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     Scottish CND     magazine

All Britain's bombs will be in Scotland

In defiance of the will of the Scottish people, Trident nuclear submarines have arrived on the Clyde. Opposition to the bomb is stronger North of the border than in any other part of Britain, yet it is planned that from 1998 onwards all British nuclear weapons will be based here.

The huge Navy complex at Faslane, 30 miles West of Glasgow, has been expanded to accommodate the most destructive weapons the world has ever seen. A Trident submarine carries between 12 and 16 missiles. On the top of each missile are a number of 100 kiloton atomic bombs.

From 1998 Trident will replace the "WE-177" atom bombs which are kept at airbases in England. It also replaces the Polaris submarines which used to be at Faslane. Trident is far more destructive than WE-177 or Polaris.

It was designed at the height of the Cold War. The plan was that Britain should build four nuclear submarines which would be able to wipe out the Soviet Union as a viable society. The map of Eastern Europe may have changed beyond all recognition but at Faslane the Cold War continues. The Trident programme has not been cancelled. Instead billions of pounds of taxpayers money has been spent on these weapons of mass destruction.

The announcement that all of Britain's bombs would be based in Scotland was made by Malcolm Rifkind when he was Defence Secretary. But this is not just Conservative Party policy, the leaders of both the Labour and Liberal-Democrat Parties currently have similar plans.

Only a handful of people know how many atom bombs there actually are on each submarine. The Ministry of Defence has said that each submarine could carry 96 bombs. Comments by Labour and Liberal-Democrat spokesmen suggest that they would put 48 bombs on each. What is clear is that a large number of new atom bombs have been transported to Scotland, probably at least 200 by the end of 1996.

The first atom bombs for Trident arrived in November 1992 in a convoy of 48 ton articulated lorries, escorted by armed soldiers and police. There was a demonstration at Eskine Bridge and the convoy was stopped as it was about to cross. Since 1992 there have been dozens of convoys bringing more bombs to Scotland. There have been protests against all of them, although this has received very little media attention.

The convoys drive around the Edinburgh bypass and through the centre of Glasgow on the M8. Sometimes they travel past the site of the Battle of Bannockburn, under the foot of Stirling Castle and along the shore of Loch Lomond.

The bombs are taken to Coulport and loaded onto submarines on the shore of Loch Long. One Trident submarine is at sea at all times - 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Commander Jeffrey Tall was Captain of the nuclear submarine HMS Repulse from 1989 to 1991. He described what these patrols are like - "there is no doubt that when you went to sea, you went to war."

It make come as a shock to discover that there are British servicemen who think that they are at a state of war. It is terrifying to find out that these men are in charge of nuclear missiles. Both Commander Tall and his successors have said that they would fire their missiles without ever knowing where the targets were. The coordinates would all be relayed by computer. When the Captain receives the code word he is ready to unleash these awful weapons, without knowing which cities they would destroy.

The sailors are urged not to think about what they are being asked to do - and we too are expected to turn a blind eye to the preparations taking place in our midst - as they plan and practice how to destroy the planet.

Scottish CND      magazine