Trident Illegal?
Trashing Trident Trial, Manchester

Try Denting Trident

The bad news...

Britain has 3 Trident submarines which are operational and a fourth one which will be operational in 2000. A total of 144 nuclear warheads are currently deployed, each with a yield of around 100 kilotons, 8 times the power of the bomb which destroyed Hiroshima.

One of the most powerful critics is General Lee Butler, commander of all US nuclear weapons from 1992-4. Since retiring he has argued very strongly for the abolition of the weapons, saying that deterrence "was based on a litany of unwarranted assumptions, unprovable assertions and logical contradictions."

Trident is illegal, not only under new rules introduced by the Geneva Convention Protocols, but also under the principles of customary international law, which are binding on all states. On 8 July 1996 the International Court of Justice gave its advisory opinion that "the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law."

So not only is Trident a bad thing in itself, but the money spent on Trident could be money spent on investing in social welfare. Britain's Trident submarine system costs us around £1.5 billion every year. This could pay for 75,000 extra nurses or 50,000 extra teachers or repairing half of all our crumbling schools.

... and the good news

A lot of people are taking whatever action they can to stop the deployment of the nuclear submarines. Some people are joining in the Trident Ploughshares 2000 actions, who "endeavour to peacefully disarm the British nuclear Trident submarine system by 1 January 2000" by converting 'swords into ploughshares'. One such group is the "Bread not Bombs" ploughshares group.

Another way to show your discontent with Trident is to join the "Scrap Trident" march and rally on Saturday 5 June, leaving Platt Fields at 1pm, marching up Oxford Road to St Peter's Square for a rally at 2pm. Speakers include Dave Knight (Chair, CND), Sylvia Boyes (Trident Ploughshares 2000) and people from both Faslane and Menwith Hill peace camps.

Greater Manchester & District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (0161 834 8301, gmdcnd@gn.apc.org)
Trident Ploughshares 2000 (01603 611953, info@tridentploughshares.org)

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