‘Global arms race’ fears of peace protesters
By Matthew Taylor
Yorkshire Evening Post

May 7 2001

campaigners in Leeds at an international conference have warned that America’s controversial missile system will make space the new arena of war and lead to a global nuclear arms race.

Earlier this year a special investigation by the Yorkshire Evening Post revealed how the US plans were likely to require a huge expansion at both Menwith Hill spy base near Harrogate and the Fylingdales radar station on the North York Moors.

The scheme, dubbed Son of Star Wars after plans drawn up by former US president Ronald Reagan, was given a cautious welcome by Tony Blair last week.

But international activists at Saturday’s conference said Britain was not being told the whole story.

US professor Karl Grossman has been investigating America’s “nuclear space race” for 15 years.

“This is not about missile defence,” he said. “There is a broad military programme underway to dominate the earth from space with the use of nuclear weapons. The technology is already being developed.

“The US is keen to bamboozle countries like Britain into supporting what they are doing under the banner of missile defence, but it is crucial Tony Blair and the British people realise what is really at stake.”

Prof Grossman cites a report recently published by the US Space Commission, chaired by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, which states: “In the coming period the United States will conduct operations to, from, in and through space in support of its national interests both on the Earth and in space.”

He added: “It is possible to project power to and from space in response to events anywhere in the world...giving the United States a much stronger deterrent and in a conflict, an extraordinary military advantage.”

Campaigners fear such a move would spark a major nuclear arms race with countries like Russia, China, India and Pakistan trying to increase their own nuclear capabilities.

Alla Yaroshinskaya, an advisor to former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, told the conference America’s plans posed a real threat to world peace.


“It this goes ahead the world will be thrown back into a cold war, with the real possibility of an all-out nuclear conflict,” she said.

“Other countries like Russia and China have already said they will not stand by and watch America dominate space. This is nuclear madness.”

Atsushi Fujikora, professor of economics at Tokyo University, came all the way from Japan for this weekend’s conference.

“America’s missile defence plans are totally unneeded,” he said.

“They will create a lot of instability between Japan, China and North Korea.

“It will destroy our attempts to create stability and peace in the region and start a new nuclear arms race which could have a devastating effect.”

The conference was organised by Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and was held at the University of Leeds. It was also broadcast live on the worldwide web.

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