rn: Civil Disobedience: Helen John in UK


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

I think you will be glad to know of this Helen John and John LaForge. At
times I feel stupid to be writing letters-to-the-editor and letters to
government officials urging people to prevent our involvement in National
Missile Defence (NMD) or genocidal policies in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Colombia...
Why do we have to argue such obvious things? Why waste our time?

But when I hear of the dedication of people like Helen John, I fell the
least I can do is inform people, who are not being informed via our regular

all the best, Jan
From: "Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space"
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2000 17:30:31 -0400
Helen John    Tel/fax 01943-468593
Board of Directors, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in
Talk at Labour Party Conference
Monday 25 September 2000

Helen John is not able to be here as planned because she was arrested
yesterday afternoon (Sunday) on a Scottish warrant.  She was taken from
Yorkshire up to Scotland to face charges of criminal damage, after an action
earlier this year in which she wrote "No Star Wars," "Do Not Collude With
Genocide," "Recognise International Humanitarian Law," "Ban Trident," "Free
TP2000 Activists Angie, Ellen and Ulla" and "Ban Uranium Weapons" on the
outside of the High Court in Edinburgh and the new parliament's visitors'
centre.  She is also facing prison for non-payment of fines arising from
non-violent direct action at the Faslane and Coulport Trident nuclear bases.
She will also come to trial on the 30th and 31st of October with Anne Lee
and Angie Zelter, charged with criminal damage to the new high security
alarmed fence at Menwith Hill.  As a member of Trident Ploughshares 2000,
she has pledged to continue taking non-violent direct action until Britain
rids itself of its criminal and immoral nuclear weapons.  Over the last ten
years, Helen has spent a total of almost two years in prison overall.  Since
she could not attend today's meeting, she has sent a written statement:

"My apologies for not being here with you all, but events have overtaken me.
My sincere wish is that events regarding the threat of a new nuclear-powered
arms race in space will not be allowed to overtake us and the rest of the
world.  Recently at CND National Conference, John La Forge, an American
activist, made an impassioned plea for the revival of civil disobedience so
that the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom are
confronted by honest, decent, caring people who are not prepared to follow
in the footsteps of the war criminals who have recently, for the second
time, (following Hiroshima and Nagasaki) used radioactive weapons against
innocent, unprotected peoples of this planet, in Iraq, Bosnia and

 "Let this be a clear indication of the direction that ballistic missile
defence would take the United States and the United Kingdom.

"Opposition to ballistic missile "defence" and the demand to strengthen the
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Outer Space Treaties need to be made
high-profile local issues. We want women to go to Menwith Hill and mixed
protests at Fylingdales and all other U.S. bases throughout the U.K..
Follow the example set by Trident Ploughshares 2000 and become visibly
active again.  I suggest the 3rd weekend of every month should be a rolling
protest that starts from now until we have our way. On the 7th of October,
there will be protests against weapons in space outside the US Embassy in
London and at three other UK sites, as well as protests in 15 countries
around the world, including some 28 locations within the United States
alone. The Global Network demanding an end to this insane new weapons system
is growing day by day.

 "It is important to be clear about NATO.  We must clearly identify it for
what it is. In my view, NATO does not represent the best hope we have to
implement the Non-proliferation Treaty,  but simply a Nuclear American Take
Over.  One final word - fight Jack Straw like mad to prevent him from
removing trial by jury from all individuals who are involved in civil
disobedience. If we are left to the mercy of the judges in this land, we
will be in the same position the protesters found themselves in in Nazi
Germany.  Our home secretary is aptly named - he is a man of straw.  I think
we the people can make him a broken reed.

 "Let there be no nuclear-powered weapons of mass destruction in space.
Working together we can render these bases inoperable.

"Dare I say enjoy conference?
May best wishes to you all,
Helen John"

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 90083
Gainesville, FL. 32607
(352) 337-9274