Stormy protest at North York Moors base

by Liz Todd

PROTESTERS braved torrential rain to stage a day-long demonstration outside a North Yorkshire defence base.

About 50 people gathered at the entrance to RAF Fylingdales on the North York Moors as U.S. missile defence chief, Lt General Ronald Kadish, paid his first visit to the base.

MoD bosses played down the significance of the trip, calling it an informal familiarisation visit.

But to the many peaceful protesters at RAF Fylingdales yesterday, it heralded something more sinister.

Helen John arrived at the base at 8am and was one of the few demonstrators to see Lt Gen Kadish drive by at 11am.

She said there were fears an announcement on the role Fylingdales would play in the controversial Son of Star Wars national missile defence scheme would be imminent.

"This base is ready to carry out whatever orders the U.S. has. It will undoubtedly be upgraded for that, and the fact he has made a visit so early on shows the importance. Ultimately this system will not benefit either the UK or the U.S., because the pool of hatred will be building up, we will be storing up a very unpleasant situation for both countries."

Sally Tebb had travelled from her home in Farndale with her four-year-old son, Morgan.

She said: "I feel very strongly about this, it's not the way to go. We need to be looking for solutions to peace, and this is war-mongering."

Andy Dagorne from Yorkshire CND, said: "I certainly think that people making the effort in this horrible weather make it clear how strongly people feel about not having this system based in Yorkshire."

Inspector Tony Quinn from Scarborough Police, said the protest had passed without incident.

Updated: 11:37 Thursday, November 21, 2002


MPs blast ‘Star Wars’ plan

Yorkshire Labour MPs yesterday stepped up their campaign against the controversial “Son of Star Wars” US plan for a missile defence shield amid fears that it will make part of the region a “prime target”.
As President George Bush left the UK after a flying visit, Halifax MP Alice Mahon and five other Yorkshire Labour MPs voiced their worries over US proposals to create a “national missile defence” shield possibly involving the Fylingdales and Menwith Hill early warning stations in North Yorkshire.
Mrs Mahon warned that the plans would lead to a new arms race and said that was too high a price to pay for a special relationship with the US.

The Commons’ foreign affairs committee is poised to launch an inquiry into the impact on Anglo/US relations of the new Bush administration.