8th July 2000

By Nigel Chamberlain
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)

Around 200 people made the journey to the North Yorkshire Moors on Saturday for CND's 'Point the Finger' action at Fylingdales. They had come from across the country, from as far away as Exeter and there were more young faces proportionately, than usual.

Despite dire predictions, the weather held and the sun even managed to break through on occasions.

The march up the hill from Eller Beck looked great from the front with plenty of 'CND says No to Star Wars' and 'Point the Finger' placards with music from Karl Dallas and friends following behind the long bright yellow banner carried by Dave Knight, Lindis Percy, Jeremy Corbyn, Carol Naughton and Dave Webb.

The single but huge pyramid looked incongruous sited atop the windswept moors and was particularly menacing given its potential role in the Pentagon's 'Son of Star Wars' vision for military mastery of earth and space.

There was no triumphalism at the news that the interceptor missile had failed to destroy its target over the Pacific earlier that morning but there was a feeling of satisfaction that the militarists would have to delay their plans for early deployment of the first stage of their euphemistically called 'National Missile Defence' (NMD) system.

Jeremy Corbyn MP and Lindis Percy address the demonstration

Dave Knight and Carols Naughton (as Princess Lera)

There were interesting, informative and motivational speeches from Lindis, Jeremy, Carol and Dave and a very moving contribution from Christine Dean after she and Dave had been permitted to go inside the base to personally deliver Declarations of Protest on behalf of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Dave and Christine set off with escort to hand in the Declaration

Neither Lindis nor Anni Rainbow were allowed to deliver the declaration as they had both been arrested at Fylingdales.

The Declaration read as follows:

Declaration of Protest
Fylingdales 8th July 2000

This declaration is a protest at the 'in principle' or 'actual' collaboration by the United Kingdom and the United States of America in the deployment of a National Missile Defence (NMD).

We are deeply offended by and wish to protest at:
  • The abuse of UK democracy by the Government's collusion with the US in their intent to break the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with no recourse to debate within the British Parliament.

  • The fact that the deployment of NMD, while doing nothing to aid Britain's vital security interests, is simply furthering US aims of domination of the earth and, ultimately, of space; thus giving the US the ability to prevail in a 'first strike' against preceived aggressors.

  • The enhancement of US power which will precipitate a new nuclear arms race in the context of further proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

  • The perpetuation of secrecy surrounding Fylingdales which prevents public scrutiny and debate with scant accountability to the people of the UK on whose land it is sited.

We call upon the Royal Air Force and the UK Government to halt any collaboration with the US on NMD and to exert pressure to dissuade the US Government from continuing with this ill-advised programme. We believe that NMD will perpetuate the culture of war rather than work towards the United Nations aim of creating a culture of peace.

The music was wonderfully uplifting and, as Karl Dallas reminded us all, it is integral to protesting and always has been.

There were several photographers in attendance, a reporter from BBC Radio York and a couple of local journalists but no TV cameras. The Press Association ran a 'CND urges against Star Wars involvement' piece all day. All the Sunday broadsheets had reports about the failed test but only the Independent on Sunday had a photograph of our action. There was no further mention of the action (that I saw) but the Observer's leader comment urging the UK Government to get off the fence and urge the US to abandon the programme was most welcome.

This must be our campaigning focus now. We all must do what we can to say that it will be too late for our Government to refuse the use of Fylingdales for NMD by the time the formal request arrives from the US. This failure has given us more time to build opposition to the plans and has given the Government an opportunity to rethink its non-position and tell the US that the political, diplomatic, strategic and economic price for NMD is too high ... and potentially disastrously so.

(See also original call for action)

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