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Helen Thomas Sees Lack of Courage in Obama

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  1. I spent the evening of 20 May 2011 with Ms. Thomas and some of our conversation follows:

    During my conversation with Ms. Thomas I filled her in on my distress over Amy Goodman’s failure to follow up on her 2004 interview with Mordechai Vanunu which resulted in his being sentenced to 6 months in jail in 2007 and then enduring 78 days back in solitary in 2010, just because he dared to speak to foreign media after he was released from 18 years in jail for telling the truth and providing the photographic proof of Israel’s WMD Program.

    In April 2007, I had lunch with Amy Goodman-not because we have ever been friends, but only because I had once been a generous donor to Democracy NOW! was I invited to have lunch with Amy.

    I accepted the invitation only so I could fill Amy in on the fact that her 2004 interview with Vanunu was major testimony against him in his FREEDOM of SPEECH trial-which began the same day Hamas was democratically elected on 25 January 2006- and also to ask her to follow up asap!

    Amy acted interested and jotted down notes in her Blackberry, but she didn’t bother to call Vanunu until July 2007 after he was sentenced to 6 more months in jail essentially for speaking to foreign media in 2004!

    Vanunu refused to speak to Amy because she –like all THE MEDIA-hadn’t done anything to raise awareness about Israel’s continuing persecution of him and to this day Vanunu is still waiting for his inalienable right to leave Tel Aviv and fly to freedom.

    After I filled Ms. Thomas in on my anger with Amy she replied, “She used to be better.”

    I then brought up Ms. Thomas’s first and last question to President Obama regarding Middle East nuclear weapons when he blew her off claiming he didn’t want to ‘speculate’ and her ‘peers’ remained mute, although the State Department has reams of documentation about Israel’s WMD.

    Ms. Thomas replied, “They have no conscience.”

    I also claim their lack of integrity borders on treason!

    I was not a reporter when I met Vanunu for the first time in June 2005, but I knew I had to become one when he told me:

    “Did you know that President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons? In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’

    “Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.

    “The French were responsible for the actual building of the Dimona. The Germans gave the money; they were feeling guilty for the Holocaust, and tried to pay their way out. Everything inside was written in French, when I was there, almost twenty years ago. Back then, the Dimona descended seven floors underground.

    “In 1955, Perez and Guirion met with the French to agree they would get a nuclear reactor if they fought against Egypt to control the Sinai and Suez Canal. That was the war of 1956. Eisenhower demanded that Israel leave the Sinai, but the reactor plant deal continued on.

    “When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.

    “Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year.”

    After cheese cake for desert I asked Ms. Thomas what she would advise anyone who wanted to go into the field of journalism and she stated:

    “Go for it! It’s the greatest profession in the world because you are always learning and you are aware of the world, so you just might be able to affect change.

    “You cannot have a democracy without an informed people.

    “Information is everything; it enlarges your intellect and that guides you.

    “The job is to follow the truth and report where it leads you!

    “Right and wrong is not relative. Empathy is fine but kindness and sympathy do not change the facts and conscience is everything!

    “Leaders are suppose to do the right thing and we should back up the president when he does the right thing; but drop him when he doesn’t.

    “The WHY is the most important question-not that something happened- but WHY did it happen?

    “Somewhere along the way America lost its soul.

    “People have to rise up but Americans have become so passive and power overwhelmingly abusive.”

    I responded, “So how do we fix this situation?”

    Ms. Thomas replied, “It’s being done!”