mon 15 dec 2008 03:24:59 witte de withstraat
vanunu has a web site
tonight i discovered what appears to be a little web site run by mordechai vanunu himself.
for whoever has forgotten vanunu ...
in the 1980s vanunu worked as a technician at a secret facility called dimona. he realized that israel was building nuclear weapons. he didn't like that. didn't like what it portended. so in 1986 he violated his "oath of secrecy" and went to london to meet with newspaper reporters and tell them what was going on at dimona.
the government of israel was angry about that, and sent an american mossad agent named cheryl bentov to accidentally meet and befriend the lonesome whistleblower. she invited him to come with her to rome. at the apartment in rome, vanunu was abused, drugged and kidnapped by more agents, who brought him back to israel. he was tried in secret and sentenced to 18 years in solitary confinement at ashkelon prison. finally he was released from prison in april 2004, but forbidden to leave israel, and under strict orders never to speak to any foreigners or journalists.
vanunu ignored that gag order, and has since been convicted of violating the conditions of his release.
groups of people in various parts of the world continue to call for vanunu's freedom, ie that he be allowed to leave israel and go live somewhere else. but none of the governments with whom israel has a strong relationship is willing to put pressure on that state to release him.
i'm a little worried about the guy. vanunu's not unreasonable gripe against israel (since they kinda stole 18 years of his life) unfortunately puts him at risk of becoming a locus of all kinds of anti israeli hatred. being a poster-boy for israel bashing would do a grave injustice to vanunu's real significance -- that of simply having the courage to speak out against evil. it would undermine his credibility as a peace activist. so i hope vanunu is careful.
i also hope he manages to stay out of prison.
various reports say that cheryl bentov is now selling real estate in longwood florida. i guess she doesn't want to live in israel either.