Summer 2012

I-can

I’m sure many of you will re- member the name of ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) which has been campaigning since 1995 to get the UN to negotiate a treaty which would outlaw nuclear weapons throughout the world.

In 2007 Costa Rica and Malaysia finally submitted  a model treaty and in 2008 gained the backing of Ban Ki-moon.  In 2010 over 140 nations called for an abolition treaty at the UN Non-Prolifer- ation Conference and ICAN launched a new campaign targeting Europe and the Middle East.  At present the treaty is supported by 140 nations, with an additional 22 being lukewarm and 30 being sceptical.   No prizes for guessing where Britain and the US stand!   When Eric Pickles says that the Government has a commitment to press for continued progress on multi-national disarmament, then he needs to be asked why it is not supporting this treaty.

GREECE

In all the discussions about Greece’s National Debt, (too high pensions, too high public service salaries etc.) little has been said about Greece’s arms spending.   In 2010 its military budget was seven billion Euros, 3% of GDP and the highest figure in NATO apart from the US.  It was Ger- many’s biggest arms customer.  There has been precious little talk about cutting this.

NEW LIFE FOR MILFORD HAVEN?

The Government is clearly worried about the implications of a ‘yes’ vote in the Scottish referendum for the Trident naval base.  The SNP has repeatedly claimed that it would no longer tolerate the base on its shores.  A list of possible alternatives to Faslane is being considered, with Milford Haven coming out on top.  In spite of 25% of Britain’s petrol diesel supplies sand 30% of its natural gas coming through there and the enormous safety issues which arise from this the Labour-led administration is still not saying no.  The people of Wales may have a different idea.

HILDA MURRELL

Hilda Murrell was an anti-nuclear activist and researcher who was a thorn in the side of the Thatcher government.  She was murdered in her home and the killer has never been found.  Her nephew, retired Commander Robert Green of the Royal Navy has just written a book about his aunt’s life and death where he strongly implicates MI5 and Special branch in her murder.

A THORN IN THEIR SIDE – The Hilda Murrell Murder.   It makes fascinating reading.

WORLWIDE DECLINE

FOR NUCLEAR POWER

The annual World Nuclear Status Report for 2012 published in July presents a picture of accelerating decline for the industry.  In 2011 seven new reactors were started but 19 closed down and 4 countries (Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Taiwan) are phasing out nuclear power.  Another five (Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Thailand) have decided not to engage in previously planned nuclear programmes.

Electronics giant Siemens has decided to with draw entirely from nuclear power.  All nuclear companies are performing badly on the stock exchange at the moment, with EDF, the French State utility which wanted to be a player in Britain’s new nuclear power stations, having seen its share value drop by 82%.   And Britain’s response to this?  Let’s see if the Chinese can help us out!

ARE WE?

A little girl whilst holding her mother’s hand asked of her mother

‘Mummy, why do we have bombs?’

‘To keep us safe’

Replied her mother

‘Safe from what?’

Asked her daughter

‘Other bombs’

Replied the little girl’s mother.

Knowing that her questions

were not really being answered

with great disappointment,

the little girl gave up asking     questions,

and simply said,

‘But bombs make me scared Mummy’.

The little girl’s mother triumphantly declared,

‘That’s what makes us safe’.

After a very long time,

with huge tears in her eyes

the little girl reluctantly let go of her mother’s hand

and said,

‘  I

don’t

want

to

be

safe’.

Anthony Tinley, Rhyl

SUBS

If you find an addressed envelope in with your newsletter it means we think you haven’t paid your sub for this year so could you please use it to send your amount to Penny.  £3 (£1.50) individuals £6 (£3) families. Thanks.

DIARY DATES

13th-14th October

CND National Conference

20th October

TUC national demonstration

See next WIRE for details

NB   I am still not quite firing on all 4 pistons thus there are fewer and shorter newsletters and no stalls!   Hope to be fully fit soon.   Jill

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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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January 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR MEMBERS
OUR NUMBER ONE RESOLUTION IS STILL THE CANCELLATION OF TRIDENT

As each new year comes around there are reasons to be dejected about our campaign but also glimmers of hope that lead us to believe that we can achieve our ultimate aim of a world free from nuclear weapons. More than ever before our specific objective within CND – that Britain should unilaterally disarm itself of all nuclear weapons – has to be seen in the broader international context, where North Korea is threatening its southern neighbour with a nuclear attack, where an increasingly unstable Pakistan could end up being, at least partly, controlled by Taliban forces who might end up with access to its nuclear arsenal and where there are fears, unfounded or not, that Iran is developing a nuclear ‘deterrent’. Up to now the problem with dealing with such threats is that the so-called ‘good’ guys, namely the official nuclear states – USA, UK, France, Russia and China – have shown extreme reluctance to get rid of theirs, thus fuelling the idea that nuclear weapons are a deterrent. If we claim to need them for defence then every country can do the same..
However, just before the Christmas recess, President Obama finally achieved the first real success in his declared plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons when the US Senate ratified the agreement signed by him and President Medvedev in April 2010 by a two thirds majority. This new START treaty now commits the two countries to reduce their warheads by 30%.
Kate Hudson said: This is a significant advance for disarmament, enacting real reductions in the size of the nuclear forces deployed by the US and Russia. They both retain the ability to destroy all life on earth, but reducing the size of their deployed forces lessens the possibility of accidents or unauthorised launches on either side.


There had been months of uncertainty as to whether President Obama, having been wounded by the mid-term elections, was going to be able to get the Senate behind him in this vote.
Kate Hudson added: With this hurdle cleared, the US administration should seek to maximise the practical steps it can take immediately without any need for legislation, for example reducing the ‘alert state’ of their weapons systems as well as permanently disabling the thousands of retired warheads in their stockpiles.

Parallel to this, negotiations should commence on a treaty which would encompass all US and Russian nuclear weapons – including the smaller tactical weapons which are ignored in the new START agreement.
The Senate vote opens the space for further disarmament measures by the US, Russia and other states. This is clearly where Britain should be taking a lead and the decision not to renew Trident would demonstrate our real commitment to Obama’s goal of a nuclear free world. At the same time, however, we must not forget that the present war in Afghanistan is killing thousands of civilians, that under Obama the numbers of drone and other airborne attacks have increased and that ridding the world of the most deadly of weapons, on its own, is not going to stop that. Hard times are ahead. The campaign goes on.

THOSE CUTS

2011 will be marked by the gradual effect of the cuts to the welfare and public service budgets being felt up and down the country. CND, as a single issue campaign, has no official line on these, but there is one cut we would support– to the budget for Trident renewal.. Locally, a group of trade unionists centred in and around Chelmsford has set up an anti-cuts campaigning group and Unison has produced an alternative budget which could help pay back the deficit to the tune of £74 billion in one year. These are some of the things which they suggest.
* Cancel Trident –
£1.8bn saved in one year
(£76 bn over 40 years)
* Introduce a 50% tax on
incomes over £100,000 –
£4.7 bn saved.
* Reform tax havens and residency rules to reduce tax avoidance by big corporations – £10 bn saved.
* Introduce a Major Financial Transactions Tax on UK financial institutions –
£30 bn saved
* Introduce an Empty Property Tax on vacant dwellings – this would also help to alleviate the housing shortage – £5 bn saved
* End the central government use of private consultants who bring little discernible benefit – £2.8 bn saved
* Replace PFI schemes, which cost money in user fees and interest charges with conventional public procurement – £3 bn saved.
These measures together with half a dozen others not detailed here would mean that the government did not have to make any cuts to the welfare or public services budget.
If you are interested in further information E-mail :
maljan9@gmail.com or ring 01245 601373.
There will be a benefit cabaret on 26th February starting at 7pm at Christ Church, New London Road, Chelmsford the Banner Theatre and the 1st May Band.

NUCLEAR POWER

An impressive display of people power took place in Germany in early November when the 12th annual transport of highly radioactive material from La Hague (France) to storage at Gorleben (Germany). In Southern Germany a blockade by 1,500 – 2,000 protestors forced the train to change route. People dangling from bridges also impeded progress. As the train neared the terminus it was met by some 50,000 protestors. Despite the cold, 3,000 lay down on the track and 800 were arrested. The last 20km were by road where protestors parked tractors, dragged logs and herded flocks of sheep across the route. In total the transport, which without protests should take a matter of hours, took nearly 4 days – the longest journey time ever. The large numbers of German protestors can be accounted for by the German Government’s decision to repeal the law closing all 17 German nuclear plants by 2022 and instead extending their lives for up to 14 years.
Back here in the UK we have to witness Chris Huhne’s speedy back peddling on the issue of nuclear power. On his old (pre-Coalition) website he said:
The nuclear industry’s key skill over the past half century has not been generating electricity, but extracting lashings of taxpayers’ money.
From this, one might deduce that subsidies for nuclear power would be out of the question – and therefore that there could be no nuclear power stations as no corporation is prepared to underwrite the costs of insur- ing against a the effects of a nuclear accident, of decommis- sioning or of storage of waste. But no – if we pay attention to his weasel words of 16th December in the House of Commons, we hear this:
I could not be clearer than to say that there is no subsidy here which attaches to nuclear power. The subsidy attaches to low-carbon generation….. and the reality is that nuclear power is a low carbon energy source.
So that’s all right then. We can forget about the dangers of waste transport and storage, of accidents, of health risks – none of which apply to any of the other energy sources he is thinking of subsidising.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Any time from January 1st Penny, our treasurer will be pleased to receive your subscriptions.
£3 (£1.50 conc) individuals
£6 (£3.00 conc) families
Please send your cheques to Brentwood CND c/o 9 Harold Gardens, Wickford, SS11 7EN
Don’t forget to check out our updated website at:
http://www.cndbrentwood.org
DIARY DATES
Saturday, 8th January 10.30am
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square
London Region (to which we are affiliated) AGM
15th January 2pm
Excel Exhibition Centre
East London Against Arms Fairs Musical Protest
18th January 7pm
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square
Rally for Gaza
5th February 10.30 am
St Mellitus Church, Tollington Park Movement Against War Strategy Day
26th February 7pm
Chelmsford Against the Cuts Cabaret, Christ Church, New London Road
WIRE is published and printed by Brentwood CND, 26 Mascalls Gdns CM14 5LT 01277 216712

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Spring 2010

The Peace Vote and the General Election

By the time you receive this WIRE it is possible that the long awaited announcement of a General Election will have been made and the date become public.  Many CND members have a loyalty to a particular political party, hoping, perhaps, that even if the party at this moment does not support Britain’s nuclear disarmament, there will eventually be enough pressure from rank and file membership and voters at large, to bring about a change of policy.   Individual candidates may, of course, themselves support nuclear disarmament, contrary to party policy, and we might decide to support them with our vote.   There is, of course, a very small group of political parties, many of which we shall have no chance to vote for, whose party policy is the non-renewal of Trident and the gradual removal of Britain’s nuclear arsenal.   These include the Green Party (no MPs in Parliament at the moment) Respect Party (1 MP), Plaid Cymru (3 MPs) and the Scottish National Party (7 MPs). ( I do not have the official policy of the BNP and UKIP at the time of writing.)   The Conservative and Labour Parties and the Liberal Democrats all support a ‘minimum nuclear deterrent’.   However, the monolithic stance of these major parties breaks down a little when it comes to the issue of Trident replacement.   95 Labour MPs (out of 350) either opposed the replacement or voted to delay the decision, 3 conservative MPs (out of 193) did the same and all 63 Lib Dems opposed Trident renewal. This is therefore still clearly the issue on which we need to campaign as it would be an important step in nuclear disarmament.

Brentwood CND will be writing to all Brentwood candidates (including UKIP and the BNP) to ask them their personal views on renewal and we shall publicise their replies.  We are holding two Saturday stalls in March, on 13th and 20th, to gather more signatures on the non-renewal of Trident and raise awareness of the issue.   Individuals can raise awareness within their own political parties, write to the local press and lobby candidates.   We must remember that, for once, the public is on our side and we have the backing of a number of recent opinion polls which show a majority in favour of scrapping Trident.

PRE-ELECTION AD IN LOCAL NEWSPAPER

One of the actions we could take as a local CND group is to take out an ad on the issue of Trident in a local paper – presumably the Brentwood Gazette.   As we know from being on the High Street stall, many people are genuinely surprised when we explain that Britain still has nuclear weapons, thinking that we got rid of them at the end of the Cold War and an advertisement could highlight this issue.   Included in your WIRE this month is a suggested format and wording for such an ad.   It would cost between £250 and £450 depending upon the size, and our funds could not cover the whole cost.  We are then asking you whether you feel that this would be a good way of getting our message across and, if so, whether you could make a contribution to the cost.   Names of donors could be included in the ad. or not, depending upon what you request.   Seeing names of local people on such an advertisement can be quite persuasive but we would naturally respect anonymity if requested.

We shall not cash any cheques until we can see whether we have enough money to fund the ad.   If we do not then all cheques will be returned.

I t really is crucial to raise awareness of this issue.   The Government does not want it talked about.   In the recent Green Paper which reviews our defence priorities Trident has not even been mentioned.   Its exclusion makes the review a nonsense.   Bob Ainsworth, the Defence Secretary, has spoken of the real financial pressures facing future plans but clearly feels that spending £76 billion on Trident renewal is acceptable.   At a time when the USA and Russia are reducing their nuclear arsenals and Britain is facing its worst ever financial crisis Trident must go.

ALDERMASTON BLOCKADED AGAIN

Aldermaston, Britain’s nuclear bomb factory was successfully blockaded again on February 15th this year.    By 7am all gates were effectively blocked, preventing traffic and workers from entering.

More than 500 activists took part and the protest was entirely peaceful.   I found myself at International Gate (aka Tadley Gate?  aka Construction Gate? – I get confused) as it was near there that I could most easily park my car.   International Gate appeared to be mainly made up of Welsh and Spanish blockaders. and, perhaps because the police, having cunningly checked the Aldermaston web site, knew that ‘foreign nationals’ were involved, there was, for several hours, no real attempt to break the blockade, in spite of the traffic queues building up.

