Iran vs Israel: What The Media Wants You To Forget

The corporate media have been given their orders to throw the focus back on to Iran.

Here is a recap of what they are trying to make you forget.

1. Last Spring, Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state and Washington’s chief nuclear arms negotiator, asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel refused.

2. The United Nations passed a resolution calling on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit to inspections. Israel refused.

3. The IAEA asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit to inspections.Israel refused.

4. Iran’s formal notification to the IAEA of the planned construction of the backup fuel-rod facility underscores that Iran is playing by the rules of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has signed.

5. Iran allows IAEA inspections of all its facilities.

6. Contrary to face-saving claims, it appears that the US and Israel were both caught off guard by Iran’s announcement. The reasoning is simple. Had the US or Israel announced the existence of he new facility before Iran’s notified the IAEA, it would have put Iran on the defensive. As it is now, the US and Israel seem to be playing catch up, casting doubt on the veracity of Israel’s claims to "know" that Iran is a nuclear threat.

7. The IAEA and all 16 United States Intelligence Agencies are unanimous in agreement that Iran is not building and does not possess nuclear weapons.

8. In 1986, Mordachai Vanunu blew the whistle and provided photographs showing Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons factory underneath the reactor at Dimona.

9. Israel made the same accusations against Iraq that it is making against Iran, leading up to Israel’s bombing of the power station at Osirik. Following the invasion of 2003, international experts examined the ruins of the power station at Osirik and found no evidence of a clandestine weapons factory in the rubble.

10. The United Nations has just released the Goldstone Report, a scathing report which accuses Israel of 37 specific war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza earlier this year. Israel has denounced the report as "Anti-Semitic (even though Judge Goldstone is himself Jewish), and the United States will block the report from being referred to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, thereby making the US Government an accessory after-the-fact.

11. Recently revealed documents prove not only that Israel has nuclear weapos, but actually tried to sell some to Apartheid South Africa. Who else Israel approached to sell nuclear weapons remains an unasked question.

12. In 1965, Israel stole over 200-600 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from the United States.

We all need to be Joe Wilson right now. We need to stand up and scream, "LIAR!" at every politician and every talking media moron that is pushing this war in Iran. And we need to keep dong it until they get the message that we will not be deceived any more.

Israel wants to send your kids off to die in Iran, and YOU are the only one that can stop them.

Point 1

Washington negotiator calls on Israel to sign nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty

• Move breaks US tradition of discretion over Israeli arsenal
• NPT comes up for review in 2010

A diplomatic row broke out today between the US and Israel after Washington’s chief nuclear arms negotiator called on Israel to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), breaking a US tradition of discretion over Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Israeli officials said they were puzzled by a speech to an international conference in New York by Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state, who said: "Universal adherence to the NPT itself – including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea – also remains a fundamental objective of the United States."

By including Israel on a list of countries known to have nuclear weapons. Gottemoeller broke with normal US diplomatic practice. Since 1968 when the CIA reported Israel had developed a nuclear weapon , Washington has pursued a policy of not demanding transparency from its close ally, and in return Israel agreed not to test a bomb or declare its nuclear capability – a policy of "strategic ambiguity".

"As far as we are concerned, there is no change to the close dialogue we have with Washington," Yossi Levy, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, told Reuters. Privately, Israeli officials played down the importance of the NPT as a means of controlling proliferation.

Attempts to stop spread of nuclear weapons face a critical moment over the next year before the NPT comes up for review in 2010, at a time when North Korea has declared the resumption of its nuclear weapons programme, and fears over Iran’s intentions threaten to trigger a Middle East arms race. Gottemoeller’s speech was made at a meeting to prepare the way for next year’s critical NPT review conference.

Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, said that Gottemoeller had not changed the long-held US position – that all states should join the NPT. However, she spelt that position out more explicitly in relation to Israel.

Since Gottemoeller was appointed by Barack Obama last month to lead disarmament talks with Moscow, she has signalled much greater flexibility than the previous administration, telling the Russian Interfax news agency this week that the US was open to a significant compromise on the US missile defence scheme. Moscow had proposed to use relocate radar installations that are part of the US missile defence scheme in southern Russia or Azerbaijan rather than in Eastern Europe, so that Moscow would have greater confidence it could not be used against Russia. The Bush administration rejected the suggestion. Gottemoeller said Washington should consider it.


Point 2

UN body urges Israel to allow nuclear inspection

Russia, China back nuclear assembly resolution; Iran envoy: Vote is ‘triumph for oppressed nation of Palestine.’

Arab states in the United Nations nuclear assembly on Friday won narrow approval of a resolution urging Israel to put all its atomic sites under the world body’s inspection and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Israel deplored the measure for singling it out while many of its neighbors remained hostile to its existence, and said it would not cooperate with it.

The non-binding resolution, which passed for the first time in 18 years of attempts thanks to more developing nation votes, voiced concern about "Israeli nuclear capabilities" and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to tackle the issue.

Israel is one of only three countries worldwide along with India and Pakistan outside the nuclear NPT and is widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, though it has never confirmed or denied this.

Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh, whose country’s disputed nuclear program is under IAEA investigation, told reporters Friday’s vote was a "glorious moment" and "a triumph for the oppressed nation of Palestine".

UN Security Council members Russia and China also backed the resolution, which passed by 49 votes to 45 against in a floor vote at the IAEA’s annual member states conference.

The vote split along Western and developing nation lines. There were 16 abstentions.

"Israel will not cooperate in any matter with this resolution which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and lines of division in the Middle East region," chief Israeli delegate David Danieli told the chamber.

Western states said it was unfair and counterproductive to isolate one member state. They said an IAEA resolution passed on Thursday, urging all Middle East nations to foreswear atomic bombs, included Israel and made Friday’s proposal unnecessary.

Arab nations said Israel had brought the resolution on itself by having never signed the 40-year-old NPT.

Before the vote, U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies said the resolution was "redundant … Such an approach is highly politicized and does not address the complexities at play regarding crucial nuclear-related issues in the Middle East."

Calling the resolution "unbalanced", Canada tried to block a vote on the floor with a "no-action motion". But the procedural maneuver lost by an eight-vote margin. The same motion prevailed in 2007 and 2008.

A senior diplomat from the non-aligned movement of developing nations said times had changed.

"People and countries are bolder now, willing to call a spade a spade. You cannot hide or ignore the truth, the double standards, of Israel’s nuclear capability forever," he said.

"The new U.S. [Obama] administration has certainly helped this thinking with its commitment to universal nuclear disarmament and nuclear weapons-free zones," they said.

