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Deterrence Believers Shoud Cheer the North Korean Bomb

By Craig Murray | September 3, 2017

If the theory of nuclear deterrence holds true – and it is the only argument the supporters of WMD have got – then we should all be cheering the North Korean bomb. The logic of nuclear deterrence is that it is much better that every state has nuclear weapons, because then we can all deter each other. It is demonstrably true that possession of nuclear weapons is not a deterrent to other nations acquiring them. But it is supposed to deter other nations from using them. In which case, surely the more the merrier, so we can all deter each other.

The madness of the argument is self-evident. We are borrowing hundreds of billions we cannot afford for Trident, yet in all the reams of analysis of what to do about North Korea, Trident never gets a mention. It is a system entirely useless even in the one situation in which it was supposed to be effective.

How did we get here? In the 1950s the USA dropped 635,000 tonnes of bombs on North Korea including 35,000 tonnes of napalm. The US killed an estimated 20% of the North Korean population. For comparison, approximately 2% of the UK population was killed during World War II.

That this massive destruction of North Korea resulted in a xenophobic, American-hating state with an obsession with developing powerful weapons systems to ensure national survival, is not exactly surprising. The western media treat the existence of the Kim Jong-un regime as an inexplicable and eccentric manifestation of evil. In fact, it is caused. Unless those causes are addressed the situation can never be resolved. Has any western politician ever referenced the history I have just given in discussing North Korea?

This has so often been my despair. My book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo recounts my frustration whilst Deputy Head of the FCO’s Africa Department, at failing to get the Blair government to pay attention to the massive historical and continuing grievances that underlay the horrific violence in Sierra Leone. Politicians prefer a simplistic world of enemies who are “evil” for no reason. Newspaper editors prefer it even more. It justifies war. The truth is always a great deal more complicated.

September 3, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

‘Become a suicide bomber!’: Trident whistleblower says artist’s spoof Navy ads are accurate

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RT | February 3, 2017

Spoof Royal Navy recruitment posters, which claim sailors on board Britain’s nuclear submarines are effectively suicide bombers, have won the approval of Trident safety and security whistleblower William McNeilly.

The posters point out that if a Trident submarine actually launched its nuclear missiles it would very likely be destroyed in a counterattack.

This, they claim, makes nuclear submariners little more than suicide bombers, whose job is to kill millions of civilians.

The satirical posters have appeared at bus stops across London.

The campaign is the brainchild of artist Darren Cullen, whose past works have included the ‘Action Man: Battlefield Casualties’ series and ‘Pocket Money Loans.

His work has the endorsement of Veterans for Peace UK.

Picking up on the campaign on Friday, Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid the Sun said the posters had sparked “fury.”

However, former Royal Navy weapons engineer William McNeilly, who was kicked out of the Navy after handing WikiLeaks a dossier of serious security and safety failures in 2015, told RT the campaign’s message is accurate.

“The Sun claims that the message in the posters is ‘fake,’” McNeilly told RT on Friday. “It is well known on board nuclear submarines that the Trident submarine on patrol will be the prime target in a nuclear war.”

The former submariner pointed out that once a submarine starts launching missiles it becomes immediately detectable. Those on board know “it is extremely unlikely that they would survive a major war against Russia. They are ready and prepared to be suicide bombers.”

Referring to the recent allegations of a government cover-up of a failed nuclear launch in 2016, McNeilly said: “Judging by the last missile test, it is not unlikely that the Trident submarines would nuke the United States by accident.”

Read more:

Trident whistleblower tells RT he ‘witnessed 4 unreported missile test failures’

February 3, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment

Trident nuclear missiles have history of failure, US documents show

RT | January 30, 2017

Newly-released US documents show Trident nuclear missiles have a track record of failure. The revelations come weeks after it emerged a British test-fired missile malfunctioned in June 2016 and veered off course towards the US coast.

Documents seen by the Sunday Times reportedly show the Trident system has long been affected by navigational issues, leading to £1.4 billion (US$1.76 billion) being spent on repairs and modifications.

The paper published a section of the report which said: “The Trident II missile is completing its 26th year of deployment and has reached its original design life goal.

“Like any other ageing weapon system, increased maintenance and repair will be required to sustain a safe, reliable and accurate strategic weapons system.”

The UK leases its Trident D5 missiles from the US and they are drawn from the same pool of nukes used by the US Navy.

Despite UK ministers reaffirming their commitment to Trident following reports that missiles veered off course during a June 2016 test, the US document seem to show a long series of malfunctions.

The ageing missile system reportedly suffers consistent problems with its internal gyro guidance system due to the effects of age on the chemicals inside.

After the British government was accused of covering up of the June 2016 incident aboard a British submarine, RT spoke to former sailor and Trident safety whistleblower William McNeilly. He was drummed out of the Royal Navy in 2015 for publishing a dossier on nuclear safety and security failures.

“I warned about this exact event over a year before it happened. I was in the MCC / Missile Control Center during the end of patrol tests in early 2015 and I witnessed with my own eyes the Trident system fail its simulated missile launch tests,” McNeilly said.

The former submariner claims to have seen Trident “fail three out of three WP 186 Missile Compensating Tests” first-hand. He also says a “Battle Readiness Test (BRT) was not even attempted due to seawater in the hydraulic system.”

Following the latest revelations, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) called on the government to come clean on Trident failures.

The group said it isn’t enough for ministers to say they have confidence in the system, given “a catalogue of very serious failures that the government needs to address.”

“Last week we learnt that the government had covered up a misfired Trident missile, and today we found out about consistent reliability issues with the Trident II D5 missiles, as well as another misfired missile in 2011,” CND general secretary Kate Hudson said.

“In the Commons debate on Trident replacement in July 2016, MPs were told by the government they were voting on reliable and safe technology, but it [is] now clear that isn’t true. Trident is unreliable and the head-in-the-sand approach of the government could prove catastrophic if it continues. We are calling for a Trident Inquiry. The public have a right to know the details of these cover-ups and failures.”

January 31, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Trident whistleblower tells RT he ‘witnessed 4 unreported missile test failures’

RT | January 24, 2017

Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly leaked details about a number of serious test fire issues aboard Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine fleet a whole year before the June 2016 misfire that sent a missile careening towards the US.

McNeilly published a dossier highlighting a range of safety and security failures aboard Trident submarines in May 2015 – more than a year before the latest mishap.

The Royal Navy submariner was detained and quietly discharged in June of that year. Senior officers even sought to discredit McNeilly’s claims by portraying him as an ill-informed junior sailor.

Speaking exclusively to RT on Tuesday, McNeilly said he now feels vindicated.

“I warned about this exact event over a year before it happened. I was in the MCC / Missile Control Center during the end of patrol tests in early 2015 and I witnessed with my own eyes the Trident system fail its simulated missile launch tests.”

McNeilly claims to have seen Trident “fail 3 out of 3 WP 186 Missile Compensating Tests” first-hand. He also says a “Battle Readiness Test (BRT) was not even attempted due to seawater in the hydraulic system.”

The whistleblower’s comments come a day after the British government faced questions over a misfire incident that occurred in June of 2016, just weeks before a crucial Parliamentary vote on Trident’s renewal. The US government apparently requested that news of the defective missile be kept secret to prevent mutual embarrassment.

Citing his extensive technical training as a submarine weapons engineer, McNeilly said it was his job “to learn about missile tests, conduct missile tests, pass tests on missile tests, be in the Missile Control Center during missile tests…”

“I had missile tests signed off in my task book. They wouldn’t have been signed off in my task book if I didn’t know anything about them, and clearly I was proven to be right.

“The government attempted to cover up the failed missile test and they covered up all the other information in my Trident report.”

Trident dossier

In his 18-page dossier, released to WikiLeaks in May of 2015, McNeilly offered anecdotal evidence of potentially catastrophic failures that took place during a series of end-of-patrol “shakedown” tests, designed to see whether the weapons system “could have performed a successful launch.”

It was during one such end-of-patrol test that the June 2016 misfire took place.

According to McNeilly, the routine tests are vital to determining “if we really were providing the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent.”

The test McNeilly witnessed was “carried out 3 times and it failed, 3 times.”

“Basically the test showed that the missile compensation system wouldn’t have compensated for the changes in weight of the submarine during missile launches. Which means the missiles would’ve been launched on an unstable platform, if they decided to launch.”

Other readiness exercises carried out at the end of the patrol also went wrong, claims McNeilly.

“Another test was the Battle Readiness Test (BRT), which proves that the muzzle hatches could’ve opened whilst on patrol,” said McNeilly, explaining that “the BRT was cancelled due to the main hydraulic system containing mostly seawater instead of actual hydraulic oil.”

McNeilly has accused the British government of “endangering the public and spending billions upon billions of taxpayers’ money for a system so broken it can’t even do the tests that prove it works.”

Read more:

Fallon refuses to explain alleged Trident nuke malfunction, as US officials spill the beans

January 24, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Theresa May must explain Trident malfunction ‘cover up,’ say opponents

RT | January 23, 2017

Labour and the Scottish National Party (SNP) say Prime Minister Theresa May must explain why Parliament was not told about a failed Trident missile test before a crucial vote on whether to renew Britain’s aging nuclear weapons program.

Downing Street confirmed on Monday morning that May knew about the malfunction before MPs voted on the system’s renewal.

A spokesperson said the incident occurred on former PM David Cameron’s watch, but admitted May had known about it.

The incident, in which a test fired missile veered towards the United States, was not reported until Sunday, but occurred only weeks before a key Commons vote on Trident renewal.

The spokesperson confirmed the crew of the nuclear submarine involved, HMS Vengeance, were “certified” to continue operating.

The vote went overwhelmingly in favor of renewal after May lobbied hard for the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

Almost immediately after Downing Street’s confession, a statement on behalf of David Cameron’s former media team denied any cover up had taken place.

A spokesman claimed it was “entirely false to suggest David Cameron’s media team covered up or tried to cover up the Trident missile test,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Cameron team also criticized claims of a cover-up made by defense committee chair Julian Lewis earlier on Monday.

“We are disappointed that Julian Lewis would make these claims with no evidence.”

Leading figures in both parties are set to use the incident, which occurred in June 2016 just weeks before a House of Commons vote on renewal, to attack the government. News of the missile malfunction only emerged on Sunday.

The SNP is committed to opposing it on the basis of safety and security, as the nuclear submarine fleet is based in Scotland.

The Labour leadership is opposed to nuclear weapons, but the majority of its parliamentary party is in favor of renewal.

SNP defense spokesman Brendan O’Hara told the BBC there are political and operational issues which must be addressed, but warned “this is not a national security issue.”

“The government can’t, as they love to do, hide behind the national security smokescreen. The public, who are paying over two hundred thousand million pounds [US$249 billion] for this renewal, have a right to know if it works or not,” O’Hara said.

Labour’s Shadow Defense Secretary Nia Griffiths said a full explanation is due, while Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said it is “extremely worrying” that parliament had not been informed of the incident.

Likewise former Labour Defense Minister Kevan Jones told Labour List, “If there are problems, they should not have been covered up in this ham-fisted way. Ministers should come clean if there are problems and there should an urgent inquiry into what happened.”

In a car-crash interview on Sunday with the BBC, May refused to disclose whether she knew about the incident ahead of the vote on Trident. MPs ruled in favor of renewal by 472 votes to 117.

Instead she opted to say she had complete faith in Trident and that she thought “we should defend our country,” with repeated references to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to Trident.

Senior military figures have also weighed in, with former head of the Royal Navy Lord West of Spithead writing in the Daily Mail that this had been a cover-up “worthy of North Korea.”

“The decision to withhold news last summer that a Trident missile test experienced some kind of problem – ironically, almost certainly minor – is both bizarre and spectacularly stupid,” West said in an opinion piece, urging Defense Secretary Michael Fallon to step up and explain.

Senior Tories have been attempting a fightback on the issue, with Business Minister Greg Clark telling Sky News “It’s been the long-standing policy not to comment on tests of weapons systems and, if that’s the approach that you take, I think we have to abide by that approach.”

This argument somewhat falls down on the fact that successful tests are regularly reported, including with video of the launches.

Tory head of the Defense Committee Julian Lewis said as much in his intervention early on Monday.

“This sort of event is one that you can’t play both ways … whenever they work, which is 99 percent of the time, films are released of them working,” he said.

Lewis said someone should be held to account for the decision.

“I always think with something like this it is better to lay it on the line … In the end you have always got to assume that something like this will come out,” Lewis said.

Read more:

UK announces £500mn injection into costly, controversial Trident base in Scotland

January 23, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Trident nuke renewal plan blown out of the water by government’s own watchdog

RT | August 8, 2016

Britain’s new multibillion-pound Trident nuclear submarine fleet may be in jeopardy after the government’s own watchdog warned the project faces “major risks.”

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) has cast doubt on the Trident renewal plan. The deterrent is expected to vastly exceed its budget and face technical and managerial problems.

“Successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas,” an IPA report to the Treasury and Cabinet Office said.

“Urgent action is needed to address these problems and/or assess whether resolution is feasible.”

Last month, a vote in the House of Commons saw 472 MPs rule in favor of Trident’s renewal, which 117 parliamentarians opposed.

Labour Party leader and long-time anti-nuclear campaigner Jeremy Corbyn gave his party a free vote on the question, with leadership challenger Owen Smith among the Labour rebels who voted yes to renewal.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Liberal Democrats were united in their cause against the weapons of mass destruction.

Costs are said to have already swollen by an extra £15 to £20 billion (US$19.5 to 26 billion), and the fleet’s inaugural day has been pushed back from 2024 to the “early 2030s.”

The current Trident submarines were designed to last 25 years. They are now expected to operate for 38.

The issues have led the SNP to brand the project “obscene” and uncontrollable.

“Now we hear that the alarm bells are ringing about the ability to deliver the program at all without urgent action,” SNP MP Brendan O’Hara said.

“[Prime Minister Theresa May] has just put a halt to Westminster’s other nuclear obsession – Hinkley. Perhaps she should take this opportunity to do the same and review the useless, immoral and now clearly out of control Trident program.”

Nuclear Information Service spokesman Peter Burt told the Ferret: “The Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) track record on undertaking major equipment programs is littered with failures and cock-ups.”

“The MoD’s ancient and rickety nuclear infrastructure is not up to the job of replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system and the solution that the government has favoured up till now – throwing money at the problem – quite simply isn’t going to be enough to solve the fearsome technical problems that the project faces.”

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) estimates the whole Trident renewal could soon add up to £200 billion in costs to the taxpayer.

August 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Anti-nuke activists begin month-long blockade of atomic facility

RT | June 6, 2016

Anti-nuclear activists are starting a month-long protest against Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons program, arguing it should not be renewed by Parliament later this year.

Peace campaigners are descending on AWE Burghfield in Berkshire, where Britain’s nuclear warheads are maintained and go through their final stage of assembly.

Throughout June, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) supporters will join activists from Trident Ploughshares and groups from across Europe to “blockade, to occupy, and to disrupt” the weapons manufacturing base.

Activists claim the renewal of Britain’s at-sea nuclear deterrent is expensive, unsafe, ill-suited for contemporary warfare and in violation of international commitments.

The nuclear site at Burghfield is run by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), a controversial weapons company which is partly owned by US firm Lockheed Martin.

Last August, AWE was censured by UK regulators for failing to show a long-term plan for handling radioactive waste at its Aldermaston site.

The nuclear weapons factory also faces further action for failing to meet legal obligations to treat radioactive waste by 2014, according to a report published by the ONR last July.

Among the activists will be veteran peace campaigner Pat Arrowsmith, who was the organizer of the historic 1958 march from London to Aldermaston which saw thousands of people march against nuclear weapons.

British protesters will be joined by anti-nuke groups across Europe, including Women for Peace (Finland), Action Pour La Paix (Belgium) and Maison de la Vigilance (France).

“The vast [nuclear weapons] complexes at Burghfield and Aldermaston are founded on a wealth of resources and extraordinary human skill,” CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said.

“What a tragedy that these are utilized for the production of weapons of mass destruction rather than being used instead to secure real human security and meet the real needs of our society.”

The cost of replacing Trident and maintaining a successor program is expected to reach £205 billion (US$296 billion), according to campaigners.

The biggest expense by far is expected to be the day-to-day running costs. At £142 billion over the system’s lifetime, they amount to 6 percent of the total UK defense budget.

Other expenses include decommissioning old warheads, the continued lease of warheads from the US and future refurbishment.

AWE Burghfield will undergo a £734 million upgrade as part of the Trident renewal.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Britain to Spend Additional $905 Million on Nuclear Submarine Program

Sputnik – 05.03.2016

The British Government is going to spend additional $905 million on its nuclear submarine program, media reported.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon announced the new investment Friday, although the Parliament has not yet voted whether to go ahead with the program, UPI reported. The vote is scheduled later this year.

According to Fallon, the additional funding will support construction of new facilities and the purchase of submarine parts, as well as the development of new submarines that are to replace the royal Navy’s current Vanguard-class submarines.

A significant part of this funding — about $317 million — will be spent on new facilities at BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness, England, where the submarines will be assembled. There will also be a significant investment in the joint UK/US collaborative R&D called the ‘Common Missile Compartment’, a unified launcher system for new ballistic missiles that will replace current Trident II/D5 missiles, used by both the United Kingdom and the United States.

This initiative, however, is not exactly backed by the Labour party. According to Labour representatives, nuclear submarines will soon become redundant, since underwater drones are becoming advanced enough easily track down and destroy them.

“Tell that to the Americans, the Russians, and the Chinese who are all modernizing their nuclear-armed submarines,” Fallon said to The Guardian. “Perhaps these drones will be so sophisticated they can track down Nessie while they are at it,” he added, implying that cost-effectiveness ratio of both technologies is a subject for discussion.

The Labour party’s position on nuclear weapons is generally negative, since they view the whole concept as an extremely expensive political symbol that will never be used.

During 2015, Russia has launched two nuclear Project 877/636 submarines, armed with Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO designation “Sizzler”), capable of carrying nuclear warheads, while two more are scheduled for launch in 2016, which would make a total of six ships. Project 877/636 has been dubbed ‘Black hole’ for its extremely low noise emission and radar visibility.

The People’s Republic of China has also reportedly launched a new Jin-class nuclear submarine during 2015. According to different sources, the PRC Navy has from 4 to 8 active Jin-class submarines that are supposed to be capable of reaching any point on US territory, should the ship be located near the Hawaiian islands.

March 6, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

UK Gov’t Shows ‘Contempt’ For Democracy Over Trident Renewal Spending

By Mark Hirst – Sputnik – 03.03.2016

EDINBURGH – The unilateral decision of the UK government to advance plans to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear submarines demonstrates “contempt” for democracy, John Finnie, a member of the Scottish Parliament, told Sputnik Thursday.

The Scottish lawmaker was speaking after UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon announced the government would spend an extra 640 million of pounds ($906 million) in investment in new Trident programs before the UK parliament had agreed whether to proceed with renewal of the weapons system.

“Proponents of Trident renewal are unmoved by arguments of morality or finance. However, it is astonishing that they pay little heed to those on the military who point out this weapons system is already obsolete,” Finnie said.

“Trident has no realistic part in ameliorating the threats faced by the UK. By pressing ahead with Trident, regardless of the facts, Mr Fallon joins a long line of UK defense ministers who show contempt for the public and our democratic processes,” Finnie noted.

Earlier on Thursday, the UK defense secretary dismissed claims that investment in the submarine-based nuclear deterrent would be undermined by new technologies such as underwater drones designed to destroy nuclear submarines.

The total cost of renewing the Trident nuclear system has risen steadily with official figures suggesting the final bill could be as much as 31 billion of pounds ($44 billion), but anti-nuclear campaigners claim the overall running costs of operating the system over its lifetime amount to 100 billion of pounds ($141 billion).

