Spring 2011

LET THE COALITION HEAR IT ON MARCH 26

CUT TRIDENT NOT WELFARE

 On Saturday, March 26th CND will be joining up with unions, charities and other campaigning groups in a huge demonstration to show the Coalition that they have got it wrong – cutting jobs, health, education and public services is not the way out of the crisis, nor is it just to make the vulnerable pay for a crisis which was not of their making.   Will any of the cuts already announced or in the pipeline will affect a single member of the cabinet?   If, however, Trident were to be cut we would save £100 billion, get rid of a useless weapons syst- em and be able to invest in jobs in marine energy technol-  ogy and other forms of sust-  ainable energy, which will help  towards our carbon emission targets.

We cannot afford to relax our campaigning, just because the Coalition has put the Trident decision on hold.  Although a group of defence, diplomatic, scientific and political figures has been set up to examine the case for nuclear weapons, the Defence Secretary has confirmed, in answer to a question in the House of Commons, that the specialist high strength steel and other items needed for the first new submarine will be purchased ahead of any formal decision on the renewal of Trident.  The cost is over a billion pounds

As Kate Hudson has said, ordering the steel to build a submarine is what any ordinary person would see as deciding to build the submarine.  CND and Liberal Democrat supporters need to fight this back door decision   JOIN US ON MARCH 26TH

Assemble  11am Embankment

SAFETY OF BRITAIN’S NUCLEAR POWER

An earth tremor in Cumbria shortly before Christmas has once again raised big question marks about the area’s potential for burying highly active nuclear waste.   Serious concerns about the unsuitability of Cumbria’s underground rock formation for any nuclear dumping below the surface have been voiced strongly over the past few months.   Marianne Birkby said:

Following the earthquake in Cumbria – just one of the increasingly frequent quakes to hit this area – our Cumbrian councillors should think again about their support for new nuclear build and geological disposal of high level nuclear wastes.   Even if this region had experienced no earth quakes at all, the Nirex enquiry of 1995 found the whole region to be too geologically unpredictable for the disposal of high level nuclear wastes.

Meanwhile anti-nuclear campaigners in London are continuing to press the Mayor of London on whether nuclear waste trains will continue to run during the 2012 Olympic Games.   The Mayor is prevaricating and Transport for London claims to be consulting Direct Rail Services as to whether the trains will be stopped.  So far, no answers have been forthcoming. The breaching of just one flask would release high level radiation which, in East London, would kill thousands of people downwind and require mass evacuation.  The trains are clearly a high profile terrorist target and given the Government’s insistence on the current high level of terrorist risk, it seems nothing short of reckless to have them moving so close to the site.   However, if they are stopped so as not to subject Olympic athletes and spectators to danger, why should Londoners be subjected to such risks at other times?    Jeremy Corbyn has agreed to request an answer from the Government under the Freedom of Information Act.

CHERNOBYL 25TH ANNIVERSARY

The 25th anniversary of the worst ever nuclear accident will be commemorated around the world on 26th April 2011.   This tragic birthday provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of nuclear power.   The nuclear industry and the governments which support it always make light of the ongoing effects of the contamination from Chernobyl.   The Chernobyl Forum Report, produced for the 20th anniversary by UN agencies led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), sought to perpetuate the myth that the greatest health consequence of the accident was psychological stress, or ‘radiophobia’.

In stark contrast, a New York Academy of Sciences’ book published in the spring, written by scientists in Russia and Belarus and based on years of research, reveals that hundreds of thousands have died as a result of the fallout.

Back in 2001, the Belarusian Ministry of Statistics declared that there had been a 60% rise in the number of children born with disabilities over the previous seven years.   And in the same year the head of Belarus’ radiation medicine unit told a news conference:  It is clear that we are seeing genetic changes, especially among those who were less than six years of age when subjected to radiation.   These people are now starting families.’

These consequences are now being widely denied, but in the Minsk Children’s Cancer Hospital, doctors are talking of the shock over the numbers of babies being diagnosed with cancer, including leukaemia.   And the Belarusian Children’s Hospital has many young families in their care, because babies have been born with genetic disorders which make it hard for them to breathe unaided.

The Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK) works closely with all the care agencies, supplying medicines when these cannot be obtained in Belarus and bringing children over for holidays.

To find out more about their work and events visit

www.chernobyl-children.org.uk

UK VOTES FOR DU SECRECY

168 countries voted on December 8th for a UN General Assembly resolution that states should provide the “data on DU (Depleted Uranium) munitions use” to affected countries.   Only four voted against – the UK, the US, France and Israel.   This should come as no surprise.

Parliamentary Early Day Motion 825 notes that 1.9 tonnes of DU rounds were fired by UK forces during Operation Telic in Iraq and that US armed forces expended at least 404 tonnes of DU ammunition in the 1991 and 2003 Iraq conflicts.   News stories are now emerging of higher rates of childhood leukaemia and birth defects in Iraqi cities since the conflict began.   In other words, the children of Iraq are suffering in similar ways to the children of Chernobyl.   Without proper transparency it will remain impossible properly to monitor and decontaminate and this will lead to avoidable civilian exposures.

It is surely totally unacceptable that the lives of innocent children and civilians in Iraq are put at risk because the information to mitigate that risk is being withheld.   Does the UK government care about the suffering it has caused in Iraq?

TRIDENT IN SCOTLAND

Concerned Scottish CND members recently took part in a delegation to the Scottish Parliament to meet Bruce Crawford, minister for Parliamentary Business.   The concern was that, despite all the early positive sounds from the nationalist-led

coalition which opposed Trident and objected

to the Faslane base and the transport of warheads through Scotland, very little had happened in real terms.   They wanted to see concrete action.   Bruce Crawford acknowledged that part of the problem was that some measures had been taken but not communicated to campaigners.   For example, letters had been written to the MOD about the transport of equipment and weaponry and there had been requests for figures on the number of Trident-related workers at Faslane and Coulport.

Answers had been disappointing (well no surprise there – what did he expect?!)   The delegation particularly asked the government to address the issue of the legality of Trident.   They argued that Trident is illegal and is required to be reviewed by the Lord Advocate under Scottish law.   There was discussion as to what action might be taken if this is confirmed, as the government has an obligation to comply with the Scotland Act.   The lobbyists, who included Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, the World Court Project, Trident Ploughshares

and Greenpeace pointed out that expectations ran high following the Scottish Government’s election promises and the working group which they set up.   Bruce Crawford acknowledged that more concrete action is required.

Clearly, even when faced with a Government which is on your side, a little chivvying does not go amiss.

ESSEX CHRISTIAN CND

On Saturday, 16th April Essex Christian CND will be holding its AGM at Friends Meeting House in Hutton Road, Shenfield.   It will start at 10am.

At 11am there will be a talk by Rev Keith Plaister (now retired) entitled “Rabble-rousing for Peace”.

This will be followed by a bring and share lunch.

There is limited parking at the Meeting House but there is some road parking and the House is only a few minutes walk from Shenfield Station..

All CND members are welcome to the talk.  Enquiries about membership should go to Enid Russell, 51 Harwood Avenue, HornchurchRM11 2NY

NUCLEAR DEALS WITH INDIA

This article is a summary of the one by Dr David Lowry, former Director of the European Proliferation Centre.

In 2008 the US broke a 34-year ban on nuclear trade with India when it signed a special deal allowing the export of US civilian nuclear technology and fuel in exchange for inspections of India’s civilian (but not military) nuclear facilities.   France has since followed suit with its own civilian nuclear deal.   Britain under both Labour and the coalition has been involved in nuclear cooperation, supposedly, according to Pat McFadden, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, ‘in line with our strong non-proliferation commitments’.   This is a dangerous fantasy.

The problem is not simply that these moves are likely to raise fears of leakage of fissile material from India’s civilian to its military nuclear programme, but that it rewards a state that has steadfastly refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.   It will also also lead to demands from Pakistan for a similar deal.   It is estimated that Pakistan has between 70 – 90 nuclear warheads and India 60 – 80.   Both countries are believed to be increasing their nuclear forces and neither has signed the NPT.   In spite of this, both countries have voted for a UN resolution calling for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

The two countries are frequently put on a war footing with one another, partly due to the dispute over Kashmir:  a regional exchange of, for example, just 50 warheads between the two would result in the deaths of 200 million people and the largest climate change recorded in human history – see latest research findings at www.nucleardarkness.org

The present government’s policy, begun by Labour, of promoting nuclear technology and nuclear power on a worldwide basis, in return for nations waiving any interest in nuclear weapons, is dangerous enough.   But to offer India the carrot without the stick is both dangerous and deluded.

 trident

CAMPAIGNING  IN BRENTWOOD

In Brentwood we shall be doing our own bit to bring home to people the nonsense of swingeing cuts in public services whilst we continue to waste billions of pounds on the Trident nuclear weapon.

On Saturday, 19th March  and Saturday, 16th April 11am – 12.30pm  we shall be gathering signatures for the CND national petition to persuade the Coalition to abandon any possibility of renewing Trident after the next election.

Do visit us (and pay your subs) or join us if you can.

MEANWHILE, AT ALDERMASTON……..

Last year protestors at Aldermaston were subjected to more overt surveillance than ever before.   Very intrusive police photography has already caused camp members to lodge a formal complaint when it was reported that Ian Caswell from the ‘Domestic Extremism’ unit of the Association of Police Officers has specifically been targeting Trident Ploughshares and the Aldermaston Peace Camp as part of this discredited organisation’s investigation into the ‘activity of groups who carry out criminal acts of direct action to further their protest campaign’.  In other words, if you go to Aldermaston you become a domestic extremist.   In response to this labelling the women decided

that they should clean up the base – all those nuclear weapons, radioactive waste, asbestos really are dirty and untidy.   On February 12th at 12 noon they turned up with pinnies, mops and buckets to try to do just that.  The police were unimpressed by their attempts to rebrand themselves as domestic goddesses rather than domestic extremists, but they will doubtless try again.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

We presently have 58 members in Brentwood CND.   This number has reduced over the past few years, mainly due to the death of some members and others moving away.   Although we have recruited a few new faces we have not done so in sufficient numbers to replace those who have gone.

Nonetheless we are still a viable group and are still able to get enough supporters to help run stalls and petitions – but we do need the regular income of your subscriptions.

So far 19 members have renewed their subs this year, or have paid by standing order.   This means that 39 still have not and, of these, some owe for 2010 as well.  Subscriptions for 2011are:

£3.00 (£1.50 conc) individuals

£6.00 (£3.00 conc) families

Please send them to Penny Wright, 9 Harold Gardens. Wickford, SS11 7EN

Contact Penny (077966 76046) or Jill (216712) if you are not sure whether you owe for 2010 as well.

DAIRY DATES

Saturday, March 12th  7.30 pm

Chelmsford Cathedral Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society will be performing Karl Jenkin’s Mass for Peace.   Tickets £14  Contact Jill (216712).

Saturday, March 19th  11am – 12.30pm

Brentwood CND stall and petitioning near Beckett Abbey ruins.

Saturday, March 26th  Assemble 11am

Big TUC demonstration against the cuts.   Join the CND anti-Trident section.

Tuesday, April 5th 5 – 7pm

(and first Tuesday each month) Vigil in Parliament Square against Trident replacement.

Saturday, April 16th 11am

Talk by Keith Plaister at Friends’ Meeting House, Shenfield – Rabble-rousing for Peace.

Saturday, April 16th  10.30 – 5.00 pm

Wesley’s Chapel, 49 City Road, London EC1Y 1AU   Public Meeting – United Nations for a 21st Century?

2nd weekend each month

Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp

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