Tuesday, May 15, 2007



Before getting stuck in to today's doings, we must mention the tremendous boost given by supporters coming to court yesterday from far and wide (and of course the stalwart Bristol peace campaigners) - especially Les and Lizzie from Southampton who injected a bit of fun and creativity as they had us all folding origami cranes (we won't mention the finger knitting in the public gallery but I'm sure his lordship was in stitches...)
So, more discussions about the right and proper way to do this blogging business have led to the conclusion that there are certain things we won't put up here - namely the details of the legal arguments conducted in the absence of the jury. However, even the jury (who should stop reading this right now if any of them are because the judge told them not to go anywhere near the interweb, far less looking at things about this trial) know that they've happened, so you can too but we're not going to tell you exactly who said what, so there. It's possible, though I admit less than likely, that the details will be put up here when the trial's over, so you could come back to look in a week or so, but you'll probably have other things to do, as we will. Some getting drunk, some going back to tend to their families/gardens, some going to sort out the chaos left behind on Sunday before rushing down here at the last minute.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves - it's only day two. During which the indescribable legal arguments occupied the morning, and the jury action started at about midday with the prosecution reading statements made by the police who arrested the daring duo. These were followed by the presentation of an enormous number of things Phil and Toby took with them on the action. Personally I'd have thought the guards would have spotted the pantechnicon they must have used to carry it all before T and P could drive it through the fence A Team style and do donuts on the runway. (You'll note these are American donuts, for reasons which will become apparent....) Daft ramblings are plainly not on our self imposed banned list...
The first exhibits the jury saw were some photographs of casualties of the first gulf war. As they studied and passed them around the mood seemed sombre. More evidence of the process of consideration, research and planning Phil and Toby went through, and of the terrible consequences of the projected assault on Iraq was contained in the evidence packs they took with them (more of which later.)
Boredom replaced other emotions as the long list continued, though light relief was provided by the flashing deely boppers offered for consideration but alas not modelled by the prosecuting lawyers. Weightier consideration was given to the bags of (by now rather rusty) nuts, bolts and nails which T and P planned to put in the jet engines' air intakes, but they did not reveal any hidden clues. The transformative potential of this disarmament action was exemplified by the soil and seeds T and P took to plant on the base. Particularly important were the warning notices they took to put on any damaged planes, alerting the military personnel to the danger of attempting to operate them.
Next stop A Witness - Squadron Leader Ivor Morris, the head honcho RAF-wise for the Fairford base. It became abundantly clear through his evidence that the RAF had no real jurisdiction there and all decisions about operations were the business of the US Air Force. He agreed with the characterisation of the RAF as the landlord and the USAF as the tenant, (though in this case the tenant seems to choose the road names too, such as 'Idaho Street' and 'Ohio Avenue' - I kid you not.) The bill for the fence repair, presented in evidence, was in US dollars......
Even more worrying was the evidence presented in 2 copies of the base magazine, published by and for US personnel, the 'Fairford Flyer' - logo a B52 bomber. Both issues contained features and pictures describing in celebratory terms the work of the 'maintainers', who build the bombs B52s drop - I quote, "it's about building things that go boom", 'Maintainers unleash B52s', and the comment "there's no better feeling" from a maintainer watching a loaded bomber taxi towards take-off.
Mr Morris also described security arrangements at the base. Most interestingly that as soon as base personnel knew of any unauthorised entry all normal work would be halted, all gates closed, all buildings searched inside and out, and a sweep made of the entire site. This seems to indicate that Toby and Phil's action, while not achieving all their aims, must have had the effect of delaying the start of the bombing.
That took us up to lunchtime, and we'll post the afternoon's stuff asap, but now we've got to go.

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