violata la Nuclear Free Zone di Malta
- Subject: violata la Nuclear Free Zone di Malta
- From: "Marco Siino - Palermo" <locpa.info at neomedia.it>
- Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2002 23:26:32 +0100
Sottomarino nucleare britannico per una settimana al Grand Harbour di
Malta - violata la Nuclear Free Zone (stabilita dal Parlamento Maltese
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mailing list Alternattiva Demokratica (verdi maltesi)
Da: Michael Briguglio
Data invio: sabato 1 dicembre 2001 5.35
Oggetto: [Alternattiva] [di-ve] AD says hosting of first nuclear warship
is "a failure of the Maltese Government
Submarine HMS Superb in Malta by Charlot Zahra, di-ve news
(czahra at maltanet.net)
AD says hosting of first nuclear warship is "a failure of the Maltese
Dateline: 30th November, 2001
Time: 1000 CET
The United Kingdom submarine, HMS Superb, is on a short visit to Malta
following her involvement in operations in the Arabian Gulf.
She arrived in Malta on Tuesday, November 27, 2001, and will be staying
in the Grand Harbour till the following Monday, December 3.
HMS Superb is a Swiftsure Class submarine, commissioned in November
1976. Her displacement is 4,400 tons and she is 82 metres in length.
The submarine has a compliment of 116, including 13 officers. She is
commanded by Commander N. J. Hughes RN.
This will be the first visit by a submarine of this class to Malta. The
last visit to Malta by a UK submarine was in 1992.
AD SAYS SUPERB VISIT SHOWS GOVERNMENT’S FAILURE TO RESPECT ITS OWN
NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE POLICY
Meanwhile, Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) said in a statement that the
first hosting of nuclear powered warship in Malta is a “failure of the
Government to respect its own nuclear free zone policy".
"The Government was free to refuse to host the British nuclear powered
submarine Superb but failed to do so exposing the country to unnecessary
risks. Despite all safeguards, nuclear accidents are a possibility", AD
International Secretary Ralph Cassar said.
Alternattiva noted that in recent months, nuclear accidents had occurred
at the safest nuclear facilities, notably in Japan.
“Only a few weeks ago a Russian nuclear submarine was recovered from the
Baltic at enormous risk and expense and lately British nuclear
submarines have been taken out of service after developing internal
leaks”, the party statement said.
Mr. Cassar explained that "a fire on board a nuclear armed or powered
vessel could lead to widespread radioactive contamination. The
consequences to Malta and the Maltese would be the total loss of their
homeland, their culture and their continued existence as a nation".
"Alternattiva Demokratika demands that the Maltese Government exercise
it sovereign right to refuse to host nuclear armed or nuclear powered
vessels. Such a refusal would not affect our relations with friendly
countries which might think more highly of our Government if it was not
such an eternal pushover. Malta should be a nuclear free zone", the AD
International Secretary concluded.
ALTERNATTIVA DEMOKRATIKA - THE GREEN PARTY
"Nifs Gdid, Nifs Nadif"
For more information: http://www.alternattiva.org.mt
Post message: Alternattiva at yahoogroups.com
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URL to group page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Alternattiva
Da: Michael Briguglio
Cc: alternattiva at yahoogroups.com
Data invio: sabato 15 dicembre 2001 12.40
Oggetto: [Alternattiva] A millionth of a gram by Dr. Harry Vassallo
A millionth of a gram
by Dr. Harry Vassallo, Chairperson Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green
Writing in Monday's The Times (Biological and chemical terrorism) Dr
Franco Grima breaks a taboo by addressing national security issues. His
informative article on biological and chemical weapons breaks a long,
deafening silence. He walks in confidently armed with his professional
knowledge of the subject but apparently unaware of the tacit conspiracy
never to mention anything of the kind in a Maltese newspaper.
Dr Grima gave us a quick and terrifying rundown on B and C. He speaks of
plague and anthrax with the detachment of a professional and laudably
calls for due precautions to be taken by the authorities. As a
professional trained to address the consequences of the use of
biological and chemical weapons, he wades through the nightmarish
landscape as through familiar ground.
B and C weaponry has been outlawed by international treaty for several
decades. The use of lethal gasses in the first world war was a nightmare
experience which not even Hitler would use again in WWII. Biological
weapon development halted officially in the 1950s when it was realised
that it would be all too easy for non-super power nations to develop
them. The nightmare to come out of that Pandora's box remained to haunt
the world as a terrorist or rogue state option. Hence Dr Grima's
expertise as RAF consultant.
The main thrust of his article calling for a heightening of security and
developing professional capabilities to address any emergency following
the changes wrought by the 11 September atrocity, should not go
unheeded. There is however an assumption in his article that should not
Malta is committed to back George Bush's fight against terrorism and may
be exposed to retaliation. Malta is "a good listening post for both the
terrorists for the Americans and so it is more than likely that an Al
Qa'eda cell is operating on Maltese soil". Facts and plausible
scenarios. The conclusion from them was to prepare for the worst: stock
up in antidotes, anti-biotics, gas masks and assay kits.
We did not need the prodding of George Bush's call to arms. We never
wanted to shelter terrorists. The risks of our stance have always been
there, 11 Sep makes them more real. It also makes us face the
peculiarities of our situation.
The Cold War coloured our national politics and gave us an odd mindset
on security issues. Rather than reading the situation from our own
perspective we have become used to discussing security issues from
others' perspectives depending on the allegiance of our traditional
political parties: PN proWest, MLP doing a non-alligned dance flirting
with the East and playing-hard-to-get with the West. Our foreign and
security policy has developed in fits and starts with long, unfruitful
gaps in between. All along it has been characterized by the weird
alienation that drives so many of us to passionate support of foreign
The 1987 constitutional amendments froze the foreign and security stance
adopted by the Labour government in 1981 as part of a bitter compromise
accepted by the PN in exchange for electoral changes that made a
transfer of power possible. Instead of a foreign and security policy we
have a frozen standoff. Twenty years from when it was first formulated,
our country's foreign policy lies stranded in a reality all its own, far
from the reality in which it is to be implemented.
The USS La Salle crisis provided an opportunity for the political
parties with parliamentary responsibility to revisit the constitution
and match policy with reality. The MLP has refused to discuss the issue
leaving the PN to make the most of the vacuum. Alternattiva Demokratika
attempted to force the issue by filing a lawsuit and as things stand
retains the option to proceed on this course. We would much prefer for
our rivals to discuss the issue and frame a foreign and security policy
for Malta which we can all endorse.
It is a millenial blessing for Malta that modern weaponry has deprived
it of its strategic value. The best it can offer to any foreign power
are the peacetime services of rest and recreation for crews and ship
repair. In time of war Malta is indefensible. It makes our country less
attractive to friends and foes alike. Our greatest danger lies in being
associated with a power bloc and thus providing an easy symbolic target
to its antagonists.
One missile in Delimara power station and 400,000 people go thirsty. Our
only safety lies in preventing aggression and not by acquiring deterrent
power. A sterile neutrality will not do the trick. Only a commitment to
active neutrality can help. While shunning particpation in military
alliances we are constrained in the interests of our own safety to do
all in our power to foster peace in our region.
Malta provided a valuable venue for the Bush Gorbachev talks in 1989. It
was an outsize contribution to world peace by this minute community. We
can not impose on others. We can neither threaten nor buy off anybody.
We can persist in making our continued existence as a neutral venue
valuable to other countries. It is a valuable asset in any role that
Malta can play in implementing such a foreign policy that its own
interests are openly displayed and easily supported by any party.