The measure was last voted on in 1991 when it passed by 39-31 with 13 abstentions when IAEA membership was much smaller.

Since then there have only been official summaries of debate on this item or successful motions for adjournment or no action.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

Point 3

IAEA urges Israel to allow nuclear inspection

International Atomic Energy Agency says Jerusalem must join Non-Proliferation Treaty, allow it to monitor its facilities. Iranian ambassador hails decision as ‘triumph’; ‘Israel will not cooperate with this resolution,’ says Atomic Energy Commission official


09.18.09, 18:18 / Israel News

The UN nuclear assembly voted on Friday to urge Israel to accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and place all atomic sites under UN inspections, in a surprise victory for Arab states.

The resolution, passed narrowly for the first time in nearly two decades, expresses concern about "Israeli nuclear capabilities" and calls on International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to work on the issue.


The Middle East resolution, sponsored by Arab states, was backed by 49 votes to 45 against in a floor vote at the IAEA’s annual member states conference. The vote split along Western and developing nation lines. There were 16 abstentions.

Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters the passage of the resolution was "very good news and a triumph for the oppressed nation of Palestine".

Russia and China backed the resolution.

Israel is one of only three countries worldwide along with India and Pakistan outside the nuclear NPT and is widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, though it has never confirmed or denied it.

"The delegation of Israel deplores this resolution," David Danieli, deputy director of Israel’s atomic energy commission, told the chamber after the vote.

"Israel will not cooperate in any matter with this resolution which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and lines of division in the Middle East region."

The measure was last voted on in 1991 when it passed by 39-31 with 13 abstentions when IAEA membership was much smaller.

Since then there has only been presidential summaries of debate on this item or motions for adjournment or no action that carried the floor.

Diplomats pointed to the increased number of abstentions – from countries ranging from India to Argentina and Nigeria as an important factor in the resolution’s adoption.

Point 4,5 & 6

As Required, Iran Informs IAEA About New Enrichment Site
Western Furore Over ‘Secret’ Facility Despite No Apparent Illegality

by Jason Ditz, September 25, 2009

Western leaders reacted with a combination of indignation and outrage today when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed that Iran had informed them it was in the process of constructing a second uranium enrichment facility.

Several officials used the revelation as a call to action against the Iranian government, just days before six-party talks with the nation about its civilian nuclear program. But despite a flurry of claims that the West had uncovered the “secret” facility it seems unclear that Iran actually did anything wrong.

The IAEA only actually requires that it be informed six months before an enrichment facility comes online, and the new site is at least that far from completion. Nuclear material has not been added, and the IAEA says that the data they’ve been given suggests that as with the existing Nanatz facility, the new site is only designed to enrich uranium to 5%, useful for energy production at the nation’s Bushehr power plant but not for military purposes.

Western leaders are now demanding that UN inspectors be given access to the new site. Such a demand would be seemingly reasonable, if Iran hadn’t already promised to do so days ago to the IAEA and publicly said hours before the “demands” that they have every intention of doing so.

If anything the revelation coming from Iran is inopportune for the US in pressing sanctions on the nation, as they had reportedly known about the construction for “a few years” and were planning to use the revelation to spur their call for “crippling” sactions when they discovered that Iran had already told the IAEA, as required.

Point 7

IAEA: Iran Not Capable of Making Nuclear Weapons
Atomic Agency Continues to Confirm No Uranium Diverted For Other Purposes

by Jason Ditz, February 22, 2009

Despite the attention being paid to claims that Iran has enough uranium to hypothetically build a nuclear weapon, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says that Iran is “not there yet” as far as the capability of making weapons is concerned.

Iran has enriched 1,010 kilograms of uranium hexaflouride to the low levels needed for the Bushehr nuclear power plant which is approaching operation. Some say this would be sufficient to make a weapon, however the IAEA has continued to verify that none of it has been diverted to any other use.

The White House has presented the Iranian nuclear program as an “urgent problem that has to be addressed,” in spite of the fact that the IAEA has insisted that has beencooperating on recent issues.


Intelligence Agencies Say No New Nukes in Iran

Secret updates to White House challenge European and Israeli assessments.

The U.S. intelligence community is reporting to the White House that Iran has not restarted its nuclear-weapons development program, two counterproliferation officials tell NEWSWEEK. U.S. agencies had previously said that Tehran halted the program in 2003.

The officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said that U.S. intelligence agencies have informed policymakers at the White House and other agencies that the status of Iranian work on development and production of a nuclear bomb has not changed since the formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s "Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" in November 2007. Public portions of that report stated that U.S. intelligence agencies had "high confidence" that, as of early 2003, Iranian military units were pursuing development of a nuclear bomb, but that in the fall of that year Iran "halted its nuclear weapons program." The document said that while U.S. agencies believed the Iranian government "at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons," U.S. intelligence as of mid-2007 still had "moderate confidence" that it had not restarted weapons-development efforts.

One of the two officials said that the Obama administration has now worked out a system in which intelligence agencies provide top policymakers, including the president, with regular updates on intelligence judgments like the conclusions in the 2007 Iran NIE. According to the two officials, the latest update to policymakers has been that as of now—two years after the period covered by the 2007 NIE—U.S. intelligence agencies still believe Iran has not resumed nuclear-weapons development work. "That’s the conclusion, but it’s one that—like every other—is constantly checked and reassessed, both to take account of new information and to test old assumptions," one of the officials told NEWSWEEK. It is not clear whether U.S. agencies’ confidence in this judgment has grown at all since the 2007 statement.

This latest U.S. intelligence-community assessment is potentially controversial for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is at odds with more alarming assessments propounded by key U.S. allies, most notably Israel. Officials of Israel’s conservative-led government have been deliveringincreasingly dire assessments of Iran’s nuclear progress and have leaked shrill threats about a possible Israeli military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright, an atomic-weapons expert who follows Iranian nuclear developments closely, said the U.S. government’s current judgments will continue to provoke contention and debate. "People are looking at the same information and reaching different judgments," he said. "Given all the developments in Iran, these assessments are hard to believe with any certainty. Nobody’s been able to bring total proof either way."

Israel is not the only American ally that has circulated assessments that contradict the U.S. intelligence conclusion that Iran is not currently pursuing nuclear-bomb development. According to German court documents released earlier this year, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, known as the BND, reported in 2008 that “development work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003."

