FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Gloucester Weapons Inspectors

‘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

 

 

More articles by:

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    

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail