Wey Forrit for Scotland – learning from Europe

In the week beginning 11th March 2019 a series of meetings were held in Glasgow and Edinburgh featuring European visitors and discussing peace-building opportunities and challenges in the context of Brexit, the future of NATO and the militarisation of the European Union. A detailed compilation of their presentations over the three meetings is below this article.

At first glance the contributions of the four speakers to the meetings could be seen as diffuse, with no obvious unifying theme. Given time to digest the inputs, the messages are both coherent and relevant.

One element in the meetings was represented by two speakers from small countries, Scotland- sized but independent, Anne Palm from Finland and Roger Cole from Ireland. Both nations, in tension with that independence and a good track record on positive international diplomacy, have behaviours that place them firmly in one or more of the world’s major power blocs and with dubious connections to global conflict. Ireland has the notorious Shannon airport contradiction and is content to play its part in the militarisation of the EU. Finland provides intelligence to NATO and has a significant arms exporting record, some of it to dubious regimes. There is a marked difference between Anne and Roger on the EU. Ann sees the EU as a positive institution and feels the military plans do not amount to much while Roger reckons that the EU has imperial ambitions that it is increasingly ready to back up with a genuine war-making structure.

Many will feel that tension within their own take on the EU and on Brexit, responding on the one hand to the early post-war European vision for peace across the continent and the EU’s institutional frameworks for human and workplace rights and for environmental standards, and on the other to the realistic recognition that the Union operates as a global trading bloc on neo-liberal economic principles, making it highly plausible that it will aspire to a fully-fledged military identity. It also seems highly likely that Brexit will serve to accelerate that process, given that the UK has been resistant to a clear EU military identity on the grounds that it will undermine NATO and reliance on the US for military security.

All these questions and suggestions are sharply relevant to a Scotland moving towards independence. Those of us who want our country to be for peace will interrogate such options as we will have. This will include looking twice at any EU membership option and exploring whether Danish-style military opt-out protocols are possible. Can we be genuinely non-aligned or do fail to set our ambitions beyond a fudge in which our bloc alignment actions are covert or simply downplayed? On the positive side will we match Ireland and Finland in contribution to genuinely inclusive international institutions? Will our concept of security be limited to conventional military threat-related perspectives or be based (as Anne Palme proposed) on real human needs?

The scrutiny of the future options also impels current action. There is much that we can do right now to contribute to the inclusive international institutions by seeking assertive and imaginative ways to participate on the basis that so much of our aspiration for a peaceful world is subverted by being formally represented through the narrow channel of the UK.

There are the tricky but inescapable challenges in Scotland’s arms exporting and the support the Scottish government give to it. There’s education, formal and otherwise.

Then there is the question of whether we will have any future at all. Dave Webb’s presentation of one of two (known) existential threats we face was stark He made it clear that our response needs to be global in its perspective, in the way it works at solidarity, in the way it links the grass-roots with the governmental and diplomatic, in the requirement to work together worldwide to provide the essential counter-narrative. Working for the TPNW covers all these elements.

Ann Paterson’s contribution took us to the heart of the dynamics of violence and of peace. Her warning that internecine violence can break out at a moment’s notice is to be heeded. We are aware that our social and political discourse has become more and more polarised. We need to balance our commitment to good and just stances with the ability to cross the boundaries and identify common values. In the peace movement we have the resources to hand to do this but we have to give this part of the work greater prominence and status within our programmes and personally.

David Mackenzie February 2019

Compilation

Dave Webb, chair of UK CND, has a science background and at one time worked for the MoD on assessing Soviet threats in space. Appalled by the confrontational “worse-case scenario” approach of the planners he got involved in politics during the mass movements of the early 80s. The possibility of intermediate range nuclear weapons coming back into Europe is alarming. NATO has completely reneged on the agreement it made at the time of the break up of the Soviet Union that the Alliance would not seek members among those states physically closest to Russia in order to have a buffer zone. Acknowledging that there was currently no such mass movement confronting the current perilous situation but there is hope that one can now be built, especially given the grass-roots impetus behind the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The SNP in changing to a pro-NATO policy has made a serious error given that the UK’s nuclear weapons are allocated to the alliance and how the NATO military infrastructure is designed to be inter-operable with US systems to the benefit of US arms corporations. In this scenario the UK cannot fail to have a first-strike nuclear policy since that is the NATO stance. As regards the increasingly militarised EU, do we leave or stay in and attempt reform. We should bear in mind that there are three forms of violence, direct, structural and cultural and all need to be resisted. Co-operation and negotiation has to be the way forward.

Ann Patterson oBelfast Peace People. In Ann’s experience most people are peace people. The roots of her own pacifism was the accounts of the Holocaust told her by her Jewish teacher. Ann worked with the Quakers and was aware of their good reputation in Ireland. On one occasion amidst the anger of a big protest against the release of 3 convicted British soldiers her Quaker minibus was let through the crowds by protesters who said that the Quakers had saved so many during the Famine. She had engaged in prison education in the infamous H Block. The horrors of ISIS and Syria recalled for her the terrible state of NI during the troubles. The founding of the Peace People resonated very deeply across the polarised and divided community, and very quickly resulted in the formation of nearly four hundred small but vociferous and active groups forming and demonstrating locally every week, eventually this included together travelling to London where together they filled Trafalgar Square.

Ann showed a moving film about the NI Troubles and the widespread revulsion at one particular tragedy that led to peace-making across the boundaries. There was the sense that the community had lost its soul and that the violence had to stop somehow. The Brexit threat to the open border between north and south is very worrying since violence can break out so very quickly in an apparently calm and stable situation.

Ann Palme, of the Finnish Wider Security Network (formed 2015) spoke of the Finnish view on peace. The Network operates in an integrated way with Finnish Government rather than just as a pressure group.

Finland has not been involved in armed conflict since 1944 and is currently at No 7 on the Global Peace Index. Current concerns are the Trump unpredictability, Russian aggression, the general descent into power politics and Brexit – all indicating a decline in international co-operation. Ann was very positive about the EU and the need for a common security and defence policy. In her view the European army was hardly a reality. She said that Finland has stayed out of all alliances and plays a big part in peace-keeping via the UN and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Finland only became independent in 1917 after being part of Sweden and then Russia with whom it shares a 1340 kilometre border. Finnish people just want a quiet life! Finland has not signed the TPNW due to its NATO alignment and says that the NPT is the important treaty in regard to nuclear weapons. added that the main parties in Finland wanted to stay out of NATO, a stance affected by Russia’s proximity, but still remain closely co-operative with it. Peace-building and mediation are essential and we need more women and young people to be active in these fields. In its mediation activities, Finland pays special attention to measures that enhance the role and ownership of women in peace processes in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, “Women, Peace and Security”. Finland has its own National Action Plan for the implementation of Resolution 1325, and Finnish experiences have been shared with partners in countries such as Kenya and Afghanistan.A big advantage in Finland is government funding, without strings, for NGOs. Scotland could play a significant part in peace-building and mediation. The Finnish have the word “sisu” (stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience and hardiness) to describe their national character, a term similar to the Scottish “smeddum”!

Roger Cole of the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA). PANA is committed to Irish independent operation in the context of the UN and was instrumental in initiating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Roger spoke of the growing militarisation of the EU and the recent mentions by Macron and Merkel of the European Army. Based on its concerns about neutrality PANA had campaigned at a series of referenda on Europe, including successfully at the first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The plan for developing the EU as a military power is in the Lisbon Treaty leading to battle groups and the 2017 EU Permanent Structured Cooperation on Security and Defence Organisation (PESCO), and it could involve nuclear weapons. It is notable that Denmark in joining the EU did so on the basis of protocols which excluded it from the the military dimension. As things stand for Ireland membership of the EU and involvement in the military aspect mean that the Irish have given up their loyalty to their own country in favour an external union. PANA is in favour of an economic partnership and does not advocate leaving the EU. Independence and neutrality are key. Irish neutrality is of course critically compromised by the use of Shannon airport for regular transit of US forces. Most Irish people, though against the never ending wars, know nothing of this – it is not reported in mainstream media and we have to harness the power of social media to get the story out. PANA now has the support of 52 Irish parliamentarians and 70% of the population is against the US use of Shannon. While stressing neutrality and independence Roger was clear that PANA’s is not a “Little Irelander” stance and it supports independence for others, such as currently Venezuela.

END

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Three Consulates and a Branch Office

Yesterday the Peaton Peace Pirates, a Trident Ploughshares affinity group attempted to call on the US, French and Chinese Consulates in Edinburgh and the Scotland Office as the representative office of the British State, in order ask them to engage urgently in diplomatic moves to defuse the current critically dangerous situation.

The visits were a follow-up to letters sent last week to representatives in Edinburgh of the ‘P5’ nuclear armed states, requesting a meeting at a specified time. The only reply received was from the Russian Consul-General, offering a meeting at a later date, so his office was not visited on this occasion.
Supported by members of Scottish CND, Edinburgh CND and Edinburgh Yes, and wearing fleeces marked ‘TPNW monitoring and compliance squad’, we went equipped with notices of non-compliance to issue to the Consulates (“This state is in non-compliance with UN nuclear weapon treaties” and “Warning: toxic diplomacy”).

At each location the Police prevented us from speaking to anyone inside, by insisting that all the buildings remain closed during our visit, so we had no alternative but to paste our non-compliance notices to the doors, walls and pavements of the buildings, along with other messages done in chalk, whilst reading out sections of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017) through a megaphone. The notices were quickly removed by the Police, with repeated threats that we would be arrested if we pasted up any more, so we did but we weren’t…. We ended each visit with a rousing rendition of the song “Freedom Come All Ye”.

At the French Consulate we were intrigued to be told that we weren’t allowed to mark the building as that would be in contravention of Article 22 of the Geneva Convention! We replied that we were very keen on the Geneva Convention but wondered why the Police were upholding this Article and neglecting others? – later research showed that the Police person had actually meant the Vienna Convention. 

Although we were unable to speak directly to any officials on this occasion, they will be hearing from us again!

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SCND Submission to House of Lords IRC C/ee

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE CALL FOR EVIDENCE: THE NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY AND NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

Scottish CND have submitted the following responses to the questions posed

1. What is your valuation of the current level of risk?

A Chatham House 2016 report offered to the Open Ended Working Group of the UN on prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons concludes that nuclear weapons pose overwhelming dangers to global health, development, climate, social structures and human rights and suggests that human security and survival of the species is under threat from them.

The Atomic Scientists Bulletin have set the Doomsday clock rating for 2018, at two minutes to midnight (the highest level of risk since 1953), and agrees with Chatham House that accelerating climate change and the continued existence of nuclear weapons present an inextricably linked existential risk to life on earth. The possibility that nuclear weapons might be used through accident or deliberately is increased through reckless rhetoric, increased numbers of non governmental actors active in conflicts, especially where governments are fragile, and increasing technological developments that make nuclear weapons more visible and vulnerable to attack.

2. Ahead of the 2020 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), what are the biggest challenges facing global nuclear diplomacy?

Despite the adoption at the UN of a new treaty to provide a robust legal instrument specifying prohibition of nuclear weapons to complement the exiting nuclear diplomatic regime (The TPNW), lack of political will and inaction from governments who persist in reckless empire building and refusing to work together or address evidence-based assessments regarding climate and other global challenges present a huge challenge to progressing nuclear diplomacy. Governments must respond to the scientists and NGOs which can provide expertise and evidence. It must work with them to create legislation and co-operation to deliver the elimination of all WMD. Scottish CND supports an international approach to encouraging member states to sign and ratify the TPNW in order that it can enter into force as soon as possible, prohibiting nuclear weapons and leading to their elimination.

a. To what extent do states still view the NPT as relevant?

Nuclear-armed states that are signatories to the treaty are increasingly attached to security doctrines that they see as allowing them to maintain nuclear weapons and to forestall their obligations to disarmament under Article 6. Some consider that nuclear disarmament does not address today’s security problems, and advocate delaying disarmament until the risk is diminished, rather than recognising the urgency of disarmament in addressing the increased risk. Many other states, inside and outside of the NPT, see the TPNW as a critical component in facilitating the NPT in achieving its purpose. Scottish CND considers that, in becoming a party to the TPNW, the UK Government could fulfil its NPT obligations.

b. What are the prospects for other components of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty (CTBT)?

Like the NPT, The CTBT has provided a useful step in stigmatising nuclear weapons and nuclear testing. Despite the CTBT not entering into force,(critical nuclear-armed states are not committed to it) it has had an effect in slowing down the arms race and altering the perspective that nuclear weapons use has legitimacy. Important lessons can be learned, and continued negotiation can highlight sticking points, and the progress made in overcoming them. But without the absolute prohibition which the TPNW could provide, important ground gained can be lost when member states limit or even withdraw their support from existing agreements (for example the INF). Scottish CND acknowledges the importance of these other components and strongly advocates that the UK Government takes a positive approach to preparing for the TPNW’s entry into force, especially because it has already an important place in the rule-based international regime and it has already had a significant impact on diminishing financial investment in nuclear weapons. Scottish CND hopes that the UK Government will engage in meaningful discussion of how the TPNW can impact on UK foreign policy in the next few years. At the very least, the Government should agree to attend future meetings of TPNW state parties as observers, and ensure that it provides such useful technical assistance in areas where it can such as verification. It should also consider contributions it may make to remediation in countries where the UK has tested nuclear weapons. The UK Government should maintain and increase dialogue with UN member states which are committed to the TPNW

c. How important are these agreements to the wider rules-based international order?

These agreements are at the heart of the accountability of governments, not only to the people that elected them or on whose behalf they govern, but in their shared responsibility beyond borders, to preserve and explore the acceptable boundaries of human behaviour without recourse to violence and the use of force. Scottish CND requests that the UK Government avoids misconceptions by participating and contributing to the processes and opportunities that the UN regime offers and ensuring that these are communicated clearly to the public.

d. To what extent does the existence of three nuclear armed states outside the NPT (India, Israel and Pakistan) destabilise the overall regime?

The overall regime has failed to achieve non-proliferation as far as these states are concerned because the nuclear-armed states have failed to deliver nuclear disarmament, leaving their argument that they need the weapons for their own security open to adoption by other states. If the existing NPT state parties were to take a position that the present state of global insecurity requires them to maintain and modernise their nuclear weapons at the 2020 Review conference it would seem very likely that other states would follow the example of India etc. Hopefully the existence of the TPNW may stop that from happening. The continued existence of nuclear weapons in politically volatile regions like the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the northern Indian subcontinent increases the likelihood of accident or use by governments or non state actors.

e. What prospects are there for a Middle East WMD free zone?

The best prospect for a Middle East WMD free zone lies in allowing and supporting negotiations between interested parties without external interference or military support. Scottish CND hopes for consideration to be given to the impact of UK investment in the arms trade in the region.

The United States

3. To what extent will the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, as well as US efforts to achieve the denuclearise of the Korean Peninsula, affect the wider nuclear non-proliferation regime?

Scottish CND regrets the US withdrawal from the Iran deal and considers that the UK Government should distance itself from US nuclear posture in the MENA and across the South Pacific region at the present time and instead offer facilitation to actors in the regions to participate in negotiations without self-interested influence from states outside the region.

Nuclear arms control

4. To what extent and why are existing nuclear arms control agreements being challenged, particularly the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), and what prospect is there for further such agreements? What prospects are there of progress in negotiating a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT)?

Challenging of these treaties puts us all at grave risk. Unfortunately, it is a risk that will persist as long as nuclear weapons exist in the world. Scottish CND would like to see the UK Government to take immediate and urgent steps to bring about dialogue and negotiation between treaty state parties, to make the best diplomatic efforts that it can to preserve these treaties while recognising their limited scope, and so to recognise the need to engage with the TPNW and the governments in the world that are working for complete prohibition of all nuclear weapons leading to their complete elimination.

5. What effect will nuclear renewal programmes have on the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime? To what extent could technological developments—including in missile capabilities, warhead strength, and verification—undermine existing non-proliferation and arms control agreements?

Modernisation of nuclear arsenals carries a cost to other government programmes, involves automated systems that carry an inherent risk through lack of possibility for human intervention at an early stage in failure, and heralds the start of a new arms race. Planning upgrades rather than elimination might be seen as unwillingness to consider disarmament at all, a view that is reinforced when nuclear-armed states have governments that project a volatile and unpredictable political world order.

New technologies

6. To what extent will technological developments, both directly relating to nuclear weapons and in the wider defence and security sphere, affect nuclear diplomacy?

New technologies and detection capability mean that the policies of neither confirming or denying the presence of nuclear weapons, along with maintaining their invisibility and the invisibilities of (for example) submarines carrying them can no longer be relied upon. The unpredictable rate of climate change and some of its effects, mean the possibility of nuclear activity triggering uncontrollable global impact cannot be accurately predicted. It will become increasingly difficult for trust to be maintained amongst so many unknown elements that diplomacy will be compromised.

The development of drones, and cyber warfare methods and activity by non state actors mean that the use of nuclear weapons without state sanction is increased. There is no ‘safe pair of hands’.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

7. If it were to enter into force, how would the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (commonly referred to as the Ban Treaty) affect efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and bring about disarmament?

The history of efforts towards elimination of weapons shows that prohibition has a huge impact on indiscriminate weapons losing their political and reputational status and being seen as shameful and unacceptable. This will make their acquisition, and therefore proliferation, a very unattractive proposition. This process has already started with the TPNW, with over 50 major international financial institutions already divested from nuclear weapons since the TPNW was adopted. The negotiations for the TPNW also flagged up the democratic deficit in nuclear weapons policies globally, and the treaty’s highlighting the disproportionate impact on women and girls will increasingly inform decision makers across the world when the treaty comes into force. State parties will reconsider their alliances, and when threatening to use nuclear weapons is widely regarded as a breach of International Humanitarian Law, it will be difficult to reference nuclear deterrence as a legitimate form of defence

The P5

8. What are the policies of other P5 countries (China, France, Russia and the United States), and the UK’s other partners, on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and on nuclear weapons more generally? Have these policies changed, and if so, why? How effective has the P5 process been, and what role will it have in the future?

Member states in the P5 hold differing positions on aspects of nuclear diplomatic ideology, for example different stances on negative security assurances. It is difficult to gain a real understanding of what these differences mean or what they offer without a far greater degree of transparency and discussion than is presently allowed. The consensus rules of negotiation have shut down questioning around these differences and blocked any exploration of new initiatives. Blocks have even prevented any clear outcome record following meetings of the state parties.

The role of the UK

9. How effective a role has the UK played in global nuclear diplomacy in recent years? How could the UK more effectively engage on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament? What should the UK Government’s priorities be ahead of the 2020 NPT Review Conference?

The UK Government’s backing of the US threats to withdraw from the INF – and UK participation in the US-led inappropriate and undignified behaviour outside a UN conference (to which all of the P5 states had been invited) reduces UK credibility on the global stage as a state with a commitment to nuclear disarmament, as resolved in the UN General Assembly’s first resolution. It has partly redeemed itself in supporting the EU’s blocking statute on US withdrawal from the JOCPT. Scottish CND would welcome the UK Government making an unambiguous commitment to the NPT, including Article 6 regardless of any US position. We would also like to see the UK recognise the TPNW and work in preparation for its impact and its possible entry into force around the start of the NPT Review Conference in 2020. At this year’s final Preparatory Committee meeting in advance of the NPT Review Conference, we would like to see the UK ensure representation at Ministerial level.

From a Scottish perspective, the UK has misrepresented and disregarded the real concerns, questions and interests of not only the citizens of this country, but its elected representatives at Westminster, as well as the Government of Scotland and Members of the Scottish Parliament, while continuing to site and even planning to renew the UK nuclear weapons in Scotland. At the very least, The UK Government should include representation on a delegation to the NPT Prep con in May by at least one Scottish member of Parliament from Scotland’s majority party at Westminster plus a representative, elected or official, from the Scottish Government, to be selected by Scotland’s First Minister.

Submission prepared by Janet Fenton. Any questions may be addressed to janet@wordsandaction

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Emergency Protest on Monday at Edinburgh Consulates of P5 Nuclear-armed States

On Monday 18th February campaigners from the Trident Ploughshares Peaton Peace Pirates affinity group will visit the consulates or other representatives of four of the “P5” nuclear-armed states to ask them to engage urgently in diplomatic moves to defuse what the protesters see as the current critically dangerous situation.

Visits will be made to the US, French and Chinese consulates, and to the Scotland Office as the representative office of the British state. The visits are a follow-up to a letter sent last week to the offices requesting a meeting. The Russian Consul-General has agreed a meeting later in the week and so his office will not be visited on Monday.

David Mackenzie said:

Our message will be simple and we will be peacefully assertive in getting it across. The risks are real. The consequences of nuclear conflict will be utterly horrific. Start talking to each other now. Begin to engage with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It’s the end of nukes or the end of us. Along with the threat of catastrophic climate breakdown this emergency requires a constructive global engagement. In the case of the risk of nuclear war the new TPNW provides the ideal platform for that process.

We believe that the risk of global nuclear war is at present very serious. There is the underlying and constant risk of catastrophic error within complex delegation and computerised systems. Also in the background is the current and ongoing modernisation and sophistication of the weapons – a real arms race – as well as the danger from non-state actors and fragile governments worldwide. Right now there are the signs (including the collapse of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty – the INF) that what arms control measures we have had are crumbling away amid criminally reckless posturing.”

Notes:

1.
Visit Timetable:

10.00
a.m. Scotland Office (UK), 1 Melville Crescent, EH3 7HW

11.45
a.m. French Consulate, Lothian Chambers, West Parliament Square, EH1
1RN

1.30
p.m. US Consulate, 3 Regent Terrace, EH7 5BW

2.45
p.m. Chinese Consulate, 55 Corstorphine Road, EH12 5QG

2.
Consular letter

I am writing to respectfully advise that we will call to your consulate on the 18th February, at the time noted below, to discuss our deep concerns about the current lack of peaceful diplomacy offered by member states of the UN Security Council to the world order. Instead, all of them are upgrading and modernising their nuclear arsenals. Coupled with recent US and Russian statements on the 1987 bilateral agreement to limit the deployment of nuclear weapons (Intermediate-Range Forces Treaty, or INF) the Security Council is showing reckless disregard for the safety of the planet and all life on it.

The INF is a bilateral treaty, but we consider that it is the responsibility of the Security Council at the UN to ensure that states commit to the rules-based regime that is supported by civil society across the world. This regime is fundamental in keeping global citizens safe, and for intergovernmental disputes to be subject to scrutiny and resolved without the use of force.

The majority of member states wish to prohibit and eliminate these weapons; many non-governmental organisations share that view, and further consider that the Security Council member states are putting the future of both our planet and children at risk with this retrograde step.

All the Security Council member states should join the 70 states which have signed the UN’s 2017 Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is the course of action to which all of the Security Council should be committed if they are serious about multilateral disarmament, as they repeatedly say that they are.

The INF Treaty was agreed when films such as The War Game, Threads, and The Day After were instrumental in making the horrific reality of nuclear weapons apparent to the world’s people, who then put their governments under enormous public pressure. Reagan and Gorbachev were deeply affected by The Day After, which became a catalyst in their agreeing the INF. Now, we need more than reversible arms control — we need discussions leading to all nuclear armed states joining the TPNW. For this reason, we also request the consul’s attendance at a screening of The War Game on the 18th February at 8.00pm at 6/1 Glenallan Drive, Edinburgh EH16 5QX.This invitation is extended to the local US, China, Russian, French consulates in Edinburgh and the Scotland Office of the UK Government.

We look forward to seeing you at the consulate on the 18th at the time indicated.

Please RSVP to this email address

Aifauldly,

Janet Fenton, David Mackenzie, Jean Oliver, Douglas Shaw and Jamie Watson

The
Peace Pirates Affinity Group, Trident Ploughshares

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Emergency Protest on Monday at Edinburgh Consulates of P5 Nuclear-armed States

Scottish CND Welcomes European Visitors for Peace-Building Symposia

From Tuesday to Thursday next week (12th to 14th February) Scottish CND is hosting a series of meetings1 with an impressive panel of European visitors to discuss peace-building opportunities and challenges in the context of Brexit, the future of NATO and the militarisation of the European Union.

Nobel Laureate Ann Patterson of Belfast Peace People has been deeply involved along with Mairead McGuire in peace work, both in Ireland and worldwide. Roger Cole is chair of the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) which advocates Irish Neutrality and and opposes the use of Shannon Airport by the US military. Dave Webb is a member of the World Beyond War Coordinating Committee and Chair of the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), as well as Vice President of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Anne Palm is the Executive Director of the Wider Security Network (WISE), a Finnish network with the strategic goal of encouraging public analytical discussion of the practical meanings of human and broad security. Anne has previously worked with Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND said:

NATO
has its 70
th
anniversary in April and its future is under question. The European
Union is growing its military ambitions, and a second Scottish
independence referendum is on the cards. We need to be giving serious
thought to the interlocking of all these developments and what the
options are for peace-building. The visit of our European friends is
unmissable chance to engage with these vital issues and to work on
our vision of a Scotland for Peace.”

Interviews.
All the panel will be available for interview outwith the meetings.
To make arrangements email hello@nuclearban.scot
or call 07795
594573

1
T
uesday 12th February
7:00pm – Yes Hub (31
Lasswade Road, Edinburgh, EH16 6TD

Wednesday
13th February
6:30pm – Quaker Meeting House Elmbank Crescent
Glasgow G2 4PS

Thursday
14th February
7:30pm – Quaker Meeting House 7 Victoria Terrace,
Edinburgh, EH1 2JL

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Protest Against Collapse of INF at Edinburgh Consulates on Monday

On Monday 4th February there will be a peaceful protest at both the Russian and US Consulates in Edinburgh to register alarm at the breakdown of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The INF is a bi-lateral treaty between the US and Russia and bans the deployment of nuclear weapons with a range of between 300 and 3400 miles. The INF was agreed by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987 in a mutual recognition that land-based mobile weapon systems like the US Pershing and the Soviet SS 20 dangerously reduced the threshold for all-out nuclear war. Intermediate-range nuclear weapon systems were the main focus of disarmament movements in the 80’s, such as at Greenham Common. In the last few days both the US have said they will withdraw from the treaty, effectively causing its collapse.

Janet Fenton, of ICAN’s International Steering Group, said:

Thanks to 1980’s civil society’s heightened awareness of the terrible danger and the enormous public pressure on governments, the US and Russia agreeing the INF was effective in reducing the threat of nuclear war. The nuclear arms race we now face carries even more horrific risk in such a fluid and volatile world order, involving weak governments and non-state actors added to the political spectrum and cyber attack possible on the weapons systems. The nuclear-arms states must cease their criminally infantile brinkmanship and start real constructive talking again. Above all, this dangerous episode illustrates how vulnerable arms control measures are to political change. The only irreversible solution is elimination of nuclear weapons. Again civil society is demanding change,with prohibition and elimination as the purpose of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)1 which includes provision for nuclear armed states to disarm while addressing their security concerns.”

Michael Orgel, of Medact Scotland, said:

The suspension of the INF Treaty today heightens risks for all of us. An escalating nuclear arms race will lead us further to the brink of nuclear war by accident or design. Any medical response to a nuclear attack would be extremely limited and largely ineffective because of the complete devastation caused to roads, buildings and electricity supplies. Even if some medics could treat those not killed instantly by the immense force of the blast, they would lack the resources to provide meaningful care. Researchers estimate that more than two billion people could die of starvation in the years following even a ‘limited’ nuclear war. And just 1.5% of the world’s nuclear weapons could dim the sunlight and cause a nuclear winter resulting in the possible extinction of the human race.”

Gari Don, Director of UN House Scotland, said:

The hitherto global commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 162 is being challenged to breaking point. We have until 2 August 2019, the date the US withdrawal can be revoked, to bring back the sanity of a rules-based world order. It appears to be impossible for States Parties to achieve and maintain this, so we in civil society must do everything we possibly can to highlight the lunacy of legal anarchy. This is the time for all of us to recognise, support and deliver the momentum behind the moral rationality of the TPNW.

The protests will take place at the Russian consulate in Melville Street at 9 a.m. , and at the US consulate on Regent Terrace at 10.15 a.m.C

1 The Treaty On the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted at the UN in July 2017. It will enter into force when it has been signed and ratified by 50 member states –un.org/disarmament/wmd/nuclear/tpnw/

The International Campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)icanw.org was founded in 2007 and has partner organisations in one hundred countries world wide. It was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its contribution to the TPNW. Scottish partner organisations are: Scottish CND www.banthebomb.org, Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre peaceandjustice.org.uk, UN House .www.unhscotland.org.uk, MEDACT (Scotland)medact.org/project/scotland, Northern Friends Peace Boardnfpb.org.uk and Trident Ploughshares – tridentploughshares.org.

2 UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 is for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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DOOMSDAY CLOCK STILL AT TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which informs the public about risks from nuclear weapons, climate change and disruptive technologies, today maintained its “Doomsday Clock” at 2 Minutes to Midnight. In their view, as regards nuclear weapons, the abatement of the Korean crisis is balanced by dangerous posturing and the undermining of arms control measures by the nuclear-armed states.

In
her speech at the Bulletin’s press conference Sharon Squassoni of
George Washington University acknowledged the importance of the
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and said that the
nuclear-armed states will “ignore it at their peril”. Also today,
St. Lucia became the 20th state to ratify the TPNW. 70
states have already signed the Treaty, the first step in acceding to
it.

In
a statement UN House Scotland said:

“As
a partner of ICAN, we at UN House Scotland are disappointed that the
Doomsday Clock continues to place our global threat at two minutes to
midnight, as a result of world leaders failing to adequately address
the most pressing challenges facing our world today. Leaders must act
on their commitments from the Paris Agreement and the recent COP 24
in order to make significant developments in reducing the impacts of
climate change. The continued proliferation of nuclear weapons also
leaves us deeply alarmed by the certain humanitarian catastrophe
which their use, or a related accident, would present.”

Janet
Fenton, Vice-Chair of Scottish CND and ICAN Liaison in Scotland said:

This
evidence-led and meticulously researched warning comes from
scientists the world over. Elimination through the prohibition
advocated by the new UN Treaty On The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,
is the only rational answer. Scotland has made its position clear;
since 1982 from the Peace Camp, through devolution and a Scottish
Parliament that votes for nuclear disarmament to the First Minister’s
clear message to the Nobel Peace prize ceremony when ICAN won it for
it work on that treaty, “No ifs and no buts …We say no to nuclear
weapons on the River Clyde or anywhere else.” The UK could learn
and choose a safer way.”

Campaigners against nuclear weapons recognise the underlying risk that has existed consistently since the the 1950s (particularly the danger of accidental triggering). The risks are now enhanced by the irresponsible and erratic behaviour by leaders of the nuclear-armed states, by the compliance of other nuclear-endorsing countries, by the increased fragility of arms control measures, and by the threat of increased conflict provoked by climate breakdown.