A European counterproliferation official, who also requested anonymity, said that assessments like the one provided by the BND relied significantly on information collected by German and other intelligence agencies about efforts by suspected Iranian agents and front companies to purchase hardware and technology from Western firms that can be used to design or build nuclear weapons. Such equipment and know-how often has "dual uses"—both peaceful and military applications. But some Iranian purchases have appeared highly suspect. German authorities have been pursuing criminal charges against a German-Iranian businessman who allegedly tried to purchase for Tehran ultrahigh-speed cameras and radiation sensors that are built to withstand extreme heat—equipment that experts believe would be quite useful for nuclear-weapons development, though it could also be used for more benign purposes. The Institute for Science and International Security, run by Albright, recently published a paper on the German investigation.

When it first was made public, the November 2007 NIE was criticized by American and Israeli hardliners for playing up conclusions about Iran’s having stopped work on nuclear-weapons development while playing down Iranian advances in its efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, which is the most critical, but difficult to manufacture, element of a primitive nuclear bomb. The NIE said that even though Iran had halted its nuclear-weapons program, it had made "significant progress" during 2007 in installing centrifuges used in uranium enrichment, though U.S. analysts believed that, as a result of technical problems with these machines, Iran probably could not produce enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb before 2010 at the earliest. The Iranians have consistently claimed that they are enriching uranium only for civilian purposes. Low-enriched uranium, which is all that Iran has made so far, is a common fuel for civilian power plants.

U.S. and European counterproliferation experts believe that Iran’s centrifuge program has already produced enough low-enriched uranium, an essential precursor to the production of bomb-grade material, to provide feedstock to produce enough highly enriched uranium to make a bomb. However, that is an arduous and technically complicated process. Many U.S. and European experts say that Iran is still experiencing technical problems with centrifuges it would use to produce bomb-grade uranium, which could delay any Iranian bomb program for years.

An Obama administration official says that top policymakers are being told that there is no significant disagreement among U.S. intelligence agencies and experts about the latest assessments regarding Iran’s nuclear effort. That may encourage the White House’s efforts to continue to try to engage Iran in diplomatic dialogue, including discussion of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. A spokesperson for National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair’s office, which is responsible for producing NIEs and updates on Iranian nukes, had no comment.

Point 8


Mordechai Vanunu brought his camera to work in late 1985, shortly before leaving his eight-year stint as a technician at Israel’s nuclear weapons factory at Dimona.

Acting on his conscience, he carefully took about 60 photos of the top-secret labs and unique production processes involved. When some of these photos were originally published in the London Sunday Times’ exposé, they confirmed his eyewitness testimony about the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program and revealed Israel to be one of the world’s top nuclear powers. To this day, the Israeli government refuses international inspection of Dimona and continues to deny the existence of its nuclear arsenal. [click here for more of Vanunu’s story:archive/story.html]

While their publication resulted in Vanunu being locked away for an 18-year prison sentence, his photographs of Israel’s nuclear weapons factory – a bold statement against nuclear secrecy and for the abolition of nuclear weapons – are here for all to see.

Click on the thumbnail views below to see the full-size photos in this selection.

1) Looking inside a glove box for tooling nuclear materials

2) Looking from outside into a glove box

3) Control panel

4) Control panel

5) Control panel for lithium 6 production

6) Control panel

7) Workshop

8) Looking inside a glove box at lathe for turning precision shaped pieces of plutonium or other components.

9) Laboratory model of nuclear weapons core

10) Looking inside a glove box at models of bomb components or containers for nuclear materials

11) Outside of glove box

12) Plutonium separation plant control room

13) Shielded viewing portal for observing nuclear reactions

14) Production model of nuclear weapons core

15) Production model of nuclear weapons core

Back to the Home Page


Point 9

Preemption: Back to Osirak

by Jude Wanniski

In case you have not noticed, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal has continued to justify its ardent support for the preemptive war against Iraq even though no weapons of mass destruction have been found and no links between Saddam and al-Qaeda have been found. The latest rationale is that the 24 million people of Iraq are better off for the war, although the editors do not include the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and military who have died in the course of their liberation.

Tuesday’s editorial page goes much further, with a commentary by a senior vice president of Dow Jones & Co., L. Gordon Crovitz, who takes the rationale for preemptive war all the way back to June 1981, when the Israeli Air Force bombed the almost-completed billion-dollar nuclear power plant outside Baghdad. Inhis review of a new book celebrating that event, Crovitz notes that the entire world condemned the clear act of aggression by Israel, with even the United States casting its vote in the United Nations against Israel. The only EXCEPTION was the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, which praised the bombing – on the grounds that Iraq was most certainly building an atom bomb.

In fact, for all these years, when it comes to all issues involving national security in general and the Middle East in particular, theJournal’s editorial page has served as the personal fiefdom of Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. Crovitz, of course, knows that as well as I do, having worked his way up to his present status at Dow Jones through the editorial page. Trained as a lawyer, he became editor of the editorial page of the Journal’s Asian edition, which took its cues from New York on all matters of national security. In reading his commentary, note what he does not tell his readers:

1. Iraq had signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entitled it to receive assistance from the nuclear powers in building plants to generate electrical power. The Osirak plant was constructed by the French, who had built an identical plant for Israel, which had not signed the NPT and provided the fissile material for its plant through its own sources. The difference is that NPT signatories who received assistance had to also agree to frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to make sure none of the fissile material used for power production was diverted to a weapons program.

2. Just as we now know Iraq had no WMD when we attacked it last year, we now know Iraq had no nuclear weapons program at the time of the Osirak bombing and that it was the bombing that led Baghdad to initiate a clandestine weapons program outside the purview of the IAEA – a program that ended in complete failure in any event.

3. Although the U.S. officially condemned the Israeli attack on Osirak, for which Iraq was never compensated financially, the Pentagon gave Israel what assistance it could in planning the air strike through a special office established soon after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in January 1981. The man assigned to the office was Richard Perle, who has since congratulated himself for the timely success of the bombing – hastily arranged so the plant could be destroyed before it had been fitted with nuclear material – or the nuclear fallout would have contaminated the area and caused much more loss of life than the few workers killed in the strike.

4. The headline on Crovitz’s story, "Everyone now agrees it was right to attack Iraq preemptively," is the Journal’s way of saying that it would have been much more difficult to subdue Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War if its power plant had not been destroyed and Saddam had found a way to sneak fissile material past the IAEA inspectors to build an Islamic bomb. Another way of looking at it is that Time magazine was right in stating: "Israel has vastly compounded the difficulties of procuring a peaceful settlement of the confrontation in the Middle East."

5. Crovitz does not tell us that Israel has been seriously considering a preemptive bombing of the Iranian nuclear power plant outside Tehran, which the neocons in the Bush administration and the Journal‘s editors would celebrate as well.


