British & International Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, Winter 2008

16 December 2008

Welcome to the Winter 2008 edition of Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, a digest of news on the UK Trident, missile defence, and international nuclear non-proliferation issues.

US Election and Nuclear Policy

International coverage this month is dominated by coverage of the election of Barack Obama and his choice of foreign policy and defence teams. Writing in the Huffington Post, Joe Cirincione and Jon Wolfsthal highlight "serial failure" of the Bush administration's policies on proliferation. In a Boston Globe oped Cirincione suggests that President Obama can find funds for investment in the US economy by cutting the nuclear weapons budget. Cirincione argues that, "Transfers to domestic programs will help jumpstart the economy. Military spending provides some economic stimulus but not as much as targeted domestic spending."

In Foreign Policy in Focus, Daryl Kimball calls for transformation of "outdated U.S. policy on nuclear weapons and reviving U.S. leadership on disarmament and nonproliferation. The job now is to get the needed support in Congress and the international arena."

In the UK's Guardian newspaper, Timothy Garton-Ash calls on Obama to embrace the goal of a world free from nuclear weapons, following the footsteps of "Russell, Einstein - and Reagan".

The Washington Post reports, however, that in a keynote speech shortly before the election Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called for the next Congress to move forward on plans for the reliable replacement warhead (RRW). "Gates said the United States 'probably should' ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty 'if there are adequate verification measures.' But he implied that ratification should not occur without the RRW program moving ahead."

Israeli newspaper Haaretz quotes a "well-placed American source" claiming that the Obama administration "will offer Israel a 'nuclear umbrella' against the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran". This idea was mooted on the campaign trail by Hillary Clinton despite opposition from Israel and Republicans in the US.

International Initiatives for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament

The BBC's Gordon Corera covers the launch of the Global Zero initiative by 100 leading figures in Paris, quoting Queen Noor of Jordan's call to "work on de-legitimising the status of nuclear weapons".

The launch included a number of prominent British politicians and business people including Margaret Beckett, Douglas Hurd, Malcolm Rifkind, and Richard Branson. "It's not about idealism, it is about public safety and security," said former British Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind... "If there's to be disarmament, it has to be multilateral," he added.

Writing in the Guardian's Comment is Free blog, Foreign Secretary David Miliband sets out "six key steps necessary to move the world towards the abolition of nuclear weapons". But, according to Miliband, "nuclear disarmament cannot take place in isolation from the international security situation, which is why we took the decision last year to maintain our deterrent."

Across the Channel, International Herald Tribune reports that President Sarkozy of France (which currently holds the Presidency of the EU) has also launched a European initiative on nuclear disarmament, writing to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon setting out a seven point disarmament plan (none of which appears to have any impact on France's nuclear weapons' programme). Full text of Sarkozy's letter is available on the Acronym website at: www.acronym.org.uk/docs/0812/doc01.htm).

Back in Britain IPPR's Commission on National Security also calls for the UK to embrace the "long-term goal" of a nuclear weapon-free world.

A more international initiative comes from Australia where the Rudd Commission held its first meeting in October. "For the last decade or so, the international community has been sleepwalking when it comes to this potential catastrophe," commission joint chairman Gareth Evans, a former Australian foreign minister, told reporters.

Trident Costs and Risks

In this month's edition, some newspapers have begun to consider the implications of the financial crisis for Trident. Guardian commentator Marina Hyde writes "Call me a killjoy, but £70bn seems a lot for a sports car".

The Telegraph suggests that spending on Trident replacement could be "brought forward" in an attempt to secure defence industry jobs. Whether this would result in better job security or simply greater profits for the defence industry seems questionable as the Times reports a surge in Babcock's order book due to MoD work. "Babcock’s attraction is its skew to areas of what might be deemed nondiscretionary spending... Not maintaining a nuclear submarine is not an option... – Babock works at Sellafield, Dounreay and Aldermaston." Meanwhile the Press Association and the Herald report further privatisation of jobs at Sellafield and Coulport.

Most of the newspapers reported on the National Audit Office's report on the cost, timing and risks involved with replacing Trident. In the Guardian, Richard Norton-Taylor writes that "Renewing Britain's multibillion pound Trident nuclear missile system involves huge risks and serious questions remain about the cost of the project." The FT warns that costs could rise if the Ministry of Defence does not manage key risks. Whilst the BBC warns of a "challenging timetable" to replace Trident.

MoD's timetable for Trident renewal is based on the assumption that "continuous at sea deterrence" (CASD) is maintained. Following the NAO report, Aviation Week reports that the MoD is studying the implications of a further life-extension of its current Vanguard class ballistic missile submarine fleet, presumably with the objective of maintaining CASD. Writing in the armscontrolwonk blog, however, James Acton argues that abandoning CASD "would help lessen the political-military salience of nuclear weapons".

The Guardian and the Telegraph report on documents released under the Freedom of Information Act indicating that contrary to Ministerial statements to Parliament, the UK government has already decided to go ahead with replacing the Trident warhead. "Ministers have repeatedly denied there are any plans to replace the warheads as part of the upgrade of the Trident nuclear system, insisting no decision will be taken until the next parliament, probably sometime after 2010. However, previously unpublished papers released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal one of the MoD's senior officials told a private gathering of arms manufacturers that the decision had already been taken."

Come hell or high water

Rob Edwards in New Scientist considers an internal MoD safety manual that identifies the risk of "popcorning" or warhead design flaws that could conceivably cause multiple warheads to explode one after another. In the Telegraph Julian Rush reveals that parts of the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield came "within 2 to 3 hours" of being overwhelmed by the floods last summer (see also Renewing Trident: Can the UK's Atomic Weapons Establishment Cope? Henrietta Wilson, Disarmament Diplomacy No. 88, Summer 2008).

Highlighting another risk associated with nuclear weapon programmes, Gordon Corera broke the story on the BBC that the US had left a nuclear weapon abandoned beneath the ice in northern Greenland following a crash in 1968.

The Debate continues at Westminster...

The Guardian reports on Gordon Brown's appointment of John Hutton as Secretary of State for Defence, noting that Hutton represents the "safe Labour seat of Barrow and Furness - where Britain's nuclear submarines are built. Hutton has repeatedly argued not just for Trident not to be scrapped, but for more nuclear submarines to be built." The BBC notes that Hutton wasted no time before visiting Faslane to declare his commitment to "keeping nuclear weapons in Scotland". Mr Hutton said the naval base on the Clyde, which is home to the Trident nuclear submarine fleet, was a "vital part of our country's defence."

Conservative leader David Cameron was also visiting nuclear facilities, including BAE Systems in Hutton's constituency where he announced that he was "proud of the fact that my party, when there was a very divided debate in the Labour Party about whether to renew or rather replace Trident with an updated nuclear deterrent, that while Labour was split, we could have played kind of silly buggers with the whole thing, but we said: 'No, we're voting for this.'"

The Guardian reports that Liberal Democrats continue to argue for a delay in the decision to replace Trident until 2014 and for a reduction by 50% in the number of warheads.

... and at Holyrood

The Herald reports on the Scottish government's call for observer status at nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty meetings, which has been vociferously opposed by Scottish Office Minister David Cairns (Labour). As the Herald comments, "It's actually very difficult to argue a coherent case against Scotland having a presence at international disarmament talks, since Scotland has had the dubious honour of hosting Britain's nuclear deterrent for 40 years."

The Westminster government has hit back at the Scottish government's initiatives on Trident with John Hutton describing them as "incredible folly" and "national vandalism". The Scotsman reports that the UK Ministry of Defence has "issued a strongly worded put-down" of Scottish government policy in this area. Westminster has asked the Commission on Scottish Devolution, chaired by Sir Kenneth Calman to "tackle the problem of Holyrood being able to use the devolved powers it enjoys over planning and transport to block Westminster's activities in the areas of energy and defence."

Neither confirm nor deny

The Times, the Telegraph and the Scotsman covered a report from the Federation of American Scientists that the last remaining US nuclear bombs have now been withdrawn from RAF Lakenheath in East Anglia. Neither the UK nor the US governments would comment on the stories.

