I predict that Professor Polakow-Suransky will be getting a lot of hate mail. Truth-tellers often do. Just look what happened to Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed the truth two decades ago. He got taken back to jail today, in an instance of very convenient timing. No doubt he’ll be duly silenced as part of the conditions of his latest incarceration. But it won’t do any good; the cat is already out of the bag (even the Federation of American Scientists is aware of the Israeli nuke program), and the Guardian report only confirms what’s already long been known:
Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state’s possession of nuclear weapons.The “top secret” minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa’s defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them “in three sizes”. The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that “the very existence of this agreement” was to remain secret.The documents, uncovered by an American academic, Sasha Polakow-Suransky, in research for a book on the close relationship between the two countries, provide evidence that Israel has nuclear weapons despite its policy of “ambiguity” in neither confirming nor denying their existence.The Israeli authorities tried to stop South Africa’s post-apartheid government declassifying the documents at Polakow-Suransky’s request and the revelations will be an embarrassment, particularly as this week’s nuclear non-proliferation talks in New York focus on the Middle East.They will also undermine Israel’s attempts to suggest that, if it has nuclear weapons, it is a “responsible” power that would not misuse them, whereas countries such as Iran cannot be trusted.
Emphasis added.Looks like those two seemingly strange bedfellows are not so unlikely a pair after all. They were scratching each other’s backs rather nicely. Apartheid South Africa providing yellowcake uranium so Apartheid Israel could supply warheads. It stands to reason that they would have such a dandy reciprocal relationship: Israel was (and still is) cracking down on its internal Arab population, trying to starve it out; South Africa did the same to its blacks. Israel wields the nuclear menace over its Arab neighbors; South Africa was hoping to do the same with its black neighbors. The two are far more similar than they are different when it comes to both domestic and foreign policy.And of course, there’s always this:Ceci n’est pas un mur d’apartheid. Ceci n’est pas un grand prison.And if you believe that’s not an apartheid wall, enclosing the world’s largest existing prison camp, I’ve got some lovely oceanfront property in Saskatchewan that I’ll sell you for a song.PS to all the hasbara trolls writing me from the safety of London, England and other places totally out of touch with reality:Take note that anything you try to spam here, including false “facts” and charmingly futile death wishes for me, will be deleted and reported to your ISP, so that you will learn not to abuse your online privileges in future. Good day, and get fucked.
South African documents show that the apartheid-era military wanted the missiles as a deterrent and for potential strikes against neighbouring states.The documents show both sides met on 31 March 1975. Polakow-Suransky writes in his book published in the US this week, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s secret alliance with apartheid South Africa. At the talks Israeli officials “formally offered to sell South Africa some of the nuclear-capable Jericho missiles in its arsenal”.Among those attending the meeting was the South African military chief of staff, Lieutenant General RF Armstrong. He immediately drew up a memo in which he laid out the benefits of South Africa obtaining the Jericho missiles but only if they were fitted with nuclear weapons.The memo, marked “top secret” and dated the same day as the meeting with the Israelis, has previously been revealed but its context was not fully understood because it was not known to be directly linked to the Israeli offer on the same day and that it was the basis for a direct request to Israel. In it, Armstrong writes: “In considering the merits of a weapon system such as the one being offered, certain assumptions have been made: a) That the missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads manufactured in RSA (Republic of South Africa) or acquired elsewhere.”But South Africa was years from being able to build atomic weapons. A little more than two months later, on 4 June, Peres and Botha met in Zurich. By then the Jericho project had the codename Chalet.The top secret minutes of the meeting record that: “Minister Botha expressed interest in a limited number of units of Chalet subject to the correct payload being available.” The document then records: “Minister Peres said the correct payload was available in three sizes. Minister Botha expressed his appreciation and said that he would ask for advice.” The “three sizes” are believed to refer to the conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.The use of a euphemism, the “correct payload”, reflects Israeli sensitivity over the nuclear issue and would not have been used had it been referring to conventional weapons. It can also only have meant nuclear warheads as Armstrong’s memorandum makes clear South Africa was interested in the Jericho missiles solely as a means of delivering nuclear weapons.In addition, the only payload the South Africans would have needed to obtain from Israel was nuclear. The South Africans were capable of putting together other warheads.Botha did not go ahead with the deal in part because of the cost. In addition, any deal would have to have had final approval by Israel’s prime minister and it is uncertain it would have been forthcoming.South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.