Point 10

The Goldstone Report: An Analysis of Predetermined Results


There are No Winners in War

Goldstone Report

The first thing the Goldstone report failed to understand, as you can see from the above pictures, is the most basic of concepts: there are no winners in war.

Above are pictures of Israel and Gaza, pictures taken before, during and after the war. No one won the war. There was tremendous suffering on all sides – before, during and after the war. The Goldstone report failed, not only because it failed to understand this basic fact, but also because it ignored so much of what came before. Palestinian groups, including Hamas, have been responsible for launching more than 10,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli cities. In November, 2008 alone, over 120 rockets and mortars were fired at Israeli cities, injuring hundreds of people. One woman, a doctor who has treated Israeli and Palestinian patients equally and without discrimmination was called to testify before the Goldstone mission. She spoke of her injuries, after being seriously injured during a missile attack. She was days before her 8th operation to repair the damage.

In the end, her moving testimony was all but ignored, relegated to a mere technical note. She later spoke of her humiliation at the hands of the commission, one determined to produce a report that was all but written before they even started their work.

And thus begins the United Nation’s latest travesty of justice.

For those wishing to read the report, you can find the text here: Goldstone Report. The truth of what really happened in Gaza, before and after, however, will not be found in this 575 page report. In this day and age, it is hoped that few people will actually print it, for it is most surely not worth the paper.

Important things Goldstone didn’t consider:

History of Rocket Attacks on Israel

Goldstone Mission Suppressed Evidence

Many videos submitted to the Goldstone mission proving that Hamas used Palestininans as human shields

And finally, while Israelis ran for shelter in the protected structures Israel has created for them to deal with thousands of incoming rocket attacks over 8 years, the Hamas leadership hid in bunkers and left their people without protection. Israel did all it could (see Israel’s Efforts to Avoid Casualties) and yet still, innocent civilians died on both sides of this conflict. That is war.

What effort did Hamas take to protect its population?Goldstone never says.

What effort did Hamas take to warn Israeli civilians of its plans to attack? Goldstone never acknowledges the truth here either.

The fundamental truth is that Israel did all it could to avoid causing civilian casualties and Hamas did all it could to cause them. Goldstone’s mission failed because this simple truth was never acknowledged, never confirmed, never written.

All this report does is offer lip service to years and years of suffering: "The Mission has determined that the rockets and, to a lesser extent, mortars, fired by the Palestinian armed groups are incapable of being directed towards specific military bjectives and were fired into areas where civilian populations are based." Pathetically inaccurate way to describe the 15 seconds a mother has to shield her child; a father has to find shelter for his family.

It is also important to note that others turned down the offer to head the commission, realizing that the mission was flawed from the outset. Mary Robinson, who has never been considered a friend of Israel by any stretch of the imagination, chose honor above "glory" when she refused the job:

"I refused to accept the invitation from the president of the Human Rights Council at the time, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi of Nigeria, to lead the investigation following the Human Rights Council’s January 12, 2009 resolution. As a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, I felt strongly that the Council’s resolution was one-sided and did not permit a balanced approach to determining the situation on the ground….

I was also aware that the UN Human Rights Council had made repeated condemnations of Israel over the past two years but had focused little attention on large-scale violations of human rights in other countries. This pattern of action and inaction by the Council has given greater credence to those who believe the UN’s highest human rights body is inherently anti-Israel."

— Mary Robinson, is a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland

Copyright 2009 All rights reserved


Israel Analysis and Comments on the
September 2009

Israel is appalled and disappointed by the UN Goldstone Report published on 15 September 2009 by the UN Gaza Fact Finding Mission. The UN Goldstone Report effectively ignores Israel right of self defense, makes unsubstantiated claims about its intent and challenges Israel’s democratic values and rule of law.

At the same time the UN Goldstone Report all but ignores the deliberate strategy of the internationally recognized terror group Hamas of operating within and behind the civilian population and turning densely populated areas into an arena of battle. By turning a blind eye to such tactics it effectively rewards them.

The UN Goldstone Report barely disguises its goal of instigating a political campaign against Israel, and in its recommendations seeks to involve the Security Council, the UN General Assembly the International Criminal Court, the Human Rights Council, and the entire international community in such a campaign.

Goldstone Israel Gaza UN Report (pdf)

Israeli Deputy FM Ayalon comments on Goldstone Report Human Rights Council vote
17 Oct 2009
Israel is disappointed that Russia, India and China supported the report.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, speaking in Holon on Saturday (17 October), referred to the Goldstone Report: "Israel is disappointed that Russia, India and China supported the report. They should have acted with greater discretion, as this unprofessional and distorted report, which denies democracies the right of self-defense, will harm them as well." Ayalon added that Israel intends to act through diplomatic channels to clarify the vote of these countries in the Human Rights Council.

In response to a question on Israel’s cooperation with Goldstone, the Deputy Foreign Minister said that "although Israel did not officially cooperate with Goldstone, there was indirect cooperation in that Israel did not prevent the residents of Sderot from testifying before the mission. However, their testimony, as expected, was not included in the report."

On Israel’s relations with Turkey, Ayalon said that "The state of our relations is not easy, but can be rectified with appropriate action."

Israeli Ambassador Ayalon briefing to the foreign press
on the Goldstone Report

Israel PM at the UN: "Have you no shame?"

Netanyahu reminds world that England when attacked by Nazi rockets leveled cities in Europe, while Israel went house to house in Gaza.
Why was Israel, the defender, condemned?
Why did the UN not condemn the terror group Hamas for firing rockets at Israel cities and towns?

The Mandate of the UN Mission

The one-sided mandate of the UN Gaza Fact Finding Mission, and the resolution established it, gave serious reasons for concern both to Israel and to the many states on the Council which refused to support it – including the member states of the European Union, Switzerland, Canada, Korea and Japan.

It also troubled many distinguished individuals, including former High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, who refused invitations to head the Mission and admitted that it was "guided not by human rights but by politics".

The Conduct of the UN Mission

These concerns were exacerbated by the conduct of the UN Mission itself, including reports in the Palestinian media that, throughout its visits to Gaza, it was continuously accompanied by Hamas officials and its refusal to recuse members of the mission with clear political views on the issues under investigation. One mission member signed a letter to the Sunday Times saying that Israel’s actions against Hamas attacks were acts of "aggression not self-defense", prejudging the investigation before it had even begun.
The unprecedented holding of telecast hearings also gave cause for concern. The fact that all the witnesses were prescreened and selected, and none were asked questions relating to any Palestinian terrorist activity or the location of weaponry and terrorists in civilian areas only supports concerns that they were part of an orchestrated political campaign.

A "non-judicial" document

Justice Goldstone as Head of the UN Mission repeatedly insisted that the Mission was not a judicial inquiry and so "could not reach judicial conclusions". On this basis that he justified the inclusion of partisan mission members, admitting that their involvement "would not be appropriate for a judicial inquiry’. The UN Goldstone Report however is highly judicial in nature, reaching conclusive judicial determinations of guilt, and including ‘detailed legal findings’ even in the absence of the sensitive intelligence information which Israel did not feel able to provide. These determinations are made notwithstanding the Report’s admission that it does not "pretend to reach the standard of proof applicable in criminal trials".

Elements Ignored by the UN Goldstone Report

The UN Goldstone Report all but ignores the deliberate terrorist strategy of operating in the heart of densely populated civilian areas which dictated the arena of battle.  Even when the Hamas terrorists mixed among civilians, the Report rejects the notion that there was an intention to put the civilian population at risk.

Astonishingly, despite the many widely reported instances in the international press of the abuse of civilian facilities by terrorist groups, and the statements of Hamas own leaders praising women and children who acted as human shields, the UN Goldstone Report repeatedly stated that it could find no evidence of such activities. This, even despite its admission that those interviewed were "reluctant to speak about the presence or conduct of hostilities by the Palestinian armed groups".

The UN Goldstone Report also ignores Israel’s extensive efforts, even in the midst of fighting, to maintain humanitarian standards. While it does, reluctantly, acknowledge Israel’s "significant efforts" to issue warnings before attacks, it does not find any of these efforts to be effective

While the UN Goldstone Report passes judgment against Israel in respect of almost any allegation, it seeks to absolve the Hamas of almost any wrongdoing. The word "terrorist" is almost entirely absent. IDF Soldier Gilad Shalit, now held incommunicado in captivity for over three years, was "captured during an enemy incursion" and the Hamas members that the Mission met with in Gaza are thanked as the "Gaza authorities" for extending their full cooperation and support to the Mission. 

Even the thousands of terror rocket attacks against Israelis which necessitated the Gaza Operation are given the most cursory treatment, and indeed the Report indirectly blames Israel even for these by terming them "’reprisals".

Rejection of democratic values

In a Report which relies so heavily on Israel human rights organizations and which also petitions on sensitive security issues to Israel’s Supreme Court the Report devotes considerable attention to "repression of dissent in Israel". It bases this assertion in large part on the widespread support for the military operation in the Israel public, assuming that Israel has "created a political climate in which dissent is not tolerated. The notion that the majority of Israelis genuinely supported action to bring years of continuous rocket and missile attacks against Israeli civilians to an end does not appear to have occurred to the members of the Mission. 

The UN Goldstone Report is also critical of Israel internal investigations even though these compare favorably to investigations of allegations in military matters in most western countries, and have regularly resulted in criminal investigations and convictions.


The UN Goldstone Report’s recommendations are as one-sided as its findings. It seeks to harness the Human Rights Council, the Security Council the General Assembly, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court and the international community as parts of its hostile political campaign.

Despite token recommendations in respect of the Palestinian side, all the international pressure is directed solely against Israel.

The true test of such a Report can only be whether in future conflicts it will have the effect of increasing or decreasing respect for the rule of law. Regrettably a one-sided report of this nature, claiming to represent international law, can only weaken the standing of law in future conflicts. At the same time, it will broadcast a deeply troubling message to terrorist groups wherever they are that the cynical tactics of seeking to exploit civilian suffering for political ends actually pays dividends. 

Israel President Shimon Peres has slammed the Goldstone Commission’s report on IDF Operation Cast Lead, saying it "makes a mockery of history and fails to distinguish between aggressor and those acting in self-defense."
Peres claimed the commission members would not have written such a report, which accuses Israel of war crimes, "had their children been living in Sderot, Israel under the constant threat of Hamas rockets."
The Israel President blames Hamas for launching the war, stating the terror group had committed numerous horrendous war crimes, and stressed that Israel had to defend itself.

"Hamas carried out attacks against the children of Israel, detonating bombs in city centers, hurting civilians, firing more than 12,000 rockets and mortar shells at innocent civilians with one clear aim – to kill," he wrote in a statement.
The UN Goldstone Report legitimizes terrorism, shooting and killing, while ignoring every state’s right and obligation to self-defense, which are clearly anchored in the UN charter, Peres wrote.

The Israel president went on to recall Israel’s disengagement from Gaza and Hamas’s bloody takeover of the Strip.

"Israel removed all of its troops and citizens from the Gaza Strip, opened the border crossings and helped construction in the Strip – the Israeli occupation in Gaza ended. But after Israel completed the disengagement from Gaza, a murderous and illegitimate terror group took control over the Strip and threw out the legitimate Fatah leadership.

"While Hamas continued to fire rockets, Israel used diplomatic efforts, including many appeals to the UN, to bring about a cease fire. Instead of building Gaza and caring for the welfare of its citizens, Hamas built tunnels to attack Israel, cruelly using children and innocent Palestinians to hide terrorists and ammunition," he wrote.

The state of Israel had to defend itself, as would any other country in the world, Peres stressed, adding that "those who criticized Israel did not propose any other way of stopping the rocket fire."

The Israel president recalled how "Israel has been criticized for its actions against Hizbullah terror attacks from Lebanon and Hamas attacks from the Gaza Strip, as well as for building the security barrier in the West Bank to prevent suicide bombers from entering the country.

"This criticism did not stop the rockets from hitting the South and the North, nor did it stop terrorists from blowing themselves up in our central cities," wrote Peres. "The IDF’s actions are what have brought economical prosperity to the West Bank and have enabled Gazans to have normal lives again," he concluded.

Also responding to the UN report, Israel Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev said that it would hamper Middle East peace efforts.

Speaking to Israel Army Radio, Shalev added that "the international atmosphere is very influential. We have already begun a public diplomacy campaign in world capitals in order to explain the extent to which the report is biased, one-sided and political."

Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Jerusalem made the right decision not to cooperate with the inquiry.

"The report only came out because of countries like Pakistan, Libya and Saudi Arabia, who are members of the UN Human Rights Council," Ayalon told Army Radio. "The results just prove the correctness and legitimacy of the decision not to cooperate…. The report was compiled without any connection to investigations on the ground."

"It completely ignores all Hamas terror activity that preceded the IDF operation," he continued, stressing that the main reason for Israel’s boycott of the investigation "was the presence on the commission of those who insisted that the operation was not one of self-defense, but an Israeli aggressive action."

Ayalon said that Israel would now focus its energy on "making the report dissipate" and that Jerusalem was in contact with the US over the findings, emphasizing that the report could have repercussions for American troops fighting in Iran and Afghanistan.

"We must remember that all Western nations opposed the inquiry commission, and our work with the Europeans and Americans can prevent the consequences," he said, asserting that the report would have negative effects on efforts for Israeli-Palestinian peace and normalization between Jerusalem and the Arab world.

Ayalon concluded that there was "no one better" than Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to lead the campaign against the report and put Israel’s side across.
Israel former ambassador to the UN, Danny Gillerman, said that the UN Human Rights Council report contained "blatant, one-sided, anti-Israel lies."

"Members of the UNHRC include countries like Zimbabwe and Libya that spend 90 percent of their time on Israel and don’t deal, for example, with the Darfur massacre," he told Army Radio.

Gillerman also said that the UNHRC should never have been set up in the first place.
"We and the US were only ones who voted against the body being established. We knew it would be very one-sided and anti-Israeli," he said, adding that former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan had said that allowing the UNHRC’s establishment was one of his biggest mistakes.

Gillerman said Israel was right not to cooperate with the inquiry, saying, "The findings would never have been objective."

He stressed that while soul searching was being done by Israel and would continue, Operation Cast Lead was conducted to protect a million southerners from rocket attacks.
"We went to lengths no other country would have gone to in order to avoid civilian casualties," he went on, adding that the IDF embarked on an operation any other country would have carried out under the circumstances, but that other militaries would have caused greater collateral damage.

On a positive note, Gillerman said that the Israel media was getting "more worked up" by the report than others. "I haven’t seen other media outlets around the world dedicating so much time to the issue."

"The Goldstone committee is a committee that was set up to find Israel guilty of crimes that were determined in advanced, and the committee’s members did not let the facts confuse them," said Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in his comments in response to the harsh UN report investigation the events of Israel Defense Forces Operation Cast Lead.

Lieberman said the committee’s conclusions were predetermined, and he accused its members of serving the purposes of utilitarian countries. "The whole purpose of the report, from the moment the decision was made to write it, was to destroy Israel’s image, in service of countries where the terms ‘human rights’ and ‘combat ethics’ do not even appear in their dictionaries," the foreign minister alleged. Lieberman went on to say, "I can say wholeheartedly, as can any man that examines the matter in an objective manner, that the IDF is the most moral army in the world, and it is forced to deal with the most vile terrorists, who set for themselves the goal of killing women and children, and hide behind women and children."

The Israel Foreign Minister further claimed that "the Goldstone Report wishes to take the UN back to the dark ages, where it was also determined, through the leadership of utilitarian countries, that Zionism is racism." He said, "The UN Goldstone Report has no legal, factual or ethical value, and more than a testament to the State of Israel, it is a testament to the writers of the report and those that sent them." Lieberman’s response is one in a long line of censure and attacks against the report on the part of senior Israeli officials, which has been continuous since the report was published on Tuesday.

The officials’ defensive response is meant to minimize possible damage the document could cause Israel, officials in office at the time of the operation, and senior officers in the IDF. It should be noted that the UN Goldstone committee ruled that some of the incidents of the Gaza war may carry with them personal criminal liability. Israel experts on international law have said this could lead to lawsuits against officials in various state in which the law allows it.

Understanding the Goldstone report

On September 15, 2009, Judge Richard Goldstone and his Commission presented their 575-page Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to its mandating authority, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). From the beginning, observers raised serious questions about the Commission’s propriety. These involved its mandate and terms of reference, the sponsoring body’s domination by dictatorships that regularly abuse human rights in their own countries, the biases and prejudices of members of the Commission itself. And yet, the report will play a key role in the effort to specifically target Israeli troops in both boycott movements and lawfare attacks, and more broadly to establish a reigning paradigm of international law as applied to 21st century asymmetrical conflicts.

Those of us who have constructed Understanding the Goldstone Report, have been following the claims under contention since the events themselves almost a year ago, and have read the report in detail.  We offer a wide range of analysis, from careful examination of specific incidents and controversies to broaderlegal and conceptual issues.  In so doing, we have come to the following conclusions:

  • The report violates international standards for inquries, including UN rules on fact-finding, replicating earlier UNHRC biased statements.
  • The Commission systematically favored witnesses and evidence put forward by anti-Israel advocates, and dismissed evidence and testimony that would undermine its case.
  • The commission relied extensively on mediating agencies, especially UN and NGOs, which have a documented hostility to Israel; the report reproduces earlier reports and claims from these agencies.
  • At the same time, the Commission inexplicably downplayed or ignored substantial evidence of Hamas’ commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of terror, including specifically its victimization of the Palestinian population by its use of human shields, civilian dress for combatants, and combat use of protected objects like ambulances, hospitals and mosques.
  • The Commission openly denies a presumption of innocence to the Israelis accused of crimes (while honoring Hamas’ presumed innocence) and acknowledges that it made accusations of crimes without proof that would stand up in court.
  • The report contains numerous gratuitous digressions into issues beyond the purview of a fact-finding commission that are inaccurate and profoundly hostile to Israel and Jews.
  • The Commission distorted legal standards, imposing on Israel standards that reverse their generally understood and applied meaning, while ignoring important rules of international law that put the onus of responsibility on an organization as base, by Goldstone’s own standards, as Hamas.

    In all our analyses and conclusions, we have adhered to principles of empirical evidence and consistent reasoning.  Since the skeptical reader might well accuse us of making up our mind in advance, we emphasize that one should not agree or disagree with us because of how one feels about Israel or the Palestinians, but because of the evidence. We invite readers to examine our arguments without prejudice, make up their own minds and, where they see problems, challenge our arguments. Sweeping and inflammatory rhetoric not welcome.

    If you find even a portion of what we argue to have merit, you may be interested in some further questions that these observations raise:

    • What are the long-term consequences of such judgments on the containment or encouragement of future war crimes in asymmetrical wars like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
    • What are the mediated paths by which we receive our information about the Arab-Israeli conflict?
    • If Goldstone’s approach is misguided, how should people of good will, concerned for both justice and humanity, proceed in dealing with asymmetrical warfare?

    We welcome both considered and reasoned comment and submissions of essays to the discussion.  It is our belief that the most interesting discussions of Goldstone will take place in cyberspace, in the new and raucus “City of Letters” – the blogosphere.

    NB: The site is still under construction; some categories are either empty or only contain a few entries. We welcome your suggestions, and we hope to have a forum running shortly.


    Point 11

    Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons

    Exclusive: Secret apartheid-era papers give first official evidence of Israeli nuclear weapons

    The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres and P W Botha

    The secret military agreement signed by Shimon Peres, now president of Israel, and P W Botha of South Africa. Photograph: Guardian

    Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.

    The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa‘s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret.

    The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of "ambiguity" in neither confirming nor denying their existence.

    The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa’s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.

    They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a "responsible" power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.

    A spokeswoman for Peres today said the report was baseless and there were "never any negotiations" between the two countries. She did not comment on the authenticity of the documents.

    South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.

    The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975. Polakow-Suransky writes in his book published in the US this week, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s secret alliance with apartheid South Africa. At the talks Israeli officials "formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal".

    Among those attending the meeting was the South African military chief of staff, Lieutenant General RF Armstrong. He immediately drew up a memo in which he laid out the benefits of South Africa obtaining the Jericho missiles but only if they were fitted with nuclear weapons.

    The memo, marked "top secret" and dated the same day as the meeting with the Israelis, has previously been revealed but its context was not fully understood because it was not known to be directly linked to the Israeli offer on the same day and that it was the basis for a direct request to Israel. In it, Armstrong writes: "In considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in RSA (Republic of South Africa) or acquired elsewhere."

    But South Africa was years from being able to build atomic weapons. A little more than two months later, on 4 June, Peres and Botha met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet.

    The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: "Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available." The document then records: "Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice." The "three sizes" are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.

    The use of a euphemism, the "correct payload", reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons. It can also only have meant nuclear warheads as Armstrong’s memorandum makes clear South Africa was interested in the Jericho missiles solely as a means of delivering nuclear weapons.

    In addition, the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.

    Botha did not go ahead with the deal in part because of the cost. In addition, any deal would have to have had final approval by Israel’s prime minister and it is uncertain it would have been forthcoming.

    South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.

    The documents confirm accounts by a former South African naval commander, Dieter Gerhardt – jailed in 1983 for spying for the Soviet Union. After his release with the collapse of apartheid, Gerhardt said there was an agreement between Israel and South Africa called Chalet which involved an offer by the Jewish state to arm eight Jericho missiles with "special warheads". Gerhardt said these were atomic bombs. But until now there has been no documentary evidence of the offer.

    Some weeks before Peres made his offer of nuclear warheads to Botha, the two defence ministers signed a covert agreement governing the military alliance known as Secment. It was so secret that it included a denial of its own existence: "It is hereby expressly agreed that the very existence of this agreement… shall be secret and shall not be disclosed by either party".

    The agreement also said that neither party could unilaterally renounce it.

    The existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme was revealed by Mordechai Vanunu to the Sunday Times in 1986. He provided photographs taken inside the Dimona nuclear site and gave detailed descriptions of the processes involved in producing part of the nuclear material but provided no written documentation.

    Documents seized by Iranian students from the US embassy in Tehran after the 1979 revolution revealed the Shah expressed an interest to Israel in developing nuclear arms. But the South African documents offer confirmation Israel was in a position to arm Jericho missiles with nuclear warheads.

    Israel pressured the present South African government not to declassify documents obtained by Polakow-Suransky. "The Israeli defence ministry tried to block my access to the Secment agreement on the grounds it was sensitive material, especially the signature and the date," he said. "The South Africans didn’t seem to care; they blacked out a few lines and handed it over to me. The ANC government is not so worried about protecting the dirty laundry of the apartheid regime’s old allies."

    Point 12

    Declassified GAO Report Exposes Fatally Flawed Israel Investigations

    by Grant Smith, May 10, 2010

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    The 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is underway at UN Headquarters in New York. A working paper calls for a nuclear-free Middle East. It would require member states of the NPT to “disclose in their national reports on the implementation of the resolution on the Middle East all information available to them on the nature and scope of Israeli nuclear facilities and activities, including information pertaining to previous nuclear transfers to Israel.” On May 6, 2010, the Government Accountability Office (formerly known as the General Accounting Office) released the previously secret 1978 report “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” [.pdf]. It fills in important historic gaps about weapons-grade uranium diversions from the U.S. to Israel.

    U.S. presidents have long acquiesced to “strategic ambiguity” – a policy of neither confirming nor denying that Israel even possesses nuclear weapons. This pretext has allowed the U.S. to deliver the lion’s share of its foreign assistance budget to Israel, despite clear legal prohibitions imposed by the Glenn and Symington amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act. UN member countries have long suspected that the United States either turns a blind eye or actively supports the transfer of know-how, weapons-grade uranium, and dual-use technology to Israel. The 62-page General Accounting Office investigation and correspondence confirms the United States refuses to mount credible investigations that would enable warranted prosecutions of the perpetrators.

    “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” investigates the period between 1957 and 1967 when the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) received over 22 tons of uranium-235 – the key material used to fabricate nuclear weapons. NUMEC’s founder and president Zalman M. Shapiro was head of a local Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) chapter and a sales agent for the Defense Ministry of Israel in the U.S. In the early 1960s the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began documenting suspicious lapses in security at NUMEC’s plant at Apollo, Pa. In 1965 an AEC audit found NUMEC could no longer account for over 200 pounds of highly enriched uranium. Subsequent estimates spiraled to almost 600 pounds.

    The GAO was chartered by Congress to investigate four allegations about what happened to the uranium. The first was that “the material was illegally diverted to Israel by NUMEC management for use in nuclear weapons.” This was a result of early AEC and FBI investigations into the activities of Zalman Shapiro. The second theory “the material was diverted to Israel by NUMEC management with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)” came from the CIA’s silence and demonstrated lack of interest in the entire matter. The final theories explored by GAO were more general, that “the material was diverted to Israel with the acquiescence of the United States Government” or “there has been a cover-up of the NUMEC incident by the United States Government.”

    GAO solicited all available information developed by the CIA, FBI, Department of Energy, and AEC, but was “continually denied necessary reports and documentation … by the CIA and FBI.” GAO attempted to fill in gaps or outright refusals to cooperate by directly interviewing FBI special agents. The GAO also intended to make the report public, in order to respond to growing public concerns. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, who requested the inquiry, was assured six months before it was issued that only the most sensitive areas in the report would be classified. The CIA and FBI insisted that the entire report be classified at the “secret” level over the objections of Dingell, who said, ”I think it is time that the public be informed about the facts surrounding the … affair and the possible diversion of bomb-grade uranium to Israel.”

    The GAO report lambastes the FBI’s on-again off-again approach to investigating NUMEC: “The FBI, which had the responsibility and authority to investigate the alleged incident, did not focus on the question of a possible nuclear diversion until May 1976 – nearly 11 years later. Initially, the FBI declined DOE’s request to conduct an investigation of the diversion possibility even though they are required to conduct such investigations under the Atomic Energy Act….”

