Grossbritannien und Nordirland: Helen John

Resistance toward all militarism has been the most important development that has shaped my personal philosophy. For these life-changing gifts I shall remain eternally grateful.

— Helen John

The former nurse and midwife Helen John (born 1937) is vice president of the British peace organization ‘Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’ (CND). For 25 years she has fought against nuclear weapons, and for 12 years against the largest US spy center in the world, at Menwith Hill, Yorkshire. Menwith Hill plays a big role in satellite-led US military strikes, as in Afghanistan or Iraq, and in the Star Wars plans of the Bush administration. It is also a major center of military, political and economic espionage. There, with civil disobedience, Helen John leads protest actions against the base.

Helen John simply does not accept that it is forbidden to enter the base. Together with her friend Anne Lee she kept cutting holes in the security fence of the US installation, which played a large role in the satellite-supported US military strikes against Afghanistan and Iraq. One day the two set off to complain to the US Commander about the lack of security at the base. “We went to the base and the workers there acted as if they did not see us. Helen kept saying ‘Hello, have a good day,’ but they still didn’t see us. We came to the double glass door at the reception, but no one was there. The double steel doors opened and the office workers came out on a shift change. Helen politely held the door open and kept saying ‘Good day!’ When the last one had passed, we went in, into the top security area. A woman started screeching, ‘Help! Security! Where is your identity card?’ ‘We don’t need one,’ we answered.” “She called the Security Officer, who raced over immediately,” Helen continues, “He called the British military police who are stationed at the base. He wanted to call a transport van to carry us off, but we said, ‘No, no, we would rather walk, it is such a nice day!’ And we were still dragging the fence behind us. He brought us to the main entrance, took the piece of fence and screamed ‘Fuck off.’ We jumped in my car, drove back to my house and I called the US Embassy. I said: ‘Can you please help us? We were just in the top security area in Menwith Hill with a little present, and they yelled ‘Fuck off!’ at us. Now really, that is not polite!”

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) WoMenwith Hill (WwH)