Nuclear bomb-makers Jacobs paid a visitTagged as: anti-militarism atomic nuclear ploughshares trident
Trident Ploughshares Press Release - Thursday 30 April, 2009
Six anti-nuclear campaigners from Trident Ploughshares affinity group the Muriel Lesters visited nuclear weapons profiteers Jacobs Engineering outside their Tower Bridge office in London earlier today [see note 1]. The campaigners displayed a banner reading "Nuclear Bomb Makers" and various placards to the busy passing traffic and pedestrians and handed out leaflets to passers-by and users of the building, alerting them to the presence of nuclear proliferators in the capital and calling for the suspension of work on the current and new generation of nuclear warheads at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, England.
One of the campaigners, Daniel Viesnik, 34, from London said, "President Obama and Prime Minister Brown are making the right noises on global nuclear disarmament, but still we see multi-billion pound nuclear warhead developments pressing ahead in Berkshire. How does this tally with the UK's legally-binding commitment to nuclear disarmament, and how can it be justified in a time of increasing financial hardship? It cannot be right that private corporations like US firm Jacobs profit from making nuclear bombs at UK taxpayers' expense while we are denied the necessary resources to tackle climate change and meet the genuine needs of society."
He added, "The British Government demands that countries like North Korea and Iran renounce nuclear weapons, yet all the while plans to keep its own indefinitely. We cannot have one rule for one and one rule for another. We must lead by example, we must scrap Trident."
1. Trident Ploughshares is a campaign to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system in a nonviolent, open, peaceful and fully accountable manner.
2. Britain's nuclear warheads are manufactured, maintained and decommissioned at Aldermaston and Burghfield by AWE ML, a private consortium contracted to operate AWE on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence until 2025. It is composed of California-based arms giant Lockheed Martin, British firm Serco and, following the sale of BNFL's one-third stake in December 2008, California-based firm Jacobs Engineering [see references below]. As a result, AWE ML is now under two-thirds' American ownership, although the British Government retains a golden share.
In addition, the Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles themselves are leased from and maintained by the US, and the guidance systems software and certain critical components of the warheads are also sourced from the US. Hence, one can argue that Britain's nuclear weapons system, commonly referred to by the Government as being "independent", is in fact highly dependent on the transatlantic "special relationship" with the US.
3. Since 2005, a £6 billion expansion of the warhead manufacturing facilities at AWE - on the scale of Heathrow Terminal 5 according to AWE - has been underway. At the same time, AWE has recruited up to a thousand additional scientists and ancillary staff, including warhead designers.
4. Campaigners are opposed to the new developments because of the current economic crisis, and on moral, legal, international security and democratic grounds. They argue that the new developments breach the UK's disarmament obligations under Article VI of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that they have a destabilising effect by setting a bad example and encouraging other countries to develop their own nuclear arsenals, and that they are undemocratic because there has never been a national public consultation, nor has Parliament ever been consulted on the plans.
5. In July 2008, research by CND revealed that contrary to repeated ministerial denials before Parliament, the Government is telling the arms industry that a decision to replace Britain's nuclear warheads and missiles has already been made.
6. In February 2009, The Guardian revealed that the US is using AWE for research into its own Reliable Replacement Warhead programme, in probable breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which forbids the exchange of nuclear weapons technology between states.
7. Image is Copyright (c) D. Viesnik 2009 but may be reproduced free of charge for non-commerical / non-intelligence-gathering purposes if credited to D. Viesnik. For a high resolution version, please e-mail vd2012-tpmedia [at] yahoo.co.uk
Contact email: vd2012-tpmedia [at] yahoo.co.uk