News in brief

Leaderless or leaderfull?

Would you be interested in a four-month online ‘Sacred Collaborative Leadership’ training course starting 30 June?

Activist training group Wisdom in Nature is offering ‘a transformative programme’ drawing on social permaculture, consent-based decision-making (sociocracy), nonviolent communication, Processwork and Islamic spirituality. £250/by agreement.

More info and application:

Words and Actions

PN editor Milan Rai heard from Edinburgh peace activists on 9 May in the very wonderful ‘Words & Actions for Peace’ centre, the shopfront home of Peace & Justice Scotland and Secure Scotland at 58 Ratcliffe Terrace (open Mon – Fri, 10am – 4pm).

The folk who came put forward many thoughtful ideas about the future of the peace movement and what we need to do.

The PN ‘Big Picture’ meeting in Manchester had to be postponed to 6 June because of the rail strikes.


In a rare move, a peace activist, Alberto Portugheis of Humanity United for Universal Demilitarisation (HUFUD), has been banned from posting on the Network for Peace email discussion list for ‘constant trolling and false accusations’.

Western Sahara

British companies are still involved in the illegal exploitation of phosphate from Western Sahara, so says a report published on 22 May.

Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975 and has illegally occupied the territory ever since.

One of the resources that Morocco illegally exports from occupied Sahrawi territory is phosphate, used in artificial fertilisers. Western Sahara has been one of the world’s largest suppliers of high-quality phosphate rock.

Western Sahara Resources Watch has successfully lobbied some shipping companies to withdraw from Sahrawi phosphate transportation.

British insurance companies provide ‘protection and indemnity’ (P&I) insurance for most of the cargo vessels that carry Sahrawi phosphate rock around the world.

Four British ‘P&I Clubs’ covered 18 phosphate shipments from Western Sahara in 2023, involving a million tonnes of conflict minerals, according to P for Plunder, the new report from Western Sahara Resource Watch.

For example, UK P&I (head office: 90 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 4ST) insured a February 2023 shipment of 53,500 tonnes of stolen Sahrawi phosphate to India. The P for Plunder report:

Free Mikita!

Please write a letter of support for 21-year-old Mikita Sviryd, who deserted from the Belarusian army in May 2022 over the Ukraine War and fled to Lithuania. Mikita has unfortunately failed his claim for asylum in Lithuania.

The Lithuania-based human rights group ‘Our House’ (‘Nash Dom’) is collecting letters of support to present to Mikita’s appeal court.

A suggested text is on the PN blog or you can just email Our House. Please send in your letter of support by 8 June: info (at)

Unfree speech

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis was banned from entering Germany in April to stop him giving a speech at the Palestine Congress in Berlin.

On 12 April, 930 German police officers were sent to shut down the three-day event as it began. The congress had been organised by Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East and the German branch of DiEM25, the left-wing European movement.

Varoufakis and other banned speakers were told that appearing at the congress by live online video or through a video recording would break the law and could result in a year in prison.

Boycotts okay!

One of the bills that will now not become law because of the snap election is the anti-boycott bill, which would have prevented local councils, universities and other public bodies from making ethical investment and spending decisions.

The main aim was to stop councils and others cutting ties with companies involved in Israeli crimes, but the bill would also have stopped divestment from fossil fuels where oil and gas companies are majority-owned or controlled by foreign states.

The bill banned decisions involving ‘moral or political disapproval’ of a foreign state.

‘Stop arming Israel’

A majority of British people want to end arms sales to Israel, two recent polls have found.

A YouGov poll for Action for Humanity in early April found that 56 percent of people want to end the export of weapons and parts to Israel, with only 17 percent wanting them to continue:

Another YouGov poll in early May for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) found 55 percent of people support suspending arms sales to Israel as long as the war on Gaza continues. Only 13 percent of people wanted to see them continue:

The MAP/CAABU poll also found 73 percent of people supported an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, in line with previous polls (see PN 2671).


On 9 April, Drone Wars UK revealed that British armed Reaper drones have secretly been carrying a surveillance pod associated with tracking and killing individuals, using signals from mobile phones, WiFi routers and other devices.

This ‘Outdragon’ capability has been in use since 2019. Drone Wars UK: ‘The use of these systems to hunt and execute individuals who have been put on a kill list is one of the worst excesses of the so-call war on terror.’

More info:

Negotiate Now

In late May, a call for Ukraine-Russia peace talks was made by a group of prominent figures from Finland, France, Germany and Italy. They included Luciana Castellina, former member of the European and Italian parliaments, and Colin Archer, former secretary-general of the International Peace Bureau.

The group called for the issue to be debated during the EU parliamentary elections in early June, and for the next European parliament to ‘convene an exploratory conference involving the two parties’.

US resistance

The wonderful Nuclear Resister records the following arrests since our last issue, including at three Good Friday actions.

  • 18 March: Two nuclear abolition activists, Rush Rehm and Jim Haber, arrested at Nevada nuclear test site, during the Pacific Life Community annual gathering.
  • 27 March: George Killingsworth, Karen Pettit and Sylver Pondolfino arrested at Creech drone warfare base during the Nevada Desert Experience’s annual Sacred Peace Walk from Las Vegas to the Nevada nuclear test site.
  • 29 March: Beth Blattenberger and Jeanne Firth arrested ‘crossing the line’ at the Nevada nuclear test site at the end of the Sacred Peace Walk.
  • 29 March: Steve Baggarly, Kathy Boylan, Bill Frankel-Streit and Ollie arrested blockading the Pentagon in Washington DC in a Good Friday witness, after a prayer service remembering the victims in Gaza and the evil of nuclear weapons.
  • 29 March: 25 people arrested at Lockheed Martin in Pennsylvania. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 jet has been used in all of Israel’s assaults on Gaza.
  • 15 April: 10 activists arrested at Kansas City nuclear weapons parts plant, which is expanding. Part of the 12 – 15 April Midwest Catholic Worker Faith and Resistance Retreat.
  • 24 April: Six blockaders arrested at the Holloman drone warfare training base in New Mexico: Toby Blomé, Ray Cage, Virginia Hauflaire, John Reese, Natasha Robinson, and Denise Sellers. Part of a week of action outside Holloman organised by the Shut Down Drone Warfare coalition.

More info: