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Nuclear Non-Proliferation News

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Welcome to Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, a monthly news service from the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. We aim to provide links to a selection of UK and international news stories relevant to UK and NATO nuclear weapons issues. An archive of press coverage is available on our website at: www.acronym.org.uk/news. We welcome your comments and feedback. Please send your comments to info@acronym.org.uk.

In this month's edition

UK News


Trident Problems

Naval base to shed 220 submarine jobs on Clyde
Alan Jones, Scotsman, June 9, 2007
MORE than 220 jobs are to be axed at the Clyde Naval Base because of a gap in demand for submarine maintenance work.

Sub crews' cost cutting criticism
BBC News Online, May 29, 2007.
Indeed one sailor serving on a Trident submarine claims they are "just about" seaworthy, with crews scouring other subs for spare parts in a massive "make do and mend" operation... "There's so many things that seem to go wrong that the guys do an unbelievable job fixing it, and how they keep going is beyond me."

UK Politics

Brown faces protesters
Oxford Mail, June 10, 2007
Among the protesters was Oxford East Green Party candidate Peter Tatchell, who said: "Gordon Brown is a continuation of Tony Blair. He is backing every Blairite blunder, from the war in Iraq to ID cards, Trident missiles and expanding nuclear power. "We are protesting here to urge Gordon Brown to change direction from the failed Blairite policies of the past."

Brown cheers union with vow on private equity tax loopholes
Will Woodward and Phillip Inman, The Guardian, June 6, 2007
He was uncompromising in defending low public-sector pay settlements and gave fluent backing to spending on a replacement for the Trident nuclear deterrent. "I can't see a situation where a unilateral gesture by Britain would make any difference to what other countries do."

Brown rebukes 'off message' deputies
Politics.co.uk, May 31, 2007
Gordon Brown has reprimanded his potential deputies for rearing "off message" after the Tories claimed Labour was lurching to the left... Ms Harman has also called for a review of the decision to renew Trident, despite voting with the government in support of Trident.

Brown to Keep U.S. `Special Relationship' While Altering Tone
By Mark Deen, Bloomberg, May 18 2007
The tone of British-U.S. relations may change when Gordon Brown succeeds Tony Blair as U.K. prime minister next month. The substance won't. Brown is well aware that Blair's support for U.S. President George W. Bush has cost him dearly in public support, analysts say. At the same time, Brown is a self-proclaimed admirer of America who has vacationed on Cape Cod since the 1980s, vows to be tough on security matters and values the ``special relationship'' between the two nations that has shaped British foreign policy since World War II.

Unions put Cruddas in sight of deputy role
Telegraph, May 17, 2007
Mr Cruddas - who advised Tony Blair on links with the unions during the Prime Minister's first term - has voted against his own party on key issues such as Trident and university top-up fees.

Chancellor sets out views on Iraq
E-politix, May 13, 2007
On Trident renewal, Brown suggested that global talks could lead to a reduction in nuclear armaments. He said that "if we act multilaterally... then I think we can get results in the next couple of years".

Demonstrations and Actions

Ten arrests at AWE Aldermaston
Indymedia, June 9, 2007
Ten women from the Aldermaston Women Peace Camp(aign) (AWPC) were last night arrested in a blanket action by MOD police just over a week after the introduction of new Bylaws designed to stop the women from their 22 year-long protest against the base which is currently building facilities for the upgrade of the Trident nuclear missile system.

Trainee priests and ministers risk arrest at Faslane
Inspire Magazine, June 7, 2007
A group of 28 Anglican and Roman Catholic ordinands, Methodist ministerial candidates and staff from four theological colleges will hold a service of prayer and witness against Britain’s Trident weapons nuclear programme outside the Faslane military base in Scotland on Sunday 10 June (10am-4pm).

