• Short Summary

    Description not available

  • Description


    Bertrand Russell



    "We are gathered here today to accuse this Government and its official spokesmen of preparing global butchery. We have learned a great lesson from this trial. The Official Secrets Act has been used and a grave charge brought against six courageous citizens of the country. It is difficult to find words to express the outrage of this Government accusing THESE people of acting in a manner prejudicial to the interest and safety of the State. This is the Government preparing nuclear tests. Nuclear tests will kill millions of people of many generations. This is the Government which bases its so-called security on the readiness and the willingness to incinerate hundreds of millions. This is the Government which declares that only its officials are entitled to decide on what is in the interest and safety of the State. The lesson we have learned is that this Government will debase the British system of legal justice. It will try people on serious charges and deny them the right to defend themselves. It will exclude expert witnesses and it will declare matters of fact irrelevant. The doctrine enunciated by the judge and by the Attorney-General is an explicitly totalitarian doctrine. Only the state, they say, can judge. Only the state can be listened to. Conscience, morality, the welfare of the population - these are all irrelevant. This is the mentality which made Buchenwald possible, which operated it, and which was capable of being proud of it.



    Friends. People of Britain. Our civilization and our country is in mortal danger. We who seek to preserve life and who oppose mass murder are the only ones who have the right to invoke the history of our country and its traditions. We have before us the testimony of an Air Commodore who declares that there is no order he will not obey. He has said that he would press a button which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of men and women. He is a willing servant of a ruthless and a brutal Government. That is the truth. In the world of Air Commodore Magill, Eichmann is another word for Everyman. It won't do. We can not lie down before this. We can not be comfortable and complacent with this being said in our name.



    I want to point out today how immediate our danger is. In the United States, 43 per cent of medical discharges from the armed forces are for psychiatric causes but there is no psychological screening for men occupying the most delicate posts concerning rockets, radar, and the nuclear technology. Such men, if in any degree unbalanced are likely in a time of tension to act with fatal rashness. Men considered sane by the American government would not be so considered in a less hysterical atmosphere. It must be borne in mind that these men with their fingers on the buttons can precipitate our end in one afternoon. The rockets which cover our planet on a hair trigger are under their control. The base at Wethersfield, nominally British, is in their control. If we require more confirmation as to the imminence of the danger to life, consider these statements:



    Admiral Radford: "I demand total victory over the Communist system, not stalemate."



    In other words, war.



    General Nathan Twining: "If it were not for the politicians, I would settle the war in one afternoon by bombing Soviet Russia."



    General Orvil Anderson, Director of the Air War College: "I would be happy to bomb Russia, just give me the order to do it."



    That order will be given by a flock of geese, a meteorite, the rising of the moon, or a mad militarist. It will be implemented at Wethersfielf. These statements are the ravings of men in power. They represent our death sentence. The sombre conclusion is that unless the Governments are resisted and are stopped, the chances of human survival are slight.



    That is the nature of the struggle we are conducting. Authority uses righteous language to justify terrible things. The hypocrisy of this makes ever clear the fact that we can not abandon our effort without damaging ourselves, without impairing our integrity. It is my fervent hope that we may awake the populations of East and West to a consciousness of the peril and that in so doing we shall see our movement grow into something overwhelming. That, I am convinced, is the only hope humanity has.



    Linus Pauling, Professor of Chemistry at the Californian Institute of Technology, Foreign Member of the Royal Society, Davey Modal of Royal Society, Mobel Prize for Chemistry, Presidential Medal of Merit.



    An effective understanding of the meaning of preparation for nuclear was is denied the public. As a scientist I have devoted myself to a study of nuclear war, its consequences and the prospects of its occurrence. I drew up a petition which was signed by over 11,000 scientists from all over the world making these facts clear. I have lectured and written and I have campaigned to awake people and Governments to the full meaning of the horror which awaits us all. I consider my evidence to be expert evidence and to be the result of the most thorough and persistent work.



    My estimate of the U.S. nuclear stockpile in 1961 was 100,000 megatons. A megaton is the equivalent of one million tons of T.N.T. The stockpile of the Soviet Union I calculate to be approximately 50,000 megatons. In 1945 the world's stockpile was roughly 100,000 tons of T.N.T. Since that time the magnitude of the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons has doubled EACH YEAR. 150,000 megatons, the probable stockpile at present, corresponds to an average 500 tons of high explosive for each person living on earth. Eight-tenths of one percent of this stockpile possessed by the Soviet Union would cause the death of all life in the British Isles. In a few years, the stockpiles will be tens times as great. There will be hundreds of rockets carrying 100 megaton warheads. Four of these will mean the end of the British people and of Great Britain. An attack on the United States involving one-fifth of the Soviet stockpile of 10,000 megatons would kill outright 94% of the American people. The remaining would be injured and radioactived in an environment of total devastation of rampant disease. If the element Cobalt were added at small cost to these weapons, the resulting radioactive Cobalt 60 would affect every living person. A 500 megaton Cobalt bomb is not expensive. The explosion of these bombs in ratio to the expected percentage of the stockpile used would yield 1,000 roentgen for each human being on our planet. This is twice the amount required to kill a person by acute radiation sickness. This follows from the usage of one-fifteenth of the stockpile now available to the United States and the Soviet Union.



    In my recent appeal to the United Nations I said:



    "The world is now in great danger. A cataclysmic nuclear war may break out because of some terrible accident or of an explosive deterioration in international relations such that even national leaders will be unable to avert the catastrophe."



    I say that we are moving rapidly toward the catastrophe of nuclear war. It is essential that everyone be aware of the magnitude of this catastrophe. Survivors will not remain alive very long in the radioactive wastelands that their countries become. At any given moment this can take place. I say this as a scientist. I say this as a man whose work forces him to examine the probabilities in events. Universal disarmament is now the essential basis for life and liberty for all people.



    When the Soviet Government resumed nuclear testing I made statements pointing out the meaning of this decision. I said that the stockpiles of nuclear weapons now in existence were great enough to destroy the human race. There is no defense against nuclear weapons and increasing the scale of attack can not achieve this. There is no way of limiting war between great powers when great bombs exist and great governments are unrestrained in their militarism. The militaristic action of Governments in resuming tests increase the danger of war enormously. In the name of science I appealed to the Soviet Government not to resume testing. The surface tests conducted has the following consequences: 160,000 children will be born with gross physical and mental defect during the next few generations. The Carbon 14 produced will cause an estimated total of 4,000,000 still births, embryonic, neo-natal or childhood deaths and viable children with physical and mental defect. These 4,000,000 victims will be spread out over some score of generations assuming the human race survives. The fission products will also damage human beings now living in such a way that between 200,000 and 1,000,000 will have their lives cut short by radiation-produced diseases such as leukemia. These numbers apply to the whole world. This results from the exploding of the equivalent of approximately 200 megatons.



    That is the meaning of the Soviet resumption of tests. It compares with the consignment of Jews to the Gas Chambers. The horror of the present world crashes upon us as we speak and state the truth. How is it possible that this sort of alternative to a future of peace, international law and justice can be considered seriously by anyone as a rational alternative. There is no alternative to peace. It is not only the fear of world destruction that forces us to say this. It is also the matter of morality. I believe the people of the world cannot accept the idea of such monstrously immoral action as that involved in waging a nuclear war. Billions will die or undergo agony. Civilisation will end.



    My Government and the British Government will now resume tests. This is premeditated murder of millions of people. I have devoted my life to science and to research. I believe in seeking truth. I can not allow my life's work to be so employed. I came here, interrupting my work to tell the truth. I came to give evidence on what is prejudicial to the safety and interest of mankind. I wish to remind you of the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen States of America of July 4, 1776:



    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness... That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and to institute new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organising its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.."



    I have been a supporter of the Committee of 100 and an international sponsor of the Committee of 100 from its very beginning. I took part in the demonstration of September 17, 1961 and I have never witnessed anything like it. I supported the demonstration at Wethersfield although at the time I was delivering a speech attacking the resumption of Testing by the Soviet Government. I was in Moscow giving that speech and so could not attend. I wish to say to the six defendants and to Pat Pottle who so brilliantly and single-handedly defended humanity against the Governments of the world, "I am with you." "You speak for me." It is not only a privilege to oppose the death of man, it is not only a right to act on conscience and to work for the interest and safety of one's country, it is a moral duty and an imperative responsibility. I came to give evidence in this Trial and my evidence was ruled inadmissable. From across the ocean I extend to you my hand. Every person who comes to a meeting strengthens our cause. Every man who participates in civil disobedience makes our survival that much more likely. The struggle goes on and we shall triumph.



    The following is the text of the statement handed in at Cannon Row Police Station by Earl Russell, President of the Committee of 100, at 8.00 pm on Tuesday 20th February.



    "I hereby affirm that I am at least as responsible for the demonstration at Wethersfield as the six members of the Committee of 100 who have been condemned. I fail to see any reason why I should escape prosecution while they do not."



    (Signed) Bertrand Russell.



    Statement by Earl Russell on the imprisonment of six members of the Committee of 100. Released 7.30 pm February 20th.



    A parody of justice has taken place. The savage sentences on six of my friends are in bitter contrast with the maxim engraved on the Old Bailey walls: "The welfare of the people is the supreme law." The judge ruled inadmissable all evidence, all witnesses, all facts bearing on whether or not the demonstration at Wethersfield was prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state. He then advised the jury that the very issue the defense could not bring up was the major quest on for them to decide. This was not fair trial. It was the victimisation of six courageous men and women for their political views. My friends serve the cause of human survival, of decency, of the very conscience of man. They have acted for tens of thousands in Britain, for tens of millions all over the world, who wish to live. They will not acquiesce in the brutal policies of the Governments of East and West, which are ready to incinerate mankind.



    The judge said to the accused: "You have arrogated to yourselves the right to break any law that you think morally unjustifiable" We have not arrogated to ourselves this right. It is our right. It has been the right of negroes battling for emancipation, of trades unionists in Britain a century ago, of oppressed colonial peoples, of the opponents of Nazism. We shall continue to exercise our right to oppose the destruction of mankind. If it is a crime to protest against indiscriminate murder, then I, my wife and the ninety two other members of the Committee of 100 should be in prison tonight. If my six friends are guilty then so am I. The judge has said that they have come under my influence. If I have influence I shall use it to prepare demonstration after demonstration until the brutal and vindictive men of power yield to our determination to live and to preserve life, or have perished as a result of their own barbarous policies.



    Bertrand Russell.




    Initials


    To All News Editors:
    The following are the texts of the speeches of Bertrand Russell and of the evidence from Professor Linus Pauling and John B. Witchell (which will be read by John Nevelle) for the meeting of the Committee of 100 in Trafalgar Square at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday, 25th February.
    The texts of the speeches of Sir Robert Watson Watt and Vanessa Redgrave will be available to the press from the plynth at Trafalgar Square.

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAAYVCCSH2AXKRQ1GV7MXNJ8YY5
    Media URN:
    VLVAAYVCCSH2AXKRQ1GV7MXNJ8YY5
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    25/02/1962
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:04:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment