The Money That Makes The Bomb – From Wellington to Edinburgh

Today, International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, campaigners in Edinburgh joined people all over the world to draw attention to a large international bank that invests hugely in the production of nuclear weapons.

BNP Paribas is a French international banking group. It is the world’s 8th largest bank by total assets, and currently operates with a presence in 77 countries, including Scotland. Though BNP Paribas has a policy restricting investment in companies associated with the production of nuclear weapons, it has provided US$8 billion in financing to 16 nuclear weapons producing companies in just over 4 years.

Today a group of campaigners representing Scottish organisations which are partners with the Nobel Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), went this morning to the Edinburgh address given on the company’s website to engage staff in conversation about the problem, only to find an empty suite of rooms and a scar where a plaque had been.

Linda Pearson, author of Stop Funding the End of the World, a guide to nuclear weapons divestment in Scotland and member of the Scottish Don’t Bank on The Bomb group said:

Eight of the nuclear weapons companies financed by BNP Paribas produce key components for Britain’s nuclear weapons programme so it’s important that people in Scotland who oppose Trident target the bank today. The action is part of a growing global nuclear weapons divestment movement. Everyone in Scotland can play a role by contacting their bank and pension fund and encouraging them to adopt policies that prohibit nuclear weapons investments. If we can persuade enough financial institutions to divest, we can force companies to stop producing weapons which are indiscriminate, immoral and illegal.”

Janet Fenton, ICAN’s Scottish liaison, said:

Today ICAN is focussing on BNP Paribas everywhere. Global financial institutions are learning that the new UN Treat on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) 1 makes divestment from nuclear weapons the safest financial option, and following an inspiring international rally at Faslane on Saturday, it’s clear that Scots have plenty of support in their abhorrence of these uncontrollable, insane and indiscriminate status symbols whether they are delivered by May, Trump, Putin or anyone else. Responsible financial institutions can find safer and more profitable choices.”

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Citizen Monitors Put UK WMD Base on Notice

Citizen Monitors Put UK WMD Base on Notice

Today an international group of citizen monitors visited Faslane naval base on the Clyde estuary to advice its operators that their activity is prohibited under international law as confirmed by the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)1.

Vicki Elson, Anthony Donovan, Janet Fenton, Sylvia Boyes and Timmon Wallis were acting as a small delegation from the hundreds of people who attended the NAE NUKES Rally at Faslane on Saturday last (22nd September). Visiting the North Gate of the nuclear weapon base they met with the Duty Naval Officer to advise him that the work being carried out there for the UK’s WMD arsenal is unlawful. They also handed him a copy of the TPNW and a copy of Timmon Wallis’ book The Truth about Trident. The Duty Officer promised to hand these items to the base commander, Commodore Donald Doull. They then left signs saying “Prohibited” at both main gates to the base.

Anthony Donovan described the exchange:

“When the police arrived, the activists were told the base was closed today.   They mentioned that there were three people that traveled a long way to speak with Commander of the base Donald Doull.   All four of us wished to share a copy of The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.    The police phoned in, high in doubt.    There was several minutes of waiting for reply.    Although the Commander was away from the base, the Duty Naval Base Officer agreed to come out to meet.   They talked, and listened about the Treaty, and the my documentary and Tim’s book, took copies of all, and thanked them, assuring he would pass them on. “

Under the auspices of the new Treaty similar citizen monitoring inspections have already taken place in other nuclear-armed states and in countries hosting US nuclear weapons.

Janet Fenton said:

Those employed at Faslane on Trident and Trident-related work should be made aware of the Treaty and the impact it is already having worldwide. The Treaty is shifting nukes ever more clearly into the category of pariah weapons, along with chemical weaponry and landmines, on account of their horrendous effects on human life. Staff also need also to realise that Trident’s jacket is now on a really shoogly nail. At the NAE NUKES Rally on Saturday international disarmers from Russia, Israel, the US, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan commended us for our resistance to nuclear weapons and pointed out that we can play a key role in making the UK the first nuclear armed state to comply with the Treaty. That is a challenge to all Scots.”

Timmon Wallis said:

“We don’t have to wait for the UK, the US or the other nuclear armed states to decide it’s time to get rid of these unacceptable weapons. The new treaty gives us a legal framework to get rid of these weapons OURSELVES! We can decide to comply with this treaty as individuals, as organizations, as faith communities, as universities, hospitals, businesses, cities and other political entities. And by doing so, we can begin to dismantle the nuclear war machine piece by piece, as the companies which make and maintain these weapons, and the people who work in these companies, begin to realise that they can no longer do so without moral, legal and financial consequences.”

1The TPNW was adopted by overwhelming vote at the UN on 7th July 2017 and has already achieved 60 state signatures and 15 ratifications and will enter into force when signed and ratified by 50 UN member states. It is seen as a game-changer for global nuclear disarmament and follows the pattern of other significant treaties outlawing particular weaponry, such as chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions, that have given them pariah status.

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NAE NUKES takes over Faslane gateway

For a few hours on Saturday 22nd September the gate to Faslane, the Clyde estuary home of the UK’s Trident submarines, became a hostile environment for nuclear weapons.

In putting together the NAE NUKES, ANYWHERE event Scottish CND planned something more than a demo or a protest. The vision was for a celebration of transnational solidarity around the rejection on nukes and in particular the hope and pathway provided by the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The plan came off, in the main thanks to a very special group of TPNW advocates from far and wide who gave a simple message We salute your resistance and we are with you. The nuclear-armed states were well represented by Ekaterina Mikhaylenko from Russia, Sharon Dolev from Israel, and Tim Wallis, Vicki Elson and Anthony Donovan from the US. The same message came from US “umbrella” states via Reiner Braun from Germany, Maike Beenes from The Netherlands and Shigeo Kobayashi from Japan. Scottish CND’s own Flavia Tudoreanu gave her perspective as a Rumanian. Canadian Allison Pytlak was there to represent Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the organisation that negotiated civil society at the UN to gain the TPNW

Loudest cheer of the day from the folk who had gathered in the sunshine from all over the UK and beyond was when Tim mentioned the decision of the Californian senate to back the TPNW. The nerve that story touched is the growing understanding that taking on the nukes is about more than dealing with the particular manifestation on your own patch, be it Trident or Dimona. It is a matter of touching the determination of people everywhere.

A warm Scottish welcome to the visitors came from poet and novelist Jackie Kay. Although she is the non-political Scottish Makar, she said she was determined to be at the rally. She was supported by Kathy Galloway, former leader of the Iona Community, and by songsters Adam Holmes, Pauline Bradley, Penny Stone, Eileen Penman, Willie Sinclair, Sylvia McGowan, Protest in Harmony, and a zany Abba tribute from the Gareloch Horticulturalists.

There is so much more we can all do to comply with the TPNW at personal, local and national level. In Scotland’s case there is the risk that we will be satisfied with simply being against nuclear weapons and fail to explore all the routes that lie open.

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MAKAR TO WELCOME INTERNATIONAL DISARMERS TO FASLANE

Scottish Makar Jackie Kay will give the Scottish welcome to the international disarmament campaigners who will address the NAE NUKES ANYWHERE Rally at Faslane on Saturday, 22nd September, in a celebration of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The welcome will be shared with Kathy Galloway. Kathy, the first woman to be elected as leader of the Iona Community was a key player in the Scottish Constitutional Convention and is known for her ability to embed the values of peace in civil society contexts. Also on stage will be Scottish musicians, including Adam Holmes, Pauline Bradley and Bobby Nicolson. The core of the Rally will be addresses by advocates for the TPNW from the US, Russia, Iran, The Netherlands, Israel, and Germany.

