Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On October 5

On this day in ...
... 1986 (25 years ago today) , London's Sunday Times published a front-page story; "Revealed — the secrets of Israel's nuclear arsenal," read its banner headline. The article contained detailed information and photographs of nuclear weapons facilities in Israel's Negev desert. (photo credit) By the time the story appeared in print, its source, Mordechai Vanunu, a 31-year-old Israeli who'd worked as a technician in the clandestine weapons program, was in custody. He'd been kidnapped in Italy by Israel's intelligence service, Mossad. Vanunu would serve 18 years in prison; a few years after his release, he'd be sentenced again, for violating conditions of that release. Underscoring the significance of the 1986 publication, The New York Times wrote in 2004:

Before Mr. Vanunu spoke out, it was widely assumed that Israel had nuclear arms. But to this day, Israel refuses to confirm or deny possessing such weapons under its policy of 'nuclear ambiguity.'

(Prior October 5 posts are here, here, here, and here.)

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