Missile Defence and US-Russia relations

Following the US elections, Time.com predicts that "Missile-defense skeptics yearning for a fresh look at the wisdom of pumping $10 billion annually into missile defense aren't going to get it from Barack Obama", claiming that the project has now reached "escape velocity" and will move "full speed ahead". In contrast Stars and Stripes predicts that the President elect will face a "host of concerns" including "technological uncertainties about the shield and strategic realities among America’s allies and adversaries". It speculates on a return to "the standard Democratic position of purposefully slow and deliberate development".

The debate continues in the Czech Republic with Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg quoted as saying that the US may "temporarily postpone its plan to install a missile defence radar base on Czech soil due to the present financial crisis". The Czech opposition leader Social Democrat Jiri Paroubek has rejected allegations that his party is prepared to give up its position of opposition to the stationing of a U.S. missile defence radar on Czech soil in exchange for the support of the EU Lisbon treaty by the Civic Democrats.

The Times reports that French President Nicholas Sarkozy has handed Barack Obama a foreign policy "hot potato" by proposing a summit on pan-European security and a pause in the US drive to deploy missile defence facilities in Europe. "I have suggested that in mid2009 we could meet within a framework to lay the foundations of what could possibly be a future pan-European security system. This would bring together the Russians, the Americans and the Europeans... Between now and then, please, no more talk of missile deployment or antimissile deployment."

Russia Today gives a different perspective on the latest US missile defence test, quoting Russian Colonel-general Viktor Yesin's comments that the test was aimed at Russia and China: "To avoid agitating public opinion, U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials say the test was aimed at intercepting North Korean and Iranian rockets. But we missile specialists understand that it was in fact aimed at stopping Russian and Chinese intercontinental missiles." Russian rhetoric has been growing steadily more belicose since the conflict in Georgia and the signing of the US-Poland missile defence deal. In September the Times reported on Russian President Medvedev's statement that Russia "must modernise its nuclear defences within eight years, including the creation of a 'system of air and space defence'." This was followed in November by a further announcement that Russia would deploy missiles in the Baltic region of Kaliningrad in response to US missile defence plans.

In November the Guardian reported that "More than 50 Labour MPs have issued a statement calling for a public debate on US plans to push ahead with a missile defence system using bases in the UK and Europe." In conjunction with this demand on the Guardian's website, former Labour Minister Peter Kilfoyle aruges that "our government surreptitiously allowed the incorporation of RAF Fylingdales and RAF Menwith Hill into the American system. This was without the public and parliamentary debate demanded by more than two thirds of the British public, and promised by Tony Blair in February 2007."

Ending the Weapons in Space Race

Following the launch of a Chinese space mission in September, the Independent notes that, "With the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty now in abeyance, thanks to President Bush and his ambitions for national missile defence, there is now no international regulatory framework that China could be invited to join. The argument for some updated treaty that would constrain the militarisation of space is compelling. The unpalatable alternative is the start of a new competition for supremacy in space."

In this edition:

US Election and Disarmament Initiatives

News from the UK

International News

US Election and Nuclear Policy

Obama's atomic umbrella: U.S. nuclear strike if Iran nukes Israel
Aluf Benn, Haaretz, 11 December 2008
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's administration will offer Israel a "nuclear umbrella" against the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran, a well-placed American source said earlier this week. The source, who is close to the new administration, said the U.S. will declare that an attack on Israel by Tehran would result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran.

Debate This: The Collapse of Bush's Nuclear Strategy
Joe Cirincione and Jon Wolfsthal, Huffingtonpost.com, 8 December 2008
It is not just U.S. economic policy that is in crisis. News from Iran and North Korea this week highlights the collapse of US efforts to stem the spread of nuclear weapons. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier this month that the Bush administration will leave the global nonproliferation "situation . . . in far better shape than we found it." Would it were true. The next president will inherit a far more dangerous nuclear world than that President Bush found in January 2001.

Strategic Command Chief Urges Quick Nuclear Weapons Modernization
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 5 December 2008
Tauscher, whose California district is the site of one of the nation's leading nuclear weapons labs, became a leader in Congress's effort to eliminate the RRW program. She said the Obama administration should "take the high ground" internationally by developing a comprehensive nuclear weapons policy that includes ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia and modernizing a sharply reduced warhead stockpile. She called on the United States to boost funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency and prepare a multilateral program to be presented at the 2010 U.N. review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Terrorists could mount nuclear or biological attack within 5 years, warns Congress inquiry
Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian, 4 December 2008
Pakistan singled out as likely source of weaponry.
Obama urged to prioritise non-proliferation issues.
An investigation by the US Congress into weapons of mass destruction published yesterday made a chilling prediction of terrorists mounting an attack using biological or nuclear weapons within the next five years.

Need cash? Cut nuclear weapons budget
Joseph Cirincione, Boston Globe, 3 December 2008
PRESIDENT-ELECT Barack Obama needs money. "To make the investments we need," he said last week, "we'll have to scour our federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices, as well." There is no better place to start than the nuclear weapons budget. He can cut obsolete programs and transfer tens of billions of dollars per year to pressing conventional military and domestic programs.

U.S. must halt spread of nuclear, bio weapons: Biden
Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters, 3 December 2008
The United States has done too little to fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction, U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden said on Wednesday, as he got a congressional report warning of their pressing threat.

Change Nuclear Weapons Policy? Yes, We Can.
Daryl Kimball, Foreign Policy in Focus, 25 November 2008
The election of Barack Obama to the presidency represents a clear mandate for change on a number of fronts, including transforming outdated U.S. policy on nuclear weapons and reviving U.S. leadership on disarmament and nonproliferation. The job now is to get the needed support in Congress and the international arena.

Obama must show the way to a goal set by Russell, Einstein - and Reagan
Achieving a world free of atomic weapons will require full international control of the nuclear fuel cycle. Yes, we must.
Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, 13 November 2008
As he embarks on the uphill struggle to translate dreams into realities, one strategic goal President-elect Barack Obama should embrace on his inauguration day is that of a world freed from the threat of nuclear weapons. In doing so, he can build on an impressive body of detailed, bipartisan, unofficial policy planning in the United States. He can expect an enthusiastic response from hundreds of millions of his supporters around the world who are hoping he will think and act big. He can be equally sure of crocodile smiles masking determined opposition from several countries that possess nuclear weapons, as well as other states and dark forces who would like nothing more than to have them - and, in some cases such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, are actively working towards acquiring them.

Gates Suggests New Arms Deal With Russia
By Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 29 October 2008
In his speech, Gates took a hard line on the need for the next Congress to move forward on the Bush administration's plan to develop and produce a new warhead. He warned of the "bleak" prospect that the roughly 4,000 older warheads in the current stockpile would no longer be safe, secure and reliable... "To be blunt, there is absolutely no way we can maintain a credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without resorting to testing or pursuing a modernization program," he said... In response to a question, Gates said the United States "probably should" ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty "if there are adequate verification measures." But he implied that ratification should not occur without the RRW program moving ahead.

Sounding the Nuclear Alarm
By Melanie Kirkpatrick, Wall Street Journal, 21 November 2008
Gen. Kevin Chilton, a former command astronaut, is no stranger to cutting-edge technology. But these days the man responsible for the command and control of U.S. nuclear forces finds himself talking more often about '57 Chevys than the space shuttle. On a recent visit to The Wall Street Journal he wheeled out the Chevy analogy to describe the nation's aging arsenal of nuclear warheads. The message he's carrying to the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, the press and anyone else who will listen is: Modernize, modernize, modernize.

Report on Nuclear Security Urges Prompt Global Action
By David E. Hoffman, Washington Post, 18 November 2008
The report, "Securing the Bomb 2008," the seventh annual study from Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, is to be released today. The study was commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonproliferation organization co-chaired by former senator Sam Nunn of Georgia.

Non-Nuclear Warhead Urged for Trident Missile
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 16 August 2008
A National Research Council blue-ribbon panel of defense experts is recommending development and testing of a conventional warhead for submarine-launched intercontinental Trident missiles to give the president an alternative to using nuclear weapons for a prompt strike anywhere in the world.

Science panel backs conventional trident missile
Elaine Grossman, Global Security Newswire, 15 August 2008
The Navy missile was to be the first weapon developed and deployed for a new mission called "prompt global strike," in which terrorist targets or rogue nations could be attacked within just one hour of a launch command. Currently, nuclear weapons are the only tools in the U.S. military arsenal available to hit urgent targets halfway around the world in such short order.

Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiatives

No nukes: World leaders call for end to all nuclear weapons
Jordan Lite, Scientific American, 10 December 2008
'Tis the season to get rid of nukes? In an effort to achieve world peace and lessen the growing threat of nuclear power, a nascent group including the likes of former President Jimmy Carter, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa this week launched a campaign calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Group seeks nuclear weapons ban
By Gordon Corera, BBC, 10 December 2008
A group of international dignitaries have launched a new campaign in Paris to eliminate nuclear weapons...The Global Zero group believes that reducing the still large US and Russian stockpiles - which make up 96% of all the nuclear weapons in the world - should be amongst the first steps which in turn can then draw in third parties and other nuclear powers into a wider and deeper process... "It's not about idealism, it is about public safety and security," said former British Defence Secretary Malcolm Rifkind who attended the conference. "If there's to be disarmament, it has to be multilateral," he added.

Global foreign policy leaders launch bid to eliminate nuclear arms
AFP, 10 December 2008
PARIS (AFP) — One hundred political, military, business and civic leaders from across the globe launched a new initiative in Paris on Tuesday aiming eliminate all nuclear weapons... "The threat of proliferation and nuclear terrorism has led to a growing chorus of government leaders ... calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and US President-elect Barack Obama," said a statement issued after many of the signatories met here."

Ex-Leaders Launch Nuclear Disarmament Initiative
Global Security Newswire, 9 December 2008
A group of international leaders, including former heads of state and top diplomatic and defense officials, launched a new effort yesterday to eliminate all nuclear weapons (see GSN, Dec. 8). "This will not happen overnight; it will be done step-by-step through phased and verified reductions over a period of years," according to a fact sheet from the initiative, called Global Zero. "It is urgent that we begin now."

EU must help reduce nuclear proliferation, warns MEP
Martin Banks, The Parliament.com, 9 December 2008
Dutch MEP Jan Marinus Wiersma has warned of a possible backlash from rogue states if the EU fails to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world. Speaking at a top-level conference in parliament on Tuesday, Wiersma, deputy leader of the Socialist group, “We have a window of opportunity to move the agenda on nuclear disarmament forward and strengthen the non-proliferation regime, but we need a new international debate to discuss the steps which need to be taken,” he told theparliament.com.

A world without nuclear weapons
David Miliband, guardian.co.uk, 8 December 2008
Just as the UK has set out its vision of a world without nuclear weapons, so has US president-elect Barack Obama. I believe the moment is now right to work with the new US administration and our partners for a renewed drive: to stop proliferation, to realise the benefits of nuclear energy and radically accelerate progress on six key steps necessary to move the world towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Sarkozy leads EU push to cut nuclear weapons
Steven Erlanger, International Herald Tribune, 8 December, 2008
PARIS: The European Union is attempting to revive a movement to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world, proposing a global ban on nuclear testing and a moratorium on production of all fissile material, according to a letter from the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made public Monday.

France floats EU plan on nuclear weapons cuts
Associated Press, 8 December 2008
PARIS (AP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented an ambitious European plan Monday to the United Nations to revive global nuclear disarmament efforts. Sarkozy, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said the EU wants a global ban on nuclear tests, a moratorium on production of fissile material and a treaty banning on ground-to-ground short- and medium-range missiles.

France Proposes Nuclear Arms-Control Measures
Pierre Tran, DefenseNews.com, 8 December 2008
French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote Dec. 5 to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, setting out the European Union's proposals for advancing nuclear disarmament in the U.N. forum.

Call to shake up security strategy
Jimmy Burns, Financial Times, 28 November 2008
The Commission on National Security in the 21st Century says the threat of state-based nuclear proliferation and concerns over terrorism require more systematic and interna- tionally co-ordinated efforts ahead of a conference to review the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty in 2010... "The world urgently needs rapid cuts in existing nuclear arsenals and serious strategic dialogue aimed at the pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons altogether," says the report.

UK 'should shift security agenda'
BBC News Online, 27 November 2008
The UK should seize on Barack Obama's victory to reshape its national security policy, a think tank says... The commission says Iran should be stopped from developing nuclear weapons and that nuclear deterrence is no longer a sound basis of security policy. The UK's long-term goal, it says, should be a nuclear weapon-free world, a goal also talked about by President-elect Obama during his election campaign.

New commission seeks to bolster arms control pact
By James Grubel, Reuters, 21 October 2008
At its first meeting, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament said the end of the Cold War, and a decade of complacency, had led to an increase in nuclear weapons, with up to 16,000 warheads deployed worldwide. "For the last decade or so, the international community has been sleepwalking when it comes to this potential catastrophe," commission joint chairman Gareth Evans, a former Australian foreign minister, told reporters.

Nukes biggest threat to world: Keating
The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 2008
The proliferation of nuclear weapons is the single biggest threat facing the world today, former prime minister Paul Keating says... He said the United States, China, France, Britain and Russia - all signatories to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty - are not only not ridding themselves of nuclear weapons, but developing new ones. He cited Tony Blair's Trident submarine program announced in 2006 and said the Bush administration had "turned its hand to new bunker-busting nuclear weapons designed to attack underground facilities."

Swords and Ploughshares: The new nuclear pioneers
From The Economist print edition, 14 August 2008
For the past 18 months AWE has co-operated with non-nuclear Norway and a London-based NGO, the Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (Vertic), on techniques for verifying that when a country promises to cut weapons, it really does. This involves finding ways to let inspectors snoop about places like AWE and other sites where fissile materials from both dismantled weapons and active ones are present, without inadvertently spreading the knowledge of how to build a bomb.

UK News

Trident Costs and Risks

Finger on the nuclear button
By Richard Knight, Today Programme, BBC, 2 December 2008
Within days of coming to power, Gordon Brown had to make a decision with potentially massive consequences for Britain and the world. Would he, in the event of a surprise nuclear attack in which he was killed before he could react, want Britain's last line of defence - a lone Trident submarine on patrol somewhere under the Atlantic - to retaliate?

Whose hand is on the button?
By Richard Knight, BBC Radio 4, 2 December 2008
For a BBC Radio 4 documentary, The Human Button, we were given unprecedented access to Britain's nuclear weapons infrastructure in order to answer three basic questions: How does the system work? What's it like to be a part of it and is it fail-safe?

Call me a killjoy, but £70bn seems a lot for a sports car
Marina Hyde, The Guardian, 29 November 2008
It's time to start talking about nuclear weapons again, to demand that Brown drop his bizarre attachment to Trident... His beloved Trident! Not a scratch on it, of course, and so adoringly maintained. Oh, he knows it's irrational, and an indulgence, and a throwback to when his life was completely different. And it's been murder to get the parts down the years. It's stupidly self-regarding to be worrying what the neighbours would say, and it would solve so many of their problems in a single swoop. But must it really go?

Forking out for Trident
Edward Pearce, guardian.co.uk, 26 November 2008
Trident 2 is wasteful expenditure, a burden on an overspent economy. It is swank spending, a sort of unhandsome Taj Mahal, memorial not to a Moghul's wife, but a politician's career: Blair's.

U.K. Ponders Further Vanguard Extension
Aviation Week, 21 November 2008
The British Defense Ministry is studying the implications of a further life-extension of its ballistic missile submarine fleet, as it attempts to manage an already demanding schedule for a Vanguard-class successor.