Janet Fenton, chair of Scottish CND, which has organised the rally said:

Kathy and Jackie are women of foresight, integrity and compassion. In their different spheres they articulate our aspirations for a Scotland that can contribute to peace and justice everywhere. Jackie is not only a poet of eloquence and our chosen Scottish Makar, she is an internationalist who knows and understands our culture. We are very pleased that they will welcome these amazing international visitors who have all campaigned in their own countries. Representing SCND and others in Scotland, I have worked with our visitors in meetings and conferences in many places, eventually at the United Nations in Geneva and New York, and all of us share the same goal. They are coming here to support us.

Anthony Donovan, a writer, organiser and documentary maker from New York said:

I was deeply moved by the Scottish contingent in NYC last year helping to get the Ban Treaty adopted. When I learned that all of the UK’s nuclear arsenal was in your land against the will of the majority, I wanted to support in any way possible the brave, courageous, wise leaders that each of you are. Instead of clicking another “like” on FB, I hoped to say a profound thank you personally. Greatly honored to be here with you.”

The TPNW was adopted by overwhelming vote at the UN on 7th July 2017 and has already achieved 59 state signatures and 14 ratifications (most recently New Zealand) and will enter into force when signed and ratified by 50 UN member states. It is seen as a game-changer for global nuclear disarmament and follows the pattern of other significant treaties outlawing particular weaponry, such as chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions, which have given them pariah status.

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Boost for Faslane NAE NUKES ANYWHERE Rally as California backs UN Nuke Ban Treaty

Disarmament campaigners looking forward to the NAE NUKES Rally at Faslane naval base on 22nd September are much encouraged by the news that California has voted to back the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

California, with a population of over 37 million, is the largest state in the US. On 29th August the State Legislature passed a resolution that calls on the United States federal government “to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of national security policy, and spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war. “

The similarities with Scotland are obvious. In both cases there is marked opposition from population and legislature to the parent government’s nuclear weapon policy. Every member of the Scottish government has signed the ICAN parliamentary pledge in support of the Treaty.

Bill Kidd MSP said:

There are those who will sneer at the Californian and Holyrood votes as mere gesture politics but the TPNW is giving to all of us more power to turn our homes, our cities and our lands into environments hostile to nuclear aggression, and to fatally undermine the spurious claims of the UK and the US that they are operating with a democratic mandate. As things stand we in Scotland cannot become a party to the TPNW but there are lots of ways in which we can align ourselves to the Treaty. The NAE NUKES rally will be a fine opportunity to mark our determination to do so.”

Timmon Wallis, of the US Treaty Compliance Campaign , who will speak at the rally, said:

“We don’t have to wait for the UK, the US or the other nuclear armed states to decide it’s time to get rid of these unacceptable weapons. The new treaty gives us a legal framework to get rid of these weapons OURSELVES! We can decide to comply with this treaty as individuals, as organizations, as faith communities, as universities, hospitals, businesses, cities and other political entities. And by doing so, we can begin to dismantle the nuclear war machine piece by piece, as the companies which make and maintain these weapons, and the people who work in these companies, begin to realise that they can no longer do so without moral, legal and financial consequences…”

Speaking at the Rally will be international campaigners 1from the Netherlands, the US, Iran, Russia, Israel and South Korea. They will also feature in a programme of public meetings in the days before and after the rally.

1 Sharon Dolev (Israel), Founding director of the Israeli Disarmament Movement,

Ekatrina Earsalovna (Russia), Professor of International Relation, Ural Federal University, Anthony Donovan, writer, organiser and documentary maker on peace and disarmament from New York, Emad Kiyaei (Iran), a consultant who provides political, business and civil society leaders with strategic advice in the intersection of political risk, diplomacy and technology, Maaike Beenes (The Netherlands), a young campaigner with PAX in the Netherlands, Members of the People’s Democratic Party (South Korea) who visited Scotland last year as part of their Peace Expedition, Allison Pytlak (Reaching Crtical Will), who was awarded, along with Ray Acheson, the UN Women’s Champion for Change status this year for her advocacy in the campaign for the TPNW and Timmon Wallis (United States), of the US Treaty Compliance Campaign

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Your Copy of the TPNW

TPNW

Click on the above link for your own printable copy. It is important to be familiar with the actual text of the Treaty – it’s very accessible – to see its foundation on humanitarian law and its comprehensive provisions.

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Internationals Converge on Faslane Nuclear Weapon Base for Nae Nukes March and Rally

Key international campaigners from at least six countries will be coming to Faslane to speak at the Nae Nukes Anywhere March and Rally on 22nd September in an expression of global solidarity for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Confirmed to date are: Sharon Dolev (Israel), Founding director of the Israeli Disarmament Movement, Ekatrina Earsalovna (Russia), Professor of International Relation, Ural Federal University, Anthony Donovan, writer, organiser and documentary maker on peace and disarmament from New York, Emad Kiyaei (Iran), a consultant who provides political, business and civil society leaders with strategic advice in the intersection of political risk, diplomacy and technology, Maaike Beenes (The Netherlands), a young campaigner with PAX in the Netherlands, Members of the People’s Democratic Party (South Korea) who visited Scotland as part of their Peace Expedition, Allison Pytlak (Reaching Critical Will), who was awarded, along with Ray Acheson, the UN Women’s Champion for Change status this year for their advocacy in the campaign for the TPNW and Timmon Wallis (United States) – National Co-ordinator of NuclearBan.US. Visitors are also expected from Kazakhstan and France.

Ekatrina Earsalovna from Russia said:

Since I already belong to the generation of those who do not know what war is, and future generations are already getting mythological pictures about the war, I want future experts, diplomats and politicians to be on the side of peace, understand its fragility and value.

I do not like the modern rhetorical discourse by Russian diplomats around nuclear weapons. Some Russian experts call nuclear weapons a gift given to us by God. It is not right. I see my role in destroying these myths, in working out a critical view of nuclear weapons by teaching and popularization of peace studies. That’s why it is very important for me to understand how civil society and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom works in Scotland.”

The TPNW was adopted by overwhelming vote at the UN on 7th July 2017 and has already achieved 59 state signatures and 14 ratifications (most recently New Zealand) and will enter into force when signed and ratified by 50 UN member states. It is seen as a game-changer for global nuclear disarmament and follows the pattern of other significant treaties outlawing particular weaponry, such as chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions, which have given them pariah status.

Janet Fenton, Vice-Chair of Scottish CND and Scottish Liaison for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) said:

Our hearts are warmed by the readiness of folk from across the globe to come our site of national shame, to encourage us to continue the struggle against nuclear madness, and to let us know that we in our turn offer hope to the worldwide movement with our rejection of nuclear weapons and our potential to move the UK towards disarmament.”

Contact: Janet Fenton 07795594573 Scottish CND 0141 357 1529

nuclearban.scot icanw.org

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Three Good Reasons to be at Faslane on 22nd September

First, there’s Scotland, with its popular and parliamentary rejection of nukes. And yet, while we are solidly for Bairns not Bombs, we still are not fully aware of our significance in the mix. The internationals who will be at Faslane on 22nd September will be carrying a simple message: We think your national rejection of nukes is fabulous; the eyes of the world are on you; you can cause a nuclear-armed state to disarm; you can start the global disarmament ball rolling; don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Then there’s the Treaty – the Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the TPNW. Adopted last year by overwhelming vote it is well on track to achieve sufficient ratifications so as to to enter into force by 2019. Clearly, none of the 9 nuclear-armed states will sign it anytime soon but, like other treaties aimed at the elimination of a weapon type (landmines, chemical weapons etc.), the TPNW will categorise nukes as pariah weapons. Indeed, even now it is having a noticeable effect, most obviously in the number of transnational investment companies which are reading the runes and getting out of the nuclear weapons business. The US and UK have led a sneering chorus against the Treaty but they also know that it will bite hard on their activity. Before the UN vote the US wrote to all NATO states, warning them not to approve the Treaty as it would limit US ability to continue providing nuclear weapon cover to its client states.

Finally there’s the urgency. In his sobering “Doomsday Machine” Daniel Ellsberg makes it plain that we have been living on the sharp edge of nuclear catastrophe consistently since the early 1960s and that the present case is as dangerous as the Cuban missile crisis. Nuclear war, even on a regional scale (as for instance on the Indian sub-continent), would cause millions of immediate deaths and many more to follow through starvation in the wider area. Nuclear war can do climate change all on its own and the effects of the climate breakdown we are already facing will increase the chances of conflict, and so increase the chances of nuclear weapons being used. A terrifying tangle. They have to go, all of them.

That’s why we should all be at Faslane on September 22nd – to signal our intention to join the human race.

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Scots Look Forward to Faslane International Rally as UN Nuke Ban Treaty Enters its Second Year

Today, Saturday 7th July the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will be a year old and Scottish campaigners are marking the occasion by gearing up for the international NAE NUKES ANYWHERE March and Rally at Faslane on 22nd September.

The TPNW is the latest UN nuclear disarmament treaty and already enough UN member states have signed up for it to enter into force as soon as they ratify it by putting it into their legal system. It has already been ratified by 11 of the signed-up states – showing a rate exceeding that of comparable treaties. It is a game-changer for global nuclear disarmament, advocating an immediate ban, and follows the pattern of other significant ban treaties affecting chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions. By outlawing these weapons, the treaties have given them pariah status.

Janet Fenton SCND Vice Chair who worked for the treaty, said

Scotland has a very special position and role in relation to the TPNW. We are a distinct and significant part of a nuclear-armed state which so far has refused to engage with the TPNW, but at both parliamentary and popular level we Scots reject nuclear weapons and would sign and ratify the Treaty if that were possible. We want to be part of the global community which knows that when it comes to nukes the whole planet faces risk of mass annihilation and starvation until these weapons are banned and eliminated. This issue is not the preserve of the nuclear-armed states. That is why we will be at Faslane on 22nd September.

NAE NUKES ANYWHERE is an international event and platform speakers will be international visitors who have all been working across the world for the TPNW. They will be there to encourage Scots to continue their struggle against the UK’s nuclear arsenal. There will be travellers from South Korea, Russia, France, Israel, Germany, Spain and the US.

Travelling from Israel will be Sharon Dolev of the Israeli Disarmament Movement who said:

I am going to Scotland for the 22 September in solidarity with the campaigners and the politicians in Scotland in their efforts to disarm the first of the nuclear armed states – the UK- that is going to be made to give up the nuclear weapons they keep in Scotland – Happy first birthday TPNW, and good luck to all of us!

The March and Rally begins at noon at Faslane Peace Camp, close to the south entrance of the Trident submarine base.

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Korean Border Peace Walker at Scottish Parliament Next Week

Next Tuesday (12th June) a special visitor to the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Nuclear Disarmament will be Dr Rebecca Johnson who took part in last month’s historic women’s walk into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which separates North and South Korea.

The Women Cross The DMZ walk, supported by The Nobel Women’s Initiative, was a call for peace and unity within the peninsula and as a counter to aggressive posturing from both North Korea and the US. Thirty women associated with the Nobel Peace Prize from across the world were led by Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire and Women Cross the DMZ leader Christine Ahn 30. They accompanied a thousand Korean women on the 5 km. walk across Unification Bridge – a first for civilians.

The DMZ crossing by so many Korean women highlights a growing understanding that the the peace process must be truly indigenous – in the hands of Koreans themselves.

Rebecca is a founding chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the organisation that worked so successfully for the new UN Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, gained the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts, and is now campaigning to encourage member states to sign and ratify the Treaty, which is on course to enter into force within two years. Rebecca has lived in East Asia and has many years experience at the UN working with diplomats.

It may be possible to attend Tuesday’s 12.30 pm meeting of the Cross Party Group. If interested email hello@nuclearban.scot. If interest exceeds space we will try to arrange an additional open meeting.

More on the DMZ Walk

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