British government covered up nuclear weapons failure

This video from England says about itself:

Trident is obsolete and too expensive. We are completely against the weapons of mass destruction

16 March 2016

Momentum at the National Demo in London.

From the Sunday Mirror in Britain:

Failed Trident missile test ‘covered up’ by government before MPs’ decision on nuclear weapons

A Trident II D5 missile may have veered off in the wrong direction off the coast of Florida after it was launched from HMS Vengeance in June last year, according to reports

By Dan Bloom and Courtney Greatrex

23:22, 21 JAN 2017. Updated 08:37, 22 JAN 2017

A failed Trident missile test was allegedly covered up by Downing Street just weeks before MPs were due to vote on its nuclear weapons programme.

A Trident II D5 missile may have veered off in the wrong direction off the coast of Florida after it was launched from HMS Vengeance in June last year, according to reports.

It is believed that the test was intended to be fired 5,600 miles to a sea target off the west coast of Africa.

But the missile suffered an in-flight malfunction after launching out of the water, which is believed to be the reason for it veering off course towards America.

News of the failure prompted a news blackout by Downing Street until this weekend, the Sunday Times reported.

A source told the newspaper: “There was major panic at the highest level of government and the military”.

The House of Commons backed the renewal of the Trident missile system in July 2016 – just a month after the test was covered up.

MPs approved the manufacture of four replacement submarines at an estimated cost of £31bn, with another £10bn for potential overspending.

The decision was slammed by anti-nuclear activists, who said the lifetime cost of the project would be over £100bn and help the deadly weapons proliferate across the world.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has long campaigned against nuclear weapons and Labour was split three ways, with 140 MPs voting for renewing Trident – the official party policy [a leftover from the Tony Blair days] – 47 voting against and 41 abstaining or not turning up.

In all 322 Tory MPs voted for renewing Trident and just one, Crispin Blunt, voted against. Four abstained.

When questioned by the BBC, Mrs [Theresa] May repeatedly refused to say if she knew about the misfire ahead of the vote: here.

The Conservative government’s attempt to cover up the potentially catastrophic failure of a Trident ballistic missile has blown up in its face: here.

British nuclear submarine crew have faced sex, drink and drug allegations. Alleged offences were carried out while serving on nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed subs, including four Vanguards, which carry the Trident missile system: here.

9 thoughts on “British government covered up nuclear weapons failure

  1. Monday 23rd january 2017

    posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

    Missile’s off-course test preceded Commons renewal vote

    LABOUR has demanded the Prime Minister tell Parliament when she knew about serious failures of Trident amid accusations of a cover-up.

    The call was made by shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith after it was revealed that an unarmed missile launched from a British submarine off the coast of Florida in June had strayed from its intended course.

    The malfunction came ahead of the crucial Commons vote on renewing the nuclear weapons system.

    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Downing Street knew about the incident weeks ahead of the vote and colluded in a cover-up, according to a Sunday Times report.

    Ms Griffith has called for an urgent inquiry into the allegation.

    Theresa May refused to say whether she knew about the misfire despite being asked four times on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday.

    Ms May had moved the motion for the Commons to back Trident renewal five days after she became PM.

    Ms Griffith warned: “This report of a Trident missile veering off course during a test is clearly a very serious matter indeed and we need to know exactly what happened.

    “Furthermore, it is completely unacceptable that today the Prime Minister chose to sidestep questions on the test and would not even tell us when she knew about the incident.

    “I am demanding the Prime Minister come to Parliament to give a full explanation to MPs.”

    Stop the War Coalition convenor Lindsey German accused Ms May of deliberately misleading MPs and condemned Trident as “a costly and useless mistake.”

    CND general secretary Kate Hudson said the incident was a “very serious failure” and, had the information been known at the time, would have affected the debate in Parliament.

    She added: “Nuclear weapons technology is not 100 per cent fail-safe. In so many ways it is a disaster waiting to happen, the consequences of which are too terrible to comprehend.

    “Why has the government knowingly committed us to spending £205 billion on this demonstrably unreliable technology?”

    A government spokesman said: “We have absolute confidence in our independent nuclear deterrent.”

    The hearing of five activists who tried to prevent Trident renewal starts today. Peace Pledge Union’s Symon Hill suggested: “Perhaps it is not them who should be on trial.”


  2. Tuesday 24th January 2017

    posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

    MPs weren’t told about crisis before making crucial decision to renew weapon

    THERESA MAY was pressed yesterday to come clean over her knowledge of the misfire of a Trident missile after it was confirmed yesterday that she knew about it before the crucial Commons vote.

    Ms May dodged answering questions four times on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday about whether she was informed of the weapons test failure, before MPs voted to renew Trident at a cost of £205 billion.

    But the Prime Minister’s press spokeswoman told reporters at a Westminster briefing that Ms May had been told of the test operation as soon as she moved into 10 Downing Street.

    She said: “The Defence Secretary and the Prime Minister are routinely informed when one of these specific ‘demonstration and shakedown’ operations are planned and on the outcome of them.

    “On taking office, the current Prime Minister was briefed on a range of nuclear issues, including this,” she added.

    After a heated Commons debate last July, MPs voted with a 355 majority in favour of renewing the nuclear weapons system, however they had not been informed about the misfire off the coast of Florida the month before.

    Commons defence committee chair Julian Lewis blamed former prime minister David Cameron’s administration for ordering a cover-up.

    The Tory MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that whoever took the decision “to draw a veil” over the incident should be sacked.

    But a press spokesman for Mr Cameron said: “It is entirely false to suggest that David Cameron’s media team covered up or tried to cover up the Trident missile test. We are disappointed that Julian Lewis would make these claims with no evidence.”

    Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was hauled in front of the Commons as MPs demanded answers.

    Former Labour defence minister Kevan Jones quizzed him over who ordered the “news blackout” before the vote on Trident renewal — whether it was him or Mr Cameron.

    The White House had confirmed to CNN that the missile auto-destructed off the Florida coast, shadow international development secretary Mary Creagh said.

    Labour MP for Bolsover Dennis Skinner also questioned why the US knew about the misfire before Britain did.

    He blasted: “How can Trident be independent if Donald Trump, who is as thick as two short planks, is given the information when we are not allowed it?”

    Mr Fallon continued to cite issues of national security in refusing to disclose details about the incident.

    Mr Jones criticised Mr Fallon for “hiding behind security” and urged him to come before the defence select committee.

    Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German accused Ms May of deliberately misleading Parliament.

    She said: “Does anyone seriously believe that she didn’t know the whole story? This is a cover-up about a potentially lethal malfunction.”

    The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is demanding an urgent Trident inquiry and question of the legitimacy of the parliamentary vote.

    CND general secretary Kate Hudson stormed: “The cover-up continues.

    “Michael Fallon has refused to answer why Parliament wasn’t told about the Trident missile crisis and he has rebuffed calls for greater transparency, ignoring an invitation to appear at the defence committee.

    “It’s clear the government cannot be trusted to tell MPs and public the truth about the crisis.”


  3. Tuesday 24th January 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    THE office of Prime Minister Theresa May has admitted finally that she was informed about the Trident missile test at the centre of cover-up allegations prior to addressing MPs on the matter.

    It’s hard to see how she thought she could brazen it out after refusing four times in quick succession to answer a direct question from Andrew Marr on Sunday.

    Her stubborn stonewalling served only to confirm in everyone’s mind that she had definitely been told and that failure to admit this was evidence of a cover-up.

    Even now, the official line is that no-one is allowed to know whether a Trident-launched D5 missile veered off course after being launched off the coast of Florida last June.

    Logic dictates that this did indeed happen, otherwise the Ministry of Defence would have denied any suggestion of a malfunction.

    Defence industry insiders and politicians have lined up since then to declare that tests are held to seek out faults and correct them, which seems quite reasonable.

    The major problem with it, however, is that, if the missile had been armed and international relations deteriorated to the extent that the PM was prepared to order Trident missile launches, at least one device would have obliterated Florida rather than delivering its payload wherever she had intended.

    Apologetic phone calls to Trump Tower in the wake of a cock-up of that enormity would be unlikely to smooth ruffled feathers or bring back millions of dead US citizens.

    Some pro-Trident commentators suggest that demanding information on a weapons system that we all pay for is out of order.

    They claim silence is necessary to keep our “enemies” in the dark about how effective Trident is.

    But our government has already had to inform other states — not least the US — over what was taking place in the region.

    The idea that other nuclear-armed powers designated as our enemies would have been unaware of what happened is beyond risible.

    The only people kept in the dark are taxpayers in Britain who fund this grotesquely expensive white elephant.

    While the NHS, social care, council housing, infrastructure projects and industrial modernisation cry out for serious investment, our politicians across Parliament prefer to throw good money after bad to maintain an outdated pretence that possessing weapons of mass destruction is essential to be seen as a genuine leading world power.

    Tell that to Germany, Japan or any other advanced country mature enough to have moved beyond WMD willy-waving.

    Justifying the commitment of tens of billions of pounds — adding up to £205bn — to maintain the pretence of an independent nuclear deterrent depends on two basic falsehoods.

    One is that Trident keeps Britain safe from invasion or nuclear blackmail and the other is that it provides employment.

    Aside from the reality that there is no power seeking to invade or destroy our country, even were that the case, no British government could launch its nuclear missiles without a White House OK.

    And if there was someone deranged enough as US president to authorise a global nuclear exchange, we could all kiss our backsides goodbye in such a scenario.

    The myth of Trident guaranteeing defence employment was exposed recently by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, which revealed that just 600 civilian jobs are directly linked.

    Its successor programme will safeguard 11,520 jobs, which works out at nearly £18 million a job.

    Far better to devote that wasted investment in supporting jobs sacrificed on the austerity altar and to drop the obsession with global posturing.


  4. Wednesday 25th January 2017

    posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

    TORY leaders were “stupid” in trying to cover up the misfiring of a Trident missile during a test session because it damaged the government, a former sea lord and a senior academic told Parliament yesterday.

    Defence expert Professor Michael Clarke told the Commons defence committee that there had been no need for Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s reticence when he was questioned in Parliament on Monday about the missile self-destructing off the Florida coast in June.

    In July MPs — mainly Tories — voted to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system at a cost of £205 billion. It emerged on Monday that former prime minister David Cameron and PM Theresa May both knew about the misfire.

    Prof Clarke said: “It’s not the failure that does the damage but the cover-up … it doesn’t undermine the deterrent but damages the government.”

    Former First Sea Lord and chief of Naval staff Lord West suggested it might be easier to “call Mr Putin” to find out what happened, claiming the Russian president owed him a favour.

    He said it had been an “inconceivable” suggestion that Mr Cameron did not know about the misfire.

    Lord West condemned the advice of government special advisers (spads) to cover up the incident as “stupid and foolhardy.”

    He described his encounter with a spad, who he described as “a spotty youth from university who thought they knew more about counterterrorism than I did.”

    Lord West told the committee: “If anyone thought that this [misfire] wouldn’t come out, they are living in cloud-cuckooland”.

    Three anti-nuclear activists from the Faslane peace camp were arrested yesterday morning after they blocked traffic at the nuclear base in Scotland.

    They were taken to Clydebank prison and are expected to be released today.


  5. Friday 31st March 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    If we have to, we’ll drag our government kicking and screaming to the next round of UN nuclear ban negotiations, writes KATE HUDSON

    THIS week the international community has gathered at the UN in New York to negotiate a global nuclear weapons ban treaty. Yet in spite of successive British governments’ supposed commitment to multilateral disarmament — a pledge repeated just last summer in Parliament’s debate on replacing Trident — Britain opposed the negotiations taking place and is boycotting the talks.

    Nevertheless our ambassador to the UN did manage to make an appearance on the opening day — to come in behind US opposition to the negotiations.

    In fact, three of the nuclear weapons states made a bid for attention by holding a press conference outside the ban negotiation room, led by US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, who denounced the talks.

    Described by one commentator as a representative of the Trump regime, she was backed up by the French and British ambassadors. The latter, Matthew Rycroft, insisted that the ban cannot and will not work, repeating the government’s longstanding view that the best way to achieve global nuclear disarmament is gradual multilateral negotiations with a step by step approach within existing international frameworks.

    As we have said many times before, if there were any evidence of that actually happening, this position would be taken more seriously.

    It’s this complete lack of seriousness by all the nuclear-armed states that has actually led to these negotiations. The vast majority of states don’t have nuclear weapons and they have lost patience with the prevarication and hypocrisy of those that do.

    So they have taken matters into their own hands by holding these negotiations. Taking place this week, and with a further round in June and July, there will be a treaty as a result and nuclear weapons possession will be in an entirely new legal framework.

    As it is, the requirement for nuclear disarmament has been enshrined in international law since 1970, in the form of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT commits its signatories — including Britain — to take steps to disarm if they have nuclear weapons and not to acquire them if they don’t.

    While the non-nuclear states have kept their side of the bargain, all the nuclear powers still have their weapons and are even upgrading or modernising their arsenals — Trident replacement in Britain’s case.

    While substantial bilateral or unilateral reductions have taken place since the end of the cold war, these have largely been the result of stockpile consolidation or systems modernisation.

    The review conferences of the NPT, held every five years, have failed to break the logjam and make genuine progress towards nuclear disarmament, largely because of obstruction by the nuclear-armed states. The most recent review conference in May 2015 failed to reach any agreement.

    Meanwhile, negotiations at the UN Conference on Disarmament, the world’s only permanent multilateral disarmament treaty negotiating body, have been stalled since 1996.

    It is in this context of frustration that the international initiative on the humanitarian impact of nuclear use — the precursor to demands for a global ban — began.

    The 2010 NPT review conference’s final document officially expressed “deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons” for the first time.

    Following this, a group of countries began delivering joint statements on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.

    By 2013, over a hundred governments had joined the initiative and a conference was arranged in Oslo. Their arguments were based on new studies which added to the historical experience from the use and testing of nuclear weapons which has demonstrated their devastating, immediate and long-term effects.

    These studies have shown that nuclear war would result in mass starvation due to the impact on agricultural production and profound climate change.

    As Scientists for Global Responsibility pointed out in 2013, “the firepower of just one Trident nuclear submarine could not only devastate 48 cities and cause tens of millions of direct casualties, but also cause a global cooling lasting several years and of a magnitude not seen since the last ice age.”

    Conferences in Oslo and Nayarit to discuss these effects and the way forward were followed by the Vienna Conference in 2014. Over 150 states attended, including for the first time — under pressure from civil society — the US and Britain.

    The conference concluded with the hosts delivering a historic pledge to “stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons in light of their unacceptable humanitarian consequences and other associated risks” and to “identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.”

    On December 7 2015, the United Nations general assembly adopted the pledge in the form of Resolution 70/48. This resolution led to the establishment of a special UN working group which published a final report in August 2016 recommending that a conference be held in 2017 to negotiate a global ban on nuclear weapons.

    The nuclear nations and their proxies — including most of the Nato countries — tried to stop this outcome but failed, as over a hundred countries voted in favour of the final report. In October 2016, states voted on a resolution along the same lines at the UN general assembly.

    A hundred and twenty-three countries voted in favour, with only 38 voting against. Those opposed included the Britain, the US, France, Israel and Russia. Even North Korea voted in favour of the ban conference. The other nuclear states (India, Pakistan and China) abstained. The result is the negotiations now under way.

    This is a breakthrough in international disarmament efforts. A treaty banning nuclear weapons will be of enormous importance in further establishing that most of the world agrees that there is no place for these weapons of mass destruction.

    The job ahead of us is to bring our government, kicking and screaming if need be, to the negotiating table. They have boycotted this first round of the talks. They need to be at the next round from the end of June.

    Now is the time to expose their doublespeak on multilateralism and make them live up to their obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    Kate Hudson is CND general secretary. Visit to join CND’s actions in support of the nuclear weapons ban negotiations.


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