British Pugwash https://britishpugwash.org Mon, 02 Dec 2019 11:27:02 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 https://i0.wp.com/britishpugwash.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/bpico.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 British Pugwash https://britishpugwash.org 32 32 146896316 Help a Young Pugwashite get to Doha 2020! https://britishpugwash.org/help-a-young-pugwashite-get-to-doha-2020/ Mon, 02 Dec 2019 11:15:49 +0000 https://britishpugwash.org/?p=4759

Student/Young Pugwash (SYP) UK is raising money to support one of its members to represent SYP UK at the next International SYP Conference, in Doha (Qatar) in early 2020.

The 11th International SYP Conference (here) will bring together young scholars and professionals from around the word to discuss their ideas for the future of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. …

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Student/Young Pugwash (SYP) UK is raising money to support one of its members to represent SYP UK at the next International SYP Conference, in Doha (Qatar) in early 2020.

The 11th International SYP Conference (here) will bring together young scholars and professionals from around the word to discuss their ideas for the future of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. 

SYP UK already has links with SYP members in Russia, the Middle East, Asia and beyond. It is essential that we maintain and expand this network during this politically turbulent period and the ISYP 2020 conference is a great opportunity to help us do this.

The SYP UK representative will also have the opportunity to attend the ‘senior’ International Pugwash Conference 2020, which immediately follows the youth conference (more info here).
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To chip in, please visit SYP UK’s fundraising page below:
https://www.gofundme.com/f/j5c3tr


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Details

  • The ISYP Conference is from 28th to 29th February in Doha, Qatar.
  • The conference provides room and board, kindly donated by the Government of Qatar.
  • SYP UK is raising £400 to cover the travel costs of an SYP UK member to attend this conference.
  • The GoFundMe crowdfunding page is online here
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Major General Sir Hugh Beach – some Pugwash recollections 2002-2019 https://britishpugwash.org/major-general-sir-hugh-beach-some-pugwash-recollections-2002-2019/ Mon, 11 Nov 2019 09:38:00 +0000 https://britishpugwash.org/?p=4731 By Dr Christopher Watson, BPG Exec Committee

Hugh Beach, who died on 4 September 2019, was born on 23 May 1923 to Constance and William H Beach (who was latterly a Major-General & engineer-in-chief of the Indian Army).…

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By Dr Christopher Watson, BPG Exec Committee

Hugh Beach, who died on 4 September 2019, was born on 23 May 1923 to Constance and William H Beach (who was latterly a Major-General & engineer-in-chief of the Indian Army). Hugh was educated at Winchester and Peterhouse, Cambridge (getting Firsts in both parts of the Mechanical Science Tripos). In August 1941, he joined the army (Royal Engineers), and had distinguished active service in WW2, and then rose through a series of  senior operational and staff posts to become Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the United Kingdom Land Forces 1976-77 and then Master General of the Ordnance (Army Board member for Procurement) from 1977-81. Retiring from the army in 1981, he became Warden of St. George’s House Windsor Castle 1981-86, and Director of the Council for Arms Control 1986-89.

Throughout this whole period he took a strong interest in International Affairs, and lectured and contributed chapters to over two dozen books, as well as publishing a number of monographs, articles and book reviews. These were mainly on defence policy, arms control and disarmament, but they also raised ethical issues concerning war and peace. In 1999 he co-authored, with Nadine Gurr, a book on British nuclear weapons policy. He never had technical responsibility for these weapons during his army career, but nuclear matters were necessarily built into the tactical planning and exercises for which Hugh was responsible.

By pure coincidence, he and I were both elected to the Executive Committee of the British Pugwash Group on the same day – 19 April 2002. Our backgrounds could hardly have been more different. He came from a military family, and he had strong links with the UK nuclear weapons establishment, as well as those of a Pugwash persuasion. I came from the Oxford theoretical physics Department. After Hugh and I met each other in 2002, we rapidly developed a lifelong friendship, and we collaborated on many Pugwash-related projects. Below are just a few examples of Hugh’s output during his time as an active Pugwash member.

In 2003 Hugh circulated to the BPG a draft Report on ‘Tactical Nuclear Weapons’ inviting comments. I drew his attention to my National Service experience of ferrying an atomic cannon across the Rhine, and writing an essay on the use that I would make of having such a weapon at my disposal. Hugh was suitably horrified at the responsibilities that the army gave to a young subaltern in those days. ‘It makes my blood run cold’. He was convinced that such weapons had no value in modern warfare.

Later that year, Hugh circulated a paper he had written onThe concept of Preventive War: Old wine in a new wineskin”, discussing the evolution from mediaeval thinking to current ideas (eg the use of ‘preventive strikes’ to counter terrorist threats and WMD proliferation). In a subsequent lecture on “Military intervention and the Just War”, he extended the discussion to include suicide bombers and concepts such as ‘proportionate force’ or ‘humanitarian intervention’.

In 2004, the UK government started to make public its discussions with the US about Trident replacement. Hugh participated in internal BPG discussions, helping us to formulate new arguments. Early in 2006 he circulated a draft contribution to a book on ‘Trident Replacement’ for which he had written a chapter, highlighting the existing British Trident system’s dependence on US support. Within BPG, drafting started on a paper called “A time to phase out the UK nuclear deterrent?” 

This led to a joint Pugwash/Chatham House meeting on Trident, at which Hugh was chosen to chair a session and present a paper on ‘Trident: the options – Ethical, Legal and Social’. The joint meeting was attended by senior representatives from Parliament and NGOs, though not by anyone from the Government.

In 2007, BPG decided to set up an independent BPG project on the management of the UK stockpile of Pu. Hugh agreed to be a member of the project working group. The final version of the report on this project was printed in 2008, and published at a presentation co-hosted with Vertic. A press release for this meeting prompted an item in the BBC news that evening, and a later government response.

Between 2007 and 2011 International interest in the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons grew. The starting-point was a letter by the US ‘gang of four’ (Shultz, Perry, Kissinger and Nunn), endorsed by Gorbachev, and shortly followed by a UK ‘gang of four’ (Rifkind, Hurd, Owen & Robertson) letter in the Times. Perhaps responding to these shifts in the wind, in 2008, Hugh circulated a draft paper on the ‘Uselessness of Nuclear Weapons’,which hesubsequently re-named as “What price nuclear blackmail?”

An unforeseen outcome of these developments was that MoD began discussions with Pugwash on a possible collaboration on various aspects of nuclear weapon disarmament. The first topic to be selected by MoD was a peer review of work in progress or planned within MoD on the verification of Nuclear Weapon dismantlement. After some delays while we obtained security clearance for a team of five (including Hugh), the work at AWE on verification was presented to us and we were allowed to see some of the equipment being developed. Much of this was to implement an ‘information barrier’ between the weapon and inspectors, so they could not access information about the design of the weapon, which according to MoD would be a violation of the NPT. After our briefing Hugh wrote to me wondering whether the UK could allow MoD to relax its interpretation of the NPT on this.

During 2013 he participated in a debate in the media over the future of the ‘British Deterrent’, writing articles with titles such as the “Flaws in the argument for British Trident” and “How would Britain fare as a non-nuclear weapon state?” He attempted to get a summary of his views published in the Telegraph as a letter to the Editor in April 2013, but this was turned down. However essentially the same letter was published in The Times a few days later with what he modestly called ‘star treatment’.

In 2014 he wrote an article which was published by RUSI, titled “The UK’s Nuclear Deterrent”,which sought to rebut the arguments for maintaining a British deterrent indefinitely. He circulated this to BPG friends with the words “my swansong I suspect” or “probably my last effusion”. Shortly thereafter he moved from his home in London to an Anglican retirement home – The College of St Barnabas in Lingfield.

Hugh Beach was a very private man, except in the specialised world of nuclear weapons policy. In our e-mail correspondence over 17 years we exchanged over 2000 messages, but only a handful related to his deeply-held religious beliefs – eg. he sent me anarticle he published in the Clarion about Edward Reynolds, a distinguished 17th century Anglican divine, who wrote the General Thanksgiving prayer. Reynolds was a Fellow and later Warden of Merton College and (briefly) Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, before being dismissed by Parliament in 1650 for his refusal to subscribe to its Presbytarian doctrines, but after the restoration of the monarchy was re- elected as Warden of Merton. Hugh also sent me a long and passionate article entitled “the Hydropolitics of Palestine” which he had written about the religiously-motivated tensions in the Middle East.

Hugh was a very reliable supporter of British Pugwash, participating fully in the work of its Executive Committee, and contributing incisively to its thinking on world affairs. He will be much missed.



Obituaries: There were two obituaries in the national press: in The Times (here) and The Telegraph (here). Unfortunately, both of these pieces are ‘behind the paywall’.

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Multimedia available – Ethical Science? – Nottingham University – 23rd October 2019 https://britishpugwash.org/multimedia-available-ethical-science-nottingham-university-23rd-october-2019/ Wed, 06 Nov 2019 17:36:43 +0000 https://britishpugwash.org/?p=4720 British Pugwash co-hosted with University of Nottingham Physics Department a mini-conference about ethical issues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The conference was open to all ages and disciplines. The agenda is below.…

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British Pugwash co-hosted with University of Nottingham Physics Department a mini-conference about ethical issues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The conference was open to all ages and disciplines. The agenda is below.

The conference was reviewed by Nottingham’s Professor Philip Moriarty (here) in a blog post titled ‘Some down-to-earth, blue sky thinking’.

Ethical science?

Wed 23rd October, UoN


1 – 1.55pm: Early days of Pugwash – Concerned Cold War scientists

Speakers: Ambassador Peter Jenkins (Chair of British Pugwash) on global nuclear politics; Emeritus Professor John Finney, Physics, UCL, on our founder Sir Jo Rotblat and the foundational ideas of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.

John’s PPT slides can be found here

2 – 3.15pm: Workshop 1: Ethics of energy production – Nuclear & Green New Deal

Dr Ian Crossland (Independent Consultant at IAEA) on the pros and cons of nuclear power; Sam Harris, Labour Party activist, on the ‘Green New Deal’

Dr Crossland’s presentation (video) can be found here

3.15 – 3.45pm: Refreshments

3.45 – 4.55pm: Workshop 2: Technologies of war and peace 

Laura Nolan (International Committee on Robot Arms Control, formerly Google) on ‘Killer Robots’; Anuradha Damale (Verification Research, Training and Information Centre) on nuclear weapons verification programmes

Laura Nolan’s presentation (video) can be found here

5.00pm – 6pm: Closing discussion – The Lucas Plan – Arms to Renewables?

Tony Simpson (Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation) on the experiences of the Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards Committee and Mike Cooley’s ideas of ‘Socially Useful Production’

Tony showed the trailer of a new film about the Lucas Plan, which can be found online here


Collected multimedia:

  • Prof Finney on Pugwash history and Jo Rotblat’s life and goals – Slides – here
  • Dr Crossland on the pros and cons of nuclear power – Video – here
  • Laura Nolan on autonomous weapons (‘Killer Robots’) – Video – here
  • Prof Moriarty’s summary of the conference – Blog – here
  • A trailer of The Plan (new film about the Lucas Plan) – Video here

Location

C27 Lecture Theatre, Physics, University Park campus (University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD)

Information

For more information, please email syp@britishpugwash.org

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[SOLD OUT] The End of Nuclear Weapons? (28th Nov, KCL) https://britishpugwash.org/the-end-of-nuclear-weapons/ Fri, 25 Oct 2019 14:30:56 +0000 https://britishpugwash.org/?p=4694

Unfortunately, due to high demand, tickets are no longer available for this event.

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British Pugwash will screen the new, hour-long documentary – The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons – about the ideas and campaigners behind the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons.…

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Unfortunately, due to high demand, tickets are no longer available for this event.

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British Pugwash will screen the new, hour-long documentary – The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons – about the ideas and campaigners behind the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons.

Trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3_bKtdtqRM&t=1s

Following this, Dr Salma Shaheen (War Studies, KCL) will chair a discussion between two Pugwash members: BASIC’s Paul Ingram (a friendly critic of the Treaty) and KCL’s Dr Lyndon Burford (Treaty supporter)

This is a public event – Open to ALL!

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Time/Date: 6pm to 8pm, Thurs 28th November 2019

The venue is Room K3.11, King’s Building, Strand Campus, The Strand, London, WC2R 2LS

Register free here: https://ban-treaty-kcl.eventbrite.co.uk

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Background on the ‘Nuclear Ban Treaty’ – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_the_Prohibition_of_Nuclear_Weapons

Dr Shaheen’s latest book – Nuclear Command and Control Norms – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nuclear-Command-Control-Norms-Comparative/dp/1138349291

Dr Burford’s staff page – KCL – https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/dr-lyndon-burford

Paul Ingram’s staff page – British American Security Information Council – https://basicint.org/our-staff/paul-ingram/

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Ethics of Biotech – 17th Oct – Warwick Pugwash event https://britishpugwash.org/ethics-of-biotech-17th-oct-warwick-pugwash-event/ Mon, 07 Oct 2019 16:15:07 +0000 https://britishpugwash.org/?p=4687 Warwick Pugwash Student Society (WPSS) welcomes Dr. Simon Jenkins for a discussion about recent discoveries in the field of biotechnology and gene editing, and the ethical concerns that arise around them.…

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Warwick Pugwash Student Society (WPSS) welcomes Dr. Simon Jenkins for a discussion about recent discoveries in the field of biotechnology and gene editing, and the ethical concerns that arise around them.

After the event, attendees will go to Terrace Bar to continue the conversation.

There will be free pizza during the talk.

All welcome!

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British Pugwash Newsletter – August 2019 https://britishpugwash.org/british-pugwash-newsletter-august-2019/ Mon, 23 Sep 2019 13:39:44 +0000 https://britishpugwash.org/?p=4662 Topics covered in the British Pugwash Autumn 2019 Newsletter include:

  • Ethical Science Mini-Conference: Nottingham, All welcome!
  • Tehran meeting on JCPOA: Pugwash delegation to Iran
  • Training day – DIY Media – Create compelling video!
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Topics covered in the British Pugwash Autumn 2019 Newsletter include:

  • Ethical Science Mini-Conference: Nottingham, All welcome!
  • Tehran meeting on JCPOA: Pugwash delegation to Iran
  • Training day – DIY Media – Create compelling video!
  • Hypersonic missiles and strategic stability: Geneva workshop
  • ‘Drones, swarming and the future of warfare’: Pugwash at APPG
  • Salisbury poisonings one year on: Multimedia from public lecture
  • Prospects of robotic warfare / COMEST report: J. Finney in SGR journal

The newsletter can be found online here

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