Obsession? Guardian publishes their 78th piece on Mordechai Vanunu

In order to help contextualize The Guardian’s fixation on Mordechai Vanunu, let’s briefly look at the media group’s reports on another Westerner convicted of revealing classified nuclear secrets. 

In February 2001 Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested by the FBI for passing hundreds of classified documents on US nuclear secrets, and other sensitive information, to foreign agents.  He pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to life in prison.

In a report at The Guardian (‘FBI’s most damaging spy get’s life sentence‘) on Hanssen’s sentencing in a US Federal Court, he was characterized as “one of the most damaging traitors in US history”.


The article reported, quite matter-of-factly, his life sentence and noted in passing that Hanssen could have received the death penalty under US federal sentencing guidelines. The story quoted Hanssen apologizing for his reckless and traitorous acts during sentencing. Indeed, other brief mentions of Hanssen at The Guardian were mere passing references, none which even hinted that there was anything unjust about his sentence.  There certainly weren’t any editorials condemning the U.S. for their harsh treatment of Hanssen, nor anything suggesting he was someone to be admired.

However, when it comes to Israelis convicted of espionage, The Guardian seems to employ an entirely different standard.

Before Mordechai Vanunu left his job as a technician at Israel’s nuclear installation in Dimona in 1985, he stole several rolls of film about the plant, information which he then used to help The Sunday Times publish a story ‘exposing’ Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

Vanunu was convicted of treason and espionage in 1988, and was released after serving 18 years in an Israeli prison.  After his release, he exclaimed that he was proud of what he did.

Vanunu is still subject to travel restrictions, as he continues to be considered a serious danger to Israeli security – owing to the fact that he holds additional state secrets he reportedly threatened to reveal.  Israeli courts have upheld the legitimacy of the state’s concerns, ruling that Vanunu has “repeatedly violated their injunctions” by maintaining contact with the foreign media.

However, unlike the case of Hanssen, Vanunu’s saga has been the focus of an extraordinary amount of positive coverage at The Guardian.

Snapshot of Guardian Vanunu page

Indeed, they just published their 78th piece (including reports, op-eds, letters and official editorials) on the Israeli felon, in an April 27th article by their former security editor Richard Norton-Taylor titled ‘Paying a price for blowing the whistle on Israel’s nuclear weapons 30 years on‘.


Tellingly, The Guardian actually comes up third in a Google search of Vanunu.

googleIn a 2004 interview with Amy Goodman, published at the radical anti-Zionist site, CounterPunch, Vanunu accused the Israeli government of “betraying all of humanity and the world, the human beings of all the world.”

So, Vanunu not only lacks any regret for the damage he may have done to the security of his country, but evidenty has accepted extremist narratives suggesting that the Jewish state is some sort of global menace – all of which raises serious questions about The Guardian’s continuing obsession with his cause. 

23 replies »

  1. Don’t know about ‘questions’ – we already know the answers about Der Guardian’s obsession with those pesky Jooz.
    As to G. Grass, I have always regarded him as mediocre, overrated and creepy. No surprise to discover what a vile creature he really was.

  2. Vanunu is Israel’s Kim Philby. How would the UK have treated Philby had they been able to lay hands on him? The United States executed the Rosenbergs for selling secrets abot the US bomb to the Ruskies. Vanunu should count his lucky stars he’s an Israeli.

  3. 1. Vanunu should still be in prison.
    2. The Guardian’s obsession with Israel amounts to nothing more than an age old obsession with Jews.
    3. 78 articles to sympathize with a traitor spells “obsession.”
    4. “The world’s leading liberal voice” cater’s to anti-Semites.

  4. @Adam Levick –

    Your parallel between Mordechai Vanunu and Robert Hanssen is totally absurd. A much more pertinent comparison would have been between Vanunu and Jonathan Pollard since both claim to have been motivated by the “greater good” principle – unlike Hanssen, who made no bones about being entirely interested in personal monetary gain.

    In an almost identical article you wrote on 9 November 2011 ( ) you made fleeting reference to Pollard – saying he “continues to serve a life sentence for far less serious acts”. But you failed then to acknowledge the MORAL issues underlying persistent campaigns on these men’s behalf, which is what makes them, unlike Hanssen, worthy of press and political attention.

    Could that piece of red-herring ducking by you be, I wonder, because the arguments presented both for and against Vanunu and Pollard by their respective camps are so spookily similar…?

    • Bullshit as usual Basner. Pollard’s actions didn’t cause any serious harm to the US – undoubtedly he was a spy and got his punishment. Vanunu’s treason caused Israel irreparable and tremendous harm. Comparing the two is reasonable only in the eyes of your kind of Jew-haters.

      • @peterthehungarian –

        “Vanunu’s treason caused Israel irreparable and tremendous harm”

        Yes, I’ve heard this said over and over again – without a whit of evidence to support it. Can you please recommend a website/article/book … anything…. which IDENTIFIES the harm Israel is supposed to have suffered?

        • I’m not your research assistant. Basner. If you are not familiar with the facts and history of the Arab’Israeli conflict and its international context then try to look for an other subject where you can vent your hate – try the Mossad false flag earthquake in Nepal… a quickly developing story for you…

          • peterthehungarian-

            “I’m not your research assistant. Basner.”

            I’ll take that as a “no”, then – not a whit of evidence to offer, just another dollop of sloganising bullshit which serves no purpose beyond preaching to the converted. No wonder Israel’s image is in such a mess that it needs a whole army of hasbara merchants. For every one footsoldier who genuinely aims to “educate”, or “correct mistakes”, or “persuade”, there are a thousand just like you whose sole contribution is to pile more and more garbage onto an increasingly smelly heap …. and then screech about how bad the stink is.

            • You are seriously mistaken believing that I intend to persuade or convince anybody Basner. Do you really think that I want to argue with your kind? This would be something like incidentally stepping on a piece of dogshit on the sidewalk and trying to convince it that it is disgusting and smells bad. If you are an ignorant Israel-hater with a strong opinion then my only goal is to keep you busy with posting here your crap, it will show the the reality to any interested and unbiased reader.

              • There you have it peter,
                Israel’s image is suffering because you didn’t give evidence to Miranda Basner. How do you feel about that? 🙂

            • Note that Miranda has now given up the pretence that she doesn’t hate Israel with every fibre of her sad, wasted being.
              Not that many people were ever fooled.

        • Vanunu betrayed secrets about Israel’s last line of defence. Israel is not obliged to prove how serious or not that breach was, least of all to her enemies or those who would destroy her (Vanunu is chiefly feted among such people). That it was made at all constituted an act of betrayal to the Israeli state and his contract therewithal.

          By all means fete Vanunu as a saint. Israel is not obliged to follow suit.

    • Dumb nonsense from this bigot yet again. What ‘moral’ issues? Bashing Israel over this out of Jew-hatred has nothing ‘moral’ about it.

  5. Vanunu has spoken with thousands of foreigners since he emerged from 18 years behind bars on 21 April 2004 and I happen to be the American who interviewed Vanunu a few weeks after his freedom of speech trial began in 2006 for what became “30 Minutes with Vanunu” which is freely streaming at YouTube.

    I documented Vanunu’s under-reported FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial which culminated in 78 days back to solitary in 2010 and published “Beyond Nuclear: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker 2005-2010”

    Because the Vanunu saga continues, I published the FREE eBook: “The Vanunu Legend: Israel’s Nuclear Whistleblower’s Struggle for Freedom” which remains a work in progress.

    I am Eileen Fleming, Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for USA’s The Arab Daily News