[News] Ex-Mossad chief: option of killing Vanunu was on our m inds
News at freedomarchives.org
News at freedomarchives.org
Fri Feb 6 09:10:51 EST 2004
Ex-Mossad chief: option of killing Vanunu was on our minds
By Reuters via Ha'aretz Feb 5, 2004
JERUSALEM - Israel's spy agency considered killing nuclear whistleblower
Mordechai Vanunu in 1986 before deciding to abduct him for trial on treason
charges, a former Mossad director said on Thursday.
Shabtai Shavit, who masterminded a "honey trap" for Vanunu after he told a
British newspaper about his work at Israel's main atomic reactor, said he
feared the ex-technician intends to spill more secrets upon his release
from prison this April.
"I would be lying if I said that thought (assassination) did not go through
many of our minds," Shavit said, recalling Mossad debates after the Sunday
Times interview that blew away Israel's policy of ambiguity over its
"But Jews do not do that to other Jews. He was a traitor, so in accordance
with Jewish morality and Jewish law he paid for it with imprisonment,"
Shavit told Reuters.
Vanunu, 49, embraced Christianity and anti-nuclear activism after being
fired from the Dimona reactor. He spoke to the newspaper on the promise of
undisclosed payment. It is my understanding that Vanunu did not ask for
payment nor did he receive any in return for the information he provided to
the British newspaper. - ew In jailhouse letters he has vowed to
keep campaigning to expose Israel's non-conventional capabilities.
Vanunu's revelations, and 60 accompanying photographs, led independent
experts to conclude Israel had between 100 and 200 nuclear warheads -
making it a military superpower.
Israel has adopted a policy of nuclear "ambiguity," not denying or
confirming whether it has nuclear weapons.
Absent from the interview were the names of Vanunu's former colleagues at
Dimona and details on security precautions at the site. Fearing these could
also become public knowledge when Vanunu winds up his 18-year jail term on
April 21, Shavit has been calling for Vanunu to be legally silenced.
"I propose gagging this man," said Shavit, who retired from Mossad in 1996
and now chairs the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism at
the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. "The main consideration should be
his intent to go on causing damage to Israel. And who will guarantee that
he will only speak the truth? What is to stop him imagining things?"
According to security sources, the Justice Ministry might confiscate
Vanunu's passport to prevent him leaving the country, subjecting any press
interviews he gives to military censors. Attempts by him to discuss state
secrets could mean a new trial.
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