British & International Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, November 2007
Nuclear Non-Proliferation News
November 5, 2007
Welcome to Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, a monthly digest of UK news on Trident and missile defence.
In this month's edition, anti-Trident action intensifies in Scotland as hundreds are arrested at Faslane 365's huge direct action at Faslane on October 1, attracting major coverage in all the main UK media outlets.
Following the demonstrations, the Scottish government held a summit on Trident involving politicians, unions, environmentalists (including Acronym Institute's director, Rebecca Johnson) and church leaders in Glasgow on October 22. The Scottish government has now set up a working group to look at "the various devolved powers that could be used to stop Trident's successor being brought to Scotland". According to the Scotsman, the group will "look at international law, transport, planning and the environment as possible obstacles to the UK government's plans. The Scottish Government, for example, could refuse planning permission for a dry dock to service the nuclear submarines or use international law to prevent 'war crimes' being committed in Scotland."
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has written to 122 NPT states parties asking them to support a request for Scotland to be given observer status at future meetings of the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Also in Scotland, former Lord Advocate, Lord Murray, is one of a delegation of campaigners seeking advice from the current holder of the office, Eilish Angiolini, on the legality of Trident nuclear missiles, based on the Clyde.
South of the border, candidates for the Liberal Democrat leadership have set out their positions on Trident and missile defence. Front runner Nick Clegg MP told the Independent on Sunday that "Britain needed to establish 'red lines' with Washington over defence. He argued that the Prime Minister's decision to allow the United States to use two UK bases as part of the controversial anti-ballistic missile programme was 'selling the country short'." While Chris Hulne MP appealed to the Party's grass roots by breaking with traditional Liberal Democrat policy to oppose Trident replacement.
Meanwhile, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal a catalogue of safety faults at the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield, in Berkshire. According to The Herald the site has "only remained open because the government and the Ministry of Defence insisted it was vital to national security."
Following Secretary of State for Defence Des Brown's endorsement for US missile defence plans (see Proliferation in Parliament, July - August 2007), the Telegraph reports that the Government is in talks with the United States that could lead to the controversial "son of Star Wars" interceptor missiles being based in Britain. Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the new ambassador to Washington, has been put in charge of the negotiations. On October 14, BBC News online reported that about 100 protesters gathered at the Menwith Hill US base in Yorkshire to object to the base's involvement in the so-called "Star Wars" programme.
In this month's edition
- Scottish Summit on Trident
- Scottish Government request for NPT Observer Status
- Trident legality challenged
- Faslane 365 and beyond
- Liberal Democrat leadership candidates on Defence
- Safety 'shortfalls' at AWE Burghfield
- Other UK Trident stories
- US Nuclear Weapon Developments
is a nation not a nation? When it can't say no to Trident
Ian Jack, The Guardian, October 27, 2007
Alex Salmond, Scotland's nationalist first minister, is making the dialect/language and nation/nation state difference visible by attacking government plans to renew the UK's ability to deploy nuclear weapons - by replacing the submarine-launched Trident missile system when the four Vanguard-class nuclear submarines reach the end of their working life in the 2020s.
canny plan to rain on the Trident parade
Iain MacWhirter, The Herald, October 22, 2007
Nuclear weapons have been located in the Clyde since the sixties - get over it. However, there has never been any serious attempt to use public policy to challenge Trident until now. Alex Salmond is planning to pit the agencies of the state against the defence of the realm.
forces to fight Trident missile replacement
Louise Gray, The Scotsman, October 23, 2007
Following a summit involving politicians, unions, environmentalists and church leaders in Glasgow yesterday, Bruce Crawford, the minister for parliamentary business, announced a working group to look at the various devolved powers that could be used to stop Trident's successor being brought to Scotland by 2025. He said the group would look at international law, transport, planning and the environment as possible obstacles to the UK government's plans. The Scottish Government, for example, could refuse planning permission for a dry dock to service the nuclear submarines or use international law to prevent "war crimes" being committed in Scotland. The group will also look at how Scotland can take part in the 2010 nuclear non-proliferation treaty talks.
to look at keeping new Trident out of Clyde
Kevin Schofield, The Herald, October 23, 2007
A group is to be set up to examine ways of preventing a replacement for the Trident nuclear weapons system being based on the Clyde. The group, which will be backed by the Scottish Government, will look at how the Scottish Parliament can use its powers in areas such as planning, transport and the environment to block the UK Government's £20bn renewal plan.
In Pledge To Block New Nuclear Weapons
Magnus Gardham, Daily Record, Glasgow, October 23, 2007
THE SNP government are to set up a taskforce to stop a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons being based in Scotland. The group will look at how to use Holyrood's powers on planning, transport and the environment to thwart UK government proposals. The move was agreed at a summit called by SNP ministers in Glasgow yesterday. Church leaders and union chiefs will sit on the group, which will be supported by civil servants. The taskforce will also investigate whether Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent, based at Faslane on the Clyde, breaches international law.
that Trident is of no interest to Scots beggar belief
Letters, The Herald, October 23, 2007
The reported comments of Sir Malcolm Rifkind [former Conservative Secretary of State for Defence] that "this is not an issue in which the Scottish government has any interest at all", and Wendy Alexander [Scottish Labour leader] that "this is a matter reserved for the UK government" beggar belief. That such statements were made by two native-born Scots makes them all the more reprehensible.
want of a majority, Alex takes the low road
By Alan Cochrane, Telegraph.co.uk, October 23, 2007
There is apparently no end to the posturing and posing of this new Executive of ours. Not content with not "governing" their word, not mine because they can't, they've no majority, the SNP is seeking pastures new. Alex Salmond has written to the likes of Iran and Zimbabwe, asking to be allowed to take part in, ostensibly, anti-nuclear proliferation, but actually anti-British, talks and yesterday his minions got together with a few other like-minded souls and held an anti-Trident "summit" in Glasgow.
much longer will we have to put up with Scots spending so much of our
Max Hastings, Daily Mail, October 23, 2007
Last month, he [Salmond] wrote to representatives of 189 nations, including some of the nastiest dictatorships, soliciting their support for his campaign to 'rid Scotland of nuclear weapons'. He wants Trident submarines out of the Faslane naval base. He knows this will not happen, but he reckons he can stir up a fine row on the issue and thoroughly annoy the English.
over economic impact of closure
Louise Gray, The Scotsman, October 22, 2007
The Ministry of Defence claims Faslane naval base would cease to exist if the deterrent was not based there and thousands of jobs would be lost... Yesterday, at a summit of politicians, campaigners and individuals in Glasgow, the economic case was again at the fore.
fears could block Trident expansion
Rob Edwards, Sunday Herald, October 13, 2007
PLANS TO refurbish the Clyde naval bases to accommodate a replacement for the Trident nuclear weapons system could be stymied by Scottish ministers, according to an internal memo from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). A new dry dock for servicing nuclear submarines would require planning permission, while other developments would be subject to a raft of pollution controls. These are all the responsibility of the Scottish government, not Westminster.
help us get rid of Trident
Rob Edwards, Sunday Herald, October 30, 2007
ALEX SALMOND has made a major bid to win international backing for his government's campaign to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons, the Sunday Herald can reveal. The first minister has written to 122 countries highlighting the nation's opposition to the deployment of Trident nuclear warheads on the Clyde, and his determination to try and block the UK government's decision to replace Trident. Salmond is also asking the countries to support a request for Scotland to be given observer status at future meetings of the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an international agreement to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.
wants nuclear treaty role
BBC News Online, October 22, 2007
First Minister Alex Salmond is seeking support from the international community in his campaign to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons. He has written to representatives of 189 countries signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Mr Salmond is asking them to back his bid for Scotland to have observer status at future treaty talks. Labour MP Eric Joyce said the letter could "potentially damage our national security interests".
asks UN for Scots role at nuclear treaty talks
Robbie Dinwoodie, The Herald, October 22, 2007
The First Minister is asking the UN to grant Scotland the right to attend the next round of talks on halting the spread of nuclear weapons. Alex Salmond argues because the UK's nuclear deterrent is based north of the border, Scotland should be accorded observer status at the next round of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) talks in spring - a gathering in Vienna that will begin preparations for the 2010 review of the treaty.
riles Westminster over arms talks
The Scotsman, October 22, 2007
ALEX Salmond has infuriated the Westminster government by seeking support from the international community to get Scotland into future global arms talks.
is key to ending nuclear arms race
Letters, The Herald, October 22, 2007
"It is not an issue for which the Scottish Government has any interest at all" - thus, speaking on Radio Scotland this morning, and with all the legal and political weight he could muster, Sir Malcolm Rifkind referred to the continued and renewable presence of Trident at Faslane... In more ordinary usages of the word "interest" it is hard to see how any government of Scotland would not find the presence of nuclear weapons in Scottish waters and on Scottish soil of intense and dreadful interest to its citizens as part of the "essential" defences of the UK (as perhaps, Guantanamo is essential to the defence of the US?).
plea over Trident
BBC News Online, October 21, 2007
First Minister Alex Salmond has sought support from the international community for his government's anti-Trident campaign. Mr Salmond has written to 189 countries signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
bid for seat at UN
Scotland on Sunday, October 21, 2007
Last night, UK ministers reacted with incredulity, accusing him of undermining Britain's foreign policy and making common cause with nations hostile to British interests. But the SNP remained unapologetic, insisting that as Britain's nuclear arsenal is based in Scotland, it has a right to express its view.
Advocate is asked to rule on legality of Trident
James Morgan, The Herald, October 9, 2007
The former Lord Advocate, Lord Murray, is seeking advice from the current holder of the office, Eilish Angiolini, on the legality of Trident nuclear missiles. Lord Murray was one of a delegation of campaigners who yesterday made a submission to the Lord Advocate, calling on her to examine evidence that the nuclear deterrent, housed at Faslane naval base on the Clyde, may be illegal under international law.
rally as year of Faslane protest ends
Ian Herbert, Independent, October 2, 2007
[W]ith plans afoot for an expansion of Faslane to incorporate two new aircraft carriers costing £3.8bn, despite the opposition of the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, protesters have vowed to keep up pressure... Mr Salmond issued a statement saying he shared Faslane 365's "objective of removing nuclear weapons from Scotland's soil".
365 days on: 1,110 arrests and £5m bill for policing protest
Craig Brown, The Scotsman, October 2, 2007
An estimated 500 campaigners converged at dawn on the gates of HM Naval Base Clyde, overlooking the Gare Loch, and tried to blockade the gates. Dozens of police were drafted in to tackle the protesters, many of whom glued themselves to the road or chained themselves to the gates, while others linked themselves together with concrete tubes.
we must never acquiesce silently to evil
Ruth Wishart, The Herald, October 3, 2007
Many of the people involved in the Trident demos were acutely aware their activities would engender a high level of irritation. Their perspective was that, in the greater, global scheme of things, ensuring the debate over Trident remained vocal and visible was a higher priority. And such was the variety of the 365-day presence - from church services and choirs to international academics, pensioners and visits from hundreds of like-minded people from all over the world determined to add their voice, however briefly - that a sizeable amount of publicity was generated.
on last day of Faslane nuclear protest
Felix Lowe and agencies, Telegraph.co.uk, October 2, 2007
Dozens of protesters have already been arrested at the Faslane Naval Base in Scotland on the last day of a year-long anti-nuclear blockade. Up to 1,000 demonstrators, including politicians, are expected at the Naval Base on the Clyde, home to the fleet of Trident nuclear submarines for the culmination of the campaign, dubbed Faslane 365.
held at last Faslane demo
Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent, The Guardian, October 2, 2007
The main gates to Faslane submarine base on the Clyde, which is home to the Trident nuclear missile fleet, were sealed off just after dawn yesterday after several hundred peace campaigners staged sit down protests in the roadway.
365-day protest at Faslane a waste of time?
NO: Rebecca Johnson, a member of the Faslane 365 steering group, The Scotsman, October 2, 2007
THERE were two primary purposes we had in mind when we started this. One was to raise public awareness - not only of the immorality but the illegality of the deployment and replacement of nuclear weapons. We wanted people to put pressure on their elected representatives...
as Faslane protest ends
BBC News online, October 1, 2007
Police have arrested 171 people at a protest marking the end of a year of blockades against nuclear submarines at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde.
paying the price of protest
James Morgan, The Herald, October 2, 2007
THEY chanted: "We are keeping the peace." A group of 600 brightly costumed protesters gathered yesterday at Faslane naval base to celebrate the finale of Faslane 365 - one of the largest anti-nuclear protests Scotland has ever seen.
descend on faslane for the big blockade
Louise Edge, Indymedia, October 1, 2007
600 Shut Down Faslane Nuclear Weapons Base to Mark Year of Protest. Alex Salmond sends protestors message of support.
for breaking the law at Faslane
Letters, The Herald, October 3, 2007
Sitting in a police cell on a concrete slab (albeit topped by a plastic-covered "mattress"), as I was on October 1, at least allows some pause for thought. The WPC who had arrested me at Faslane is a community police officer in Govanhill, and I told her that some of us have real questions about taking valuable police resources away from areas where they are much needed. We also have concerns about the massive amount of money spent: £6m to police the year-long Faslane 365 campaign.
200 arrests at Faslane naval base
Scotland Today, stv.com, October 1, 2007
Almost 200 people have been arrested during a mass rally at the Faslane Naval base to mark the end of a year long anti-nuclear campaign.
latest 'Mischief' - swimming into N-sub base
Craig Brown, The Scotsmand, October 5, 2007
THEY are a little-known anti- nuclear protest group from Scandinavia whose name translates as "mischief". And yesterday one of their number sparked a large-scale military incident when he tried to swim into Coulport naval base, where part of the UK's nuclear arsenal is stored.
of anger for 25 years
Martin Williams, The Herald, October 2, 2007
High-profile arrests have included, in February 2001, MP George Galloway and later that year, then SSP leader Tommy Sheridan who was arrested and served seven days in jail for his part in a Big Blockade demo.
up the bomb and we will have no voice
Letters, The Herald, October 13, 2007
Like Margaret Thatcher, I believe that mutually-assured destruction (MAD) works and I have no fear of attack from the larger nuclear powers. My concern is the rogue state that may build such a bomb. The defence is the pressure from the existing nuclear powers, and we have seen in Iran and N Korea that it works. We are a small power, and if we give up we will have no say whatsoever in what is done. I feel we should retain what little say we have. Protesting at Faslane is not going to eliminate bombs elsewhere.
highlighted obscenity of Trident
Letters, The Herald, October 2, 2007
The blockade once again highlighted the obscenity and absurdity of nuclear weapons. Labour politicians will argue, "of course we are all against nuclear weapons but the issue is complex". No, it's not. It's very simple. You are either for or against nuclear weapons and if you are against them you should campaign for their abolition, and in Scotland that means campaigning against the renewal of Trident. Nuclear weapons are not and never were a deterrent to anything; rather a reflection of Britain's Great Power status in the world. They are obscenely expensive and in Scotland have little support.
The Herald, October 15, 2007
Four peace protesters have been arrested after they blocked the gates of a coach company which transports workers to a nuclear submarine base. Ten buses were delayed by anti-nuclear activists who chained themselves to the entrance of Marbill Coaches in Beith, Ayrshire today.
£5.5m Faslane bill plea rejected
Chris Musson, Evening Times, Glasgow, October 12, 2007
A PLEA from Strathclyde Police for help with its £5.5million bill for the Faslane 365 demo has been rejected by the Scottish Government.
