FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Israel’s Invisible Nukes, the Latest Chapter

by BARRY LANDO

A new chapter has been revealed in the fascinating saga of Israel’s invisible nuclear weapon’s program. According to documents released by the National Security Archives, in 1963-64 Argentina played a major role in providing Israel with 80-100 tons of uranium oxide (“yellowcake”) vital for Israel’s clandestine nuclear program.

(It’s not mentioned in the press release, but Argentina’s aid may well have been tit-for-tat—since Israel was also an important supplier of weapons to Argentina.)

Equally fascinating as the news of Argentina’s assistance, is the fact that those  “secret” shipments were fairly quickly discovered by Canadian intelligence officials in 1964, who ultimately passed on the news to their British and American colleagues, who passed it on to their civilian leaders.

That news of course cast strong doubts on Israel’s claims that its nuclear program was completely peaceful.

So, what happened? “In response to U.S. diplomatic queries about the sale, the government of Israel was evasive in its replies and gave no answers to the U.S.’s questions about the transaction.”

Over the following months and years, the U.S. and its allies showed no appetite to seriously challenge Israel’s on-going evasions.

Indeed, according to the NSA release, the story of the Argentina yellowcake sale to Israel has remained largely unknown, not just because of Israel’s passion for secrecy, but because the U.S. government and its close allies kept secret for years what they knew at the time.

In fact that policy was nothing new, but the continuation of a refusal by the U.S. and its partners to refuse to publicly recognize Israel’s nuclear weapons program—that began under Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950’s—and continues to this day.

The official deception is chronicled by in Seymour Hersh’s authoritative “The Samson Option,” written in 1991.

As Hersh wrote, it was impossible for the Israelis to to hide the massive new construction of their nuclear weapons facility from America’s high-flying U2 spy plane.

In late 1958 or early 1959, CIA photo intelligence experts, spotted what looked almost certainly to be a nuclear reactor being built at Dimona.

They rushed the raw images to the White House, expecting urgent demands from the Oval Office for more information. This was, after all, a development that could initiate a disastrous nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

But there was absolutely no follow-up from the White House. As one of the analysts later told Seymour Hersh “Nobody came back to me, ever, on Israel.” Though the analysts continued regular reporting on Dimona, there were no requests for high-level briefings. “ ‘Thank you,’ and ‘this isn’t going to be disseminated is it?’ It was that attitude.”

“By the end of 1959,” writes Hersh, “the two analysts had no doubts that Israel was going for the bomb. They also had no doubts that President Eisenhower and his advisers were determined to look the other way.”

The reason was evident: Eisenhower publicly was a strong advocate of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). If he was formally to “know” of Israel’s nuclear program, he would be obliged to react–against Israel. Which, in the U.S. could mean serious political consequences.

It was only in December 1960, that the Eisenhower administration, nearing its end, leaked word about Dimona and France’s involvement to the New York Times. The administration hoped that, without having to make any official accusations itself, it could oblige the Israeli government to sign the NPT.

But Ben Gurion flatly denied the Times report. He assured American officials –as well as the Israeli Knesset–that the Dimona reactor was completely benign. French officials guaranteed that any plutonium produced at Dimona would be returned to France for safekeeping (another lie).

The Eisenhower administration, however, had no stomach to take on Israel and its American lobby. Despite the reports of CIA analysts, Ben Gurion’s denials went unchallenged.

That hypocrisy would remain official America’s policy to this day–even as U.S. presidents decried the attempts of countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria, India, Pakistan, Libya and Iraq to themselves develop the bomb

BARRY LANDO is a former producer for 60 Minutes who now lives in Paris. He can be reached at: barrylando@gmail.com or through his website.

More articles by:

BARRY LANDO is a former producer for 60 Minutes. He is the author of  “Deep Strike” a novel about Russian hacking, rogue CIA agents, and a new American president. He can be reached at: barrylando@gmail.com or through his website.

Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Mass Shootings, Male Toxicity and their Roots in Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
The Fordist Academic
Frank Scott
Weapons of Mass Distraction Get More Destructive
Missy Comley Beattie
Big Dick Diplomacy
Michael Doliner
Democracy, Real Life Acting and the Movies
Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown tells indigenous protesters in Bonn, ‘Let’s put you in the ground’
Winslow Myers
The Madness of Deterrence
Cesar Chelala
A Kiss is Not a Kiss: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Jimmy Centeno
Garcia Meets Guayasamin: A De-Colonial Experience
Stephen Martin
When Boot Becomes Bot: Surplus Population and The Human Face.
Martin Billheimer
Homer’s Iliad, la primera nota roja
Louis Proyect
Once There Were Strong Men
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones
David Yearsley
Academics Take Flight
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail