News in brief

Science Museum boycott

Over 400 teachers have said they will not be taking their students to a new gallery at London’s Science Museum if it continues to be sponsored by the massive coal company, Adani, and they will boycott any exhibitions sponsored by fossil fuel companies.

Currently, the Science Museum is sponsored by oil and gas giants Shell, BP and Equinor as well as by Adani.

Fossil Free Science Museum, which organised the open letter, says: ‘These companies are pushing the world further towards dangerous climate disaster, and destroying the lands and livelihoods of frontline and Indigenous communities.’

Sir Bliar

On 10 June, ex-prime minister Tony Blair, who invaded Iraq in 2003, was given the highest possible rank of knighthood by the queen.

Over a million people signed a petition on asking for Blair to be stripped of this honour. The petition said: ‘He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.’

Outside a Windsor castle ceremony for Blair on 13 June, Stop the War Coalition activists carried ‘Bliar’ placards and shouted: ‘Tony Blair, war criminal’.

Deadly cargo

According to Scottish CND and Nukewatch, there were nuclear warhead convoys at the end of the month in May, June and July.

The convoys do a return journey from AWE Burghfield in southern England (where the bombs are maintained) to Coulport on the west coast of Scotland (where they’re loaded onto Trident submarines). They travel through Glasgow, a city of 1.6 million people.

Each truck was probably carrying two nuclear warheads.

On 10 June, according to Nukewatch, a special nuclear material convoy left RAF Brize Norton for AWE Aldermaston, the nuclear bomb factory.

Truss armed Russia?

The woman who is likely to be the next prime minister of Britain approved £289m of UK exports with potential military use to Russia before the invasion of Ukraine, Matt Kennard of Declassified reported on 28 July.

Liz Truss (now foreign secretary) was secretary of state for international trade from July 2019 to September 2021: she was in charge of regulating the export of British arms and ‘dual use’ (possibly military) equipment.

According to Kennard, Truss approved the export of £149m-worth of dual use equipment to Russia in 2021 – and the export of possibly dual use viruses to Russian researchers.

Not free from bias

Jewish Voice for Labour have an important, measured response to the recently-published Forde Report on conflicts around anti-semitism during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, (and the famous ‘Leaked Report’). The Forde Report’s ‘even-handedness’ is criticised by JVL for ignoring its own evidence.

Not free from fear

A new YouGov poll has found that 8 in 10 of UK adults (79 percent) would support No First Use: all countries with nuclear weapons committing to a policy of never using nuclear weapons first in a conflict. (The British government and NATO refuse to rule out First Use.)

The Nuclear Education Trust poll, carried out on 4 – 5 July, also found that 68 percent of people believe the use of nuclear weapons in any circumstances is unacceptable, and that 56 percent are worried that a nuclear weapon might be used in a conflict in the next two years.

Free money

Lansbury House Trust Fund, which gives grants to advance education and research ‘in the field of the nonviolent transformation of conflict at all levels’, has a new website:

Free film

A wartime Christian pacifist community in Essex is the subject of a new four-minute film made by visual arts organisation Firstsite. Artist Michael Landy walks with author Ken Worpole from Wivenhoe to Frating Hall Farm.

Free booklet

Global Justice Now is about to do a third print run of its popular illustrated booklet, The Case for Climate Justice. It’s free to anyone who can distribute it (in the UK). Minimum order: 10. Place your order (or read it online):

Free the sky

For Heaven’s Sake – Examining the UK’s Militarisation of Space is a new report from Drone Wars UK (and CND), looking at the UK’s emerging military space programme and the governance, environmental, and ethical issues involved.

Free West Papua

‘War on West Papua’ is a new website containing information on companies making a profit from the Indonesian occupation of West Papua. It’s an activist resource, ‘designed to galvanise action against the international arms sales and training that promote state violence in West Papua’.

Maya Evans

Some readers have contacted us asking if well-known peace activist Maya Evans has explained her request for all her articles to be removed from the PN website (PN 2660).

We have asked but we haven’t had a statement from Maya.

It’s been reported in the Guardian that Maya recently put herself forward to be a parliamentary candidate in Hastings (where she is the deputy leader of the council) and she is in dispute with Labour’s national executive committee over their decision not to put her on the selection longlist. This may or may not have been a factor.

New warhead report

Extreme Circumstances, an important new report from Nuclear Information Service (NIS), will be published on 16 August.

It looks into what’s happening with the UK’s Replacement Warhead Programme, tries to understand the strategic thinking behind it, and provides some informed thoughts about what it’s design specs are likely to be.

Much of the information NIS has drawn on comes from US public documents about their new W93 warhead – which the UK warhead depends on.

Western Sahara

Sahrawi human rights activist Sultana Khaya is free! She’s receiving medical treatment in Spain.

Sultana had been under effective house arrest in occupied West Sahara since November 2020, during which time Moroccan security forces have raped her and sexually abused her sisters and her 80-year-old mother.

Sultana has had protection from house raids since Western solidarity activists came to stay with her on 15 March. However, other Sahrawis have been beaten for visiting or supporting Sultana (see PN 2660), and a large truck smashed into her house three times in the middle of the night on 16 May.

Three more US solidarity activists (from Just Visit Western Sahara) tried to visit Sultana but were detained on arrival at Laayoune airport on 23 May – and deported by the Moroccan authorities without explanation.

Sultana was finally able to break the siege after 554 days and leave Western Sahara to obtain medical treatment. She arrived in the Canary Islands on 1 June with her two international visitors, Ruth McDonough and Tim Pluta, to be greeted by thousands of supporters.

Western Sahara has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.

On 8 June, Ruth McDonough described the human rights abuses she witnessed while living under house arrest with Sultana for 75 days to a meeting in London held by the all-party parliamentary group on Western Sahara. Video:


On 18 July, CAAT, PPU, PSC and Greater Rushmoor Action for Peace protested outside the Farnborough arms fair – on the hottest day ever recorded in the UK!

€5,000 in an hour

Here’s a footnote to our story in the last PN about US Veterans for Peace Tarak Kauff (80) and Ken Mayers (85). They were fined €5,000 each for their anti-war and pro-Irish neutrality protest at Shannon airport in Ireland (see PN 2630 – 2631). Shannon is used for refuelling US military flights.

Tarak and Ken had put in €2,500 each earlier, to get bail.

After being sentenced on 4 May, they were given an hour to pay the remaining amount in cash, under threat of imprisonment. Supporters in court produced the €5,000 in cash in time!

Emily in town

Our very own Emily Johns was in Southampton on 19 June running a ‘Political Printmaking’ dayschool for activists in Arches Studios.

There were 12 places for folk learning about a range of printmaking techniques and exploring prints drawing on the Mexican Revolution, First Nations and Aboriginal experience and resistance to colonialism, Southern African traditions, US radical history, feminist printmakers, and 20th-century China.

If you’d like to host a workshop, please get in touch!


No Pride in War

LGBT+ members of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), Britain’s leading pacifist network, spoke out at the beginning of July against ‘pinkwashing’ by arms firms involved in Pride in London.

The LGBT Pride parade on 2 July included a bloc representing BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers – which supplies weapons to some of the world’s most homophobic regimes.

Tunneller in prison

Two campaigners against the HS2 high-speed rail project were given prison sentences on 27 July, for breaching injunctions against going onto HS2 land.

Stefan Wright, who was in a tunnel for a record-breaking 47 days, was sentenced to 332 days in prison by Birmingham high court. David Holiday, who wasn’t in a tunnel, and who spent less than 20 minutes on injuncted land, was jailed for 100 days.

Tunnellers William Harewood and Liam Walters were given suspended sentences of 184 and 156 days respectively. Both sentences were suspended for two years; prison time will be activated if they enter HS2 land or interfere with the project.

The four were also ordered to pay fines of between £1,500 and £3,000.