This morning on the program “Democracy Now,” Noam Chomsky said in reply to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims regarding Iran’s nuclear program: “The striking aspect of this is the chutzpah involved. Israel has had nuclear weapons for probably 50 years, 40 years — estimates are 100, 200 weapons. They are an aggressive state — Israel’s invaded Lebanon five times, it’s carrying out an illegal occupation, carries out brutal attacks, like on Gaza last summer.” Chomsky added that a crucial fact is that “even if Iran” were developing a nuclear weapon, “it would be part of deterrent,” given Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal. [See video beginning 31:30]
While the U.S. government has continued a policy with Israel of neither confirming nor denying the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal since the Nixon administration, a researcher has just obtained release of U.S. government documents “detailing the U.S. government’s extensive help to Israel in that nation’s development of a nuclear bomb,” reports Courthouse News.
Courthouse News continues: “The government fought to delay release of the 386-page report in hearings before Judge Tanya Chutkan in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who expressed skepticism with the government’s reasons for refusing to provide a single unclassified document.
“The report’s release … has substantial political ramifications.”
GRANT F. SMITH, gsmith at irmep.org, @IRmep
Smith is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy and has recently won release of the report. He wrote the piece “U.S. Confirmed Existence of Israeli H-Bomb Program in 1987,” which states: “The 1987 report’s confirmation of Israel’s advanced nuclear weapons program should have immediately triggered a cutoff in all U.S. aid to Israel under the Symington and Glenn Amendments to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act. …
“Informal and Freedom of Information Act release of such information is rare. Under two known gag orders — punishable by imprisonment — U.S. security-cleared government agency employees and contractors may not disclose that Israel has a nuclear weapons program. GEN-16 is a ‘no-comment’ regulation on ‘classified information in the public domain.’ ‘DOE Classification Bulletin WPN-136 on Foreign Nuclear Capabilities’ forbids stating what 63.9 percent of Americans already know — that Israel has a nuclear arsenal.”
Also see Smith’s piece “Lawsuit Challenges U.S. ‘Ambiguity’ Toward Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal,” which states: “Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear analyst James Doyle wrote candidly about Israel’s nuclear weapons for a magazine in 2013. After a congressional staffer read the article, which had passed a classification review, it was referred to classification officials for a second review. Doyle’s pay was then cut, his home computer searched, and he was fired.”
Smith also wrote the piece “Poll: Netanyahu Should be Investigated for Nuclear Weapons Tech Smuggling Before U.S. Visit,” which states: “In 2012 the FBI declassified and released files … of its investigation into how 800 nuclear weapons triggers were illegally smuggled from the U.S. to Israel. According to the FBI, the Israeli Ministry of Defense ordered nuclear triggers (krytrons), encrypted radios, ballistic missile propellants and other export-prohibited items through a network of front companies. Smuggling ring operations leader Richard Kelly Smyth alleged that Netanyahu worked at one of the fronts — Heli Trading owned by confessed spy and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan — and met with him frequently to execute smuggling operations.” See from the Guardian: “Arnon Milchan reveals past as Israeli spy.”
Background: See by Sam Husseini: “The Absurd U.S. Stance on Israel’s Nukes: A Video Sampling of Denial,” which features major U.S. government officials declining to forthrightly acknowledge that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal. For example, in 2010, then-Senator Russ Feingold seemingly alluded to the gag order, that was not publicly known to exist at the time: “I’m not free to comment on that.” In contrast, when asked “Do you know that Israel has a nuclear weapons program?” in 2011, now Secretary of State and then-senator John Kerry replied to the question “Sure. Everybody — it’s common knowledge and commonly understood.” When asked “Why won’t the administration acknowledge that?” Kerry responded: “I don’t know what the administration policy is on that.” He was chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee at the time.
See “Israel’s Worst-Kept Secret” in the Atlantic by Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith of the Center for Public Integrity’s National Security team.
Regarding Netanyahu’s claims on Iran having a nuclear weapons program, see from Nima Shirazi “Benjamin & His Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Lies: Netanyahu Cries ‘Wolf’…Again.” Also, see by Jim Lobe: “Remember Bibi’s Wisdom on Iraq.”