Georgina Smith was sentenced yesterday (Wednesday 26 January 2011) to 45 days' imprisonment by Fort William Sheriff Court to for refusing to comply with a compensation order for damage for painting the sandstone wall of the Edinburgh High Court in Scotland in 2006, during the year-long Faslane 365 campaign. Georgina and Helen John had already served sentences in Cornton Vale prison in relation to this action, but had refused to pay the compensation order.
Check back here for details of where to send letters and cards of solidarity. In the meantime, messages of support can be sent to media [at] tridentploughshares.org . These will be forwarded to Georgina.
Nuclear weapon - ICJ could find no lawful threat or use
Helen had contested the compensation order, which originally claimed damages of £6,000, because the Crown Prosecution Service had failed to account for the figure. The amount was then dropped to £3,000 and, mysteriously, the court only pursued Georgina.
Georgina is a veteran anti-nuclear campaigner who took part in the decade long women’s encampment at Greenham Common, which ended when US cruise missiles were finally withdrawn from the base. The 2006 redecoration of the High Court was part of the year-long Faslane365 campaign in which over a thousand people were arrested for blockading Faslane naval base in western Scotland, the home port for the UK's Trident nuclear missile-armed submarines, its only remaining nuclear weapon system (also assigned to NATO.)
At the time of the original action, the two women released a statement which read:
"The 'arrest and detain for 30 hours without charge' policy amounts to an abuse of process designed to silence legitimate protest against upgrading genocidal Trident nuclear missiles. NO More War Crimes."
The UK Government continues to deploy four Vanguard-class nuclear-powered submarines. Each one, fully armed, carries 48 nuclear warheads on 16 Trident II missiles (the latter leased from the US.) Each UK Trident warhead has been estimated to have an explosive power of 100kT, approximately 8 times that of the US bomb that flattened Hiroshima in Japan on 6 August 1945, killing 140,00 people due to the initial bomb blast and the longer-term effects of radiation. Any actual use of a Trident nuclear weapon would be a war crime and a crime against humanity, most likely indiscriminately killing many hundreds of thousands of civilians and causing massive radiological contamination of the environment.
A colossal waste of public funds
It has been estimated that replacing the UK Trident system will cost taxpayers up to £97 BILLION over its lifetime (Source: Greenpeace UK). The existing Trident system costs around £2 BILLION/YEAR to maintain. Critics argue that this money ought to be used for programmes of social uplift, such as providing healthcare, university and school education, and public and social services, and protecting the environment and tackling climate change.
Writing to Georgina:
Georgina is expected to be moved to Cornton Vale prison, but this is yet to be confirmed. Check back here for details of where to send letters and cards of solidarity. In the meantime, messages of support can be sent to media [at] tridentploughshares.org . These will be forwarded to Georgina.
1. For background info on Faslane365 see www.faslane365.org
2. For info on Greenham Common go to: http://www.yourgreenham.co.uk/
3. For background on Trident see: http://www.cnduk.org/images/stories/briefings/trident/ntrupdateaug09.pdf