Last night, Rachel Maddow announced the president’s planned changes to our nuclear weapons policies, which, a graphic reinforced, could exclude from protection nations outside the NPT, such as "Iran and North Korea." What about Israel’s nukes?
Below are just some examples of the over-abundant evidence for the existence of the very thing about which Obama doesn’t even want to speculate: Israel is a rogue nuclear state. The got a reactor from the French, which the US discovered during U-2 flights in 1958 (see FAS quote below).
The Israelis successfully deceived their patron until the US finally gave up, according to Walforth Barbour, the man who saw it as his duty to protect President Kennedy from learning too much and thus having to respond.
(Note: I haven’t been able to find the link to the original source of this first document. It’s on my personal Web site.)
28. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Bowles to President Kennedy/1/
Washington, March 30, 1961.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.84A45/3-3061. Secret. Drafted by Lewis Jones.
Dimona Reactor in Israel
On March 27 you inquired regarding the status of the promised invitation for American experts to visit quietly the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona. Deputy Under Secretary Roger Jones promised to provide you with a reply. This invitation was first promised to us by Prime Minister Ben-Gurion on January 4 through Ambassador Reid./2/
/2/See Document 1.
The enclosed chronology regarding the Dimona reactor shows that the Department has been reminding the Israel Government at approximately weekly intervals through Ambassador Harman of the importance of an early "quiet" visit by Americans to Dimona./3/
/3/Attached but not printed.
Following your telephone call, Assistant Secretary Lewis Jones called in Ambassador Harman and again told him that we are anxiously waiting the Israeli invitation (see memorandum of conversation enclosed)./4/ On this occasion Harman, who personally shares our belief that the visit should take place soon, reiterated the difficulties occasioned by the internal political crisis in Israel. He said, and our Embassy at Tel Aviv confirms, that the Israeli leaders are profoundly preoccupied by their internal political problems. This is particularly true of Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, who is personally in charge of Israel’s atomic energy program.
/4/Attached but not printed. Also in Department of State, Central Files, 884A.1901/3-2861.
When Jones urged Harman to make a new effort to hasten the invitation, Harman said he would do so but that in any case it was unlikely that any decision could be taken in Israel during the next few days. Between April 3 and April 10 is Passover Week, when little work is done in Israel.
The Department believes that Harman is probably right regarding the unlikelihood of the Israelis issuing an invitation prior to April 10, although our latest démarche to Harman using your name is likely to be helpful to this end.
We believe that Ben-Gurion fully intends to issue the invitation. Part of his difficulty is (a) that, having given his word, he does not like to be pushed by the United States, and (b) he is personally in the greatest internal political difficulty of his career. He probably feels that his problems may be compounded if his enemies have something new to pin on him arising out of his handling of the Dimona reactor affair. It is for the latter reason that when the visit takes place it should be a quiet one regarding which there should be no United States publicity.
/5/Printed from a copy that indicates Bowles signed the original.
Interview between US Ambassador to Israel Walworth Barbour (1961-1973) and Sheldon Stern, May 22, 1981. Posted at John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum (Walworth Barbour, Oral History Interview, 5/22/1981).
[SHELDON] STERN: Just a few months before your arrival, there had been the eruption of a serious issue between the United States and Israel which was the discovery of this nuclear reactor in the desert at Dimona. And I’m sure you’re aware of this very heated meeting between Ambassador Reid and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion [David
Ben-Gurion] which was on the third of January, 1961, in which, according to a number of reports, Reid essentially delivered an ultimatum to Ben-Gurion demanding to know what the reactor was for, what the Israeli plans were.
[AMB. WALWORTH] BARBOUR: Well, I wasn’t sure, aware of any specific demands that was made by Reid. Obviously….
STERN: But that was a major issue. I wonder how that impacted on your arrival….
BARBOUR: Well, that impacted quite a lot because it was the French who had given the Israelis the reactor in Dimona.
BARBOUR: And when we tried to express concern in line with our general policy of avoiding nuclear proliferation, the answer from the Israelis was, “Well, this isn’t your business. You don’t have anything to do with it. The French gave it to us, so whoa.” The difficulty, from our standpoint, on “the inspections,” quote unquote,
was that the French were down there all the time looking it over. In fact they signed this without ____ whereas we had considerable difficulty making arrangements for periodic visits which was a window-dressing exercise. The Israelis tried to be as forthcoming, or to appear as forthcoming as possible, at the same time without revealing anything to us. This wining them and dining them and taking them down there with, under great secrecy, sometimes even meeting them at the airport when they arrived, and taking them off the plane, and over around the back, and then clearing them through customs with Russian names and so forth, [Laughs] it was all a very unrealistic exercise which went on for many, many years and then finally just petered out when even the United States realized it wasn’t getting anywhere. And it became ridiculous. The mystery as to how to make, if there ever was for a scientist, any mystery about making an atom bomb had long since dissipated and everybody wanted to make one. There’s one question, whether you’re gonna spend the money to do it and whether you had the facilities to get the enriched fuel.
[Emphasis added. Source: Interview between Walworth Barbour and Sheldon Stern, May 22, 1981 (JFK Library Open Access PDF)].
The United States first became aware of Dimona’s existence after U-2 overflights in 1958 captured the facility’s construction, but it was not identified as a nuclear site until two years later. The complex was variously explained as a textile plant, an agricultural station, and a metallurgical research facility, until David Ben-Gurion stated in December 1960 that Dimona complex was a nuclear research center built for "peaceful purposes."
There followed two decades in which the United States, through a combination of benign neglect, erroneous analysis, and successful Israeli deception, failed to discern first the details of Israel’s nuclear program. As early as 8 December 1960, the CIA issued a report outlining Dimona’s implications for nuclear proliferation, and the CIA station in Tel Aviv had determined by the mid-1960s that the Israeli nuclear weapons program was an established and irreversible fact.
Although the United States government did not encourage or approve of the Israeli nuclear program, it also did nothing to stop it. Walworth Barbour, US ambassador to Israel from 1961-73, the bomb program’s crucial years, primarily saw his job as being to insulate the President from facts which might compel him to act on the nuclear issue, alledgedly saying at one point that "The President did not send me there to give him problems. He does not want to be told any bad news." After the 1967 war, Barbour even put a stop to military attachés’ intelligence collection efforts around Dimona. Even when Barbour did authorize forwarding information, as he did in 1966 when embassy staff learned that Israel was beginning to put nuclear warheads in missiles, the message seemed to disappear into the bureaucracy and was never acted upon. [Emphasis added. Source: Federation of American Scientists: Nuclear Weapons -- Israel].
I could go on and on like this all day long. There was no need for our president to evade Helen Thomas’s masterful one-question inquisition. But by doing so, he’s allowing the jacking of our shared narrative, our sense of reality itself, to continue. That, of course, is the power of malicious myths preached from the Bully Pulpit: to jack us to hell and back, sticking us with the bill in every way. The "vision thing" isn’t supposed to be a weapon of mass deception. It’s supposed to be showing us the way, leading us out of this miearable hell on earth brought to us by Obama’s very special sponsors. D’oh!
In other words, President Obama has no credibility on the issue of nuclear proliferation. Helen Thomas gave him the chance, and he ducked & covered. How can he be taken seriously, until and unless he busts the myths obscuring Israel’s nukes?
So I have a direct question for a journalist and research team I greatly respect and admire:
In the next nine "exciting" days, Rachel Maddow & Crew, during Obama’s big nuclear strategy extravaganza, will you brace yourselves, the president, the nation and the world with one of the greatest myth-busting questions of our time: What about Israel’s nukes?