Does Israel have close to 400 nuclear warheads? Former Pentagon official and whistle-blower, Daniel Ellsberg, made the announcement at a recent news conference before the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference at the UN in New York. “That’s more than Britain, China, India and Pakistan, and probably more than France”, he said.

Israel’s arsenal should be abolished and pressure placed on them to do so by the world community. The American acceptance of Israel’s nuclear warheads proves their inherent hypocrisy when discussing the reduction of weapons worldwide. Furthermore, the Bush administration has frequently announced its intention to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons. How can countries like Iran or North Korea take America seriously when the US is flaunting the weapons themselves? Stephen Schwartz, publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said in 2003: “How can we possibly go to the international community or to these countries and say ‘How dare you develop these weapons’, when it’s exactly what we’re doing?”

Ellsberg disclosed the secret Pentagon documents in the early 1970s that proved the real agenda and situation behind the Vietnam War. “The Pentagon Papers” remains the quintessential insider’s leak. His bravery can be summarised thus:

“On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, he worked on the Top Secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.”

The Iraq war will bring its own Pentagon Papers eventually, such was the duplicity and deception leading the US and its allies to war.

A landmark 1971 decision by the US Supreme Court allowed the New York Times and Washington Post to publish articles based on the Pentagon Papers, after government stalling, and it remains a fine example of the US Supreme Court realising, as the New York Times reported at the time, that “the courts lack the power to suppress any press publication no matter how grave a threat to security it might pose.”

Justice Hugo L. Black explained the reasons behind the decision; his brave words still resonate today, in an age of government reliance on secrecy:

“Paramount among the responsibilities of a free press, is the duty to prevent any part of the Government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

Site by Common