What are nuclear weapons?
Nuclear weapons are the most powerful of all weapons ever developed.
They can cause death and devastation by:
- their enormous explosive power;
- creating firestorms and huge winds;
- radioactive fall-out.
Some of the reasons why the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is opposed to nuclear weapons
They break International Humanitarian law, which requires that weapons distinguish between combatants and non-combatants.
- If they were used they could wipe out civilisation as we know it;
- Radioactive fall-out affects millions not directly involved in a conflict;
- They cause sickness, death and terrible birth defects in the places where they are tested;
- The UK signed a treaty (the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) in 1968 agreeing to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”.
- Even if not used in war, they are dangerous. There is the risk of an accident or a terrorist attack on a nuclear installation, or a warhead convoy (see below).
What Can I Do?
The world situation is extremely dangerous (see above), and much work remains to be done. CND is still needed, and we have a clear programme of realistic step by step measures, which could take us to our goal of a nuclear-free world.
You can help to make a difference by:
- contacting our office for free information or subscribing to our monthly publication,‘The Mailing’ (currently just £7 a year); click WMCND Office for sample
- taking 20 minutes to use the information obtained to write a letter to your MP or to a newspaper;
- click Current Actions for suggestions – WMCND administers this service on behalf of National CND
- talking to your friends and colleagues about the issues;
- joining CND: contact London office National CND
- making a donation to help fund our work: click on Donate and you can instantly make a donation via Pay Pal (cheques payable to “West Midlands CND”); or make a regular donation by Standing Order
- joining a direct action network
What Services Does WMCND Offer?
WMCND has a well-stocked library of books, cassettes, videos and journals, which are available for study or loan by arrangement. Badges, leaflets and stickers can be purchased and we have free information materials. You can contact us anytime we have a 24-hour answerphone service.
We work closely with CND’s other regional offices and with our National Office in London which can be contacted at: 162, Holloway Road, London, UNITED KINGDOM N7 8DQ. Tel. (+44) 020 7700 2393 or via their website.
We also work with Greenpeace, and by Internet with campaigners all around the world.
CND is a member of Abolition 2000, which campaigns for the worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons.
How Does CND Campaign?
Campaigning is all about communication. Our supporters make CND strong so we ensure that they are well briefed and can campaign effectively. West Midlands CND produces a monthly mailing and its own campaigning leaflets, briefings and other material to supplement those from our national office in London, including exhibitions. We accept invitations to speak in schools and to other organisations.
We concentrate a lot of effort on lobbying representatives at local, national, European and International levels. We gather information from newspapers, e-mails and volunteers who read the daily proceedings in Parliament. The National letter-writing team, which is run from our office, increases our impact.
We mobilise members for protests and vigils and support national actions.
The transport of nuclear materials through the region provides a particular campaigning focus and we seize every opportunity to alert the public, media and opinion formers to the dangers posed. Plutonium from old nuclear warheads is moved by road, and spent nuclear fuel from power stations is moved by train through heavily populated areas, including Birmingham suburbs.
Our finances come from donations, membership subscriptions and fundraising.
Arms Control & World Security
At the time of writing, world affairs seem to be entering a very dangerous phase.
- US plans for the military exploitation of Outer Space and for deployment of an anti-missile defence system, have destroyed the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. US Space Command has clear plans for full spectrum dominance, giving the ability to project US power anywhere in the world.
- The US needs UK “permission” to use two bases in Yorkshire for its Star Wars plans, thus making us a prime target.
- US actions threaten other arms control treaties – it has undermined negotiations in connection with chemical, biological and toxic weapons, and may destroy the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Instead it seems determined to “disarm” countries by bombing them.
- China is increasingly hostile to Western military activity., especially following the US “accidental” bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and fears that US missile defence is intended as a threat. Consequently the Chinese military budget is expanding.
In these ways, the fabric of nuclear arms control and reduction agreements, which has taken years to create, is in jeopardy. Combined with the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan, and the War on Terrorism, the present situation is very dangerous. However, there is little mainstream political debate on these issues so this is not known by the general public, and we need to raise their awareness urgently. Can you help us?
What is the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament?
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament works for the abolition of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. CND is Britain’s largest peace organisation. It was founded in 1958 as a result of public outrage at the manufacture and testing in the atmosphere of nuclear weapons. A victory in the 1960s was the signing of the Partial Test Ban Treaty, which limited tests to below ground. CND has local groups and networks of members throughout Britain and a number of regional organisations of which West Midlands is one.
CND opposes any country having weapons of mass destruction, but we can have most effect by concentrating on British weapons. We work with international colleagues to put pressure on governments to end the nuclear age.
Until India and Pakistan tested their nuclear weapons in the late 1990s, many people mistakenly thought that the nuclear threat was over. It is ever more urgent that we alert them to the profound hazards posed by the massive numbers which still exist, and to the obvious dangers that, if deep cuts in these are not quickly achieved, more countries will try to develop their own nuclear weapons. World developments since 9/11 have made the siuation even more acute, as Israel has (undeclared) nuclear weapons.
We campaign in the heart of England.
Our Region is centered on the Metropolitan Boroughs of
- Coventry, Solihull, Birmingham, Walsall, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton, Sandwell.
- Shropshire & South Staffordshire in the north;
- Herefordshire & Worcestershire in the southwest;
- Warwickshire in the east.