Cutting taxes or spending more – the Government's options
By Alastair Jamieson, Telegraph.co.uk, 15 November 2008
The Chancellor has already signalled that the £3.9bn contracts for building two new aircraft carriers, The HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince Of Wales, due to enter service in 2014 and 2016, could be brought forward along with a replacement for the Trident nuclear deterrent. The MoD estimates the contracts will guarantee around 10,000 jobs in the British defence industry, but as with the £16bn London Crossrail scheme it is unclear how much the government can do to speed up the project.

 

Trident cost and timetable questioned by watchdog
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 5 November 2008
Renewing Britain's multibillion pound Trident nuclear missile system involves huge risks and serious questions remain about the cost of the project, parliament's independent watchdog warns today. The government's timetable is so tight that any delays could jeopardise the declared aim of the nuclear deterrent, adds the National Audit Office in a report highlighting risks involving the cost, design, and management of the controversial programme.

Watchdog warns on Trident timing
BBC News, 5 November 2008
The spending watchdog warned of a "challenging timetable" if the new submarines were to be ready before the old Vanguard class was retired in 2024. Key developments would have to be made by September 2009, if the project is to remain on course, it said.

Watchdog warns on cost of replacing subs
By Sylvia Pfeifer, FT.com, 5 November 2008
The cost of replacing Britain’s nuclear deterrent, estimated at between £15bn and £20bn, could rise if the Ministry of Defence does not manage key risks in the coming months, the public spending watchdog warns on Tuesday.

Continuous Deterrence: Still Necessary?
James Acton, Armscontrolwonk.com, 8 August 2008
The question is ultimately whether morale is enough of a reason for keeping CASD. For me, abandoning CASD would be a real, meaningful step toward the NPT’s disarmament obligation (and the pretty much unanimous view in Whitehall is that this is crucial to building a coalition to prevent proliferation). It also would help lessen the political-military salience of nuclear weapons and further reduce the (already slim) chance of a catastrophic accident. Morale does matter but surely the political benefits of abandoning CASD matter more.

Scrapping Britain’s commitment to replacing Trident would resolve our fiscal uncertainties
Letter to The Herald from John Ainslie, Coordinator, Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 15 May 2008
If Alistair Darling wants to balance his books, then perhaps he should have a word with the Defence Secretary. On October 30, Des Browne announced plans to spend £2bn a year on nuclear weapons. Annual expenditure on Britain's weapons of mass destruction has increased by £500m and will rise further if the government goes ahead with its plan to build a new nuclear weapon system to replace Trident.

Britain's nuclear warheads will be upgraded, document suggests
By Lucy Cockcroft, Telegraph.co.uk, 25 July 2008
A senior Ministry of Defence official told a private gathering of arms manufacturers that the decision to replace the warheads had already been taken, according to documents released under the freedom of Information Act... The statement is in contradiction to previous assertions made by ministers. They have always denied that there are plans to replace the warheads as part of the upgrade of the Trident nuclear system, and insisted that no decision would be made until the next parliament, probably sometime after 2010.

Defending our dependency
Dan Plesch, guardian.co.uk, 25 July 2008
There is a hidden bonus of over £2bn to US corporations if the government goes ahead with building new nuclear warheads. American firm Lockheed Martin has a large share in the management and ownership of the UK's nuclear weapons factories at Aldermaston. It is also owns a company called Insys, whose purpose is to tell you and me through the government whether Aldermaston is doing a good job.

Britain plans to spend £3bn on new nuclear warheads: Decision breaches non-proliferation treaty, opponents say
Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 25 July 2008
The UK is to replace its stockpile of nuclear warheads at an estimated cost of more than £3bn, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Ministers have repeatedly denied there are any plans to replace the warheads as part of the upgrade of the Trident nuclear system, insisting no decision will be taken until the next parliament, probably sometime after 2010.

Nuclear Safety

US left nuclear weapon under ice in Greenland
Jon Swaine, Telegraph.co.uk, 11 November 2008
The US left a nuclear weapon lodged under ice in northern Greenland after losing it in a plane crash in 1968, it has emerged. The incident came amid the height of the Cold War, when American B52 bombers were flying continuously around the country's Thule Air Base to keep watch for possible missile strikes from the USSR.

Has Anyone Seen a Stray H-Bomb?
Carla Baranauckas, New York Times, 11 November 2008
A hydrogen bomb is missing from the United States’ arsenal — and has been, evidently, for 40 years. When last seen, the bomb was one of four aboard an Air Force B-52 bomber that crashed on a frozen bay near Thule Air Force Base in northern Greenland on Jan. 21, 1968. At first, all four bombs were unaccounted for, according to a front-page article in The New York Times on Jan. 23, 1968.

Revealed: How U.S. left nuclear warhead lying at bottom of ocean after B52 crash in 1968
Daily Mail, 11 November 2008
A U.S. nuclear warhead was abandoned under the ice in northern Greenland after a B52 bomber crashed in 1968, an investigation has found. The Pentagon believed the former Soviet Union would destroy the base as a prelude to a nuclear strike against the U.S. and began flying nuclear-armed B52s continuously over Thule in 1960 in order to retaliate.

Mystery of lost US nuclear bomb
By Gordon Corera BBC News security correspondent, northern Greenland, 10 November 2008
The United States abandoned a nuclear weapon beneath the ice in northern Greenland following a crash in 1968, a BBC investigation has found.

Radioactive legacy of 'lost bomb'
By Gordon Corera, BBC News, 10 November 2008
The crash of a B-52 aircraft, armed with nuclear warheads, in north-west Greenland back in 1968 has left a lasting legacy, according to those involved in the clear-up and those who live in the region now.

Britain's nuclear weapons factory 'nearly overwhelmed' by flood
By Julian Rush, Telegraph.co.uk, 11 October 2008
Alarm systems at Britain's nuclear weapons factory were put out of action for 10 days by last summer's floods, leaving tens of thousands of people without warning in the event of a nuclear accident... Parts of the factory came "within 2 to 3 hours" of being overwhelmed by the floods - which could have led to the release of potentially radioactive contaminated water.

Nuclear missiles could blow up 'like popcorn'
By Duncan Gardham, Telegraph.co.uk, 26 June 2008
A design flaw in Britain's nuclear arsenal means that warheads could set off a chain reaction "like popcorn" if they were accidentally dropped, according to Ministry of Defence documents... a nuclear-weapons safety manual drawn up by the MoD's internal nuclear-weapons regulator, and declassified last month, argues that this standard single-point design might not be enough to prevent "popcorning".

Could nuclear warheads go off 'like popcorn'?
Rob Edwards, New Scientist, 26 June 2008
YOU might think nuclear weapons have been carefully designed not to go off by accident. Yet more than 1700 of them have design flaws that could conceivably cause multiple warheads to explode one after another - an effect known as "popcorning" - according to a UK Ministry of Defence safety manual.

Nuclear Industry

BAE accused of £100m secret payments to seal South Africa arms deal
David Leigh and Rob Evans, The Guardian, 6 December 2008
More than £100m was secretly paid by the arms company BAE to sell warplanes to South Africa, according to allegations in a detailed police dossier seen by the Guardian yesterday. The leaked evidence from South African police and the British Serious Fraud Office quotes a BAE agent recommending "financially incentivising" politicians.

Private sector move for Sellafield
Press Association, 24 November 2008
Thousands of workers will move from the public to the private sector when a consortium of three firms takes over a £22 billion contract to run one of the UK's biggest nuclear sites. One of the biggest and most complex public procurement exercises ever held in this country will be completed when the shares in Sellafield Ltd are transferred from the state-owned BNFL to a newly created private sector consortium.

USA sub builders to plug yard skills gap
North West Evening Mail, 13 November 2008
BAE is bringing in American submarine building experts to help plug some of the skill shortages hitting the yard’s Astute-class vessels. The new US influx includes designers of future subs, as well as skilled shopfloor managers and team leaders from the Electric Boat nuclear submarine building company of Rhode Island, USA.

Babcock has engineered the formula for a promising outlook
Nick Hasell, The Times, 12 November 2008
As such deals demonstrate, Babcock’s attraction is its skew to areas of what might be deemed nondiscretionary spending, whether military or otherwise. Not maintaining a nuclear submarine is not an option; neither is not looking after a warships’s weapon systems, not checking track on the rail network or neglecting the running of a civil nuclear installation – Babock works at Sellafield, Dounreay and Aldermaston.

