Welsh Peace campaigners welcome St Athan Military Academy delay

Cynefin y Werin/ Common Ground
All Wales Network for Peace and Justice
press release 11th October 2008 from Jill Gough
press office: t: 0845 313 8 414 m: 07704 67 57 87

Welsh Campaigners Welcome St Athan Standstill
Those working to halt the building of the proposed
Military Academy at St Athan have welcomed this week's
announcement by defence minister Bob Ainsworth that the
decision whether or not to go ahead with the St Athan
Military 'Academy' will not be made until Spring 2009
- and the contract not to be signed until 15 months
later (1).

While peace and justice campaigners remain resolute
in their campaign to stop the St Athan White Elephant
completely, they consider this hold-up to
be a partial victory in their campaign against
the militarisation of Wales
and the privatisation of the armed forces.

Campaigners against the academy are opposed to
the proposed furthering of the already
over-militarisation of Wales to create 'a place of excellence'
(sic) for new military techniques such as 'remote killing'
using satellite, computer spying and targeting of missiles
and unmanned military vehicle technology.

CND Cymru Chair Jill Evans has opposed the proposals for
St Athan since their inception. St Athan Academy represents
a publically funded privatisation of military training
which would be available to any regime or private company
with the ready cash to pay, and would lock Wales in to a
reliance on the manufacture and sale of armaments.

The St Athan military training proposal is also already
having a'militarising' effect on the curriculum of
educational institutions in South Wales and of the Open
University (2).

At a commemoration ceremony at Penyberth, Lleyn this
September, Dafydd Iwan said:"Wales is recognised for its
traditions of peace and reconciliation. I want
to see those traditions continue, and for us to become
a driving force for peace in the world, a task for which
we have the skills and the potential.

"Instead the British government would make us the centre
of training for war, putting that training in the hands
of multinational arms companies. Itis important that
the facts are revealed. "

"We are opposed to the privatisation of military training." (3)
Visitors to the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff this summer
overwhelmingly expressed shame and disgust at the idea
of the military educational establishment which would be
the biggest PFI deal in Wales, do nothing to
address the causes of conflict in the world and promote
international economic bullying that does not serve the
poor and needy.

This week's news have caused speculation that by the
spring of 2009, the deepening financial crisis may have
made it even less likely that the St Athan Military Academy
project will actually go ahead. Despite the credit
crunch, energy crisis and threat of global warming our
Government and its supporters continue to lack the long
term principles and vision necessary to
make the future safer for future generations.

Peace, justice and environmental campaigners are deeply
concerned that as sustainability is a core value for
government in Wales, then this aspiration has been
completely ignored in the rush to hand money over
to multinational arms dealers and their friends.

1. Hansard: House of Commons 9th October 2008 Column
453 Mr. Ainsworth:

"Hon. Members will be aware that progress on defence
training review package

1 has been more difficult and prolonged than expected.
However, I can report
that considerable progress has
been made in driving down costs and towards

achieving an affordable, value-for-money package 1,
which is on track for an
investment decision next spring,
with the contract signature to come

approximately 15 months later."

2. "The development of the Defence Training Academy at St. Athan
would have implications for the Education service. These
ranged from planning and providing school places to the
potential development of new curriculum
pathways for 14-19. This would need to feature in the
work of the Committee for the foreseeable future."
Vale of Glamorgan Scrutiny Committee January 21

3. Jill Evans MEP and Dafydd Iwan joined Rev. Guto Prys ap
Gwynfor to light a flame of peace at Penyberth, near Pwllheli
in September this year. The event commemorated the fire lit
by Saunders Lewis, Rev. Lewis Valentine and DJ Davies to stop
the building of a bombing school there in 1936. The event
sent a clear message to the politicians in Cardiff Bay and
London of the need to oppose the proposed military academy
at St Athan.



4.Cynefin y Werin (Common Ground) is an all Wales network of
organisations which promotes equality, peace, justice, human
rights and co-operation between nations, peoples and communities
on the basis of sustainable environmental, economic and
social development. See

Groups active on this campaign include CND Cymru,
Cymdeithas y Cymod and the No2St Athan Military Academy
For interviews or more information contact:

Jill Gough National Secretary CND Cymru: 0845 313 8 414
(until 11am) 07704
675787 after 1pm e: heddwch@cndcymru.org

Dafydd Iwan : Saturday am 07984 202 922
Jill Evans MEP CND Cymru Chair: 01443 434 232 or 07803 902 401

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