Writer and columnist Eileen Fleming sits down with The Arab Daily News to discuss her new eBook, “Heroes, Muses and the Saga of Mordechai Vananu.” Eileen’s ebook will be released this week on Kindle and speaks to the ongoing saga of the oppression of Vanunu by Israel’s government
By Ray Hanania
In this exclusive interview Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for the Arab Daily News Eileen Fleming, proves a good reporter is always ahead of the story.
Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower Mordechai was released from 18 years in an Israeli gulag in 2004, to open air captivity in Israel. Despite the fact that this mere mid-level technician quit working the night shift in 1985, Israel still claims he has a secret about their nuclear facility at Dimona.
Eileen Fleming began documenting the Vanunu saga in 2005 after meeting him in East Jerusalem on her first of eight trips to Palestine/Israel. In January 2014, Fleming became the first and thus Senior non-Arab Correspondent for The Arab Daily News. Her seventh and latest book is “Heroes, Muses and the Saga of Mordechai Vanunu” will be released this week at Kindle.
Here is the link to the Amazon.com eBook Page where you can get the book.
Here’s the interview:
Editor: Let’s begin with Vanunu’s breaking news.
Eileen Fleming: On September 21, Israel’s High Court will address Vanunu’s 8th petition seeking to end all the restrictions that have denied his basic human rights, specifically the right to fade into the world instead of continuing to make headlines and have books published about him!
In May 2015, 60-year-old Vanunu wed for the first time to Norwegian Biblical scholar, Kristin Joachimsen in a Lutheran church in east Jerusalem.
On August 12, 2015, the couple applied for family reunification via the Norwegian embassy in Tel Aviv, but the turnaround for such applications takes a year!
However, the current restrictions denying Vanunu his right to leave Israel expire in May 2016 and as the only way Vanunu can harm Israel is with BAD PR, chances are that this September could end the Vanunu saga if Israel will comprehend that everything Vanunu has said for the last thirty years is already on the WWW!
Vanunu’s exit to Norway must also be accepted by Israel and his entry approved by Norway. Norway had previously said that they could only issue emergency passports to people who are already on Norwegian soil. However, Joachimsen is a Professor at the School of Theology in Oslo, and thus fulfills the requirement that one must be able to provide for their spouse. Vanunu hasn’t had a job in thirty years, but he earned bachelor’s degrees in geography and philosophy and experience has made him an expert on State Torture!
In fact on September 23, 2008, Israel even reduced Vanunu’s freedom of speech jail sentence from six to three months, “In light of his ailing health and the absence of claims that his actions put the country’s security in jeopardy.”
In 2010, Vanunu served 78 days in solitary in a high security prison essentially because he spoke to foreigners who were media in 2004 and that saga is well documented in BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010.
Editor: Israel has claimed Vanunu still has a secret about a place he last set foot into in 1985. What’s the real reason Israel continues to renew restrictions denying Vanunu his basic human rights since released from behind bars in 2004?
Eileen Fleming: I cite three reasons beginning with SECURITY’S vendetta against Vanunu, which began in 1986, when he exposed their lax security at Dimona!
In fact, London’s Sunday Times still possesses Vanunu’s 1985 photos he shot during a few harrowing hours in Top Secret locations within Israel’s seven-story underground WMD Facility at Dimona.
And that brings me to reason number two: USA collusion in Israel’s nuclear deceptions, which is thoroughly documented in “Heroes Muses and the Saga of Mordechai Vanunu”.
Which brings me to reason number three: The Media who have failed to seek and report the truth about Israel’s nukes and denial of Vanunu’s human rights!
I must add that I am also grateful to have been the one reporter in the world to document the Orwellian saga of Mordechai Vanunu and set the record straight for history’s sake!
Editor: When did you become interested in the history of Palestine Israel?
Eileen Fleming: That day we call 911 was my wake up call and because The Media was NOT asking my questions, I began to research and being a follower of the non-violent Jesus I also searched for a positive way to respond. Then I met Dr. Khaled Diab, a 1948 Palestinian Muslim refugee from the Upper Galilee who became my first teacher, dear friend and mentor. Dr. Diab also did exactly what Jesus commanded his followers must do: forgive your enemy, bless your enemy and love your enemy. Dr. Diab inspired my first book and he also was my first guide through Palestine Israel in June 2005.
Editor: Did you always want to be a reporter?
Eileen Fleming: My childhood dream was to become a reporter but many events conspired against it and I graduated college with a degree in nursing. However, in 2005 at the age of fifty, I realized my childhood dream of becoming a reporter because of a ‘chance’ encounter with Vanunu.
Ten years ago, I was in the midst of writing my first historical fiction and Vanunu was busy telling his story to foreigners who were in east Jerusalem.
I was interested in Vanunu’s childhood and why he became a Christian, and those stories are documented in “Beyond Nuclear: Mordechai Vanunu’s FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker 2005-2010.”
But when he stuck me with some truth that Americans need to know, conscience called to REPORT what Vanunu told me in 2005:
“Did you know 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-Gurion open up the Dimona for inspection.
“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.”
Editor: Before you became Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for The Arab Daily News in 2014, did you approach mainstream media outlets with that truth?
Eileen Fleming: I could write a book on that topic! But for now I will only cite “60 MINUTES” because that was the show which inspired me to title my 2006 video interview with Vanunu [taped a few weeks after his freedom of speech trial began] “30 Minutes with Vanunu.”
The creator and producer of “60 Minutes” Don Hewitt, died at 86 on August 20, 2009. He instructed his staff to remember, “The formula is simple and it’s reduced to four words every kid in the world knows: Tell me a story. It’s that easy.”
In 2006, I mailed Mr. Hewitt a DVD copy of “30 Minutes with Vanunu” with a synopsis, but I never received a reply for my “big get”.
Don Hewitt pioneered the concept of the “big get” while creating and producing the world’s first taste of news at the dinner hour. Hewitt also birthed news anchors on location and he demanded they had the guts to ask the important questions and report the facts as they are.
An important point Vanunu made which also inspired the taping of “30 Minutes with Vanunu” was informing me:
“Many journalists come here to the American Colony, from CNN and NY Times. They all want to cover my story, but their EDITORS say no. CNN wants to interview me; but they say they can’t do it because they don’t want problems with the Israeli censor. BBC is doing the same thing. 60 Minutes from the United States from the beginning they wanted to do a program, but because of the censor situation they decide not to do it. Also big media from Germany, France, Italy, Japan. None of them wants problems with the Israelis.”
Editor: Why are you only publishing a Kindle edition of “Heroes, Muses and the Saga of Mordechai Vanunu” and who is your target audience?
Eileen Fleming: Because my audience doesn’t buy many print books but they all own a Smartphone and as there’s a FREE Kindle App; anyone with a Smartphone has access. My target audience is The Colbert Nation and everyone who is missing [one of my heroes and muses] Jon Stewart and anxiously waiting for Trevor Noah and the Daily Show Correspondents to distill current events and skewer the limp Media!
Editor: Over the last ten years, you have written thousands of articles, seven books and run for congress. What will the Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for The Arab Daily News be reporting on next?
Eileen Fleming: So glad you asked because I am taking a ten-day sabbatical from the WWW beginning this Friday and come September, I will resume reporting as Senior Health Correspondent for The Arab Daily News and am writing my eighth book, “Baby-Boomer Overuse Syndrome and a Wabi-Sabi Yogi Recovery” which will also be published at Kindle!
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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