Deliberate malice

Letter by Babs Tucker, London

ImageRe: article by Rikki Blue (PN 2532). It is noted that Mr Blue is incapable of any genuine "reporting" of what others, including myself, actually do.

It is noted that Mr Blue's nasty little "article" was written behind Brian Hawís back, and was intended to continue publicly trying to smear my name while publicly questioning my honesty and my integrity.

I will therefore be submitting Mr Blueís article (who frankly has been acting as the mouthpiece for Peace Strike [another permanent protest in Parliament Square initiated by Maria Gallastegui - eds]) as further evidence of deliberate malice, and ongoing harassment etc, in the Westminster city council claim.

It was not until I came along and joined Brian 24/7, that Ms Gallastegui ìchoseî in fact to then campaign 24/7. In 2007, Ms Gallastegui (and in fact Mr Coverdale) unilaterally began a separate campaign (Peace Strike) while claiming to still be supporting Brianís campaign, which most people would find odd, and which I now believe and has been borne out by events and Mr Blueís article to have clearly been intended to cause all manner of conflict to undermine Brianís genuine campaign.

When Ms Gallastegui was asked to leave our campaign, she falsely misrepresented to the public that prior to 1 May 2010 she had been campaigning 24/7 which everyone knew she was not.

Mr Coverdale and Ms Gallastegui, who were not campaigning 24/7 so have nothing to lose by the loss of 24/7 campaigning, have, through their dishonesty, dragged us into all manner of very serious legal proceedings, including searches, the mayor of London and Westminster city council, that have all been about stopping our 24/7 campaigning.

When people choose to publish such irresponsible articles that make light of what are very serious issues, you lose credibility as a publication that has any connection to justice, which involves fairness.

Editor response:

A response from Rikki:

There is no doubt the authorities have behaved unjustly towards Brian (who sadly died of cancer earlier this year), but Barbara's fixation on whether other activists campaign 24/7 or not doesn't substantiate her very serious and unfounded allegations of "agent provocateurs". To all who know Maria Gallastegui, it is abhorrent that her name is repeatedly smeared this way.

It pains me, as a long-time supporter of Brian Haw's peace campaign (including spending many months of my life filming and making "SOCPA - the movie"), that my old friend Barbara now spends so much of her time attacking peace campaigners, activists, journalists, and others.

She remains a powerful campaigner for peace, but amongst the brilliant commentary and analysis, her website is unfortunately undermined by unfounded slurs about an ever-growing list of people (apparently now including me) who are supposedly in league with the police and authorities to bring down her campaign.

A response from the editors:

We stand by Rikki's thoughtful and careful report of the protest camps in Parliament Square, which we believe accurately portrayed the situation. We do not believe the article questioned Barbara Tucker's honesty or integrity. Rikki wrote that Barbara's writings contained "claims and personal insults, but no evidence". Barbaraís letter demonstrates the validity of his observation.

Having stood alongside the late Brian Haw at the very beginning of his anti-sanctions (later anti-war) vigil, and having known him and the vigil at different points along the way, we are completely confident that Maria Gallastegui has been entirely honest about her own campaigning activities and that she has been a committed and loyal friend to Brian.

We are also completely confident that Maria Gallastegui has not contributed in any way whatsoever, directly or indirectly, to the police repression suffered by the round-the-clock anti-war protest in Parliament Square that Brian Haw initiated and that Barbara now carries on. - Eds

Topics: Activism