Trident Ploughshares is a part of the international nuclear disarmament movement. Trident Ploughshares activists have pledged to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system in a non-violent, open, peaceful, safe and fully accountable manner. At this time over 200 Trident Ploughshares activists have signed a pledge to prevent nuclear crime.
We believe that the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons is totally immoral and irresponsible and that the Trident system is illegal under international law. Our disarmament action is necessary since the UK government has to date shown no signs of any intention to dismantle the system. As citizens we have both a right and a duty to uphold international humanitarian law. The UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system is based on 4 submarines which carry between 12 and 16 missiles, each of which can deliver a number of 100 kiloton warheads to individual targets – mass destruction on an unimaginable level. These subs are based at Faslane, thirty miles from Glasgow, and armed at Coulport on Loch Long, while the warheads are manufactured at Aldermaston and Burghfield in England. Faslane and Coulport are just two of at least 39 Trident related sites in Britain which are the legitimate targets of our disarmament action. At the moment one of the submarines is being refitted at Devonport in Plymouth.
In the last two millennia codes of conduct have been developed to deal with rights and wrongs in warfare. These codes have developed key principles, such as the insistence that non-combatants should not be harmed, that the suffering of combatants should be minimised and that no form of warfare should be employed which presents a permanent threat to the natural environment. In July 1996 the International Court of Justice considered the application of these principles to nuclear weapons and gave its (hardly surprising) Advisory Opinion that “the use of such weapons is scarcely reconcilable (with the rules of humanitarian law).”
We are taking direct action against installations and equipment involved in the Trident system. By doing so we aim to inflict significant damage and disruption on these installations and when arrested we take full responsibility for our actions. Our defence in the courts is generally based on the primacy of international law. We do what we can to publicise our actions and the response of the authorities so that public awareness of the UK’s indefensible nuclear weapons policy is increased and more and more people either become disarmers themselves or actively support the movement in a whole variety of ways.
To date (April 2004) there have been nearly 2100 arrests, over 470 trials, with many more in the pipeline, and over 2100 days have been spent in prison (not counting time in police cells). Fines and compensation orders totalling over £70,000 have been imposed.
There have been a number of highly successful actions, including the Trident Three action on the research barge Maytime; the dismantling by Rosie James and Rachel Wenham of equipment on the conning tower of HMS Vengeance and the disarming of a nuclear convoy truck by Susan van der Hijden and Martin Newell. There have also been hugely successful blockades of Faslane naval base involving hundreds of arrests.
In December 2001 the Trident Three were awarded the Right Livelihood Award (known as the alternative Nobel Prize) for their Trident Ploughshares disarmament work.
For a fuller account of the campaign see the Handbook “Tri-denting It”
Contacts: Trident Ploughshares : C/o Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre
5 Upper Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2JN United Kingdom
TP E-mail: tp2000-(at)- gn.apc.org
TP 2000 Website: www.tridentploughshares.org
If you would like to be involved with Trident Ploughshares but you have concerns you wish to discuss involving health or disability, then you can phone Morag Balfour: 01592 770280 or email TP.