IN CONVERSATION : STEVE AND EMMA AT RAF WADDINGTON, LINCOLNSHIRE

 

 

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Steve presents some of the fare available at the Sentry Post Snack Bar in Waddington.

 

AUDIO Coming soon

Steve, Emma, and I discuss the threat posed by nuclear weapons at the Sentry Post Snack Bar, Waddington.


TRANSCRIPT

JO: So, I’m in the …. you’re live on the mic … what’s it called? The Wave?

E: The Wave … the Sentry Post Snack Bar … at Waddington

JO: yes .. and it’s Emma speaking …

E: yes …

JO: who kindly gave me a coffee because apparently I looked like I needed it… and next to her is Steve

S: So, I’m Steve … I’m a very regular customer here at the Snack Bar

JO: and you like planes, I understand …

S: [ ] aircraft … absolutely love them …

JO: is that part of the reason you’re down here .. it’s not just the delicious fry-ups

S: a bit of both … delicious fry-ups and aircraft …

JO: and we … I’ve explained what I’m doing a little bit … so you’ve got an idea … I’ve given you the details … but we were just talking about … we got onto … I can’t remember how we got into the nuclear conversation

S: no, I can’t either …

E: I can’t [ ] …

JO: but you said … I mean we are actually standing opposite a vulcan bomber, which I think was designed to carry …

S: which could drop nuclear bombs …

E: yes

JO: but you said you were worried Steve about North Korea in particular?

S: North Korea, yes.

JO: that’s where we started, yes?

S: yes …

JO: you said you don’t like the word ‘nuclear’ …

S: no. I don’t like the word ‘nuclear’.

JO: what does it mean to you?

S: To me, it means destruction … you know, the end .. full stop … to me.

JO: for everyone?

S: for everyone. I think … I mean if … say … you’ve got North Korea … if they … in my opinion, if they let off three nuclear bombs … they pointed one towards America, one to Europe, and then one to Asia, I think that would completely devastate the whole world … it would wipe out all civilian life … you know …

JO: just three … or would it cause a sort of chain reaction of …

S: no, because the way North Korea at the moment are developing with the nuclear weapons and developing nuclear missiles … I think they could easily do a large area of the Earth with just one missile …. the way they are advancing now with nuclear technology … ’cause obviously, you know … they do the nuclear tests underground and that is only just nuclear tests but it’s causing an earthquake throughout the whole of North Korea and South Korea

JO: yes

S: and, also Russia and China feel a bit of it, as well …

JO: yes

S: so, if that’s just a little test …

JO: you think that’s a fraction of what they can achieve if they wanted …

S: so, if they did a full-on nuclear test … well, it would be game over

JO: so, you’re worried … you’re worried just about one power using its weapons … but, of course, it might … it might … as Trump has shot his mouth off, it might cause more than just …

S: definitely ..

E: yes

S: because at the minute, obviously, the relationship between Trump and Vladimir Putin … that’s slowly deteriorating and I think that if you carry on poking Putin with a stick, he’s just going to go “right then, I’ll get my nuclear weapons out” so then you’ve got North Korea who are threatening nuclear weapons, and then, I mean I wouldn’t put it past Putin for him to start using nuclear weapons …

JO: but he would know too … he’s not stupid, is he? He would know that’s game over …

S: true, yes

JO: so I … I mean … it doesn’t mean necessarily that they can’t get caught in a situation where they end up using them but you don’t think their own sort of self-interest is a guarantor of …

S: I don’t know because you see the Russians … he doesn’t really look after the Russians that .. very well, does he? He’s .. I think Putin could use them eventually …

JO: and you … I think you said you were scared at the volume of …

S: volume of …

JO: Russian ordnance

S: yes

JO: … all over the country

S: you see we’ve got Russia which is the biggest country on Earth and they’ve got nuclear weapons hidden all over Russia … I mean he’s got enough nuclear weapons to completely devastate the world … and so has North Korea .. so, yes

JO: any other countries come to mind that have these things?

S: the only I know of is really North Korea and Russia and they’re the ones you want to be scared of …

JO: what about us?

S: us? Yes but we …

E: [ ]

S: yes but …

JO: don’t you think they’re having a similar conversation in cafes

E: yes

JO: … in North Korea about the US and the UK and NATO?

S: Vladimir Putin has said it himself … England is just a little corner … a little country in the corner of the world that no one really cares about … no one really listens to … he’s actually said that himself so I can’t see any other countries being scared of us … but Russia and North Korea know that we are extremely scared of them and they know that all the other countries are … I mean I know …

JO: what about the US? Aren’t we perceived to be sort of effectively part of NATO etc?

S: yes

JO: so they … I presume they take us seriously … I mean you told me that there’s a bunch of US airpeople …

S: there is

JO: over the road

E: yes

S: at that airbase

JO: so I would guess that we’re … I don’t doubt what you are saying that he said it … but I suspect he’s probably poking fun at British .. British types … but I’ve no doubt that he takes

the US government pretty seriously, yes? And NATO …

S: definitely …

JO: what do you think of what’s going on at the UN at the moment? Are you… are you like … I’m not trying to lead you … you’ve got your own thoughts … do you think …

S: yes, I don’t really keep on top of the United Nations

E: no

S: it’s not something I keep … I just put all my concentration on Russia and North Korea … I’m obsessed with them two … absolutely obsessed .. North Korea and Russia … but, in my opinion, I think that … North Korea …we could easily take out Kim Jong-Un … because all of the people in North Korea are obviously brainwashed … they think Kim Jong-Un is their God … but if you kill their God, then I think you’re going to start opening the North Korean’s eyes …. and go, “hang on, there is actually a world out there” … you can slowly bring it into them that there is a world out there and you are not living the right way .. about it … you’re not going the right way about it … and you can change … completely change their views, I think, easily …

JO: do you think there’s … I’m being slightly provocative, yes … but … do you think there’s a danger we might be in the same position thinking that we know how to live and we’re telling everyone else?

S: No, ’cause we can see the world whereas North Koreans can’t … so the way they’ve been brought up, they don’t believe that there’s actually anything else out there .. but just North Korea … obviously they know America’s there and they think that America is like the worse place on the … ever, don’t they … really … you know? But …

JO: why do you think they think that?

S: .. because I’ve been watching a lot of programmes where North Korean defectors have actually got out of North Korea and then they’ve gone to live elsewhere … and they were like, “I never knew these places were like this” … I mean, one defector arrived in America and he nearly had a ner … a mental breakdown because he was seeing people walking up the street eating sandwiches, drinking … you know, they were laughing, having a good time and he did not know that was going on outside of North Korea …

JO: yes … can you think of any … can you think of any people who are performing a similar function over here … as in, sort of, leaving the service and then having things to say …

it’s not a very clear question … but I’m trying not to put words in your mouth …

S: .. I’m just trying to get my head around

JO: I mean, I’ve really learned a lot, I would say, over the last … I didn’t learn it in school, for sure … or university, for sure … I’ve learned, I think, most of what I think I know about the world off my own efforts …

E: yes

JO: over the last 15years …. so it’s taken a long time … but I’ve picked up on a couple of really cool, independent channels that I watch online … I haven’t watched them for a while now … but one is called the Real News Network … that’s another thing on the side of my crash helmet … a lot of what … you know what you said about you’ve learned quite a lot about the North Korean situation from, sort of, programmes and things … I guess I would say I feel I’ve learned a lot about various things through that … you know ..

S: yes

JO: through watching that … quite a lot … putting it together with other stuff, like talking to people and reading stuff and … but I’ve heard a lot of US and UK military personnel including, by the way, so not just people … not defectors ’cause they’re not defecting … they’ve just left the service …

S: yes

JO: or blown the whistle on something or something or other … and there’s the stuff with Chelsea Manning … do you know about Chelsea Manning?

S: no …

E: no

S: I’ve heard of her ..

JO: used to be Bradley Manning … so, see if I ring a bell …

E: [ ] think so …

JO: I think fairly junior or middle ranking intelligence officer serving in Iraq and then got access to certain kinds of footage from helicopters of people gunning down civilians just .. sort of for laughs …

E: [ ]

JO: so he released all this stuff to Wikileaks

E: yes

S: oh right …

JO: and the US government jailed him … he was a he … he’s also a transgender person … I think now Chelsea Manning is post-op .. I think has become a woman .. thinks of herself as a woman now … is a woman now .. but they threw everything …you know … they treated Chelsea Manning awfully … they jailed … tried in a military court … jailed her … put her in solitary confinement … denied her lots of things that she wanted … I think she tried to commit suicide several times … and only just made it through .. but she’s subsequently been … I think Obama .. before leaving the Presidency did whatever Presidents can do and pardoned her .. whatever they say … but I’ve heard … I’ve heard and seen enough including from Colonel … there’s a US Colonel … ex-Colonel called Larry Wilkerson who was Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff who disagrees with lots of current US … UK/US policies … NATO behaviour in particular

S: yes …

JO: and if you listen to him talking about Russia, he sympathises with Russian policy because he … he sees it all as basically a two fingered salute to the agreements that were made with Gorbachev

S: yes

JO: Gorbachev said “we’re going to deescalate all this .. please don’t …” …. what’s up?

E: hot [ ]

JO: too hot! He said, you know … “we’ll deeescalate … please don’t encroach on our territory…” … you know … “stay where you are … you won’t expand in an Eastward direction” .. NATO .. talking about NATO … “yes, yes … ok, ok”… so off they .. they start doing … and what has NATO done since 1990-something or other? It’s gone right up to the Ukraine and ..

S: yes

JO: … and the stuff in Crimea, I think is all a result of basically NATO not honouring … by the sounds of it … in my judgement .. having seen all this and listened to both sides … remember I am not a fan of Putin … or how he treats Russians, as you say

S: yes

JO: but even so … just looking at it in terms of foreign policy stuff, it looks like NATO is up to no good to me … it looks like it’s trying to

E: yes

JO: control more and more

S: I see what you mean …

JO: I’ve got a feeling that most of us … most of us … just want to live and have a sort of live and let live attitude to most people on Earth, yes?

E: that’s my attitude …

JO: yes … so it sort of get’s screwed around by all the people higher up the chain of command … so what I am trying to think about is how to have this conversation with people who ..

E: yes

JO: … who probably feel like this but don’t have access to the information …

S: yes

JO: .. ’cause .. because you can really easily get pushed around

E: yes

JO: … by BBC News and stuff …

S: yes, yes

JO: .. if you don’t .. if you don’t have your own …

S: it’s true ..

JO: yes … are you … you said you’re worried about … you have a daughter, is it?

E: yes

JO: Is it one daughter?

E: yes. I don’t want any more.

JO: but you are worried about .. you said you were worried

E: yes

JO: … about the future a bit

E: it’s their future really … if anything … yes .. [ ]

JO: wouldn’t … wouldn’t you feel happier if … well … straight question : would you feel happier if there were no nuclear weapons anywhere

E: oh God, yes

JO: so, what do you think you can do to make Britain and other governments participate in that UN thing … to ban it … ’cause that would lead to…

E: [ ]

JO: do you feel you know what you can do?

E: no

JO: yes. That’s what to find …

E: yes

JO: I am not sure I know yet ..

E: no

S: no

JO: but by the end of this process, I want to list a bunch of things that everyone can do if they are serious about it and see if we can’t actually ….

E: do something about it …

JO: get it sorted, yes … I think we’ve got more power maybe than we think we have … it’s just we don’t know what to do …

E: yes, that’s the thing …

S: yes

E: … don’t know what to do … yes

S: I think we’re too scared to try and do anything …

JO: yes .. but I think it’s just a case of … it’s like when I was stood outside that … there’s a gap in the hedge down there, yes?

S: yes

JO: that’s the only glimpse I thought I was going to get of the AWACs stuff so I was very intrepidly pulling up, getting my camera out, thinking “Wait for it! Wait for it!”, feeling really nervous … a little bit nervous … not very nervous … a little bit nervous .. and then I said to myself, “No! Bollocks! This is my country and I am not happy about what people are doing in my country and I’m going to put my foot down. And if anyone challenges me, I’m going to say ‘you behave yourself and respect me as someone who lives here’ ”

S: yes

JO: “I’ll respect you but you respect me.”

E: yes

JO: so, I think a lot of us need to get a bit more .. a bit more .. the old word is ‘Bolshie’ …

E: yes

JO: but a bit more …not full of ourselves … but just respect ourselves a bit

E: yes

JO: why shouldn’t we have an opinion on this or that … you know

E: no reason why we can’t have an opinion

JO: yes, you ought to … thanks guys, that’s really kind


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