Brentwood CND

July 2016

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The long-awaited parliamentary debate and vote on Trident replacement due for October will now take place at 10 pm Monday 18th July.

Join the massive protest rally outside.

Brought forward by the bellicosity of Theresa May to win her place as PM, It isn’t yet known whether MPs will be asked to support replacement in principle, or consent to the building of four new submarines, at a cost of £41bn. CND analysis has shown that the lifetime cost of Trident replacement will be at least £205 billion.

Millions have already been spent on upgrading the missiles with a £734 million scheme known as “Project Mensa” to build a new warhead assembly facility already underway at Burghfield, the 225 acre Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) where Trident nuclear warheads are assembled, maintained and serviced.

Trident is not only useless and dangerous, it is outmoded and technically viable to cyber attack and to discovery and targeting by underwater drones. It would be sheer profligacy to waste British taxpayer’s money on a system with built in redundancy. May’s urgent desire to unite the Tories around Trident replacement is really to declare that the UK will remain in NATO, and continue to play a leading role globally. She is willing to use nuclear weapons to guarantee not our security, but her PM leadership and UK’s place on the Security Council.

Public Opposition to Trident is growing as witnessed in the massive national demonstration in London on 27 February. MPs from every major party are expected to oppose the Government proposals. A multitude of organisations and individuals will be present at the rally in Parliament Square. Please attend. This is our last chance to protest against the insanity of nuclear weapons which waste Billions in a time of rising poverty, endanger our lives and our planet and solve none of the real problems facing the world’s people – global warming, the refugee crisis, poverty, lack of housing, education, health care, inequality, poverty and genocide. Nor does Trident solve the government’s own twice concluded main threats to national Security – terrorism, climate change, pandemics and cyber warfare. Write to your MP, newspapers, local radio, join the protest.

In memoriam

Jill Dimmock
13/6/1943 – 28/1/2014

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

Nelson Mandela.

Jill Dimmock, 70 was a founding member, long time Convenor and guiding light of Brentwood CND, since the early 1980’s. Her indefatigable energy, dedication to building world peace, mobilising and organising has been irreplaceable and greatly missed. Her lifetime’s devotion to creating a better world, to CND and against injustice and ignorance inspires us. We are currently rebuilding and energizing Brentwood CND in her name.

Jill was an ardent peace activist and eager participant in non violent direct action, wielding her bolt cutters at Greenham Common or the nuclear bunker in Brentwood, marching against Apartheid or military intervention in the Gulf, and singing lustily while lying in the road campaigning for a nuclear free peaceful world.

Passionately engaged in life, Jill inspired and organised people nurturing talent wherever she found it, challenging her family, students and friends to take responsibility to change what is wrong.

A lifetime teacher and lecturer, PhD in German film, Jill believed education a powerful weapon against evil. A passionate admirer of Nelson Mandela, she and her husband Gordon, both teachers, raised funds for schools in South Africa, following their visit at the end of apartheid to encourage the education of girls.

Jill loved film, founding and chairing two film clubs in Brentwood and Chelmsford for 26 years. She organised student and cultural exchanges with Germany for many decades culminating in town twinning of Brentwood/Roth for which she received a Civic Award.

She organized against Apartheid, the Yugoslav war in 1999 and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

In April 2013 she organised a highly successful day’s programme for Bruce Kent when he came to Brentwood as part of his ‘Ban the Bomb’ tour of Britain.   Subsequently she initiated the setting up Brentwood against Trident, which aims to bring together circles wider than CND in a common cause.

She was involved in Wool against Weapons setting up Brentwood Knitters for Peace who made a quarter mile contribution to the 8-mile scarf which was stretched between the atomic weapons facilities at Aldermaston and Burghfield in August 2014.. A special knitted tribute to Jill formed part of the scarf and was proudly carried by Brentwood CND members.

Jill was larger than life, dynamic, determined, courageous and principled with seemingly boundless energy. Her loss is immense. She touch­ed the lives of so many people opening them up to ideas of internationalism, peace, justice, love of hu­man­ity, film, music and life itself.

Jill’s funeral on February 14 2014 was presided over by Bruce Kent and followed by a reception and joyous celebration of her life. Over 250 people attended each packed event and over £1700 was donated to CND and the school projects in South Africa.

Help us rebuild CND in her memory as her work and life continue to inspire us.

Obama at the Hiroshima Memorial: Preaching Abstinence from a Bar Stool

On 6 August 1945 the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima killing 140,000 people. A second bomb on Nagasaki 3 days later killed 70,000. Japan surrendered 9 days later and WW2 was over.

At the time, President Truman described the bombing of Hiroshima as an act of revenge which massively increased US power. But in response to widespread criticism of the bombings, the “official “story changed. Based on a 1947 former Secretary of War article the US now claimed that the bombing had caused Japan’s surrender, shortened the war and saved Japanese and American lives. The 210,000 Japanese dead weren’t mentioned.

Six of the 7 top US wartime commanders publicly opposed the bombings. The most senior said “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender. In being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.” But their voices were buried as the Cold War and nuclear arms race ramped up. As one of the article drafters said “you have to get the past straight before you do much to prepare people for the future.”

On May 27 Barack Obama became the first serving US president to visit Hiroshima. Standing beside Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe he avoided justifying the bombings or apologizing for them. Instead he said he came to “ponder the terrible force and mourn the dead”. He spoke of the “tragedy” of the bombings which he said must never be repeated.

Referring to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 48 under which USA had agreed to get rid of its nuclear weapons, he said he looked forward to a nuclear weapons-free world in “perhaps” 40 year’s time.

However he failed to mention plans to spend $1 trillion modernising the entire US nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years. Us senator Ed Markey said Obama was “preaching nuclear temperance from a barstool”.

Obama is “pivoting to Asia” as part of his plan to confront nuclear powers in Russia and China. Japan’s “Hiroshima constitution was dictated by the USA in 1946. Article 9 says it ‘renounces war’ and will keep no armed forces. This was dropped with American backing during Cold War. Today Japan has the 8th highest level of military spending in the world. Its armed forces are called “self-defence forces” just as the aircraft carriers it’s busily building aren’t called aircraft carriers.

Shinzo Abe would like Japan to be a military power capable of intervening with might. But his plans clash with article 9 of the constitution, which his government has already reinterpreted. Japanese public opinion is opposed to dropping it altogether. The Obama administration strongly favours enhanced Japanese military capability.

Obama’s visit boosted Abe’s approval ratings. As Japanese anti-war activist Tatsuya Yoshioka said. “If Obama goes to Hiroshima and Abe end ups looking good because of it, and that dooms Article 9, what a horrible result that would be.”

(Reprinted and abridged from Peaceline July-Aug 2016 article by Jim Brann)

Cost of Trident Soars to Over £205 billion

At a time of great austerity, with cuts in social spending and underfunding of the health service, housing, education and all the vital needs of the people, the cost of Trident soars and is now estimated to be over £205 billion.

The system may be obsolete and obscene but the cost of daily running and maintenance and replacement are astronomical and unacceptable. Many of these are taking place already without parliamentary consent. Project Mensa is a £734 million scheme to build new warhead assembly and disassembly facilities at Burghfield, the 225 Acre Atomic Weapons Establishment site at Burghfield/Aldermaston in Reading. This is part of the Nuclear weapons Capability sustainment Programmed a secretive package of measures aimed at ensuring that the AWE can develop and manufacture nuclear weapons into the middle of this century. At least £7 billion will be spent on construction work alone at Burghfield over the next 25 years and much is already happening.

£205 million which could be spent on the NHS, housing, job creation, education and meeting the real human needs of our society.

Fast for the 70th commemoration of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings 6th-9th August outside Ministry of Defence

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, and there is a strong will to mark the occasion and to say: never forget, never again, nuclear disarmament now.

This worldwide fast has been held for decades. For the last two years it has also been held in Burghfield with support from Action AWE and Trident Ploughshares.

In France, for many years the fast was held outside the French strategic command based in Taverny, near Paris. Since 2005, it has been held in Paris itself -there are now over 100 fasters. It has spread to other symbolic sites: the Valduc Weapons Research establishment in Burgundy and also the nuclear science directorate CEA-CESTA in Le Barp, near Bordeaux where research is conducted into simulating nuclear tests,.

In Germany, the fast will again be held outside the Buchel NATO base, the only base in Germany at which nuclear weapons are still stationed.

We intend to raise the media profile, and to bring the issue to the very seat of power. We will be camping and holding vigils in Whitehall Gardens, and protesting peacefully outside Parliament, Downing Street, and the Ministry of Defence.

We will commemorate the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings by special vigils at the time of their occurrence, in sympathy and harmony with our friends and fellow-fasters across Europe. We will inform passers-by of the reasons for our fast. We will also join up with other commemorative protests: the CND commemoration in Tavistock Square on the same day, and the Pax Christi prayers and vigil outside Westminster Cathedral on Nagasaki day.

We will be conveying a simple message concerning the urgency of nuclear disarmament worldwide, and a specific message aimed at the British government and people calling for non-replacement of Trident.

We welcome any support however small.

Contact Angie on 074-565-88943 or email Marc marcwmorgan@btinternet.com

http://tridentploughshares.org/fast-2015-whitehall-gardens-london/.

The fast in France and Germany : http://maisondevigilance.com/projets.htm and https://www.versoehnungsbund.de/iga

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