Report from CND Conference, London

13 October 2007

From: Dave Webb, Yorkshire CND

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament national membership conference was held on October 13.

Participants considered ways to keep space for peace in a well-attended workshop (about 30 people) that examined the current situation on Missile Defence in Europe. The workshop explored the links between nuclear weapons and space militarization and featured Milan Krajca an inspiring young speaker from the Czech Peace Movement. He reported on the strong resistance in the Czech Republic to the proposed US missile defence radar. The Czech parliament seems to be (just) in favour of the radar but they didn't want the missiles (which might go to Poland). Other speakers were Dave Webb, Chair of Yorkshire CND and Alice Mahon former Labour MP for halifax. Dave Webb asked who the threat is supposed to be.

The US says Iran but it looks more like the missile defence plans proposed for Europe are aimed at Russia or China. Missile Defence is just a small part of the US plan for weapons in space and a global strike capability co-ordianted from Strategic Command (STRATCOM) in Nebraska. Alice Mahoon said the installations in Europe would be like a declaration of war. She has worked with NATO in the past and recognises a strong hatred of Russia there. She suggested that peace movements in the west make more contact with groups in Russia.

In addition the entire conference passed a resolution committing CND to joining the wider European movement against missile defense installations in Europe and weaponization of space.

The resolution included with the following points:

US National Missile Defence – Building the European campaign

Conference notes that recent developments in the U.S. National Missile Defence programme show that the US administration plans to station Interceptor Missiles in Poland and a Radar Station in the Czech Republic. Indications suggest the formal decisions could be made in both countries by the end of 2007.

The NMD programme could give the US administration the ability to launch nuclear attacks on any perceived enemy without fear of retaliation.

It could also be integrated into the growing plans for NATO theatre missile defence systems in an attempt to produce a European Missile Defence system with little or no debate in the parliaments of the states involved.

Missile defence systems can be used against space based systems leading to the further militarisation and possible weaponisation of space.

NMD bases put local populations at risk from military attack whilst offering no protection from such threats.

There is majority public opposition in both Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as widespread opposition across Europe. A recent poll indicated that 68% of the Czech public were opposed to the plans and 77% wanted a referendum. The Russian Government are concerned that the proposals will start a new nuclear arms race.

Conference welcomes the development of a Europeanwide campaign against US Missile Defence and CND's participation in this.

Conference calls on CND to:

1. Continue and strengthen campaigns to oppose NMD and the weaponisation of space.

2. Develop links with the European-wide campaign against US Missile Defence and to support the Prague Declaration of May 2007 which calls for  '…disarmament as a precondition to peace and genuine human security. To face the impending ecological crisis we need international cooperation and trust, not confrontation.'

3. Continue to support the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, encouraging participation in the annual International Keep Space for Peace Week.

4. Increase campaigning pressure on the British Government to withdraw support from US National Missile Defence, the use of bases at Menwith Hill and Fylingdales, and to work with European counterparts to prevent the expansion of NMD and the weaponisation of space.

Proposed by Yorkshire CND & Hackney / Islington CND

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