In a remarkable breach of military law, members of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have joined Veterans For Peace UK, which campaigns against armed conflict.

By Mark Nicol,  Popular  June 1st, 2014

Serving members of Britain’s Armed Forces have secretly joined a pacifist organisation directly opposed to war and the carrying of weapons, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
In a remarkable breach of military law, members of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have joined Veterans For Peace UK, which campaigns against armed conflict.
It also campaigns to stop the UK Government ‘intervening in the internal affairs of other nations’ and has organised protests at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day as well as visits to schools to teach pupils the ‘true nature’ of armed conflict.

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Last night there were calls for the Ministry of Defence to launch an investigation over fears the group’s members will seek to undermine discipline in the Forces.
Veterans For Peace UK founder Ben Griffin, 36, refused to name  the troops because they would face disciplinary action if their identities were known. Mr Griffin, who resigned from the Special Air Service (SAS) in protest over its role in secret US operations in Iraq, said:

‘While retired troops are free to declare their membership, those in uniform are not. They would almost certainly face official sanction, and perhaps personal reprisals that may threaten their safety.
‘These men have taken the brave step of joining us because they have come to the conclusion that war is not the answer to our problems.
‘Given the issue with Queen’s Regulations and membership of political organisations we were not actively seeking to recruit serving troops. But we were not going to turn them away and will not do so in future.’

Under these regulations, regular troops are forbidden to play an active role in political organisations. But Mr Griffin confirmed the troops had done so.
In the past year, the group – which was founded in the US by veterans of Vietnam and has 120 UK members – has undertaken fasts in solidarity with prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and highlighted ‘lies’ told by the Army in recruitment campaigns.
The troops, who are believed to include soldiers who saw frontline action in Iraq and Afghanistan, have agreed to abide by the group’s principle of non-violence and to increase public awareness of the costs of war. Veterans For Peace UK also obliges its members never to carry weapons of any kind.
The former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, said:

‘The authorities should investigate the group to ascertain whether they are encouraging servicemen to break the law by joining.
‘It is also wrong for the taxpayer to be paying wages to people whose principles do not allow them to do the job.
‘These troops should undergo disciplinary procedures and either sever their association with the group or cease to serve in the Forces.’

Last night an MoD spokesman said:

‘If an individual’s beliefs were incompatible with their commitment to the Army then both the Army and the individual would need to consider whether it was appropriate for them to continue serving.’

By Published On: June 2nd, 2014Comments Off on VFP UK: In Breach Of Military Law, Soldiers Secretly Become Pacifists

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