An American activist says the United States and Britain are partners in imperialism that are responsible for the killing of millions of people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the UK’s need to develop nuclear weapons based on what he claims as “the ultimate insurance policy” to ward off a nuclear threat coming from North Korea. Cameron’s warning comes as the UK Liberal Democrats and parts of the Labour Party are opposed to the £20-billion project to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Richard Becker, with the ANSWER Coalition, San Francisco. Becker is joined by Bob Ayers, a former US intelligence officer from Somerset. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Richard Becker your reaction to the same question [of what David Cameron has said about Britain not giving up nuclear weapons because they see it as an insurance policy. Are nuclear weapons an insurance policy?]
Becker: I think that the argument that Cameron is making is clearly ludicrous. It is reminiscent that what was going on a little over ten years ago just before the attack on Iraq – the US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq – where you had the then Prime Minister Tony Blair talking about how in 45 minutes time that London could be targeted from Iraq with a weapon of mass destruction. It was all completely made up, it was, but it is not much different now.
Does anybody credibly believe that Britain, England is now in danger of being attacked by North Korea?!
The real reason for this is number one: Britain has hundreds of nuclear warheads. Isn’t it funny that some countries can have weapons of mass destruction and that’s all fine? Even if other countries have pillaged the world for centuries, like Britain, France and the United States, it is all fine for them to have all these weapons of mass destruction?
But, these weapons of mass destruction from the point of view of the ruling elite in Britain today are a key element in trying to maintain Britain as a world power, even if it has to be the junior partner these days of the United States.
To spend hundreds of billions of dollars on these extremely destructive, insanely destructive weapons systems, where each one of those systems can fire a minimum, it can target a minimum of 40 different centers of human population with nuclear weapons far greater in scope than what destroyed Hiroshima in Nagasaki.
To spend all that money at a time when everything is being slashed in Britain for the people, for the working class, for the students, for the average person in the country, is just really a reflection of the priorities of the ruling elite to spend all this money to maintain this position in the world and of course, to enrich the arms industry.
Press TV: Do you buy that Bob Ayers of what Richard Becker is saying [that the UK is trying to ensure the world recognizes them as nuclear powers and they believe if they abandon nuclear weapons now it would take a long time to develop the arsenal when the time comes to reintroduce them.]
Becker: Not at all and I think it is kind of funny actually to have this presentation of Britain as a victim. It is just as amusing as it would be to have the United States as a victim or as a target because that’s the fundamental underlying precept of his argument. That there’s somebody out there that’s thinking about attacking Britain.
In reality there’s a long and bloody history of these empires, but the defenders of the empire continue to pretend that they are the victims and that they are the potential targets. In reality this is really about maintaining a semblance and a considerable semblance of British power.
I would say of the other question that the other speaker raised that if it costs five pounds for a nuclear warhead [should they buy it], then no, they should still get rid of nuclear weapons.
They have to be eliminated and they [Britain] need to go first. They need to push to be eliminated by the great powers, particularly by the great power that has used nuclear weapons against people and that would be the United States. But, the US, the British, the French, the biggest nuclear powers in the world along with Russia, their nuclear weapons should be done away with altogether because the use of nuclear weapons in war, the idea of nuclear war is the idea of the potential end to human life and possibly all life on the planet.
Press TV: Well Richard Becker you heard the viewer there are you touched on that in terms of the time where the UK budget is squeezed so much and here we have the prime minister wanting to spend 25 billion pounds, about 40 billion dollars for a new generation of submarines of these Trident missiles.
Becker: I’ve seen much high figures than that too for what it will eventually cost. All these defense systems, the so-called defense systems that I think are offense systems. I think they’re if you have them you can threaten others who don’t have them particularly and we’ve seen a lot of that. But, they always have cost overruns.
