'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Lost in Jerusalem 

Israeli dissident Mordechai Vanunu is looking for a friendly state to come to his aid: (from "Vanunu Issues Plea for Asylum", PA News)

The whistleblower who alerted the world to Israel’s nuclear weapons program appealed tonight for a country to grant him asylum.

Mordechai Vanunu, who was released from prison in April after serving 18 years for treason, said his life was in danger from extremists.

“I am ready to go to any state that will give me asylum or a passport to leave the country. I want to go abroad immediately.

Although he was released from prison, Vanunu is not really free. He must notify the police if he leaves Jerusalem; he is prohibited from traveling abroad; he is prohibited from speaking to journalists and even from talking to non-Israelis. Vanunu hasn't really been paying much attention to the gag order, however. He was recently interviewed by the Al-Hayat daily and the Al-Wassat weekly and said among other things that Israel was behind the assassination of JFK, that "Israel possesses between 100-200 nuclear weapons," and that if an earthquake occurred in the region the Dimona nuclear reactor threatens to become "a second Chernobyl". That last bit is pretty scary given that Israel seems to believe it, from AFP:

Israeli authorities began distributing iodine anti-radiation tablets today to thousands of residents living near the controversial Dimona nuclear reactor.

An army spokesman said that soldiers had begun delivering the Lugul tablets to homes and that a distribution centre was also being opened under the supervision of health experts.

[ ... ]

Israeli scientists and politicians have called for the closure of the 40-year-old Dimona plant, saying its age had increased the risk of accidents.

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