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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ban them all: bombs, tests, war ─ Johnson

Dr. Rebecca Johnson was speaking from Britain to Britain
What she says speaks also to the USA
Excerpt, editing by 
Carolyn Bennett

Global nuclear disarmament strategies are coalescing to lay the groundwork for a multilateral treaty that will ban weapons of mass destruction for good but Britain appears stuck in a time warp, says the director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy and co-chair of the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons.

Partisans' entrenched regress 

Dr. Rebecca Johnson says Britain’s “Liberal Democrat MPs have been hitched up to vain efforts to find a cheaper way to stay nuclear”; and when Labour Party Leader Edward Miliband should be demonstrating foresight and constructive alternatives for UK security without nuclear weapons, “he seems scared to pull the parliamentary party out of (former Prime Minister Tony) Blair’s short-sighted 2007 trap.”
U.S. Defense missile systems

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) ─ It can be argued, Johnson says, that despite its support by more than 180 nations, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has not entered into force.


“That is because some of the nuclear-armed states placed the structural bar for entry into force much higher than with any other comparable treaty. Early in 1994, UK diplomats originated and then pushed vociferously throughout the CTBT negotiations for the extraordinarily stringent requirement that every possible nuclear-capable state must sign and ratify the treaty before it could enter into force,” said Johnson. 

Note: As of February 2012, 157 states had ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); another 25 states had signed but not ratified it. The United States is among the signers/non-ratifiers. The treaty will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it.
“Unfortunately,” Johnson continues, “they were successful – the last kick of Tory opposition to the treaty before they were ousted in 1997.” However, the practical political fact is, she says, “that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty has already worked better than expected.

“It has established a worldwide verification regime and turned nuclear testing from a high status demonstration of nuclear prowess into a pariah activity that responsible states cannot pursue.…

“Among the English,” Johnson writes, “ the Green Party has a clear, rational policy on nuclear disarmament. 


Tough the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was not designed to prevent nuclear proliferation, modernization, or other dangers of nuclear weapons production and deployment; it “has undoubtedly constrained new nuclear developments,” Johnson writes

“The next step – and one that presents Britain with important choices for our future – is likely to be a new multilateral treaty to comprehensively ban the use, deployment, production and transfer of all nuclear weapons and provide for their verified elimination.

“This is the strategic objective of a growing number of national and international campaign networks, and supported by more than 140 United Nations member states.”

Sources and notes

“From banning nuclear tests to banning nuclear weapons ─ on the 60th anniversary of Britain’s first atomic weapons test, we need to consider the parallels between how the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was achieved in the 1990s and today’s nuclear challenges. The British government is, yet again, unable to read the writing on the wall” (Rebecca Johnson) October 3, 2012, http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/rebecca-johnson/from-banning-nuclear-tests-to-banning-nuclear-weapons

Rebecca Johnson, Ph.D.

Dr Rebecca Johnson is author of Unfinished Business (published by the United Nations, 2009) and Trident and International Law: Scotland’s Obligations (Luath Press, 2011). She is director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy and co-chair of the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Rebecca Johnson holds a doctorate in international diplomacy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She is a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials and a vice president of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) campaigns non-violently to achieve British nuclear disarmament – for scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons system and preventing its replacement.

Recognizing that Britain’s nuclear weapons are only a small part of the problem, CND also works to secure an international Nuclear Weapons Convention which will ban nuclear weapons globally, as chemical and biological weapons have been banned.

CND works also to end Britain’s participation in the U.S. Missile Defense system and – with other campaigns internationally – against missile defense and weapons in space.

Other CND campaigns include opposition to NATO and its nuclear policies and opposition  to nuclear power, and the prevention and cessation of wars in which nuclear weapons may be used and the encouragement of non-military solutions to conflict.

CND is funded entirely by its members and supporters. Its policies are decided upon by its annual national delegates’ conference at which its national leadership is also elected.

Dr Rebecca Johnson has also served as senior advisor to the International WMD (Blix) Commission (2004-06) and as vice chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (2001-07).

She lived at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp for five years (1982-87),  co-founded the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp(aign) in 1985, and co-organized Faslane365 (2006-07).  http://www.opendemocracy.net/author/rebecca-johnson

Wikipedia notes

UK’s Trident

Trident missiles are carried by fourteen active U.S. Navy Ohio class submarines, with U.S. warheads, and four Royal Navy Vanguard class submarines, with British warheads. The original prime contractor and developer of the missile was Lockheed Martin Space Systems. 

The Trident missile is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) equipped with multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV).

The Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) is armed with nuclear warheads and is launched from nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

One hundred and fifty-seven (157) states as of February 2012 had ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); another 25 states have signed but not ratified it. The treaty will enter into force 180 days after the 44 states listed in Annex 2 of the treaty have ratified it.

The United States has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Ratification proponents say the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty would:

Establish an international norm that would push other nuclear-capable countries like North Korea, Pakistan, and India to sign.

Constrain worldwide nuclear proliferation by vastly limiting a country's ability to make nuclear advancements that only testing can ensure.

Not compromise U.S. national security because the Science Based Stockpile Stewardship Program serves as a means for maintaining current US nuclear capabilities without physical detonation.

Ratification opponents say:

The treaty is unverifiable and that others nations could easily cheat.

The ability to enforce the treaty was dubious

The U.S. nuclear stockpile would not be as safe or reliable in the absence of testing.

The benefit to nuclear nonproliferation was minimal.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 10, 1996.  It opened for signature in New York on September 24, 1996, when it was signed by 71 States, including five of the eight then nuclear-capable states.

‘Annex 2 states’ are states that participated in the CTBT’s negotiations between 1994 and 1996 and possessed nuclear power reactors or research reactors at that time.

As of December 7, 2011, eight Annex 2 states have not ratified the treaty:

China, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the United States have signed but not ratified;

India, North Korea and Pakistan have not signed.

In 1998, India said it would only sign the treaty if the United States presented a schedule for eliminating its nuclear stockpile, a condition the United States rejected.


image: Building E of the Vienna International Centre houses the offices of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV), and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Images from Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, http://www.cnduk.org/home


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