(Police tend often not to want to arrest ‘foreign nationals’ at such events as there are often bail and language problems).  When it appeared that the police were happy to leave that particular blockade in place, I moved on, but not before the arrival of some spiritual and bodily support in the form of a couple of Buddhist monks swiftly followed by a mobile soup kitchen.

I moved on to the Women’s Gate where there had been a concerted effort by the police to clear the blockade.   Cutters had been brought in to separate a group of Spanish women who had locked on to one another and these were proceeding very slowly, anxious not to cause injury to them.

The whole process was taking a very long time as the women had claimed  not to be able to speak English so all interaction had to be carried out through an interpreter.   One such conversation which I overheard went like this:

Officer: Could you explain to your friend that she needs to turn her head a little as I am now going to cause a few sparks when I cut through the metal.

(Interpreter speaks quietly and at great length to blockader who then replies, also at great length.)

Interpreter: She is saying she is not caring about your sparks.  She is more worried about what is going on in there (with a finger pointed at the base)

Next phase of the cutting free continues.

26 people were arrested in all by the end of the morning and the work of Aldermaston was once more disrupted.  Such blockades are an essential, even enjoyable, part of the campaign against Trident renewal.
Jill

NUCLEAR POWER CANCERS AGAIN

While the government is pushing ahead with the ‘consultation’ and planning processes for Britain’s new generation of nuclear plants (including one at Bradwell in Essex) a recent powerful study has indicated potential serious health problems which should cause even the most ardent supporters of nuclear power to stop and think again.

In 2008, a major 4-year health study found large increases in infant cancers near all German nuclear power stations.   The study had been confidently commissioned by the German Government to show that there were no such problems. The study (called KiKK – Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von KernKraftwerken) reported a 2.2 fold increase in leukaemia risks among children under five living within 5km of all German nuclear power stations.   KiKK found the cancer risks were firmly linked to proximity to nuclear power plants.   Its report sparked off a major furore in Germany, but the study has been little reported on here.   KiKK is significant  because the radionuclide emissions from UK reactors (both existing and proposed)

are practically the same as those from German reactors.

Scientifically speaking, the KiKK study commands attention for a number of reasons.   First is its large size and case control format: it examined all cancers at all 16 nuclear reactor locations in Germany between 1980 and 2003, including 1,592 under fives with cancer and 4,735 controls, with 593 under –fives with cancer and 4,735 controls.   This means the study is very strong and its findings statistically significant.

Second is its authority: it was commissioned in 2003 by the German Government’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection after requests from German citizen groups.   The study was carried out by epidemiology teams from the University of Mainz who, ironically, were in favour of nuclear power.

The findings were a shock for the German nuclear industry.   KiKK’s findings are partly the reason why Germany is not building new reactors, with the result that German nuclear operators (EON and RWF) are now proposing them in the UK instead!

British  Reaction

In the UK, the Chair of the government’s Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) initially denied the KiKK findings, stating in a letter to nuclear site stakeholder groups that recent French and UK studies did not support the KiKK results.   However, this letter had to be officially withdrawn following criticisms and in October 2009 the Department of Health instructed COMARE to look

into the KiKK study in detail.   This report is expected in April.

Other Evidence

In 2008 French scientists carried out a literature review of 26 multi-site studies of childhood cancer near nuclear facilities throughout the world.   This followed a 1999 listing of 50 similar studies.   In 2007  researchers in South Carolina carried out a large analysis of 136 sites in the UK, Canada, France, US, Germany, Japan and Spain.   All of these have supported the KiKK results, finding increased incidences of child leukaemia and child cancer death rates close to nuclear facilities.

Our government is in denial over these results so we must await the outcome of the COMARE report with a certain amount of scepticism.

Dr Ian Fairlie

________________________________________

THE FUTURE OF ENERGY

Professor Andy Blowers OBE will be discussing what Britain’s energy options are if our supply is to be truly sustainable.

Mayoral Suite, Town Hall, High Street, Colchester 25th March 7.30 Tickets £5

Ring 01206 282206

______________________________________

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE NPT REVIEW CONFERENCE?

The next Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review conference is scheduled to take place from 3 – 28 May, just when the UK is going to be embroiled in the fall-out from a General Election.  It is therefore unlikely that the New York conference will be at the top of any politician’s agenda.

This is regrettable but nonetheless we, the general public, must keep our eye on the ball to see what can be achieved in terms of nuclear disarmament.   Unfortunately, even when important commitments are adopted at NPT conferences, as with the “13 Practical Steps on Disarmament” agreed in 2000, the treaty lacks the powers and the tools to ensure their implementation.

Stuck, as it is, in a Cold War mentality, the conference may, if it is successful, achieve some

incremental steps in reduction of arsenals but new thinking is required if we are going to turn non-proliferation into abolition .and this has to be driven by civil society.   The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and key NGOs are working on a two-phase strategy that engages with the NPT, and is trying to persuade as many governments as possible to incorporate the call for  negotiations on a

nuclear weapons convention to be included in their position papers at the start of the conference.

If over 100 governments incorporated the call for negotiations on such a treaty into their statements, and if possible to make 2020 the target date for the conclusion of this treaty, it would be much harder to leave it out of the NPT documents.   CND along with ICAN members and many other groups will be working alongside government delegations to try to achieve this goal.   If the concept of a nuclear weapons convention were to be endorsed at the Conference that would be an important step, but there would still be much work to be done to get negotiations underway and this is where local activism will come in.

On 5th June, just after the Conference closes, there will be a worldwide day of action to get the message across that world nuclear disarmament is crucial to our survival.  We shall publicise these in Brentwood CND.

Dr Rebecca Johnson,

ESSEX CHRISTIAN CND AGM

The AGM of Essex Christian CND will take place on Saturday, 17 April at the Quaker Meeting House, 49 Hutton Road, Shenfield 10 – 2pm.   Bob Russell has offered to speak on ‘The Just War Tradition’, an often misunder- stood Church doctrine.  Anyone who would just like to hear the talk and take part in the discussion is welcome to do so from 11am.   There will follow a ‘ bring and share’ lunch.  Contact Beryl – 01277 353450.

THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK

CND welcomed the decision, taken on 14th January, to move the nuclear ‘doomsday clock’ back from five to six minutes to midnight.   The symbolic clock, charting the relative dangers of nuclear annihilation is controlled by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and has only been re-set 19 times since its inception in 1947.

The shift recognises the significant improvement, since the end of the Bush era, with both Presidents Obama and Medvedev committed to nuclear abolition.

As the third oldest nuclear state, if Britain were to cancel Trident replacement, the hands of the clock would doubtless move back further.

HOUSMANS BOOKSHOP

London’s famous bookshop, committed to peace and social justice has now gone on-line.   With over 500,000 titles avai-  lable, it is an ethical alternative to Amazon.

www.housmans.com

‘Support the shop that supports your campaigns’

MICHAEL FOOT

All in CND mourn the loss of Michael Foot who died on Wednesday, 3rd March.   Michael helped launch CND at its founding meeting on 17th February 1958and was always to be seen leading the Aldermaston marches and the rallies in Trafalgar Square.   As leader of the Labour Party he continued to back nuclear disarmament in the 1980s, but the Social Democratic Party split from Labour and massively cut the Labour vote, leading to Labour’s defeat in 1983.   He was a principled and passionate politician who believed fervently in social justice and the political life of our nation is the poorer with his passing.