Straight talking on dockyard's future
Plymouth Herald, 11 November 2008
Workers shook theirs in disbelief as word reached them about what Babcock Marine chief executive Archie Bethel had told reporters. Although 300 jobs were to go, there were no plans for further redundancies at the yard, said Mr Bethel. The order book was busy and the outlook for more work was good, he said.

Life on a nuclear sub
Daniel Allen, The Times, 30 October 2008
Some things about being in a submarine sound deceptively normal. In recreation periods the crew watch films, use exercise machines or take part in games and quizzes. But the harsh reality of being in a long, thin tube in the yawning chasms of the deep for weeks on end is that help is a long way off.

 

HMS Vigilant docks for its refit
BBC News, 12 October 2008
The Royal Navy's HMS Vigilant has docked in Plymouth to undergo a three-year refit. The work, which will include refuelling the submarine's nuclear power plant which be carried out at HM Naval Base Devonport.

US engineering group Jacobs set to win British missile plant
Dominic O’Connell, Sunday Times, 5 October 2008
AN American engineering group is set to buy the government’s one-third stake in the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), the Berkshire complex that manufactures and maintains the warheads on Britain’s nuclear missiles.

Yard boss pays tribute to BAE chief executive
West Evening Mail, 29 August 2008
SHIPYARD boss Murray Easton has paid tribute to his boss and friend Mike Turner who retires as BAE Systems chief executive tomorrow... Mr Easton believes the spending commitment is particularly important in relation to submarines. He said: “We have an ongoing programme for four nuclear submarines of the Astute class.“They are obviously very advanced vessels and very capable, however the Navy needs seven of these, and the workforce at Barrow needs seven to retain the skills and resources at a level compatible with the future needs of the Trident (submarine) successor programme which is currently in its concept phase.“We can’t afford to suffer the same damage to skills and resources that happened between the Vanguard (Trident) and Astute classes, and it is absolutely crucial we have continuity to ensure we retain the incredible skills and capabilities we have in submarine design, build and commissioning.”

Plan to privatise Coulport nuclear submarine base jobs
Torcuil Crichton, The Herald, 31 July 2008
The servicing of Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent is set to be privatised as part of a review of the armaments base on the Clyde. Almost half of the 540 jobs at the Royal Navy Armament Depot Coulport, where Trident warheads are stored and loaded on to nuclear submarines, could be taken over by the private sector after a Ministry of Defence review of the base. The move was last night attacked by the SNP. The party's defence spokesman, Angus Robertson MP, said it was the latest in a series of "highly questionable" privatisation initiatives by the Labour government.

UK Political Parties

UK missed a trick on nuclear weapons
Letter to the Guardian from Edward Davey MP, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, The Guardian, 15 November 2008
Government investment in new verification technologies is welcome. Yet the secrecy over the government's plans for the development of a new nuclear warhead to go with its new submarines undermines such initiatives: its nuclear weapons budget is now near cold war proportions, but with little or no oversight. With the excuse of subservience to a hawkish regime in Washington now gone, the government must now do all it can to support Obama's efforts. It should, for example, now offer to reduce Britain's remaining nuclear warheads by 50% before the NPT review conference to help kick-start progress on global disarmament, and urge the US and Russia to go for radical reductions too.

Faslane 'vital' to UK's defence
BBC News, 16 October 2008
Defence Secretary John Hutton said he was committed to keeping nuclear weapons in Scotland during his first visit to Faslane in his new post. Mr Hutton said the naval base on the Clyde, which is home to the Trident nuclear submarine fleet, was a "vital part of our country's defence."

Profile: John Hutton
Deborah Summers, The Guardian, 3 October 2008
He unsuccessfully fought seats in the 1987 general election and 1989 European elections for Labour, before being selected for the safe Labour seat of Barrow and Furness - where Britain's nuclear submarines are built. Hutton has repeatedly argued not just for Trident not to be scrapped, but for more nuclear submarines to be built.

Dissenting MPs urge U-turn on tax cuts
Allegra Stratton, Polly Curtis and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 13 September 2008
The Lib Dems have proposed a 50% cut in the nuclear weapons arsenal and say a decision to replace Trident need not be taken until 2014.

Cameron: It's time for change in Barrow
North West Evening Mail, 15 August 2008
“I’m proud of the fact that my party, when there was a very divided debate in the Labour Party about whether to renew or rather replace Trident with an updated nuclear deterrent, that while Labour was split, we could have played kind of silly buggers with the whole thing, but we said: ‘No, we’re voting for this.’
“We believe in nuclear deterrent, we believe we need a replacement to Trident. I also happen to think it should be built right here in Barrow-in-Furness.”

Brown hit by call for resignation and bad poll ratings
Andrew Sparrow, Hélène Mulholland and agencies, The Guardian, 28 July 2008
Gordon Prentice, the MP for Pendle, said that Brown ought to stand down because he did not have the skills to lead Labour to victory at the next election... As an example of what he meant, Prentice said that he had "no idea" that Brown was so enthusiastic about nuclear power or the Trident nuclear submarine programme before he became prime minister.

Scottish Opposition to Trident

MoD shoots down Holyrood's battle to block Trident
By Gerri Peev, Scotsman.com, 11 November 2008
THE Ministry of Defence has issued a strongly worded put-down of Scottish Government attempts to block the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. In its submission to the Calman Commission, the MoD recognises escalating tensions between the Westminster government and the SNP administration at Holyrood, which opposes Trident.

Power – and who should have it
Scotsman.com, 11 November 2008
As thorny are the issues of defence and nuclear power. The Westminster government has asked the Calman Commission to tackle the problem of Holyrood being able to use the devolved powers it enjoys over planning and transport to block Westminster's activities in the areas of energy and defence. The SNP administration, which is strongly anti-nuclear, has looked to ways of using its devolved powers to stymie the building of new nuclear power stations in Scotland. This anti-nuclear stance has extended to attacking plans to renew the Trident warheads on the Clyde, by suggesting the imposition of tolls on roads leading to the Faslane submarine base.

London seeks end to Scots nuclear veto
By Ross Lydall, The Scotsman, 11 November 2008
Should the recommendations to curb the veto powers be adopted by Calman and come before the Scottish Parliament, that cross-party group could force them through in the face of SNP opposition. The Nationalists' anti-nuclear stance has extended to attacking plans to renew the Trident warheads on the Clyde by suggesting, for example, using powers to impose traffic-calming measures that would make it difficult for large convoys to get in and out of Faslane submarine base.

SNP call to scrap nuclear defence plans
By Hamish Macdonell, The Scotsman, 6 November 2008
NATIONALISTS called yesterday for the UK government to abandon the Trident replacement programme after a new report warned that it would be very difficult to deliver the project on time and in budget.

A canny plan to rain on the Trident parade
Iain MacWhirter, The Herald, 22 October 2008
It's actually very difficult to argue a coherent case against Scotland having a presence at international disarmament talks, since Scotland has had the dubious honour of hosting Britain's nuclear deterrent for 40 years... But David Cairns, the Scotland Office minister, says that Alex Salmond should be sorting out the free personal care instead of "cavorting across the world stage with his discredited loony-left policies" and giving comfort to our enemies... If he is saying that the presence of an anti-nuclear Scottish Government representative at the NNPT talks might be an embarrassment, then fair enough. But Britain has every cause to be embarrassed, since we've driven a coach and horses through the NNPT by renewing the Trident missile system.

Whitehall and Scotland in 'nuclear war'
By Craig Brown, Scotsman, 17 October 2008
THE Defence Secretary placed himself on a collision course with the Scottish Government yesterday when he branded SNP plans to scrap the nuclear deterrent as "incredible folly" and "national vandalism". During a visit to Faslane naval base on the Clyde, John Hutton also reinforced the government's pledge to keep nuclear weapons in Scotland.

