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Report from demo at the Joint Services Interrogation Centre, Chicksands, Beds

Wood2 | 29.05.2004 18:29 | Anti-militarism | Repression

Demonstration outside the Joint Services Interrogation Centre, Chicksands, Bedforshire.











On Saturday 29th May approximately 50 demonstators from Bedford, Northampton, Daventree, Luton and Milton Keynes joined outside Chicksands military base, the centre where 'interrogation' techniques have been being taught to UK forces. Read interrogation as 'torture'. Since the Guardian drew our attention to this the government has of course tried to spin it, claiming that soldiers are being taught how to resist interrogation techniques. How many british soldiers are currently being kept in Iraq? Erm, none. How many were caught during the entire war? Same number I believe.

For a small demonstration there was a lot happening. Banners called for Chicksands closure, and drew attention to the hypocrisy of Bush and Blair, who claimed they had humanitarian reasons for going to war and then ignored the fact that Iraqis were being tortured in the same prisons Saddam himself had used. Other protestors recreated shocking images of torture. There were a number of speakers, including a Christian and a Muslim who were appalled by the atrocities being carried out in the name of their religions; they drew our attention to passages in the Bible and Koran that condemn murder and call for peace.

There were also jugglers, banging tunes, bubbles, pictures on the pavement and skull and cross bones confetti (some of which ended up inside the base). One of my favourite moments was watching a policeman try to duck a huge bubble without betraying his cool exterior! Another good moment was a group of Soldiers watching us juggling from just inside the gates.

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Hide the following 10 comments


30.05.2004 19:13

Excellent, lets keep up the creative demonstrations !



31.05.2004 10:38

Bit small...but looked fun.


Creative Protests

03.06.2004 20:19

Can someone tell me why some people feel that a 'creative' protest is better, in the sense that some use it to describe relatively small demonstrations outside army bases where people blow bubbles or something, compared to a national demonstration in the centre of London?

Maybe it's just me being a bit too macho or something, but I don't see the point in them. Granted, there is a wing of the anti-war movement that favours these demonstrations and they have to be included, but do these actions get any publicity at all? My experience is that nearest we get to publicity is from passers by walking their dog etc.




11.06.2004 10:42

I was at Chicksands with the British Army and 'torture' techniques are not taught there at all. Grow up and think about the sacrifices our service personnel make on YOUR behalf! Someting to think about as you make your way towards the dole office!

Cynical Spectator

Time to grow up

13.06.2004 13:45

--"Someting to think about as you make your way towards the dole office!"

What a stupid accusation. Why don't YOU grow up!

Brian B

Can you explain this?

13.06.2004 13:56

I would be interested to know how you would explain this?

Quote from Guardian (from former British special forces officer).

"He said British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these techniques, which were taught at the joint services interrogation centre in Ashford, Kent, now transferred to the former US base at Chicksands.",2763,1212197,00.html

These appear to be the kind of techniques being used in Iraq as seen in the many photos that have been released.

Brian B

Please don't feed the trolls

13.06.2004 15:45

Troll's can't be convinced of anything, even if you show them all the evidence and testimony in the world.
Their sole purpose here is to wind you up. Please don't feed 'em.


an IMC volunteer

Hi Brian B

13.06.2004 22:49

it seems you have taken umbrage at my remark. That is not my intention, my intention was to provide a alternative view towards what appears to be imbalanced the views of thoose taking part in this demonstration. But firstly I will easily explain the comments made in the Guardian article to which you have provided a link. Bear in mind I was of course commenting on the Indymedia article and not the Guardian piece. The Guardian has used an unamed source. That in itself is not good evidentially, but I can expalin as I was at Chicksands and trained at JSIO. The training is geared towards resistance to Interrogation in a hostile enviornment. Torture techniques were not taught, I know I was there. Like any civilised being I am shocked at the images from Abu Gharib. However the US personnel responsible never went any where near Chicksands. They poorly trained, ill disciplined and unprofessional. The Guardian made a disingenous attempt to link Chicksands with this and it is untrue, unfortunately Indymedia were duped by this. Then again I suppose many of the demonstrators had nothing else to do that afternoon and they exercised their democratic rights. Rights which are protected by the Servicemen and women they sought to castigate against.

An Explanation from Someone who was there

I see...

14.06.2004 08:05

So we should believe you, an anonymous troll, rather than the unnamed soldier interviewed by the Guardian?

Thanks for clearing that up. :)


Chicksands is cool

31.01.2005 21:38

I lived at Chicksand RAF for three years from 92-95. I was but a wee child then, but wtf is going on? Protesting outside the coolest military installation I've ever been to. This military base is not even used very much now that the US Air Force has left. I mean there is a museum on it now. Chicksands is mainly used for training. If you want to protest soldiers learning to protect themselves... yell at parliament, not at the soldier doing their duty to the country.