Nuclear Non-Proliferation News
Back to the main page for Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Welcome to the February edition of the Acronym Institute's Nuclear
Non-Proliferation News, a digest of news on the UK Trident, missile
defence, and international nuclear non-proliferation issues, compiled
by Nicola Butler.
In this month's issue:
Senior Military Figures call for a rethink on Trident
A letter to the Times by Field Marshal Lord
Bramall, General Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach prompted widespread
coverage in the British and international media (even reaching the pages
of the conservative-leaning French newspaper, Le Figaro).
"Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as
a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently, or are
likely to, face — particularly international terrorism; and the more you
analyse them the more unusable they appear," the letter states.
Responding in the Guardian, Max Hastings
argues that, "What seems so mistaken about Britain's present posture
is what is wrong with our entire defence policy: it is a jumble of political
expedients rather than a coherent strategy founded in rational analysis
of security needs."
Mary Riddell writes in the Telegraph:
"On defence, three former generals have denounced Britain's nuclear
submarines as 'completely useless'... On all of these, Brown could take
rapid action. He would save money (£20 billion at least, in the case of
Trident), reinforce values, give Britain back a sense of pride in its
past and help quash a growing sense of anger, fear and impotence."
In the Mail, Edward Heathcoat-Amory comments
that, "Lord Bramall Former head of the armed forces Field Marshal
Lord Bramall is one of several retired military officers to brand the
Trident system 'completely useless'. I began, along with other traditionally
right of centre thinkers, to consider life without an independent nuclear
In a further letter published by the Times, John
Finney and Robert Hinde of the British Pugwash group argue that, "Not
only has the Government been unable to specify a situation in which nuclear
weapons might be used, but any argument that they are needed for ultimate
security can be advanced with equal justification by any other nation,
such as Iran and North Korea."
General Jack Sheehan on the UK and disarmament
In an interview with the BBC's Gordon Corera, former
Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic for Nato General Jack Sheehan told
the Radio 4 World Tonight programme that "I think the UK is very close
to saying we're the first permanent member of the Security Council to
do away with nuclear weapons. I think it is entirely possible that the
British government, for a lot of good reasons, could do it and it would
lead the world." "All of a sudden you call into question why the
French have a system," he said. But, he said an "act of political courage"
was necessary for such a change to occur.
International law experts question legality of Trident
In the Sunday Herald, Rob Edwards previewed
the conference on Trident and International
Law: Scotland’s Obligations, organised by the Acronym Institute for
Disarmament Diplomacy, together with the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre
and Trident Ploughshares on 3 February. Though heavy snowfalls prevented
some speakers and guests from reaching Edinburgh, the Conference was opened
by the SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP,
who argued that the "time is right" for the removal of nuclear weapons
from Scottish soil.
Acronym Institute director Rebecca Johnson welcomed
a range of Scottish, UK and international lawyers, judges and civil society
to Edinburgh to explore the legal situation regarding the deployment,
use and renewal of Trident and look at what international law requires
governments and citizens to do about nuclear weapons.
Former vice-president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Judge
Christopher Weeramantry stated: "The self-appointed nuclear policemen
of the world need to realise how their actions totally destroy their credibility
there cannot be one law for some and another law for others." "These are
all areas which must necessarily be concerns of the parliament of Scotland,"
The Conference sparked debates in the Scottish press.
The following day Judge Weeramantry and international lawyer Neshan Gunasekera
met with members of the Working
Group on Scotland without Nuclear Weapons.
Things that go bump in the night: Trident and Triomphant
News that a British Trident and a French nuclear armed
Triomphant submarine had collided in the mid-Atlantic was broken by
the Sun, following a leak. Both the British and French governments
had reportedly sought to conceal the incident with the British Ministry
of Defence initially insisting that it "did not comment on submarine
operations". Similarly, AFP reports that French
Defence Minister Hervé Morin claimed that France had initially been unaware
of the crash believing that Triomphant had hit a container. Eventually
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band was forced to confirm the accident,
but played down the impact: "We can confirm the capability remained
unaffected and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety," he
With questions mounting about what the submarines were doing when they
had their "million-to-one" accident, the Scotsman
speculates that they may have been undertaking Cold War-style activities
such as "stalking each other under the sea" and "practising
being able to kill the other guy's submarine before he could launch a
Coming under pressure for the level of secrecy surrounding France's nuclear
forces, Hervé Morin suggests that in future Britain and France could "work
together" to prevent future accidents. As Time magazine
highlights, the revelation of the accident "comes at a politically
sensitive time: France is set to rejoin NATO's military infrastructure
in April. Its secrecy policy on the location of its nuclear-armed subs
could come under fire before then, especially as the French say they will
not budge on the issue."
On his website, Rob Edwards reports that following
the Trident/Triomphant accident, "The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and
the government’s Health and Safety Executive have admitted that their
hazard evaluations for submarine berths do not cover the dangers posed
by boats returning after crashes."
David Miliband launches Lifting the Nuclear Shadow
Fresh from his first meeting with Hilary Clinton (see Hilary
Clinton offers united front with Britain over missiles, The Times,
4 February 2009), British Foreign Secretary David Miliband returned to
London on 4 February to launch Lifting
the Nuclear Shadow: Creating the Conditions for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons,
the Foreign Office's new policy paper on nuclear non-proliferation and
disarmament. The paper expands on the six point plan for nuclear disarmament
set out in his Guardian blog article (see Nuclear
Non-Proliferation News, December 2008).
Former Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne
- who as Defence Secretary was responsible for guiding the 2006 White
Paper on renewal of Trident through parliament - is quoted lending his
support to further progress on disarmament. "As a government Labour has
an overt commitment to lead on both disarmament and the review of the
Non-Proliferation Treaty. The election of Barack Obama has given an impetus
to both of these issues that was not there just weeks ago," Mr Browne
Bronwen Maddox in the Times, quotes Miliband's comments that Britain
should not cling to the belief that it had a seat at the top table only
because it has nuclear weapons, because "prestige
goes to countries for many different reasons".
Campaigners responded that Miliband's good intentions are 'severely
undermined' by government Trident plans. But, as the Times
reports, "Mr Miliband rejected calls that Britain should lead the
way by scrapping Trident, its submarine-based nuclear deterrent which
is due for renewal at a cost of £20 billion. He wanted talks about multilateral
disarmament, he said. 'If we went down the unilateral road, would Iran
say ‘We won’t have ours’? I don’t think the world works like that.'
Government suppresses documents on Trident "unacceptable
Writing in the Sunday Herald, Rob Edwards reveals that documents detailing
the effects of using the Trident system against Moscow
have been removed from the National Archives following the intervention
of the Ministry of Defence. A document prepared for the Chief Scientific
Adviser to the MoD Ronald Mason in 1978 (when the Callaghan government
was secretly considering replacement of Polaris - the Trident replacement
decision was taken by Thatcher in 1980), describes how "ground-bursts
would subject 55-60% of the city to a radiation dose sufficient to cause
rapid debilitation followed by death for most people in the area, and
to contaminate food, water, air and both damaged and undamaged buildings,"
the document states. "Residual radiation would remain a hazard for many
years to come."
US-UK Nuclear Co-operation under the spotlight
The Guardian reports that the US may have been using Aldermaston
to carry out research on its own nuclear warhead programmes. In an interview
carried out by Chatham House and the Centre for Strategic Studies, John
Harvey, policy and planning director at the US National Nuclear Security
Administration states, "We have recently, I can't tell you when, taken
steps to amend the MDA [Mutual Defence Agreement], not only to extend
it but to amend it to allow for a broader extent of cooperation than in
the past, and this has to do with the RRW effort." The article considers
that this may have enabled the US weapons labs to circumvent restrictions
on research on the RRW applied by Congress.
Hutton promises more submarines for Barrow...
The North West Evening Mail reports that "Furness
MP and Defence Secretary John Hutton has promised that Barrow will
get all seven Astute nuclear submarines it expects despite the recession...
And Mr Hutton has said he is confident that with the Trident missile successor
submarines, the shipyard will have work well into the 2020s." Mr
Hutton said, it is his job as Defence Secretary to make sure there is
a steady "drumbeat of orders to keep the skills and expertise together."
In a speech to the Defence Industry
conference, held in Barrow, Hutton said, "Globally, the UK remains
the second largest defence spender, in cash terms. Only the US spends
more. Our defence spending is currently undergoing the longest period
of sustained real growth since the 1980s: by 2011, the Defence budget
will be 10% higher in real terms than it was in 1997....
"This visibility of our plans can be seen in the Government’s intention
to build the successor nuclear deterrent. The anticipated injection of
£10-15 billion at today’s prices should help ensure the viability of the
ship-building industry for future decades, as will the work associated
with the two aircraft carriers."
... as BAE Systems reveals record profits
The Press Association reports "a 31% rise in annual
earnings" at BAE Systems. BAE said underlying earnings were £1.9
billion in 2008, up from £1.45 billion a year earlier. The company's order
book grew by 20% to £46.5 billion.
Meanwhile, BAE Systems chief executive Ian King has
warned the government that the company will cut jobs if it does not go
ahead with major projects such as Trident or Typhoon (Eurofighter). The
Times reports that "Mr King said that it would be difficult
for BAE to continue to invest in more apprentices and engineers if future
projects were under threat. That would also affect the company’s thousands
of small and medium-sized suppliers, potentially leading to job losses
and factory closures."
Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp Legal Victory
On 5 February the court of appeal overturned a bye-law
banning "camping in tents, caravans, trees or otherwise" near the Atomic
Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, which designs and builds the UK's
nuclear warheads. Lord Justice Laws, Lord Justice Wall and Lord Justice
Stanley Burnton overturned the bye-laws and claimed a "pressing social
need" for the ban was not shown.
The judgement reported by the BBC, noted that "the
camp has borne consistent, long-standing and peaceful witness to the convictions
of the women who have belonged to it...". Noting that: "Rights worth having
are unruly things." the judgment upheld the Women's Peace Camp's appeal,
saying that "if their activities are inconvenient or tiresome, the Secretary
of State's shoulders are surely broad enough to cope."
Despite snow on the ground, tents were again pitched against the AWE
fence. The Reading Evening Post (the main newspaper
for the area that includes AWE Aldermaston and Burghfield) noted: "The
stalwarts of the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp were jubilant at the weekend
after a triumph in the Court of Appeal" and carried a commissioned
article on why the 24-year camp continues to be such a persistent
focus of opposition to the Aldermaston weapons facility.
For more information on Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp and the Judicial
Review, see http://aldermaston.net/.
AWE now controlled by US companies
The Financial Times reports that the UK Atomic Weapons Establishment
has come under the control of US companies after the government sold its
one-third stake. "Ministers were accused Thursday night
of trying to conceal the change in ownership after failing to make
an announcement to parliament," Sylvia Pfeifer and Alex Barker reported,
as the news slipped out on Thursday 19 December the day after parliament
rose for the recess. California-based Jacobs Engineering has bought the
government's share of AWE, with Lockheed Martin and the British company
Serco each also owning a third.
In a letter to the Independent David Lowry
writes that "a watershed has been passed in the final sale of part
of the UK military nuclear infrastructure to the United States."
The BBC also reports that the Ministry of Defence has received 1,000
responses to plans for new facilities at AWE Aldermaston. A report
highlighted some of the site was within a "zone at risk" from
flooding (see Nuclear Non-Proliferation News, December
International calls for Nuclear Disarmament gather momentum
President Obama takes office in the United States against a background
of increased calls for progress on nuclear disarmament. In an article
published in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the International
Herald Tribune Helmut Schmidt, Richard von Weizsäcker,
Egon Bahr and Hans-Dietrich Genscher lend their support to the Kissinger,
Schultz, Perry and Nunn initiatives and argue that "all remaining
U.S. nuclear warheads should be withdrawn from German territory."
In the US an oped by Senator Dianne Feinstein appeared in the Wall
Street Journal calling on Obama to commit to a nuclear-free world.
"We must recognize nuclear weapons for what they are
-- not a deterrent, but a grave and gathering threat to humanity.
As president, Barack Obama should dedicate himself to their world-wide
elimination," she writes.
Writing in the Boston Globe, to coincide with Hillary Clinton's
confirmation hearings as Secretary of State Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Chair, John Kerry calls on the Obama administration
to "embrace the goal of reducing our strategic nuclear arsenals to
1,000 deployed warheads and work to persuade the Russians to do the same",
and commits himself to "begin working to build the necessary bipartisan
support for US ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty".
In the German newspaper Sueddeutche, IAEA Director-General Dr
Mohamed ElBaradei criticised nuclear sharing provisions in NATO's Strategic
Concept: "Imagine this: a country or group of countries serves
notice that they plan to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT) in order to acquire nuclear weapons, citing a dangerous deterioration
in the international security situation... The international uproar that
would follow such a move is predictable. Yet the rationale I have just
cited to justify nuclear weapons is taken from NATO's current Strategic
Former Clinton Administration official Steve Andreasen
calls for a rethink on missile defence in the San Fransico Chronicle.
"If the United States and our European allies could forge agreement
with Moscow, it could improve U.S. and European security at far less cost
to the American taxpayer, as well as improve relations with Russia and
possibly enable cooperation on other difficult issues," he writes.
Whilst on the Guardian's Comment is Free blog, former
German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer calls
for a new approach to engagement with Russia. "Why not think about
transforming Nato into a real European security system, including Russia?"
Weapons Cuts or Modernisation?
Most UK and international news media reported on the possibility that
the Obama administration may seek a new treaty with Russia on nuclear
arms reductions. Quoted in the New York Times, Daryl
Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, says,
"it appears that reductions down to 1,000 warheads are possible."
As the (London) Times notes, "Any agreement would
put pressure on Britain, which has 160 nuclear warheads, and other
nuclear powers to reduce their stockpiles."
ITAR-TASS also notes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
Ivanov's call for a successor to START to "include a ban on the deployment
of strategic offensive armaments outside national territories" and
"ban militarization of space".
However, a number of US media have hightlighted a possible clash of interests
within the new administration. Time notes that, "The latest
U.S. nuclear showdown doesn't involve a foreign enemy. Instead it pits
President Barack Obama against his Defense Secretary, Robert
Gates, and concerns the question of whether America needs a new generation
of nuclear warheads. While serving under former President George W. Bush,
Gates had repeatedly called for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW)
program to be put into operation..."
Quoted in the Nation, Joseph Cirincione
says, "Secretary Gates has to decide whether he will support the President's
considered policy that the United States will not develop any new nuclear
weapons or whether he will continue to align himself with the small band
of nuclear neanderthals clinging to obsolete cold war policies."
In January, the Washington Post covered the Secretary
of Defense Task Force on Defense Department Nuclear Weapons Management
headed by James Schlesinger. "The presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in
Europe remains a pillar of NATO unity," the report says, adding: "Some
Allies have been troubled to learn that during the last decade some senior
U.S. military leaders have advocated for the unilateral removal of U.S.
nuclear weapons from Europe."
Since the end of the Cold War the nuclear deterrence force "has
sometimes been neglected within the Department of Defense, as a whole,"
Schlesinger told reporters at a Pentagon
news conference, recommending that the Department should have a new
assistant secretary of defense for deterrence. "If deterrence is
in the eye of the beholder... it is a political statement that must come
from the very highest offices of the government, not only here in the
DoD, but from the White House, from the Department of State and the like,"
Meanwhile over on Capitol Hill, US non-governmental organisations have
successfully eliminated $1 billion dollars for nuclear weapons work from
the US economic stimulus package, which senators had slipped in. In the
Huffington Post, Joe Cirincione writes, "Military
spending is notoriously poor at stimulating the economy. Studies show
that investing in mass transit, education or state and local government
projects generate far more economic activity than money spent on weapons."
Taking aim at Missile Defence
The New York Times analyses US Vice-President
Joe Biden's speech to the Munich Security Conference in February (see
Selected Munich speeches on the Acronym
website). "Some Western diplomats had expected Mr. Biden to announce
a strategic review of the planned missile defense system as a way to defuse
tensions between Washington and Moscow. Although Mr. Biden did not go
that far, he did leave room in both the speech — and an interview afterward
— for unspecified changes in the plan put forward by the Bush administration.
'We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian
capability, provided the technology is proven and it is cost-effective,'
Mr. Biden said."
This language reflects restrictions put on the missile defence programme
by Congress in recent years. As chair of the Senate Armed
Services Committee Carl Levin told reporters, "I would say we've got
to slow that down and properly test it."
Whilst Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov welcomed the speech
as "very positive". As the Guardian reports Russia
also appears to be signalling that it will "suspend" plans
to deploy nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in its European Kaliningrad
It is unlikely to be viewed so positively by Iran, which has just launched
its first satellite. As the (London) Times notes, "Tehran’s
provocative move to launch a satellite, proof of its growing ability
to develop a long-range ballistic missile, will increase domestic pressure
on Mr Obama to ignore Russian demands and press ahead with the defence
The New York Times cites a "top Obama administration official"
as saying that "the administration had not yet reached the point
of discussing whether it could, or would, move the missile defense sites
to other countries."
Whilst public opposition to deployment of missile defence
sites remains high in Poland and the Czech Republic, the leaders of these
countries continue to emphasise their support for the programme, hoping
to retain inducements offered by the Bush administration such as increased
military cooperation (see Analysis: Poles, Czechs fear loss
of bases, Associated Press, 18 February 2009 and Poland
to tell U.S.'s Biden it is ready for shield-PM, Reuters, 6 February
Britain has also reiterated its support for missile defence, with Defence
Minister Quentin Davies saying that the system "would protect Britain
from a missile attack by a 'rogue state'". The BBC notes that Mr
Davies "stressed that there were no plans to site
US missiles on British soil as part of the defence shield but MPs
would be given an opportunity to debate such a move if there were."
Collision of US and Russian satellites prompts concerns
about space security
The collision of two satellites has highlighted concerns about space
security and the problems posed by debris. As Scientific American
notes, "there are no rules of the road in space...
Anybody can fly anywhere they want."
The Associated Press reports that the crash has generated
an estimated 10,000 pieces of space junk "that could circle Earth
and threaten other satellites for the next 10,000 years... One expert
called the collision "a catastrophic event" that he hoped would force
President Barack Obama's administration to address the long-ignored issue
of debris in space."
Reuters reports that President Obama's support for
a ban on weapons in space faces challenges as the issue is being watched
closely by Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, and Northrop Grumman Corp,
the biggest U.S. defense contractors, which are also involved in military
and civilian space contracts.
Fox News also notes that "President Barack Obama's
recent pledge to seek a ban on space weapons drew a mixed reaction from
experts in the field, with some saying the president might be better off
pursuing something more modest and less complex, such as a set of international
rules governing space operations. Arms control advocates nonetheless applauded
the statement as a welcome departure from the space policy stance of former
President George W. Bush."
Theresa Hitchens, director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament
Research welcomed the White House statement but said that given the difficulty
of coming up with an acceptable definition of space weaponry, a better
approach would be to seek a ban on certain behaviors. "I would say this
is good starting language," Hitchens said in an interview. "... The problem
is most space technologies have multiple uses, so the approach that should
be taken needs to look at actions rather than capabilities.
During the US presidential election campaign Obama reportedly acknowledged
that achieving a global treaty banning weapons in space could be challenging.
A simpler and quicker solution, he suggested at that time, might be a
"code of conduct for responsible space-faring nations." This would include
"a prohibition against harmful interference against satellites."
Index of Articles
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 email@example.com.
Letter to the Times by Field Marshal Lord Bramall,
General Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach
does not need a nuclear deterrent: Nuclear weapons must not be seen to
be vital to the secure defence of self-respecting nations
Letter to the editor from Field Marshal Lord Bramall, General Lord
Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach, The Times, 16 January 2009
Sir, Recent speeches made by the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary
and the previous Defence Secretary, and the letter from Douglas Hurd,
Malcolm Rifkind, David Owen and George Robertson in The Times on June
30, 2008, have placed the issue of a world free of nuclear weapons firmly
on the public agenda. But it is difficult to see how the United Kingdom
can exert any leadership and influence on this issue if we insist on a
costly successor to Trident that would not only preserve our own nuclear-power
status well into the second half of this century but might actively encourage
others to believe that nuclear weapons were still, somehow, vital to the
secure defence of self-respecting nations...
and a British nuclear deterrent
The Times, 20 January 2009
Weighing up the use of conventional warfare versus nuclear deterrence.
Letters to the Editor from Peter Rice-Evans, Emeritus Professor of Physics
and John Finney Chair, British Pugwash Group and Robert A. Hinde Deputy
Chair, British Pugwash Group.
Were we to postpone a decision on renewal, we would not only save money,
but also create a space in which to assess fundamentally how the UK can
best respond to the threats of today’s world rather than of yesterday’s.
deterrent is vital to global stability
The Times, 21 January 2009
Letters to the Editor from Bernard Jenkin, MP, Admiral Sir Nicholas
Hunt, and Rear-Admiral Guy Liardet
The latent possibility of nuclear weapons is a vital contribution to global
stability and European security
defence is to be strategic rather than politically expedient, dump Trident
Max Hastings, The Guardian, 19 January 2009
Party leaders see no votes in debating the nuclear issue, but these weapons
look ever more costly and irrelevant as a deterrent... What seems so mistaken
about Britain's present posture is what is wrong with our entire defence
policy: it is a jumble of political expedients rather than a coherent
strategy founded in rational analysis of security needs. The Tories have
promised a defence review if they win the next election, and this is long
overdue. My own instinct is that Trident should go. In the threadbare
condition in which Britain will emerge from this economic crisis, it cannot
afford such a large willy. Indeed, it will be lucky to have one at all.
