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Proliferation: the role of France
France-Brazil: several submarines, one of them nuclear


Published 18 December 2008

Brazil’s nuclear programme, military and non-military, is said by the Brazilian diary "O Globo" to have a budget of 3 trillion dollars over 20 years. This is due to be announced today, Thursday 18 December.

And next 23 December, President Sarkozy will be in Rio de Janeiro and sign a huge military contract.


To find out the subtleties of this story, read: Is Brazil resuming its journey towards the Bomb?


Only those who wish in whatever circumstances to make money out of France’s nuclear "savoir-faire" can go on ignoring the real and ultimate objectives of such investments. The enterprises which will benefit - state and private enterprises, Brazilian and foreign, particularly French - will be able to use fast-track procedures for allocation and unblocking of funds and for military monitoring procedures which deviate from the ordinary ones. These exorbitant procedures indicate the importance which the government and the Brazilian army place on the project.

According to "O Globo", "investments could mount to over 3000 billion dollars over 20 years."

"Brazil has no nuclear-propelled submarines: its first ones will be those that it acquires from France. The Brazilian Gwishes to obtain, in addition to equipment, technological capacity to enable it in future to build its own submarines. According to a government source, this technology is crucial for off-shore oil exploration. That is said to be the reason why the Defense Plan envisages also the creation of a submarine force."

"Although Brazil does not intend to build nuclear weapons, the current directive is for the country not to sign any additional protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty - which was signed in 1970 by nearly 200 countries."

"Brazilian legislation would be modified so that Brazil’s armaments companies would not have to go through the procedure of tendering. Foreign companies will be urged to invest also, but always with a prior requirement that they make technology transfers."

So, despite official denials, it is clear enough that Brazil, with this nuclear-powered submarine, the technology transfers, the activation of its uranium enrichment facility, is opening the path that will lead to nuclear weapons, with the probable aim of becoming a major actor in the South American Cone, in the "Western Hemisphere" (the Americas) and the world. The additional protocol of the NPT permits the IAEA to control more tightly the civilian nuclear facilities of Non nuclear weapons states. France insists that all parties to NPT should sign it. That is what Iran has done, as an evidence of its good faith (but Iran has not yet ratify it). Very symptomatically, Brazil does not intend to sign it, and France seems to agree with this double-standard policy.

This all comes with the signature, blessing and active collaboration of President Sarkozy. Back in 1975, Saddam Hussein had received similar help from France’s then Prime Minister Jacques Chirac. Admittedly, Lula is no Saddam Hussein. But who will succeed him? And why place another nation’s foot on the rungs of the nuclear ladder, right at the time when a hundred personalities of the whole world launch an appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons and when this issue is now high on the agenda of Gordon Brown, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama?

However much Nicolas Sarkozy may pretend (see his Letter of 5 December 2008 to Ban Ki-Moon) that France and Europe want disarmament and are fighting against nuclear proliferation, proliferation is what he is engaging in by selling several submarines, of which one will be nuclear. There are limits to duplicity. When the time comes to answer for the effects of these policies, nothing will excuse it.


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