Newsletter Number 5, June 1999


TP2000 News
Trident Computers Go Overboard in Loch Goil
Albemarle’s Insecure Compound
Local Heroes Launched in Style
Reports from the May camp
Strip the Willow
Joined-Up Action
Acorns for Peace
2000 Walk for Nuclear Disarmament
A Life of Brian – from Brussels to Edinburgh
Legal Matters
TP2000 Cases in District, Sheriff and High Courts
Aldermaston Woman Trashing Trident
Bread Not Bombs Plowshares
After the Preston Court Case


to the fifth issue of Speed the Plough! Trident Ploughshares 2000 is a campaign to disarm the UK Trident nuclear weapons system in a non-violent, open, peaceful and fully accountable manner. 130 people from 13 countries have pledged to disarm Trident in this way and our supporters’ database contains over 900 names, including many famous people and members of parliament. We act to uphold international humanitarian law and to expose the illegality of the Trident system. The campaign is growing apace as we push back the legal boundaries, continue to carry out successful disarmament actions, and are becoming known to the extent that the Herald newspaper, in its report on the Pheasants’ Union action (see Trident Computers Go Overboard in Loch Goil) said: “Trident Ploughshares 2000 have claimed responsibility.”

TP2000 News

Trident Computers Go Overboard in Loch Goil

A report direct from Cornton Vale Prison by Ellen Moxley

Over 8 months in the planning, the Pheasants’ Union action finally took place on June 8th in brilliant weather on Loch Goil. Ellen Moxley, Ulla Roder and Angie Zelter were really nervous. During the previous two reconnoitres, there had been a lot of police boat/car presence; our small battery operated angle grinder had died; the unreliable inflatable dinghy had a dicey engine. Yet it turned into the perfect action. Ulla was at the spot 4 hours before the start time and phoned with the message: “Beautiful weather.” Then the boat, Angie and Ellen arrived in a rented van. We launched on time (7 p.m.), and in spite of some heart-stopping moments with the engine, soon arrived at “Maytime” – the large floating laboratory complex which tests the sonar signals from Trident. We know now that the Chinese Defence Department can track Trident’s movements through geo-magnetic fluctuations and the laboratory on “Maytime” is more essential than ever to Trident’s operation.

We had tools with us to open padlocks but fortunately we didn’t have to use them for that. One window into the laboratory was able to be unbolted and in a flash Angie squeezed through. Ellen and Ulla hung a huge black banner, saying:


Helen Steven’s beautiful banner had rainbow people pushing Trident into the sunlight and said:


Banners made by other Horties said:




Angie and Ulla handed Ellen load after load of computers, printers, monitors, fax machines, telephones, computer disks, papers, manuals etc. Everything went overboard into the drink! Inside the laboratory there was an almost impenetrable cage which housed the mechanism for the model submarine which is used for many of the tests. Angie cut her way in and destroyed (by cutting the electric wires and hammering the circuit boards) the three control panels for the winch and model submarine. Ulla found a sign saying “MOD No Mooring, No Boarding” and propped it up beside the cage! We carefully cleaned up the lot, arranged on the table our police statement, video, Tridenting -it handbook and several photos of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the victims – a good finale to our housework.

Having exhausted the possibilities in the laboratory, we three went up on top of the barge and tried getting into the control room for the vessel. It was protected by hardened perspex/glass. We tried glass cutter, hammer and cold chisels, and a drill with several bits and almost got through. Above the control room we cut the aerial antenna and superglued/liquid-metalled the moving parts of an outside winch. We then settled down for a picnic.

“Newt”, a moveable platform, was a few hundred yards away and we thought we might inspect that with a life-raft (as our own boat was now beyond use and we had untied it in the hope it might wash ashore and be retrieved by our supporters). We let down one life-raft which opened in a spectacular manner. We were unsure whether it was right side up, or if it had paddles inside. So we released the second one which fell into the water, its capsule still intact. By this time 3 hours had gone by and the internal radio started hailing us. We did not want to be caught ineptly trying to control a life-raft halfway to Newt so we agreed to be satisfied with the disarmament work already accomplished. It was an excellent time to have done this work, for the laboratory was between experiments. Before damage was done to any component we made sure the power was off.

When the police arrived they were friendly, having had previous experience talking to TP2000 people. Throwing out these components felt to Ellen as if she were getting rid of the building blocks of oppression: Trident; the “free” market; the exploitation of children; unbridled militarism; the all-prevailing violence of society; third world debt. This was an amazingly liberating experience. The fact that we three are now on remand for 110 days and will face a protracted trial, we hope with a jury, is a small price to pay for having actually disarmed a Trident- related facility.We send our best wishes to all our fellow pledgers and look forward to reading of their experiences disarming Trident. Together we can change the system!

Ellen Moxley

Albemarle’s Insecure Compound

As part of the March local actions week the Northumbria Trident Ploughshares (plus friends) visited the Albemarle Secure Nuclear Vehicle compound, 7 miles west of Newcastle upon Tyne, and made it not so secure. Our antics included cutting lots of holes in the fences, leaving some leaflets and painting slogans inside the compound where nuke warhead convoys stay overnight after a long day’s rampage. The slogans read; “TP2000 were here”, and “Down with Trident”. The sign on the gate was also changed to read; “TP2000 authorised access”! On the previous day we had given out 1000 leaflets in the city centre inviting other people to join us – maybe next time?

Six weeks later the MOD police in Catterick phoned Joan Meredith wanting to arrest her, at her “convenience”. Of course Joan was off to the water cannons etc. in Brussels so arranged it for when she returned. Joan dutifully turned up at Alnwick police station on 2nd June and was formally arrested. The MOD plod was completely out of his depth when it came to coping with a peace protester who wasn’t frightened of him/his powers, and Joan felt rather sorry for him! Joan accepted a caution on the understanding that this wouldn’t stop her carrying on with her actions.

Joan was well supported by affinity group members, friends and local Labour Party bods. This only added to Joan and Joy’s cult status in the local press, which is maybe too regular!


Local Heroes Launched in Style

I didn’t take the decision lightly to leave the backroom for the front line as I find the tensions too disturbing. Upon meeting with the other Local Heroes my fears were allayed and I began to look forward to our inaugural action.

Unlike Eric’s bemused neighbours I missed the dress-rehearsal but the plan was cunningly simple. Minutes before the morning shift-change some of us donnered up to the North Gate at Faslane for a chat. One policewoman gawped in mid-sentence as Eric and David secured a cable across the entrance to the base. Seconds later Brian had to help me lock-on to the cable as my hands were too shaky. There was a pause as we looked at each other and it sank in that we had done it… the traffic was queueing up. The elation was tangible. For most of us this was our first locking on, for some their first non-violent direct action and subsequent arrest.

After a while a copper took a huge pair of bolt cutters to

the fine cable – but to no avail. Red-faced he left, to return 10 minutes later with suitable adjusted croppers. Eventually they gnawed through. One by one we were unthreaded and led off. Brian sat down looking calm and strong. The symbolism left me feeling proud and humble to be part of such a powerful creative group.

“Processing” took an eternity but once in the cell I realised I had nothing to do but relax. Fascinating conversation interspersed with companionable silence. Bliss! Four hours later we celebrated with chip butties and a dram at Jane’s.

The results:

  • Traffic into the North Gate delayed for over half-an-hour.
  • Meaningful communication between protesters, MOD, public and base workers.
  • 6 charged with BOPping around: one with BOP and resisting arrest.
  • For myself a renewed sense of solidarity and a strengthening commitment to a completely non-violent response to conflict.


To Eric, Una, Babs, Brian, David and Jane: Cheers!


Reports from the May camp

Strip the Willow

A Salutary tale from the May weekend

After an invigorating Strip the Willow

at North Gate (when will it end?), and on the given signal, the plan was to spread along the fence and for each group to carry out their own action. This was to be the third attempt by various members of the Midlands group to enter Faslane through the chainlink fence and the weld mesh fence at the fuel depot. Carrying bolt cutters and D locks, we set off for our objective, planning to cut through the chain link fence and fasten ourselves to the weldmesh before the police arrived. It was an eerie feeling to walk along the road on a mass action day with no police following us, although we passed more than one parked van-load of Strathclyde Police.

A hole was cut in the outer fence, we quickly crossed to the inner fence and cut a small hole, then had time to return the bolt cutters to Joy before locking on. This was all carried out with a sense of urgency as the police could arrive at any minute – or so we expected.

As we drew breath, we realised there were no MOD Police anywhere in sight. Strathclyde were now out in full force dealing with the wheelchair action but no sight nor sound of man, woman or dog on our side of the fence. The sense of frustration was paramount: D-locked to a fence with the key in a bag just out of reach, no bolt cutters, and no police in sight! So near, and yet so far; within the Base, but helpless to move further. However, frustration turned to alarm: what if we were being left to our fate when the dreaded midges came out for their evening meal – a ready feast from two humans shackled to a fence?

So it was almost with relief that we saw MOD Police (and dog) finally arrive and events took their normal course in the holding cells at Faslane. However, a beautiful art and craft display was arranged before we were released after midnight.

The moral of this story is, while actions should always be meticulously planned, never limit your options so that you are unable to go further when the opportunity presents itself.

Sylvia and Alison

Joined-Up Action

One of the valuable lessons to be learned from Ploughshares 2000 actions is that there is always a learning experience. The Adomnan of Iona affinity group has joined other groups before now and indeed we have tried lock-ons, but this time we learned even more. This time we enjoyed the privilege and benefits of working with another affinity group from the planning stage to the release stage. Indeed we hope the co-operation will continue. Our initial contact with what were to become the Ceilidh Creatures dates back to the February action when Morag and Roz made excellent use of their two wheelchairs. Once the Ceilidh Creatures had completed their training, some of Adomnan met with them and, given that for May our number of arrestables would be small, we decided to join forces. Literally!

On Sunday 15th May, as the Ceilidh at the North Gate reached the appropriate point, the two groups ambled down the road having decided to cut a section of the fence near the oil depot. We hoped to take the two wheelchairs through, after which we aimed to lock the chairs together either with the rest of us, or if possible, for the rest of us to keep going into the base. It was with some delight that we found that Sylvia and Alison had already cut a nice hole and made inroads into the compound. Our task simplified to enlarging the hole. This was achieved by Jean and Warren, both of whom climbed inside and we tried to get the chairs nearer. The police arrived at this point and we rapidly made the decision to lock-on to each other and to whatever else came to hand.

Speed required that the perfect line up we had envisaged had to be abandoned, but Warren remained inside, lying alongside the wire, with his legs between a fence and a concrete post. (He said it was not too uncomfortable.) He managed to get one arm locked through a pipe and under one wheelchair to Grace. The wheelchairs meantime, locked to each other and I (Maire-Colette) locked on to the fence and to Morag’s wheelchair. Unfortunately I was not able to reach back to Grace and Jean was not able to lock on to Warren but it was still pretty effective! Jean agreed to come out fairly quickly having carefully concealed her bolt-cutters so that our support team of Alan and Mark could surreptitiously remove them from the scene at the appropriate time.

After about an hour and much dialogue and laughter – and we must record the extreme courtesy of the police – the D-lock holding me, and at first sight Morag, to the fence was cut by the police, and this was rapidly followed by my wrist band being severed thus getting me away from the chair and somewhat stiffly into the police van. Morag decided to come out of the chain and joined Jean and me in the van. Eventually the other three were parted. Warren was taken into MOD custody while Grace and Roz joined us in the van. Again, I commend the police in so far that they took great care to ensure the safety of Morag and Roz, albeit their consideration demonstrated a paucity of lateral thinking! Even so they took advice from and suggestions from us and those most concerned.

Having reached the fence shortly after one, having deployed thirty police officers at one point and having finally driven off to Clydebank to arrive at five-thirty, I think we all felt a sense of exhilaration at demonstrating, once again, the power of powerlessness! We had done so much with so relatively little.

To conclude then: we were joined up in every way, to each other, to the wire, in though and concern for each other as well as for the focus of our action – our common purpose to get rid of Trident. I heartily recommend Joined-up Action!

Acorns for Peace

When we prepared to get onto the streets of Helensburgh on Saturday during the May camp we wondered what the reaction would be from a town closely tied in employment and family terms to the Trident complexes a few miles up the road. The sun shone, Helensburgh CND laid on a good street stall, Bill Clinton (AKA Martyn) paraded about on stilts and a mini samba band snaked through the town as we dished out leaflets.

The response was very encouraging and supportive. And from little acorns… A researcher from Radio Scotland was having a day out at the seaside, picked up our material and got interested. The result was 30 minutes on Trident on the Lesley Riddoch Programme, with Rachel talking about Barrow and David responding to the phone-ins. Well, hardly a mighty oak just yet, but a sapling, surely.

2000 Walk for Nuclear Disarmament

A Life of Brian – from Brussels to Edinburgh

The distant cheering rolled back from the front ranks. “Thalassa! thalassa!” I murmured to myself through parched lips, though knowing – alas! – few then or now would share the allusion. That huge grim stalinistic star so often seen on TV, the rows of water cannon, ranks of riot police with visors, shields and batons, all left no doubt. We had arrived at NATO Headquarters. This was the end of the Long Walk. Blistered, bleeding and exhausted, I slumped to the ground. It was shortly afterwards I was hit full on by a jet from a water cannon and sent spinning across the road.

A novel experience indeed for a 61 year-old with a heart by-pass….. Later, I saw riot police lash out at the arms and wrists

of demonstrators approaching the wire. Our Crime? Simply being there. Confronting NATO with the illegality of its own nuclear war plans. Peacefully, openly and non-violently. The For Mother Earth Peacemarch had left the International Court of Justice in The Hague on May 16. Some 500 people from more than 20 different nationalities, we were journeying from the rule of law to the realm of brute power; marching to Brussels to demand that NATO comply with international law regarding nuclear weapons, and to demand an end to all violence in the Balkans.

From California to Moscow, from the Cameroon to Glasgow, folk had come united in their love of life. This their one faith; a real and practical love that transcends race, nationality, church or creed. A joyful commitment to the love which – alone – can save the human family from nuclear suicide. A real living faith, that demands courage and deeds, not mere pious words.

At first the Mayor of Brussels told us that we could not pass through the city, stay overnight in it, or display or wear anything indicating opposition to NATO within city boundaries (isn’t democracy wonderful?). He later relented – through massive media presence, I suspect. Following my impromptu shower, I was arrested and joined my friends in jail for a welcome lie-down, enlivened by much singing.

The next day people who tried to go to NATO HQ for a picnic were simply arrested as they got off the tram, along with any other unlucky citizens who happened to get off as well. They were kept in jail for 12 hours, presumably for the crime of getting off the tram at the wrong stop. The word Kafkaesque inevitably springs to mind….

The good news is that I am back home again, recovering well, and more determined than ever to stop Britain’s criminal and illegal weapon of mass destruction Trident, and to help build a world freed forever from the nightmare of nuclear annihilation. That is also the bad news – bad, that is, for those who would that it were otherwise; who would prefer I live in permanent exile perhaps, or suffer an ignoble demise in a Brussels police cell. I mean the nuclear apologists, and those sad souls who occasionally honour me with a hate-filled diatribe – generally anonymous. (My favourite is addressed – I kid you not – to B. Quail, Soviet Agent…. and this ten years after the USSR went down the plug-hole!)

So farewell Brussels. The joyous and anarchic anabasis is over. But now for me another journey lies ahead; one of awesome importance, whose significance far transcends my petty personal fate. On 30th June, I will travel to the High Court in Edinburgh. There three judges will hear my appeal against sentence imposed upon me in Helensburgh District Court, for taking non-violent direct action against the Trident nuclear base. These honourable men must decide whether the Court erred or not, in refusing to take into consideration principles of international law when deciding their verdict. Let us hope and pray that on that momentous occasion absolute objectivity, integrity and fidelity to principle will prevail over casuistry, insidious sophistry or political preconceptions.

