Peace campaigners plan new Synod of Whitby

 The Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament will be celebrating St Hilda's Day, on Saturday, 17 November, with a 'New Synod of Whitby'. Based at the Coliseum, in Whitby, Yorkshire, speakers at the two-day conference, will include Rev Barrie Williams, on Celtic Theology and St Hilda, and Lindis Percy, director of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) on the proposed use of RAF Fylingdales, on the North Yorkshire Moors for the US National Missile Defence (NMD). On Saturday afternoon, members will demonstrate against NMD at the main gate of Fylingdales RAF base. On Sunday at 10am, there will be a service at St Mary's church, Whitby, with readings of church statements against NMD. At 12 noon this service will be continued at the gates of Fylingdales. CCND chair Caroline Gilbert said: "The National Missile Defence is the space based system, to shoot down enemy missiles that the US is developing. NMD would break the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty 1972 and increase the danger of nuclear war. The US has always refused to renounce first use of nuclear weapons. This would break the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD); the idea that no NWS would begin a nuclear exchange because of the assured nuclear response. NMD would start a new arms race." She said: "it is totally destabilising of the existing nuclear balance of power. The companies that are planning to construct the NMD system, such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin will make billions of dollars. They have already spent millions on lobbying and to get President Bush elected. Before September 11, President Bush was on target to 'bump up against the ABM Treaty' in November. It is worth pointing out, NMD would have been useless against the attack on the World Trade Centre. "Fylingdales and Menwith Hill, both in Yorkshire are the bases the US wants to use. Yorkshire would then be at greater risk of attack." She concluded: "Churches worldwide have condemned these weapons. The preparedness to use them is not consistent with Jesus' command to love one's neighbour."

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