Together with other neutral states we have a contribution to make in
peacekeeping missions under the aegis of the United Nations. Arms
control expertise gained by our armed forces qualifies them to
contribute at key moments of a disarmament operation. It is such
valuable contributions to the community of nations that we can and
should make in our own interest as much as in the interests of the
Providing rest and recreation to visiting warship crews and indeed
repairing warships are services we can offer any nation. It is in our
commercial interest to do so. It is in the interests of our national
security to do so under strict rules: warships travelling to or from
active service not authorised by the United Nations cannot expect to be
welcome in Malta. Vessels under repair in Malta will be asked to leave
or be impounded until a conclusion of hostilities except those
authorised by the United Nations. In the interest of national security
no nuclear armed or powered vessels will be allowed within Maltese
harbours nor to transit through territorial waters.
This is a stance that all Maltese political parties can agree upon. Such
an agreement is the necessary foundation stone on which we can build.
Unless there is unanimity on the basics, no government shall have the
means to offer its foreign counterparts the hope of continuity. It is
not arms but international relations that can offer us what security we
can achieve in this dangerous world. This is an inescapable reality of
our home. Delay and indecision, prevarication for short term party
politcal reasons, are a very real menace to our national security.
It is only Alternattiva Demokratika which brings these issues to the
fore. Our rivals are frozen in mid-wrestle. Tacitly in agreement but
taking the risks entailed in their apparent disagreement they do the
country an enormous disservice by postponing the long term construction
of a creditable foreign policy stance for Malta.
Dr Grima may have had no thought for such wider issues when writing
about the dangers of B&C weapons. Yet they are intimately interwoven and
his welcome violation of the security taboo allows us to speak the
unspeakable, perhaps go a step further. Dr Grima omits the first letter
in the alphabet of horrors which the war industry provides. A has stood
for Atomic long before we achieved the sophistication to refer to the
menace as nuclear.
It is an odd omission in the context of the options open to
no-holds-barred terrorists. CNN has provided us with expert statements
on the dangers of terrorist acts using radioactive material combined
with conventional explosives. The danger exists. Perhaps the omission is
justified since the treatment for radiation sickness following such a
disaster in Malta would have to be given to survivors elsewhere. Malta
would have to be permanently abandoned. The lethal dose of plutonium is
one millionth of a gram. The contaminated dust resulting from a
conventional explosion involving such material would spread across the
country and remain lethal for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is
a risk no Maltese government can afford to take. It involves a
widespread loss of life, the loss of statehood, the end of our continued
existence as a nation.
Terrorist retaliation is a danger we have no choice but to live with.
Increasing the risks by futile membership in a military alliance would
be less than wise. Inviting a remote but real danger by hosting nuclear
armed or powered vessles makes no sense at all.
The recent visit of a Royal Navy nuclear powered submarine shows up the
cracks in our obsolete foreign and security policy and the dangers of
political stagnation. The government has been allowed to ignore its own
Nuclear Free Zone policy established in 1988 by resolution of
parliament. What have we gained from the folly? The everlasting good
will of 116 sailors established by a few rounds of beer? We have much
better contributions to make to the society of nations, if we could only
unlock the mutual strangleholds of the political parties in parliament.
The invitation of the International Criminal Court in the Hague for
Malta to act as a place of detention for war criminals may have been too
hastily dismissed by the Prime Minister. Upgrading our security
capabilities for this function may not be as far beyond our reach as his
apparent knee jerk reaction made out. Certainly such an invitation
deserved deeper consideration. Standing guard over Milosevic cannot be
more dangerous than hosting nuclear armed or powered vessels.
The invitation itself is an important recognition of Malta's potential
based on its neutral status. AD-The Green Party is fully committed to
expanding this Maltese potential. We have pushed through a proposal for
the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat and Studies Network of the
Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in Malta. The proposal was made by the
six Green/EFA Members of the European Parliament in the Euro-Med
Parliamentary Forum. We expect enthusiastic support for this proposal
from our counterparts in Malta. It beats guarding war criminals. It is
light years ahead of hosting nuke subs and may hold greater safety for
us all than any military alliance or warehouse full of anthrax
antidotes. It is a contribution to peace and security in our region
which we can all make with quiet pride.
Dr. Harry Vassallo, Chairperson Alternattiva Demokratika - The Green