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  • Writer's pictureLondon Catholic Worker

Catholic Workers closed and occupied the Main Entrance of Northwood Military Headquarters. Scott and Maria Albrecht, Henrietta Cullinan, John Lynes and Rachel Wood pitched tents, knelt and prayed in front of the main gate for 2 hour while others vigiled holding signs. One tent had the words, 'The Prince of Peace pitched his tent among us' John 1:14. A sign said, 'War is not a Solution' which is a direct message from the Young Afghan Peace Volunteers and another Pvt. Bradley Manning's Quote, 'Exposing the true nature of 21st Century asymmetrical Warfare'. A banner stating, “Occupy Northwood HQ not Afghanistan was hung on the fence. The gate remained closed for the duration of the occupation.

The Catholic Worker group had gathered to mark the Feast of Holy Innocents; when Catholics remember the children murdered by king Herod in his search for the infant Jesus. Catholic Workers make the connection with the powerful who continue to kill the innocents today in war, specifically Afghanistan. Northwood HQ is the command and control center for British forces in Afghanistan, all joint forces and NATO operations abroad. Northwood HQ has recently experienced a £1.2 billion building project; these funds could have otherwise benefited the community.

The five occupiers were: Maria Albrecht (50), Scott Albrecht (49) from the Catholic Worker Farm, Hertfordshire, Henrietta Cullinan (50) from the Catholic Worker in Hackney, John Lynes (83) Quaker from Hastings and Rachel Wood (28) from the Catholic Worker group Sheffield.

A group statement said,

At a time when government cuts are affecting innocent children, pensioners, teachers, the sick and refugees the last thing we need to be doing is to continue spending billions on warfare. Human lives are the deepest cost. The government complains about a few tents occupying a small square outside St. Paul's cathedral while we've sent thousands of soldiers to occupy other people's countries and destroy their lives. This government needs to get its priorities right.

More pics are here

  • Writer's pictureLondon Catholic Worker

London Catholic Worker Martin Newell got out of prison for Christmas, thank goodness. So no need to write to him in jail. Instead, here's the LCW Christmas message from last year - it's still relevant, maybe one day it'll be out of date...

  • Writer's pictureLondon Catholic Worker

Father Martin Newell of the London Catholic Worker community was sentenced to 24 days imprisonment Friday Dec 9th 2011 at Highbury Magistrates Court. Martin was brought before the court for refusing to pay a fine arising from cutting into the Northwood Headquarters, London in December 2008. The anti-war direct action was timed for the "Feast of the Holy Innocents" on the Catholic liturgical calendar. The feast day follows Christmas and commemorates the massacre of children in a search and destroy mission by King Herod who saw the birth of Christ as a threat to his power.

From the dock Fr. Newell stated

I work with refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan at the Catholic Worker. I am opposed to the wars we have been waging on these countries. I have nonviolently resisted these wars since they began. I'm refusing to pay this fine as a form of further non-cooperation with these wars.

Northwood Headquarters is the command centre for British forces deployed overseas. The base has been the location of a number of nonviolent direct actions by the pacifist Catholic Worker community over the past decade of war on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Martin is in HMP Pentonville. Solidarity messages can be sent to

Martin Newell, c/- Giuseppe Conlon House, 49 Mattison Rd, Harringay, London, N4 1BG.

We'll forward messages to Martin.

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