Fairford pair found ‘guilty’

Fairford Trial, Bristol - pic from Bristol IndyMedia

Two peace activists who broke into RAF Fairford and attacked US military vehicles have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

Paul Milling, 61, from Cumbria, was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 in costs.

Dr Margaret Jones, 57, of Bristol, was told to return to Bristol Crown Court on 27 July for sentencing.

The pair said they wanted to stop B-52s taking off from the Gloucestershire base to be used in the Iraq war.

The defence claimed their actions were lawful because they were attempting to prevent a war crime.

They had used hammers and bolt cutters to disable fuel tankers and trailers used for carrying bombs at the base, causing £10,000 of damage.

The prosecution, while accepting the pair acted on their “honestly held beliefs”, insisted they were still guilty of breaking the law.

Dr Jones had told the court the plan was to buy time for Iraqi civilians to flee before the anticipated “shock and awe” bomb attacks on Baghdad.

Mr Milling, a former magistrate and councillor in York, said he had been horrified to learn of the devastating impact cluster bombs could have if dropped on civilian targets.

The pair were being re-tried after a jury failed to reach a verdict last September.

BBC News

Bums. Still, out of the three sets of defendants, three initial trials had hung juries, and of the subsequent retrials, two ended in not guilty verdicts.

But as Margaret says, “Paul and I agreed this afternoon that we both still feel profoundly content about what we tried to do back, in 2003. We still see it as morally right. If it’s been adjudged legally wrong – so be it.” (From Bristol Social Forum & Bristol IndyMedia)

There’s lots more background on this and the other Fairford trials on Bristol IndyMedia.

Meanwhile, in the distant sky…

Nato raids ‘killed 35 Afghans’ (BBC)

Afghan villagers in the eastern province of Kunar say 35 civilians have been killed in separate air attacks by international forces.

The villagers said neighbours in Watapour were burying 10 people killed in a strike when planes attacked again, killing 25 more people.

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