UK Whistleblower Says Britain's Nuclear Deterrent a Disaster Waiting to Happen
by Stephen Lendman
Britain's media are all over the story. Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly published an 18-page report
called "The Secret Nuclear Threat."
He's an engineering technician weapons engineer submariner for Britain's Trident II D5 strategic weapons system aboard the HMS Victorious. He faces imprisonment for violating Britain's Official Secrets Act.
"The worst fear for me isn't prison or being assassinated," he said. "(I)t's the fear of sacrificing everything I have just to warn the public and yet never be heard."
"We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking," he maintains. "(A)nd yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public."
"If we don't act now, lives could be lost for generations." He calls Britain's nuclear weapons systems "extreme" because of negligent security lapses.
His top secret clearance gives him access to sensitive information. He revealed how easy it is for intruders, terrorists, contractors and others to enter secured areas - easier than entering "most nightclubs," he said.
"You can carry anything through the security checkpoints without it being checked," he claimed.
He maintains "a complete lack of security" exists. "If airport security and nuclear weapons security were both compared to prisons, the airport would be Alcatraz and base security would be house arrest."
His key claims include:
- missile launch tests failed on three occasions;
- collision with French nuclear submarine covered up;
- failure to carry out security checks on bags and other personal belongings;
- computer waste representing a major fire risk;
- missile safety alarms muted and ignored;
- accidental flooding of torpedo compartment; and
- failure to question recording of top secret information.
McNeilly calls lack of Trident security "the biggest threat the UK faces." He released "selected information only to avoid damaging security further."
He published his report because "it's the only way (he could) make sure it gets out." He "raised concerns through the chain of command on multiple occasions" and got nowhere.
A UK Defense Ministry statement said "(t)he Royal Navy takes security and nuclear safety extremely seriously and we are fully investigating both the issue of the unauthorised release of this document and its contents."
"The naval service operates its submarine fleet under the most stringent safety regime and submarines do not go to sea unless they are completely safe to do so."
Not according to McNeilly. He stands by claiming Trident is a "disaster waiting to happen." Others agree, he says, but haven't gone public.
He went AWOL after publishing his report. On Monday, UK media said he'd turn himself in within hours. He's done so. He's held at a military base in Scotland.
On Monday, he posted a Facebook comment saying he "moved between countries, changed location almost every day, (now) lacks the resources to remain undetected. I will be handing myself into the police today."
"(O)ther people need to start coming forward," he said in his report - the only way to avoid a major disaster, he believes.
"It's just a matter of time before we're infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist," he said. "There were some people that I served with on patrol who showed clear psychopathic tendencies."
Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament co-coordinator John Ainslie said "(h)e should be commended for his action, not hounded by the Royal Navy."
"He has exposed the fact that Trident is a catastrophe waiting to happen - by accident, an act of terrorism or sabotage."
Scottish National Party MP Angus Robertson called for a full Royal Navy explanation and remedial action, saying:
"These revelations, if true, are extremely concerning. It reads as a nightmare catalogue of serious safety breaches."
"Failure to follow standard safety procedures is unacceptable in any workplace but on a Trident submarine on patrol it could result in extreme tragedy, not just for those on board but indeed for the entire planet."
If McNeilly is right, what does it say about nuclear weapons systems of other nations - notably America's deployed worldwide.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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