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Who's Playing 'Hide and Cheat'?

Mordechai Vanunu

The estimable McClatchy News Service says President Obama "scored a decisive win" by negotiating an agreement that "will prevent Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon" and termed it "a personal triumph for the President."

Not surprisingly, the painfully negotiated pact was denounced by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has repeatedly, and illegally, threatened Iran over its alleged desire to build an atomic bomb. But Obama's rebuff of Netanyahu's position was well deserved, given Israel's record of stealing American military secrets and spying on private American talks with its allies.

If Iran had been guilty of such crimes, the American public would now be deaf from the outcry of the Republicans in Congress. Americans need to remember that Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American civilian naval intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty in 1987 to selling classified information to Israel. At least 800 documents were snitched. Pollard, who became an Israeli citizen, sits in a U.S. prison today in Butner, N.C., serving a life sentence. Former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger said his espionage "would cause the greatest harm to our national security."

Israel admitted its role in Pollard's theft. Israel had him on a monthly payroll, the better to enable him to do his dirty work. When the spying was disclosed, Israel apologized for its role. So sorry, right? Maybe so, but just two weeks ago Adam Entous of The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel spied on the recent closed-door talks between the U.S. and its European allies concerning the Iranian negotiations. Do these repeated episodes of spying suggest that Israel is not exactly a trustworthy ally?

Not to our Congress, which keeps voting Israel $3-billion a year in military aid! According to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, between 1949 and 2008 alone, Israel hauled in $56 billion in American military handouts. One could make a case that it was the American public that paid Mr. Pollard's salary to steal American military secrets.

Now Mr. Netanyahu trumpets that no matter what agreement is reached, Israel will take action against Iran as it chooses. Of course, it's illegal for one UN member to threaten another, much less attack it, but no matter.

Republicans in Congress might keep in mind that when Mr. Netanyahu addressed Congress last month he accused the Iranians of playing "a pretty good game of hide and cheat" but presented zero evidence of any sort to prove it. Here was a golden opportunity for him to show what his brilliant spy service had come up with. Yet all he produced were accusations.

If anyone is playing a game of "hide and cheat" with the UN inspectors it is Mr. Netanyahu, who does not allow them to enter Israel to inspect his nuclear facilities---reported to conceal between 80 or more (200?) atomic bombs. Iran lets the UN inspectors in, of course, but UN inspectors cannot get in to Israel.

What's more, "Israelis who reveal details about the weapons program can face prosecution and lengthy prison terms," wrote John Cassidy in The New Yorker on March 5, 2012:

"In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician, gave photographs he had taken of the Negev Nuclear Research Center, near the city of Dimona, in the Negev desert, to the Sunday Times of London. After the publication of Vanunu’s story, Mossad agents snatched him from Rome, where he had been lured on vacation, and returned him to Israel. There he served eighteen years in jail, eleven of them in solitary confinement."

If Netanyahu belittles the work of UN investigators by charging the Iranians are deceiving them, maybe that's because they tell the truth---Iran doesn't have a nuclear weapon and is not making one. In fact, the former Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, told investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that he had not seen “a shred of evidence” that Iran was “building nuclear-weapons facilities and using enriched materials.”

ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who spent 12 years at the IAEA, told Hersh, “I don’t believe Iran is a clear and present danger. All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran.” Hersh pointed out that the last two U.S. National Intelligence Estimates on Iranian nuclear progress “have stated that there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb since 2003.”
 
Meanwhile, American spies in Iran are doing their very best to find any traces of military nuclear development. If they had found anything, most likely it would be on front pages globally by now. Hersh says some of the tactics our spies resorted to included:

# Surreptitiously removing street signs and replacing them with signs containing radiation sensors.

# Removing bricks from buildings suspected of containing nuclear enrichment activities and replacing them “with bricks embedded with radiation-monitoring devices.”

# Spreading high-powered sensors disguised as stones randomly along roadways where a suspected underground weapon site was under construction.

As for the Congressional critics of the new deal, McClatchy News quotes President Obama as saying, "Do you (critics of the deal) really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world's major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the MIddle East?"

Summing up: President Obama has not only made the right decision in negotiating an agreement with Iran but could strike another blow for peace by terminating U.S. military aid to Israel (and every other nation as well.) Dare we say it? America first!


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