All the latest from the LCW...
This website has been a little quiet of late, so there are a number of things to report...
Solidarity vigil: A vigil has been maintained at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since Wednesday 20 June in solidarity with Julian Assange who took refuge there on Tuesday and is seeking political and protective asylum in Ecuador. Members of the LCW have participated, and more detail can be found at the Veterans for Peace website.
Newsletter: Our summer newsletter is out now. There is news of our annual appeal, a report from Burma, a very moving interview with one of the residents of the LCW farm, and much more...
Facebook: Yes, they're a big nasty corporation with some serious privacy issues, but a lot of people use them, so we've got ourselves a presence. If you use facebook you can find us here and keep updated with what we're up to...
On May 9th four London Catholic Workers were joined by 10 Swedish students on a day visit to Giuseppe Conlon House as we travelled into the South Korean Embassy. We went to the embassy to express solidarity with the people of Je Ju non-violently resisting the destruction of their traditional lands & the construction of a new U.S. warfighting naval base. A video of the protest can be seen here.
We arrived at the embassy to join long time resister/ ploughshares activist Angie Zelter who was recently arrested on Je Ju. 45 other folks were also gathered in solidarity. They included folks.from the Korean community, Pax Chrisit, CND, Trident Ploughshares, the Columban JPIC, Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, Veterans for Peace UK. Three musicians kept us entertained with political songs and several people read out the letters they had written to hand in to the Embassy.
Angie Zelter and two other ativists went into the Embassy at 3 p.m. for around forty minutes to meet with Mr. IM, Byungho, the Consul/1st Secretary. They told him in detail of our three major concerns – militarisation; human rights abuses and lack of democracy; and environmental destruction. They also told him about the growing international concerns and that there were demonstrations in at least eight other cities in five different countries this week.
The Ambassador stated several times that he did not know anything about the situation in Jeju and does not have an opinion about it. He did not know about the environmental protection issue or the human rights issue (and did not seem to care about it either!) but he was sure that Chinese and Japanese naval power is increasing and Korea needs more naval bases especially in the south of the country. He said his Government's intention is to protect its people using military tactics which was their right and that the Ambassador has no right or power to ask the Government to change its policies.
The Ambassador asked why British people were protesting. The activists said it was of concern to all people if human rights abuses took place, environmental protections were not respected and when countries were preparing for war – we said much more of course and asked that our concerns be sent to the President. He did not seem very interested and said he did not think the President would read any report even if they decided to make one. He only came to London last year, is a diplomat and has to support his Government and is terribly busy with serious things to consider. He was very dismissive but the three activists thought it was important that they insisted on the meeting and are fairly sure he did know much more than he let on.
Solidarity protests were held in Berlin and Frankfurt (Germany), San Francisco (US) on May 9th. There has been ongoing solidarity from U.S. Catholic Workers and Veterans for Peace in and with the Je Ju struggle that has seen many priests nuns, lay Catholics & international solidarity activists arrested in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience.
This youtube video by Californian Catholic Worker Denis Appel shows the beauty and courage of Je Ju and the threat the military poses. Thanks to Angie Zelter for help with this report!
Apologies for the delayed report of this event... Webmaster mea culpa!
On Good Friday, 6th April, seven people associated with the Catholic Worker communities based in Harringay, Rickmansworth and Oxford, undertoook a five hour contemporary Stations of the Cross procession through downtown Westminster/ London on Holy Thursday. Processing behind a banner reading “Tortured and Murdered by Empire”, the group carried a cross, images of the crucified Christ, victims of the UK wars on Iraq and Aghanistan, Jimmy Mubenga killed by GS4 at Heathrow during his 2010 deportation, Bradley Manning & Julian Assange of WikiLeaks presently in the crosshairs of empire for exposing war crimes.
The procession paused for prayer, shared reflection and song outside of Downing St., Ministry of Defence, Dept of Energy, MBDA, BAe Systems, Qinetiq, Defence Export Services Organisation, Rolls Royce, Home Office, MI-5, Arms Export Committee, Treasury Office, Parliament, Foreign Office before returning to Downing St. By the time the group had left the MI-5 building they had picked up an armed response unit tail. Their return to Downing St was greeted with a van load of armed offices tumbling out of their van. The government is presently seeking 10 year ASBOs banning two Catholic Workers, Chris Cole and Fr. Martin Newell C.P, from Westminster in relation to their nonviolent anti-war activity.
The group Veterans for Peace was launched last month at Guiseppe Conlon House. Eleven veterans attended the meeting and the aims of VFP UK were laid out:
5 pm Tuesday April 24th (tomorrow):
Bradley Manning is facing 23 charges one carrying the death penalty, accused of exposing war crimes of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bradley is being brought back to Ft. Meade Maryland on March 15 & 16 for a pre-court martial prosecution motions hearing. Bradley is in jail for us, we're on the streets for him. End the Wars! Free Bradley Manning! Drop the Charges!
Please RSVP if you can - helps us organise the event! (Email: ciaronx AT yahoo.com or Ph./ text 079 392 90576.) If you can't make it to London or Ft. Meade, consider standing publicly where ever you are in solidarity with Bradley Manning!
The March 16th. Vigil at London's U.S. Embassy organised by London Catholic Worker http://londoncatholicworker.org/ and Veterans for Peace UK. Closest tubes are Bond St., Marble Arch, Oxford St. Hyde Park Corner. A map to get to the embassy is here.
Veterans for Peace UK - Our Stories, Our Aims, Our Actions.
Celebrate the launch of Veterans for Peace UK. Easter Monday 09 April 2012 1400hrs (2pm). Come and hear veterans speak the truth about war.
For more information / RSVP
Video background: Ben Griffin Matthew Horne, Michael Lyons outside the U.S. Embassy in Solidarity with
Bradley Manning (3 mins 30 secs)
Jim Radford singing "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" (5 mins)
The newsletter includes an article about Michael Lyons, the British naval medic who refused orders to deploy in Afghanistan and as a consequence spent seven months in jail. The LCW visited Michael in jail, vigiled outside the jail, and held a party when he got out!
There is also an account of Paolo Oliveira's ``Christmas in Palestine". Paolo is currently living with us as an intern at Guiseppe Conlon House. And there's loads more...
Don't forget the vigil for Bradley Manning coming up this Friday. See the article below...
At 5pm, Friday 16th March we'll be holding a Free Bradley Manning vigil Outside U.S. Embassy, London. We will demand that all charges be dropped against Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning is facing 23 charges one carrying the death penalty, accused of exposing war crimes of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bradley is being brought back to Ft. Meade Maryland on March 15 and 16 for a pre-court martial prosecution motions hearing. Bradley is in jail for us, we're on the streets for him.
End the Wars! Free Bradley Manning! Drop the Charges!
The March 16th. Vigil at London's U.S. Embassy organised by London Catholic Worker and Veterans for Peace UK.
Closest tubes Bond St., Marble Arch, Oxford St. Hyde Park Corner (download a map to the embassy here). For more info contact Ciaron on ciaronx AT yahoo.com, 079 392 90576. More info on the campaign at WiseUp and CollateralMurder.
Seven Catholic Workers, a Quaker, a doctor and a priest were detained and searched following the marking of the M.O.D. Buiding in Whitehall in an anti-nuclear weapons action on Ash Wenesday
140 others gathered at an Ash Wednesday event organised by Pax Christi, London Catholic Worker in repentance and resistance to British nuclear weapons. The group proceeded to M.O.D. building on White Hall as activists broke off to mark the building that controls British Nuclear wepaons
During a procession and liturgy those taking part heard how the UK Government's commitment to nuclear deterrence is an on-going challenge. The UK alone has 225 nuclear weapons and the Royal Navy boasts a proud record of over 40 years of uninterrupted nuclear deterrence, as at least one of the four Vanguard-class submarines is on patrol at any time. They that the government might have a change of heart and direction.
A Catholic Worker stated,
British troops on the ground have recently withdrawn from an illegal invasion of Iraq based on the fiction of that country's possession of WMD. The British government and parliamentary opposition expect us to swallow the same lies in a lead up to a war on Iran. Yet the M.O.D. and British government continue to manufacture and deploy nuclear weapons.
This is the 30th. year the M.O.D. has been confronted by christian peace activists on Ash Wednesday. More coverage, including pics, here.
5pm – 6pm: Stand in solidarity with Bradley Manning in London as he is arraigned for Court Martial in the US. The Vigil will take place at the hour the arraignment is starting at Fort Meade, Maryland.
Meet in front of the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. Nearest tube: Bond Street. (more details).
If you can't make feel free to text the vigil while it is on - 079 392 90576 - sign off name and town eg. "Ciaron, London" and we'll read out ya solidarity text at the vigil.
You can read a statement from the US Lawyers Guild for the charges to be dismissed here.
On January 11th on the 10th. anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo, folks from Veterans for Peace, No Borders, Harringey Solidarity Group and Giuseppe Conlon Catholic Worker House gathered in our neighborhood of Harringey, London to the demand the immediate closure of Guantanamo and other U.S. gulags. More pics here.
Our gathering included three former prisoners and a British veteran of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. We made a specific call for the release of Londoner Shaker Aamer.
Shaker Aamer was cleared for release by the US military in 2007. He claims to have been tortured repeatedly during his time in US custody, on one occasion in the presence of a British intelligence agent. He has a British wife and four children living in Battersea, south London. He has never met his youngest son, who is almost 10 years old. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought his release in August 2007, along with four other residents held at Guantánamo Bay, the last of whom was released in February 2009. His lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, has recently expressed grave concerns for his physical and mental health due to prolonged arbitrary detention. More info here
Catholic Workers closed and occupied the Main Entrance of Northwood Military Headquarters. Scott and Maria Albrecht, Henrietta Cullinan, John Lynes and Rachel Wood pitched tents, knelt and prayed in front of the main gate for 2 hour while others vigiled holding signs. One tent had the words, “The Prince of Peace pitched his tent among us” John 1:14. A sign said, “War is not a Solution” which is a direct message from the Young Afghan Peace Volunteers and another Pvt. Bradley Manning’s Quote, “Exposing the true nature of 21st Century asymmetrical Warfare”. A banner stating, Occupy Northwood HQ not Afghanistan” was hung on the fence. The gate remained closed for the duration of the occupation.
The Catholic Worker group had gathered to mark the Feast of Holy Innocents; when Catholics remember the children murdered by king Herod in his search for the infant Jesus. Catholic Workers make the connection with the powerful who continue to kill the innocents today in war, specifically Afghanistan. Northwood HQ is the command and control center for British forces in Afghanistan, all joint forces and NATO operations abroad. Northwood HQ has recently experienced a £1.2 billion building project; these funds could have otherwise benefited the community.
The five occupiers were: Maria Albrecht (50), Scott Albrecht (49) from the Catholic Worker Farm, Hertfordshire, Henrietta Cullinan (50) from the Catholic Worker in Hackney, John Lynes (83) Quaker from Hastings and Rachel Wood (28) from the Catholic Worker group Sheffield.
A group statement said,
At a time when government cuts are affecting innocent children, pensioners, teachers, the sick and refugees the last thing we need to be doing is to continue spending billions on warfare. Human lives are the deepest cost. The government complains about a few tents occupying a small square outside St. Paul’s cathedral while we’ve sent thousands of soldiers to occupy other people’s countries and destroy their lives. This government needs to get its priorities right.
More pics are here
London Catholic Worker Martin Newell got out of prison for Christmas, thank goodness. So no need to write to him in jail. Instead, here's the LCW Christmas message from last year - it's still relevant, maybe one day it'll be out of date...
Father Martin Newell of the London Catholic Worker community was sentenced to 24 days imprisonment Friday Dec 9th 2011 at Highbury Magistrates Court. Martin was brought before the court for refusing to pay a fine arising from cutting into the Northwood Headquarters, London in December 2008. The anti-war direct action was timed for the "Feast of the Holy Innocents" on the Catholic liturgical calendar. The feast day follows Christmas and commemorates the massacre of children in a search and destroy mission by King Herod who saw the birth of Christ as a threat to his power.
From the dock Fr. Newell stated
I work with refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan at the Catholic Worker. I am opposed to the wars we have been waging on these countries. I have nonviolently resisted these wars since they began. I'm refusing to pay this fine as a form of further non-cooperation with these wars.
Northwood Headquarters is the command centre for British forces deployed overseas. The base has been the location of a number of nonviolent direct actions by the pacifist Catholic Worker community over the past decade of war on Iraq and Afghanistan.
Martin is in HMP Pentonville. Solidarity messages can be sent to
Martin Newell, c/- Giuseppe Conlon House, 49 Mattison Rd, Harringay, London, N4 1BG.We'll forward messages to Martin.
Yesterday Chris Cole and Fr. Martin Newell were formally charged at West End police station with "criminal damage". The charges result from the NVDA taken at Downing Street on 7th Oct 2011 marking the 10th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan. For background on the action take a look at this video or read this report.
Chris and Martin have been given a court date at Westminister Magistrates at 10 a.m. on 19th Dec 2011. Police have decided to take "no further action" on four others arrested in the October action - Maya Evans, Ben Griffin, John Lynes and Ciaron O'Reilly
Martin was taken into custody this morning on an old warrant relating to nonviolent anti-war resistance. He is presently being held at the West End/ London police station and will be taken to a court for sentencing on the old warrant today or tomorrow. At the present time we have no further word from the police on Martin.
Martin is a member of the London Catholic Worker; he has previously served 8 months in prison for his participation in the Jubilee Ploughshares 2000 nonviolent disabling. of the nuclear convoy vehicle en transit from Aldermaston to Faslane. In June 2011, Martin was found guilty of charges relating to a 2010 action at Aldermaston.
We've got two forthcoming events that you might be interested in...
Free Bradley Manning! End the wars!
From 2pm, Saturday 17th Square, US embassy, Grosvenor Square: The closest tube is Bond Street; there will be speakers, music and an open mic. This solidarity event outside the U.S. embassy in London will be on Bradley's 24th. birthday - a day that many of his supporters will gather outside of Ft. Meade and U.S. embassies worldwide. We invite you to join us in London to demand FREEDOM FOR BRADLEY MANNING and an END TO THE WARS!
Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, faces life in prison for allegedly sharing a video of a U.S. helicopter attack that killed 11 civilians and seriously wounded two children in Baghdad, Iraq with the WikiLeaks website. The footage had been withheld by the U.S.military from those trying to discover the truth about the attacks.
Anti-nuclear resistance celebration and planning
This year marks 30 years of continuous faithful Christian anti-nuclear witness at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Ash Wednesday. Many people have risked arrest, been arrested and served prison time over the years as an act of repentance for nuclear terror, and to call for repentance from this terrorism.
We are helping to organise an event on Saturday 7th January 2011 to celebrate this witness and, for those who wish, to plan for the future. This is a good opportunity to find out more about how to begin taking challenging action for peace and justice. All welcome.
Wishing you all a very peaceful and hope filled Advent season as we prepare for the coming of the Prince of Peace, who came among us poor and powerless to bring down the mighty from their thrones, and raise up the lowly.
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