Artists in Faslane protest against 'immoral and stupid' Trident
By Russell Jackson, Scotsman, June 6, 2007
ACTORS and authors yesterday backed a campaign at Faslane to stop the replacement of the UK's nuclear weapons programme. Roger Lloyd Pack, who starred in Only Fools and Horses and The Vicar Of Dibley, spoke out at an organised protest at the nuclear submarine base in Argyll.

Faith-based protests at Faslane
BBC News Online, May 26, 2007.
A series of faith-based protests against nuclear weapons have been taking place at Faslane naval base on the Clyde. They form part of the year-long campaign, Faslane 365, which has seen protesters at the base since October.

Nuclear Warhead Convoy Secretly Passes Through Chilwell, Nottingham
Indymedia, May 11, 2007
It has come to light that in the early hours of Thursday 10th May a convoy carrying nuclear warheads secretly passed through the Stapleford and Chilwell area of Nottingham.

Astute Class Submarines

Nuclear sub that listens to mobiles
The Sunday Times takes a tour of the new Astute - the boat that caused ructions at the MoD
Dominic O'Connell, Sunday Times, June 10, 2007
... it is not yet clear how many will be built... Easton is adamant that seven should be made. “It’s not definite yet there will be seven, but for several reasons it needs to be that number. For the Royal Navy’s operational requirements, they need seven if they are to meet their commitments.”
There is also a compelling industrial logic, he said. An order for seven – with one launched every 22 months under Barrow’s current plan – would take the yard up to the start of construction of the new fleet of submarines that will replace the Vanguard class, which carry Britain’s nuclear deterrent in the shape of Trident missiles.

Britain Orders 4th Astute-Class Submarine
Agence France Presse, London, May 21, 2007.
Britain’s defense ministry said May 21 it had placed a 200-million-pound (295-million-euro, 395-million-dollar) contract to construct a new nuclear-powered attack submarine. The 7,800-ton vessel, to be named HMS Audacious, will be the fourth in the Astute class of submarines, which are the largest and most powerful of their type ever built in Britain for the Royal Navy.

Missile Defence

Bush in anti-missile shield talks in Bulgaria
Agence France Presse, June 11, 2007
US President George Bush, on the last leg of his European tour, is set for talks Monday with Bulgarian leaders about the proposed expansion of the US anti-missile defence shield in Europe.

NATO Struggles With Missile Defense
By Joris Janssen Lok, Aviation Week and Space Technology, June 10, 2007
NATO nations are growing increasingly divided over how to move forward plans to establish European missile defenses, with unease exacerbated by concern over Russia's strategic objectives.
Officials at NATO Headquarters in Brussels say the U.S. plan to station a radar site and 10 interceptor missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland, using bilateral agreements, is throwing NATO's own approach off balance. NATO worries are being aggravated by what one official describes as "well-orchestrated Russian pressure on all chess boards simultaneously, ranging from the CFE [Conventional Armed Forces in Europe] treaty to energy, Estonia, Kosovo, NATO expansion and missile defense." Moscow's latest gambit is the offer of a joint missile defense system to be sited in Azerbaijan.

White House encouraged by Russia's willingness to discuss missile defense system
By The Associated Press, from the IHT website, June 10, 2007
WASHINGTON: The United States is encouraged by Russia's willingness to discuss ways to defend against possible missile attacks from nations armed with nuclear weapons, White House press secretary Tony Snow said Sunday. Yet he sidestepped a suggestion by the Russian foreign minister that the United States freeze plans for missile defense installations in eastern Europe during the negotiations.

Putin and Blair are the joint rulers of nuclear la-la land
President Putin had a moment of self-deceiving nostalgia last week
Sunday Times, June 10, 2007
The case for an independent British deterrent rested on the existence of the USSR. Blair’s policy is another example of nostalgia. Last week came news of a Polish man who has woken froma coma that he had entered when his country was still communist. You have to wonder whether Blair has been fully conscious during the past two decades. Maybe like Putin he fantasises that the Soviet threat still exists.

US missile shield threatens resolution of Iran stand-off: Russia
By AFP, June 9, 2007
MOSCOW, June 9, 2007 (AFP) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that United States missile defence plans could worsen the Iranian nuclear stand-off and urged Washington to freeze work on the issue with the Czech Republic and Poland.

Eight Czech towns reject US radar, one referendum invalid (Roundup)
Deutsche Presse-Agentur, June 9, 2007
Prague - Just days after US President George W Bush visited Prague to back the US missile shield plans in Central Europe, eight municipalities rejected the US radar to be built in their vicinity on Saturday, while one local poll was invalid due to low turnout.

Russian missile shield offer still "on the table"
Reuters, from the Scotsman website, June 9, 2007
ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russia is still willing to offer the United States joint use of a radar station in Azerbaijan to combat hostile missiles despite Washington's signal it will press ahead with its plan of using Poland and the Czech Republic, a Russian official said on Saturday.

Putin pitches U.S. defence site alternatives
Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press, June 9, 2007
HEILIGENDAMM, GERMANY -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that U.S. missile-defence interceptors could be located in Turkey, or even Iraq or on sea platforms, offering yet another alternative to a U.S. plan for a missile shield in Eastern Europe.
"They could be placed in the south, in U.S. NATO allies such as Turkey, or even Iraq," Mr. Putin said at a news conference after the close of the Group of Eight summit. "They could also be placed on sea platforms."

Blair's 'frank' last exchange with Putin melts no ice
James Kirkup, Scotsman, June 9, 2007
TONY Blair warned last night that tensions between Russia and the West will linger for years to come, even as Vladimir Putin appeared to give ground on the US missile defence system that triggered a nuclear threat earlier this week.

West 'fearful' of Russia, says exasperated Blair
Talks with Putin were frank but fruitless
'Real issues' will not be resolved easily or soon
Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, June 9, 2007
An exasperated Mr Blair admitted: "There are real issues here that are not going to be resolved any time soon". He warned the west was "worried and fearful" at the political direction of Russia.

No missile system is foolproof
Gulf News, June 9, 2007
What will safeguard Europe and America is not missiles but good old-fashioned diplomacy. No missile system is foolproof or even anywhere near foolproof. Placing faith in a missile shield is more than a little contradictory. It is downright dangerous, breeding a false sense of security and providing all the defensive capabilities of a modern-day Maginot Line.

Trident vital because of Putin nuclear threat, hints Downing St
Russia a contributing factor in government case for Trident
James Kirkup, Scotsman, June 5, 2007
RUSSIA'S threat to target its nuclear missiles on Europe helps to justify Britain's decision to retain the Trident system, government sources suggested yesterday.

Putin threatens to target missiles at Europe
By Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times, June 4, 2007
Russian president Vladimir Putin has raised tensions over controversial US plans to install a missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic by threatening to target Russian missiles at Europe.

G8 Summit, Non-Proliferation, not Disarmament

G8 statement ignores disarmament
Siddharth Varadarajan, The Hindu, June 9, 2007
Not one word in declaration on weapons states' obligation to get rid of their arsenals. Heiligendamm statement silent on the new 'Cold War' that is threatening the security of the world.

Read the G8 statement at: http://www.g-8.de/Webs/G8/EN/G8Summit/

New Nuclear Weapons

House Panel Cuts Warhead Funds
Appropriators Ax Bush's $88.8 Billion Request for RRW
By William Matthews, Defense News, June 11, 2007
Exercising "power of the purse," the U.S. House committee that controls spending voted not to fund any efforts in 2008 to develop a new nuclear warhead.

New Nuclear Warhead's Funding Eliminated
By Walter Pincus, Washington Post, May 24, 2007.
The House Appropriations subcommittee that controls the U.S. nuclear weapons complex's funding voted yesterday to eliminate all money that would have paid for engineering and cost studies for the new nuclear warhead that the Bush administration hoped to put in production in 2012.

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