March 10, 2006
Democracy Now!

U.S., Britain's 'Total Hypocrisy' on Nuclear Energy

Vice President Dick Cheney's, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's statements on Iran's nuclear program 'would justify Iran going to the Security Council and making a complaint that those three statements constituted a threat to them and a threat to world peace.'

by Tony Benn

[Excerpt from an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!]

I discovered after I left office, that without telling me, the plutonium from our civil power stations, what we called "atoms for peace power stations," all the time was going to the United States for its weapons program. So, I've learned a lot from this. I'm now a passionate opponent of nuclear power and nuclear weapons, always was against nuclear weapons. But this story highlights the hypocrisy that lies behind so much of the comment about the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

. . . but I never knew until yesterday, or until it came out a few days ago, that we had helped to assist the Israelis in building it. . . .

Well, you see, the United States and Britain are in total breach of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Non-Proliferation Treaty says three things. One, the nuclear powers will agree to disarm collectively. Secondly, that other countries can develop nuclear technology. And thirdly, that nuclear powers will give absolute assurances they will never use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state. And both the United States and Britain have now said that if their security was at stake, they would use nuclear weapons. What Bush has done -- I don't think you realize it -- that make the case for the spread of nuclear weapons, because I tell you this, if Iran had nuclear weapons now, he would not dare to attack it. So, actually, Bush is encouraging the spread, and when he went to India the other day, which isn't a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he signed an agreement. So, I mean, the thing is total hypocrisy. I think if we could get that clear, then we can consider how we deal with the situation that faces us.

. . . I was Energy Minister in 1976, thirty years ago, and I had three hours with the Shah in Iran. The Shah, as you know, had been put there by the C.I.A. They got rid of Mosaddeq, the very courageous Iranian leader, and they put the Shah on the throne. And when I was there, the Americans were pushing me to give nuclear technology to the Shah. And indeed, President Gerald Ford, with Cheney as one of his very junior officials, and I rather think Wolfowitz involved as well, was trying to get Iran to adopt nuclear power.

. . . those three statements [Vice President Dick Cheney's, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's on Iran's nuclear program] would justify Iran going to the Security Council and making a complaint that those three statements constituted a threat to them and a threat to world peace. Now, of course, with the veto, would never get it through, but that is something that if it were the other way round, supposing Iranian ministers had made that statement, Bush would have made a preemptive strike.

. . . and there are far more explicit statements than that from the Israelis and from others - if you're under attack, or threatened attack, I suppose it's reasonable to say, "If you attack me, there will be consequences." Now, don't think I'm defending Ahmadinejad, who has made some statements that have been very unhelpful, but this is all being built up.

Remember when Colin Powell went to the Security Council and said he had pictures of mobile biological laboratories, a complete lie, and it's a terrible thing to say, but I no longer feel under any obligation to believe what my own prime minister says. I've never - I've disagreed with prime ministers in the past. But I do not feel we are told the truth, and I don't think the President tells the truth, and we are being moved into a situation rather like Iraq, where, you remember, they went to the U.N. Security Council, couldn't get support, so they attacked, anyway, and if I were the Iranians, I would be very concerned.

I broadcast to Iran about once a week, and I say to them exactly what I'm saying to you, and I think there is a danger. I don't think the United States plans to invade Iran, but to bomb it. And when they complain that Iran is involved in Iraq, well, who really is involved in Iraq? United States and Britain have occupied the country, and then they say Iran is providing some support for the Shias. . . .

We never say about Guantanamo Bay the truth, which is that America has kidnapped these people and is holding them as hostages. We say it when the Iraqis seize people, but there's been a kidnapping of all of these people by the United States, and they're held outside international law.

. . . Brian Haw is a very principled man. He's been there, and his revolutionary slogans say things like, "Don't kill children." "Love thy neighbor as thyself," from the Bible, but this so worried the government that they introduced an act of Parliament with the incredible title, the Serious Crime and Disorder Act. So it is now a serious crime and disorder to say, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," within yards of Parliament.


[Tony Benn was a Cabinet minister in the Wilson and Callaghan governments from 1964 - 79, as Minister of Technology, Secretary of State for both Industry and Energy and President of the Council of European Energy ministers in 1977.]

"The world's nuclear arsenal," BBC News, May 2, 2000

"NUCLEAR WEAPONS DATABASE," Center for Defense Information, February 3, 2003

Harold Pinter, "The Nobel Lecture,", December 7, 2005

Enver Masud, "Iran Has an 'Inalienable Right' to Nuclear Energy," The Wisdom Fund, January 16, 2006

Patrick J. Buchanan, "Bush Blows Hole Through Non-Proliferation Treaty,", March 8, 2006

[Developing a new weapon would also, according to expert advice from Cherie Booth's Matrix chambers, be a material breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. . . .

"The Trident missiles will last for another 20 years," he said. "Who on earth are we going to take on with them anyway? Replacing them wrecks any standing we have when we preach non-proliferation to countries like Iran. . . .

The FPC report says that Britain's independent deterrent is an illusion. The missiles are stored in the United States and have to be collected by a British submarine before it goes on patrol."--Michael Smith, "Revealed: UK develops secret nuclear warhead," Sunday Times, March 12, 2006]

[Last week, former Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said in Washington that the West does have a military option against Iran and that a joint US-NATO-Israeli air strike against dozens of nuclear facilities in Iran could set back Teheran's nuclear programs for several years.--Nathan Guttman, "US monitoring Israel's Iran options," Jerusalem Post, March 13, 2006]

"US backs first-strike attack plan," BBC News, March 16, 2006

[It is obvious that Bush intends to attack Iran and that he will use every means to bring war about.--Paul Craig Roberts, "Is Another 9/11 in the Works?,", March 16, 2006]

Gordon Prather, "Washington: The Biggest NPT Violator,", March 18, 2006

[Nuclear Weapons: Their use, or the threat of their use, necessarily constitutes state terrorism. They are the only real "weapon of mass destruction."

The second thing to remember is that they are absolutely indispensable to any nation that wishes to maintain even the kind of sovereignty still available in our ever smaller and more interconnected modern world. . . .

Sadly, the NPT provides the perfect mechanism for leveraging the minor issue of Iran's potential nuclear program into a trumped-up confrontation with the rest of the world, thereby creating the route by which the U.S. will manipulate the UN into (ultimately) providing the minimal cover it needs for its military confrontation with Iran.--Randal Mark, "Nonproliferation: From Noble Lie to Pretext for War,", March 21, 2006]

["The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and recalls the right of States Party, in conformity with articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination."--Gordon Prather, "Neo-Crazy Plans for Iran,", April 15, 2006]

Hans Blix, "Don't forget those other 27,000 nukes," International Herald Tribune, June 8, 2006

[Among the committee's assertions is that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at its facility in the town of Natanz. The IAEA called that "incorrect," noting that weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under IAEA monitoring. . . .

The report's author, Fredrick Fleitz, is a onetime CIA officer and special assistant to John R. Bolton--Dafna Linzer, "UN Inspectors Dispute Iran Report By House Panel," Washington Post, September 14, 2006]

[The National Nuclear Security Administration announced on Friday that it had selected a design by the California-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). It would be the first of a new generation of secure and reliable nuclear warheads initially intended for the Navy's submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles. . . .

Sen. Dianne Feinstein . . . questioned how other countries would view the U.S. effort to develop new nuclear weapons at the same time that the United States is pushing Iran, North Korea and other countries to drop nuclear weapons programs.--Walter Pincus, "Nuclear Warhead Plan Draws Opposition," Washington Post, March 4, 2007]

Frida Berrigan, "The United States' Nuclear Hypocrisy,", March 8, 2007

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