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The Peace News log
June 2016 will see a month of disarmament action against Trident at AWE Burghfield. Situated a few miles south-west of Reading, this is at the heart of the UK's nuclear weapons system. It is the final assembly line for the UK's nuclear warheads, and they return here for major maintenance work.
Opposition to Trident has spiralled rapidly in recent years. In Scotland, polls consistently show 85% opposed to the presence of Trident submarines, the country has elected an anti-Trident government, and blockades of the country's submarine bases are so frequent and popular that blockaders are rarely prosecuted.
It may seem that we are nowhere near this in England, but we should take comfort from the fact the Scotland's anti-Trident consensus has been achieved by ordinary people deciding what they believed in and acting on it. And even in the England, a larger and broader group of people are questioning the planned renewal of Trident. When the lifetime costs of a new Trident system were revised upwards, to £180bn, the veteran Conservative MP Crispin Blunt went on record to say that this couldn't be justified. Since then, they have risen again, to a staggering £205bn....Read More
Hours Full Time - 35 hours per week
Salary £20,926 per annum
Contract Fixed Term - September 2016 - August 2017
Location Placed in an organisation within Britain
Closing date 9 am, Tuesday 3 May 2016...Read More
27 January 2016
Peace News 
Contact 07596 483 272 for more info or to arrange an interview with Andrea
WOMAN WHO DISARMED WARPLANE PUBLISHES MEMOIR
New book marks 20th anniversary of land-mark anti-arms trade action
7pm, 29 January 2016, Friends House, London: A woman who disarmed a warplane bound for genocide in South East Asia will be launching her newly published book about the action and subsequent trial at an event in Friends House, London this Friday, the 20th anniversary of the action itself .
Published by Peace News Press, Andrea Needham's book 'The Hammer Blow' , is an inside account of the Seeds of Hope East Timor Ploughshares action, in which four women used household hammers to disarm a Hawk warplane at a British Aerospace factory in Lancashire in 1996 . The plane was about to be delivered to the Indonesian military, for use in their then-ongoing campaign of genocide against the people of occupied East Timor .
Five Christian climate protestors were arrested in Whitehall on 30 November for protesting against government hypocrisy on climate change, which they called a 'climate whitewash'. The five, from Christian Climate Action, were arrested for criminal damage after writing in whitewash and black paint on the wall of the DECC (department for energy and climate change). They said 'underneath the hypocritical whitewash of fine talk on climate, are DECC policies that lead to death.'
The five, acting on the first day of the Climate summit in Paris, arrived at the DECC wearing white paint suits with 'DECC' on them. They delivered a letter to Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, prayed and stood with a skeleton and a 'whitewashed tomb' outside, before whitewashing the wall, and painting in black letters, 'Dept for Extreme Climate Change' on the wall of the DECC. (Jesus, in Matthew 23:27, says: 'Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.')...Read More
Statement by the eight women:
In the apology issued today by assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt, the Metropolitan Police finally conceded that 'officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong' and that 'these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma'
AC Hewitt issued this public apology on behalf of the Metropolitan Police as part of the settlement of seven out of our eight claims arising from intimate relationships we were decieved into by undercover police officers Bob Lambert, John Dines, Mark Jenner, Jim Boyling (all Special Demonstration Squad officers) and Mark Kennedy (of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit), all of whom infiltrated environmental and social justice campaigns.
The apology is the result of our four-year legal battle to bring to public attention these state sponsored, deceptive relationships and to prevent future abuses. We have worked together on this painful and deeply personal legal case in order to expose the serious and systemic abuse of power by undercover police officers and their managers. Although no amount of 'sorry', or financial compensation, can make up for what we and others have endured, we are pleased the police have been forced to acknowledge the abusive nature of these relationships and that they should never happen....Read More
Albert Hunt, critic, playwright and educator, and former staff member and drama critic of Peace News, was part of the wave of innovators that transformed the British theatrical scene in the 1960s and 1970s and pioneered an approach to adult education based on the active participation of students in games and creative improvisation.
Born in Burnley in 1928 to a working-class Pentecostal family, with a radical pacifist tradition, he was a conscientious objector to military service in the 1940s. When a nurse hesitatingly informed his mother at his birth that he had a deformed right hand with no fingers and only two stumps where his thumb and little finger should have been she responded: ‘Well at least he’ll never have to go to war.
Much of his theatrical and educational work reflected his enduring political concerns but also, crucially, his commitment to raising them in a way which was both entertaining and encouraging of open debate. Brecht provided the model, and, among contemporary playwrights, John Arden, a study of whose plays he published in 1974 (Arden: A Study of His Plays, Eyre Methuen).
After graduating from Oxford, he taught at a grammar school at Swaffham in Norfolk. I first met him at that time when he and others provided invaluable local support to those of us in the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War, campaigning against the construction of a US nuclear missile base in nearby North Pickenham. In 1960, he became adult tutor to Shropshire and in 1965 took up the post of head of Complementary Studies at Bradford Regional College of Art where he formed the Bradford College Theatre Group, which staged some of his best productions.
24 October 2015
Kabul - Tall, lanky, cheerful and confident, Esmatullah easily engages his young students at the Street Kids School, a project of Kabul’s “Afghan Peace Volunteers,” an anti-war community with a focus on service to the poor. Esmatullah teaches child laborers to read. He feels particularly motivated to teach at the Street Kids School because, as he puts it, “I was once one of these children.” Esmatullah began working to support his family when he was nine years old. Now, at age 18, he is catching up: he has reached the tenth grade, takes pride in having learned English well enough to teach a course in a local academy, and knows that his family appreciates his dedicated, hard work.
When Esmatullah was nine, the Taliban came to his house looking for his older brother. Esmatullah’s father wouldn’t divulge information they wanted. The Taliban then tortured his father by beating his feet so severely that he has never walked since. Esmatullah’s dad, now 48, had never learned to read or write; there are no jobs for him. For the past decade, Esmatullah has been the family’s main breadwinner, having begun to work, at age nine, in a mechanics workshop. He would attend school in the early morning hours, but at 11am, he would start his workday with the mechanics, continuing to work until nightfall. During winter months, he worked full time, earning 50 Afghanis each week, a sum he always gave his mother to buy bread....Read More
24 October 2015
When I can’t sleep at night I have the bad habit of listening to world news on the radio. This seems to be a family trait that I inherited from my father. The wave of refugees trying to find safety in European countries continues unabated. The numbers are staggering. As someone from the US, I am shamed by our lack of response and indifference, as well as our inability to acknowledge our responsibility in unleashing the chaos and violence in the Middle East through our war making.
My thoughts go to the recent perilous journey of a close Iraqi friend (I will call him Mohammed) and his son (whom I will call Omar). Already the survivor of an assassination attempt, this trusted translator, driver, guide and confidant received a death threat on his gate in early August. He fled under cover of the night, taking Omar with him. On that same day, 15 men were kidnapped in his village. He left a wife and six other children.
Having lived with this dear family, I too felt as if I were on the hazardous exhausting, 42-day journey with them.
From Baghdad they fled to Kurdistan. From Kurdistan they went to Turkey. Next, they boarded a boat from Turkey to a Greek island, just miles from the Turkish shore. From there they went to another Greek island, and finally to a third island. Much to their relief, they were at last able to get on a ferry to Athens....Read More