STALLS

We shall be holding 2 anti-Trident renewal stalls at the Becket Chapel ruins this month: 13th and 20th March 11-12.30.   Why not pay us a visit – or even join us there.  We would love to see – and you could pay your 2010 subs!

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Subscriptions are now due for 2010, unless you are among the few who have paid already.

They are £6 (£3) for families and £3 (£1.50) for individuals.  If you previously paid for 3 years your sub is also due:  £15 (£7.50) for families or £7.50 (£3.75) for individuals.  Send to Penny Wright, 9 Harold Gdns, Wickford. SS11 7EN

VISIT TO HIROSHIMA

CND members Beryl Lankester and her husband Roger will be attending the Hiroshima Day ceremony this year – in Hiroshima.   Beryl is one of the main organisers of this annual Christian CND event in Essex and will be taking a candle on behalf of Brentwood CND to Hiroshima with her.

DIARY

Saturday, March 13  11-12.30

Stall, Brentwood High Street

March 13. Edinburgh

March and rally against plans to spend billions on nuclear weapons.  Speakers Alex Salmond, Kate Hudson

Saturday March 20  11-12.30

Stall Brentwood High Street

April 2-7  Dover-Southampton

Relay along the South Coast to carry a flame of hope for the abolition of nuclear weapons.   This flame will join a flame from Hiroshima to go to New York for the NPT review conference in May.

16 – 17 April

Imperial War Museum

‘Peace history – visions and experiments.’   Organised by the Movement for the Abolition of War.   Speakers include Christine Blowers (NUT) and Victoria Brittain

May 3-28   New York

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference.

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Autumn 2010

TRIDENT DECISION TO BE DELAYED

First it was leaked on Radio 4’s 6am news a week before the LibDem Conference, next there were strong hints from the Conference itself, the Guardian then followed with an article on 25th September and by the time you read this WIRE it is likely that it will be official – that the decision on what kind of submarines should replace the existing 4-boat Trident fleet and how many nuclear missiles they should carry, will be left to 2015 and a new parliament.   The delay will help take the heat out of two fundamental disagreements, one within the conservative party itself and the other within the coalition.   Liam Fox, the defence secretary, believes that the Treasury should fund the Trident renewal, whereas Chancellor George Osborne is adamant that the bills must be paid by the MoD.   Within the coalition itself Liberal ministers and MPs are much more equivocal than the Tories about the need to renew Trident at all and, crucially, the LibDems voted overwhelmingly at their conference that Trident should be included in the current Strategic Defence Review which is preceding the big budget cut announcements due in October. The wholesale review of Britain’s defence needs and defence costs is being carried out without any consideration of the role which Britain’s nuclear weapons should or shouldn’t play.   The delay in the Trident decision, therefore, lets the parties in both arguments off the hook.   It avoids having to confront the issue of nuclear abolition.

It is easy to feel very disappointed that the issue is being fudged.  Before we are too disheartened, however, we have to consider whether, at this stage, anything better could realistically have been hoped for.   Certainly a Labour government, as the party’s position is at present, would not cancel Trident and neither would the Tories.   A delay to the decision is for the moment, the best we can hope for and it does, at least, give us the time to work upon those dissident and wavering anti-Trident MPs, and there are quite a few of them across the parties,  to take a firm joint stand and vote against renewal.

What this means for us in CND, of course, is continued campaigning.   For the first time in our

history, the public is behind us.  A new poll, commissioned by the Mail on Sunday (no less!)

showed that now 63% want Trident scrapped (BPIX June 2010).   At a time when essential services are going to be cut and the poor and vulnerable will be put at risk, it is nonsense to be contemplating spending £76 billion on military hardware which could never be used and in no way addresses our real defence needs.  In the following pages of WIRE we shall try to consider some of the arguments regarding Trident renewal so as to keep them at the forefront of our thinking in our discussions with those who are not yet convinced.

Four years ago when we began petitioning in earnest in the Brentwood High Street we came across many who did not even know that the UK still had nuclear weapons.   Things have moved on since then and now, one of the most common responses goes along the lines of:

“I agree with you really, but don’t think it (the petition) will do any good.”   We are meeting a more sympathetic, if somewhat disillusioned, public now.   Stalls are important to try to help shift public opinion.

HIGH STREET STALLS

Come and sign the new petition.   We shall be by the side of the Becket Abbey ruins on:

Saturday, 9th October and

Saturday 6th November

from 11am – 12.30pm

On 6th November there will  be more white poppies available (please find your complementary one in this WIRE) and also Christmas cards.

TRIDENT AND JOBS

There have been renewed claims from some MPs and others who back the renewal of Trident, that to cancel it would lead to enormous job losses at the shipyard in Barrow and elsewhere.   A new report, however, which was launched at the TUC conference this autumn, shows that in fact the opposite is true.   The author of the report, Professor John Foster, begins by making a comprehensive analysis of jobs dependent on Trident and those jobs which will be put at risk in order to pay for its £76 billion cost.   Using official figures, the report shows that the cancellation of surface ships, aircraft, armoured vehicles and RAF bases which will need to happen if Trident is to go ahead will put at risk far more jobs than those endangered by Trident cancellation.   Trident is cash hungry and hundreds of millions are spent with US-based contractors, whilst providing nothing for the UK economy. The report also explains how, with relatively small investment, the key facility dependent on Trident work – BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow – could be realigned towards the rapidly growing needs of a low carbon economy.   Precision marine engineering skills are perfect for developing wave and tidal energy systems, where Britain could be a world leader.   Diversifying into a market with strong domestic demand as well as huge export potential would provide much greater security for shipyard workers.

The report, including an executive summary, is available at:

www.cnduk.org/tridentjobs

ALDERMASTON DANGER

As we all know, in spite of the final decision on Trident not yet having been made, the UK is steaming ahead with Trident development plans at Aldermaston.   On 3 August this year fire broke out in the explosive area of the Atomic Weapons Establishment which resulted in an unprecedented public evacuation and asbestos contamination.   The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the causes.

Attention has been focused on a series of safety incidents over recent years, which include repeated fires, staff exposure to beryllium, the mislaying of radio active material and a nuclear weapons trigger, the collision of a vehicle carrying high explosives, the flooding of warhead assembly buildings and several other incidents.   Cost cutting may compromise safety.   A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Observer shows that there is increasing concern about the protection of the workforce, the public and the environment if the 10% – 20% cuts go ahead.

SECURITY WITHOUT NUCLEAR DETERRENCE

A longer version of the following article was written by Robert Green, an ex-Royal Navy commander who flew nuclear strike jets and anti submarine helicopters with nuclear depth bombs from 1968-1977.   In 1991 he came out against nuclear weapons and has now published a book ‘Security without Nuclear Deterrence’.

At the recent nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference I was much encouraged to hear nuclear deterrence widely condemned.   Egypt, on behalf of the 118 member Non-Aligned Movement, called for this doctrine to be rejected as ‘neither bringing about peace not international security’, and preventing progress towards abolition.

Also encouraging is the publication of a surprisingly hard hitting report, Delegitimising Nuclear Weapons, published by the US thinktank, the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and sponsored by the Swiss government, which challenges the validity of the nuclear deterrence doctrine, and calls for a new debate. The nuclear states’ blocking of any serious moves towards honouring their obligation to get rid of their nuclear arsenals is driven by their uncritical acceptance of nuclear deterrence. A nuclear weapon is not a weapon at all – it is the ultimate terror device. Britain’s new coalition government has taken power at a critical moment for the future of British and global nuclear policy.   The LibDem manifesto opposed replacing Trident with a similar system and Nick Clegg has courageously chal- lenged the value to Britain of the US-UK special relationship.  Because Britain depends on the US for its nuclear arsenal, successive British govern- ments have slavishly followed US foreign policy, blindly following the US into Iraq and Afghanis-  tan.   This has left a black hole in the defence budget.  Britain should turn this crisis into an opportunity, reassert its sovereignty, and exploit the US-UK relationship in a dramatic new way.  Making a virtue out of a necessity, the government should announce that it has decided to rescue the Nuclear Non- proliferation Treaty by becoming the first of the five recognised nuclear weapons states to reject the concept of nuclear deterrence.

As with the abolition of slavery, a new world role awaits the British.   Such a move would be sensa- tional. in transforming the nuclear disarmament debate overnight.   British leadership could create the drive for a non-nuclear strategy and begin to shift the mindset in the US and France, the other two most zealous guardians of non-nuclear deterrence. Abolishing nuclear weapons is physically straightforward.   Changing the mindset is the difficult part.

PEACE WALK

From 27th June to 1st July a peace walk was organised from London to Colchester in support of Joe Glenton, the British soldier serving 9 months in the Colchester “Corrective Training Centre” for going AWOL

Peace walkers at Brentwood Cathedral welcomed by Bishop McMahon

Their overnight stay on June 29th was Brentwood Cathedral where they were warmly welcomed by Bishop MacMahon and members of Brentwood CND.  An evening meeting was held in the Friends’ Meeting House in Shenfield on drone warfare and  the following day the walkers were accompanied to Brentwood’s War Memorial where the names of dead soldiers in the Afghan conflict were read out.

The next stop was Chelmsford, followed by Maldon then Colchester where the final naming of the dead was conducted outside the gates of the military prison.

A CANDLE FOR HIROSHIMA

On July 16th we were able to hold a small candle ceremony at the Friends’ Meeting House to present, along with members of Christian CND, candles to Beryl and Roger Lankester who were going to Hiroshima for the annual August 6th candle lighting ceremony which takes place there in memory of the suffering of the people of Japan, which still continues.  Bishop MacMahon and memers of Brentwood CND were also present and Thomas MacMahon reminded us of the words of the last pope, John Paul ll  when he visited Hiroshima in 1981 and appealed for a world without nuclear weapons.

Beryl and RogerLankester receive a candle from Christian CND

See over for an account of Beryl and Roger’s visit.

 

 

CANDLES FOR PEACE

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

It was seeing our fellow peace colleagues, some 8000 of them at the conference (in Hiro- shima) that gave added con- fidence to our peace ende- vours.   We met Commander Rob Green (see Page 2) who in his presentation argued convin- cingly why Japan should reject nuclear “deterrence” for its security.   We also met people from British CND and an American Friend, amongst others.   The myriad children and young people from grass roots movements demanding peace together with speeches from Ambassadors to Japan from Egypt, Mexico, Vene- zuela and Norway gave testa-  ment to the fact that the UK’s position to retain Trident is contrary to the wishes of many non-nuclear states.

During the evening of Hiros-  hima Day we attended the lantern floating ceremony.   Each paper lantern has a wish inscribed upon it for peace.   Some 200 of the delegates to the conference attended the Ceremony.   I gave two of the messages we had received for Hiroshima.   The first from Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood.   He reiterated the words of Pope John Paul: ‘To remember Hiroshima is to abhor nuclear war.   To rem- ember Hiroshima is to commit oneself to peace.’   The second message was from Dr Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion.   She said: ‘On behalf of the Green Party of England and Wales, I stand alongside all of those gathered in Hiro- shima in calling for peace and for global nuclear disarma-

ment and I would also like to pay tribute to all those working so hard to secure a future free from conflict for us all.’

Beryl Lankester

Beryl and Roger will be giving a talk and showing a video about their visit to Hiroshima on Saturday, 16th October at 2pm at the Friends’ Meeting House in Shenfield.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT TRIDENT

A new website has been set up to help you to track all developments regarding the debate on Trident renewal.  It is: http://tridentreplacement.net

Check it out.  I t is a unique resource.

NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION REVIEW CONFERENCE

At the end of the NPT review conference in May all 189 signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the US, called for a conference in 2012 to discuss the banning of weapons of mass destruc- tion in the Middle East.   Israel is, of course, not a signatory to the Non-proliferation Treaty and sent the following reply:

“As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this conference, which has no authority over Israel.’   An E-mailed statement from the Israeili government went on:

‘Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation.’

Israel is the only Middle East state that has not signed the NPT and, unlike India and Pakistan, also non-signatoiries, did not take part in the review conference.

In spite of the US’s ostensible support for a WMD-free Middle East, it was reported in July that the US has agreed to coninue to support Israel’s nuclear programme.   The Israeli paper, Ha’aretz cited a report on 7th July that the US sent Israel a secret document

committing to nuclear cooperation between the two countries, including sharing nuclear technology.

The US, as signatory to the NPT, has undertaken not to supply nuclear technology or mater- rials to non-signatories.  Netanyahu has already indicated that Israel will not attend a conference for a Nuclear-Free Middle as ‘Israel was being singled out’.   Obama has made it clear that such a conference can only take place if all countries feel confident that they can attend.

DIARY DATES

Saturday, 9 October 11 – 12.30

Stall Brentwood High Street

9-10 October all day

CND International Public Meeting and National Conference,  Mary Ward Centre, Tavistock Place.

16 October 2-4.30 pm

Friends’ Meeting House, Shenfield

Beryl and Roger Lankester will talk about their resent visit to Hiroshima.

25 October  From  9am

Brunei Gallery  Theatre SOAS.  5th London Conference on a Middle East WMD –free Zone

1 November   6am Devonport

Blockade of Naval Dockyard against its use for Trident maintenance and refitting.

20 November  London

Afghanistan: Time to Go Demonstration called by Stop the War and CND and the British Muslim Initiative

24 November  St James’s Church, Piccadilly

MANA chamber orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

First Tuesday every month

5 – 7pm

Vigil in Parliament Square against Trident Replacement

Every Wednesday 6 – 7pm

Edith Cavell Statue, St Martin’s Place, Women only vigil against militarism.

 

history, the public is behind us.  A new poll, commissioned by the Mail on Sunday (no less!)

showed that now 63% want Trident scrapped (BPIX June 2010).   At a time when essential services are going to be cut and the poor and vulnerable will be put at risk, it is nonsense to be contemplating spending £76 billion on military hardware which could never be used and in no way addresses our real defence needs.  In the following pages of WIRE we shall try to consider some of the arguments regarding Trident renewal so as to keep them at the forefront of our thinking in our discussions with those who are not yet convinced.

Four years ago when we began petitioning in earnest in the Brentwood High Street we came across many who did not even know that the UK still had nuclear weapons.   Things have moved on since then and now, one of the most common responses goes along the lines of:

“I agree with you really, but don’t think it (the petition) will do any good.”   We are meeting a more sympathetic, if somewhat disillusioned, public now.   Stalls are important to try to help shift public opinion.

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Summer 2010

BRENTWOOD TO HOST TWO CND EVENTS THIS SUMMER

PEACE WALK
END THE AFGHAN WAR
SUPPORT WAR RESISTERS

Monday 28th June /Tuesday 29th June

In a few days time Brentwood CND and Brent- wood Cathedral will be offering hospitality to the Peace Walk from London to Colchester in support of Joe Glenton, the soldier who has been sentenced to 9 months in Colchester military prison for refusing to fight in Afghanistan.

The walk is planned to start with a rally outside the main entrance of the Ministry of Defence on June 26, which the government has identified as Armed Forces Day.  The day has been renamed by peace campaigners as Unarmed Forces Day. The walk itself will start on Sunday 27th and will go to Ilford for the first night.   On Monday 28th, they will be in Brentwood, staying overnight in the Cathedral Hall, Tuesday 29th they will be in Chelmsford, Wednesday 30th , Maldon and will arrive in Colchester on July 1st.

Joe enlisted, aged 21, in 2004.   After doing a seven month tour of duty in Afghanistan he ab- sconded from Abingdon barracks after expressing reluctance at being sent back to Afghanistan.   He went on the run for two years before handing him- self in.   He is the first British soldier to take this stand and was charged with desertion.  He was also charged with “disobeying a lawful order” when he addressed a peace rally in Trafalgar Square last October.

Brentwood CND members are invited to attend the public meeting being held with the peace walkers at 7.30 at the Friends’ Meeting House, Shenfield on Monday June 28th and/or to accompany the walkers on (part of) their way to Chelmsford on Tuesday, June 29th. They will be setting off from Brentwood Cathedral at 9am.

If you would like to support Joe then write to him at:   Military Corrective Training Centre, Berechurch Hall Camp, Colchester CO 2 9NU

A CANDLE FOR HIROSHIMA

Friday, 16th July     5pm – 6pm

Friends Meeting House, Shenfield

At the end of July, two of our members, Beryl and Roger Lankester are going to Japan for the 2010 commemoration in Hiroshima.   They will be attending a conference there as well as attending the traditional ceremony on August 6th.   They are being hosted by Quakers.   Beryl has kindly offered to take a candle on our behalf to the people of Hiroshima and place it alongside the thousands of others which are sent and brought to Japan from countries all over the world.

On Friday, 16th July 5pm and 6pm we shall formally hand over the Brentwood CND candle to them at the Friends’ Meeting House in Shenfield.   The presentation will mark our resistance to the continued threat from nuclear weapons.  The Bishop of Brentwood, Rev Thomas McMahon a well known opponent of nuclear weapons, will be present as will various representatives of Christian CND.   Clergy against Nuclear Arms (CANA) will also present a candle.

Some light refreshments will be provided and members of Brentwood CND will be particularly welcome.   There will also be the usual candle lighting ceremony on August 6th (see diary for further details).

THE NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY REVIEW CONFERENCE

The British general election and the ensuing coalition negotiations, coming as they did, right at the start of the Non-proliferation Review Conference at the UN in New York, distracted the media from reporting this conference and, doubtless, also distracted our politicians. Now that the dust has settled, however, we can start to study the wording of the final agreement (bearing in mind that not all such conferences in the past have even been able to reach a final agreement) to see if it is more than just smoke and mirrors.   We in CND have worked hard over the past 18 months, collecting petition signatures, and it is important to see whether the conference made any substantive progress.   The nub of the agreement which all states signed up to commits the nuclear weapons states to:

accelerate concrete progress on the steps leading to nuclear disarmament and to rapidly move towards an overall reduction in the global stockpile of nuclear weapons and further diminish to role of nuclear weapons in all military and security concepts, doctrines and policies.

In another development, it was agreed that the UN General Secretary would convene a conference in 2012, to be attended by all countries of the Middle East, to discuss a WMD-free Middle East.

This second part has been included to deal separately with the issues which specifically refer to Israel and Iran.   Egypt, as the president this year of the Non-Alignment movement, had previously and understandably insisted on progress in this area before becoming a signatory to any other deal.   Egypt accepted this compromise of a separate conference.   Iran’s initial aggressive stance was mollified by this too, and they signed up to the final declaration.   The credit for negotiating this must go to Susan Burk, President Obama’s special disarmament negotiator who has been working hard at the UN behind the scenes to broker a deal.

The presence of Susan Burk is a sign in itself that the Obama administration is taking nuclear disarmament seriously.

Susan Burk – Obama’s special representative on nuclear  proliferation

There is no doubt about  the US commitment to re-vitalizing the Non-proliferation Treaty.   The nightmare scenario post-Cold War is not World War III but a nuclear strike by a rogue state or terrorist group and the US cannot counter this threat without the active cooperation of many other states.   The original treaty, whereby the non-nuclear states agreed not to develop nuclear weapons in return for the nuclear ones disarming is often described as frayed.   India, Israel and Pakistan never signed the treaty and have become nuclear states.   Yet a dozen or more states which could have developed a nuclear weapons capacity have chosen not to do so.   Obama’s belief is that if the nuclear weapons states take disarmament seriously then the other states would begin to make good on their non-proliferation commitments.

What is new, therefore, is not that multinational disarmament was achieved at this conference, but that a political process has been set in motion which is initiating much ‘behind the scenes’ bargaining before the next small step is taken.   This is the reality of multi-lateral agreements.   The mere fact that Obama put people like Susan Burk in place a full year before this conference signals his seriousness and is, of course, a million miles away from the Bush administration approach.

In the UK we have a duty to hold the government to account on how it intends to carry out the new commitments it has signed up to.   A conference has been organised in London Conway Hall, Red Lion Square

Wednesday, 7th July  8pm .

Obama, the NPT and Nuclear Weapons – grounds for hope

NUCLEAR WASTE TRAINS

AND THE OLYMPICS

Although, since the closure of Bradwell, nuclear waste trains have temporarily stopped coming through Brentwood, they are, of course, still carrying their highly toxic and radioactive waste through Stratford.   In fact their route takes them alongside the Olympic sites in Stratford and Hackney.

In 2006 Daily Mirror undercover journalists planted a fake bomb on a nuclear waste train in Northwest London to demonstrate how vulnerable the trains are to attack and yet, in spite of it being acknowledged by the police that the greatest threat to Olympic security is terrorism, nothing has been done to stop the trains passing the Olympic site.

The Nuclear Trains Action Group is calling a demonstration to take place on 10th July 2010 to highlight the dangers.   It will hold a rally at the Cadogan Gate of Victoria Park and set off at 2.45 pm to arrive in Stratford at 4pm for a die-in.

LIB DEM NUCLEAR POWER FUDGE

The major issue, however, is not the nuclear waste trains per se but the use of nuclear power which creates the waste.  Britain is on the verge of planning for a whole new generation of nuclear power stations.  In opposition Chris Huhne, the new energy secretary, was strongly anti-nuclear “Our message is clear: no to nuclear, as it is not a short cut but a dead end.”

Courtesy of Greenpeace

In Government, however, this unequivocal stance has changed.   As part of the coalition deal he has agreed not to oppose new nuclear power stations, whilst at the same time promising not to commit any Government money to subsidise the construc- tion of such stations.   Coalitions are not easy and require compromise, but is this a tenable position?   Apart from anything else, can we believe that there will be no Government subsidy.   Two of the major costs of nuclear power are the decommissioning of the plants and the storage of nuclear waste.   Do we seriously believe that these costs will be borne by the industry?   And of course, who will bear the costs of leaks and accidents?    It was doubtless a happy coincidence that one of the last minute promises made by the outgoing Labour Govern- ment was an £80m loan to Forgemasters of Sheffield so that it could build parts for nuclear power stations.   Since the Conservatives are more than happy to make quick savings by cutting such Labour plans there was coalition agreement on this particular issue.   Things will be more interesting, however, when real issues of conscience are tested and nuclear power is an issue of conscience.   The recent German research reported in the last WIRE regarding child leukaemias and atomic power stations provides clear evidence of the connection.

PROTESTS IN GERMANY

On April 24th around 120,000 demonstrators formed a 74 mile human chain that stretched from  nuclear plant in Brunsbüttel, through Hamburg along the Elbe River to another plant in Krümmel.   This was in protest against statements by Chancellor Angel Merkel’s government coalition that it wants to revoke the law passed under Chancellor Schroeder’s coalition that ordered the shutting down of all nuclear power plants in Germany by 2020.

REFUSAL TO INCLUDE TRIDENT IN STRATEGIC DEFENCE REVIEW

CND is dismayed that, despite the Lib Dem’s public opposition to Trident’s replacement, Trident itself will not be reviewed in the forthcoming Strategic Security and Defence Review.   With the majority of the population opposing Trident replacement and with Britain facing its worst financial crisis since the Second World War, scrapping Trident would enable billions to be used to re-build the economy and save hospitals and schools from closure.   CND is urging MPs to sign the Early Day Motion 110, which has cross party support and urges Liam Fox, the Defence Minister to re-think this.

CND does welcome, however, the recent announcement by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, to review the circumstances under which the UK might launch a nuclear attack.   Currently these include ‘first use’.   CND believes that, at the very minimum, Britain must be cate- gorical that it will never threaten a nuclear attack on a state that doesn’t possess nuclear weapons.

HIROSHIMA EXHIBITION – CAN YOU HELP?

A powerful Hiroshima exhibition is being dis- played at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London from 2nd August for two weeks.   Volunteers are needed to supervise the exhibition  sessions are morning, lunchtime or afternoon) and answer questions if necessary.   Ring Chris on 020 7700 2393 if you can help.

FILM REVIEW MICMACS

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet this is the story of Bazil, a man set on seeking just retribution from the arms companies whose evil products have killed his father and left him with a bullet precariously lodged in his head.   He soon sees that he won’t defeat the arms dealers on his own and befriend a fellow busker who takes him to a wonderful underground world made of salvaged junk, where circus acrobats live alongside kooky inventors.

Bazil and his friends manage successfully to pit two dir- rectors of rival arms com- panies against one another.   The portrayal of these two characters is cleverly built up to show that behind the sani- tised façade and public relat- ions gleam of their corporate worlds lie two men driven by greed and a quest for personal supremacy.   The film manages to convey important messages about the corruption and con- sequences of the arms trade, while never losing its hum- orous and imaginative edge.

Don’t miss it.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

The two local events described on Page 1 will cost Brentwood CND money.   We would, therefore, be grateful for members to pay their 2010 subs as soon as they can.

£6 (£3) for families

£3 (£1.50) for individuals

If you previously paid for 3 years your sub is also due:

£15 (7.50) families

£7.50 (£3.75) individuals

If you receive an envelope in this edition of WIRE addressed to our treasurer, Penny Wright, this means that we think you owe us your subscription (please tell us if we are wrong!).   If there is no envelope then you are in the clear!

MISSILE DEFENCE

When President Obama first came to office and announced the scrapping of plans to site US radar stations in the Czech Republic and to locate interceptor missiles in Poland there was rejoicing all round.   This now appears to have been premature and there seems to be simply a re-configuration of the US Missile Defence plans, under the cover of NATO, rather than an abandonment of them.   Romania and Bulgaria are now coming into the equation and it is suspected that secret talks have already begun.   Russia is quite rightly concerned.   The US cannot talk peace through disarmament. whilst at the same time trying to secure global military dominance.

PEACE NEWS

Have you ever thought of taking out a subscription to Peace News?  This is the monthly newspaper produced by a collective of people (including some CND members) which supports peace activism across a broad spectrum.  At the moment there is a special offer for CND members of £9 (instead of £13) for CND members.   If you want to give it a try just send your cheque (writing CND offer across the back) to Peace News,  5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DY.

PEACE NEWS SUMMER CAMP

From July 23 – 27 Peace news is organising a Summer Camp in Oxfordshire at Westmill Farm.   (This is situated along the B4508 about 5 miles from Farringdon).   The idea is that you pay what you can afford (between £15 and £60) and take part in discussions, skill sharing and celebrating.   The themes to be covered this year are feminism and peace,

challenging the military, non-violent activism and radicalising our lives.   For further information go on to the Peace News website: www.peacenewscamp.info

or phone 020 7278 3344

DIARY DATES

Monday, 28th June 7.30

Friends’ Meeting House, Shenfield

Meeting organised by the Peace Walkers

Tuesday, 29th June 9am

Cathedral Hall, Brentwood

Join the Peace Walkers on all or part of their walk to Chelmsford.

Wednesday, 7th July 8pm

Conway Hall, Red Lion Square

Kate Hudson will talk about the next steps, after the NPT review.

Saturday 10th July 2pm

Demonstration ‘Stop nuclear trains through London’ to alert to the dangers of Olympics.

Friday 16th July 5pm – 6pm

Friends’ Meeting House Shenfield.

‘A Candle for Hiroshima’  Brentwood CND will present a candle to be taken to Hiroshima for 6th August.

July 23 – 27  Oxfordshire

Peace News Summer Camp

Child friendly, renewably powered.

Saturday 4th July

Menwith Hill – Annual ‘Freedom from America Day’ – Mark Thomas, Peter Tatchell

Friday 6 August noon-1pm

Tavistock Square, London

London CND Hiroshima Day Ceremony – Kate Hudson, Ken Livingstone, Shoso Kawamote.

Friday 6th August 8pm

Nelmes URC Church near Emerson Park, Hornchurch

Hiroshima Ceremony organised by Essex Christian CND

9th – 10th October

CND National Conference

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January 2010

2010 DECISIVE YEAR FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

Welcome to the New Year and a year which is going to bring us the best chance yet for meaningful negotiations towards reducing and ultimately abolishing nuclear weapons.   In May this year the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York will provide a crucial opportunity for CND to push open the door which Obama, the first American president ever to do so, has just unlocked.   Nothing, however, will happen if things are left solely to politicians. There needs to be a strong push from below and support for disarmament from people themselves. In Britain we look to CND to represent us at that Review Conference, fortified by the knowledge that they have the support of the majority of people in Britain.

President Obama accepts the Nobel Prize for Peace

Britain’s role is crucial, both because it is one of the few states to have nuclear weapons and because it has an active anti-nuclear movement.

John Loretz who chairs the US based International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War takes the view that Britain with its strong disarmament movement could be the champion among the nuclear weapons’ states to achieve a real breakthrough.   There are small signs that the Government is wavering over the issue of Trident replacement.   If the renewal of Trident were cancelled, not only would billions of pounds be released back into the economy but we would be delivering a strong message to the Conference that we were backing the US in its pursuit of nuclear weapons reductions.

CND’s campaigning is therefore crucial.   It is engaging in the most intensive lobbying it has been involved in for years – on many fronts.   Not just in preparation for the New York meeting but also for the coming general election campaign – and it needs money.   Kate Hudson, our chair, is taking a year’s unpaid sabbatical from her university post, to devote her time to this work.  Money is needed to produce many thousand of leaflets and postcards, information packs, lobbying material, web banners and newspaper adverts.   Please consider, therefore, making a donation, large or small, to support this important campaigning.

_________________________________________

SEND DONATIONS TO

NATIONAL CND, 162 HOLLOWAY ROAD, LONDON N7 8DQ

You can also donate online.

ALDERMASTON BLOCKADE

On 15th February, starting at 7am there will be an all-day blockade of Aldermaston AWE.   It is organised by Trident Ploughshares with other groups, including CND.   The aim is to stop workers entering to research, develop and manufacture nuclear weapons.   Different groups will be blockading each of the seven gates of the factory and the overall aim is to highlight and oppose the production of nuclear weapons in Britain.

The central focus will be the blockade and this will involve risking arrest.   However there are plenty of roles for people who do not wish to get arrest-  ed.   To make the action succe- ssful there is also a need to be a simple presence at the gates, holding banners, placards or flags, and engaging in a dialogue with the workers who might be held up.  Legal obser- vers and gate support are also needed.  Jill is going by car  to the blockade on 14th February and staying overnight so as to be at the gates by 7am.   Please contact her (01277 216712) if you are interested in coming.

MAYORS FOR PEACE

The Mayor of Lewisham is the second London Mayor recently to become a “Mayor for Peace”.   Lewisham Council passed this resolution:

‘This Council acknowledges the current danger of nuclear weapons proliferation and recognises the achievement of Mayors for Peace in coordin- anating more than 3,000 towns and cities in 134 countries to promote the total abolition of nuclear weapons and pursue lasting peace in the world.

This Council pledges its sup- port for, and undertakes to join, the other local authorities in the UK and globally who are mem- bers of the international Mayors for Peace movement, and pledges to give an annual donation to support the work.”

What are the chances of getting the Mayor of Brentwood to sign the pledge?   Anyone willing to give this a try??

GENERAL ELECTION NEWSPAPER AD

One of the main events of the Spring is going to be the General Election.   CND is preparing campaigning mat- erials and we in Brentwood will hopefully be a presence on the High Street and will also be questioning the candidates’ views on Trident renewal.   One other thing we can do is to run a half page or full page ad in a local newspaper.   For this we shall need money so, if when you are paying your sub you would like to send a little extra, please do!   We shall be in touch with you again once we know the date.

NUCLEAR POWER – AND NUCLEAR WASTE

By the year 2000 it was estimated that the nuclear industry had created 201,000 tons of highly radioactive fuel rods.   Britain alone has the equivalent of three Albert Halls full.  The plutonium in them will remain dangerous for up to 240,000 or 12,000 generations and require it to be isolated from every living thing and the water land and air in which they live.   Here is what Ed Miliband said on revealing the sites of the ten new nuclear power stations (including Bradwell). On waste management, the government is satisfied that on the basis of scientific and international experience, effective arrangements to manage and dispose of the waste…can be put in place. What experience?   That of the last 50 years in which no safe place has beenbuilt?   And dispose of it?  It cannot realistically be done.  Either someone is lying to him or he is lying to us.  If a secure place is to be built, it will take decades to build and in the meantime it will have to be kept on site at the power stations, subject to leaks and the possibility of terrorist attack.

Thanks to Southend CND for this information.

JUST IMAGINE

Just imagine (thanks to Private Eye) how nuclear events in Britain might be reported in Tehran:

The British leader, Ayatollah Gordoni, yesterday stepped up his plans for his country to maintain an independent nuclear deterrent capability, despite strong pressure from Iran and the increasing doubts of his own people at home.

Gordoni, however, is adamant that Britain’s nuclear missiles are there for peaceful purposes, and that Britain has no desire to threaten its neighbours. The hugely expensive nuclear programme is fast bankrupting the country.

DIARY DATES

Sunday, 17 January 10 – 5pm.

Conway Hall London CND conference – speakers Ken Livingstone and Bruce Kent.

15 – 17 January  Nottingham

Peace News winter gathering

Tel  020 7278 3344 for info.

23 January  10.30 – 3.30

Conway Hall Labour CND conference – open to all

28 January Protest at the international conference on Afghanistan organised by Gordon Brown.   Tel 020-7278 6694 for info.

15 February

Aldermaston Blockade

16 February 7.30 Hinde St Methodist Church nr Bond St MANA concert for peace.

Tel: 020 8455 1030

 

built?   And dispose of it?  It cannot realistically be done.  Either someone is lying to him or he is lying to us.  If a secure place is to be built, it will take decades to build and in the meantime it will have to be kept on site at the power stations, subject to leaks and the possibility of terrorist attack.

Thanks to Southend CND for this information.

JUST IMAGINE

Just imagine (thanks to Private Eye) how nuclear events in Britain might be reported in Tehran:

The British leader, Ayatollah Gordoni, yesterday stepped up his plans for his country to maintain an independent nuclear deterrent capability, despite strong pressure from Iran and the increasing doubts of his own people at home.

Gordoni, however, is adamant that Britain’s nuclear missiles are there for peaceful purposes, and that Britain has no desire to threaten its neighbours. The hugely expensive nuclear programme is fast bankrupting the country.

DIARY DATES

Sunday, 17 January 10 – 5pm.

Conway Hall London CND conference – speakers Ken Livingstone and Bruce Kent.

15 – 17 January  Nottingham

Peace News winter gathering

Tel  020 7278 3344 for info.

23 January  10.30 – 3.30

Conway Hall Labour CND conference – open to all

28 January Protest at the international conference on Afghanistan organised by Gordon Brown.   Tel 020-7278 6694 for info.

15 February

Aldermaston Blockade

16 February 7.30 Hinde St Methodist Church nr Bond St MANA concert for peace.

Tel: 020 8455 1030

Printed and published by Brentwood CND, 26 Mascalls Gardens, CM14 5LT   01277 216712

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