A VETERAN anti-war campaigner has revealed how activists delivered a letter to the commander of the Faslane nuclear base detailing the “inhumane” threat posed by nuclear weapons.
Angie Zelter, 71, a peace activist of more than 40 years helped serve the warning to Commodore Bob Anstey, the military chief with overall command of HM Naval Base Clyde, where the UK’s Trident missiles are kept.
She said activists’ demands to have a member of base staff come out and be hand-delivered the letter were rejected.
Undeterred, Trident Ploughshares and XR Peace activists liaised with police and activist Julia Mercer (below) handed the letter to a Ministry of Defence sergeant with instructions to pass it to Anstey, Zelter said.
Zelter’s history of activism stretches back to the 1980s, when she founded the Snowball Campaign – a three-year drive to cut the wire fences surrounding US military bases in Britain which resulted in 2500 arrests.
She was held in Corton Vale prison in 1999, on remand for causing £80,000 (£123,754 in today’s money) worth of damage to the Maytime, a floating lab in Loch Goil which provided a vital link to Trident.
The letter, dated June 16, urged Navy chief Anstey to recognise the “terrifying, inhumane and morally and economically ruinous” threat posed by nuclear weapons.
Wales-based Zelter, said the move was part of an effort among peace campaigners to refocus efforts in Scotland, which had been quietened by the pandemic.
“Things seem to be slipping a bit with the Ukraine war.”
The letter, signed by a number of anti-war activists who camped out at Coulport and Faslane between June 9 to 18 during the peace camp’s 40th anniversary, said the war in Ukraine, rather than strengthening the case for weapons of mass destruction, underlined “the urgent need to work for their worldwide abolition”.
“Real security means we’ve got to work together for climate change and biodiversity rather than fighting enemies,” Zelter added.
“We haven’t got time to be continuing with these militaristic mind games all the time.
“If we don’t actually grow up as human beings then we’re going to destroy our life, I mean the life on planet earth will probably continue, but it won’t be anything like the life that we know.”
In a blog post about the letter, activists praised the cooperation of the police in helping deliver the letter.
The letter in full:
To Commodore Bob Anstey, Commander of HM Naval Base Clyde, with overall responsibility for the naval bases of Faslane and Coulport.
16th June 2022
Regarding UK nuclear weapons policy and the TPNW states parties meeting
Dear Commodore Bob Anstey,
We are writing to you as members of the Trident Ploughshares and XR Peace campaign groups who exist to promote the cause of a nuclear-free world within a stable climate that supports a wide diversity of life.
Some members of our two organizations are camping at Peaton Wood near Coulport base and are joining forces with other campaigning groups across Europe, to urge our governments, and those of Russia and of all European countries possessing nuclear weapons or harbouring them on their territories, to renounce nuclear weapons and remove the terrifying threat which they represent, from our continent and from our planet.
Next week, from 21st to 23rd June, the first meeting of the states parties to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will be held in Vienna. Ahead of that meeting, we are holding simultaneous protests in Paris, Berlin, London, Coulport and Faslane, in order to encourage our governments to attend the States Parties meeting as observers, to engage with the TPNW process, and ultimately to sign the TPNW.
The TPNW marks the boldest and most realistic hope for progress towards a nuclear-free world. It supplements rather than replaces the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): we do not seek the abolition of the NPT, but observe that its ratification 52 years ago has not prevented an increase both in the number of nuclear-armed states and in the worldwide level of risk.
The protest we are holding today outside both the Faslane and Coulport bases, liaising with our fellow-campaigners across Europe, is about the TPNW. It also serves to denounce the many factors which make the current situation not more reassuring, but increasingly and fearsomely worrying for the ordinary citizens who we are and for whom we speak.
The war in Ukraine does not reinforce the need for nuclear weapons, but underlines the urgent need to work for their worldwide abolition. We are concerned that, instead, cooperation tending towards the use of nuclear weapons between NATO allies is increasing: the extension of the facilities of your bases and other military sites to US and French nuclear forces is alleged; and all nuclear-armed states including the United Kingdom are increasing operational deployment of their nuclear forces and decreasing both confidence-building measures and security triggers abating the risk of accidental or precipitate use.
We are writing to the Prime Minister, and to the ambassadors of France, Germany and Russia. By our protest outside your bases, and by this letter, we wish to represent to you that nuclear weapons are not an abstraction or a theoretical pawn in a complex strategic contest, but a terrifying, inhumane and morally and economically ruinous aberration posing an existential threat to life on our planet.
Alan DAVIES, Angie ZELTER, Brian LARKIN, Brian QUAIL, Camilla CANCANTATA, Carol Archer, Carolyn GELENTER, David PEUTHERER, Denise BAKER, Gillean LAWRENCE, Gillian SIDDONS, Ginnie HERBERT, Jane PICKSLEY, Jane TALLENTS, Jonathan RUSSELL, David KELLY, Glasgow Catholic Worker, Kimberly HOLROYD, Margaret Ferguson BURNS, Margery TOLLER, Martin PRADY, Mary-Alice MANSELL, Mena REMEDIOS, Nigel FONSECA, Ros MCEWAN, Roz BULLEN, Sal BENNETT, Zsuzsanna IHAR, Zelda JEFFERS.
On behalf of Trident Ploughshares and XR Peace