Newsletter January 2007
Dear Friends of Faslane365,
Apologies for the delay in getting this newsletter out to you. I came down with the flu and as soon as I was better there was a need for one more body in a lock-on, which brought us up over 500 arrests so far!
As of the end of January we had 494 arrested and 74 days of presence.
January saw the longest blockade so far by the academics, lasting just over 6 hours. Amongst those arrested this month were 17 University lecturers and professors from the UK, Sweeden, and Japan including Professor Sir Richard Jolly, former UN Assistant Secretary-General, as well as Krista van Velzen (Dutch MP, Socialist Party), Carlyn Leckie, Rosie Kane, Frances Curran (MSP’s for the SSP), Leanne Wood (AM, Plaid Cymru), Jill Evans (MEP, Plaid Cymru) and Carolyn Lucas (MEP, Green).
Anabel Dwyer came from Michigan to deliver a Lawyers Declaration on the illegality of Trident which stated that the “fundamental rules and principles of humanitarian law prohibit any threat or use of a weapon of mass destruction” calling on Commodore C J Stait the Base Commander “to desist from the criminal activities of deploying the Trident nuclear weapon system”.
Read about how you can get involved: http://faslane365.org/getinvolved
On the website you can find all of the reports, press coverage and photos not included in this newsletter: http://www.faslane365.org
1) Blockade Summary
2) Lock-ons of the Month
3) Press Coverage
4) Blockade Reports
1) Blockade Summary
The first group to blockade in 2007 was Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels with 8 arrested amongst them people from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Finland.
Pol D'Huyvetter from Ghent, Belgium, stated: "We can’t ask North-Korea and Iran to stop development of nuclear weapons, as long as nuclear weapons remain part of NATO defence policy. It’s totally hypocritical. The International Court of Justice in The Hague declared in 1996 that the use or threat of nuclear weapons would be illegal. When an illegal is protected by law, civil disobedience becomes necessary."
David Heller, Campaigner with Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels said: "Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons ever developed. The environmental and health consequences of the use of even a single Trident nuclear warhead would be catastrophic. We aim to make 2007 the year that Trident is scrapped."
Students from Oxford, Sussex and Edinburgh camped outside the base and attended the academics’ seminar at the main gate along with more than 70 eminent academics and scholars. Lectures were given on many issues related to Trident including its immorality, illegality, environmental impact, and the health effects of depleted uranium on Iraqui women. About 50 participants moved en masse into the road and continued the seminar for 6 hours there, the longest blockade of the campaign. Seventeen academics and seventeen students were arrested, amongst them internationally renowned physicist, Professor Kouichi Toyoshima of Saga University, Japan, Professor John Hull, a distinguished Theologian who is blind, listed a dozen denominational pronouncements on Trident all of which agreed that “it is a sin against almighty God.” Also arrested were four members of one family: Professor Sir Richard Jolly, a former UN Assistant Secretary-General; his wife, Dr Alison Jolly, who studies lemurs, and two of their daughters, Dr Margaretta Jolly and Susie Jolly. Professor Jolly said: “The government should pay heed to the admirals, generals and leading military advisers who have spoken against the peril and high costs of nuclear weapons which no sane person can seriously consider using. We should all be taking responsibility to stop the deployment and renewal of Trident.”
The next day elected representatives from Labour, SNP, SSP, the Green Party and Solidarity, Plaid Cymru and even a Dutch MP, joined the protest. Krista van Velzen urged police to join the protestors and uphold international law by arresting those who worked on Trident instead of those blockading. She reminded them of German police officers who recently blockaded trains carrying nuclear waste.
Next up was a diverse group from Dundee who tied up the North gate until we heard the announcement over the loudspeaker inside the base that the North Gate was closed, and that all traffic should now use the South Gate.
The Glasgow group’s account is worth reading just for the prose. “Down in the Faslane cemetery car park five minutes later in our hospital mob caps and tunics, the resemblance to Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams was more than passing ... The Hitman and Her (Tony and his lackey) led the way, while the bed-fellows followed”. You can perhaps imagine what happened next.
There was also a Birthday Party, a 150 mile runner, and a group of Health Professionals who, in addition to a blockade, setup a health clinic for the prevention of nuclear war in a Glasgow shopping center!
2) LOCK-ON OF THE MONTH
Students and Academics North Gate Campsite https://www.faslane365.org/en/trident_is_illegal_immoral_and_inhumane_say_34_academics_and_scholars_arrested_in_6_hour_blockade_of_faslane_nuclear_base
3) PRESS COVERAGE
ITV Central News reported on Alice Beer, age 94 coming to Faslane. Alice, 94, of East Midlands, who “fought against Fascism in the 1930s, was at Aldermaston in the 1960s and Greenham Common in the 80s, said ‘Blair thinks Trident is the ultimate deterrent but it doesn’t do anything of the sort. It just means there will be more and more of those things.”
- ITV Central News, 2 January
Jennifer Pardue, who has three children and one grandchild said … “I'd urge other women to stand up for what they believe in. We have a very strong voice and we shouldn't be frightened to use it…The only regret is that my health stops me from doing too much. I have multiple sclerosis, but I feel that a positive attitude is the most important thing for combating any condition.
- The Sentinel, 5 January
One of the academics, John Hull said: "I have had to think carefully about taking part in this event . At the age of 71, totally blind and asthmatic, I am not too sure how the cold will affect me, and I am slightly concerned about whether the police will let me keep a small radio with me overnight in the cell if I am arrested. But I am determined to do something to protest this nuclear policy, which is pointless from a military perspective, economically wasteful, illegal and unethical."
- Education Guardian, 5 January
Speaking before her arrest, Jill Evans(MEP Plaid Cymru) said: "This is the opportunity to honour the commitment made by Britain 35 years ago in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to disarm its nuclear weapons”. Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) said "I cannot understand the hypocrisy of a prime minister who takes us into an illegal war in Iraq over weapons of mass destruction that don't exist, while he's happy to make room in Scotland for the most lethal bombs possible." The Scottish Green Party, said it … would pledge to ban the use of Scotland's roads and inshore waters to move ‘weapons of mass destruction.’
– Epolitics, 8th January
The 2006 Commons defence committee inquiry, looking into the context of Trident replacement, concluded: "The most pressing threat currently facing the UK is that of international terrorism. Witnesses … overwhelmingly argued that the strategic nuclear deterrent could serve no useful or practical purpose in countering this kind of threat." Instead, government ministers fall back on the argument that nuclear weapons represent an "insurance policy" for the future. Yet the truth is that, rather than providing insurance against an unspecified threat, replacing Trident will increase the danger of nuclear proliferation.
- Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP in New Statesman, 12th January
No Scottish Labour Party elected representatives were reported to have participated in the protest. Labour MSP Jackie Baillie told the BBC: “It is in fact Westminster that make the decision.” … In his speech at the protest, SSP national convener Colin Fox blasted Labour’s stance: “It is dishonest to hide behind the excuse that this is a Westminster issue — this is not a Westminster issue, this is an issue for all humanity. And this is certainly an issue for the Holyrood Parliament, one which it is morally and politically obliged to take a stand on,”
- Green Left (Australia), 15 January
Plaid President Dafydd Iwan has expressed his wholehearted support to the members of Plaid Cymru and the SNP who took part in the latest demonstration in Faslane against the proposed Trident replacement programme … he said: "At a time when we are facing drastic cuts in public services, and at a time when the health service cannot cope with the growing demands upon it, it is absolutely obscene to even contemplate spending more than £25 billion on a Trident replacement.”
- News Wales, 15th January
Alan Allport retired Professor of Psychology at Oxford wrote: The British government is party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), ratified by 188 other nations. At the NPT Review Conference in 2005, the UK representative re-affirmed our "unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate all nuclear arsenals. Yet, in direct violation of this undertaking, the government is committed to retaining Trident (Labour manifesto 2005), and is actively developing a replacement system at Aldermaston, to be ready by 2020. If … the government … goes ahead with this new system it will have signed the death warrant of the NPT, and opened the way to a global free-for-all of proliferating nuclear-weapon states, an escalation which can only lead, sooner or later, whether by accident or by hostile or terrorist intent, to nuclear catastrophe.
- Oxford Times, January
Dr Lesley Morrison is a founder member of the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons … As health professionals, Medact say they wish to take a stand against a government whose policy is in contravention of their professional Hippocratic code, which states 'First do no harm'.
- Borders Today, 26th January
GP Frances Hogwood said “There are ill-equipped and exhausted British troops in Afghanistan yet Parliament is being asked to approve new nuclear weaponry which has no military value, no legal justification” … She plans to help set up a "Health not Nuclear Holocaust" clinic in a shopping centre in Glasgow. Doctors and nurses will talk to passers-by and hand out prescriptions for the prevention of nuclear war. They also plan to speak and leaflet hospitals and GP practices. - Evesham Journal, 16th January
One Northumberland man will be braving the elements this weekend, running 150 miles from Kielder to Faslane in Scotland to raise awareness of the debate over nuclear weapons…. he’s intending to run 150 miles in three days, from his home in Kielder, Northumberland to Faslane in Scotland …. “The whole point of the run is really to remind people of their own capacity for will power and the results it can achieve,” explains David. “I think that will power is important to the outcome of the coming debates over the future of nuclear weapons.”
- BBC Home Page, 22nd January
Through the mist a small group of hooded characters creep and crawl in silence through woodland, communicating only in hand signals. A patrol drives past and the group dive to cover, before dragging themselves to their feet and continuing their walk. This isn’t a Tom Clancy novel or a new Bond film involving terrorists and spies, this is the new wave of political action against Britain’s nuclear weapons.
– Brig, The Online Edition of Stirling University's Finest News Source 20 January
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As Faslane 365 goes into a new year the steering group would like to ask for more people to get involved to keep the blockades successful. Let us know if you can help out with trainings, mobilising or website work. See contact details at the end of this newsletter.
firstname.lastname@example.org, www.faslane365.org, 0845 45 88 365, 07768 312676
Faslane 365, Valley Farmhouse, East Runton, Cromer, Norfolk, NR27 9PN, UK