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    Nuclear Strike Would Be 'As Grave a War Crime as It is Possible to Conceive'

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    Britain's Attorney General is looking into an indictment brought forth against Prime Minister Theresa May by a group of peace activists over her government's plans to use the UK's Trident nuclear arsenal in the event of war. Speaking to Sputnik, Public Interest Case Against Trident (PICAT) organizer Robert Manson laid out the group's case.

    An alliance of nearly four hundred activists under the PICAT banner has presented the Attorney General's Office with an indictment against Prime Minister May and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon amid statements by the officials regarding their readiness to use nuclear weapons, including on a first strike basis.

    PICAT says the statements indicate planning for "indiscriminate mass slaughter," which they say is a violation of section 51(1) of the International Criminal Court Act 2001 on war crimes and crimes against humanity, and section 1 of the UK Criminal Law Act 1977 on conspiracy to commit such crimes.

    The case now needs to be approved by the Attorney General's Office in order to proceed.

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik, PICAT organizer and retired solicitor Robert Manson laid out the basis for the group's case.

    According to Manson, the unlawful nature of the government's position stems from the fact that it proposes "the indiscriminate mass slaughter of countless of millions of innocent civilian Muscovite citizens." 

    Use of nuclear weapons, he added, would amount to "the blasting to death of the elderly, incineration of the children, the lethal irradiation of mothers who are with child, and of course the radiogenomic malformation of generations as yet to come."

    "This is as grave a war crime as it is possible to conceive if committed," Manson stressed. 

    Trident Nuclear Submarine, HMS Victorious, on patrol off the west coast of Scotland
    © AFP 2017/ Andy Buchanan
    Trident Nuclear Submarine, HMS Victorious, on patrol off the west coast of Scotland

    The activist admitted that it is unlikely that the Attorney General's Office will allow for legal action to be brought forth against the top government officials. "He is bound to reject it. There is simply no prospect of a government-appointed law officer in this country with the independence of mind and the judicial objectivity to consent to a trial of our long-standing national nuclear defense strategy."

    Nevertheless, Manson emphasized that the group would fight to contest the decision if their case was dismissed without explanation. The rejection would have to be "made on legal grounds, and not on political grounds, and he must be tested to come up with such valid legal grounds," the activist said. "If successful on a matter of law, our challenge would force the UK government to petition our parliament in London to change that law in order to exempt nuclear weapons."

    Asked how long he expected the appeal to the Attorney General to last, Manson explained that the anti-nuclear campaigners had made the application for the Attorney General's consent to prosecute last January, and that they are still awaiting a formal response. "If we don't receive a response in the next few days or weeks, we'll have no alternative but to go to court and challenge him simply for his delay," the activist said.

    Finally, asked what implications the UK would face if May and Fallon were prosecuted, Manson emphasized that "the political implications of such an unimaginable litigation would of course be unparalleled in the constitutional history of our country since King Charles II was tried for treason after the English Civil War. Under the relevant statute, the sentence for such a crime is imprisonment up to life."

    Ultimately, the activist lamented that "the country is nowhere near as informed as it ought to be" when it comes to PICAT's case. "The popular media, newspapers, and television simply aren't interested in the subject matter. When approached, they choose not to believe such a contention is possibly valid. Labour, the principle opposition party in London, continues to be hopelessly divided over the merit of our nuclear weapons defense policy. Many, probably most leading legal minds remain utterly wedded to the concept of our national survival being dependent on our ability and preparedness to realistically threaten mass omnicide, especially of the innocents of Moscow," Manson concluded.

    Tags:
    nuclear weapons, interview, Trident, Public Interest Case Against Trident (PICAT), Michael Fallon, Theresa May, United Kingdom
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