Saturday, March 11, 2006

Britain supplied Israel with plutonium - BBC: Britain supplied Israel with plutonium: "Britain, a key player in a nuclear row with Iran, supplied Israel in the 1960s with plutonium and other restricted materials used in developing atomic weapons, a BBC investigation claimed.

The allegations, broadcast Thursday on the BBC's Newsnight program, were welcomed by Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, who hoped greater openness about the past will help fight nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

Citing top secret documents obtained under freedom of information laws and interviews with former government officials, Newsnight said Britain provided the samples as Israel developed its secret Dimona nuclear reactor.

Tony Benn, technology minister at the time, however, told the program that the deals took place without his knowledge even though he had been the man in charge of exporting nuclear material.

'On the question of plutonium for Israel, no reference was ever made to me. I mean the hypocrisy is what sticks in my nostrils,' Benn said.

The former minister indicated that he thought then prime minister Harold Wilson had also been kept in the dark.

'My belief is he didn't know, but he might have done I can't rule that out.'"

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