMDs. America can also find where basic human rights have been denied Christians: right here in Israel.”


    Eileen Fleming, Producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”
    Founder of
    Staff Member of
    A Feature Correspondent for and
    Author of “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”

    Only in Solidarity do “we have it in our power to begin the world again.”-Tom Paine

  2. Dear Eileen, I wanted to include Bolton’s visit to Israel in 2004 in my post, but i wanted to doublecheck it before I included it. Now that you have said it, I feel the article has been completed. Thanks a lot.

  3. Thank you Ameen, for your article inspired mine!

    PS: Please and thanks to all who sign the international petition to FREE Vanunu @

    In solidarity “we have it in our power to begin the world again.”-Tom Paine

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