Edinburgh CND News: 17th/18th July 2017 (including Ban Treaty updates)

STOP PRESS: Message from CND UK Parliamentary Officer Russell Whiting:

A Parliamentary Question was answered yesterday (17th) which appears to harden the government’s opposition to the ban treaty further. Nuclear Weapons: Written question Asked by Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North). To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his oral Answer of 10 July 2017, Official Report, column 23, to the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran, for what reasons it is Government policy that the nuclear ban treaty should not apply to the UK.  Answered by: Sir Michael Fallon                                                                                                                                                      The UK will never sign, ratify or become party to the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. We do not believe that it will bring us closer to a world without nuclear weapons as it fails to address the key issues that must first be overcome to achieve lasting global nuclear disarmament. We consider that the best way to achieve a world without nuclear weapons is through gradual multilateral disarmament negotiated using a step-by-step approach within existing international frameworks. The UK continues to work towards global nuclear disarmament through the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2017-07-12/4753/

Scottish CND have also issued a Statement and this can be found in the main post.


Edinburgh CND’s annual Hiroshima Commemoration will be at Mound Place/ Princes Street 6th August 6-7pm and 
A report back from the Nuclear Ban negotiations is planned for the near future and we will keep this site up-to-date on this.                                                                                                        
UK CND are  visited Downing Street on Tuesday 18th July to deliver thousands of letters written about the Ban Treaty.
CND visited Downing Street today to deliver over 7000 letters you wrote to Theresa May, calling on her government to sign up to the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons.
They’ve made a short video about the day so you can see what happened. They’re expecting a response to the letters from the government soon and will let us know when they hear back.
But it’s vital that we keep the pressure up. Please share the link with your contacts asking them to tell Theresa May to support the ban treaty.
Earlier CND had said: The government’s response to the treaty is one of the most incoherent things we’ve ever heard about nuclear weapons – it amounts to them saying you can’t get rid of nuclear weapons by banning them.
But we’re in a time of political turmoil. The government is weak and u-turns are aplenty. Pressure at this critical time could reverse the government’s decision.
The government’s response to the treaty is one of the most incoherent things ever heard about nuclear weapons – it amounted to them saying you can’t get rid of nuclear weapons by banning them.
But we’re in a time of political turmoil. The government is weak and u-turns are aplenty. Pressure at this critical time could reverse the government’s decision.
A Freedom of Information request on Tuesday 11th revealed that spending on two AWE nuclear weapons sites in Berkshire has doubled from a budgeted £2 billion to almost £4 billion.
Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said: “Spending on Trident is in chaos. Today we learn that the cost of upgrading the nuclear bomb factories in Berkshire has doubled in a single year to almost £4 billion, compared with £2 billion in the budget. “Last year, when the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament added up the publicly available figures for replacing Trident – including the cost of the submarines, the in-service costs and infrastructure – we discovered a total spend of £205 billion on Trident. This already astronomical figure is set to rise even further if the government continues to write blank cheques for component parts like the AWE sites reported on today.
“Why does the government have such a cavalier approach to spending when it comes to nuclear weapons? Imagine if those billions were spent instead on the NHS, ending the public sector pay cap, and investment in tackling terrorism and cyber-warfare?”
p.s. the EDM is still open (see last post)
Meanwhile in Scotland: 
Two Trident Ploughshares activists have been remanded in custody until August 3 for taking part in a blockade of the nuclear warhead store at Loch Long (on Tuesday).
One of the activists detained is Brian Quail a member of the Scottish CND executive . The other person is well known peace and environmental campaigner Angie Zelter.
Background information on the case and details of how can support our two friends is available by using the link Tridentploughshares.org. Please also sign the online petition.
Send cards and letters of support: (a)Brian Quail,  Number 13977
H M Prison Low Moss Crosshill Road Bishopbriggs Glasgow G64 2QB
(b) Angela Zelter Number 50463 HM Prison Edinburgh
33 Stenhouse Rd Edinburgh EH11 3LN
4 more protesters were arrested on Thursday, but have not been jailed.
Tuesday 18th: SCND Statement:
Following the adoption of the UN Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons, Arthur West, Chair of Scottish CND, has made the following statement on our behalf,
Scottish CND will continue to work with our partners in the Peace Movement to follow up the recent historic vote by 122 nations to adopt a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.The treaty is open for signatures on September 20 and will enter into international law after 50 nations have signed it. Nations signing it must ratify by putting it into their own national legal system through their own parliamentary and decision making processes. Given the overwhelming support for the treaty at the recent Conference set up by United Nations to create it, the threshold for its entry into law will easily be reached.
It remains disappointing that the nuclear armed states continue to be opposed to signing the treaty, which will have a practical impact on their operations regardless of their membership of the Security Council.
Past experience with other Weapons of Mass Destruction shows that elimination follows on from a legal ban and this treaty will make any nuclear weapon activity illegal.
It will also stigmatise nuclear weapons , making use, transportation , stockpiling or facilitation illegal, which makes it harder for states outside the treaty to justify their position.’

Elayne Whyte Gomez from Costa Rica who was president of the sessions which discussed the treaty summed up its importance when she said-
We have managed to sow the first seeds of a world free of nuclear weapons . We are saying to our children that it is possible to inherit a world free from nuclear weapons.’ 
UNFOLDZERO  explained: The nuclear-armed and allied States opposed the treaty and none are likely to join. As such they are not bound by its provisions, and will not be directly affected by it. However, the new treaty could be used to impact on the policies and practices of the nuclear armed States and their allies in two key ways:                                                                                                 1. through national implementation measures that prohibit financing and transit of nuclear weapons.                                              2. by putting political pressure on these States to adopt nuclear risk reduction and disarmament measures, including through the Non-Proliferation Treaty process and at the 2018 UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament.
UNFOLD ZERO and their partner organisations are therefore stepping up the  Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign in order to dramatically increase the number of countries divesting from nuclear weapons corporations, focusing on those countries joining the nuclear prohibition treaty.
The 2018 UNHLC could also be an opportunity for non-nuclear countries to announce their ratification of the nuclear prohibition treaty. If 50 ratifications are achieved by the 2018 UNHLC, then this could be the occasion to announce its entry-into-force.
UNFOLD ZERO is coordinating civil society action for the 2018 UNHLC in cooperation with the Abolition 2000 Working Group on the 2018 UNHLC. Please contact us if you would like to be more involved.
Abolition 2000 adds the the Parliamentary Action Plan for a nuclear free world notes that ‘Parliamentarians also have a role to encourage their colleagues in States that have not joined the treaty to do so.‘ And the Action Plan identifies the 2018 UN High Level Conference (HLC) as a unique opportunity to elevate the ban treaty. States could announce their ratification of the treaty at the HLC and encourage other countries to sign and ratify..
Other useful reading can be found at:


News from other organisations:
1. The next Edinburgh Stop the War Meeting at 7.30pm Monday 17th July is a public meeting on: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar and the Arms TradeSpeakers from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade and Stop the War at the Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace.  
2. URGENT Message from Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, International Secretariat :We are shocked that at the UN’s summit on Sustainable Development taking place in New York there is a huge exhibitionpromoting nuclear energy, which is not sustainable (you can find more information here: http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/resources/fact-sheets/critical-issues/5445-nuclear-energy )
Please sign the petition of WECF and the Women’s Major Group before the end of today (Monday 17th July), so that it can be handed over to the Secretary General of the UN next week. 
3.News from the Los Alamos Study Group: July 17, 2017 — the day after the 72nd anniversary of the first nuclear explosion (July 16, 1945)

Bulletin 231: Dr. Strangelove and the Los Alamos Nuclear FiascoThe title of this Bulletin – the first of two or three short bulletins we hope to get to you this week – is taken from a July 13 article in The American Conservative (TAC) by managing editor Kelley Vlahos. We recommend it.                                                                                                          4. WALKATJURRA WALKABOUT Australia also notes July 7 this year marked a historical day around the world as the United Nations adopted a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.  The very worst of weapons of mass destruction are banned as 122 countries said ‘yes’ to humanity. See earlier posts for more of their work.                                  +++++5. Scottish CND would like to draw your attention to the following forthcoming activities you may wish to take part in:

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