Anti-war action

1 October 2007News

The biennial Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi), one of the largest arms fairs in the world, has once again been met with protests in East London, where it has been held since 1999.

The recently announced decision by publishing company Reed Elsevier to pull out of organising the event has rightly given anti-arms trade activists cause to celebrate. But judging by the unusually low turnout at this year's “Day of Action Against DSEi” on 11 September, it would seem…

3 July 2007Comment

Over 20 years ago I came down from St Albans by hired coach to take part in a demonstration at the US bomber base at Fairford. Now we live 15 miles from the base which became the focus of concerted anti-war protests after Iraq was attacked by “the allies” in 2003. Plus ca change eh?

Stroud lay/lies under the flight path of the US bombers bound for Iraq and local protesters were quick off the mark to set up camp at Fairford and The Powers That Be equally quick to bring the full force…

1 July 2007News

All the “Fairford Five” cases have now been concluded, with three acquittals and two convictions after six trials and heroic legal efforts by all five peace activists who took direct action against the Iraq war at the US airbase near Fairford, Gloucestershire.

On 30 May, Josh Richards was formally acquitted in a retrial by the Judge at Bristol Crown Court of “attempted arson” to a US B52 bomber at Fairford in March 2003, after the jury failed to reach a verdict, even a majority one…

3 June 2007Comment


After fighting their case through almost every court in the land, the B52 Two are not guilty and they richly deserve it!

Falklands, Palestine, Darfur

In this issue, we see that in all these cases, there have been real diplomatic alternatives available, which had a genuine prospect for radically reducing conflict and violence. And in all of these cases, those with power have avoided peace. They have crushed negotiations by force (Britain in the Falklands), they have…

3 June 2007Comment

14 May - This is not a retrial

For the sake of the jury and due process, the event we're attending is not to be referred to as a retrial.
Things do seem oddly familiar though. Are you sure we haven't been here before? Is this a groundhog I see before me?
Things got under way with the prosecuting QC, Mr Blair, treating us to a brief summary of the case against Toby and Phil. He described what they did-- from agreeing (conspiring) to go to Fairford, to cutting the fence and…

1 June 2007News in Brief

“War is still the issue”

Voices in the Wilderness UK and others behind last October's No More Fallujahs camp are organising an unauthorised peace camp in Parliament Square (23-28 June) to mark Tony Blair's departure from office.
The organisers say: “Unless we step up our resistance it will be business as usual with Tweedlebrown after Tweedleblair: more war, more terror, more nukes and more restrictions on civil liberties. Celebrate Blair's departure and demand the withdrawal of all…

1 June 2007News in Brief

As PN went to press, jubilant supporters rang to say that at 4.10 pm, a Bristol jury had found the B52 Two, Phil Pritchard and Toby Olditch (see picture right, outside the courtroom with supporters - Phil has a rose and Toby's on his right) not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage.
After coming out of court, Toby told PN, “We'd remained convinced that what we did was the right thing. We're absolutely overjoyed to have this confirmed by the jury.”

1 May 2007News in Brief

Peace groups including Voices in the Wilderness UK, London Catholic Worker and Justice Not Vengeance are planning to greet the installation of a new Labour leader with mass nonviolent civil disobedience at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth this September.
They are inviting people to sign a pledge postcard to commit themselves to taking part in the protest if there is not a fundamental change in British foreign policy, including withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.

1 May 2007News in Brief

On 10 April, activists from Trident Ploughshares, Block the Builders and Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp blocked the boilerhouse gate at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, where Britain's nuclear weapons are developed and maintained, halting traffic for forty minutes. There were 11 arrests at three locations around the perimeter, and over sixty participants in total, travelling from Bristol, Plymouth, Yorkshire and Newcastle.
Friday 13 April was unlucky for the Trident…

1 April 2007News

To mark the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, groups worldwide engaged in anti-war actions between 17 and 20 March - from mass marches and vigils naming the dead, to protests outside military recruitment centres. According to US network United for Peace and Justice, up to 1,000 local events were planned across the States. In Spain an estimated 400,000 took to the streets of Madrid, and protests also took place in Australia, New Zealand, Hungary and Canada.

In Britain,…

1 March 2007Feature

Against war, against the arms trade.

From 11 to 14 September, DSEi (Defence Systems Equipment International), the world's largest arms fair, returns to East London's ExCeL Centre.

Despite massive local opposition, and a huge bill to the taxpayer, arms dealers will once again be free to deal in death and destruction. “Stop the War” (whichever war) is useless sloganeering unless it is accompanied by a commitment to stopping the global arms trade. No wars will ever stop whilst weapon sales are a booming capitalist business…

1 March 2007News

Protests were held in Seville, Spain, to coincide with an informal summit held by NATO defence ministers.

Thousands of anti-war demonstrators turned out between 9 and 11 February, angry at NATO plans to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan and Kosovo. The protests culminated with a citywide march on Sunday 11 February with protesters voicing their opposition to imperialist aggression and the creeping militarisation of everyday life.

Against the “war meeting”


1 March 2007News

For the third time, a trial stemming from direct action at “RAF” Fairford, Gloucestershire, in 2003 - when activists tried to impede US bombing of Iraqis at the start of the attacks in March that year - has ended with a hung jury.

Josh Richards was charged with attempted arson, having being arrested while breaking into the base. He said he wanted to set fire to the tyres of planes so they could not be used to drop cluster bombs on Iraqi civilians, which would be a war crime. He also…

1 March 2007News

The latest skirmish in the 30-months-old campaign to drive arms company EDO-MBM out of Brighton, and out of existence, took place on Monday 19 February.

Eight students from Sussex University (conveniently situated just up the road from the factory) - including the current student union president, Dan Glass - continued a great tradition of Sussex students' pre-dawn anti-militarist activities when they locked themselves to the factory entrance soon after 5am. Banners saying “Books not…

1 February 2007News

In Denmark, a group of citizens are preparing to challenge the legality of their country's participation in the invasion of Iraq.

In a historic case to be heard by the High Court of Eastern Denmark on 29 January,a group will argue that Denmark's decision to join the war was in breach of the constitution. Mean-while, in the US, where a recent poll found that only 54% of serving army personnel support the Iraq war, 1,000 active duty soldiers and sailors have joined peace activists in…