road protests 1998
| road protests (current)
| movement links
From: "Heather" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: nukesnonukesupdate from heather
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 23:11:26 +0100
SCOTTISH COURTS ACCUSED OF "PARISH PUMP" ATTITUDE
Trial Of TP 2000 Activists Branded Unfair
Today in Dumbarton Sheriff Court Ian Thomson had his case adjourned after his lawyer had many of his questions to the prosecution witnesses stopped Under the Official Secrets Act. This follows the guilty verdicts against Anja and Jens Light and Angie Zelter yesterday in Helensburgh District Court. The Scottish judiciary have shown an inability to adopt other than a parochial approach to the rule of law.
The activists defence was based on the fact that they had undertaken their disarmament action as the only way to prevent the war crime that is being committed by the UK in its threatening possession and readiness to use nuclear weapons. They presented to the courts exhaustive and compelling arguments on the illegality of the UK's nuclear arsenal. But the courts have been unable to rise to the challenge.
Yesterday, Mathew Berlow, the lawyer representing one of the defendants questioned an MOD policeman Constable Brennan. He asked whether he would obey an order to shoot all people with black hair. The policeman was indignant , of course not he replied. The lawyer then asked , would he obey this command if he knew that the Government had just passed a law saying that everyone with black hair should be shot. At this point the Sheriff discontinued all questioning, saying that these were complex matters which such ordinary officers could not be expected to understand. These were questions that only senior military personnel and government officials could answer.
JP Stirling avoided the crux of the matter ; under the Nuremburg Principles it is the duty of every citizen however humble their public role, to refuse an order which they know to be contrary to International Humanitarian Law.
Helensburgh District court was unwilling to confront the issue of the illegality of the present British nuclear defence policy.
Said TP 2000 activist and retired company director Alan Wilkie: " Unfortunately our courts are still living in a smug little bubble of their own. Our law officers do not seem to have been living in the same world as the rest of us - a world in which war criminals from Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia have stood trial and been punished, entirely on the basis of international humanitarian law. As things stand in Scotland you won't get away with homicide, but you can get away with genocide. Indeed our government is currently getting away with the plans for genocide represented by the Trident system."
Next Tuesday, Sept 29th, two Finnish and one Dutch woman and one English woman will be in Helensburgh District Court. Ian Thomsons case continues at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Oct 8th. Well before the first batch of 23 trials are over the next disarmament camp at the Scottish Trident submarine base, will take place in November.
This is a struggle the global community cannot afford to lose. The laws against mass destruction, genocide and long-term and lasting damage to the environment are there - but they need to be enforced. Here in Scotland global citizens are bringing this issue to the forefront of public debate.
This is not a UK issue alone, it effects everyone everywhere which is why people from 10 different nations have been involved.
Copies of Angie Zelter's defence (29 pages) can be obtained from Jane Tallents - tel: 01436 679194
********** ROLLS ROYCE DRIVES NUCLEAR WEAPONS **********
REPORT ON THURSDAY'S 'LET'S DISGRACE THE BASE' DIRECT ACTION ACTIVITES AT ROLLS ROYCE NUCLEAR IN DERBY (construction site for the nuclear reactors for Trident submarines)
"We have to get it across what they're actually doing. When was it that the Nazis became genocidal? It was when they made the gas and built the chambers. This is the same, but with radiation and missiles." - A UK activist at NATO, 8 July 1998
We did it we did it we did it we dis-dis-DISGRACED THE BASE ! !
Sleep-deprived rambling update at 9.30pm on October 1st follows...
At the present moment there are 12 people still in nick in Derby, (of c.60 participating) with release time given by the plods as midnight or so. Apparently the 'delay' is that people are refusing to have their fingerprints taken. We think charges are 'going equipped to commit criminal damage' - all those inside were arrested in the base, but the full story on their disgracing activities will have to wait until they're out.
Activists descended on the main entrance as disgraceful workers arrived for work at 8am, with different affinity groups simultaneously entering the site elsewhere. Plods a bigger presence than was hoped - word from talkative pigs is that at 8.30pm the previous night they were mobilsed from all over Derbyshire, leave cancelled. But the jury is still out as to whether this was due to a security breach or whether all forces were on alert because it was a national day of action. (At 7.30am police presence minimal - stepped up drastically by 7.55am - no word yet on what security was like on other possible target sites in central England).
Blockades of workers ensued with tailbacks haranged to go home - they had a choice, their jobs are contributing to genocide - yes, that means frying people alive. Leaflets and notices asked 'Who built the gas chambers?' and urged workers to 'Question your government; Question your bosses; Whose interests are your jobs serving?' Big banners in front of the base - which was on a busy dual carriageway - informed passing drivers in lurid colours that 'ROLLS ROYCE DRIVES NUCLEAR WEAPONS'. Police helicopter hovering over the base. Press mobiles go crazy - film, radio and newspaper crews descend upon us now the word is out where we are. Derby locals turn up to inform us that they are 'scared to death' about having the UK's 'most secure' nuclear site on their doorstep - local opposition is barely mobilised, but local concern is high, despite the high employment of the base.
That last point is chosen, as the morning wears on, as the base's PR's desperate selling point. Police press officer informs us that Rools Royce's 'no comment' line has been changed to a prepared statement: They employ 1500 people there (how big of them), they make 'propulsion engines for the Royal Navy fleet, which is part of the national defence strategy' (ok, so that's NUCLEAR propulsion. Let's spell it: NUCLEAR. Remember that word being written out of the PR dictionary?!). And they have nothing to do with nuclear weapons. But red faces all round as it transpires an unbriefed fuckwit confirmed with the Press Association at 8.15am this morning that they make nuclear reactors and have highly-enriched uranium consignments delivered there regularly. So sod your PR double-speak.
As blockaders are arrested (to be released less than 2 hours later) and the rush-hour delivery of dutiful genocidal wannabes wanes, the main gate scenario reduces down to a load of coppers standing in line beyond the banners, while a nifty game of activist-Wombles-Football ensues, as we await news of the insiders.
Meanwhile another team has been busily patrolling the peramiters questioning any security and police that they come across. Would you obey an illegal/immoral order? Do you realise what you are protecting? What are you doing here anyway? Arriving eventually at the main gate, they lock-on before the police know what's hit them, and demand an inspection of the site for weapons of mass destuction and associated activites. What's good enough for Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, are good enough for ours. Plods fumble and faff to get the thumb-locks off, but eventually decide to guard the lockers dutifully, because their bolt-cutters are too crap to cut through...
So mobile-happy activists amuse themselves with harranging base management and PR; missions to delegates at the Labour Party Conference to find Margaret Beckett (who's constiuency this is, allegedly) for a comment (you've gotta have a laugh); and further medyawhoredom. Moment to mention that the police FIT (Forward Intelligence Team, who gather information about protesters) have been omnipresent all morning. Y'know how great it is these days to go on an action and see so many familiar faces...
Two hours later and with prisoner support in full swing, the lock-oners' demands are not being met, and we've hit the agreed end-time for the 'outside' action. No details yet on what exactly has happened inside, but vehicles at the ready, the ceremonial de-locking commences. And, my friends, the final icing on the cake. The police - oh our majesty's most glorious sons and daughters in all their flourescent finery - have goosed again. Their earlier efforts to liberate our intrepid inspectors have suceeded in screwing the lock on one of the thumb-locks. They are reduced - reduced I say, without a hint of smuggery - to calling in the fire brigade. Oh, what can I say. We watched, we laughed, we cheered the burly fire officers who, without a flame in sight, clearly enjoyed the spectacle as much as we did. Then we buggered off, to de-brief, sort transport, tat and bigfatserious legal support.
Which takes us back to the start of this report. Have just received report that all but two arestees have been released and are holed up snug and safe somewhere to sleep. So to explain:
For those who don't know, this was an international day of direct action against nuclear bases around the world (following actions at NATO HQ in July). October 1st was picked because it's the anniversary of the end of the Nuremberg Trials at the end of the Second World War. Nuremberg Principles drawn up effectively stated that no-one who has a 'moral choice' available to them is immune to prosecution for preparing for genocide, from that point on a crime against peace and humanity under international law. Hence all the references to gas chambers. A lot of actions have been using 'Citizens Inspection Teams' fronts to expose the huge hypocrisy around inspections in Iraq over weapons of mass destruction sites. The week kicked off with reports of an action in Israel on September 26 - ten arrested at the Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev Desert.
September 30 is also the anniversary of the incarceration of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear whistleblower.
Whatever your take on international law, today's action was to disrupt and disgrace a little-targetted link in the immoral, fucked-up nuclear 'defence' strategy of the not-so-United Kingdom, who's government has blocked disarmament initiatives, along strict NATO policy lines, despite the bollocks propogated by New Labour.
(Cut the warheads which hadn't even been introduced yet. Cut the budget more bloody likely.)
Not much news yet on other actions around the world, but we can report on the action in Belgium - c60 people, 47 - 47! - arrests, eight of whom were MPs. Yes that's right. As well as having beer and chocolate stiched up, the Belgians have found a cool role for their so-called parliamentary representatives - while most of ours are busy wining, dining and schmoosing in Blackpool. Here endeth the whinge.
Hope you have been entertained / inspired by adrennalin-induced ramblings... More small citizens inspections will be following at other UK sites at the weekend (plus the other 2 which also took place today). Further evaluation, organising and disgracing will ensue in the future - while the Pentagon predicts that there is a possiblity of accidental all-out nuclear war with Russia occurring as a result of Millenium Bug computer malfunction in 15 months time. We only have a short time to get sorted. Meanwhile, understand that a small group of disorganised idealists can fuck around with people's heads, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
And if you tolerate this, our children WILL be next.
Love, madness, chaos... The Disgracers.
******** UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE ********
POLICE CRACKDOWN ON DISGRACING ACTIVISTS
The twelve people arrested inside Rolls Royce Nuclear (Derby) on Thursday October 1st appeared in court on October 2, and were charged with conspiracy to commit criminal damage (International readers note - this charge can carry up to 15 years in jail, and while it is difficult to prove, it is also difficult to disprove). While they were still in Derby, all twelve's homes were raided by police - some in the early hours of the morning. At least one house was empty at the time it was raided and had the door kicked in. A commital hearing has been set for December 4. The heavy-handed charges have been condemned by local activists.
Police tried to have draconian bail conditions imposed - non-association (two of the accused live in the same house!) and bi-weekly signings at police stations, but were thwarted by what appeared to be a highly sympathetic magistrate, who only agreed to the condition that the twelve not go within 1 mile of Rolls Royce Derby.
It's too early yet to say whether the charges will be fully pursued, or whether the conspiracy charge will be dropped. Either way, the word is that the trial dates will be used to further publicise what goes on at Rolls Royce. For further information about offers of support (financial, emotional or practical) contact the email address below for the time being, and watch this space...
email from: email@example.com
alias for same address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disarmer Admonished as Sheriff Ducks Global Law Issue
Yesterday at Dumbarton Sheriff Court Ian Thomson, a 57 year-old joiner and campaigner, was found guilty and admonished by Sheriff Fitzsimmon. He had been charged after cutting part of the perimeter fence at Coulport Naval Armaments Depot, where the UK's Trident nuclear weapons are stored and maintained, as part of the Trident Ploughshares direct disarmament campaign.
From the witness box Ian explained that his aim had been to begin the demolition of the entire base. He had been acting to uphold international law by which Britain's weapons of mass destruction are held to be unlawful on account of their horrific nature and their ever-present threat to the safety of people and the environment. The Sheriff acknowledged the sincerity of Ian's belief but did not see that he had a "reasonable excuse" for acting as he did. In line with similar recent myopic judgments Fitzsimmon could not see his responsibility as extending beyond Scots Law , as if that entity existed in a self-contained bubble.
Meanwhile the Scottish Prison Service continues its campaign of misinformation about the abuse of disarmers on remand at Cornton Vale Prison on the 18th/19th September. In his letter to Alex Falconer, MEP, SPS Chief Executive Eddie Frizzel claims to be assured "that at no time was any prisoner left in a naked state" and that staff were "using approved control and restraint methods." Angie Zelter has given consistent testimony that she was subjected to excruciating physical pain, that she was left naked in a cell and that a prison officer threatened to break her leg.
Mailinglist Nuclear Weapons Abolition Days-network
At 4pm (UK time) on Sunday 18th October a nuclear weapons convoy was stopped near the Clyde Submarine Base at Faslane. 8 members of Faslane Peace Camp were arrested stopping these vehicles.
Nukewatch had been tracking the convoy as it headed into Scotland, heading for the Trident Nuclear weapons Armaments Depot at Coulport.
These convoys have transported nuclear weapons to and from Coulport since the early eighties and many of these convoys have been stopped when they get into this area.
Because all of the Uk Trident warheads are now at Coulport these convoys are very infrequent and they now seem only to transport Trident warheads for refurbishment and maintainance.
This convoy will stay in for 1-4 days before making the three day journey south. Perhaps as it leaves we may stop it again..... disarmament continues and will do until we stop Trident.
Trident Ploughshares 2000
42-46 Bethel Street
Norfolk NR2 1NR
I was asked to forward this on to you all. It is the same convoy that was stopped a few days ago.
>Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 14:13:00 +0100
>At 10:00 am this morning the nuclear convoy of warheads
>from Coulport in Scotland was stopped in its tracks on
>the Newcastle by-pass. The convoy was delayed for 20 minutes
>as 2 women locked on to a cab, and a ghoulish man got on top
>of the carrier. Below him were live warheads on their way
>back for mid-life attention in Burghfield. This was a really
>public place for the convoy to be stopped, and is all over
>the local media.
>Where the convoy goes, it gets stopped.
BREAD NOT BOMBS PLOWSHARES NEWS - 1st Oct 98
The three Swedish activists who were arrested at Barrow on 13th September are still in prison. They were charged with 'Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage' after an attempt to disarm Trident submarine HMS Vengeance a week before it was due to be launched.
They appeared in court in Barrow after the action and were remanded for a week. On 21st September they were remanded for another week. On the 28th September they were remanded yet again, this time for 4 weeks - until the 26th October. When they return to court they may be 'committed to the High Court'. They are expected to stay in prison until their trial in 3 or 4 months time.
International Trident Submarine Disarmers Admonished
Local Court Still In Muddle Over International Law
Today in Helensburgh District Court Katri Silvonen, Hanna Jarvinen and Krista van Velzen were found guilty and admonished on charges relating to their direct disarmament actions during the August phase of the Trident Ploughshares 2000 campaign at Faslane and Coulport.
All the defendants said they were on their way to disarm a weapon of mass destruction and were acting to uphold international law. "Under the Nuremberg Principles," said Hanna," I have a right if not a duty to prevent the crime that is happening at Faslane".
Katri said: "Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system is a crime against humanity and it is my duty as a global citizen to take action. I belong to Finland, a nuclear-free country, but that does not protect me - radiation does not recognise borders." When asked by the Procurator Fiscal if she had been given authority to enter the nuclear base she said:" I was not given permission by the authorities in Faslane but I have been given that right by the previous War Crimes Tribunals."
Supporters were full of admiration for the clarity, dignity and courage with which the women gave their testimony in a court that was foreign to them and whose business was not conducted in their mother tongue. Justice of The Peace Tony Stirling obviously agreed and congratulated them on a well-presented and very interesting case.
Expert witness Glen Rangwala, a specialist in International Law from Cambridge University pointed out that the International Court of Justice's Advisory Opinion of 1996, by which the UK government's position on nuclear weapons is illegal, "...is the highest statement of customary law that we have." In spite of being given "cause for thought" JP Stirling said he had no alternative but to disregard the arguments from international law for to do otherwise would mean that he would have to accept that the UK Government were committing War Crimes! He put himself in a thoroughly contradictory position by saying that the case might be argued in the High Court.
Clearly, if Helensburgh District Court finds itself unable to deal with arguments so central to the defence of the TP 2000 activists, it has no business hearing their cases and wasting everybody's time. JP Stirling's verdict also flew in the face of the prosecution's failure to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that their intention was to commit crime.
Earlier fellow TP 2000 activist Helen John was fined for her disarmament action. Having been given 6 months to pay she is free like the other three women and able to put the traumatic events at Cornton Vale Prison behind her.
Meanwhile the case of Angie Zelter, Tracy Hart and Sylvia Boyes, charged with stealing the Ministry of Defence boat which they borrowed for a citizens' inspection has been adjourned to the 16th October because an MOD witness did not turn up. The MOD's reluctance to describe that incident in open court is quite understandable.
******** boat borrowing update ********
"On 14 October, Angie Zelter and Sylvia Boyes were found guilty by a Scottish court of 'forcing entry into lock-fast premises', following their trip in a borrowed police boat from Coulport to Faslane in March... Sheriff Murphy also found them guilty of 'clandestinely taking and using the property of another', rather than the more serious charge of 'theft of a police boat'. He accepted their motives were not self-gain and "admonished" them both."
from "Peace News" - Nov 98 [Weed]
road protests 1998
| road protests (current)
| movement links