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Home arrow Blog arrow July 2010 arrow July 18, 2010: Open Letter to the Jewish People from Noble Laureate Mairead Maguire

July 18, 2010: Open Letter to the Jewish People from Noble Laureate Mairead Maguire
July 18, 2010: Open Letter to the Jewish People from Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and the Vanunu Saga 2005-2010!

Open Letter of Appeal to the Jewish people

 

Dear Friends,

 

 I write to ask for your help in gaining the freedom of a good man, a man of peace, and a man of conscience.

 

In the Jewish scriptures there is great emphasis on justice and freedom and it is for such, for one man, that I write to seek your help.

 

He will not be aware that I am writing this Appeal, but I do so in the hope that, with your help,  it will produce his freedom, and not (and this I must risk) cause yet more punishment and cruelty to be  inflicted upon him.

 

However, I feel when I tell you the story, it will touch your hearts and there will be those amongst you who will be able to help him gain his freedom.

 

In May, 2010, this man was returned to prison to serve three months for allegedly breaking his prison release restrictions and speaking to Foreign Media.  


On Sunday 11 July, 2010, he had  his first visit in seven weeks.  


His brother, Meir, was granted a 30 minute visit. There was a glass window between them and they spoke via the phone. He wore a prison uniform. He is held in the hardest prison section there is in the prison. It has the most notorious criminals in the country, well known hard murder cases. All about a dozen are in severe isolation conditions. He is in a cell by himself for 24 hours a day, no window but a small wire covered crack at the top part of one wall. He has about an hour’s walk a day in a very tiny yard. He was simply thrown in a cell by the security agents, the door locked, and left to suffer there all alone. He has not spoken to anyone in all the seven weeks and this visit was (apart from a short visit of his lawyer 6 weeks ago) the first conversation he had in seven weeks. His food is limited in quality and quantity, and his reading material two books he has with him. Of course his spirits are down as a result of being put in such harsh, inhuman and cruel conditions.

 

His name is Mordechai Vanunu, and he is in an Israeli prison cell.  


Mordechai is no stranger to prison. 


In l986 Mordechai Vanunu told the world that Israel had a Nuclear Weapons Programme and he was given 18 years imprisonment for doing so. 


He is the Israeli Nuclear whistle blower and 24 years later continues to be punished for trying to warn the Israelis and protect both Israel and the world from a Nuclear weapons disaster.  


Mordechai Vanunu served the full 18 years of his sentence (eleven years in solitary ) and upon release, instead of allowing him to leave Israel, the Israeli Government put severe restrictions upon him, including forbidding him to leave Israel and not to speak to foreign media. It was the allegedly breaking of these restrictions and speaking to Foreign media, which resulted in Mordechai being returned to prison for 3 months.  


He has  6 weeks left to serve in these harsh prison conditions, and even upon release from prison will still have to remain in Israel until next April, 2011 when the restrictions will be reviewed and probably renewed yet again, as they have been renewed each year for the past 6 years.  


Some people say Vanunu will never be allowed to leave Israel but will die there, if indeed in the meantime his spirit is not broken by his ill treatment and he losses his sanity.


The Shabak continues to tell the Israeli Government he is a security risk and must not be released and the Israeli Judiciary and Government obey them and keep him imprisoned. Vanunu is no risk to Israeli National Security. He has no nuclear Secrets. 


I have asked some Israelis why they think Israel refuses to allow Mordechai Vanunu to leave Israel. Various reasons are given but the most frequent answer is they feel the Israeli Government does not trust its citizens and holding Mordechai Vanunu, forever, if necessary sends out the signal to Israeli Citizens to behave themselves.

 

It seems, if this is so, that the strategy is working. To date only a few courageous Jewish people have raised their voices against such cruelty and injustice perpetrated upon Mordecai, and called for him to be allowed to leave Israel. 


But I don’t believe Mordechai will never be allowed to leave Israeli and will die in Jerusalem. I have met Mordechai many times since he was released from prison on 2lst April, 2004. He is a good man, a man of peace, and a true Gandhian  spirit. Instead of punishing him, Israel should be proud of Mordechai Vanunu,  and I believe that future generations of Israelis will look back and realize that there lived amongst them a great visionary and man of peace, not only for Israel, but for the human family. It was with great joy I nominated him several times for the Nobel Peace Prize, as did many other prominent names during the past 24 years. He richly serves the NPP as he lives and acts in the true spirit of Alfred Nobel, who left his prize for those who would work for peace and disarmament.

 

However, it is with the deepest sadness that I acknowledge that in spite of world campaigns by many, including Amnesty International (and personal letters from myself  to President Obama, President Shimon Peres,) Mordechai Vanunu continues 24 years later to be most cruelly imprisoned and punished by Israel.  Most  Political and Spiritual leaders, and International Bodies,  of our time are silent in the face of Israel’s abuse of Vanunu’s basic human right to freedom of speech and liberty, which is in violation of many International Laws.

 

However, I have hope that he will be free and I place my hope in those Jewish people who read this story and are moved to right a wrong continuing to be done to Mordechai Vanunu, and they will demand that their Government give him his freedom, and allow him to leave Israel.

 

Shalom,

Mairead Maguire

Nobel Peace Laureate

www.peacepeople.com

14.7.2010

 

 


       The Vanunu Saga: 2005-2010

"If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way."- Emile Zola 

On 24 April 2004, Uri Avnery wrote:

 

"Everybody understands that Vanunu has no more secrets. What can a technician know after 18 years in jail, during which technology has advanced with giant steps?

 

"But gradually it becomes clear what the security establishment is really afraid of. Vanunu is in a position to expose the close partnership with the United States in the development of Israel's nuclear armaments.

 

"This worries Washington so much, that the man responsible in the State Department for 'arms control', Under-Secretary John Bolton, has come to Israel in person for the occasion. Vanunu, it appears, can cause severe damage to the mighty super-power.

 

"The Americans, it seems, are very worried. The Israeli security services have to dance to their tune. The world must be prevented by all available means from hearing, from the lips of a credible witness, that the Americans are full partners in Israel's nuclear arms program, while pretending to be the world's sheriff for the prevention of nuclear proliferation."

 

 



In 2005, Vanunu told me:


"President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons. Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection.


"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."






July 10, 2010: Back to Vanunu and "Let your conscience be your guide"-Jiminy Cricket  

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June 17, 2010: Mordechai Vanunu, Mainstream Media, Wikipedia and a PS: To the Book Publishing World  Read more...




May 25, 2010: Shimon Peres has no clothes and CNN is exposed  Read more...



May 22, 2010: Email from and "something else" about Mordechai Vanunu Read more...



May 12, 2010: Vanunu Returns to Prison and The End of Israel's Nuclear Ambiguity   Read more...

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE:
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April 14, 2010: Deja Vu: Vanunu, Kamm and Blau and the Fragility of Freedom  Read more...




April 3, 2010: What the Shin Bet and Israeli Court Cannot Gag 

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US and Israeli Nuclear Deceptions
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   Love, Truth and Jihad
 Read more...

Message RE: Mordechai Vanunu to President Peres and all of US Congress

Message to President Shimon Peres and The You Tube Nation Read more...


                                      




Photo of Vanunu copyright Meir Vanunu, November 2007





     


16 Days in Israel Palestine




February 26, 2010: What Alfred Nobel Might Say to the Peace Prize Committee regarding Mordechai Vanunu   Read more...




January 9, 2010:  Human Rights VS "Israel Bullshit Show"-Vanunu Mordechai  

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January 1, 2010: Message to Israeli SECURITY regarding Mordechai Vanunu from American Citizen Journalist and Back to 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008!   

 
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December 22, 2009: What The WORLD Needs to know about Vanunu

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 UPDATED Dec. 29, 2009: Israel arrests Vanunu again!

 




December 5, 2009: The Vanunu Opera  Read more...




October 10, 2009: Obama's Mandate from and Vanunu's letter to: 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Committee



Read more...




August 21, 2009: The "Big Get" Don Hewitt and "60 Minutes" Didn't Get Read more...





Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Appeal Resumes March 23, 2008: Easter Sunday


Update: A few days prior, Vanunu learned the appeal date was to be rescheduled. On Easter Day he learned appeal resumes May 13, 2008


After a year and a half long FREEDOM of Speech trial in Jerusalem, on July 2, 2007, an Israeli court sentenced the whistle blower of Israel's WMD program, Mordechai Vanunu, to six more months in jail for violating a ban imposed on him in 2004. Since his release from Ashkelon Prison on April 21, 2004, Israel has denied him the right to leave the state and has forbidden him to speak to foreigners. Two days before President Bush's first trip to Israel Palestine and a day before Vanunu's appeal was to begin, Israel sentenced him to community service instead.

 
On Feb. 5, 2008, Vanunu met with prison officials to arrange community service and learned that to his "surprise they say there is no community service in East Jerusalem. I told them the agreement for community service was on this condition that it will be only in the East Jerusalem. They say no one told them about this… I will do community service in the East Jerusalem or the appeal begins and may be the prison sentence."


 
In an email on February 19, 2008, Vanunu wrote: "The court hearing today Feb. 19, was again postponed, because of a small snow here. We are waiting for the next hearing date soon."

The rescheduled date of March 23, is this Easter Sunday.


 

Vanunu has only lived in East Jerusalem since his release from 18 years in Ashkelon Prison on April 21, 2004.

"I went three times to West Jerusalem by taxi because I had to go to the Supreme Court. All three times some right wing extremist Jews shouted and threatened me. My community is the Lutheran Church in the Old City, the Palestinians on the streets and internationals. I have met with hundreds, thousands- probably even five thousand people since 2004."


Everyone who talks with Vanunu on the street, on the phone or by email understands that they are being monitored by cogs in the industrial security-surveillance complex.


On February 13, 2008, Washington Post Staff Writer Paul Kane wrote: "The Senate yesterday approved a sweeping measure that would expand the government's clandestine surveillance powers, delivering a key victory to the White House by approving the telecom immunity provision…the Senate approved the reauthorization of a law that would give the government greater powers to eavesdrop in terrorism and intelligence cases without obtaining warrants from a secret court…The most important change approved by the Senate yesterday would make permanent a law approved last August that expanded the government's authority to intercept -- without a court order -- the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States communicating with others overseas." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021300959.html?hpid=topnews


 
The news that America is on the verge of becoming a police state was ignored by ABC, CBS and NBC and they have also ignored Vanunu's historic freedom of speech trial that began the same day  Hamas was democratically elected in January 2006.


On February 22, 2006 it was revealed in court that Israel had asked Microsoft to hand over all the details of Vanunu's Hotmail account before a court order had been obtained.
 
Vanunu: "Microsoft obeyed the orders and gave them all the details…three months before I was arrested and my computers were confiscated…it is strange to ask Microsoft to give this information before obtaining the court order to listen to my private conversations. It means they wanted to go through my emails in secret, or maybe, with the help of the secret services, the Shaback, Mossad…Sfard [Vanunu's attorney] proved that the police had misled the judges who gave the orders to arrest me: to search my room, to go through my email, to confiscate my computers and that they misled Microsoft to believe they are helping in a case of espionage. The State came to the court with two special secret Government orders; Hisaion [documents or information that are deemed confidential by the government and kept from the court, the defendant, and lawyers.] This allows the prosecution to keep documents related to my court hearing secret. One was from the Minister for Interior Security and one from the Minister of Defense."



Vanunu's secretly taped police interrogations, his 2004 Christmas Eve arrest for "attempting to leave the country" when he attempted to celebrate mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the confiscation of his private property by thirty IDF that stormed into his room at St. George's Cathedral in 2004, according to Vanunu have all "been done…under the false and misleading statements to the courts of 'suspicion of espionage', and yet they are not charging me with spy crimes… and the fact is that I have not committed any crimes."
 

"But the real problem that Vanunu represents...at a critically important moment in the history of the Middle East that Israel is a nuclear power and that its warheads stand ready to be fired from the Negev desert. [Vanunu] will also remind the world that the Americans, despite battering their way into Iraq to destroy Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, continue to give their political, moral and economic support to a country that has secretly amassed a treasure trove of weapons of mass destruction.
 
 
"How can President Bush remain silent on Israel's nuclear power when he has not only illegally invaded an Arab state for allegedly harbouring nuclear weapons and condemned Iran for the same ambitions, but also praised--along with Tony Blair's government--Colonel Gaddafi of Libya for abandoning his nuclear pretensions? If the Arab states are being "defanged"--always supposing they had any real fangs in the first place--why should Israel not be "de-nuclearised"? Why can't the United States apply the same standards to Israel as it does to the Arabs? Or why, for that matter, can't Israel apply the same standards to itself that it demands of its Arab enemies?"
 
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=5222
 
 
BACKGROUND:


 In 1986, Vanunu was a low tech worker in Israel's underground WMD facility in the Negev, but the sign out front back them still proclaimed it was a Textile Plant. All employees signed a secrecy agreement to never speak about what they did in the Dimona, and all jobs were compartmentalized.
 
 Because Vanunu was a good worker, he was cross trained in many areas and woke up to the fact that he was but a cog in the making of weapons of mass destruction. Without talking to family or friends, he decided totally on his own document the facts underground in the Dimona nuclear weapons plant by photographing the evidence. 
 
Vanunu easily obtained the keys to the restricted areas after they had been carelessly left in the shower room by a supervisor. Vanunu shot two rolls of film in the underground WMD facility but did not develop them until ten months later while in Sydney, Australia and just days after being baptized a Christian.


 The photos were published in the London Sunday Times just as Vanunu was being kidnapped, clubbed, drugged and bound by the Mossad in Rome and then flung onto an Israeli ship heading home.

Instead of Israel being grateful for the alert to their inadequate security in the nuclear reactor facility, Israel tried Vanunu for treason in a closed door trial and locked him up for 18 years, most all of it in solitary. Vanunu has not set foot into the Dimona in 22 years and International Inspectors never have.
 
 
 
On April 21, 2004, Vanunu was released from Ashkelon Prison, but still not free. He has lived under the draconian 1945 British Mandate State of Emergency Regulations, which forbids him from leaving Israel and speaking to media and foreigners. After WW II, Attorney Yaccov Shapiro, who later became Israel's Minister Of Justice, described the Emergency Defense Regulations which denies Vanunu the inalienable rights of freedom of speech and movement as "unparalleled in any civilized country: there were no such laws in Nazi Germany."[ N.S. Ateek, Justice and Only Justice p.34]
 
 
I met Vanunu for the first time in June 2005, and was curious about his childhood and how and why he-a secular Jew existentialist became a Christian. He filled me in on all of that and much more:
 
"This administration tells me I am not allowed to speak to foreigners, the Media, and the world. But I do because that is how I prove my true humanity to the world.
 
"The Israelis have 200 atomic weapons and they accuse the Palestinians and Muslims of terrorism. The Dimona is 46 years old; reactors last 25 to 30 years. The Dimona has never been inspected and Israel has never signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty but all the Arab states have.
 
"Twenty years ago when I worked there they only produced when the air was blowing towards Jordan ten miles away. No one knows what is happening now. The world needs to wake up and see the real terrorism is the occupation and the Palestinians have lived under that terror regime for 40 years.
 
"It's very sad that Hilary Clinton went to the Jewish Wailing Wall and forgot the real crying wall is the Palestinian wall; the apartheid wall, the wall is not for defense, but to keep this conflict permanent.
 
 "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 nuclear weapons.


"America can also find where basic human rights have been denied Christians: right here in Israel. The time has come for the United States to see the truth of Zionism. It began as a secular nationalist movement, not a religious one. Then some Christians believed that when Israel became a nation, it was the beginning of the second coming. They are deluded if they believe peace will come through atomic weapons. Atomic weapons are holocaust weapons. Christians should be the first people against them.
 


 "My human rights have been denied me because I am a Christian. When I was on trial, I was treated just like a Palestinian: no human rights at all, and cruel and unusual punishment, all because I told the truth. The government spread slander about me, that I was a homosexual, that I hated Jews, that I wanted fame and money. What I did was sacrifice my life for the truth. In prison, I really began to feel like Jesus and Paul. When Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple, it was like me in Dimona, exposing the Israelis' dirty secrets. I felt like Paul, being thrown in prison for speaking the truth.
 
 
 "The only real way to worship is in loving one's enemies. It was not easy to love my tormentors; it was only because I felt so much like Jesus crucified on the cross, and as if I was crucified in prison, that I could do it. It was not ever easy. I have forgiven but not forgotten anything, and I never will. In Israel, a life sentence is twenty-five years. Even murderers go free after seventeen. They imposed the same restrictions on me that Palestinians receive: no human rights at all; no phone; no visitors, except family, and only through an iron grill; no vacation; no holidays; and no gifts. Even murderers get out for vacations! I was locked up for eighteen years and still cannot go on vacation; I cannot leave, and that is all I am asking for, just to leave here. For eighteen years in prison, they even attempted to control my thoughts on paper. I would write exactly what I wanted and they would censor words like kidnapped and atomic bomb. They would show me how they chopped up my letters, but I continued to write exactly what I wanted. They held my body, but never my spirit or mind...Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew."



The legend of Vanunu continues to grow:
 
 
Vanunu was again arrested on a Christmas Eve. He was having dinner at the American Colony with a German tourist. In an email on Dec. 26, 2007 Vanunu wrote:"...they were very harsh to the young German girl, they were questioning here like by the KGB...she was in a separate room. She was still there after I left at 24:00...So do what ever you can, you are in a free country."
 
Also unafraid of speaking with Vanunu as he told me during a Feb. 12, 2008 phone call are the, "Ten to twenty foreigners I meet every day in the streets, in the restaurants, in churches; some times they are short meetings, sometimes long meetings."
 
I had called Vanunu to ask him what he thought about the two suicide/homicide bombers who blew up six miles from the underground Dimona nuclear plant on Feb. 5th. Reuters had originally reported that  a source said the "Army of Palestine" wing of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades from Gaza carried out the attack in Dimona along with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Within hours it was then reported that it was two Hamas from Hebron. Israeli authorities denied the nuclear plant was the target and not one journalist questioned it.
 
Vanunu said, "We don't know if they were Hamas or Fatah, but they got as far as they could get to the Dimona. The Dimona is very heavily guarded, and only another state could blow it up, not terrorists."
 
Vanunu hasn't set foot in the Dimona in twenty-two years, [International Inspectors never have] yet Israel continues to insist they cannot let him speak with foreigners or leave Israel, because Israeli authorities claim he still has a secret he has not yet told.

Vanunu has maintained that ,"All the secrets I had were published in 1989 in an important book, by Frank Barnaby, The Invisible Bomb: Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East."
 
 
Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Israel ratified and is obliged to uphold, stipulates: "everyone [has] the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence" and that "everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own".
 
"Israel is bound by international law not to impose arbitrary restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu, including on his right to travel within the country or abroad, his right to peaceful association with others and his right to express his opinions" - Amnesty International Press Release of April 19, 2004 and July 2, 2007.
 
Vanunu concluded our February phone call, "For 18 years in prison I felt like a man at a train station, waiting for my train. I lived in a six by nine foot space without a window for 18 years. Every day I would get up, get dressed, put on my shoes, look at the same four walls and wait for that train that never came…Now I live in a nine by nine space with four walls, I have a window to the Mount of Olives and the street. But, I live like a tourist without even a TV in a cheap hotel and all I want to do is leave Jerusalem. I am no longer waiting for a train. Now I am at the airport terminal waiting for my plane."





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BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

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“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



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