Brown should try harder to inspire us in these hopeless times
Mary Riddell, The Telegraph, 21 January 2009
On defence, three former generals have denounced Britain's nuclear
submarines as "completely useless". On the constitution, there is still
no sign of a long-overdue green paper outlining a British bill of rights.
Nor has there been any action (bar a new private member's bill introduced
by the Lib-Dems' Evan Harris) to limit religious discrimination and end
male primogeniture in our arcane monarchy. On all of these, Brown could
take rapid action. He would save money (£20 billion at least, in the case
of Trident), reinforce values, give Britain back a sense of pride in its
past and help quash a growing sense of anger, fear and impotence.
out now, or forever hold your peace
Trident, Heathrow, Obama, Iraq: if you think things will go wrong,
don't wait until you are out the loop before you say so
Matthew Parris, The Times, 17 January 2009
Yesterday's letter to The Times was certainly not the first time that
these retired military men have set out their opposition to the Trident
replacement programme. They have been brave. But their letter, written
from the cover of retirement, is the visible part of an iceberg. Submerged,
and still serving within the Armed Forces, are scores of silent experts
and silent military leaders among whom the doubts expressed in the Times
letter are widely shared, and have been for years.
in 'scrap Trident' call
BBC News Online, 16 January 2009
General Lord Ramsbotham told the BBC that the "huge" £20bn expense
of renewal has to be questioned and said the armed forces should get more
retired military commanders call for Trident to be scrapped
Michael Evans, The Times, 16 January 2009
Three retired military commanders are urging the Government to scrap
the plan to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent.
It would take a brave government to abandon Trident
Michael Evans, Defence Editor, The Times, 16 January 2009
The appeal by three retired military chiefs for the Government to
scrap the £20 billion programme to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent
has come at an awkward time for the Ministry of Defence.
nuclear missiles are £20bn waste of money, say generals
Helen Pidd, The Guardian, 16 January 2009
Ramsbotham said he no longer believed that Britain's nuclear deterrent
was truly independent. "We don't own the missiles and it is absolutely
unthinkable that we should ever consider using it or threatening to use
it without having the clearance of the United States," he said.
Trident arsenal must be scrapped, say retired forces chiefs
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor, Independent, 16 January 2009
Lord Ramsbotham told BBC TV's Newsnight the decision to upgrade Trident
was taken on political rather than military grounds. "It was a Cold War
weapon. It is not a weapon for the situation we are now in," he said.
nuclear deterrent: Former generals call for scrapping of British weapons
Three retired Army generals have called for a debate on the scrapping
of the British nuclear deterrent suggesting that the money could be better
spent on other defence projects.
Thomas Harding, The Telegraph, 16 January 2009
One of the officers, Lord Ramsbotham, Adjutant General from 1990 to 1993,
said Trident would not stop "blackmail by terrorists".
in 'scrap Trident' call
ITV.com, 16 January 2009
Retired Army General Lord Ramsbotham, who also signed the letter along
with retired Army General Sir Hugh Beach, said he wanted to reopen the
debate over the renewal of Trident, which was approved by the House of
Commons in 2007 despite a large rebellion by Labour MPs.
HEATHCOAT-AMORY: How can we spend £20 billion on Trident when our troops
are so badly equipped?
Daily Mail, 16 January 2009
Until recently, I associated unilateral nuclear disarmament - Britain
giving up the bomb - with the loony left fringe politics of the 1980s,
Greenham women in overalls, Tony Benn shouting on CND marches... But then
the Cold War ended, and the military and strategic role of our deterrent
changed. Who exactly was it deterring? Could Britain ever use it independently
of the United States? And didn't we need the money to give our overstretched
armed forces the equipment they really did need? Lord Bramall Former head
of the armed forces Field Marshal Lord Bramall is one of several retired
military officers to brand the Trident system 'completely useless'. I
began, along with other traditionally right of centre thinkers, to consider
life without an independent nuclear capability.
a 'completely useless' waste of £20 billion claim ex-military chiefs
The Mirror, 16 January 2009
Britain should scrap its nuclear missiles and spend the cash on conventional
weapons instead, ex-military chiefs said yesterday.
scrap UK nuclear missile program
David Stringer, Associated Press, 16 January 2009
Michael Ellam, spokesman for current Prime Minister Gordon Brown,
said on Friday that nuclear weapons remain vital to protect the "current
generation of Britons, and future generations."
top military brass say nuclear deterrent useless
AFP, 15 January 2009
The Ministry of Defence said it was committed to a world without nuclear
weapons and was working to achieve that goal. It had also reduced the
number of warheads it held to the minimum required for a deterrence. "However,
the government believes it should take the decisions necessary to ensure
our national security, and in the current security environment that includes
retention of a minimum nuclear deterrent," a spokeswoman said.
senior Army officers attack Trident
UPI, 17 January 2009
In a letter to The Times of London, Field Marshal Edwin Baron Bramall,
who served as chief of the defense staff from 1982 to 1985, Gen. David
Baron Ramsbotham, who spent 40 years in the Army and retired in 1993,
and Gen. Sir Hugh Beach argued that Britain no longer has a completely
independent nuclear deterrent. They said the country's nuclear missiles
do not give it more clout internationally.
new, but very clear
David Lindsay, Comment is Free, guardian.co.uk, 17 January 2009
The army has never liked Trident. It is the navy's, not theirs. The army
has no nuclear weapons, and it hurts. But the generals who wrote in yesterday's
Times that Britain no longer needs a nuclear deterrent are simply stating
and for our French readers!
dissuasion nucléaire est "inutile"
Le Figaro, 16 Janvier 2009
Trois anciens généraux britanniques ont sévèrement critiqué aujourd'hui
le plan de modernisation par Londres de son dispositif de dissuasion nucléaire,
estimant que ce dernier était "complètement inutile" pour faire face aux
(Three former British generals have today severely criticised London's
plans to modernise its nuclear deterrent, considering that the deterrent
is "completely useless" in the face of today's threats.)
- Le pavé des militaires
Le Point, 22 Janvier 2009
L'ancien chef d'état-major des armées, lord Bramall, de même que les généraux
Ramsbotham et Hugh Beach ont écrit dans le Times un texte court et percutant
qui réclame l'abandon de la modernisation des missiles Trident achetés
aux Etats-Unis : « Bien que notre pays ait, en théorie, la liberté de
donner l'ordre de tir, il est impensable que-en raison des conséquences
catastrophiques pour les innocents autant que pour les coupables-ces armes
soient jamais lancées sans l'accord et le soutien des Etats-Unis. »
(The former head of the army Lord Bramall, along with Generals Ramsbotham
and Hugh Beach have written a short and forceful letter to the Times
demanding the abandonment of modernisation of the Trident missiles purchased
from the United States. "While this country has, in theory, freedom
of action over giving the order to fire, it is unthinkable that, because
of the catastrophic consequences for guilty and innocent alike, these
weapons would ever be launched, or seriously threatened, without the backing
and support of the United States.")
International Law Experts question legality of Trident
expert backs attempt to block Trident renewal
Rob Edwards, Sunday Herald, 1 February 2009
Protesting ‘is the right of every citizen’, says judge
THE UK government's plan to maintain nuclear weapons on the Clyde will
this week be condemned as cruel, criminal and barbaric by one of the world's
leading legal experts. At a major conference discussing Trident on Tuesday,
the former vice-president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ),
judge Christopher Weeramantry, below, will back attempts by the Scottish
government to remove nuclear warheads from Scottish soil.
Dr Rebecca Johnson, one of the organisers of Tuesday's event, said: "As
a country where nuclear warheads are stored and nuclear-armed submarines
are deployed, Scotland has many responsibilities. We hope that this conference
will explore the legal situation regarding the deployment, use and renewal
of Trident and look at what international law requires governments and
citizens to do about nuclear weapons."
'increases threat of nuclear attacks on Scotland'
Scotsman.com, 4 February 2009
Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International
Court of Justice, told a conference in Edinburgh that the issue could
not be left in the hands of Westminster. While agreeing that international
relations were reserved to the UK Parliament, he insisted the Scottish
Parliament must uphold international humanitarian and legal obligations.
steps up calls to scrap nuclear arms
Joe Quinn, Scotsman.com, 4 February 2009
THE SNP yesterday stepped up calls for Scotland to be rid of nuclear weapons.
The call came at a conference in Edinburgh where the SNP MP Angus Robertson
said Scotland could "help lift the nuclear shadow".
Issue: Is it time for nuclear weapons to be removed forever from the Clyde?
Scotsman.com, 4 February 2009
ANGUS ROBERTSON, SNP MP for Moray and SNP parliamentary leader at Westminster:
THE conference on Trident in Edinburgh yesterday underlined our commitment
to make the world a safer place by ridding ourselves of weapons of mass
destruction. Majority opinion in Scotland is opposed to the Trident weapons
system that is based on the Clyde.
ERIC JOYCE, Labour MP for Falkirk: LABOUR has a proud record on disarmament
– but the key is to get agreements on all sides that create a nuclear-free
world, not to give them up unilaterally. The SNP obsession with putting
dogma above jobs and our strategic interest is wrong.
‘now right’ for removal of Trident missiles
Michael Settle, The Herald, 4 February 2009
Barack Obama's arrival in the White House, its boost to international
diplomacy and the pressure to reassess national budgets because of the
global downturn have created "positive" opportunities to move forward
on nuclear disarmament, Des Browne, the former Defence and Scotland Secretary,
said last night. The former cabinet minister expressed his view ahead
of the publication today of a UK Government paper, Lifting the Nuclear
Shadow: Creating the Conditions for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons, and as
the SNP said that "the time is right" to remove Trident missiles from
Officials, Activists Urge U.K. to Remove Nuclear Missile Submarines
Global Security Newswire, 5 February 2009
"The time is perfect for Scotland to play its part in reducing global
nuclear stockpiles by getting rid of weapons of mass destruction stationed
on our shores," said Angus Robertson, a legislator for the Scottish National
Party (see related GSN story, today).
call for nuclear-free Scotland
Press Association, 4 February 2009
The SNP will step up its calls for Scotland to be rid of nuclear weapons.
The calls will come at a conference in Edinburgh on the day the Westminster
Government launches a policy paper on the issue. The conference, to be
attended by a range of anti-nuclear groups, will focus on Trident and
to get rid of Trident in Scotland"
James Tweedie, Autonomous Media Network, 4 February 2009
SCOTTISH peace campaigners and parliamentarians demanded the scrapping
of Britain’s weapons of mass destruction at a conference in Edinburgh
on Tuesday. Delegates insisted that “the time is right” to remove the
submarine-based Trident nuclear missile system from Scotland just hours
before the British government launched a new policy paper on the abolition
of nuclear weapons entitled Lifting the Nuclear Shadow.
Trident and Triomphant accident
Nuclear Subs Collide
Editorial, New York Times, 23 February 2009
President Obama must move quickly to revive arms negotiations with the
Russians — committing to deep reductions both in deployed weapons and
the many thousands more in storage. He must then bring the British, French
and Chinese into the talks... As long as we depend on nuclear weapons
for our security, we will have to live with uncomfortable risks. Governments
must keep those risks to an absolute minimum by eliminating thousands
of weapons that no longer have any military justification and insisting
on the highest possible safety standards.
to be learnt' after nuclear submarine collision in the Atlantic
Plymouth Herald, 23 February 2009
DEFENCE Secretary John Hutton said lessons would have to be learnt 'pretty
quickly' following the mid-Atlantic collision between British and French
nuclear submarines... Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Hutton
said: "The First Sea Lord has made clear there is a very careful investigation
going on to explore exactly how this event happened and what conclusions
we should draw from it."
safety plans for submarines damaged at sea
Rob Edwards, Environmental News and Comment, 22 February 2009
The safety schemes meant to protect the communities around the Clyde
from a nuclear accident fail to take account of the risks from submarines
damaged by accidents at sea. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the government’s
Health and Safety Executive have admitted that their hazard evaluations
for submarine berths do not cover the dangers posed by boats returning
Letter from John Hein to the Scotsman, 18 February 2009
The UK, with 15 submarines and four accidents in the past nine years,
has had 27 per cent of its submarines involved in accidents. The US, with
71 submarines and seven accidents in the past nine years, has had 10 per
cent of its submarines involved in accidents.
crews didn't realise they hit each other: France
AFP, 18 February 2009
PARIS (AFP) — French and British sailors did not realise their nuclear
submarines had crashed into each other until their governments got in
touch over the incident, France's defence minister admitted Tuesday.
and UK may coordinate submarine routes
Sophie Hardach, Reuters, 17 February 2009
PARIS (Reuters) - France and Britain may consider coordinating underwater
patrols following a collision between two of their nuclear-armed submarines,
France's defence minister said on Tuesday.
lingers over nuclear subs' collision
Scotsman, 17 February 2009
WAS the mid-Atlantic collision of HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant, two
nuclear-powered and armed submarines operated by the British and French
navies respectively, really the "million-to-one" accident it has been
portrayed as – or is something else going on? Belatedly – after the story
was revealed in a tabloid newspaper – the Royal Navy admitted the boats
"came into contact at a very low speed" while submerged.
demand inquiry into 'hushed-up' nuclear subs crash
Alastair Dalton, Scotsman, 17 February 2009
Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrats' defence spokesman, called for
an immediate internal inquiry, with "some" publication of its conclusions,
in order to reassure the public. He said: "The people of Britain, France
and the rest of the world need to be reassured that this can never happen
again and that lessons are being learned."
BBC News Online, 16 February 2009
Britain and France say two of their nuclear-armed submarines, HMS Vanguard
and Le Triomphant, collided while submerged in the Atlantic earlier this
month. BBC News examines how and why this happened.
France's Secrecy Cause a Nuclear-Sub Collision?
Eben Harrell, Time, 16 February 2009
A collision between a British nuclear-powered submarine carrying multiple
nuclear warheads and a French nuclear submarine armed with a similar payload
may have been the result of lack of communication between France and NATO
nations, according to a former British submarine commander whose revelations
were partially corroborated by an official at the French navy.
and French nuclear submarine collision 'as serious as sinking of Kursk'
Caroline Gammell and Thomas Harding, The Telegraph, 16 February
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, said the crash
showed the inherent danger of military operations. "For two submarines
to collide whilst apparently unaware of each other's presence is extremely
worrying. "Hopefully lessons have been learned to prevent anything like
this ever happening again in the future."
submarine collision a 'very serious incident'
Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 16 February 2009
However much the Ministry of Defence was trying to play it down –
or, indeed, avoid saying anything until news of it was leaked to the press
– the significance of the collision between British and French nuclear
missile submarines in the middle of the Atlantic must not be underestimated,
say independent analysts.
close did crash submarines packed with nuclear missiles come to disaster?
Peter Allen and Tom Kelly, Daily Mail, 17 February 2009
A huge disaster was narrowly avoided when British and French nuclear submarines
crashed in the Atlantic, a marine engineer said yesterday.
Navies' cover-up nuke sub crash
Tom Newton Dunn and Peter Allen, The Sun, 17 February 2009
BRITAIN and France tried to cover up the nuke subs crash that could have
sparked a massive disaster, it emerged last night. The navies of both
nations were forced to come clean about the incident yesterday after The
Sun’s exclusive revelation swept the world.
Tom Newton Dunn, The Sun, 16 February 2009
The MoD insisted last night there had been no nuclear security breach.
But this is the biggest embarrassment to the Navy since Iran captured
15 sailors in 2007. The naval source said: “Crashing a nuclear submarine
is as serious as it gets.”
and French nuclear submarines in deep sea collision
The Mirror, 16 February 2009
crew members were so worried about the damage they feared for the
safety of the 14 0 - strongship's company and the 16,000-ton sub's ability
to return home.
Admiral, what have you got to say about the nuclear submarine crash?
Cahal Milmo, Independent, 17 February 2009
Several serious accidents have befallen the UK's submarine fleet. In 2002,
HMS Trafalgar suffered considerable damage when it ran aground on rocks
off Skye in a training exercise. Last week, an inquest heard how two sailors
on the Trafalgar's sister vessel, HMS Tireless, died in an explosion caused
by a faulty oxygen generator. Crewmates battled for 40 minutes to reach
the two men after the force of the blast closed and buckled hatch doors.
Lifting the Nuclear Shadow: Foreign Office Policy Paper
Miliband: now is the time to show we're serious about the treaty
Bronwen Maddox, The Times, 5 February 2009
Asked whether he expected that there would be a nuclear-free world during
his lifetime, he said: “I think of myself as having long enough to go
that this is realistic”, but acknowledged that “this is very difficult”.
Miliband sets out six-point plan to rid world of nuclear weapons
Press Association, The Guardian, 4 February 2009
Foreign secretary's move comes as Barack Obama is reported to seek talks
with Russia on reducing stockpiles of warheads... John Sauven, the chief
executive of Greenpeace, said: "Until the government puts plans to replace
Trident on hold, anything they say about ridding the world of nuclear
weapons is severely undermined. "Over 100 military and defence experts,
backed by the Obama administration, are calling for a new global programme
to eliminate nuclear weapons. But our government seems determined to scupper
this major new initiative by replacing Trident and tying Britain into
nuclear rearmament for the next 40 years.
sets out plan for nuclear weapons-free world
Adrian Croft, Reuters UK, 4 February 2009
The government set out a six-point plan on Wednesday for a nuclear free
world, at a time when global powers fear Iran will produce a bomb and
Barack Obama's inauguration has renewed interest in disarmament.
Seeks New Talks Aimed at Ridding World of Nukes
Fox News.com/Associated Press, 4 February 2009
LONDON — Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Wednesday called
for new talks between major powers aimed at ridding the world of nuclear
to speed up nuclear disarmament
Press Association, 4 February 2009
Foreign Secretary David Miliband has set out a six-step programme to create
the conditions to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The move came amid
reports that US President Barack Obama is planning talks with Russia on
a new agreement to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start),
with the possible aim of reducing stockpiles to 1,000 warheads on each
Leadership Could Ease Way for Nuclear Disarmament, British Official Says
Global Security Newswire, 5 February 2009
British leaders approved a plan two years ago to build new ballistic-missile
submarines, a decision that some critics have argued could slow disarmament
goals.... "It undermines efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons and totally
ignores the fact that the greatest long-term security threat we face is
climate change," said Greenpeace U.K. Executive Director John Sauven.
nuclear policy 'insane'
politics.co.uk, 5 February 2009
The government has been accused of its left hand not knowing what
the right hand is doing over its 'contradictory' attitudes towards nuclear
disarmament... Greenpeace said the Trident plans "severely undermined"
David Miliband's comments.
Clinton offers united front with Britain over missiles
Tom Baldwin in Washington and Michael Evans, Defence Editor, The
Times, 4 February 2009
Hillary Clinton offered David Miliband assurances yesterday that plans
to re-engage with Iran would proceed one step at a time - and only after
heeding concerns from Britain... Britain is among a number of countries
who have voiced concerns that Mr Obama's proffered hand of friendship
to Iran could undermine the united front built up against Tehran. Mr Miliband,
however, said: “It is important that we allow the American Administration
to have the time to finalise the details of its policy.”
More Trident news
plan sees 1,000 responses
BBC News Online, 20 February 2009
Some 1,000 comments have been lodged over a plan to modernise a nuclear
warhead facility in Berkshire. Many people raised concerns over flooding
at the proposed new facility at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment.
eyes further year of growth
Press Association, 19 February 2009
Defence group BAE Systems has reported a 31% rise in annual earnings and
said it expected a "further year of good growth" in 2009.
Letter to the Scotsman by Lynne Jamieson, 19 February 2009
Accidents cannot be eliminated, but threatening others with nuclear
weapons can. The crash of French and British nuclear submarines (your
report, 17 February) is another reminder that even improbable accidents
using British atomic weapons factory for its nuclear programme
Matthew Taylor and Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 9 February
Nick Harvey, defence spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said parliament
and the country would react with "outrage" at the prospect of British
taxpayers funding a new US nuclear weapon. "All this backroom dealing
and smoke and mirrors policy is totally unacceptable, the government must
open the Aldermaston accounts to full parliamentary scrutiny," he added.
document reveals Trident was set up to kill half of Moscow’s citizens
Rob Edwards, Sunday Herald, 8 February 2009
To ensure that the warheads inflicted "unacceptable damage" on Moscow
and St Petersburg, the government was prepared to explode them at ground
level to maximise lethal levels of radioactive contamination. These revelations
are considered so sensitive that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has tried
to cover them up in case they hamper current plans to replace Trident.
Senior officials are still carrying out the same kind of "Dr Strangelove
arithmetic", critics say.
have to replace Vanguards’
North West Evening Mail, 6 February 2009
FURNESS MP John Hutton says the Trident submarine replacement programme
– which includes up to four submarines being built in Barrow – must go
ahead... Recently opposition to the £20bn Trident replacement programme
has begun to mount, with some retired defence chiefs claiming the cash
should be spent on conventional arms instead... Mr Hutton said not being
a nuclear power would also exclude Britain from the multi-lateral disarmament
negotiations. He added: “We have got to proceed with the deterrent. Previous
generations have had the benefit of the nuclear deterrent. It’s been very
controversial, I don’t dispute that, but they have had the benefit of
it and I think we should make sure future generations do so as well.”
jobs bonanza at BAE
North West Evening Mail, 5 February 2009
FIVE hundred more jobs are being created by BAE Submarines Solutions
- most of them in Barrow. The company announced the big increase today.
It includes some staff for its offices in the south of England. The major
boost to the yard and to the Barrow economy follows the addition of over
1,000 new jobs last year.
is up to Scots to oppose WMD
Letter to the Editor from Brian Quail, The Herald, 30 January 2009
Since all UK nuclear bombs are based here in Scotland, there is an overwhelming
moral responsibility on us all in this country to oppose this British
WMD. The churches have voiced their opposition, as have the trades unions
and the leaders of civil society. Thank God we have in Scotland a party
in government which has the courage to stand by its principles and oppose
threatening the mass slaughter of civilians as the war crime it manifestly
armed forces: Losing their way?
The Economist, 29 January 2009
How much should Britain spend on defence? At around 2.6% of GDP, its defence
budget is high by European standards but below America’s 4% (see chart
2). Defence spending has lagged behind other government expenditure (see
chart 3). One general says: “You cannot have a first-division army, navy
and air force—and a nuclear deterrent—for £34 billion a year.”
sub to go nuclear
North West Evening Mail, 29 January 2009
Technicians aboard the new £1.2bn first of class submarine Astute moored
in Devonshire Dock are to switch on its nuclear reactor either next month
or in early March... This week BAE is issuing 17,500 safety booklets to
residents, schools and care home and businesses within a 1.2 mile radius
of its Devonshire Dock and Ramsden Dock Basin, advising them what action
to take in the event of a radiation emergency. Thousands of potassium
iodate tablets are also soon to be issued to householders on Barrow Island
by health authorities.
Systems Barrow will get all seven Astute submarines - Hutton
North West Evening Mail, 26 January 2009
In an exclusive interview with the Evening Mail, Mr Hutton said the shipyard
was on a “rising tide” in its fortunes... When it comes to the shipyard
and nuclear submarines, Mr Hutton said, it is his job as Defence Secretary
to make sure there is a steady “drumbeat of orders to keep the skills
and expertise together.”... “Defence spending is now rising and, as a
result, there are nearly 2,000 more people working in the shipyard now
from its lowest point a few years ago and BAE are planning to recruit
more people for the shipyard in 2009. “I can’t remember a time when that
has been so. “So, we are on a rising tide when it comes to employment
at the shipyard, not on a falling tide." ... Mr Hutton said a seven-boat
Astute programme will keep the yard going up to the Trident successor
has spoken: what now for Trident?
Letters to the Editor, The Herald, 23 January 2009
"Let's end this before it goes any further and make a serious contribution
to disarmament by also decommissioning the existing Trident weapons. We
do not need and do not want 160 nuclear bombs in Scotland." - Isobel
"So, according to the newly stated objectives of President Obama:
"The development of new nuclear weapons will be stopped" (President's
first acts take on Bush's legacy across globe, The Herald, January 22.)
Where does this leave the UK's indefensible plans to replace Trident?"
- Rob Irving, Cardross.
systems smashes 5,000 jobs barrier
North West Evening Mail, 21 January 2009
In his shipyard walkabout before Christmas, BAE Submarine Solutions managing
director Murray Easton told the workforce that the shipyard faces major
contract challenges in the coming years. These include completing the
expected seven-boat Astute programme, the Successor “Son of Trident” programme
– to design and ultimately build three or four more submarines to carry
Britain’s nuclear deterrent when the present boats are life expired –
a hoped for role in future nuclear civil power and future potential export
decision for £20bn Trident project
North West Evening Mail, 20 January 2009
But now Mr Hutton has hit back, saying: “The nuclear deterrent will not
be funded at the expense of the conventional capabilities required by
our armed forces. I will not choose between protecting Britain against
nuclear threats, or terrorism, or global warming. We must protect the
country from all threats. It is the duty of the government to protect
the country in an uncertain world. Our nuclear deterrent has helped to
ensure our security and that of our allies for 50 years. But we should
not let our guard down against a future nuclear threat in such an uncertain
backs call for Trident debate
Lancashire Telegraph, 19 January 2009
PENDLE MP Gordon Prentice has welcomed the call from retired top brass
to re-open the debate on Trident. Field Marshal Lord Bramall, General
Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach, question whether the expenditure
of billions of pounds on a nuclear weapons system update is a sensible
use of resources. Mr Prentice said: “Trident is a colossal white elephant.
defpro.news, 19 January 2009
On January 12 British State Secretary for Defence John Hutton, and Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State for Defence Quentin Davies together made statements
on several major defence procurement programmes and on military operations
during a debate in the House of Commons... “With regard to the new class
of submarines to replace the Vanguard-class, as we have previously stated,
the first of class is forecast to enter service in around 2024. Also,
as explained in the December 2006 White Paper, a final decision on the
number of submarines that will be procured will be made when we know more
about their detailed design. That decision will determine the timetable
for entry into service of further submarines,” Hutton concludes.
Systems chief opens up with jobs warning to Government
David Robertson, The Times, 17 January 2009
BAE Systems has warned the Government of the consequences of axing major
programmes such as Trident or the Eurofighter Typhoon.
A life under
the ocean waves
Peter Marshall, BBC North West Tonight, 15 January 2009
HM Naval Base Clyde is simple to find they say. Just head out of Glasgow
and follow the barbed wire. Miles of it. But considering what the base
contains you would expect it to be pretty well guarded. The Royal Navy
fails to mention the anti-Trident peace camp that runs along the other
side of the main road up to the Faslane base - a colourful collection
of shanty-like sheds and caravans - just as striking as the barbed wire.
man's world under waves
Deborah Linton, Manchester Evening News, 15 January 2009
They practise their drills in a £4 million Vanguard simulator - an exact
replica of the sub's control room - and a navigation simulator described
to me as 'hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of Playstation'. But despite
this, and the sexy images of submarines in films like James Bond and Crimson
Tide, the service is experiencing a massive recruiting problem. Commander
Piers Barker told me: "In the last year we've been about 30 per cent down,
so now it's time to ensure we are visible rather than the silent, silent
Barrow yard could
face submarine logjam
Jon Simpson, North West Evening Mail, 13 January 2009
Former Royal Navy officer Steve Bush attacks some of the government’s
defence policies in the preface to his 2009 edition of the ‘British Warships
and Auxiliaries’ guide which lists all Royal Navy ships and submarines
in the fleet... He added: “With the Astute programme ongoing, one has
to ask if the facilities at BAE Systems at Barrow could cope with building
two submarine classes simultaneously.
Letter to the Aberdeen Press and Journal from John S. Jappy, 13
Over the next five years, maintaining Britain’s nuclear fleet will cost
the taxpayer £770million. As well as the moral question of whether or
not we should maintain an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, there
comes the question of whether or not, in the middle of the “credit crunch”,
we can afford to pay for this?
The Engineer, 12 January 2009
There isn't a huge amount of shipbuilding going on in Britain these days,
but it still dominates this small Cumbrian town, with the Dock Hall overshadowing
everything else around. It could be said that making submarines is a business
with no real competition, but the feeling you get walking around the BAE
site is that people are competing: with their own performance, with their
previous designs and, of course, with the Americans. 'American submarines
are a nasty green colour on the inside,' Flatman opined. 'Our boats are
nicer. And faster. And quieter. And sexier.'
Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp Legal Victory
women’s space in male military madness
Reading Evening Post, 11 February
Aldermaston Women's peace camp celebrated this week after the Court of
Appeal overruled an earlier decision by the High Court to ban its anti-nuclear
protests. Here the women write a collective piece on why holding a peace
camp is so important to them
protest ban overruled
Linda Fort, Reading Evening Post, 9 February 2009
The stalwarts of the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp were jubilant
at the weekend after a triumph in the Court of Appeal... Rebecca Johnson,
who was one of the original three women to set up the camp in February
1985, turned up with a cake to celebrate the victory.
women toast victory
BBC News Online, 7 February 2009
Anti-nuclear weapons campaigners will hold a victory party to celebrate
winning their High Court battle to quash a special "no camping" by-law...
Lord Justice Laws, Lord Justice Wall and Lord Justice Stanley Burnton
overturned the decision and claimed a "pressing social need" for the ban
was not shown.
return to anti-nuclear camp
www.politics.co.uk, 7 February 2009
In granting the appeal, Lord Justice Laws said: "Rights worth having are
unruly things. Demonstrations and protests are liable to be a nuisance.
"They are liable to be inconvenient and tiresome, or at least perceived
as such by others who are out of sympathy with them. "Sometimes they are
wrong-headed and misconceived," he added. "Whether or not the AWPC's cause
is wrong-headed or misconceived is neither here not there, and if their
activities are inconvenient or tiresome, the secretary of state's shoulders
are surely broad enough to cope."
camp saved by judges' ruling
Scotsman.com, 6 February 2009
JUDGES yesterday quashed a special "no camping" by-law that could have
put an end to the Aldermaston women's peace camp. The by-law took effect
in May last year and banned "camping in tents, caravans, trees or otherwise"
near the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire.
to carry on camping
Andy McSmith, Independent, 6 February 2009
Women peace activists have been told by a judge they can continue
camping outside the Aldermaston nuclear weapons site, no matter how "tiresome"
the Ministry of Defence thinks they are.
camp tent victory
Daily Mirror, 6 February 2009
Anti-nuclear campaigners were celebrating yesterday after top judges
quashed a bylaw which banned them from camping at a weapons base.
banning peace camps is overturned
Newbury Today, 6 February 2009
Yesterday, however, judges at the Court of Appeal in London ruled that
the law was, in fact, a violation of the women’s fundamental right to
freely express themselves and assemble peacefully.
women win right to camp
Reading Evening Post, 5 February 2009
Sian Jones, one of the 10 to 20 women who have been camping on the verge
of the A340 outside the bomb factory once a month in all weathers in defiance
of the byelaw,was delighted with the result. She said: “We are really,
really pleased with the result. British justice has been delivered.”
women win camp fight
BBC News Online, 5 February 2009
Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp (AWPC), which brought the action, said
it was a victory for the "right to protest"... Lord Justice Laws, Lord
Justice Wall and Lord Justice Stanley Burnton overturned the decision
and claimed a "pressing social need" for the ban was not shown.
celebrate as 'no-camping' by-law is quashed
Press Association / Rye and Battle Observer, 5 February 2009
Speaking outside the Royal Courts of Justice, peace camp spokeswoman
Sian Jones said: "We are absolutely delighted by the outcome, which is
not only a victory for the women's peace camp but an important judgment
on the right to protest.
defeat Ministry of Defence in freedom to protest case
Indymedia, 5 February 2009
The case brought by Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp(aign) hinged on whether
the government’s ban on camping violated their rights to freedom of expression
and assembly guaranteed by Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention
on Human Rights (ECHR). Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp(aign) have been
camping outside the Atomic Weapons Establishment every month for the last
24 years, in opposition to the manufacture of UK's nuclear weapons. Following
the original hearing on 1st February 2008, the court quashed a byelaw
outlawing the attaching of banners to the perimeter fence. The MoD chose
not to appeal. Today's judgement reverses the original ruling that the
ban on camping was justified.
fears over Aldermaston plan
BBC News Online, 15 January 2009
A plan has been submitted for a new nuclear warhead facility in Berkshire
despite the area being classed as having a high probability of flooding...
Under the proposal, a new main facility, support building with 16 lighting
protector towers, gate houses, access roads and security fences would
be constructed at the site.
firm passes to US control
Ian Johnston, The Guardian, 20 December 2008
British control of the plant where the UK's nuclear warheads are produced
has been relinquished, with the sale of a third stake in the Aldermaston
facility to an American company.
The Secret nuclear sell off
Letter to the Editor from Dr David Lowry, Independent, 26 December
Private US firms now control Britain's nuclear weapons... Now the same
government has tried a similar trick with the Atomic Weapons Establishment,
cutting MPs out of the loop. When MPs return to Parliament in early January,
they should demand an immediate ministerial statement, and subsequent
interrogation, on this latest sell-out to unaccountable American companies.
nuclear sell-off storm
By Ben Russell, Home affairs correspondent, Independent, 20 December
Opposition MPs last night expressed concern that the stake may have
been sold off below market value to raise much-needed money for the Treasury.
They accused the Government of trying to conceal the sale of the stake
in AWE Management Limited by failing to make an announcement in Parliament.
sells stake in Atomic Weapons Establishment
Murray Wardrop, The Telegraph, 20 December 2008
A US firm has bought British Nuclear Fuels' one-third share in AWE Management,
which makes and maintains the warheads for Britain's nuclear missiles,
giving Americans a controlling influence of the facility. The fee paid
by California-based Jacobs Engineering to state-owned BNF has not been
revealed, but estimates in January valued it at £100m.
puts atomic weapons plant in US hands
Sylvia Pfeifer and Alex Barker, Financial Times, 19 December 2008
The UK Atomic Weapons Establishment, which makes and maintains the
warheads for Britain’s nuclear missiles, has come under the control of
US companies after the government sold its one-third stake. Ministers
were accused Thursday night of trying to conceal the change in ownership
after failing to make an announcement to parliament.
International Calls for Nuclear Disarmament
Australia urge U.S. to cut nuclear threats
Shaun Waterman, UPI, 19 February 2009
"I think it's fair to say that we are pushing at a reasonably open
door on all these issues," Gareth Evans of the International Commission
on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament told reporters after meetings
in Washington with senior U.S. officials. Mr. Evans, a former Australian
foreign minister, outlined priority issues the administration should address
to reduce the nuclear threat.
signals nuclear changes
Geoff Elliott, The Australian, 16 February 2009
THE Obama administration will engage in serious "game changing" policy
on nuclear weapon reduction, says former Labor foreign minister Gareth
Evans, who spoke to US Vice-President Joe Biden at the weekend. Mr Evans,
in Washington to discuss ways to eliminate loose nukes and slash nuclear
weapon counts, said the Obama administration was preparing to start "immediate
negotiations" with both Moscow and Beijing on nuclear weapon stockpiles.
Steps towards Abolishing Nuclear Weapons
Mohamed El Baradei, sueddeutsche.de, 4 February 2009
Imagine this: a country or group of countries serves notice that they
plan to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in order
to acquire nuclear weapons, citing a dangerous deterioration in the international
security situation. "Don't worry," they tell a shocked world. "The fundamental
purpose of our nuclear forces is political: to preserve peace and prevent
coercion and any kind of war. Nuclear weapons provide the supreme guarantee
of our security. They will play an essential role by ensuring uncertainty
in the mind of any aggressor about the nature of our response to military
Withdrawing from the NPT is a drastic step, but every state party to the
Treaty has the right to do so, giving a mere three months' notice, if
it decides that "extraordinary events? have jeopardized its supreme interests.
The international uproar that would follow such a move is predictable.
Yet the rationale I have just cited to justify nuclear weapons is taken
from NATO's current Strategic Concept.
calls for Trident rethink
BBC News Online, 29 January 2009
Gen Sheehan, a former Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic for Nato, told
BBC Radio 4's World Tonight: "I think the UK is very close to saying we're
the first permanent member of the Security Council to do away with nuclear
weapons. "I think it is entirely possible that the British government,
for a lot of good reasons, could do it and it would lead the world."...
But he said an "act of political courage" was necessary for such a change
directions for foreign relations
John F. Kerry, Boston Globe, 13 January 2009
First, I will urge the Obama administration to embrace the goal of reducing
our strategic nuclear arsenals to 1,000 deployed warheads and work to
persuade the Russians to do the same... Second, I will begin working to
build the necessary bipartisan support for US ratification of the Comprehensive
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which would impose a worldwide ban on nuclear
testing under the watch of a far-reaching verification regime...
a nuclear-free world: a German view
Helmut Schmidt, Richard von Weizsäcker, Egon Bahr and Hans-Dietrich
Genscher, International Herald Tribune, 9 January 2009
Germany, which has renounced the use of nuclear, biological and chemical
weapons, has every reason to call on the nuclear-weapon states not to
use nuclear weapons against countries not possessing such arms. We are
also of the opinion that all remaining U.S. nuclear warheads should be
withdrawn from German territory.
One nuclear law for all
New Scientist, 7 January 2009
Of course it is one thing to suggest that Iran, Egypt - and yes, Israel
too - put their fuel cycle into international hands. But why should they
when the nuclear haves such as the US, UK and Russia seem to have forgotten
the promises they made under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to give
up their nuclear weapons?
Commit to a Nuclear-Free World
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Wall Street Journal, 3 January 2009
When Barack Obama becomes America's 44th president on Jan. 20, he
should embrace the vision of a predecessor who declared: "We seek the
total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth."
That president was Ronald Reagan, and he expressed this ambitious vision
in his second inaugural address on Jan. 21, 1985. It was a remarkable
statement from a president who had deployed tactical nuclear missiles
in Europe to counter the Soviet Union's fearsome SS-20 missile fleet.
The New Obama Administration
the Nuclear Pork from the Stimulus Bill
Joe Cirinicione, The Huffington Post, 20 February 2009
Some Senators have stealthily stuffed $1 billion for nuclear weapons
into the recovery bill. The only thing this will stimulate is an arms
race. It must go.
Takes on the Nuclear Neanderthals
By Katrina vanden Heuvel, TheNation.com, 9 February 2009
Joseph Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund and author of Bomb Scare:
The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons, told me this about Gates' views:
"Secretary Gates has to decide whether he will support the President's
considered policy that the United States will not develop any new nuclear
weapons or whether he will continue to align himself with the small band
of nuclear neanderthals clinging to obsolete cold war policies..."
seeks better Russia ties
BBC News Online, 6 February 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she hopes to have a "more
constructive" relationship with Russia. Mrs Clinton said she wanted to
include Moscow as a "co-operative partner" on issues such as Iran's nuclear
plans. But she did not comment on Russia's announcement that it will start
Iran's first nuclear plant by the end of 2009.
Showdown Over Nukes
Mark Thompson, Time, 26 January 2009
The latest U.S. nuclear showdown doesn't involve a foreign enemy.
Instead it pits President Barack Obama against his Defense Secretary,
Robert Gates, and concerns the question of whether America needs a new
generation of nuclear warheads. While serving under former President George
W. Bush, Gates had repeatedly called for the Reliable Replacement Warhead
(RRW) program to be put into operation, because the nation's current nukes
— mostly produced in the 1970s and '80s — are growing so old that their
destructive power may be in question.
work on W76 warhead and beyond
Knoxnews.com, 2 February 2009
"In light of congressional holds placed on the Reliable Replacement Warhead
program and changes in the Nuclear Weapons Enterprise strategy, the likelihood
of a W78 LEP (life-extension program) has increased," the Y-12 site plan
says. "The program continues on the NNSA long-range schedule."
Nukes cost U.S. $52 billion last year
Aditya Ganapathiraju, The Daily of the University of Washington, WA,
2 February 2009
A new study revealed that the United States spent more than $52 billion
last year on nuclear weapons and related programs. The study by the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace said that U.S. nuclear weapons spending
— excluding classified programs — makes up 10 percent of the total defense
budget, consumes 67 percent of the Department of Energy’s budget, and
exceeds the total amount spent on international diplomacy and foreign
aid, which is $39.5 billion. It also exceeds spending on technology, general
science and space, which is $27.4 billion.
warrior Henry Kissinger woos Russia for Barack Obama
Adrian Blomfield, The Telegraph, 6 February 2009
The Daily Telegraph has learned that the 85-year-old former US secretary
of state met President Dmitry Medvedev for secret negotiations in December.
According to Western diplomats, during two days of talks the octogenarian
courted Russian officials to win their support for Mr Obama's initiative,
which could see Russia and the United States each slashing their nuclear
warheads to 1,000 warheads.
seeks nuclear disarmament deal with Russia
Ian Traynor in Munich and Luke Harding in Moscow, The Guardian,
6 February 2009
The Obama administration is looking for a quick deal between the US and
Russia to more than halve their nuclear weapons stockpiles, reversing
the Bush White House's refusal to be bound by international treaties.
unclenches fist over nuclear weapons
Tony Halpin in Moscow, The Times, 5 February 2009
“We welcome the statements from the new Obama Administration that
they are ready to enter into talks and complete within a year, the signing
of a new Russian-US treaty on the limitation of strategic attack weapons,”
said Mr Ivanov, a hawkish former Defence Minister, who was once seen as
a candidate to become the president of Russia.
nuclear debate is back on the launch pad
Simon Scott Plummer, The Telegraph, 4 February 2009
After a long period of neglect, nuclear disarmament has re-emerged
at the top of the foreign policy agenda. Barack Obama is seeking a dramatic
reduction in global stockpiles over the next four years. The biggest holders,
Russia and the United States, are committed under the Moscow Treaty to
cutting the number of their strategic nuclear warheads from around 6,000
to between 1,700 and 2,200 by the end of 2012. But they are also looking
to effect further reductions through a successor to both the 2002 agreement
and the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in December.
Obama 'set to open radical nuclear weapons talks with Russia'
Jon Swaine, The Telegraph, 5 February 2009
Barack Obama will aim to slash the nuclear weapons stockpiles of the US
and Russia by 80 per cent, it has been reported.
Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons
The Times, 4 February 2009
President Obama will convene the most ambitious arms reduction talks with
Russia for a generation, aiming to slash each country’s stockpile of nuclear
weapons by 80 per cent... Any agreement would put pressure on Britain,
which has 160 nuclear warheads, and other nuclear powers to reduce their
new foreign policy tone
BBC News Online, 7 February 2009
The US Vice-president Joe Biden has pledged a new tone in America's
relations with the world.
administration offers olive branch to Russia and Iran
Ian Traynor in Munich, The Guardian, 7 February 2009
While Biden offered the Russians a policy shift towards co-operation
and consultation, Barack Obama's national security adviser, General James
Jones, told the Observer that plans to put parts of the Pentagon's missile
shield in Poland and the Czech Republic – a project that Moscow says could
trigger a new arms race – were being put on ice and that talks on the
shield would be broadened.
'positive' on US approach
BBC News Online, 8 February 2009
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov has welcomed the US promise
to "re-set the button" in their relationship as a "very positive" move.
Russia Reality Check
Fred Hiatt, Washington Post, 8 February 2009
It's certainly worth trying for improved relations -- British Foreign
Secretary David Miliband noted after Biden's speech that Russia's "incentive
to be a partner" may be greater now that oil prices have fallen so precipitously
-- but also worth asking what such a bargain might entail.
Admin. Seeks Treaty to Cut US, Russia Nukes
The Associated Press/New York Times, 5 February 2009
Daryl Kimball, executive director of the private Arms Control Association,
said ''it appears that reductions down to 1,000 warheads are possible.''
That would be a cut of more than 50 percent on the U.S. side.
Pentagon pull in different directions on no nukes goal
AFP, 1 February 2009
President Barack Obama has set a goal of a "world without nuclear weapons"
but the Pentagon is leaning in a seemingly contradictory direction: a
modernized nuclear arsenal.
The Times, 4 February 2009
The US and Russia each have much to gain from a thaw in relations. President
Obama is right to have made arms control a priority
nuclear threat: necessary conditions
Ria Novosti, 6 February 2009
Barack Obama is planning to propose that the United States and Russia
make drastic cuts in their strategic nuclear potentials, down to 1,000
warheads for each side... Russia's response was quick and at a high level:
on the same day Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia was ready
to negotiate a reduction of strategic arms and sign a new agreement in
place of START I, which expires this year.
Will Obama see sense about nuclear threat?
Lawrence Krauss, NewScientist, 26 January 2009
THE possibility that, in an Obama administration, science will drive rational
public policy provides an unprecedented opportunity to deal with a gnawing
yet persistently neglected threat to the world: nuclear weapons.
Urges Keeping U.S. Nuclear Arms In Europe
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 9 January 2009
The United States should keep tactical nuclear bombs in Europe and
even consider modernizing older warheads on cruise missiles to maintain
credibility with allies who depend on the U.S. weapons for security, according
to a report released yesterday by a high-level task force appointed by
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
suggests ban on nuclear weapons deployment abroad – Ivanov
ITAR-TASS, 6 February 2009
Russia suggests banning the deployment of nuclear weapons abroad with
a new agreement, which will succeed to START-1, Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Ivanov said at the 45th Munich Security Conference on Friday.
the Return of the Real
Jonathan Schell, The Nation, 22 January 2009
All the crises are characterized by double standards, which everywhere
block the way to solutions. One group of nations, led by the United States,
lays claim to the lion's share of the world's wealth, to an exclusive
right to possess nuclear weapons, to a disproportionate right to pollute
the environment and even to a dominant position in world councils, while
everyone else is expected to accept second-class status.
nuclear-free dream fades
Simon Tisdall, Comment is free, guardian.co.uk, 22 January 2009
The report, published by the Carnegie Endowment, found that the US
spent $52.4bn on nuclear weapons and programmes in 2008. In comparison,
all US spending on international diplomacy and foreign assistance totalled
$39.5bn. About $29.1bn, or 55.5% of the total nuclear budget, was spent
on "upgrading, operating and sustaining the US nuclear arsenal". But only
$5.2bn, or 9.9%, was allocated to programmes to curb weapons and technology
proliferation and secure nuclear material – the top priorities identified
by Obama. On the face of it this all looks a bit back-to-front. If the
44th president is to attain his proliferation goals, his great American
makeover may have to include a root-and-branch review of nuclear policy.
cost of nuclear security
Stephen I. Schwartz and Deepti Choubey, Los Angeles Times, 12
It may come as a surprise that the U.S. spends much more on its arsenal
than it does on minimizing risk or planning for the consequences of an
attack... The nuclear threat is changing, and as long as it grows, the
United States needs to be prepared to address it -- even in a time of
austerity. That starts with knowing where the dollars go.
Weapons for All? The Risks of a New Scramble for the Bomb
US News and World Report, 15 January 2009
As Barack Obama becomes president, worry about just such a breakdown is
mounting among nonproliferation specialists and foreign policy strategists
across the political spectrum. Warns Joseph Cirincione, author of Bomb
Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and president of the
Ploughshares Fund, "We're on the verge of a system collapse."
a Year It Might Be
Gary Hart, HuffingtonPost.com, 31 December 2008
Even as the new president and administration struggle to restructure
and transform the American economy in 2009, consider this possibility:
2009 could be the year when the two former Cold warriors, America and
Russia, decide to make dramatic reductions in nuclear weapons and convene
an international conference of all nuclear nations to agree to the complete
elimination of nuclear weapons from the face of the earth.
to raise nuclear missile output fourfold
Tom Parfitt in Moscow and Julian Borger, diplomatic editor, The
Guardian, 24 December 2008
Russia has thrown down a new gauntlet to Barack Obama with an announcement
that it will sharply increase production of strategic nuclear missiles.
Farewell to the Bush Administration
legacy: The wasted years
Declan Butler, Nature, 14 January 2009
"Where do I start? One could write a book," sighs Frank von Hippel,
a nuclear-weapons expert at Princeton University in New Jersey... Despite
that risk [of nuclear terrorism], says Rebecca Johnson, founding director
of the London-based Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy, the Bush
White House viewed multilateral arms-control agreements as constraining
US action yet offering the nation few benefits. So after the terrorist
attacks of 11 September 2001, the administration effectively repudiated
the 'grand bargain' that is the core of the NPT.
History: False Claims of Bush's Success on WMD
Joe Cirincione, HuffingtonPost.com, 13 January 2009
President Bush called the failure to find any weapons in Iraq "a disappointment."
It is much more. President Bush committed the greatest mistake any president
can: he lead the nation into an unnecessary war. That is a legacy we will
Truth to Intelligence
Joe Cirincione, HuffingtonPost.com, 9 January 2009
President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and
his deputies manipulated the intelligence process to justify preconceived
policies. The wreckage left behind includes the failure to act on intelligence
of imminent attacks on America by Al Qaeda, the massive misinformation
of WMD in Iraq, false claims of Niger yellowcake, forged memos and an
inflated threat from Iran. Cleaning out this stable is a Herculean task.
We are lucky to have men like Blair and Panetta willing to sacrifice for
the good of the nation.
Bush’s Very Dangerous
Joseph Cirincione, Newsweek, 31 December 2009
The U.S.-India pact has been hailed as a triumph. It was just the opposite...
It is hard to overstate what a mistake this was. India has now been granted
all the privileges of a recognized nuclear-weapons state but with none
of the responsibilities. The other two nuclear-armed nations outside the
treaty, Pakistan and Israel, are sure to demand equal treatment; other
nations, like Japan, may reconsider their nuclear options. Georgetown
University School of Foreign Service dean Robert Gallucci says the deal
will "open the door to the true proliferation of nuclear weapons in the
years ahead." The dan-ger in South Asia seems especially high.
rally against missile shield
RT, 19 February 2009
Protestors in white robes carrying rainbow flags, including more than
one hundred Czech mayors, showed up at the European Parliament headquarters
in Brussels to campaign against the US planned missile shield... They
number over a hundred, but speak for the 70 per cent of Czechs who are
against a radar base the US has proposed to be built to the south of Prague,
Poles, Czechs fear loss of bases
Associated Press, 18 February 2009
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said last week that Poland still
stands ready to accept the site, but acknowledged the growing uncertainty
of the project's fate. He said that even if it falls through, Poland won't
let the Americans back away from their pledge of closer military cooperation...
Based on talks with members of the new administration and an analysis
of its public statements, Kuchins said he expects that even if the U.S.
delays or scraps the plan, it would take steps to ensure that Prague and
Warsaw "save face."
Korea May Join U.S. Missile Shield
DefenseNews, 17 February 2009
SEOUL - South Korean Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee said Feb. 17 that the
time has come for the country to consider joining the U.S.-led global
missile defense system in a strategic manner. Lee's remarks, made during
a parliamentary interpellation session, heralds a possible reversal of
the nation's longstanding policy against joining the U.S. ballistic missile
defense (BMD) initiative amid the lingering threat posed by North Korea's
missile and nuclear programs, experts here say.
timetable exists for radar on Czech soil - U.S. source
CTK, 17 February 2009
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told U.S. senators during
his visit to Washington a week ago that the Czech Republic would understand
if the United States adjourned the building of its radar base on Czech
soil for three years. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in
this connection that if the United States saw some changes in the conduct
of Iran in the sphere of its nuclear programme, it might reconsider its
position on anti-missile defence.
welcomes U.S. signals on missile shield
Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters, 14 February 2009
BERLIN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
welcomed U.S. signals that it would review plans for a missile shield
in eastern Europe, but said the issue was not linked to Iran's nuclear
programme, media reported on Saturday.
may adjust missile defense plans: official
AFP, 13 February 2009
MOSCOW (AFP) — The US may adjust controversial missile defence plans
if Russia helps in eliminating threats from North Korea and Iran, US Under
Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns was quoted Friday
seen likely to hedge on missile defense
Robert Burns, Associated Press, 12 February 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scuttle the planned U.S. missile defense system
in Europe. Use the costly Bush administration project as a bargaining
chip in broader security talks involving Russia.
Signals U.S. Is Open to Russia Missile Deal
By Helene Cooper and Nicholas Kulish, New York Times, 7 February
Some Western diplomats had expected Mr. Biden to announce a strategic
review of the planned missile defense system as a way to defuse tensions
between Washington and Moscow. Although Mr. Biden did not go that far,
he did leave room in both the speech — and an interview afterward — for
unspecified changes in the plan put forward by the Bush administration.
will develop missile defences, if cost effective: Biden
AFP, 7 February 2009
MUNICH, Germany (AFP) — US Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday the
United States would press ahead with its missile defence programme --
provided it works, is cost effective, and in consultation with Russia...
"We will continue to develop missile defence to counter a growing Iranian
capability, provided the technology is proven and it is cost effective,"
he told a top-level security conference in Munich, southern Germany. "We
will do so in consultation with you, our NATO allies, and with Russia,"
Missile plans depend on US
Associated Press/International Herald Tribune, 6 February 2009
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told a gathering of a
dozen world leaders and more than 50 ministers that Moscow's policy has
been consistent since President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to deploy Iskander
missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave. "President Medvedev said from the
very start if there will be no ABM site in Poland and the Czech Republic,
as was planned by the previous (U.S.) administration, there will definitely
be no missiles in Kaliningrad."
backs missile defence shield
BBC News Online, 6 February 2009
The government has rejected a call by a former defence minister to drop
support for the US missile defence system. Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle told
MPs the election of US President Barack Obama could present an opportunity
for a change of policy on "son of star wars"... Quentin Davies, replying
for the government, said the system would protect Britain from a missile
attack by a "rogue state".
to tell U.S.'s Biden it is ready for shield-PM
Reuters UK, 6 February 2009
Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he would tell U.S. Vice President
Joe Biden when they meet in Munich on Saturday that Warsaw was ready to
host parts of the U.S. missile shield system, as agreed in August. "I
will definitely tell Vice President Biden tomorrow in Munich we are ready
to participate in this project, a U.S. project," he told a news conference,
referring to installing 10 ground-based interceptors as part of a global
satellite launch raises anxiety as White House aims for nuclear deal
Tim Reid in Washington and Tony Halpin in Moscow and Michael Evans,
The Times, 4 February 2009
Yet Tehran’s provocative move to launch a satellite, proof of its
growing ability to develop a long-range ballistic missile, will increase
domestic pressure on Mr Obama to ignore Russian demands and press ahead
with the defence shield, because one of its stated aims is to guard America
against a long-range Iranian nuclear attack.
Terrorists are Coming, Warns Missile Defense Lover Cheney
Melissa Rossi, HuffingtonPost, 4 February 2009
When Dick Cheney bellows about terrorist attacks in the US, it can only
mean one thing: his beloved missile defense is under the gun.
world leaders view Iran's space ambitions
Julian Borger, The Guardian, 3 February 2009
Tehran claims to be joining the space race but the west has its suspicions...
For that reason the satellite launch has a direct and immediate bearing
on the debate over the US missile defence scheme. Barack Obama's team
has hinted the scheme could be reviewed. That hint brought immediate dividends
in the relationship with Moscow, which felt threatened by the deployment
of missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic.
The Bush administration insisted the system was a shield against Iran;
the Russians saw it pointing at them.
wins $250 mln deal for missile defense work
Reuters, 2 February 2009
WASHINGTON, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N) won a $250 million contract
to support the U.S. ground-based missile defense system in calendar year
2009, and an option for 2010, the Pentagon said on Monday.
there be a thaw in US-Russian relations?
Cathy Young, Boston Globe, 31 January 2009
Obama is known to be somewhat skeptical of the value of missile defense,
as are many scientists. (It should be noted, however, that NATO backs
the planned US missile shield.) Questions about its effectiveness should
be explored; but, ironically, recent Russian threats to put missiles on
the Polish border may make it difficult for the United States to abandon
these plans without appearing to cave in to blackmail. While NATO membership
for Ukraine and Georgia is probably off the table for the time being because
of those countries' own internal problems, the United States needs to
send a strong signal that these countries are not fair game for Russian
senator Levin eyes cuts to arms program
Jim Wolf, Reuters, 30 January 2009
The head of the U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee said on Friday
spending on the long-range U.S. antiballistic missile system should be
scaled down as part of a belt-tightening on arms purchases. "I would say
we've got to slow that down and properly test it," Sen. Carl Levin told
reporters, referring to a ground-based shield managed by Boeing Co (BA.N)
that includes interceptor missiles in silos in Alaska and California.
article: Cracks in the missile shield
Independent, 29 January 2009
Russia has also suffered more than many countries from the global financial
crisis. Any leader concerned about possible discontent at home needs to
minimise difficulties abroad. With Mr Obama trying to set a more multilateral
tone for US foreign policy, a thaw would make good sense for Washington
as well as Moscow. The reverberations further afield could only be beneficial.
Defence: Cool heads
The Economist, 29 January 2009
Now things are looking different. Barack Obama criticised the waste of
money on “unproven” missile-defence technology during his presidential
campaign. At the forthcoming Munich security conference, the Americans
are expected to announce a review of the whole scheme. That could take
a long time. For their part, the Russians said semi-officially this week
that they would halt the planned deployment of the short-range missiles
to Kaliningrad (although they are also pressing Belarus to accept new
U.S. missile defense
Steve Andreasen, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 January 2009
If the United States and our European allies could forge agreement
with Moscow, it could improve U.S. and European security at far less cost
to the American taxpayer, as well as improve relations with Russia and
possibly enable cooperation on other difficult issues. Of course, the
effort might not work. Moscow may now be committed to a more nationalistic
agenda, with Georgia the opening salvo in a more provocative approach
to Washington. Iran, for its part, may resist a diplomatic solution to
its controversial nuclear and missile programs.
scraps plan to deploy nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad
Luke Harding, The Guardian, 28 January 2009
Move comes after Barack Obama administration says it will review Pentagon's
proposed defence shield in central Europe... This afternoon the state-run
ITAR-Tass news agency cited a Defense Ministry source as dismissing the
report that Russia had abandoned plans to deploy the missiles. But the
initial leak, published in Russian newspapers and by the Interfax news
agency, suggests that Moscow is keen to test the Obama administration's
'drops missile plans due to Obama change to US attitude'
Jon Swaine, The Telegraph, 28 January 2009
Russia has dropped plans to install missiles near Poland after the
Obama administration signalled a change in US attitude to the region,
a Moscow military official has reportedly said.
shield that brings danger
Mark Seddon, Comment is Free, The Guardian, 3 January 2009
Obama has bought some breathing space by saying that the US needs
more time to see if the system can work properly. He might also find time
to listen to ordinary Poles, who fear that they will become a target.
"We wanted a referendum, but we couldn't have one," says Bronislaw Nowak.
"So we organised our own - 69% of our townspeople said no."
government unveils new 'star wars' robot
Murray Wardrop, The Telegraph, 11 December 2008
The US government has unveiled a flying robot which it has developed
to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles.
ForMin says USA might postpone radar project over crisis
C(eskéNoviny.cz, 8 December 2009
The USA might temporarily postpone its plan to install a missile defence
radar base on Czech soil due to the present financial crisis, Czech Foreign
Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told journalists in Brussels on Sunday, the
Austrian press agency APA has reported.
NATO - Russia Relations
Ministers to Broach Dialogue with Russia
Al Pessin, Voice of America News, 19 February 2009
Secretary Gates will have the chance to discuss the new administration's
different view of missile defense directly with his Polish and Czech counterparts
during this week's meetings. The secretary tried to arrange cooperation
with Russia on European missile defense during the Bush Administration,
but Russian officials were not interested, saying the U.S. installations
would be a threat to their security. Now, Gates hopes there can be a fresh
Leaders Split on Russian Security Plan
Deutsche Welle, 7 February 2009
Top officials from the European Union and NATO look for unity on Russian
proposals for a new security treaty in Europe. While the NATO chief was
critical of Moscow, France's Sarkozy said Russia posed no military threat.
wary of Russian treaty plan
BBC News Online, 31 January 2009
Russia is pushing for a new "treaty on European security" to govern East-West
relations, arguing that Nato is a Cold War relic. Nato officials say such
a treaty would weaken the alliance and reward Russian "aggression".
Russia's place in Europe
Joschka Fischer, Comment is Free, www.guardian.co.uk, 11 January
It's no longer a superpower, but it cannot be ignored. So as Putin
lays siege to Nato, why not open the door and invite him in?
must be more than a military force
Michael Evans, The Times, 17 December 2008
Divided in Afghanistan, hamstrung in Europe, the alliance must find a
political voice or collapse... In the Cold War, Nato was a big player,
hawking its views and expertise on the substantive issues of the day -
arms control, nuclear non-proliferation, conventional force reductions,
confidence-building measures. Today, it is a military alliance without
any political clout.
Collision of US and Russian satellites prompts concerns
about space security
Nations Unsure How to Handle Space Junk
Michael Barkoviak, Daily Tech, 18 February 2009
The European Space Agency (ESA) is the latest organization to become
interested in space junk, after creating a new program aimed at monitoring
space debris. The $64 million project is designed to protect the estimated
13,000 satellites and other objects floating around the Earth.
crash called "catastrophic," lots of debris
Associated Press/Boston Herald, 13 February 2009
MOSCOW — The crash of two satellites has generated an estimated tens of
thousands of pieces of space junk that could circle Earth and threaten
other satellites for the next 10,000 years, space experts said Friday.
One called the collision "a catastrophic event" that he hoped would force
the new U.S. administration to address the issue of debris in space.
From Satellites' Collision Said To Pose Small Risk To Space Station
Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, 12 February 2009
The Pentagon and NASA are scrambling to assess the risk to spacecraft
and the international space station from hundreds of pieces of debris
created in the collision Tuesday of two satellites 491 miles above Siberia.
NASA's initial estimate is that the space station faces a "very small"
but "elevated" risk of being struck.
Destroyed in Orbital Collision
Andy Pasztor, Wall Street Journal, 12 February 2009
The accident could have implications for U.S. space budgets and policy,
partly because it comes amid a Pentagon campaign to increase spending
on systems to protect U.S. high-tech space hardware by keeping better
track of the thousands of pieces of debris and other satellites circling
On Earth, Satellite Collision Kicks Up Some Dust
Seth Borenstein and Douglas Birch, Associated Press, Boston Globe,
11 February 2009
There are 800 to 1,000 active satellites in orbit and about 17,000 pieces
of debris and dead satellites, like the Russian one, that can't be controlled,
he said. The US space tracking network doesn't have the resources to warn
all satellite operators of every possible close call, Johnson and Winchester
And Russian Satellites Collide
Bill Harwood, CBS News, 11 February 2009
In an unprecedented space collision, a commercial Iridium communications
satellite and a defunct Russian satellite ran into each other Tuesday
above northern Siberia, creating a cloud of wreckage, officials said today.
The international space station does not appear to be threatened by the
debris, they said, but it's not yet clear whether it poses a risk to any
other military or civilian satellites.
crash: Commercial and Russian satellites collide in orbit
John Matson, 60-Second Science Blog, Scientific American, 11 February
Such a collision between two intact spacecraft may be unprecedented,
but it is not completely unexpected. "There are no rules of the road in
space," Johnson says. "Anybody can fly anywhere they want." Even concerted
efforts to track and guide spacecraft in orbit are subject to some uncertainty
in trajectory estimates. At seven miles (11 kilometers) per second, Johnson
says, "a little error means a lot."
Spews Into Space After Satellites Collide
William J. Broad, New York Times, 12 February 2009
Mr. Johnson, who works at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said
the new swarms of whirling debris might also eventually pose a threat
to other satellites in an orbital chain reaction.
Ban Draws Mixed Response
Fox News, 5 February 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama's recent pledge to seek a ban on space weapons
drew a mixed reaction from experts in the field, with some saying the
president might be better off pursuing something more modest and less
complex, such as a set of international rules governing space operations.
House Wants Space Weapons Ban
Aviation Week, 27 January 2009
The new White House Web site puts the administration of President
Barack Obama on record as favoring a "worldwide ban on weapons that interfere
with military and commercial satellites." But the wording on the site
raises questions about exactly what it means.
loom as Obama seeks space weapons ban
Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters, 25 January 2009
President Barack Obama's pledge to seek a worldwide ban on weapons in
space marks a dramatic shift in U.S. policy while posing the tricky issue
of defining whether a satellite can be a weapon. Moments after Obama's
inauguration last week, the White House website was updated to include
policy statements on a range of issues, including a pledge to restore
U.S. leadership on space issues and seek a worldwide ban on weapons that
interfere with military and commercial satellites.
Back to the Top of the Page
© 2009 The Acronym Institute.