I would scrap Trident
Ned Temko, The Observer, October 28, 2007
Lib Dem contender announces radical policy shift.
Liberal Democrat leadership contender Chris Huhne last night moved to seize the initiative from his front-running rival Nick Clegg by breaking with party policy on keeping Britain's Trident nuclear missiles.
Dem candidates go head-to-head in leadership campaign
Marie Woolf and Paul Bignell, Independent, October 30, 2007
In an interview with The Independent on Sunday before addressing party members at the first leadership hustings in Rugby, Warwickshire, Mr Clegg said yesterday that Britain needed to establish "red lines" with Washington over defence. He argued that the Prime Minister's decision to allow the United States to use two UK bases as part of the controversial anti-ballistic missile programme was "selling the country short".
blow for Huhne in race to lead Lib Dems
Gerri Peev, The Scotsman, October 27, 2007
Despite Mr Clegg being the preferred candidate at Westminster, Mr Huhne received one major vote of support from an establishment figure yesterday. Lord Steel, the former Liberal leader, declared his support for Mr Huhne on the basis of his stance on the Trident nuclear deterrent.
fears over 'defects' at warhead plant
Ian Bruce, The Herald, September 21, 2007
Britain's strategic nuclear warhead plant at Burghfield in Berkshire, has suffered up to 1000 "safety defects" in the last five years, according to figures obtained via the Freedom Information Act. The site, which builds the bombs carried on the Trident missile submarines based on the Clyde, has only remained open because the government and the Ministry of Defence insisted it was vital to national security.
safety shortfalls revealed
Eleanor Stride, Basingstoke Gazette, October 12, 2007
HUNDREDS of safety defects at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Burghfield have been revealed after confidential Government documents were made public. The reports, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the Government's nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, found 1,000 safety "shortfalls" at the site during an inspection which took place five years ago.
flaws at nuclear site
Robert Rowlands, Newbury News, October 4, 2007
A CATALOGUE of safety failings at Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield has been revealed after confidential Government reports were made public. The reports, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the Government's nuclear watchdog found 1,000 safety defects during inspections of the site five years ago.
nuclear error 'impossible in UK'
Ben Leach, Telegraph.co.uk, October 21, 2007
The MOD insists a mistake made by the US Air Force could not be repeated in the UK because British warheads are moved by land in separate parts. Britain's nuclear deterrent consists of Trident II D5, a submarine-launched ballistic missile system. Component parts of the warheads are transported to the Royal Naval Armament Depot in Coulport, Scotland, by road under "appropriate levels of protection".
Forces: MoD wins extra £400m for the fight on two fronts
Colin Brown, Independent, October 10, 2007
The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt won an extra £400m for fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and the insurgents in Iraq, but there were dire warnings that defence spending is still overstretched The budget will also meet the cost of the replacement for Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent comprising four submarines, one of which is permanently at sea all year round.
of Son of Trident at Yard
North West Evening Mail, October 11, 2007
THE first physical step towards Barrow building a new generation of Trident missile submarines will be taken at the shipyard tomorrow. Rear Admiral Paul Thomas, chairman of the Nuclear Defence Committee, will formally open the Future Submarines Integrated Project Office.
William takes to the water
The Press Association, October 19, 2007
Prince William has taken part in early-morning manoeuvres on the River Clyde as he visited the home of Britain's nuclear deterrent. The Prince took to the water with Royal Marines based at Faslane, home to the fleet of Trident submarines.
what would a huge US bomb be aimed at?
Gerard Baker, Times Online, October 26, 2007
Nestled deep in George Bushs latest $190 billion request to Congress for emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is a tantalising little item that has received scant attention. The US Department of Defence has asked for an additional $88 million to modify B2 stealth bombers so that they can carry a 30,000lb bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator (or MOP, in the disarming acronymic vernacular of the military).
getting a little less nuclear
Seattle Post Intelligencer, October 12, 2007
The Associated Press reported today that the USS Ohio is due to begin its first deployment on Saturday from its Western Washington base at Bangor -- but this time not armed with nuclear weapons. It's not as if this terrifying tool of war has suddenly sprouted peace signs, though. A billion-dollar refit later, it's been stripped of the 24-multi-warhead nuclear missiles it originally carried as a Trident submarine. Now it's armed with 154 Tomahawk missiles -- you know, the kind we launch against places like Iraq.
Warhead Design Hits Snag
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, September 30, 2007
An independent scientific advisory group, tasked by the federal government at the direction of Congress to review the administration's plan for a new generation of nuclear warheads, has questioned whether it can go ahead without further laboratory work. The study, performed by the "Jasons," a group of scientists who regularly advise the government on nuclear defense matters, concluded that the first design of a Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW1) "needs further development" before it can be certified as reliable enough to go into the U.S. weapons stockpile without underground nuclear testing.
in talks with US on missile defences
Gary Cleland, Telegraph.co.uk, October 8, 2007
The Government is in talks with the United States that could lead to the controversial "son of Star Wars" interceptor missiles being based in Britain. Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the new ambassador to Washington, has been put in charge of the negotiations. A senior diplomatic source claimed that the UK was seeking a major role and that plans to base a radar tracking station and interceptor missiles on British soil had not been ruled out...
A Foreign Office spokesman confirmed yesterday that missile defence would be one of Sir Nigel's top priorities when he took up his post. She added: "Britain is giving its full support to US plans to site its missile defence system in Europe. Britain has regular discussions over our possible role but talks are at an early stage."
wants son of Star Wars base in Britain
Jason Lewis and William Lowther, Daily Mail, October 6, 2007
The Government is in secret talks to allow President George Bush's controversial "son-of-Star Wars" missile-defence shield to be based in Britain. But it would not protect the UK and could make the country a prime target for a "first strike" nuclear attack.
base attack from MP
York Press, October 16, 2007
A North Yorkshire MP has attacked the Government for allowing US ballistic missile defence equipment to be housed at the county's RAF Menwith Hill base. Phil Willis has co-sponsored a motion in the House of Commons, calling for a full and open debate on the issue.
says Russia to get new nuclear weapons
Times Online, October 18, 2007
Vladimir Putin boasted of developing new nuclear weapons to strengthen Russias military power today and warned the United States not to ignore Moscow's objections to a planned missile defence shield in Europe.
US risks new Cuban missile crisis
Ian Traynor, The Guardian, October 27, 2007
Vladimir Putin stirred ghosts of the cold war yesterday by comparing the Pentagon's plan to site elements of its missile shield in Europe to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 when the US and the Soviet Union went to the brink of nuclear war.
missile plans echo Cuban crisis, says Putin
David Charter, The Times, October 27, 2007
Vladimir Putin likened Americas plans for a missile defence system in Europe to the Cuban missile crisis today as he insisted that he would relinquish power in the next Russian presidential elections.
Vladimir Putin raises the stakes over missile defence
The Times, October 12, 2007
Vladimir Putin has raised the stakes today in his poker game with George W. Bush over missile defence in eastern Europe. By threatening to tear up a key nuclear agreement, Mr Putin has challenged Mr Bush to weigh his planned missile shield against the value of relations with Russia.
test success may help U.S. pitch European site
Andrea Shalal-Esa (in the Washington Post), Reuters, October 2, 2007
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A successful U.S. missile defense test last Friday should quieten doubts about the system's viability and bolster support for U.S. plans to deploy interceptor missiles and a powerful tracking radar in Europe, a top Pentagon official said on Tuesday. "I think it helps in a very real way," Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering told reporters. He said European and NATO allies often questioned him about the unproven nature of U.S. missile defenses.
Wars' protest at spy base
BBC News Online, October 14, 2007
About 100 protesters gathered at a US spy base in Yorkshire as part of an international campaign against the American Missile Defence System. The Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases said it objected to the base's links to the so-called "Star Wars" programme. Protesters said it was a "dangerous" system which put Menwith Hill at the "front line of any war in space".
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