Scottish ICAN Partners are Scottish CND, Medact, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, Trident Ploughshares, Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland. UN House Scotland

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Scottish ICAN Round Table – January 2019

The first Scottish Round Table discussion of 2019 was hosted by one of the partners, Scottish CND. The round table is not a coalition like Scrap Trident or the Scottish Peace Network. It is an opportunity for ICAN Partner Organisations here to communicate what they are doing with each other, and to support their autonomous activities. We can thus encourage campaigners, politicians and citizens to read and promote the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The meeting is open to anyone committed to working with ICAN in Scotland. Please encourage anyone you know that may be interested in attending to contact hello@nuclearban.scot

Minute of Scottish Round Table – 8th January 2019 – 3:00pm

Present: Isobel Lindsay – Chair (SCND), Emma Cockburn – Minute
(SCND), David Mackenzie (Trident Ploughshares), Duncan MacIntyre (MEDACT), Gina
Langton (80,000 Voices), Brian Quail (SCND), Sean Morris (Nuclear Free Local
Authorities/Mayors for Peace), David French (SCND), Vicki Elson
(Nuclearban.us), Tim Wallis (Nuclearban.us), Rebecca Johnson (Acronym),
Elizabeth Minor (Article 36), Lesley Morrison (MEDACT), David Peutherer (SCND),
Steve Davies (SCND), Jean Anderson (SCND), Gari Donn (UN House Scotland),
Kenneth McNeil (SCND), Janet Fenton (ICAN/SCND).

Apologies: Jill Saunderson, Guy Johnson, David Mumford, Edinburgh
CND, Michael Orgel, John Page, Edinburgh Yes Hub, Gareloch Horticulturists and
Northern Peace Board.

Chair welcomes everyone to the meeting

INTERNATIONAL ICAN

Tim Wallis with Vicki Elson reports from the Trident base in Washington where a similar action to that at Faslane took place, parts of the TPNW were read to the commander of the base. Tim and Vicki bring examples of their work with colleges and towns and speak of their business pledge. Vicki discusses her work at Yale University with sights on Stanford University next. Positive news from the US as last year they were told that no member of Congress would sign the Parliamentary Pledge and last week they got their fifth signature. Tim will circulate draft legislation that a state senator has brought to their legal team to be submitted on 18th January 2019. Tim notes that campaigns are working tirelessly with success in Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota and California.  Vicki mentions the Candidates Pledge they are working on and within two days of launching they had 30 to 40 candidates signing, this is similar to the Parliamentary Pledge. This will be spread on national scale in advance of the 2020 elections.

SCOTTISH ICAN PARTNERS

SCOTTISH CND – Janet Fenton discusses the success of the Nae Nukes Anywhere March and Rally organised by Scottish CND on the 22nd September 2018 and the meetings that occurred alongside. These meetings have led to a number of developments in future ICAN work in Scotland. Scottish CND is the secretariat of the Nuclear Disarmament Cross Party Group and work hard to ensure the TPNW is high on the agenda in the Scottish Parliament along with the upcoming NPT review. Janet notes that it is critical to ensure that the TPNW has a place in any discussions around nuclear disarmament. Also noted that SCND are preparing a response to the House of Lords inquiry and will encourage other ICAN partners in Scotland to do the same by 18th January 2019.

TRIDENT PLOUGHSHARES – David Mackenzie notes that Trident Ploughshares have a focus on the NPT in May and have also prepared a submission to the House of Lords inquiry. Trident Ploughshares have a number of things planning in the coming months and urge ICAN Partners in Scotland to share and respond when they come up. David also notes that with the NPT review and the ‘New Cold War’ that groups in Scotland should be ready to respond should there a crisis out of the current belligerent attitudes. Noted that the NPT negotiations will take place in April/May 2020 and the review will take place in April/May 2019.

MEDACT – Lesley Morrison notes that MEDACT were involved in the Nae Nukes Anywhere March and Rally at Faslane in September 2018 and had their AGM the previous night. Lesley notes that this demonstration reinvigorated the nuclear focus of MEDACT with members able to see Faslane with their own eyes. The Scottish group is very active and is taking the lead in the UK. Some MEDACT members are also part of Don’t Bank on the Bomb and are very keen to further discuss the paper by Linda Pearson “Stop Funding the End of the World”. Duncan MacIntyre notes that since the demonstration at Faslane in September 2018 MEDACT have gained new younger members who see the link between climate change and nuclear weapons.

UN HOUSE SCOTLAND – Gari Donn notes that UN House have been connecting with enthusiastic young people to gather parliamentarian details including councillors and MPs to draw attention to the key issues. UN House also hope to work with others including Scottish CND to find a way to integrate different visions of what security and peace means.

NUCLEAR FREE LOCAL AUTHORITIES – Sean Morris notes NFLA had a meeting on international peace day in Clydebank and have been part of the ICAN Cities appeal with the success of Renfrewshire Council being the first council in Scotland to officially support the TPNW. NFLA Scotland are now focusing on Edinburgh City Council and Glasgow City Council, they aim to have the support of another five to ten councils in the next twelve months. Sean spoke through the democratic process to getting the resolution passed. NFLA had a meeting in Kilmarnock where DBOTB was mentioned and it was noted at that meeting that council investments are connected, while one council may want to divest, support from connected councils is required, there are 16 councils in Scotland which are not part of NFLA. NFLA would like to connect with DBOTB to move forward with this. 9th January 2019 NFLA will be in the Scottish Parliament at a debate on Hunterston. Noted that NFLA will also have a response to the House of Lords inquiry.

MAYORS FOR PEACE – Sean Morris notes that there will be a UK wide meeting will be in Manchester that will focus on the ICAN cities appeal with a range of speakers. Janet Fenton mentions that ICAN Partners in Scotland could use the work UN House Scotland have done with representative spreadsheets by interns for the ICAN Cities Appeal to follow up.

WILPF SCOTLAND – Janet Fenton notes that WILPF UK and WILPF Scotland will have a response to the House of Lords inquiry and there have been meetings in Scotland with a new meeting in Glasgow which is supportive of Reaching Critical Will and wants to utilise the lobbying training and developing it into having a particular focus for Scotland to lobby for the TPNW at Strathclyde University.

DON’T BANK ON THE BOMB SCOTLAND – Message from Michael Orgel noted that Linda Pearson’s report “Stop Funding the End of the World” has been an invaluable resource by bringing the international DBOTB campaign into Scotland. Duncan MacIntyre also noted that there is a particular focus on Strathclyde Pension Fund and Scottish Parliament Pension Funds. Guy, Michael and Linda have submitted articles to Peace News and other outlets. DBOTB have also been invited to the NFLA meeting in mid-February to speak.

OPPORTUNITIES TO WORK TOGETHER

Janet Fenton underlines the Trident Ploughshares position that ICAN partners in Scotland should be very closely in touch in case of an event requiring a fast reaction. Partners should collaborate and be active in case of: an accident with a convoy, the international situation deteriorating or in the case of a significant step forward in mutual aggression. Lesley Morrison from MEDACT notes that ICAN Partners should use every opportunity to get press coverage and that there should be more work done in the Scottish Parliament with legislation to underline their commitment to nuclear disarmament. Rebecca Johnson of Acronym notes that work in schools is vital and she has taken the medal into schools where the children have been making the link between climate change and nuclear weapons. Vicki Elson notes that in the USA there have been workshops in schools to have children write to companies involved in their schools e.g. Honeywell and asking them to divest.

Isobel Lindsay of Scottish CND mentions that NATO’s 70th anniversary will fall on 4th April 2019 and this should be used to highlight the nuclear weapons issue. Rebecca Johnson notes that the official ICAN position is neither for nor against NATO but ICAN intends to make it clear that NATO members can and should be signing the TPNW. This means removing the nuclear component of that alliance and coming into line with the TPNW. Joining the TPNW requires denuclearising and it does not mean getting out of the alliance.

Trident Ploughshares have volunteered to host the next meeting, ICAN Scottish Liaison, Janet Fenton, will pass information to David Mackenzie. Agreed to use the polling system to decide date in late March.

Isobel Lindsay, chair, brings the meeting to a close.

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122 States Confirm Support for UN Nuke Ban Treaty

Last July 122 states voted at the UN to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). On 1st November they re-affirmed their support for the Treaty by voting in favour a new resolution in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly welcoming the adoption of the Treaty and calling upon all states to join it. This vote demonstrates once again the overwhelming and continuing international support for this treaty in the face of strong opposition from the nuclear-armed states.

The “Big Five” nuclear-armed states (US, Russia, China, France and the UK) claim that the TPNW is dangerous and undermines the Nuclear Non-ProlIferation Treaty. It doesn’t. It is in fact the necessary mechanism for advancing Article V1 of the NPT, the obligation of the nuclear-armed states to make progress in good faith towards disarmament. Indeed, back in the 60s the US was strongly critical of the Irish proposal to introduce the NPT, which it now declares to be the true path to disarmament.

The Treaty itself continues to make good progress with 69 signatures and 19 ratifications with another 20 or so in the pipeline.

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Alarm as UK Backs US Move to Ditch Key Nuclear Weapon Treaty

Scottish anti-nuclear campaigners have reacted with anger and alarm at UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s unequivocal backing for the US intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

The INF is a bi-lateral treaty between the US and Russia and bans the deployment of nuclear weapons with a range of between 300 and 3400 miles. The INF was agreed by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987 in mutual recognition that weapon systems like the US Pershing and the Soviet SS 20 dangerously reduced the threshold for all-out nuclear war. Intermediate-range nuclear weapon systems were the main focus of disarmament movements in the 80’s, such as Greenham Common.

Bill Kidd MSP, Chair of the Scottish parliament’s Cross Party group on Nuclear Disarmament, said:

If the US President wants to make a long term impact he should be looking to be seen as a World leader and taking the opportunity to make ‘deals’ which build peace as with the Gorbachev/Reagan accord in 1987.”

Chair of Scottish CND Arthur West said:

The US administration under the dangerous and erratic Donald Trump, urged on by the maverick John Bolton, is inflaming nuclear confrontation by this unilateral move. What is even more sickening is the way the UK comes immediately to heel behind its transatlantic master. How can Gavin Williamson even pretend to speak for Scotland when there is clear evidence that the majority of politicians and the public reject nuclear weapons?
This is why there now seems to be growing support for Scotland to disentangle itself from a state that does not seem to have any aspirations to create  a more peaceful world .”

Janet Fenton, ICAN’s liaison in Scotland, said:

This move also underlines just how dishonest the UK and US are when they talk about multilateral disarmament. They don’t believe in it. They will not sign up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. They block progress on the NPT. Instead of sitting down with Russia for honest face-to-face talks about the INF they indulge in aggressive posturing instead. “

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