August Camp News
August Camp An Arresting Experience For Many!
August Camp Evaluation of Responses
The Cooks Tale
Democracy and Communication In TP2000
Next Camp 7th – 17th November 1998
Start Page on Cornton Vale Protest
International Support Is Growing
Bread Not Bombs In Prison
Hiroshima To Faslane
The Beauty That Hurts
Queer Action Against Trident
Faslane Peace Camp
Peace Camp Given Notice To Quit
Trident Stopped At Faslane
Spotlight on Affinity Groups
The Gareloch Horticulturists
Trident Ploughshares 2000 activists have pledged to act to disarm the United Kingdom’s Trident Nuclear weapons system in a peaceful, non-violent, open and fully accountable manner. They will continue their direct actions until the year 2000 or until the U.K government responds to the negotiation process and begins the disarmament itself. TP2000 activists act to uphold international humanitarian law and aim to challenge the judicial system to recognise its responsibilities to prevent nuclear crime.
OK, at last here’s the second instalment of the TP2000 campaign. We now have over 100 people signed up to pledge to prevent nuclear crirne in a non-violent and fully accountable way. More affinity groups are being formed, and we are constantly receiving communication from individuals offering support and asking to join affinity groups. Over 200 people came to the TP2000 1st stage camp in August, more about that below.
August Camp an Arresting Experience for Many!
The camp was an inspiring and energising experience certainly for me and I believe for most people who came to stay or visit. There are accounts from people who were part of the camp to read here.
The Mass Action on Sunday really was a highlight of the fortnight. With everyone working together we made quite a powerful statement and created a great impression, as well as 37 arrests.
As the 1st major gathering of TP2000 activists there were a couple of teething problems around the structure of meetings and certain information networks, but they are being worked on and we’ll have a better framework set up for the next camps, it can only get better!
Global Citizens from over a dozen countries took part in the August disarmament camp at Faslane and Coulport showing how the British nuclear threat is felt all over the world. When citizens from Australia, England, Finland, Holland and Scotland were amongst the first 9 imprisoned for refusing to stop their disarmament work whilst awaiting trial, there was a flood of letters to British Embassies world-wide. Embassies in Canberra, Washington, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Brussels, amongst others, were asked to release the ’Heroes who have tried to uphold international law’ and were urged to recognise that they were not criminals but were trying to disarm illegal weapons of mass destruction.
There were several demonstrations in support of the disarmament work. For instance, twenty Anti -Nuclear protesters demonstrated outside the British Embassy in Helsinki on 22nd September in support of the two Finnish women and one Dutch TP2000 women who had made attempts to either swim or cut into Faslane and had got within 19 metres of a Trident submarine.
Three teams of documentary filmmakers were at the camp making full-length in-depth studies for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian T.V. A Finnish T.V. crew will be filming in November. The disarmament work and subsequent month long prison remand caught the media’s attention in a big way on the continent and Krista from Holland, has become hoarse from so many in-depth discussion programmes on both T.V. and radio; Belgium and Finland have not been far behind. Every small village in Finland now knows about the two 20 year olds incarcerated in Scotland for trying to prevent mass murder.
The British press have been slow off the mark except the Guardian who gave the protest the coverage it deserved. Perhaps the reticence in the British media is due to a certain embarrassment at having people from all over the world highlighting the international law breaches that Trident represents. As a result of the actions new groups are now forming in Holland, Finland, Germany and Belgium.
Bread Not Bombs In Prison
The 3 Swedish activists who entered the dockyard of Barrow in Furness to disarm the illegal monstrosity Vengeance are still on remand and are expected to remain there for up to 4 more months. They gained access by climbing over the fences using a rope ladder. As they didn’t carry out criminal damage they are being charged with conspiracy on the basis of their statements of intent. They are to appear in court in Barrow on the 26th October, and may be committed to crown court.
Please send letters of support and solidarity to these prisoners of conscience. Stellan Vinthagen (prison number BT8233) is in Preston Jail, HM Prison Preston 2 Ribbleton Lane, Preston, PRI 5AB, fax +44 (0) 1772556643. Ann-Britt Sternfeldt (BE8971) & Annika Spalde (BE8940) are in Risley Remand Centre. HM Remand centre, Warrington Road, Risley, nr Warrington, Cheshire WA3 6BP.
Medley of Evaluations
I am one of the volunteers analysing the evaluation forms which were sent to all those who attended the August camp at Faslane. A total of 189 forms were sent out and we had a 20% response – which is better than average for this type of questionnaire. The TP2000 team would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who gave their time to complete and return these forms. They are a tremendous help to those charged with organising the next camp in November. It is very helpful to know what people thought of camp facilities, organisation, and Actions. I will not presume to draw any conclusions myself, but I thought it would be fun to share the findings with you.
A massive 54% said they had been inspired by the “co-operative energy” and 30% said they liked meeting and getting to know like-minded people. A respectable 19% thrived on “actually doing something” and not forgetting the fundamentals, 37% the Bumblebees and the “ever available food”. Readers will not be surprised to learn the weather and the mud topped the list as the most disliked elements of the camp, closely followed by “full toilets”! Other dislikes include: A wet sleeping bag; Pressure from the media team; Big male egos around the camp fire; Untrained and unpledged individuals doing actions; The smell from the chemical toilets; The ’monastic air’ of the camp.
The information on arrival was found to be satisfactory by 70% of the respondents and 45% said they had encountered no major problems at the camp. A huge 73% said they were in favour of continuing with the task groups, although the commonest criticism was that not enough people joined them, and if you think there is a conflict in that statement, well, at least one person agreed the conflict resolution task group was not working, the first aid cover was “patchy”, and that “blockages are better” than fence cutting.
Apart from a polarity about “Vegan vs. Non-Vegan” there were no disparaging remarks about the food. Indeed, the standards and communal nature of the cooking was so successful that everyone who is likely to come to a future camp wants the same system to continue.
Many people gave candid answers to the problems they encountered at Camp and wrote movingly of their impressions and experiences. It would not be appropriate to air any individual comments here, but they were all gratefully received and will be taken into account by the core organising group in planning for future Camps and Actions.
Another interesting outcome of the responses of those who gave us their age was the broad mix of ages at the camp – and I have drawn up a little league table to illustrate the winning age group:
70’s = 3; 60’s = 7; 50’s = 2; 40’s = 6; 30’s = 8; 20’s =7; Under 20’s = 2.
As you can see all age groups were represented – but what a poor showing for the 50’s!! Well done to the 60’s and 20’s who up to yesterday were joint leaders, until the 30’s snook into the lead with two more responses. The books are not yet closed…
The Cooks Tale
I have just returned from an exhilarating and exhausting experience which I have shared with the most diverse, energetic, dedicated and peaceful people you could imagine. Standing in the mud I’ve helped chop buckets full of vegetables to make a stew for 100 people. I’ve been kippered by the smoke from a wood fire on which three huge pots of food have been heaved and stirred. I have prayed with friends from all sorts of religious disciplines, outside the gates of buildings that house the most terrible weapons ever devised by human ingenuity.
By August 11th over 100 TP2000 activists and their supporters had gathered. There were people of all ages, and all faiths. There were sensible members from middle England with smart camping gear, and people with dreadlocks who might have just come out of the latest tunnel at the latest road protest. There were two people in wheelchairs, a family with young children, a man in a dog collar. All were bound together in a shared identity of purpose.
Quakers weren’t the only ones to offer spiritual support. I think all the Christian churches in Britain were represented. Some stood with us and prayed in silence. Others knelt in prayer, recited from appropriate liturgy, sang hymns, or read from the Bible. A Buddhist nun from Japan sang and beat her drum. A young man sat on the pavement meditating in the lotus position, motionless in the rain for hours at a stretch. An Indian man who had lived with many different religious communities walked to and from Faslane each day, two hours in each direction, carrying wild flowers and praying as he went.
As we prayed, the activists were carrying out their plans, free to operate in their own way within the carefully prepared framework of the project. In the end there were well over 100 arrests. All this in spite of 300 extra police and a security bill of one million pounds.
One officer told us that they had been briefed that the protesters were well organised, disciplined, and completely non-violent. Another said that we should not think that everyone inside the base was opposed to us. “I’m not, for one” he added.
After six days, the Bumble Bee team left and we took over the catering. Their presence had proved the value of a central campfire around which wet and tired people could gather to eat, tell of that day’s events, plan for tomorrow and sing songs. Our original offer of a pan of soup was expanded to a help yourself breakfast, a salad lunch and a cooked supper. By the end of the camp we had fed up to l00 people three times a day, yet the store tent was still full of food and there was more money in the kitty than we had started with. I really feel that I have witnessed something like a miracle.
International Support Is Growing
Support is growing rapidly for the TP2000 campaign. Also Scottish CND and National CND are stepping up their involvement in TP2000. Rob Green former UK Navy Commander, and chair of the UK World Project, sent a message of support from New Zealand. George Fairbrother, UK’s Secretary of the World Court Project Said “So who are the criminals? The activists who are putting their bodies and their freedom on the line or the high officials and politicians who devise plans contrary to international law?”
Corbin Harney, spiritual leader of the Western Shoshone Indian in Nevada sent his support to the activists. For many years Britain has tested nuclear bombs on the treaty land of the Western Shoshone.
Hiroshima to Faslane
Anja Light from Plutonium Action brought messages of support from Hiroshima. Many are from the survivors of the Atomic bomb blast with who she has met and who spoke to her of the devastation wreaked on their lives in a ’peacemaker’ action by the United States of America in 1945.
Anja brought the tragedy of individual survivors and the people who were killed straight to the main gates of Faslane and Coulport in the form of photographs. The photographs of this atrocity against human kind were there as undeniable truth of the capacity of the weapons lying dormant only a short distance away. The images were a sober focus during the gate vigils continually being held. Anja has now returned to Australia.
Democracy and Communication in TP2000
Although we will be discussing this during the first few days of our November camp we need to set up a structure that everyone can access. Please encourage at least one person in every TP2000 group to have an email address and to be linked into our discussion email forum. To join the list just e-mail to Phil Taylor on firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him what affinity group or task group you are a member of and if you are a pledger or not. He will then check this, and if you are officially linked into TP2000 you will then be part of the email discussion link.
We would also like one or two representatives from each group to come to a weekend meeting which will he held in the North of England either on the weekend of 5/6th Dec or 9/10th Jan. Please contact the office for details. Also for legal briefings/defences, etc, you can download these from our website.
Next Camp 7th – 17th November 1998
The next camp has, due to popular demand been lengthened to a week. If you can offer your help from Sunday 7th November to help set up please get in touch just so we know how many people are gonna turn up. We will also be asking for people to join ’task’ groups to ensure the safe environment of the camp. These groups worked very well during the last camp in making sure that all were fed and supported in their actions, Everyone is very grateful to one another for all roles played. Also the more people to help the less work there is for individuals.
The groups are: Information/registration; First Aid; Site Maintenance; Shopping; Cooking (communal again); Water collection; Press work; Police Liaison; Legal Support; Peace Keepers; and Meeting Facilitators.
Remember November in Scotland is going to be very cold, come well prepared, share a tent with at least one other person, this is the best way to keep warm at night, apart from going for a night walk… VITAL THINGS TO BRING TO NOV CAMP – Tent; Sleeping stuff (as much as you can); Cooking stuff; Lots of warm clothing; Waterproofs & waterproof boots; Loadsa thick socks; Hat; Torch; Candles; Musical instruments; Singing voices, and dancing feet.
Start Page on Cornton Vale Protest
Vengeance on Peace
Many of you will be aware of the outcome of the protest held in Cornton Vale Womens Prison on l9th Sept to mark the launch of Vengeance the 4th Trident death carrier. This was held by Helen, Katri, Krista, Hanna and Angie. The protest was a refusal to eat, speak and leave their cells for the day – and a banner drop. It was planned to go ahead on the Saturday. The prison authorities had got wind of the possibility of ’trouble’ and on the Friday evening did a search of the women revealing a banner ingeniously made from a bed sheet with messages cut from newspaper stuck to it by toothpaste (thus committing no criminal damage to prison property!). For this the women were placed in cells on their own as punishment.
The next day as is usual for misdemeanours in prison the women were to he individually taken before the Orderly. The women refused, peacefully, to leave their cells. The prison warders brutally over-reacted. Angie and Katri were hurt, Angie badly as they used a method of ’restraint’ to try to get her to move. This involved handcuffing behind the back whilst face down on the floor, and then pushing the thumbs back until it felt like her wrists were being broken. This was repeated on the way back to the cell, where she was forcefully stripped and left for 24 hours. Another woman received the threat “move or I’ll hurt you”. All women were then kept in solitary confinement and denied access to the phone and money. This is what happens when you try, to use your ’active voice’ whilst in custody’.
Many, many thanks go to everyone who phoned, wrote, faxed, E-Mailed and presented themselves in disgust of the treatment of women in prison. There were so many faxes to the Scottish Office that the Fax machine packed up (in protest!). All of these voices gained Angie permission to telephone her son. The MP Dennis Canavan visited Krista in prison and the MEP Alex Faulkener has seen the prison Governor. So waves will be made. Central Scotland Police are holding an enquiry. Fiona Davis a spokesperson for HMP Cornton Vale said
“An investigation has been carried out but nobody has brought any complaints. Prisoners are not allowed to protest and they were punished but the allegations of staff brutality are rubbish.”
We would like to stress that this is not everyday procedure, but the common reaction to those who have ’deviated’ according to the rules. One can be in prison and not receive such treatment if one peacefully abides by the rules. We must remember there are many women in these prisons who also should not be there. They receive this brutality as a matter of course as a result of ignorance to their needs by those given power and superiority over them.
Faslane Peace Camp Given Notice to Quit
Faslane Peace Camp has been given 3 months to quit its home for the last 16 years, near to the North gate of the atrocity of Faslane base. Of course Faslanians are not going to pack up and go tugging a forelock at Argyle and Bute council – on whose land the nuclear pollutant base is. Faslanians are trying to find a new site for post December but are ’committed to reclaiming the land’ should the search fail.
An eviction of the camp would cost the council 200,000 pounds, a sum the council can ill afford. David Dragonetti, Faslane Rep deduced that the council wanted the discussion with the Peace Camp in order to view the amount of fortifications the campers have invented over the past year or so, and then to find a way out of a direct eviction.
Please keep supporting the Peace Camp, its presence is vital for the constant visible presence of resistance to State Violence, money for fortifications, food, winter survival stuff are needed, as well as direct simple donations of blankets, food, candles, batteries (rechargeable) etc, are very welcomed. Make cheques payable to Faslane Peace Camp.
A Faslane Peace Camp Land Trust has been set up to raise money to buy a piece of land for the camp to reside on, on a legal, permanent basis, to prevent the government lackys off the backs of peaceful people. Please make cheques payable to Faslane Peace Camp Land Trust. Address Faslane Peace Camp, Nr. Faslane Criminal Nuclear Atrocity, RN Faslane, Shandon, Dumbartonshire. Scotland, G84 8NT.
Trident Stopped at Faslane
At 4pm on Sunday 18th October a nuclear weapons convoy was stopped near Faslane. 8 members of the Peace camp were arrested stopping the 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 in this area. Because all the UK Trident warheads are now at Coulport these convoys are very infrequent and they now seem only to transport Trident warheads for maintenance when they become unstable.
On 30th September 1998 Club 18-30 will issue an ultimatum to the British government. That unless they remove the generic Trident base and build generic time-share flats instead, then they would begin a continuous campaign of NVDA (Nightly Vodka During Agadoo) against the base. “Few people realise that the area the naval base now occupies was once a health spa”, says campaign spokeswoman Sharon Spice. “In the 1920’s and 30’s people used to come up to sample the waters of the Bonnie Gareloch. It’s all change now though. My boyfriend ’Nightclub’ Nick was glowing the other night even without techno, lights and luminous paint after he fell in the Gareloch. “Timeshares 2000” intend to mount a fully open campaign, with protesters declaring they will be fully bank accountable for their actions. Anyone wishing to join must complete a two day training workshop on sunbed use and abuse. Elton Johnny will begin the two weeks of actions with a song at the North gate. (article nicked from Faslania, cheers!)
So far, as a result of the August camp there have been 5 trials involving a total of ten people. Everyone has been found guilty and either admonished (which is a strange Scottish term which means even though you did do it you are free to go!) or given a smallish fine… £50/£75. Helen John was also ordered to pay £180 compensation to the MOD for damage to the fence.
All the cases at Helensburgh District Court have been heard by Mr Tony Stirling JP, a retired lawyer who seems to see trying our cases as his new vocation in life. The head Procurator Fiscal, Mr Donnelly also feels the need to prosecute all the TP2000ers in person!
The District Court has now heard a great deal about international law both from people defending themselves and the lawyers who have been representing people. It’s the first time that lawyers have been willing to put forward the international law argument for us and they seem keen to learn along with us.
No affidavits have been allowed as the Procurator Fiscal only wants witnesses in person so he can question them. George Fairbrother was an expert witness in the first trial, but because he’s not a trained lawyer he was restricted in what he could say. Glen Rangwala from Cambridge University clearly impressed the magistrate when he came as Krista’s witness. His expert testimony on International Law gave JP Stirling ’cause for thought’ even though he gave a guilty verdict. The magistrate found the women guilty as he believed that the threat of nuclear war is not imminent enough to warrant such direct actions. Yet we edged another inch forward in getting the magistrates to understand fully the legal basis of our argument that the Trident programme is not and never will be legal under international war, humanitarian and environmental laws.
Ian Thompson was in the Sheriff’s Court which although a bit more formal was basically the same with the same verdict. The admonishments may be recognition that people on remand have suffered enough punishment already. When the next round of cases involving people who were not in jail start later this month we may see different results.
For one person or group of co-accused to take a case all the way up through the appeals process will take months and probably years. Angie Zelter’s case may go forward to the High Court by the end of the year. Then if we fail to overturn the guilty verdict we will have to decide whether to take it to Europe. For copies of the defence given and for the case stated please see the website or contact the office. By acting together and building the arguments from one trial to the next we can make things move more quickly. The justification for a guilty verdict in one trial can be looked at and countered in the evidence of the following trial. The legal support team are setting up a system to brief people with trials scheduled and about developments in other cases.
Another thing that has come out clearly in the courts is that the police are very aware of who TP2000 are and what the aims are. They have been briefed by their bosses and they have been leafleted and talked to by us. To quote one Mod Plod “Yes Katri did tell me of her aims and objectives on the way to the processing centre, but then these people do that all the time”.
Queer Action against Trident
I have met many wonderful women in the peace movement, both lesbians and straight.
When I first came out however I did have the impression that there must be a genetic link between being a dyke and camping outside military bases. A few years on, I have realised that lesbians really are everywhere, including (rather sadly) in the military and in that great mass of people who haven’t really thought about the issues yet.
So I was interested to see the notice in the information tent at the August camp from a man wanting to organise a queer action, especially as in 9 years in the peace movement I’ve met only one out gay man.
There seems to be no debate in the mainstream gay press about issues of violence and militarism – although equal rights in the military is very much on the agenda, no one wants to talk about the deeper fascination with violence and power that comes out so often in sexual role play and pornography (all true in the heterosexual world too of course) Anyone who’s interested can contact me – Helen.
I’m sure we could come up with some good slogans for peace minded Queers – ’Going Down For Peace’??
Affinity Group Intro Page
The Gareloch Horticulturists – Mud and Fervour
The Gareloch Horties (8 women) is possibly the longest living affinity group in Britain. There are 3 members in Glasgow, 2 in Edinburgh, 2 in central Scotland (Peace house) and 1 in Aberdeen.
Although really enthusiastic about TP2000, its organisation, openness, and the potential for networking and using the world court, our little group was dubious about the August camp. Being Scotswomen we know the west of Scotland + Bracken + August = ceaseless rain = mud = midges!… 6 of us managed the opening ceremony, but because Ellen and Helen were both ill, we didn’t return to the camp till Aug 15th. From then to the end of the camp there were always at least two of us present.
Called “a right bunch of gardeners” by a MOD policeman, when caught planting a Peace Rose inside the NATO ammunition store in Glen Douglas in 1983, the name has stuck. Whenever we are in the Coulport/Faslane area we try to produce a visible sign of life in the face of destruction.
During the Peaton Glen camp we tended our little CND garden overlooking Faslane, helped children to plant bulbs along the perimeter fence of the base, and Margaret and Ellen planted crocuses inside the boundary fence around the missile storage depot at Coulport – first having cut the fence into the ’protected area’. The boltcutterswere quickly popped back into the rucksack and lived to cut 3 weld-mesh fences in Krista Van Velzens capable hands. When questioned by a MOD policeman as to what they were doing they replied truthfully “planting crocuses”, and were decorously escorted off the premises by him and his dog!
Margaret and Ellen, supported by Agnes and Nonie, walked towards the North Gate innocently singing ’Ubi Caritas’ (a Talize Chant). They had chained themselves together and left a tail of chain plus padlock to snap around the post at the North Gate, effectively preventing it from closing. The MOD produced a most ineffectual pair of boltcutters which eventually got through their chain and padlock. They were held for 5 hours inside Faslane, then charged with ’Breach of the Peace’. It is a magnificent charge to answer and all are welcome to hear Ellen defend herself on October 27th at Victoria Halls, Helensburgh and Margaret, same place 10th Nov.
The Woodwoses – What are Woodwoses anyway?
Well there was Angie, whose rustic wash stand Baden-Powell would have applauded. The lass kept getting arrested just as we were about to have a meeting. Clive at camp early to help set it up, laughingly guided us when we arrived after dark. Nothing could have prepared us for the vertiginous view on awaking next morning. His knowledge of the woods above teased the MOD Plods wherever a diversion was required. Davida, as befitted a physical anthropologist became chief bog-wallah and found it difficult to get herself charged with anything serious, whichever side of the fence she ended up on. Maggie and Kathryn found the caravan warmer than their tents, paying for it in long hours of legal and press work.
Back in Norfolk, Rupert and Alan skilfully baited the local media with everything they were sent. Hannah caused consternation by standing up to Pol, so shocking him he failed to order any press releases for several minutes! And Rachel, as legal observer, watched the new ’Mechanicals’ – the naval technicians who cut an enormous hole in their own wall with a raucous petrol driven angle grinder, to get campaigners out.
Lastly the one who never seemed to leave his car, choosing the water collection task to read by the quiet lochside, invisible to camp and base alike. The second night of camp he drove with lights off to avoid the ubiquitous plods; a close shave both for the goats who usually slept on the road and for our pledge to respect all life. Our other pledge, to disarm Trident, also stands. Our fun together at the August camp helped to ready us for that solemn commitment.