Socialist Worker

We'd better nuke them to save them

Issue No. 1861

'TO SAVE the village it was necessary to destroy it,' was one of the most sickening phrases to emerge from the mouths of US army spokesmen during the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

Now it seems Winston Churchill's government and armed forces carried this logic to even greater heights back in the 1950s.

They planned to destroy the whole of West Germany in a series of nuclear fireballs in order to 'save' it from Russian occupation in the event of war. Declassified army documents have revealed the sickening planning behind what they dubbed Operation Blue Peacock.

The British planned to bury ten giant nuclear mines across West Germany, and detonate them if Russia occupied. The weapons were designed to cause massive destruction, killing millions. They would also have caused huge radioactive contamination across the country, turning it into a nuclear desert.

Nuclear historian David Hawkings revealed the plan. He used to work at the official Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, and uncovered the nuclear mines plan in recently declassified documents.

Development work on the mines began in 1954 and was abandoned in 1958. The government panicked over the reaction to possible leaks about its plans to plant the nuclear devices in an allied country.

In the frame - No. 20 Roman Abramovich

THE Russian billionaire who has just bought Chelsea Football Club is closely linked to president Vladimir Putin, the butcher of Chechnya. He financed Putin's election bid in 2000. Abramovich is governor of the Russian province of Chukota. He owns Sibneft, Russia's fifth largest oil company.

Train firm's Cornish porkie

GNER RAILWAYS has been forced to scrap a major newspaper ad for its high speed trains. The ads for the company's London to Edinburgh trains featured a picture of beautiful coastal scenery. The scene pictured turned out to be several hundred miles from the nearest GNER rail line.

The view was of Stepper Point on the north Cornish coast -300 miles from King's Cross, London, which was the nearest GNER services got.

MPs set one good example

WORKERS in Britain have the longest working hours in Europe, and are being pushed to work even longer. But some are bucking the trend. MPs have managed to slash their working hours over recent years. Since 1998 they have cut one hour and 17 minutes off their working day, which is almost six and a half hours off their working week.

Some pork scratchings

A CHARMING picture of life in the police has emerged from a staff survey of the force in Strathclyde, the biggest in Scotland. Half of the police officers said they had been 'intimidated, embarrassed, humiliated, bullied or harasssed' by colleagues.

More than a third felt they had been discriminated against within the police on grounds of gender, religion, age or ethnic origin. And that's just how they treat each other.

Now it's hello, Mr Chips

NEW LABOUR'S vision for education is big on links between businesses and schools. The result? Look at what McDonald's is up to in British schools. In one sponsorship scheme teachers are being sent to work behind the counter in McDonald's.

The junk food firm says teachers can 'earn' money for school funds by serving up burgers, fries and milkshakes as part of what it calls a 'menu of opportunity'. McDonald's is also organising a series of conferences for headteachers. Earlier this month 100 heads in Wakefield heard the US firm lecture them on transferring business methods to schools.

Meanwhile in Canvey Island in Essex children are being offered McDonald's vouchers as a 'bribe' to improve their attendance records.

The 50 students with the best attendance records each term at the Cornelius Vermuyden secondary school are awarded vouchers for Big Macs, fries and a drink. McDonald's is not alone. There have been outcries over a schools book scheme tied to Walkers Crisps and a sports equipment scheme pushed by Cadbury's. Under Blair's regime it seems our schools, our teachers, our children and pretty much everything else are for sale.

If only they got one-way tickets

BLAIR AND his ministers are breaking all records in one area - spending public money on assorted international junkets. The 90-plus New Labour ministers clocked up £5.7 million just on travelling over the last year. Blair himself accounted for almost half, £2.1 million.

Some of these trips were as dodgy as his Iraq dossiers. He spent £2,837 on a trip to Madrid to attend the wedding of the daughter of the right wing Spanish prime minister, José Maria Aznar. The trip was Blair's personal favour to his mate, so why should we foot the bill?

Other top travellers included Jack Straw, who managed a £366,911 bill, in a desperate bid to seem important. And former cabinet minister Clare Short also managed to run up a travel bill of £179,301. She travelled the globe in search of her conscience, before finally quitting Blair's cabinet.

Figure it out

1.62 billion - The cost in pounds of the new GCHQ spy centre being built in Cheltenham. The new HQ was planned in 1997 to cost just £40 million. More unreliable evidence from the British intelligence services.

Who says?

'We gave him [Saddam Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.'
George Bush speaking last Tuesday on reasons for going to war - ignoring that in fact the weapons inspectors WERE allowed into Iraq

'We admit there were some mistakes made in the shipments, such as sending a snowplough to Iraq.'
US Major Jan Brinck

'I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are.'
Ari Fleischer US White House spokesman stands logic on its head

'The picture Gordon Brown painted was of us sailing close to the edge of a waterfall. We now know the good times are over.'
Cabinet minister on Brown's warning to all ministers not to ask for any more public money

'I'm not concerned about weapons of mass destruction.'
Paul Wolfowitz US deputy defence secretary and one of the architects of the war on Iraq

'He is a man who doesn't really know who he is - a psychopath capable of reinventing himself.'
Peter Dunn writer in the New Statesman magazine on Blair's state of mind

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 26 Jul 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1861
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