We experience that here in the United States in the same way that the vast version of funds that are critically needed that could solve problems in the United States, but not just in the United States, in the world, like hunger in the world and clean water and so forth. Instead, we have in reality here in the United States a government that is spending over a trillion dollars a year on military and on wars that are past and present. And we have Britain, which is in the throes of austerity and the prime minister is talking about really this incredible waste to spend, which is worse than a waste because what is produced by spending that much money and the danger that that poses to humanity has certainly and clearly impacts on things like the National Health Service (NHS), which are being cut back and many other programs that are suffering in Britain and the people are suffering there.
Press TV: Richard Becker if we want to look at some of the push backs within Cameron’s party it has come from many directions and one of them from Danny Alexander, the chief secretary of the treasury back in January he said that the treasury does not have the ‘magic pot’ of money. More recently we have a member of parliament from the Lib Dem (Liberal Democrat) party Malcolm Bruce saying that the truth is a nuclear deterrent is just that; it’s not actually usable and it costs a lot of money and it squeezes the budget. So, I’m gathering from what Bob Ayers said that people are going to suffer and so be it because it’s for the national security of the UK. Do you buy that?
Becker: No I think it’s ridiculous. Who’s threatening Britain right now? Britain I think is threatening other countries. I think that the idea of the conflict over the Malvinas Islands, where one side has nuclear weapons and the other side doesn’t (Argentina). Not that I’m predicting that there’s about to be a nuclear war, but that certainly weighs into the consideration.
The idea that it’s okay and that somehow a decision has been made to go ahead with this, I don’t think that that decision has been made yet.
I think Cameron wants to go ahead with it and the people around him and the top military brass may want to go ahead with it in Britain, but I hope that the people there will rise up against it and put a stop to it just as I hope the same thing happens in the United States in regards to all these systems – the drones, the deadly drones and the nuclear weapons and all the basing of more than a thousand US bases around the world and on every continent.
What does this all mean for humanity both in England and in the United States and the rest of the world? To waste the resources, the precious and limited resources of the world for pursuing war and the most dangerous kind of war of all, which of course is nuclear, which would be a nuclear war.
Press TV: So Richard Becker you argue in the way you would like to in regards to what Bob Ayers has said there [that recently, North Korea has threatened to use nuclear weapons on the US, however the US and the UK are not seen as the aggressor in terms of using their nuclear arsenal].
Becker: The US and Britain are partners in imperialism let’s just put it that way that they invaded together, bombed, sanctioned, blockaded, killed millions and displaced more in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet Bob Ayers is presenting them as the potential victims who must have nuclear weapons to protect themselves from the rest of the world.
This is really a very typical argument that we hear both in Britain and the United States, but to say that it is silly, to say that spending this money, huge amounts of money on the military does not deprive people of the essential services that they need, that is pretty silly, and I don’t see how you get around that point.
Even earlier in his argument, Mr. Ayres stated that there are limited resources and we all know that there are limited resources and that they go to war for further militarism to build up new nuclear weapons systems. Some people get very rich from that. Some people will benefit from it.
The military high command will be all for it and the people in power who want to defend their privileges in the world, they’ll be all for it, but the great majority of people in Britain will suffer from this and that suffering would be nothing compared to the suffering to the people if those nuclear weapons were actually deployed against another country. The people in their country would be enduring something that is completely beyond imagination.
So, here we have the development of systems that are against the interests of the people of the world.
Press TV: Finally Richard Becker a quick response from you about if we have people in the government there [in Scotland] thinking about diplomacy of whether building up on our nuclear arsenal is the way to go. What does that show, quickly?
Becker: I think it is a continuation of what has been going on for a very long time and as I said before, you have the aggressors posing as victims. This is true in regard to Iran today, which is surrounded by nuclear weapons and the military power of occupying forces. The reality of the situation is that this build-up is not for deterrence. It’s not for defense. It’s for a potential offense and for intimidation of other countries. That is why the British government, the Cameron government is promoting along with the profit involved in it for some, is promoting the new Trident submarine missile system to threaten the world.