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Committee for No Defense
By Alexis Amory and Michael Tremoglie
January 13, 2003


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162 Holloway Road
London N7 8DQ
URL: Website
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)'s Visual Map

  • Anti-nuclear weapons group based in United Kingdom
  • Opposed American, but not Soviet, nuclear weapons arsenals during the Cold War
  • Opposes U.S. development of missile defense system

The United Kingdom-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) defines itself as an organization that "campaigns non-violently to rid the world of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction and to create genuine security for future generations." More specifically, it seeks to "change government policies to bring about the elimination of British nuclear weapons as a major contribution to global abolition …”

Funded by its members and supporters, CND has national offices representing England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, as well as local and regional groups located throughout the United Kingdom. It is part of the Abolition 2000 antiwar coalition.

CND was formed in 1958 when the United States, under the aegis of NATO,  placed several of its fleet submarines and intermediate-range missiles in Britain to counter possible Warsaw Pact aggression. Leftist author and playwright J.B. Priestley wrote an article in The New Statesman urging Britain's unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deterrent. This motivated the leftwing British intelligentsia to form CND. Philosopher Bertrand Russell was its first President.

Most of the founders of CND were loyal supporters of the Soviet Union, and one executive was cooperating with East German intelligence. Vic Allen, a former Leeds University economics professor, passed confidential information about CND to East German intelligence officers and manipulated the peace movement into taking a Soviet-friendly line.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, CND called for unilateral Western disarmament as a gesture of goodwill to the Soviet bloc, and participated in demonstrations protesting America's establishment of NATO defensive bases in Britain.

In October 2002, CND asked the High Court in Britain to declare that it would be contrary to international law for Britain to go to war against Iraq without a fresh United Nations Resolution. At about the same time,  Labour Party members of CND supported a House of Commons motion condemning missile defense and demanding that Britain not take part in the development of such a system, which it characterized as "a new threat to stability and peace," and "a system designed for control and domination." Opposition to missile defense remains one of CND's highest priorities.

Other ongoing CND campaigns include opposition to the Trident Missile; support for British withdrawal from NATO; opposition to a British civil nuclear power program; and opposition to the War in Iraq. This latter (anti-war) campaign is divided into three parts: (a) CND has set up an online petition to “Release Muhsin al-Khafaji,” an Iraqi writer who, since 2004, “has been held without charge or trial in [a] U.S.-run prison" under "notoriously bad conditions"; (b) In conjunction with the organization Military Families Against the War, CND encourages visitors to its website to sign an online petition "demanding a full public inquiry into the Iraq war"; and (c) CND's "Count the Casualties" campaign urges the public to "ask the government to commission a comprehensive, independent inquiry to determine how many Iraqis have died or been injured since the 2003 invasion."



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