This third Thursday of April begins the 8th year after 18 years in prison that Mordechai Vanunu has been under 24/7 surveillance by Israel's version of America's CIA-FBI: Mossad-Shabbak who have had a vendetta against Vanunu ever since he exposed their lax SECURITY in Israel's 7-story underground WMD Facility in 1986.
Because Vanunu was a good worker, he was cross trained as a technician in many areas of the compartmentalized facility and he was the first employee to realize he was but a cog in the making of weapons of mass destruction. As a matter of conscience he decided to document the facts underground by photographing the evidence. Vanunu easily obtained the keys to the restricted areas after they had been carelessly left in the shower room by a supervisor. He had already smuggled in a camera and film that he had stashed in his locker. One night he shot 56 photos in top secret locations but did not develop them until ten months later while in Sydney, Australia where he met an investigative journalist from the UK. Peter Hounam broke the photo-story that was published on the front page of the London Sunday Times just as Vanunu was being kidnapped, clubbed, drugged and bound by the Mossad in Rome and flung onto an Israeli ship heading home.
Between 1976 and 1985, Vanunu was employed as a nuclear plant technician and shift manager at the Negev Nuclear Research Center, located in the Negev Desert south of Dimona. Most worldwide intelligence agencies estimate that Israel developed nuclear weapons as early as the 1960s, but the country has intentionally maintained a "policy of deliberate ambiguity", neither acknowledging nor denying that it possesses the weapons.
Vanunu is currently free enough to speak with anyone he meets in Tel Aviv, but Vanunu is not free enough to leave the "only democracy" in the Middle East.
When Vanunu was released from 18 years in a windowless tomb sized cell-most all of it in solitary he told the world about Israel's SECURITY: Mossad-Shabback and how they controlled the prison guards and his entire life:
A number of prohibitions were also placed upon Vanunu that remain in force, including:
he shall not be able to have contacts with citizens of other countries but Israel
he shall not use phones
he shall not own cellullar phones
he shall not have access to the Internet
he shall not visit any port of entry and airport
he shall not leave the State of Israel
Vanunu has published his phone number on his website, he has a Youtube Channel devoted to his self-produced videos and he has 590 Facebook friends.
Vanunu also "told the world that Israel had developed between one hundred and two hundred atomic bombs [in 1986!] and had gone on to develop neutron bombs and thermonuclear weapons. Enough to destroy the entire Middle East and nobody has done anything about it since."-Peter Hounam, 2003 for the BBC.
I met Vanunu for the first time in June 2005, while I was in the midst of writing my first novel but in the moment Vanunu told me the following, I knew I would also finally pursue my childhood dream of being a reporter:
"President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons. Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection.
"When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to '69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.
"Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year."