Report on USAF Croughton Demonstration

October 11 2003

From Nuala Young - Oxford CND

Around 80 /100 people from places like Southampton, Reading, Faringdon, London, Oxford, Bedford, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Kidlington arrived at the bridle path to the West of Croughton base. There were interviews with Central TV who did 2 interviews and filmed the start of the walk to the south and east of the base with those great golf balls in the background.

Children with paper kites led the way and the walkers were accompanied by the serious but jolly drum and trombone music and the drums of the group of Buddhists. Just as the motley crowd were approaching the main Northampton road to the east of the base the nuclear warhead convoy started to pass. One person had time to don a white radiation suit and the others lined the side of the road with peace flags and banners. The cars that had been held up hooted in support.

After the last of the warhead convoy had passed, everyone did a loaves and fishes picnic with sandwiches cakes and tea provided for those in need. A beautiful tepee had been erected as a play area for the children with floating bubbles and gentle music.

The rest of us perched around a makeshift platform on tarpaulins and rugs to listen to the speakers; Rebecca Johnson, the only non-governmental representative at the conference on Space Wars organised by the Russian Foreign Office and editor of Disarmament Diplomacy, Andrew Murray Chair of the national Stop the War Coalition, Kate Hudson Chair of national CND and Brian Terrell, a US activist who comes from the area where the US Space Command is now located.

After these excellent speeches, David Gill from Oxford CND read out a short surreal poem inspired by Croughton. After all this more tea etc and lots of networking and determination to continue working together on exposing Croughton. Some people had to be dragged reluctantly away to get on the Oxford coach home. We know it shouldn't have been a "Nice day out" but it was! Not one police person in sight, just 2 very obvious and rather fat and gormless looking US plants.

11 October
Village Protest at Missile Defence

Campaigners are descending at an airbase in south Northamptonshire to protest against US plans to set up a space-based missile defence system.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) scheduled the event because the group believes RAF Croughton could play a role in the new American "Star Wars" programme.

The US plan to develop a defensive screen to track and destroy incoming ballistic missiles depends on the use of early warning systems in Greece and the UK.

CND opposes the system believing it could start a new arms race among nuclear powers.

Villager's fears

Ken Barfoot, who lives in Croughton village, told BBC Radio Northampton the prospect of a new weapons system being based there was frightening.

He said: "If there were to be any chemical, biological, nuclear or any kind of attack against the Americans I would be a target.

"I would be on the firing line, and I don't like that. I've got six children, and I've got their interests at heart.

"I don't like having to leave my village and drive past servicemen with loaded guns each time I leave the village."

RAF Croughton was established as a base prior to the Second World War, but began a communications role with the establishment of a USAF Global Airways Station in 1951.

Campaigners have organised a walk round the perimeter fence to view satellite dishes and aerials at the base, followed by a rally and a picnic.

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