Sunday, 30 April 2017

Corbyn, Trident and a Nuclear 'Deterrent' that probably doesn't work!

Last Friday the Independent newspaper published an article in its on-line 'indy100' supplement in which it claimed that 'The British public believe media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn has been deliberately biased against him.' Among the numerous attacks that the Tories and opponents from within his own Party have mounted on his leadership and potential leadership qualities, both of the Labour Party itself as well as in relation to his bid to become Prime Minister, has been with regard to his principled stance on nuclear weapons. Indeed, the chain of events that led ultimately to the Labour loss of Copeland in Cumbria were all ultimately linked to the toxic legacy of Britain's Nuclear options.

Here in the United Kingdom the Civil and Military Nuclear Industries have a longstanding association with one another, based on the fact that Britain's Civil Nuclear Industry evolved out of the decision, by the former Ministry of Supply, to adapt the one time site of the Sellafield Royal Ordnance Factory for the production of weapons grade Plutonium. The links between the Unions at Sellafield and the Labour Movement in general, combined with Jeremy Corbyn's longstanding commitment to peace and nuclear disarmament, were to put him on a collision course from the outset with those elements within his own Party who are committed to maintaining Britain's Nuclear Deterrent, as well his Tory opponents. Indeed, both Theresa May and Michael Fallon have both attacked Corbyn vociferously in recent weeks with regard to his stance on Nuclear Weapons.

According to a recently published article in 'The Sun' Fallon referred to the Labour leader directly as 'a national security risk', before confirming that his Party had 'made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike.' Elsewhere in the same article a spokesman for Theresa May was likewise quoted as saying that there was 'no reason to disagree'. Fallon's insistence that the Conservatives 'had the guts to press the button', whilst simultaneously confirming that Corbyn was too weak to contemplate such a scenario, only goes to show just what little grasp both Fallon himself and the Conservative Party's supporters in the tabloid press have of the true gravity of the situation when it comes to nuclear weapons.

'The Sun's' article originally appeared on Tuesday 25th April, just two days after Jeremy Corbyn had appeared on the Andrew Marr Show, where he was interviewed in a very robust fashion by someone who doesn't actually seem to have a great deal of understanding of the international nuclear question either. During the course of the discussion Marr attempted to browbeat Mr. Corbyn in such a way as to sideline such key issues as Britain's adherence to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, of which the United Kingdom is a key signatory. This commits us first and foremost to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; along with the two other core  principles of nuclear disarmament and the peaceful non-military use of nuclear energy.

Mr. Corbyn then had to struggle to stop himself being interrupted as he set out another of his key priorities. That of using the Six Party Talks on North Korea's Nuclear Program as a way of de-escalating nuclear tensions in the Asia Pacific Region. Interesting then that on 24th April, the day after Jeremy Corbyn's appearance on the Andrew Marr Show, the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released a photograph of an ‘underwater test-fire' of a 'strategic submarine ballistic missile’ which the country's navy had just conducted at 'an undisclosed location' according to the UK Guardian. So who, exactly, has got a better command of the overall situation right now? Andrew Marr of the BBC, an institution responsible for the great Jimmy Savile Cover Up, or Jeremy Corbyn? Interesting point.

Meanwhile, on the very same day as North Korea had released images of its apparently unsuccessful nuclear test, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon dropped a bombshell of his own by claiming on BBC Radio 4's 'Today Program' that, even if Britain was not actually under attack, the Conservatives would not rule out a 'First Strike' option. In an article posted on the website of the Russian news service RT, which included embedded video of the interview he had just given, Fallon told listeners that “In the most extreme circumstances we have made it very clear that you can’t rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike.” The Russian response to the interview, which appeared on the UK Independent website shortly afterwards, was that Britain would be 'literally erased from the face of the earth' according to Russian Senator and retired Army Colonel Franz Klintsevich.

What Mr. Fallon failed to grasp is that to use nuclear weapons as part of a 'First Strike' option is actually in breach of international law. So, both he and Theresa May have committed themselves to a course of action that could well result in them being found guilty of war crimes at some point in the future. Assuming that is that the pair of them hadn't been evaporated in a retaliatory nuclear strike. Of course, it would be impossible for most Sun readers, or Sun journalists for that matter, to actually understand the full ramifications of such a course of action to begin with. However, for those interested in some of the legal issues surrounding Nuclear War in general, I would refer my readers to David M. Corwin's 1987 work on 'The Legality of Nuclear Arms Under International Law', published in Volume 5 of the 'Penn State International Law Review'; and Professor John H.E. Fried's 'INTERNATIONAL LAW PROHIBITS THE FIRST USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS'; both of which are freely available for download.

Then of course there is the still unresolved question as to whether or not anyone could get our so called 'Nuclear Deterrent' to actually work in the first place. In February of this year I wrote an article for the on-line American magazine 'Distract the Media', under the heading 'Trident Missile Test Cover Up Worse Than You Think'. In it I exposed the fact that a high profile story published in the 'Sunday Times' on January 22nd this year, under banner headlines proclaiming how ‘No 10 covered up Trident missile fiasco’, was only the tip of the iceberg as there were also extensive engineering failures on the Submarine that is supposedly going to fire the missile itself.

‘The Sunday Times’ report on the UK government cover up over the failed Trident missile test at the centre of the article, however, also implicated the British Prime Minister herself in an apparent attempt to conceal the truth. The abortive missile launch, which had taken place in June 2016, had come at a critical time for Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent, when discussions over the exact nature of its future were entering an important phase in Parliament and elsewhere. Interesting then that Andrew Marr never sought to solicit Mr. Corbyn's opinion with regard to this aspect of a very shady story indeed. Choosing instead to concentrate on a particular line of questioning that was intended to portray Mr. Corbyn as weak, to distract viewers from the fact that the present Tory administration may have criminal intentions when it comes to the use and deployment of our soon to be upgraded 'Nuclear Deterrent'.

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