Israel’s sustained scaremongering about the ‘Iranian nuclear threat’ should be taken less as a spectacle of hypocrisy worthy of our disdain and more as a case study of how powerful its lobbying presence in the US is.
Considering the means through which Israel got its nuclear weapons programme and the fact that it has signed no non-proliferation treaties whatsoever, it is the testament to the power of the Israel Lobby that its demands for the US to attack Iran to keep the world safe from nuclear weapons are met with such little noticeable resistance.
Warmongering against Iran is a fairly comfortable line of work for the assorted network of Zionist think tanks and public voices in the US that push the myth that Iran has an active nuclear weapons programme. No matter how many times the IAEA, the US intelligence community and essentially every other stakeholder barring Israel confirm that Iran is not making the bomb, the warmongering carries on and will likely continue to carry on for a long time.
Although Israel ‘officially’ denies that it has nuclear weapons, it’s an open secret that it has had them for decades. Mordechai Vanunu, who had been a nuclear technician working on Israel’s covert nuclear weapons programme at Dimona, leaked photographs of Israeli nuclear warheads to the British press in 1986 after experiencing a spiritual awakening and abandoning both Israel and Judaism for a life abroad.
Vanunu, who would be later honey trapped and kidnapped by the Israeli MOSSAD, confirmed what had already become known to the CIA as early as 1968 who in turn alerted President Lyndon Johnson. Johnson then ordered that the information not is passed on to other government officials thus doing a major favour to the Israelis (Johnson’s personal Zionist family background and treacherous role in abetting the June 1967 Israeli attack on the American ship, the USS Liberty, puts this reprehensible decision into adequate context).
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, a smuggling network run by Jewish American Zionists connected closely to the Israeli government acted to divert weapons-grade nuclear materials from the US to Israel. The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) was established in 1956 by Zalman Shapiro, nuclear submarine programme chemist and president of the Zionist Organization of America’s (ZOA) Pennsylvania chapter, to process uranium-235 for nuclear reactors.
The holding company for NUMEC established in 1958 was managed by its president Morton Chatkin (ZOA member), David Lowenthal (former Zionist militant who fought for Israel in 1956 and long-time partner of Israeli intelligence), Ivan Novick (future head of the ZOA) and a former Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney named Elliot Finkel. Shapiro also featured as a director in the holding company, named Apollo Industries. In 1968, FBI investigations of Shapiro provoked by unusually large quantities of highly-enriched weapons-grade uranium being ‘lost’ by NUMEC would reveal close interactions with Israelis known beforehand to be Israeli intelligence agents and operatives seeking to enlist help for Israel’s nuclear weapons programme.
Further instances of highly large spills and losses of weapons-grade nuclear material at NUMEC would be discovered by the FBI using methods such as wiretapping and the FBI also reported in 1969 that weapons-grade uranium was possibly being smuggled to Israel in food irradiator units with a NUMEC employee later in 1981 confirming Shapiro and his NUMEC officials to have done just that.
CIA station chief in Israel in 1968, John Hadden, would discover in the environment around Dimona traces of highly-enriched uranium despite Israel lacking the capability at the time to enrich uranium. According to Dr Roger Mattson, author of ‘Stealing the Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel’, the uranium found by Hadden was enriched to the level of 97.7%, well above the known 93% average for weapons-grade uranium but identical to the level of the naval fuel that NUMEC used to process.
Grant F Smith of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRMEP) explains that the CIA, despite having been responsible for getting the Department of Justice to approve an FBI investigation of Shapiro in 1968, withheld vital information from the FBI investigators that effectively prevented the busting of the smuggling network. As Smith outlines using formerly top secret and secret CIA files he obtained using a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the CIA had deliberately avoided sharing with the FBI relevant intelligence it had prior to the first investigations of NUMEC – although as mentioned before it had shared it with President Johnson.
FBI investigators, who in 1976 had been given by Gerald Ford the added burden of determining whether a cover-up of any diversions by the government had taken place, thus could not understand that it was old CIA-possessed information they needed to request which would establish that diversions had indeed taken place and thus allow investigations of the evident governmental cover-up to proceed.
The deception and cover-up by the CIA were blatant, given the shaky justifications for not helping the FBI in the correct direction regarding its investigations; CIA Associate Deputy Director for Operations Theodore Shackley stated on 11 May 1977: “CIA has not furnished to the FBI sensitive agent reporting…since the decision was made by Directors Helms, Colby and Bush that this information would not further the investigation of NUMEC but would compromise sources and methods.”
In July of 2012, IRMEP obtained partially declassified files from the FBI that linked current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan to a smuggling ring that obtained 800 krytrons – usable as nuclear weapon triggers – and smuggled them to Israel in clear contravention of US law regarding the export of munitions. A multi-front network was used and Milchan helped recruit the California-based company MILCO to send the krytrons to Israel with his own Heli Trading company based in Israel receiving the krytrons on behalf of the Israeli government. Netanyahu had worked at Heli Trading during the smuggling operation lasting from 1979 to 1983 and codenamed ‘Project Pinto’. It was funded by the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Israeli nuclear impunity seems to be without end. It shows no signs of signing onto any non-proliferation treaties and the US shows no signs of adhering to its own national laws concerning aid to states that traffic in nuclear technology and material (the Arms Export Control Act). The US, in fact, in September of 2012, issued a gag order on federal employees and government contractors from discussing or writing about the Israeli nuclear weapons programme.
Milchan seemed proud of himself when he openly discussed his past role in facilitating Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons programme in an interview with Israeli television in 2013. He continues to make movies, money and enjoy life despite his crimes against the world’s most powerful country. Adding to the long list of things related to Israel and nuclear proliferation that should shock and offend American citizens is the fact that Israel has had US presidents from Clinton to Trump offering secret letters of assurance at the beginning of their terms to Israel vowing not to publicly discuss Israel’s nuclear weapons or compel it to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty on Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
Grant Smith reasonably argues that this is done to pre-emptively nip any chances of the Arms Export Control Act being brought into consideration by the US, which also has the gag order hindering its implementation vis-à-vis US aid to Israel. That the country which effectively robbed the USA of the material and equipment is required to make its nuclear weapons programme – is now pushing the US for a war against Iran based by propagandizing about an Iranian nuclear threat is simply insulting.
Israel remains a top spying threat for the US and one wonders how the process of getting Israel to pay for its theft of nuclear material and equipment from the U.S. is to start. The situation where the US begins to do anything about Israel’s actions concerning nuclear proliferation and trafficking (Israel once even offered to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa) must be somewhere in the distant future, because right now all it does it parrot Netanyahu’s rants about Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons programme.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy and position of Regional Rapport.