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"Nuclear abolition is not on the agenda": has this idea of Sarkozy’s crossed the Channel?


Published 5 November 2010

In January 2008, we announced:

- Fantastic News!
-  Gordon Brown: London is ready to work for total nuclear disarmament
- But this idea has yet to cross the Channel

Unfortunately, it appears that we have now to announce an opposite piece of news.


"France, Britain to test nuclear arsenals

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have signed agreements in London on Tuesday, 2 November 2010, for unprecedented defence cooperation that will also include the creation of a joint military force and sharing of aircraft carriers.

"A nuclear simulation centre will be built at Valduc in eastern France, about 45 kilometres northwest of the city of Dijon, and start operating from 2014, the presidency said.

"It will enable French and British scientists to model the performances of nuclear materials to ensure the "viability, safety and security in the long term of our nuclear arsenals," it said."

Hearing this news, an American correspondent, Marylia Kelley, asked: "How does this Valduc site connect with the French Laser Megajoule being constructed in the Bordeaux region, or is there no connection?

"Do you think this is a big deal, or not?

The Valduc facility is the site where the French nuclear warheads were (and are) constructed.

There are possible connections between Valduc and the LaserMegaJoule facility in Le Barp, not far from Bordeaux, inasmuch as both are controlled by the military. According to the ministry of defence, the LMJ was designed to verify the "safety and security in the long term of our nuclear arsenal". But that is not its true aim. Really, the LMJ is dedicated to basic research into nuclear fusion through laser technology, research which could be applied in an undetermined future to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, H mininukes.

We do not think that this French-British deal is a big deal by itself: the "safety and security of our arsenals" can be assured already now (if not, we should be afraid!). And since we are told that "Together the facilities would involve ’several dozen’ French and British experts and cost both countries several million euros", the small size of the teams, facilities and budgets means that they will not have so much work to do.

But it is big news - and a very sad news - because of what it reveals.

It reveals that David Cameron and his government have adopted the same attitude as Sarkozy regarding nuclear disarmament and nuclear deterrence: "We will maintain our independent nuclear deterrent, there won’t be dual keys on nukes. This is about experimentation and ensuring the safety and security of our capabilities," the British official said. What is important in this declaration is not that each country will keep the independence of its nuclear decision-making. The important thing is that GB wants to (and will) maintain its nuclear deterrent in the long term. So, they wish to renew Trident, and it is likely that they have already decided to do so.

And if we refer to what is happening at the same time in the US, maybe we will have soon to say good-bye to our dreams of nuclear abolition. We regret to have to say that. But if we want to resist and fight victoriously (if it is still possible), we have to consider the situation realistically.

One of the main obstacles (along with the military and nuclear lobbies everywhere, naturally) is named President Sarkozy. He must be defeated in 2012, as well as his French political challengers from right and left who think like him. That is the aim of the request for a referendum which ACDN, Friends of the Earth and World Without War are pushing for here in France: it is the only way by which the French people can stop this criminal enterprise.

Below is the pertinent reaction of another American, Steven Starr. We share his criticism.

"I have a hard time acknowledging the concept of a ’safe’ nuclear weapon. How can something designed to incinerate tens or hundreds of thousands of people be considered ’safe’ ?? I would also like a formal definition of the ’safety of our capabilities’ . . . the detonation of the English and French nuclear arsenals in the cities of their ’enemy’ . . . who ever that might be . . . would result in the immediate deaths of millions of people, and the subsequent environmental consequences of such an act would then result in global nuclear famine which would likely kill most people on the planet.

"In other words, the ’safety of our capabilities’ can be defined as the capability to burn millions of people alive and then starve most people on Earth to death through nuclear famine. Please, how can such a ’capability’ in any way be considered ’safe’ ???

"We need to understand that this sort of terminology is used to ’frame’ the nuclear debate. Selling the ’modernization’ of nuclear weapons to make them ’safe’ and ’secure’ is a desecration of the English language, and has been done by advertising agencies and PR experts paid to covertly ’market’ these ideas to an uninformed electorate. It is the same technique that describes nuclear ’weapons’ as being owned by ’rogue’ nations and a nuclear ’deterrent’ being possessed by those defending freedom and democracy, etc. We don’t own ’weapons’ oh no, we have a nuclear ’deterrent’ And when you argue against a ’deterrent’ it is a losing proposition . . .

"It is time for us to frame the debate by merely stating the truth. And that is that these weapons threaten human existence, and thus they are not really weapons at all, but instruments of global suicide. A single failure of nuclear *deterrence* is all that is required to turn them loose on humans and the other complex forms of life that we share the planet with."

Steven Starr

Yes, it is time. It is time to say in each country owning nuclear weapons:

"Mr President,

"As a human being, citizen, voter and tax-payer:

"I oppose the preparing, threatening and possible committing of a crime against humanity by means of weapons of mass destruction, be they nuclear or other kinds.

"I reject any plan that could some day make me and my loved ones the accomplices or the victims of such a crime.

"I object to the situation where we or other individuals and populations could be condemned to death, without trial or appeal, by one man: yourself or the leader of another nuclear state.

"I do not accept that the security of us all should depend on such insecurity, such denial of justice, such defiance of democracy, such inhumanity, and that the committing of such a crime should be determined by you.

"Therefore I say no to all nuclear weapons, those of our country and those of other countries.

See: From New York, dozens of international NGO representatives call on President Sarkozy to consult the French people

ACDN


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