    The FBI’s initial investigation during the 1960s quickly zeroed in on NUMEC management, but FBI recommendations for action were stymied. According to the GAO, “The FBI became so concerned about the security risks posed by NUMEC’s president that they asked DOE whether it planned to terminate his security clearance or stop the flow of materials to NUMEC. According to the FBI’s liaison with GAO, the FBI recommended that NUMEC’s operating license be taken away….” When the FBI request was ignored, it dropped the entire investigation between 1969 and 1976.

    It took a direct order from President Gerald Ford in 1976 for the FBI and Department of Justice to “address the diversion aspect.” The renewed investigation soon led to reversals of official U.S. government positions on NUMEC. According to the GAO report, “until the summer of 1977, the only publicized Government view on the NUMEC incident was that there was no evidence to indicate that a diversion of nuclear material had occurred.” By February 1978, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced it had “reconsidered” its previous position that there had been “no evidence” to support diversion.

    But the 11-year gap “obviously hampered” the effort. The GAO revealed that the DOE’s nuclear materials safeguards, which before 1967 tracked the monetary value rather than the precise mass of the uranium, were seriously flawed. NUMEC claimed key records covering a period of heavy uranium loss were destroyed during a “labor dispute” in 1964. NUMEC paid a $1.1 million fine for 206 pounds of missing uranium in 1966, which closed the DOE case. NUMEC also hired away one of the DOE’s chief on-site investigators to enhance the appearance of serious materials control and accountability. The GAO found that even by 1978 the FBI had not contacted key individuals in the affair. An FBI agent-in-charge told the GAO it did not investigate the source of funds to pay NUMEC’s DOE fine anticipating “legal difficulties.” So the GAO investigated the matter, placing its own telephone calls to Mellon Bank.

    The GAO report is highly critical of the CIA: “From interviews with a former CIA official and with former and current officials and staff of DOE and the FBI we concluded that the CIA did not fully cooperate with DOE or the FBI in attempting to resolve the NUMEC matter.” The report is inconclusive about exactly what happened at NUMEC, but not about the agencies involved in the investigation through 1978. “We believe a timely, concerted effort on the part of these three agencies would have greatly aided and possibly solved the NUMEC diversion questions, if they desired to do so.”

    The passage of time has removed any remaining doubts that NUMEC diverted uranium to Israel. Rafael Eitan, who visited NUMEC in 1968, was later revealed as the top Israeli spy targeting U.S. nuclear, national defense, and economic targets when his agent (U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard) was arrested spying for Israel in 1985. According to Anthony Cordesman, “there is no conceivable reason for Eitan to have gone [to the Apollo plant] but for the nuclear material.” CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden called NUMEC “an Israeli operation from the beginning,” a conclusion supported by its startup financing and initial ties to Israeli intelligence. Why both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations failed to credibly investigate NUMEC as a diversion challenge is also now obvious.

    John F. Kennedy’s direct diplomatic pressures for U.S. inspections of Israel’s Dimonareactor grew throughout 1962-1963. During a Dec. 27, 1963, meeting with Foreign Minister Golda Meir, Kennedy expressed his hope that the relationship was a “two-way street.” Meir reassured President Kennedy that there “would not be any difficulty between us on the Israeli nuclear reactor.” Kennedy delivered a final ultimatum to Israel on July 5, 1963, insisting that Dimona undergo serial inspections “in accord with international standards” in order to verify its “peaceful intent.” Simultaneously, the Kennedy Justice Department was waging an intense battle behind closed doors toregister and regulate Israel’s elite U.S. lobby, the American Zionist Council, which was bringing in funds from overseas to lobby. Kennedy’s assassination in November traumatized the nation and led to the complete and permanent reversal of both initiatives.

    According to Avner Cohen, in 1958 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion had arranged with Abraham Feinberg, a “major Democratic fund-raiser,” to secretly finance a nuclear weapons program among “benedictors” in America. Abraham Feinberg, who backed Harry S. Truman’s successful whistle-stop election campaign, was personally succinct about his role in the U.S. political system: “My path to power was cooperation in terms of what they needed – campaign money.” Feinberg opened doors in Congress for up and coming leaders of the Israel lobby, including AIPAC founder Isaiah L. Kenen. According to Seymour Hersh, “there is no question that Feinberg enjoyed the greatest presidential access and influence in his 20 years as a Jewish fund-raiser and lobbyist with Lyndon Johnson. Documents at the Johnson Library show that even the most senior members of the National Security Council understood that any issue raised by Feinberg had to be answered.” His power and role in financing Lyndon B. Johnson’s election prospects temporarily quashed scrutiny of Israel’s nuclear weapons program – in the U.S. and abroad – at a critical moment.

    On Oct. 14, 1964, less than three weeks before the 1964 presidential elections, Johnson’s top administrative assistant Walter Jenkins was arrested in a public restroom on sexual solicitation charges. At least $250,000 Abraham Feinberg raised for Johnson was located in Jenkins’ office safe. Johnson phoned his trusted aides Bill Moyers and Myer Feldman with orders to move the cash, which they did with the help of a heavy briefcase. Israel would later replenish Feinberg’s coffers (as it had with Zalman Shapiro through sales commissions) with multi-million dollar favors, such as major ownership in the nation’s Coca-Cola franchise.

    In 1968 as Israel noticeably ramped up activities at the Dimona nuclear weapons facility, Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford placed a final urgent call to Johnson, “Mr. President, I don’t want to live in a world where the Israelis have nuclear weapons.” President Johnson was abrupt before he hung up on Clifford, “Don’t bother me with this anymore.” By the time Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier lobbied President Nixon to redefine U.S. non-proliferation policy as “ambiguity” toward Israeli nuclear weapons, Israel’s stockpile and number of deployed weapons was steadily growing.

    The report reveals why the 2010 Non-Proliferation Review Conference at the UN – like the GAO – isn’t really capable of challenging the true drivers of Middle East nuclear proliferation. “Nuclear Diversion in the U.S.? 13 Years of Contradiction and Confusion” is a report so unique and noble in intent that there will probably never be another like it. While it leaves unexplored the ongoing presence, influence, and effect of Israel’s lobbyists working at the center of U.S. presidential administrations, for concerned Americans the GAO provides a snapshot of a moment in time before their Congress, aspiring politicians, and mid-level management of government agencies all “got the memo.”

    In 2010 that unwritten memo reads something like this: Crimes committed in the name of Israel – no matter how audacious – will never be properly investigated, let alone prosecuted… so don’t waste your time.