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

‘Education, not destruction!’ Peace activists, MPs & celebs join Corbyn at anti-Trident march

RT | February 26, 2016

Thousands of anti-nuclear campaigners will march alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in London on Saturday to protest the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. The Labour leader’s opposition to Trident has been sharply criticized by trade union bosses.

The national demonstration is organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and has drawn the support of peace activists, academics, students, celebrities and others. Political heavyweights Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas are also expected to attend.

The Stop Trident anti-nuclear rally has also secured the backing of the National Union of Students (NUS), which passed a motion to support it this week.

NUS Vice President for Further Education Shakira Martin, who will speak at the Trafalgar Square protest, said the billions of pounds used to maintain Trident should be spent on education.

“Today the National Union of Students, which represents 7 million students, voted to support this Saturday’s Stop Trident national demonstration,” she said.

“If Trident was ever used, then hundreds of millions of people would be killed. Instead of spending over £100 billion on weapons of mass destruction, I believe we should be funding free education.”

The high-profile demonstration has also drawn support from celebrities such as fashion designer Katharine Hamnett and comedian Jeremy Hardy.

Commenting on the costly nuclear deterrent, Hardy said he opposes the program because “it’s based on this idea of mutually assured destruction.”

“In order to keep us safe, you’ve got to be insane enough to use a nuclear weapon, and the other person’s got to be insane enough as well,” he said.

“But neither of you have got to be so insane that you actually use it. So you’ve only got to be insane enough to be prepared to use it but not quite insane enough to actually use it.

“And so long as we just keep that balance of insanity absolutely perfect and equal on all sides we’ll be fine. Sounds like a good gamble to me.”

The Stop Trident rally comes as Labour’s shadow defense secretary Emily Thornberry conducts a review into the Trident missile system.

Leaders of some trade unions, who normally support Labour’s policies, have said the abolition of Trident would cost tens of thousands of jobs.

Lashing out at Corbyn’s anti-nuclear stance, Gary Smith, a leading official with the GMB Union, told the IB Times the debate should focus on the predicament of workers.

“This is not a debate for the wine bars of Islington and Edinburgh – this is real life for the workers and their communities,” Smith said.

“This is not a fight we picked,” he added. “The people who started this argument clearly have no idea of the massive ramifications for not renewing Trident and they don’t understand how the whole shipbuilding industry and defense sector is linked together.”

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

BBC whips up anti-Russia hysteria to apocalyptic levels

By Robert Bridge | RT | February 7, 2016

Once again, Russia is being featured as Dr. Evil Incarnate, the villain that regularly plays opposite peace-loving NATO nations, in a BBC program that has Moscow initiating an invasion on Latvia followed up with a nuclear strike on Britain.

And just in time for the military-industrial shopping season.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has failed Western analysts and political pundits in spectacular fashion. Despite a full-court effort to portray Russia as a barbaric, land-grabbing nation obsessed with the idea of restoring imperial real estate, Russia has stubbornly refused to play along.

Why, even dangling the fat bait of Ukraine before Russia’s nose could not get Moscow to react the way NATO had hoped it would.

In fact, while NATO has been hot on the warpath against a number of shell-shocked nations across the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, Russia has gone to war on just one (1) occasion, and that was against Georgia, and only after the egomaniacal leader of that tiny Caucasian country tempted fate by stupidly poking the Russian bear first.

Thus, the BBC has apparently found it necessary to contrive an altered state of reality, a veritable twilight zone, to convince its audience of Russia’s ‘real’ intentions: The result is a military contractor’s wet dream, an apocalyptic bunker buster, unsubtly entitled ‘World War Three: Inside the War Room,’ that depicts a sweat-inducing showdown between Russia and NATO and the beginning of WWIII.

It’s probably safe to say I would not be playing plot spoiler by revealing here that Russia has been typecast as the aggressor.

To briefly summarize: After the Russian military rolls over little Latvia for no good strategic reason whatsoever, British military commanders and graying bureaucrats with furrowed brows huddle themselves in a bunker, deciding whether to launch Trident missiles at Russia in response.

The Daily Mail breathlessly described the tax-payer paid performance as “an utterly realistic ‘war game’” which presents “deeply troubling questions, not least with the current political row over Government plans to spend £100 billion replacing our fleet of Trident submarines.”

Eureka! At the very same time UK military contractors are salivating over the prospect of winning billion-dollar contracts to replace the Queen’s collection of Trident nuclear-armed submarines, along comes a state-funded scaremongering film, starring arch-villain Russia to lend some credence to the initiative.

Russian lawmaker Frants Klintsevich told the Russian News Service radio station the film will give NATO an opportunity to remind member states that they should crack open their tattered purses and boost their military spending.

“They [West] have always demonized Russia trying to show that it is uncontrolled and non-European. As for what happens recently… we qualified this a long time ago as an information war, a very serious and a profound one,” said Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of Federation Council’s committee on defense and security.

“Today the US has a very serious problem of rearmament, the military and industrial sector needs to get financing. A mechanism of the corrupt American elite has been launched. This was in Iraq, is in Syria and around Europe,” the senator said.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has provided a tongue-in-cheek critique of the BBC film.

“Unfortunately, our colleagues from the BBC have lately resorted to making public products, of quite low-quality. Therefore, we haven’t always been in a hurry to familiarize ourselves with them,” Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters when asked whether the Kremlin has stayed up late to catch the film.

“It’s simply not worth the time it takes to watch,” Peskov said.

On the same day the BBC thriller was released, a report by the totally unbiased Rand Corporation – invoking sexed-up memories of Saddam Hussein’s alleged ability to strike the UK in 45 minutes – said that it would take just 60 hours for Russia to occupy Estonia and Latvia, and that’s not taking into account Riga’s rush-hour traffic.

“Across multiple games using a wide range of expert participants in and out of uniform playing both sides, the longest it has taken Russian forces to reach the outskirts of the Estonian and/or Latvian capitals of Tallinn and Riga, respectively, is 60 hours,” Rand said in its report.

“Such a rapid defeat would leave NATO with a limited number of options, all bad.”

It might be worth noting in closing that former RAND chief strategist, Herman Kahn, once forwarded the insane idea of a “winnable” nuclear exchange in his 1960 book ‘On Thermonuclear War.’

This led to Kahn being the inspiration for the title character of Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy satire Dr. Strangelove.

As far as the BBC’s latest anti-Russia production goes, well, it’s just plain strange.

Robert Bridge is the author of the book on corporate power, “Midnight in the American Empire”, which was released in 2013. @Robert_Bridge

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

UK Labour and the Trident Question

By Lesley Docksey | Dissident Voice | February 1, 2016

All anti-nuclear campaigners in Britain knew that Jeremy Corbyn wanted rid of Trident, the UK’s nuclear missile; he’s been at the forefront of anti-nuclear campaigning for longer than quite a few British MPs have been alive.  And we all, left and right, knew that Trident missiles would become an issue when Corbyn became leader of the UK Labour party, because both the Conservatives and those Labour MPs who love the idea of having nuclear missiles use his anti-nuclear stance as another stick to hit him with.

But, with another debate on whether Trident should be replaced coming up in Parliament sometime this year, and with many Labour MPs in favour, why aren’t Corbyn’s team and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) using the many good reasons available to make a strong case against replacing Trident nuclear missiles? Why stick yet again with the cost of replacement, and what the money saved could be spent on?

True, the cost is horrendous because it isn’t just a new missile system that is planned; the aging nuclear submarines are also being replaced.  Each year the cost increases by billions, often because of design faults which should have been foreseen.  But the Ministry of Defence procurement system is notorious for its mistakes and has wasted billions of taxpayers’ money.

We have known for years that the military (excepting the Navy) think Trident is completely useless.  It hasn’t stopped the UK from being embroiled in what sometimes seems like non-stop wars.  It won’t prevent terrorist attacks.  Nor did it prevent Argentina from moving in on the Falkland Islands.  And using it would be judged illegal under international law, not that a succession of UK governments have ever respected such laws.

We have known for years that the first of the new submarines, HMS Astute, was beset with problems and costing a fortune.  But then, the new ‘state of the art’ aircraft carrier has a similar history.  Quite frankly, the endless catalogue of poor design and engineering has made the UK a laughing stock.

We know that Astute ran aground in familiar waters; that previous nuclear submarines had been involved in the sinking of fishing vessels; that a major nuclear incident involving the submarines at Devonport was only just averted in 2012.

We knew that where two nuclear submarines out of four used to be at sea, it is now only one, and that the Navy has for some time struggled to recruit enough submariners.  This was highlighted again by the whistle-blower McNeilly last year.  He cast doubts on whether the nuclear missiles could be launched at all, so broken is the whole system.

We also know that submarines will be not just threatened but beaten by modern technology – their ‘secrecy’ under the waves will be located by the rapidly developing technology for underwater drones. Would anyone, even those who support the UK having nuclear missiles, feel safe trusting such horrendously dangerous weapons to an insane basket-case of a submarine fleet?

For all the reasons above, Corbyn’s recent throw-away remark on the Andrew Marr show that ‘the submarines could go to sea without the missiles’ should have been treated as just that. But no.  The media went wild making fun of his ‘nuclear’ policy.

Yet there is one argument that could make Trident and its submarines dead in the water that Labour and CND are not using.  Nor is it mentioned by the media.  It is certainly not brought up by the government, except when voicing objections in the UN General Assembly.

An unprecedented series of intergovernmental and civil society conferences has laid the foundation for a political process that could finally ban and eliminate nuclear weapons.  It would become illegal not just to use them, but to possess, make, store, transfer, sell or, indeed, to have anything at all to do with or connected to nuclear weapons.  All of them.

Following the Oslo Process which successfully brought about the Conventions banning landmines and cluster munitions, and basing their deliberations on the dire humanitarian consequences of even one missile being used, Norway hosted the First Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) in March 2013 in Oslo. A follow-up second conference was held in Mexico in February 2014. An all-important third conference was held in Vienna in December 2014, out of which came the Humanitarian Pledge.

It demonstrates the commitment of much of the world towards ending the threat of nuclear weapons that three international conferences should be held in the space of 21 months.

In May 2015, the latest RevCon (Review Conference on nuclear non-proliferation) took place. It was a failure.  At the same conference nations were signing up to the Humanitarian Pledge, despite cries of horror and backroom bullying by nuclear states.

Bear in mind that there are 196 countries in the world.  By the start of the 2015 RevCon 159 non-nuclear states had signed up to the Pledge and the endorsing states numbered 76 (read the full story here).  No wonder the Permanent 5 members of the Security Council were getting worried!

To clarify: those states that have signed the Pledge support its aims. Those states that have endorsed the Pledge will be committed to ratifying any resulting Treaty. 121 nations have now formally endorsed the Pledge.

Last December the UN General Assembly voted to set up a new UN ‘working group’ which will start the process of writing a treaty making all nuclear weapons illegal.  In November, prior to that vote, the P5 (US, UK, France, Russia and China) issued a statement on why they opposed such a move: setting up a ban on nuclear weapons ‘would undermine the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) regime’.

They would have ‘preferred a working group bound by strict consensus rules’.  Well, of course, they would.  It would have allowed them to block any progress.  Try as they might, they are finding it near impossible to stop this flood of nations moving to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

On January 28 ICAN made this announcement:

“Today in Geneva, the ‘Open Ended Working Group’ is meeting to develop “legal measures, legal provisions and norms” for achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. This new UN body has the backing of 138 nations.

“Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, says: ‘It is time to begin the serious practical work of developing the elements for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The overwhelming majority of nations support this course of action.’

ICAN UK adds: It’s important that this international perspective informs the UK debate on Trident renewal, so please help to share this information.

Civil society representatives, including people from ICAN, will be assisting the working group. But has Labour thought of sending anyone along?  And why aren’t Jeremy Corbyn and his team flagging this up as a major argument against replacing Trident?  After all, why replace something that in a year or three could be completely and utterly illegal?

February 1, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment