Quotable

"We could, in a moment in time, destroy everything—ourselves and all that we had every touched or loved—by means of our own technology and by our own hand." -Robert Jay Lifton, psychiatrist and the author of “Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima,” and a memoir, “Witness to an Extreme Century.”


Friday, September 5, 2014

Nuclear Weapons Do Not Make Us Safer!!!

What crazy times these are? But then again, hasn't the entire nuclear age been pretty crazy? At a recent youth forum, Vladimir Putin made the most significant nuclear threat in decades. “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words.”

Earlier today a young engineer in his early 20s, who I have known for many years, engaged me in a conversation about radioactive decay and how to survive a nuclear war. It seems like the day's of duck and cover that many of us grew up with during the Cold War may be returning. One can't help but think of the insanity in all of this. The Cold War ended well over a couple decades ago, and yet we seem to be watching a new Cold War unfolding. 

He's no puppy dog!
If one watches too much of certain news channels, one could easily be led to believe that it's those evil Russians once again, with Vladimir Putin taking the place of Nikita ("We will bury you!") Khrushchev. So Putin may not be some choir boy, but hey - Obama (and the U.S.) isn't exactly blameless. We continue to pursue a nuclear weapons renaissance, and since the fall of the Berlin Wall have been pushing NATO (bad drug that it is) as if we were an out-of-control drug cartel.

It is time for Obama and Putin to sit down like two adults (who just happen to preside over what are evidently still the two superpowers) and come to grips with the conflicts they have created. And, it is certainly time for them to sit down and negotiate a serious reduction in the two nation's nuclear arsenals. Russia and the U.S. can and must lead the way to a nuclear weapons-free world.

Deterrence is a relic, and should we continue pretending that it is a valid doctrine into the rest of this century, humanity will be in grave peril. The risk of nuclear war (and its consequences) is simply unacceptable. David Krieger states it directly and succinctly in the following letter to the editor recently published in The Washington Post.

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Letter: Nuclear Weapons Do Not Make Us Safer

by David Krieger

This letter to the editor of the Washington Post was published on August 22, 2014.

Are NATO-based nuclear weapons really an advantage in a dangerous world, as Brent Scowcroft, Stephen J. Hadley and Franklin Miller suggested in their Aug. 18 op-ed, “A dangerous proposition”? They are not. They make the world a far more dangerous place.
David Krieger


Nuclear deterrence is not a guarantee of security. Rather, it is a hypothesis about human behavior, a hypothesis that has come close to failing on many occasions. Additionally, nuclear weapons are not “political weapons,” as the writers asserted. They are weapons of mass extermination.

The United States and the other nuclear-armed countries are obligated under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and/or customary international law to pursue negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race and complete nuclear disarmament. This is the substance of the Nuclear Zero lawsuits brought by the Marshall Islands against the nine nuclear-armed countries at the International Court of Justice and in U.S. federal court. The United States continues to evade its obligations.

Rather than continuing to posture with its nuclear weapons in Europe, the United States should be leading the way in convening negotiations to eliminate all nuclear weapons for its own security and that of all the world’s inhabitants.

David Krieger, Santa Barbara, Calif.

The writer is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bearing The Message of Abolition and Peace on Hiroshima Remembrance Day

Dear Friends,

Sixty-nine years ago today at appoximately 8:15am (Hiroshima time) the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima.

The blast and firestorm caused by detonation of the bomb over the city left upwards of 80,000 people dead and 70,000 injured. Of the injured, many died in the subsequent days, weeks, months and years due to radiation-related effects.  The multigenerational effects of the radiation continue to cause suffering.

 
The survivors of the atomic bombings came to be known as Hibakusha (literally translated as "explosion-affected people").

Today we remember the victims of the atomic bombings, and to properly honor their memory we must recommit ourselves to ridding the world of these horrific weapons of extraordinary devastation.

Remembrance requires experience and the knowledge that flows from it. In the case of the atomic bombings, we can learn from the experience of those who were there, those who survived, suffering, and in some cases continue to suffer today.
 
This blog post holds the testimony of a survivor, a Hibakusha of HIroshima.  Ms. Tokie MIZUNO put the words of the story of her personal experience in the bombing of Hiroshima to paper for the first time in 2010. Her act preserves (and shares) her story and makes a plea for us all to find our common humanity and work for peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons.


Tokie MIZUNO giving her testimony in May 2010
It has taken great courage for these Hibakusha to pass on their difficult and painful stories. They make us see (and feel) the horrors of nuclear war and hopefully mobilize our hearts to action. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate expression of violence, capable of extinguishing life as we know it. Nuclear weapons are incompatible with life!

Ms. MIZUNO represents all Hibakusha in saying, “No more Hiroshimas, No more Nagasakis!” All who read her testimony become witnesses to it, and as witnesses it is my deepest hope that we will all share her story far and wide, spreading her message, and the message of the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (GENSUIKYO), a message of peace.

With great thanks to Tokie MIZUNO, Hibakusha of Hiroshima.

May we all rise up and say (and work for "No more Hiroshimas, No more Nagasakis!"

Peace,

Leonard

Testimony of Tokie MIZUNO,
 Hibakusha of Hiroshima


My name is Tokie MIZUNO and I am a survivor of Hiroshima. 65 years ago, when I was 5 years old, the atomic bomb was dropped on my city, Hiroshima. I was near my grandmother’s house, 1.2 kilo-meters from ground zero.

The City of Hiroshima was completely destroyed and was turned into rubble by the enormous destructive power of the atomic bomb. As other survivors, I was barely alive and the damage on my body and mind was unbearable.

I might have been lucky to survive but life hasn’t been easy on me financially, physically and mentally. This agony should not be repeated on anybody else on earth. That’s why I have become involved in anti-nuclear actions with other Hibakusha as well as many other Japanese people.

We have been collecting signatures for a nuclear-weapon-free world, and engaging in activities to defend the Japanese Constitution, especially the Preamble and Article 9, which pledges never to wage war again.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution clearly states “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat of use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

And it adds “In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.” Article 9 is our treasure.

This treasure for Japan was achieved with the sacrifice of precious lives of 20 to 30 million people in Asia and Pacific. This is one of the greatest achievements for the world, too, and we will hold on to it forever.

Let me talk about that day.......

On the morning of August 6th, 1945, just before Hiroshima was hit by the atomic bombing, one of the women in my neighbourhood came to my house and said “We have some sweets. Why don’t you come and have some?”

So my little 3-year-old brother and I happily followed her. In those days it was very difficult to have sweets. My neighbour’s son, a soldier, was back from the battlefront to treat his wounds. He brought some sweets with him for his family and the neighbour invited us in.

We were about to eat our sweets when the bomb exploded.

With a blinding flash, the whole house was flattened.

I found myself trapped under the rubble. I tried to look out from my little prison and saw my younger brother, rescued by a soldier, standing there with blood on his face and head.

I myself was pulled out of the rubble. My right arm was heavily injured and I had several cuts on my face. My neighbour tore her underwear into pieces and covered my arm to stop it bleeding. Later I was told that it was her treatment that saved my right arm.

I don’t remember how many hours had passed, but I saw my mother crawling to me over piles of rubble. She was desperately looking for me and my younger brother. She looked awful with only tattered patches of her clothing on her body and her hair standing on end.

My 12-month-old baby brother was still buried under the rubble. My mother and grandmother were desperate and were removing the debris saying they should get him back home, even if he was dead.

They also called out for help to people walking by but nobody stopped. They went on their way absentmindedly - they were like ghosts.

We saw flames in the distance coming towards us. Terrified, my younger brother and I were both crying. I don’t remember the pain of my injury, but many collapsed houses around us horrified me, although my father thought I was just stunned.

Fortunately, my baby brother was alive, and we managed to escape to a raft on the river. There were countless dead bodies floating and fire balls were falling all around. Red-hot galvanized plates darted towards us and made a huge noise when they dropped into the river. It was not a safe place to be.

At that time I was so young that I don’t remember exactly what happened. But my deceased parents and grandmother told me a lot about that day.

There was a woman on the raft who gave us food and water. She also gave my mother part of a Kimono to use as bandages and as a strap to carry me on her back.

In the evening, cooling our bodies with river water, we finally found a place to evacuate to. It was a shrine near a railway station called Koi.

Because my grandmother and I were seriously injured, we two were left at the shrine while my mother and brothers escaped to my aunt’s house in Itsukaichi City. My uncle who rushed to Hiroshima to search for us carried them on his handcart.

Grandmother thought we could have some treatment at the shrine but nothing was available. We were given only one rotten rice ball. We finally evacuated to my aunt’s house.

They were farmers and gave us good food. I had tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled shallots etc. to my heart’s content. It may be this diet that has kept me healthy.

My father had to spend several nights at shelters in Hiroshima. He died abruptly from TB in August 1956, which we believe was due to residual radiation. Later when I was working to collect survivors’ stories, I learned that there were many Hibakusha who suffered from TB during those difficult times.

My mother died in Oct. 1967. I believe that both of my parents were killed by the atomic bomb. At that time I thought that it was our fate and that because Japan was at war we couldn’t complain about it.

I also thought we were just unfortunate because we were in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. Later I learned history, which completely changed my mind. I knew why the US had done it.

The US government has kept saying that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war and saved millions of people’s lives. That’s what they teach at schools.

However, in 1944 there was scarcely any food left for Japanese people. People were dying from hunger. Japan’s ground and air forces and navy were almost completely destroyed. It was obvious that Japan was finished.

Nonetheless, 210,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Why?

In 1945 the war ended, but another war, the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union had already started. The US wanted to have an advantage over the Soviet Union militarily and politically by showing the power of nuclear weapons. They also wanted to test their newly developed technology, atomic bombs.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were chosen as testing grounds with real live people.

Let me share with you what the atomic bombing had done to us. The atomic bomb caused massive destruction and killed tens of thousands instantly and indiscriminately. It also emitted massive amounts of radiation which has afflicted us for decades.

Hibakusha describe the moment of the bombing as “The Sun dropped on us and burnt us”. When Bomb exploded, a huge fireball, 280 meters in diameter, was generated in the air.

Heat rays emitted from it raised the ground temperature, from 3000 to 4000 degrees Celsius (5500 to 7300 degrees Fahrenheit) near the hypocenter.

This was a boy, the charred remains. 700 meters from the hypocenter (Aug. 10. Nagasaki).


This is the shadow of a man (Shadow burnt into the granite steps.

Within 1.2 kilo-meters of ground zero, those who were directly affected by the heat rays suffered terrible burns and their internal tissues and organs severely damaged. Most of them died instantly or within a few days.

The explosion also created a powerful blast and destroyed most of the wooden houses in 2-kilometer radius of ground zero. People were blown through the air and many crushed to death under collapsed buildings.

Radiation left the human body with serious damage. It penetrated deeply into our bodies, damaged cells and diminished the blood generation function of bone marrow.

It also damaged inner organs. Even those who looked uninjured later became ill and died.

Residual radiation left on the ground affected many long after the explosion. Those who entered the city to search for their families/friends or for relief operations eventually developed similar symptoms and died.

Nuclear weapons are unspeakable weapons. They don’t allow us to live nor die as humans. They are weapons of absolute evil which can never co-exist with human beings.

3.2 million Japanese people lost their lives in the Asia-Pacific War. 20 to 30 million people were victimized by the Japanese military in Asia.

Learning from it, we have acquired the war-renouncing Japanese Constitution. However, military spending in the world is growing. Trillions of dollars are being spent for military purposes. If used for peaceful purposes, this money could solve many problems for human-kind.

20th century war is gone. Our responsibility is to hand over a peaceful and cultivated 21st century to the next generation. I strongly believe that we can hand over a nuclear-weapon-free world to future generations if we work together in solidarity with the people of the U.S. and with the people of the world.

Thank you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Plowshares Speak from Prison: Transform Now!!!

Editor's Note: Sr. Megan Rice, along with Gregory Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, engaged in a Plowshares action on July 28, 2012. Known as the Transform Now Plowshares, these three dedicated peacemakers attempted direct engagement towards the abolition of nuclear weapons and our transformation to peaceful, sustainable, life-giving alternatives to these horrific weapons that could end life (as we know it) on our small planet.

Sr. Megan, Greg and Michael are all in Federal prison for their selfless actions on behalf of humankind and the planet that sustains us. What follows is a reflection (on the second anniversary of their Plowshares action) from Sr. Megan on behalf of behalf of her Plowshares partners.

Sr. Megan reminds us that although few will ever engage in a Plowshares action, each of us needs to be engaged at some level in order to help move humanity closer to the dream of a nuclear weapons free world. There is something that each of us can do. Read on to learn more.

(l to r) Greg, Megan and Michael
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OPEN LETTER FROM THE BROOKLYN METROPOLITAN DETENTION CENTER

from Sr. Megan Rice, on behalf of the Transform Now Plowshares

July 28, 2014

Our Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We send warm greetings and many thanks to all who actively engage in the transformation of weapons of mass destruction to sustainable life-giving alternatives. Gregory Boertje-Obed (U.S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas) Michael Walli (Federal Correctional Institution McKean, Bradford, Pennsylvania) and I are sending you some of our observations and concerns on the 2nd anniversary of our Transform Now Plowshares action.

On July 28, 2012, after thorough study of nuclear issues, and because of our deepening commitment to nonviolence, we engaged in direct action by cutting through four fences at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the U.S. continues to overhaul and upgrade thermonuclear warheads.

On that day, two years ago, when we reached the building where all U.S. highly-enriched (bomb-grade) uranium is stored, we prayed and also wrote messages on the wall, such as “The Fruit of Justice is Peace”. (Realistically, the higher and stronger fences built as a result of our nonviolent incursion can never keep humans safe from inherently dangerous materials and weapons.) We acted humbly as “creative extremists for love”, to cite one of our most important and revered leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are a number of reasons for what we did. We three were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear systems have already caused, and we realize that all life on Earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental, or technical error.

Our action at the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge exposed the storage of weapons-making materials deliberately hidden from the general public. The production, refurbishment, threat, or use of these weapons of mass destruction violate the fundamental rules and principles by which we all try to live amicably as human beings. The United States Constitution and the Laws of War are intended to ensure the survival of humanity with dignity. However, it is abundantly clear that harmony and cooperation among nations can never be achieved with nuclear weapons. (These arguments, we assume, will be made on our behalf during the eventual appeal of our convictions that accused us of sabotage, though it was never our intention to harm our country.)

Our “crime” was to draw attention to the criminality of the 70-year-old nuclear industry itself and to the unconscionable fact that the United States spends more on nuclear weapons than on education, health, transportation, and disaster relief combined.

We three Transform Now Plowshares consider it our duty, right, and privilege to heighten tension in the ongoing debate of Disarmament vs. Deterrence because history has repeatedly taught us that the policy of deterrence doesn’t lead to security, but rather to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. During our trial, the U.S. prosecutors and the U.S. courts accused the wrong people when they claimed that we violated the law, because what we did was to make America’s citizens aware of egregious preparations for mass murder.

We took action because we were acutely aware that our government has failed to keep its long-standing promise to pursue nuclear disarmament. (As Ramsey Clark testified during one of our pre-trial hearings, the U.S. entered into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the 1960’s because our country was finally facing up to the severe human and environmental consequences of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as to the hideous results of countless nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. government within and beyond our own borders.)

One of our pressing concerns is that U.S. prosecutors and the courts adhere to an obsolete view of security with no cognizance – or consciousness – of the horrific effects caused by nuclear weapons. Greg, Mike, and I believe that, undeniably, the U.S. is in a state of denial. It’s what Hannah Arendt called not evil, but the banality of evil. “There’s nothing deep about it. It’s nothing demonic! There’s simply the reluctance ever to imagine what the other person is experiencing, right?” (Hannah Arendt, "Eichmann was Outrageously Stupid" in The Last Interview and Other Conversations, Melville House, Brooklyn 2013, p. 48).

We citizens cannot permit ourselves to be rendered passive and mute by the banality of evil! Only complete nuclear disarmament can save humanity. At stake is the honor and dignity of the Hibakusha, along with the physical, environmental, emotional, and psychological trauma long suffered by victims of the nuclear system, from uranium miners to down-winders. (From 1946 to 1958, Marshall Islanders were bombarded with 67 atomic and thermonuclear tests that were carried out by the United States.)

Michael Walli, Greg Boertje-Obed and I are in U.S. prisons because, ironically, our action at Oak Ridge was based on the common sense reality that we human beings have endured more than enough destruction and exploitation. We believe that we citizens can exercise our collective power to consciously transform our nation’s priorities. We all need to actively insist on more humane uses for the billions of dollars now budgeted for the nuclear weapons/industrial complex.

Two years ago, as we neared the building in Oak Ridge, we were extremely surprised by the ineffectiveness of the system that supposedly guarded our nation’s most important National Security Complex. We believed that we were about to expose the source of unfettered violence that has led to the chronic spiritual and economic decline in the U.S. As it turned out, it was the laxity of the security system at Y-12 that caught the attention of the courts and the mainstream media. Security weakness became the big story. There was no mainstream acknowledgement that the national security complex is rotting from its own irrelevance.

Most surprisingly, our July 2012 action and our court cases have revealed that it is not the U.S. government that is in control of the nuclear weapons complex, but in reality it is the corporations that are in control through their solicitation and manipulation of endless funding for the refurbishment of unlawful thermonuclear warheads. We three are incarcerated because we stood up to a nuclear weapons industry that is kept thriving by the interlocking and obsolete institutions that subscribe to the long-discredited notion that law and security can be enforced by ever-greater force.

Regarding the 22.8 billion dollar contract recently awarded for the operation of the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge and the Pantex site in Texas for the refurbishment of thermonuclear warheads and a new Uranium Processing Facility (UPF), the relevant corporations don’t actually operate under the long-discredited myth of “nuclear deterrence”. Rather, corporations such as Babcock and Wilcox, Lockheed, and Bechtel operate under limited liability subsidiaries, joint ventures, consortiums, and partnerships for the main purpose of making profits by engaging in huge nuclear weapons production/refurbishment contracts. By this time, Congress certainly is aware that valid contracts can be issued only for the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons and for the environmentally-sound treatment and disposition of all nuclear materials.

In order for the U.S. to negotiate for nuclear disarmament in good faith, we say it is essential to peaceably transform these very corporations so that they are no longer able to violate the most basic moral and legal principles of civilized society by deliberately precipitating planetary self-destruction.

We thank you for your letters and your concerns. We ask you to support the Republic of the Marshall Islands in their current legal actions against the United States in U.S. federal court and against the U.S. and all the other nuclear weapons states in the International Court of Justice, for failure to eliminate their respective nuclear arsenals. You can learn more and add your support by signing the petition at www.nuclearzero.org.

Blessings,

Greg, Michael and Megan

[You can learn more about the July 28, 2012 Transform Now Plowshares action, and find prison addresses to write a note of support to Sr. Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, at http://transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com/]

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Declaring Our Independence From Nuclear Weapons

FOR A NATION TO BE, in the truest sense, patriotic, its citizens must love their land with a knowing, intelligent, sustaining, and protective love. They must not, for any price, destroy its health, its beauty, or its productivity. And they must not allow their patriotism to be degraded to a mere loyalty to symbols or any present set of officials. (Wendell Berry: from A Citizen's Response to the National Security Strategy of the United States of America).

At the end of that same essay Berry says that "If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we now prepare for war."

When it comes to nuclear weapons, Berry's words ring particularly true. We have seen time and time again that our government has no real intention of honoring its commitments to work toward global disarmament under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The lofty rhetoric of President Obama's famous 2009 Prague speech has long since faded away.

It is clear that the only thing that will convince our elected officials to fulfill their legal (and moral) obligations to abolish nuclear weapons is a massive citizen-led movement bringing pressure to bear on every member of Congress and the President.

This movement will require every method of conventional and unconventional (nonviolent) strategies and tactics, including nonviolent civil resistance.


On July 5, 2010, during a large gathering of anti-nuclear activists outside the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 13 resisters walked onto the facility, each one carrying a document declaring independence for nuclear weapons at Y-12.

Here is the final version of the document carried into the Y-12 Complex by the 13 nuclear resisters on this day in 2010. May we all declare our independence from nuclear weapons, and may we do the hard work to abolish these horrific and omnicidal weapons.

Declaration of Independence from Nuclear Weapons at Y-12

The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 indicted a government that engaged in barbaric conduct contrary to the laws of Humanity that included "works of death, destruction and tyranny unparalleled in the most barbaric ages" until the Age of Now!

Current Law requires an end to all planning, preparation, production, threat, or use of nuclear weapons and adherence to the fundamental rules and principles of Humanitarian Law.

The cardinal rules and principles of humanitarian law require that civilians never be the object of attack and prohibit weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilians and military targets.

The International Court of Justice found that the destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time, and nuclear weapons have the potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet.

All W-76 and W-76-1 thermonuclear secondaries produced at Y-12 are designed and intended to unleash 100 KT of uncontrollable and indiscriminate heat, blast and radiation, six times more than the Hiroshima Bomb. Because any threat or use of these weapons is a crime against peace, war crime or crime against humanity any complicity in planning or preparation for threat or use is similarly unlawful.

Under principals of democracy we exercise the right of every citizen of this republic and this planet to peacefully resist the nuclear threat; attacking as it does every core concept of human rights.

We act to exercise our basic rights to life and freedom from violence and we exercise our duty to protect children and future generations.

We act to ensure that our government fulfills its promise and responsibilities to unequivocally pursue and achieve nuclear disarmament in good faith.

We call on this government to end the use of our tax dollars to wage permanent war and demand clean up all chemical and radioactive contamination.

July 4, 2010

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Free Mordechai Vanunu, Israeli Nuclear Weapons Whistleblower

Mordechai Vanunu was a technician in Israel's Negev Nuclear Research Center, south of Dimona, where Israel manufactures its nuclear weapons. Israel neither acknowledges nor denies that it posesses nuclear weapons. Vanunu was laid off in 1985, and in 1986 went to London where, as an act of conscience, revealed his knowledge (with photographs) of Israel's nuclear weapons activities to The Sunday Times of London. He was not paid for the information he provided to The Times.
Mordechai Vanunu

After being lured to Italy - the Israelis had an agreement not to conduct operations in Britain - by an American Mossad agent who had begun an affair with him, Vanunu was drugged, abducted and taken back to Israel by Mossad agents. Shortly after his abduction The Times ran the article based on the information provided by Vanunu, and in it estimated Israel's nuclear arsenal to contain at least 100 warheads (and as many as 200). In a secret trial Vanunu was charged with treason and espionage, and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Even after his release in 2004, Vanunu has been hounded by the Israeli government, has had severe restrictions placed on his travel and contacts, and has been arrested multiple times. To this very day, years after his release and parole, the Israeli government continues to place extreme restrictions on his personal freedom. The government of Israel is, as it does in so many other aspects of its existence, flaunting its obligations under international law and as a "democratic" state.

