Aksamentova, Polina

Polina Aksamentova
13 August 2011Feature

The Free Gaza expeditions, designed to break the Israeli siege, have been unable to reach Gaza since November. Twice, on 30 December and 15 January, the Israeli navy forced the boats to turn back. The SS Dignity embarked on its journey from Cyprus on 29 December, carrying 16 people and over three tons of badly needed medical supplies.

In the early hours the next morning, two Israeli gunboats began shadowing the 20-metre yacht. One of them opened fire without warning 30 minutes…

1 February 2010News

Americans rallied against President Obama’s decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan with demonstrations big and small throughout December. Over 200 protesters marched to the military academy in West Point, where President Obama was making the announcement on 1 December, to hold a candlelight vigil. Six people were arrested for “blocking the roadway.”

On 12 December about 150 activists gathered in front of the White House, including four 2008 presidential candidates – Ralph Nader,…

1 December 2009News

Discontent over the war in Afghanistan continued to grow in November in both the UK and US, with support for withdrawal reaching 63% in Britain and 39% in the US, according to BBC and CBS News polls, respectively.

A ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday put the support in Britain on 15 November even higher: 71% for phased withdrawal within 1 year.

The BBC survey, published 8 November, also found that 64% of Britons now believe the war to be “unwinnable”, up from…

1 November 2009News

Afghan anniversary actions

Waves of anti-war protests hit major and minor cities across the US throughout October. About 180 demonstrators marched to the White House on 5 October, carrying signs like: “Yes we can: US out of Afghanistan.”

After 15 activists chained themselves to the fence, police officers and secret service agents began clearing the sidewalk and yelling warnings. Some 61 people were arrested. The organisers from 27 states wished this pre-protest to inspire others for the 7 October…

1 September 2009Feature

Four separate polls undertaken throughout July by the BBC/ Guardian, ITN, The Times and the Independent consistently showed that the majority of Britons want immediate or rapid withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Yet the sources largely downplayed their findings.

The ICM study, conducted 11 July for the Guardian, found that 42% of people want Britain to pull out now and 14 % by the end of the year – putting 56% of Britons in favour of withdrawal.

The Guardian, however,…

1 June 2009News

As the financial crisis continues to rage throughout the world, and unemployment rates climb ever higher, workers came together for this year’s May Day in a spirit of discontent rather than celebration. Although most demonstrations were peaceful, some violence was seen in Turkey, Greece and Germany.

Clashes with police broke out throughout Istanbul, as protestors threw rocks and were combated with teargas. Though the Turkish government had finally conceded to unions and declared…

1 May 2009News

American Indian activist and former professor Ward Churchill won a wrongful-termination case against University of Colorado on 2 April, convincing the jury that he was fired for controversial remarks about 11 September victims rather than for alleged research misconduct.

Churchill attracted attention in 2005 with his 2001 essay “On the Justice of Roosting Chickens”, in which he compared the involvement in US policies of finance workers killed on 9/11 to the bureaucratic nazism of…

1 February 2009News

Seven animal-rights activists of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were jailed on 21 January, with sentences ranging from four to 11 years in prison.

On 23 December, Gerrah Selby, Daniel Wadham, Gavin Medd-Hall and Heather Nicholson were found guilty of conspiracy to blackmail companies associated with Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), which kills five hundred animals daily conducting research for pharmaceutical companies. They were sentenced to four, five, eight and 11 years,…

1 March 2008News

After additional research undertaken in rural Iraq, Britain's ORB (Opinion Research Business) polling agency has largely confirmed on 28 January its earlier estimate that over a million Iraqis have died since the invasion of British and American forces.

The revised estimate puts the death toll at 1,033,000 people down from the 1.2m-figure published in August.

The initial analysis was based on surveys from primarily urban areas. ORB decided to check their results when…

1 February 2008News

Despite heavy police presence and last minute restrictions, about 150 activists participated in an anti-vivisection demonstration against Sequani Limited in Ledbury, Worcestershire, on 15 December. Sequani tests pharmaceutical drugs, chemical compounds and medical devices on animals.

Five people were arrested as they tried to block one of the main roads by locking-on with arm tubes. They were detained for 10 hours before being released on bail, until February 2008.

On the…

16 December 2007Feature

A new estimate by the US Congress's Joint Economic Committee puts the US cost of Iraq and Afghanistan wars at $1.7 trillion, almost double the sum the Bush administration has asked or received to finance the two wars through 2008.

Released by Democrats on 13 November, the report incorporates such expenses as medical care for wounded soldiers, interest on borrowed money and the impact on oil prices since the invasion, in addition to the funds necessary to sustain the occupation.…

1 December 2007Feature

At the end of August, the Respect Unity Coalition MP, George Galloway, circulated a document to the party leadership, which seems to have precipitated the disintegration of the organisation.

Galloway's paper, entitled It was the best of times, it was the worst of times brought to a head long-simmering tensions within the party.

The document sharply criticised the Respect national office (largely staffed by SWP members) for the party's failure to fulfil its potential “in…

1 December 2007Feature

1.2m Iraqis may have died in the Iraq war: why the silence?

Hope for journalism.

While the purpose of the “First Casualty? War, Truth and the Media today” conference, held by Media Workers Against the War on 17 November, was to expose media's self-censorship and ponder its origins, the overwhelming theme of the gathering was hope.

I went to the conference seeking to understand the media's treatment of the finding by polling agency ORB that 1.2m Iraqis have died violently in the invasion and occupation of Iraq (reported in the last two…

1 November 2007Feature

When the polling agency ORB's findings came out [see last issue], I was sure that The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times and other major papers would cry out in outrage and pronounce in thick, black ink across their respective front pages that 1.2 million Iraqis had died because of the Iraq war: a genocide revealed.

I expected fervent discussion, indignation and controversy across the entire world.

I was wrong: the poll was ignored.

Although it…

1 November 2007News

Three British women were arrested and jailed for over 30 hours in Al Masra'a al Qibliya on 26 October for attending an “illegal demonstration” against the seizure of Palestinian land.

Sarah Cobham, Caroline Bailey, Kate Harrison and seven other members of the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group marched with some 40 villagers to the recently confiscated land to remove the grape vines that were planted by the villagers before it was seized.

Settlers and soldiers…