24 March 2006: for immediate release
CND has expressed outrage at a US statement earlier this week that Britain may host interceptor missiles for the US ‘Star Wars’ system. Lt Gen Trey Obering, head of the US Missile Defence Agency, has stated that Britain is one of three candidates to host interceptors designed to shoot down incoming ballistic missiles.
The Ministry of Defence has denied that there have been any formal discussions on this matter. Other British officials say that the position remains – as Geoff Hoon stated in 2004 – that such a decision would be ‘open to scrutiny and debate in the normal way’. The Pentagon has also denied that such a development has taken place. However, it seems strange that a senior US general, in charge of the project, should be so misinformed, leaving open the possibility that the general has inadvertently disclosed as yet secret information. He stated that Britain, Poland and the Czech Republic were on the final shortlist to host the interceptors.
CND today called for a full and open debate on this issue. CND Chair Kate Hudson said:
‘The US Missile Defence system will enable the US to launch pre-emptive attacks without fear of retaliation and thus increases global tensions and the likelihood of a new nuclear arms race. Fylingdales radar station in Yorkshire is already part of the system, placing Yorkshire in the firing line in the event of future hostilities, but to station missiles in Britain will massively increase the risk of attack that Britain faces. Recent statements by Lt General Obering are deeply worrying, and it is vital that a full parliamentary and public debate takes place on this major question of national security. This is too important – and too dangerous – a decision to be taken behind closed doors.’
Notes to Editor:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.