West of Scotland – NATO ‘Playground’

NATO’s military exercise ‘Joint Warrior’ held last month over a two week period appears to have passed off without incident although in the past the exercises have provoked protests from fishermen and environmentalists.

Joint Warrior exercise are usually held twice yearly however this year apparently the Highlands and West of Scotland will get a respite because with NATO forces committed fully to the defence of Western Europe it appears they will not have enough capacity to ‘play soldiers’ in the Autumn.

In the past Joint Warrior has caused extensive environmental damage not just to Marine life with pods of whales being driven ashore but also due to wildlife damage caused by large heath fires following live firing exercises in the Cape Wrath area.

This year again live firing played a major role for participants particularly the United States Navy. Bizarrely the USN have been precluded from carrying out such exercises at home and following protests ranges in Puerto Rico were closed to them. Apparently however Scotland and its environment is immune from such concern!

It is to be hoped that MSPs from the Scottish Greens or SNP have the wherewithal to ask the MOD to carry out both pre and post environmental impact assessments that is of course unless they favour Scotland’s environment being ‘trashed’ by NATO! In the longer term perhaps Scots will have the  ‘cohones’ the Puerto Ricans have shown.

Image: Although a US territory angry Islanders on Puerto Rico brought 60 years use of the Vieques ranges by the US Navy to a halt via protest. Thousands were arrested and Islanders even rejected cash to keep the range it closed in 2003. Meanwhile Scotland is still a NATO playground.

Bernard Moffatt

pp Celtic League Military Monitoring

May 11th 2018

 

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