Amnesty International recognized Vanunu in 2010 as a Prisoner of Conscience, and just this April - 10 years after completing his full sentence - Amnesty issued a statement (which you can read below) calling on the Israeli government to lift the "ludicrous" restrictions on Vanunu.

Click here to learn more about and participate in the campaign to free Mordechai Vanunu!!!


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Amnesty International USA, APRIL 16, 2014

Israel: Lift ‘ludicrous’ restrictions on whistleblower Vanunu decade after release

Ten years after serving a full sentence for his revelations to the press about Israel’s nuclear weapons programme, Mordechai Vanunu still faces severe restrictions that arbitrarily infringe on his freedom of movement, expression and association, said Amnesty International.

The former nuclear technician served an 18-year-prison sentence, the first 11 years of which were in solitary confinement, for disclosing information to journalists about Israel’s nuclear arsenal during the 1980s.

Since his release in 2004, renewable military orders, have placed Mordechai Vanunu under police supervision. Among other things, he is banned from leaving the country and participating in internet chats. He must also seek permission to communicate with any foreign nationals, including journalists.

“The authorities’ continued punishment of Mordechai Vanunu appears to be purely vindictive. The government’s arguments that these severe restrictions are necessary for national security are ludicrous,” said Avner Gidron, Senior Policy Adviser at Amnesty International.

Israeli officials claim that restricting Mordechai Vanunu’s freedom is necessary to prevent him from divulging further secrets about Israel’s nuclear programme. He has, however, repeatedly stated that he revealed all he knew about Israel’s nuclear arsenal in 1986 and that he has no further information. He and his lawyers have also pointed out that the information he had at the time of his imprisonment has now long been in the public domain and is about 30 years out of date.

“The restrictions on Mordechai Vanunu are arbitrary, unnecessary and have no grounds in international law. The continuing restrictions on his liberty have placed a severe strain on his mental and physical health and should immediately be lifted,” said Avner Gidron.

Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to allow Mordechai Vanunu to leave the country if he wishes, and to allow him to exercise his rights to freedom of movement, association and expression while in Israel.

Last December, following an appeal by his lawyer, the High Court of Justice upheld the restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Interior on Mordechai Vanunu, which prevent him from leaving Israel, and ban him from entering a consulate or embassy or coming with 500 meters of international borders, border passages, harbours or airports. And they upheld the requirement that he seek permission before contacting foreign nationals. The current restrictions, which are due for renewal in May 2014, should be lifted immediately.

Mordechai Vanunu is a former technician at Israel's nuclear plant near the southern town of Dimona. He revealed details of the country's nuclear arsenal to the British newspaper, The Sunday Times, in 1986. He was abducted by Israeli secret service (Mossad) agents in Italy on 30 September 1986 and secretly taken to Israel. He was tried and sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment.

In May 2010 he was imprisoned for a second time following his release, for three months, after being convicted of breaching his restrictions by speaking to foreigners and attempting to attend Christmas Mass in Bethlehem. Amnesty International adopted him as a prisoner of conscience. He was held for 11 weeks under harsh conditions in solitary confinement in Ayalon Prison near Ramle in central Israel, in a special unit for dangerous prisoners and was able to leave his cell for only one hour every day. The prison authorities said they decided to place him there in order to protect him from attacks from other inmates.

The restrictions he has been subjected to since 2004 are not parole restrictions since Mordechai Vanunu served his full sentence. They are arbitrary and contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits arbitrary interference in the rights to freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of association and protects individuals from being punished again for the same offence.

Mordechai Vanunu had been previously held by Israel in solitary confinement for 11 years from 1986 in conditions that Amnesty International at the time called cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.