FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Gloucester Weapons Inspectors

by DAVID WILSON

‘For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.’

Edmund Burke 1729–1797

Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. Fairford is the biggest bomber base in Europe and has recently been upgraded to a forward base for the B-2 Stealth bombers as well as the smaller B-1 and older B-52 bombers. There are only three forward bases for the Stealth Bombers, two on British territory, at Fairford and Diego Garcia, the third is in Guam. These bombers are nuclear capable and the B-2 has test dropped B61-11 nuclear bunker busters. The B61-11 is the only US nuclear weapon still deployed outside US borders and there is already a stockpile in this country.

A new group of peaceniks in the area have recently set up the “Gloucester Weapons Inspectors”–an open group of concerned citizens with no affiliation to any political party or pressure group. They employ a refreshingly humorous approach to the serious business of weapons inspection. Dressed in white decontamination suits they carry inspection equipment made from household appliances. Their sophisticated equipment includes smart bomb intelligence testers, hypocrisy detectors and collateral damage anticipation indicators.

Together with members of CND, revived Greenham Common women, (who camped outside the Cruise Missile bases in the 19801s), Buddhist monks, students, school children, pensioners and others, 1,500 people marched last Sunday from the picturesque village of Fairford to the death-organising airbase which now fractures the quiet and beauty of this part of the Cotswolds. I joined them to help a friend film the day’s protest for Indymedia.

Led by a large banner proclaiming “Stop Taking The Peace” our arrival at the main gates to the base soon became a celebration of life. There were musicians performing with a PA powered by two clowns peddling a tandem cycle, and topped with a small wheel that drove a water-mill that blew out large bubbles; unicyclists, stilt-walkers, drummers and the white-suited “arms inspectors”. Two girls arrived peddling a mobile brazier that was hardly needed as the weather on this January day was as clement as the gathering. A papiermache Stealth bomber had difficulty making its way up the country lane to the base; its wings catching to the roadside bushes.

Protestors started festooning the outer perimeter with antiwar messages, peace symbols, flowers, prayers and prayer flags and less-than-adulatory messages to our leaders, George and Tony. A group of women wove an enormous peace symbol on the wire with straw and wool. When we left that evening the main gate to the base and much of the surrounding perimeter fence had been transformed, with Ministry of Defence notices lost under a sea of life, colour and humour.

Meanwhile the “arms inspectors” set off with their wire-cutters to break into the base and carry out their own UNofficial inspections for Weapons of Mass Destruction. 40 got in and one we met had made it into one of the hangers where he was chased by two policemen. After being tackled to the ground, one of the PCs pulled him up, and gave him a hug. “Well done,” he said. “You’re doing the right thing”.

To a group of smiling coppers I said, “See you in London on 15th” (15 February is the day for the big Stop the War demo) to which one replied, “I’d be there with you, but I’m on duty that day.” It was clear to us all that the police, at least here in Gloucester, were quite unlike anything experienced by us Londoners with the Metropolitian Police (not renowned for their smiles) . The most hostile remarks we got were, “Can’t give you my private opinion now, not until dinner time.”

We interviewed school children and grannies, Greenham Common veterans and students, even an ex-RAF/BA pilot wearing a sign saying “Pilots Against the War”, who told us that he had 40 volunteers prepared to fly over Fairford. As we set off along the perimeter road a BMW drew up; its occupants dressed as though they were looking for the nearest Countryside Alliance demo and the epitome of Blair1s much beloved “Middle England”. They removed their hand-made anti-war posters from the boot and strode briskly over to the main gates. Set to one side were The Stroud Peace Group serving free teas. They had clearly brought their trestle table and tea urns from the village hall.

And the bombers have not yet arrived The organisers expect that each Sunday will see an increase in the numbers of protestors. Take a day out in the country and help the anti-war struggle–and remember to take your wire-cutters.

DAVID WILSON can be reached at: wilson@loe.uk.net

Information on Fairford and the protests

Contacts

Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors–email: info@gwi.org.uk

website: www.gwi.org.uk

If you are able to access video images check out the Fairford video on:

http://uk.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=51601&group=webcast http://uk.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=51601&group=webcast

 

 

David Wilson is a co-founder of War Child and author of ‘Left Field‘ – published by Unbound and distributed by Penguin Books. He can be reached at: david@davidwilson.org.uk    

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail