CND Conference, 2007


Report from Noel Hamel


Ken Livingston welcomed conference to City  Hall, which had provoked the usual complaints of political bias favouring CND


Kate Hudson’s annual report was of the mind-boggling array of campaigns and activities that CND, its various branches and members had been involved in.  Included were the campaigns opposing Trident replacement (supported by over 70% of Britain) and ‘Star Wars’ missile defence and weapons in space. Num3erous well-researched and presented briefings pamphlets, information sheets and reports in support of the campaigns which had also attracted support from organisations, national and international.  A new initiative was to campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Convention fairly representing world citizens who were at risk from radioactive fallout from a nuclear war.  This would be more effective than the ineffective Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Peace education activity and publications have increased, viz the Schools Speakers Network seeking volunteer speakers.


Dr Alan Mackinnon of Scottish CND detailed the year’s activities including Faslane 365 and opposition to nuclear weapons on Scottish soil.  Scottish public response was overwhelmingly supportive and elected the Scottish Nationalist government.  Nuclear weapons do nothing for the safety and security of Scotland but pose a threat because Scotland would be a target in nuclear war, threatening all Scottish citizens.  Two important publications resulted:

1      CND’s Nuclear Free Scotland’ tackling stale arguments supporting weapons, war, and nuclear power.  There are reports from Faslane 365, from US campaigners and information about dangerously false claims for nuclear power.

2      ‘Trident and Employment’ is a joint STUC/CND report which refutes the arguments about ‘Trident jobs’.  It claims that technical defence work would inevitably be superseded by more constructive work.


Arielle Denis of Movement de la Paix said that talk of a nuclear threat is fantasy.  Arguments supporting nuclear weapons is about political power and influence – not defence.  Real threats are global warming/ energy supply.  Increasing militarization is opposed to the cooperation essential for the future.  Star Wars precipitates a new arms race.  The outrageous cost should instead be spent constructively.  Polish and Czech objection is good but wider understanding is needed.  The Euro Treaty increases the role of Nato and participation by reluctant states; and Nicholas Sarkozy supports ‘liberal interventionism’ – a cynical cover for unprovoked military attack.


Open Meetings.


Trident and a Nuclear Weapons Convention heard that arguing for Trident retention for jobs is like making a case for gas chambers employment; radioactive contamination effects continue to be better understood in Japan after 60 years; nuclear war fallout threatens extinction of life world-wide; the entire production cycle is a health hazard; the Land Mines ban encourages belief that a nuclear ban is also possible; nuclear weapons are a civilian weapon of mass destruction and part of a US strategy for world domination; disarmament talks aren’t conducted in good faith, and there is UN support for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.


Global Perspectives heard that concerns about climate change and energy supply are influencing oil company policies; world power balances continually change and companies that have dominated energy since 1850 are increasingly facing competition from emerging giants in Russia, China and South America which augurs future changes.

The campaign against Iran is slanted to support pressure for

military attack; warships are poised and 10,000 targets identified ; 2 ½ million would die ; sanctions are encouraging support for hard-liners,; issues of homosexuals, freedoms and rights are being hijacked by warmongers yet current threats and propaganda actually harm internal Iranian human rights campaigns; key politicians won’t rule out attack though it would certainly cause untold economic and social catastrophes and provoke further terrorism and retaliation.

The US is paranoid about emerging military powers globally, and is cynically buying alliances with countries such as India, Japan, South Korea and Australia; yet refusal to engage in dialogue with countries like Iran is having a negative impact, particularly when supported by ridiculous hate rhetoric.

Depleted Uranium introduced us to ICBU (International Campaign to Ban Uranium) bringing together national and local campaigns.  Uranium mining is dangerous; veteran’s groups are campaigning about radioactivity from testing, firing, mining, and manufacture; there is increasing evidence emerging from places such as Iraq; Belgium is spearheading opposition to DU weapons; The European parliament has passed resolutions opposing weapons but Blair ignored it; it isn’t controlled internationally because it’s not classified as radioactive; fallout from use has been measured thousands of miles away; the silence of affected US servicemen is ‘bought’ by compensation and medical expenses payments; it has affinity with DNA and chromosomal and genetic damage can be passed down many generations; it is by any definition a weapon of mass destruction and is an attack on civilians unborn.


Resolutions were generally uncontentious and easily adopted.  They covered Trident, Aldermaston, missile defence, nuclear power global uranium ban, DU, Mordechai Vanunu, campaigning and building support.  Peace education and liberal interventionism were referred back to Council, and I was asked to write in with arguments about the latter.  I take particular exception to the use of terms such as ‘pre-emptive war’ and ‘liberal interventionism’ which have been perverted by warmongers.  Both now belong to the lexicon of Orwellian language, with meanings the exact opposite of their original definition.  To use them as if they have genuine positive meaning has sinister potential for CND and its campaigning arguments.

An interesting and optimistic conference buoyed by the progress of recent campaigns and not cowed by the cynical politics of the Trident vote.

Noel Hamel