Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician, is serving an 18-year sentence at Ashkelon Prison for informing the public about Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. After revealing information about Israel’s nuclear weapons program to a British newspaper, Vanunu was lured from the UK to Rome, where Israeli agents apprehended him. Vanunu was kept in solitary confinement for more than 11 years, from September 30, 1986 until March 12, 1998. Vanunu’s story published on October 5, 1986, confirmed to the world for the first time that Israel had become a nuclear weapons state and had enough fissile material for as many as 200 advanced nuclear warheads.
The following is the most recent letter* written by Mordechai Vanunu to David Krieger. The letter was written on December 4th, 2000 and received on June 14th, 2001 by air mail. Portions of the letter were literally cut out to censor Vanunu’s words relating to Israel’s nuclear policies which exemplifies the country’s resolve to continue its “secret” nuclear weapons program without being subjected to international accountability. The censored portions of this letter are marked with brackets [ ].
Vanunu needs your support. You can write to him at Ashkelon Prison to encourage him. Mail from supporters sustains his hope.
Mordechai Vanunu Ashkelon Prison Ashkelon, Israel December 4th, 2000
Dear Mr. David Krieger,
Thank you very much for your letter of November 13th. I am very glad to know that you are ready to do more for my release and for the abolition of all nuclear weapons [censored] – I’ll continue to write to you as I am writing to others. As you requested in your letter, I will respond on the issue of the nuclear weapons threat to the entire world. As to the names of people, you can ask Sam Day. He knows all the names. I am writing to Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Hans Bethe and others to request they send copies of their letters of support to Sam Day.
In regards to nuclear weapons, although we are seeing reductions in nuclear weapons by the states who produce and possess them, the vision of abolishing nuclear weapons has not become a reality despite the many large campaigns, ranging from all societies and including retired Admirals and Generals. On the other hand, all those who are supporting nuclear weapons have suffered a huge setback since the end of the Cold War when nuclear weapons lost their justification. For nuclear weapons, lost enemies, lost conflicts and not future justification will happen. Those who are against nuclear weapons must continue to put pressure toward a total ban, abolishing all nuclear weapons in all states which possess them. Economically, nuclear weapons are redundant and states will spend more to continue maintaining them even though they have no future use. That we are moving in the path of abolishing all nuclear weapons is a positive optimist view.
The second problem is how to deal with small states that have nuclear weapons [censored] which superpowers like the US are now using as a reason to keep nuclear weapons and even justify the development of missile defenses. My example was the best way to deal with [censored] nuclear weapons secrets by revealing to the media world-wide. But it was not enough. As we have witnessed, Israel yet continues to deny and ignore this information and continues to lie in public. This is why the superpowers are not ready to use that information to demand that Israel end its nuclear weapons program. In my view, all anti-nuclear campaigners should use that information to fight Israel’s secret policies, force Israel to open Dimona reactor and sign the NPT with all the consequences [censored] then other small states who also engage in nuclear weapons secrets will follow [censored] and sign the NPT. This is the way to deal wth this phenomena of an unbalanced world of states who have nuclear weapons and states who do not have nuclear weapons. The world would be in a more balanced reality; that is all small states should be free from nuclear weapons. Then all small states, which would be the world’s majority, will put pressure on the superpowers to abolish nuclear weapons. This step is not currently succeeding because of one small state, Israel, is breaking the unity among the world majority to force the superpowers to abolish all nuclear weapons.
The next interesting point is that all anti-nuclear weapons campaigners do not understand the “Israel effect” on nuclear weapons abolition. Another interesting point is the connection between nuclear weapons and the economy. The post-Cold War era has been an age of economic growth and development. More and more states are realizing the deficit in possessing nuclear weapons and that nuclear weapons do not promote economic development in most of the undeveloped states. These countries are ready to back and support any initiative that will bring the end of nuclear weapons in the entire world. They know that the abolition of nuclear weapons in Europe, the US and the entire world will only bring help and encouragement to global economic activities, including globalization. So anti-nuclear activists should work in this new field to use economic reasons and alliances to defeat nuclear weapons. This could be done especially at economic summits like the G-8 and WTO meetings where decisions or declarations could be issued to abolish nuclear weapons. Rather than fighting the WTO like anarchist environmentalists, we can recreate the WTO and G-8 to begin working toward zero nuclear weapons.
As to my release, no date for parole or release has been set. My official date of release is April 2004. I support any initiative you and others can do for my release.
Hope to be free and to meet you and others in Santa Barbara. Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,[signed] Mordechai Vanunu
*This letter was edited for publishing.