Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Fairford "disarmers" first day in court
Yesterday I attended the solidarity protect outside Bristol Crown Court in support of Dr Margaret Jones and Paul Milling.
In March 2003 this courageous pair broke into RAF Fairford, being used by the USAF to bomb Iraq, with the aim of sabotaging the aircraft, and the tractors that take munitions to them. They were arrested by armed US troops.
Prosecutor Bruce Houlder QC told Bristol Crown Court that when she was arrested, Margaret replied: "The US are using this base as a launching pad for war crimes. It's my aim to prevent that to the best of my ability."
The court heard that Milling said: "The UK and US Governments are using this base in an act of war which is both illegal and immoral. I'm doing everything in my power to prevent it."
The case has already been to the House of Lords and back to test whether the defendants can use the argument of lawful excuse (they can’t). Margaret and Paul argue that they acted to prevent a crime taking place.
The protest outside the court had about 70 people there, including a woman who had come from Scotland, and delegations from Plymouth, Bridgewater and Swindon (you can just see me in the photo behind Paul’s ear, holding the yellow Swindon banner)
Bristol’s socialist choir, the Red Notes, were as always excellent, and gave a human and warm dimension to it. But sometimes their choices of songs are a bit inaccessible which prevents others joining in.
The composition of the protest was quite broad, including some younger people who had been at the Drax protest, and a number of religious folks. I recognised a number of people who I know to be active trade unionists. However the political left were conspicuous by their very low profile. There was one sheepish socialist worker seller, but he didn’t offer the paper to many people. Several people remarked to me upon their absence.