Nuclear-free Nationalists
Norman Dombey, The Guardian, 14 October 2008
What will be the fate of "Britain's" nuclear deterrent if Scotland becomes independent? If the result of the Glenrothes byelection on November 6 mirrors that of Glasgow East, an answer may soon be needed. This is the biggest conundrum among a series of challenges concerning Scotland's stance on defence if the country were to become an independent state - leaving England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI) as a separate independent state.

Defence of the nation has panellists battling it out
The Scotsman, 26 September 2008
THE weapons were words and the combatants surprisingly cordial. The battlefield for The Scotsman debate on defence was the Victoria Halls in Helensburgh, close to the Faslane naval base and site of Britain's nuclear deterrent, Trident.

Hopefuls Backing Trident
Sunday Mail, 24 August 2008
TWO of Scottish Labour's leadership candidates have backed Trident. Andy Kerr and Iain Gray came out in favour of replacing the ageing nuclear submarine fleet. Kerr said a "nuclear deterrent is integral to worldwide security". Gray talked of "planning for the replacement of Trident" at Faslane on the Clyde It is expected to cost £25billion. Cathy Jamieson did not call for it to be scrapped but said: "I want to see a world without nuclear weapons."

Gen Sir Mike Jackson's Scots defence fears
Tom Gordon, Sunday Times, 17 August 2008
The former head of the British Army has warned that Scottish independence could have disastrous consequences for the defence of the rest of the UK. General Sir Michael Jackson said he was alarmed by the SNP’s plan to remove Trident nuclear missiles from Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde.

First nuclear sub patrol left from base set up at height of Cold War
William Tinning, The Herald, 31 July 2008
It was established four decades ago at the height of the Cold War when relations between the West and the former Soviet Union were on a knife-edge. The Royal Navy took over a remote 1000-acre site on the shores of Loch Long in Argyll, amid some of Scotland's most beautiful countryside, for use as a base where Britain's nuclear submarines would be armed. The Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport, on the Rosneath peninsula, opened in 1966. Two years later Britain's first Polaris nuclear submarine patrol left from the base sparking a surge of protests that continue today.

Anti-Nuclear Protests Continue

Charges over Aldermaston protest
BBC News, 4 November 2008
Thirty-three people were arrested and 14 charged after a demonstration at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire.

More than 30 arrests at Aldermaston anti-nuclear protest
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 28 October 2008
More than 30 people were arrested yesterday during one of the biggest anti-nuclear protests at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston for 10 years. The gates of the site were blocked as people attached themselves to concrete blocks which had to be broken apart by police. Others climbed scaffolding or lay in the road at the demonstration by about 400 people to mark the start of the UN World Disarmament Week.

Atomic bomb victims commemorated
The Press and Journal, 29 August 2008
TWO hundred peace lanterns floated down the River Dee last night marking 63 years since atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Charge over anti-nuclear protest
BBC News Online, 23 August 2008
A man has been charged with obstructing a highway after the entrance to Devonport Dockyard was barricaded by a group of anti-nuclear campaigners... Campaign group Trident Ploughshares said they were protesting about money being spent on renewing the UK's Trident nuclear fleet.

Anti-nuclear protest at dockyard
BBC News Online, 22 August 2008
The entrance to Devonport Dockyard has been barricaded by a group of anti-nuclear campaigners.

Nuclear Protest at Dockyard
Plymouth Herald, 22 August 2008
ONE man was arrested during an anti-nuclear protest at Devonport dockyards today. Daniel Viesnik – who had come down from London to protest with 12 other members of Trident Ploughshares – was arrested for 'obstructing the highway', after he repeatedly lay in the road.

Case dismissed: first SOCPA 128 on nuclear licensed site
Indymedia, 20 August 2008
Newbury magistrates today dismissed a case of trespass on a nuclear licensed site against an Aldermaston peace campaigner. The prosecution was the first of its kind brought under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA s128, as amended by s12 of the Terrorism, Act 2006, to apply to nuclear licensed sites).

Vigil for Hiroshima atomic bomb victims
Croydon Guardian, 7 August 2008
A silent vigil for the 200,000 people who died in the first atomic bombing will be held beside the war memorial on Katharine Street this weekend.

Hundreds protest in Faslane human chain
Paul Kelbie, The Observer, 15 June 2008
Up to 500 demonstrators formed a 2,000-metre long human chain alongside the fence of the Faslane Naval Base on the Clyde yesterday as part of a protest against nuclear weapons.

Nuclear 'withdrawals' from Lakenheath

Last US nuclear weapons ‘withdrawn from UK’
Michael Evans, The Times, 27 June 2008
Lakenheath The last remaining American nuclear weapons based on British territory have been withdrawn, according to a study by scientists in the United States.

US nuclear weapons 'leave British soil at last' after half a century of controversy
By Emily Pykett, The Scotsman, 27 June 2008
PEACE campaigners last night welcomed reports that the United States has withdrawn all its nuclear weapons from Britain after more than 50 years. They spoke out after a watchdog said Washington had removed a stockpile of 110 B-61 bombs from the RAF base at Lakenheath, Suffolk. American nuclear weapons have been stationed in Britain since 1954.

 

America removes nuclear weapons from Britain after 50 years
By Damien McElroy, Telegraph.co.uk, 26 July 2008
The Federation of American Scientists, which monitors the US atomic weapons arsenal, said the inventory held at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk had been shut down. The airbase has been home to US nuclear weapons since 1954... A spokesman for US embassy in London refused to comment on the report. “We don’t talk about the position of US nuclear material.”

International News

Missile Defence

Czech opposition CSSD's leader rejects bargaining over treaty
CeskéNoviny.cz, 10 December 2008
Prague - Czech opposition Social Democrat (CSSD) leader Jiri Paroubek today emphatically rejected the allegation that his party is prepared to give up its negative position on the stationing of a U.S. missile defence radar on Czech soil in exchange for the support of the EU Lisbon treaty by the Civic Democrats (ODS).

Was US anti-missile test aimed at Russia and China?
Russia Today, 9 December 2008
A consultant to the head of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces has said that a simulated anti-missile test by the U.S. was not aimed at stopping a North Korean threat as Washington had claimed.

Czech ForMin says USA might postpone radar project over crisis
CeskéNoviny.cz, 8 December 2008
Brussels - The USA might temporarily postpone its plan to install a missile defence radar base on Czech soil due to the present financial crisis, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told journalists in Brussels on Sunday, the Austrian press agency APA has reported.

Fate of missile defense shield left to Obama
Geoff Ziezulewicz, Stars and Stripes, 8 December 2008
President-elect Barack Obama could continue the standard Democratic position of purposefully slow and deliberate development, according to Charles Ferguson, an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations. Former President Bill Clinton funded missile defense but was an advocate of ensuring the technology was good to go before any deployment took place, he said. "They’re probably going to go back to the Clinton criteria without calling it the Clinton criteria," Ferguson said. "Each president likes to put their own stamp on defense policy."

Doubts remain after missile defence test
Reuters, 7 December 2008
WASHINGTON: The US military said on Friday it conducted a successful test of its missile defence system, but the target failed to deploy measures that experts said could have helped it avoid destruction. The test took place as the Pentagon braces for more scrutiny of the programme after President-elect Barack Obama, a Democrat, takes office in January.

Russia to deploy missile to counter US missile shield next year
Telegraph.co.uk, 28 November 2008
Russia will, from December 2009, deploy its new RS-24 intercontinental missile, designed to counter defence systems like the controversial US missile shield, the military has announced.

Russia fires Obama a dilemma
Robert Farley, The Guardian, 18 November 2008
On Friday, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, tried to cool tension between Russia and the United States by calling on the US to abandon its drive for a European-based missile defence system, and calling on Russia to cancel deployment of ballistic missiles to the Polish border. Unfortunately, Russian and American manoeuvres have made it difficult for either country to back down.

Why Obama Will Continue Star Wars
Mark Thompson, Time.com, 16 November 2008
Missile-defense skeptics yearning for a fresh look at the wisdom of pumping $10 billion annually into missile defense aren't going to get it from Barack Obama when he moves into the Oval Office. The Russians — along with the two men most likely to end up running the Pentagon for the President-elect — have already made sure of that. It's a bracing reminder of just how difficult it is to counter momentum once a big-league defense program achieves what aerodynamicists call "escape velocity" — that synergy of speed and gravity that lets a vehicle soar smoothly into the skies.

Nicolas Sarkozy calls for rethink over US missile defence system in Europe
David Charter, The Times, 15 November 2008
Barack Obama was handed an early foreign policy hot potato yesterday when President Sarkozy proposed a truce in the row over US plans for a missile defence system in Europe. Taking it upon himself to make the EU’s first intervention in the debate – and getting the backing of Russia, which has threatened to position missiles in Kaliningrad – Mr Sarkozy proposed a summit next year on a new pan-European security system, after a suspension of activity from both Moscow and Washington.

Sarkozy backs Russian calls for pan-European security pact
Ian Traynor and Luke Harding, The Guardian, 15 November 2008
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France joined Russia in condemning the Pentagon's plans to install missile defence bases in central Europe yesterday and backed President Dmitri Medvedev's previously ignored calls for a new pan-European security pact. Both presidents concluded a Russia-EU summit, in Nice in the south of France, with an agreement to convene a major international conference next summer at which the Americans, Russians and the 27 countries of the EU should come up with a blueprint for new post-cold war "security architecture" in Europe.

Sarkozy urges US, Russia to shelve missile plans
Mark Tran and agencies, guardian.co.uk, 14 November 2008
Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, today urged the US and Russia to shelve their missile plans ahead of a European security conference next year. Medvedev announced last week that Moscow would deploy missiles in its western outpost of Kaliningrad in response to US plans for an anti-missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic - hours after Barack Obama won the American presidential election.

US rejects Kremlin's call to scrap missile shield
Tom Parfitt and Ian Traynor, The Guardian, 14 November 2008
Antagonism between the Kremlin and the Bush administration over the deployment of missile systems in Europe deepened yesterday after the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, accused President Dmitry Medvedev of "provocative, unnecessary and misguided" plans to station short-range ballistic missiles in Russia's Baltic exclave, Kaliningrad.

Living on the frontline of the new cold war
Luke Harding, The Guardian, 8 November 2008
Russians in Baltic enclave on EU's doorstep endorse challenge to US missiles... Residents in Kaliningrad - the former German city of Königsberg seized by Stalin after the second world war - say they support Medvedev's uncompromising stance. Russia had little choice but to react following its hostile encirclement by the US and the new countries of Nato, they suggested.

Russia fires warning shot over US missile plan
Ian Traynor, The Guardian, 7 November 2008
Dmitri Medvedev is to go to Washington next week for the first time as Russian president, with the chances of a meeting with president-elect Barack Obama clouded by his decision to station missiles in the heart of Europe... Iskander-M short-range missiles will be deployed in Kaliningrad, Russia's westernmost garrison, an isolated enclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.

Medvedev delivers chilling words on missile plans
By Kevin O'Flynn, The Independent, 5 November 2008
The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that his country would place missiles in the Baltic region of Kaliningrad in response to US missile defence plans.

Unproven and unwanted
Peter Kilfoyle, Comment is Free, guardian.co.uk, 5 November 2008
The Czechs don't want the US missile defence programme on their soil. Why should Britain roll over and accept it?

MPs demand debate on US missile defence
Matthew Taylor, guardian.co.uk, 4 November 2008
More than 50 Labour MPs have issued a statement calling for a public debate on US plans to push ahead with a missile defence system using bases in the UK and Europe. The politicians, including Jon Cruddas and the former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle, issued the notice following a new poll that shows almost two thirds of people in the UK think the system would make the country less secure.

Russia to build missile defence shield and renew nuclear deterrence
Tony Halpin, The Times, 27 September 2008
Russia is to build new space and missile defence shields and put its armed forces on permanent combat alert, President Medvedev announced yesterday. In a sharp escalation of military rhetoric, Mr Medvedev ordered a wholesale renovation of Russia’s nuclear deterrence and told military chiefs to draw up plans to reorganise the armed forces by December.

Russia 'could destroy NATO ships in Black Sea within 20 minutes'
Ria Novosti, 29 August 2008
MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Black Sea Fleet is capable of destroying NATO's naval strike group currently deployed in the sea within 20 minutes, a former fleet commander said on Friday... "Despite the apparent strength, the NATO naval group in the Black Sea is not battle-worthy," Admiral Eduard Baltin said. "If necessary, a single missile salvo from the Moskva missile cruiser and two or three missile boats would be enough to annihilate the entire group."

Russia tests stealth missile that could penetrate US shield
Jon Swaine, Telegraph.co.uk, 29 August 2008
Russia has successfully tested a stealth missile able to penetrate the US defence system being built in Poland... In a clear show of military strength amid rising tensions with Nato allies, Kremlin chiefs fired a Topol RS-12M rocket, which has nuclear capabilities, from their Plesetsk space centre to a target 3,700 miles across the country.

Czech, USA to start strategic dialogue next Thursday
Czech Happenings, 28 August 2008
Prague- The Czech Republic will start strategic dialogue with the USA next Thursday as Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar will discuss security cooperation, involving the anti-missile defence, there, the U.S. embassy and Czech Foreign Ministry told CTK today.

Russia's Arms Control Ripples
Greg Bruno, Council on Foreign Relations, 26 August 2008
Reverberations from Russia's conflict with Georgia extend in many directions... But one potential casualty that causes special worry for some analysts is the suspension of cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation and other arms control efforts.

Missile defense backers now citing Russia threat
Associated Press, 26 August 2008
"As Russian ballistic missiles rain down on Georgia, we should honor our commitment to allies in Poland and the Czech Republic," Republican Rep. Mark Kirk said in a statement last week.

Crisis in Caucasus exposes confusion within Nato
Ian Traynor, The Guardian, 23 August 2008
The Czechs and the Poles have agreed to host the Pentagon's missile defence system not because they worry about Iranian missiles, but because they feel more secure by having US troops permanently on their soil for the first time.

U.S., Israel seal deal for missile radar defense system
Amos Harel, Haaretz, 23 August 2008
The United States and Israel have agreed on the deployment of high-powered, early-warning missile radars in the Negev desert, to be manned by U.S. military personnel. The radars, known as X-Band, will be linked to a U.S. satellite-based alert network.

Behind America’s shield
From The Economist print edition, 21 August 2008
A deal on missile defences angers Russia even though they may not work...
“We have crossed the Rubicon,” said the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, as the deal was done. Russia said any country involved in America’s missile defences made itself a legitimate target for nuclear attack. Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, who went to Poland to sign the deal this week, retorted that such threatening language “isn’t tolerable”.

Poland and US sign missile defence deal
Lee Glendinning and agencies, guardian.co.uk, 20 August 2008
Russia says agreement to locate base on Polish territory makes Poland vulnerable to nuclear attack. The US and Poland today signed a deal to site a US missile defence base in Poland, further straining Russia's relations with the west following the conflict in Georgia.

Poland and US risk crisis to sign missile deal
Anne Penketh, The Independent, 20 August 2008
Poland and the United States risked igniting a new missile crisis with Russia as their foreign ministers today signed a deal to station part of an American defence shield on Polish soil, manned by US soldiers, 115 miles from the Russian border.

Denis MacShane: The mood has darkened across the whole of Europe
Independent, 20 August 2008
Conservative neo-con language is as useless as those who find excuses for Putin's doctrine of anti-West aggression. Russia has insisted on asserting national interests and defied international institutions and rules. Britain should fashion a containment-cooperation policy but do so as part of Europe. If not, the sabre-rattlers in both Moscow and Washington will resume their old game.

Poland and US sign missile defence deal
Lee Glendinning, The Guardian, 20 August 2008
Russia says agreement to locate base on Polish territory makes Poland vulnerable to nuclear attack... A day after Warsaw and Washington reached initial agreement last week, a Russian general delivered a stark warning. "Poland, by deploying [the system] is exposing itself to a strike — 100%," said General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said, adding that Russian military doctrine permitted the use of nuclear weapons in such a situation.

Some Democrats Urge Delay in Building a U.S. Missile System in Eastern Europe
Eric Lipton, New York Times, 19 August 2008
“Go ahead and move on with research and development,” said Representative Ellen O. Tauscher, Democrat of California, who is chairwoman of the House subcommittee that oversees the missile defense program. “But as far as putting holes in the ground in Poland, we are saying no.”

The US missile defence system is the magic pudding that will never run out
George Monbiot, The Guardian, 19 August 2008
It's a novel way to take your own life. Just as Russia demonstrates what happens to former minions that annoy it, Poland agrees to host a US missile defence base. The Russians, as Poland expected, respond to this proposal by offering to turn the country into a parking lot. This proves that the missile defence system is necessary after all: it will stop the missiles Russia will now aim at Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK in response to, er, their involvement in the missile defence system.

Shoulder to shoulder against Russia
Denis MacShane, Comment is Free, www.guardian.co.uk, 18 August 2008
The Russian response was to threaten Poland with nuclear weapons as the terrified Poles signed an agreement with America on kinetic (unarmed) missile defence shield bases. When Carl Bildt, Sweden's experienced and balanced foreign minister, expressed concern about Russia's behaviour, Moscow's response was to threaten a naval re-militarisation of the Baltic.

Moscow warns it could strike Poland over US missile shield
Ian Traynor in Brussels, Luke Harding in Tbilisi and Helen Womack in Moscow, The Guaridan, 16 August 2008
· US condemns 'bullying' of Georgia · Russian general threatens nuclear attack
"By deploying, Poland is exposing itself to a strike - 100%," warned Colonel General Anatoly Nogovitsyn. He added that Russia's security doctrine allowed it to use nuclear weapons against an active ally of a nuclear power such as America.

Ukraine offers West radar warning
BBC News Online, 16 August 2008
Ukraine has said it is ready to make its missile early warning systems available to European nations following Russia's conflict with Georgia...

Georgia Crisis Propels a Bad Polish Deal
Joe Cirincione, Huffingtonpost.com, 14 August 2008
President Bush's new deal with Poland gives that country millions in aid, stokes Russia's paranoia and decreases America's security. It is bad policy.

Russia: Medvedev's missiles hard line dismays west
Luke Harding, The Guardian, 16 July 2008
Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, yesterday launched an outspoken attack on America's European missile defence plans, in the latest sign that policy towards the west is unchanged since Vladimir Putin.

Prague signs US 'star wars' pact but Poles want Patriot missiles
Ian Traynor, The Guardian, 9 July 2008
· Czechs to host radar but Poles want Patriot missiles · Russia threatens military retaliation in event of deal
Russia reacted angrily yesterday after the Bush administration capped a five-year campaign to extend its controversial missile shield project from the US to Europe by signing a deal with the Czech Republic to build a radar station south of Prague.

Russia's Nuclear Programme

Russia starts production of new ballistic missiles
Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters, 1 December 2008
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has begun producing a new generation intercontinental missile, a senior government official said on Monday, after a successful test launch. Russia's military hailed Friday's test of the Bulava, a submarine-launched ballistic missile that can carry nuclear warheads to targets more than 8,000 km (5,000 miles) away, after a host of mishaps that had raised doubts about its future.

Russia to upgrade missiles to evade US space arms
Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press, 1 December 2008
In comments to the Interfax news agency, Russia's Strategic Missile Forces chief, Col.-Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, as saying that Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles will be modernized to protect them from space-based components of the U.S. missile defense system. The upgrade will make the missiles' warheads capable of flying "outside the range" of the space-based system, Solovtsov was quoted as saying.

Russia test-fires ICBM from submarine
The Associated Press, 28 November 2008
MOSCOW -- The Russian navy said Friday that a new-generation Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile was test-fired from a submerged submarine and hit its target _ the second consecutive successful test of the troubled weapon.

Russia challenges west with nuclear overhaul
Luke Harding, The Guardian, 27 September 2008
Russia announced an overhaul of its strategic nuclear forces and army yesterday, in the clearest sign yet that Moscow may be preparing for a possible full-scale military confrontation with the US and Nato. Speaking after Russia carried out its biggest military exercises since the cold war, Dmitry Medvedev, the president, said Russia would build a space defence system and a fleet of nuclear submarines by 2020.

Russia tests ICBM designed to overcome missile shield
Forbes.com, 28 August 2008
MOSCOW (Thomson Financial) - Russia on Thursday said it test-fired an intercontinental missile designed to avoid detection by missile-defence systems, raising the temperature in a tense stand-off with the West over Georgia.

Russia's Topol ICBM hits target with new warhead in test launch
Ria Novosti, 28 August 2008
MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Topol strategic missile test-launched on Thursday from the Plesetsk space center has successfully hit a designated target on the Kamchatka peninsula, a Strategic Missile Forces spokesman said... The RS-12M Topol has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry a single 550-kiloton nuclear warhead.

Russia 'may use Cuba to refuel nuclear bombers'
Luke Harding in Moscow, The Guardian, 25 July 2008
Russia is said to be considering the use of bases in Cuba as a refuelling point for its nuclear bombers, in a move reminiscent of the 1962 missile crisis. The move would be in retaliation for the Bush administration's plan to site a missile defence shield in Europe. Russia says America's proposal for the shield in Poland and the Czech Republic poses a direct threat to its security.

Space and Cyberspace

More Cyber Security Regulations Recommended
Brian Krebs, Washington Post, 8 December 2008
A bipartisan commission of computer security experts are recommending today that President-elect Barack Obama set up a high-level post to tackle cyber security, consider new regulations to combat cyber crime and shore up the security of the nation's most sensitive computer networks. The proposals (pdf) from the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency follow a series of cyber security breaches at some of nation's most sensitive computer systems.

A space race rises in the east
Leading article, The Independent, 29 September 2008
With the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty now in abeyance, thanks to President Bush and his ambitions for national missile defence, there is now no international regulatory framework that China could be invited to join. The argument for some updated treaty that would constrain the militarisation of space is compelling. The unpalatable alternative is the start of a new competition for supremacy in space.

Tensions increase between India and Pakistan

Mysterious phone call brought nuclear rivals to the brink after Mumbai
Saeed Shah, The Guardian, 8 December 2008
A mysterious night-time telephone call brought India and Pakistan, two nuclear armed countries, to the brink of war at the height of the crisis over the Mumbai terror attacks, it was revealed yesterday... Zardari quickly mobilised western leaders in an attempt to avert war, telephoning the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband, among others, who in turn frantically called New Delhi.

Britain and US urge India and Pakistan to keep talking
Ian Black, The Guardian, 2 December 2008
Fear that talk of attackers coming from across the border could shatter nuclear neighbours' delicate rapprochement
The United States and Britain are urging India and Pakistan to act with restraint and do nothing that could set back the recent thaw in their relations in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks. But a direct public accusation by India yesterday that the perpetrators were linked to Pakistan risked rekindling tensions.

What dividend from detente?
Simon Tisdall, guardian.co.uk, 25 November 2008
Proposals by Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, to create an economic union with India and a South Asian nuclear weapons-free zone have received scant attention in the west. But this week's confidence-building initiative represents another element in accelerating efforts to find region-wide solutions to the linked problems of terrorism and instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir.

Leader: Pakistan won't be first in nuclear strike
Associated Press, 23 November 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan's president has assured rival India he would not be the first to use atomic weapons in any future conflict and proposed the idea of a nuclear-free South Asia.

British Policy towards Iran's Nuclear Programme

Miliband nuclear speech irks Iran
BBC News, 27 November 2008
Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned the British ambassador over comments made by David Miliband on its nuclear ambitions, state media said. The Foreign Secretary said Iran's nuclear programme was a threat to Middle East and world security.

Miliband to speak out over Iran
BBC News, 23 November 2008
Britain's foreign secretary is to urge Arab leaders to make clear they do not support Iran's nuclear ambitions, as he visits the United Arab Emirates. David Miliband will say a nuclear-armed Tehran is the "most immediate" threat to Middle East stability.