Whatever the outcome, the struggle will go on. But oh, what a glorious day it would be for the new Scotland and the world, if it were a Scottish Court that first should find the courage and integrity to defy the national nuclear barons, and to unequivocally and unconditionally reaffirm the ancient and immutable principle of civilian immunity! To state in all its simplicity the most basic of all human laws: You may not kill innocent people, neither in peace nor in war. You may not kill innocent people.

Brian Quail

Legal Matters

TP2000 Cases in District, Sheriff and High Courts

Sixteen people were arrested at the May camp at Coulport, mostly for Breach of the Peace and Malicious Mischief. For Mother Earth are happy for us to add the Trident Ploughshares pledgers who were arrested at NATO HQ in Brussels to our arrests database. The arrest of the Pheasants Union at Loch Goil last week brought the total arrests for the first 10 months of Trident Ploughshares up to 226!

The opportunities to put arguments about the immorality and illegality of Trident in the courts continue:

District Court. There have now been 34 guilty

verdicts in the Helensburgh District Court with at least 8 more trials scheduled for the coming months. A few people have paid their fines while others haven’t heard anything from the court in spite of being well past the time given to pay. We have heard unofficially that Trident Ploughshares has completely jammed up the District Court and is causing them problems. They may well ignore unpaid fines and just wait for people to get arrested here again.

Sheriff Courts. Angie, Ellen and Ulla appeared at the Dunoon Sheriff’s Court after their action because Loch Goil is just over the border into a different court district. Their trial has to take place within 110 days from then. We are waiting to hear whether their trial will be in Dunoon,probably with a jury, or moved to the High Court which could be in Glasgow, Greenock or Paisley. Meanwhile Angie still has to appear at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on the trumped-up ’dangerous driving’ charge from the November camp.

High Court. Brian Quail’s appeal at the High Court in Edinburgh is an important step. He has legal aid for representation by an advocate. If the High court decides that the magistrate should have taken account of International Law they could quash the conviction, but he could then be retried in the District Court.

Reason to stay optimistic. Recently eight protesters were tried for blockading the Trident submarine base in Bangor, USA. The defendants were denied a “Necessity Defence”, an “International Law Defence” and testimony from expert witnesses. While only being allowed to testify to their “State of Mind” they convinced a jury that they were not guilty of a crime.


Aldermaston Woman Trashing Trident

Rachel Wenham and Rosie James, who boarded HMS Vengeance on 1st February and put testing equipment out of action, appeared in Barrow on 4th June for committal to Crown Court. Their next appearance will be at Lancaster Crown Court on Friday 16th July for Plea and Directions hearing. Their bail conditions have now been completely lifted – apart from the one banning them from Barrow. Rumours have it that the CPS are estimating the damage to Vengeance at £100,000!

The AWTT thank everyone who has sent cardboard and paper hammers. Apparently they’d now like vegan chocolate cake.

Greetings from Bread Not Bombs

On14th May, the 8 day trial in Preston Crown Court of three Swedish Ploughshares activists ended when the jury, after 7 hours of deliberation, could not reach a verdict. Annika Spalde, Stellan Vinthagen and Ann-Britt Sternfeldt, of the Bread Not Bombs Ploughshares group, had been accused of conspiring to cause criminal damage to the new Trident nuclear weapons submarine, HMS Vengeance, in September last year at Barrow.

Dear Friends!! Back in Sweden, trying to relax after a rather busy time in many ways. Excited by the trial, especially with result we got, but of course it takes a lot of energy. All three of us are happy

about having a whole summer enjoying freedom, and we definitely need that to get new energy for the re-trial that starts 11th October. We hope to see many friends from TP2000 then, and we hope that we can continue our good co-operation.

Lots of love to all of you. I’m happy you are together with us in our struggle.

Ann-Britt Sternfeldt for Bread not Bombs

To email the defendants: email

Bread Not Bombs Plowshares website: