Israel exercising for nuclear disaster with Iran
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Jun 23, 2008, 00:21

Both Reuters via and the New York Times reported Friday that Israel carried out a major military exercise this month, described by unnamed American officials as a rehearsal for mayhem, i.e., a powerful attack on Iran�s nuclear uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.

As described, more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 (American made) fighters engaged in exercises over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June. The point of the workout, it seemed, was to hone in on long-range strikes on Iran�s uranium facilities, American officials said.

The kicker is that since much of the facility is buried deeply underground in extremely fortified facilities, there�s no guaranty that a surface attack would cripple the facility. Ergo, if Iran is, indeed, at the weapons grade uranium enrichment point, one could plan for a counterstrike and an aggregate response from other Middle and Far Eastern Muslim and Asian nuclear powers.

Of course, Israeli officials, the Times said, would not discuss the exercise. Nor, needless to say, would they be willing to discuss their Dimona nuclear plant that has existed since the early 1960s, enriching uranium, and stockpiling by now some 200 nuclear warheads, as America has quietly looked the other way and, indeed, aided Israel with some $3 billion in military aid each year, in addition to millions more in unsecured loans, and hundreds of millions from pro-Israel Jewish-American groups.

Furthermore, Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but Israel has never done so. In fact, they did their best to keep Dimona�s subbasement nuclear reactor a secret. So much so that when Americans visited in the '60s, Israel built a wall to conceal the elevators and stairways to the reactor.

In fact, Israel�s 60 years of nuclear proliferation is documented in my linked story from Online Journal. It states that �Of course, by 1958, the Dimona plant, alternately called a manganese and/or textile plant, was photographed by US U-2 spy planes and identified as a likely site of a reactor complex. The French, swarming like ants about the complex, were hard to hide, as well as in Beersheba, so much so that Charles DeGaulle, France�s president, wanted a promise from Israel not to make nuclear weapons, and to announce the �project� to the world. Before Israel did that, they were preempted by the US State Department announcing the secret plant. Even the NY Times announced on December 21, 1960 that Ben-Gurion was building a 24-megawatt reactor �for peaceful purposes.�

And, in another article, Israel�s double nuclear standard is no standard at all, I wrote that then orthodox Jew and facility-worker, whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu �put his life where his convictions were and leaked both information and photos of Israel�s nuclear weapons program to the Sunday Times in London. His reward was that he was kidnapped by the Mossad, the Israeli CIA, in Italy and thrown in prison for 18 years -- 11 in solitary confinement. He was released on April 21, 2004, under severe government restrictions.�

I pointed that �The Dimona facility . . . contained an underground plutonium separation plant that operated in complete secrecy.� I added, �As time passed, Vanunu realized his work was part of Israel�s nuclear bomb program. In 1985, troubled by what he knew, he took extensive photos of the factory before he left Dimona. . . . The bottom line was that by October 5, 1986, the publication date of the Sunday Times article, Israel had reached the status of a major nuclear weapons power, with material for some 200 nuclear warheads of advanced design. That is more than 20 years ago and no one has censured or surrounded Israel. In fact, America had been kept in the dark just as the rest of the world was as this program progressed.�

Returning to the current story

An Israeli military spokesman would simply say that the country�s air force �regularly trains for various missions to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threat facing Israel,� according to the Times.

A Pentagon official, the Times reported, who was briefed on the exercise, said one goal was " practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran�s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles." Speaking in anonymity, a second official said another goal was to send a clear message that Israel was ready to act militarily if other efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium fail.

The Times reported the Pentagon said, �They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know . . . There�s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.�

Is the Times talking at all about US signaling? After all on June 17, after talks with President Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised to get tough with Iran and Afghanistan. He said that Britain would freeze the assets of Iran�s biggest bank as well as increase British troop strength in Afghanistan. Isn�t this the crassest kind of saber-rattling and provocation towards Iran?

