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Britain’s secret deals with USA on nuclear weaponry

secret-dealsflag-UKSecret talks on future of Britain’s nuclear arsenal, Guardian UK, Richard Norton Taylor and Ewen Macaskill, 3 April 14,

• UK’s nuclear arsenal relies on US components
• Nature, cost, and timing, of new warheads will also depend on US.
Buy-US-nukesWhile the Nato allies are collectively preoccupied by Vladimir Putin’s intentions in eastern Europe, Britain and the US are secretly renegotiating a pact which is a bedrock of their very special bilateral relationship.

Their Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA), first signed in 1958, is due for renewal this year. Britain relies on it to secure, maintain, and upgrade, its nuclear warheads.

“The UK regards safety, security and reliability as central to the maintenance of its nuclear warheads”, the Foreign Office stated in an “explanatory memorandum” on an amendment to the MDA ten years ago. It added: “The programme benefits from long-standing collaboration with US scientists, including the sharing of data and test results and the use of US test facilities”.

The extent to which Britain’s nuclear arsenal is dependent on American help, through the MDA, is clearly set out in The Bang Behind The Buck, a paper just published by the Royal United Services Institute.

It warns that the future shape of the US nuclear arsenal is uncertain and it is unlikely Britain will be able to decide the future of its own arsenal until the US has agreed on the future of its own arsenal, whatever condition the UK’s warheads are in………

The government should not get away with renewing in secret an agreeement that has serious implications for the non-proliferation treaty (NPT), the nature of Britain’s “independent deterrent”, and its relationship with the US.

As one commentator has remarked: “On past performance, most MPs will need some considerable external encouragement before accepting that the renewal of the MDA is a subject that ought to be debated openly and democratically, both within and without Westminster.

“At the moment, it rather looks as if the Conservative government of prime minister Cameron is intent on following in the footsteps of the Labour government of Tony Blair by ensuring that the US-UK Mutual Defence Agreement is in the bag for a further ten years before the parliamentary summer recess, and quite possibly before the Easter recess.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/defence-and-security-blog/2014/apr/02/nuclear-weapons-warheads-trident

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April 3, 2014 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, weapons and war

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