Brown went so far as to say, according to the New York Times� Britain To Tighten Iran Sanctions that �Our message today to the Iranian people is that you do not have to pursue the path of confrontation.� Nor does Israel have to keep its nuclear arsenal in hiding or in open hostile confrontation (manoevers) in plain view of the whole world, which is a kind of implicit terror threat.

What�s more, if you consider Israeli history, take that threat seriously. In my �Double Standard� article I wrote, �During the same time Israel was amassing nuclear warheads, in 1981, when the US had successfully managed to convince its boy, Saddam, to attack Iran, and the war between Iraq and Iran was in progress, and would be for eight years, yielding a million dead and 2 million displaced, during this time none other than Israeli�s Prime Minister Menachim Begin decided to bomb a French-built nuclear plant near Baghdad. Sacr� bleu, what was he thinking?

�Once again, Israeli paranoia and self-righteousness sprung into action. Begin told us they believed the reactor was designed to make nuclear weapons to destroy Israel. And what were his hundreds of nuclear weapons built for, the Fourth of July? Also, this was the world�s first air strike against a nuclear plant; thank you, Mr. Begin. In fact, the above linked article tells us, 'An undisclosed number of [American built] F-15 interceptors and [American built] F-16 fighter bombers destroyed the Osirak reactor 18 miles south of Baghdad, on the orders of Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The army command said all the Israeli planes returned safely . . . '

�In fact, the 70-megawatt uranium-powered reactor wasn�t even finished nor �had it been stocked with nuclear fuel so there was no danger of a leak, according to sources in the French atomic industry�� Well, at least someone was using his head.

�Nevertheless the Israeli government responded, �The atomic bombs which that reactor was capable of producing, whether from enriched uranium or from plutonium, would be of the Hiroshima size. Thus a mortal danger to the people of Israel progressively arose. Of course. And damn the rest of the world, and sit on your stockpile, above and beyond any international standard of proliferation, and attack others for far less than your sins.�

These words resonate eerily in this situation

On top of this, the UN Security Council has imposed additional sanctions on Iran for defying council demands that it not sustain a uranium enrichment program. How noble. Now impose the same sanctions on Israel for actually possessing 200 plus nuclear warheads. This is all part of an historic unfairness towards Iran which I documented in Abusing Iran prior to and after WW II.

But then of course the motive behind that abuse was Iran�s rich oilfields and using them as our military gas station back in WW II. Today the unspoken wish is to grab them for our ongoing oil addiction, exploitation, and depletion disaster.

Along those lines, the June 19 Times tells us, Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back. It says �Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, Thirty-six years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP -- the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company -- along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq�s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq�s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.�

So, what goes around comes round -- in Iraq as in Iran. Oil. Money. Unbridled US arrogance, using force of arms to take what it wants. Just as our Middle East hammer, Israel, mimics our misguided behavior.

Remember, too, that current major nuclear powers with known weapons include Russia, China, India, Pakistan, France, and of course Israel, if not Great Britain as well. So what is this phobia about Iran, if not a disguised grab at toppling its government and grabbing its oil? Iraq redux?

In my estimation, next to the Bush administration (McCain�s if fortune is foul to us), America is the world�s greatest nuclear threat, and I would classify its rogue off-and-on-again buddy, Israel (when it�s not stealing our nuclear and military secrets), as the second most serious nuclear threat on earth.

Although Iran initially refused to buckle to sanctions and passed on offers (bribes) of economic benefits to halt its uranium enrichment -- which it says is to produce fuel for electrical power plants rather than for nuclear weapons -- all these various threats must have gotten to it, to the point of negotiating a new package of economic incentives (bribes) from major powers to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear work. And who�s going to persuade �The Little Country That Could� to do the same?

As a friend of mine formerly on assignment with the CIA wrote to me, �From my Naval sources I know that we have our necessary aircraft carriers currently in attack position. All it takes is for someone to pull the trigger. Will it be door #1, door #2, or door #3?� If that doesn�t chill your blood, I don�t know what will, beyond �a mushroom cloud on the horizon.�

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor