On your bike

ImageI think how we travel is a peace issue (think daily carnage on the roads, oil wars, pollution, global warming, dissected communities, anti-social planning developments etc) and a recent news item prompted me to write the following down to get it out my head.

Instead of banning smoking in cars, ban cars. Problem solved. Children and adults' health will be massively improved as people, especially anyone overweight, rediscover their legs whether walking, cycling or using public transport. As smokers exercise and get fit, their desire for fags will diminish too. The added bonus - we'll get our streets back for children to play and for our communities to have an open-air social life. And no more families destroyed by death or injury on the roads.

I urge you all to read The Energy Glut by Ian Roberts with Phil Edwards (Zed Books), recently reviewed in Peace News.

And for a challenging piece by Simon Gould, "How Activists Travel", go to www.roystpierre.com Select Interests, then Alternative Politics

Roy St Pierre, Lancashire

Christian pacifism

ImageWe live in a world of epidemic violence. And since the experience of humankind is that violence begets greater violence, which then begets even greater violence, we must resolve to eschew all violence. Can we make such witness without pain or sacrifice as regards ourselves or others? No, certainly not!

The situation in the world has become so bad that only by human self-sacrifice can humankind (and the rest of God's holy creation here on Earth) be saved. If this Earth is to be freed from sin and to be restored to its original state of wholeness, and holiness, then guilty people will go unpunished and innocent people will suffer. It will all be unavoidable!

It is the will of God that we should love one another - and love all of his holy creation. We cannot do this if we visit violence upon one another - and the rest of creation. Especially if that violence is that of armed conflict, of war, which is institutionalised. To be truly obedient unto him, we must, like Jesus, become true pacifists.


Jehovian Wormleighton, Northampton

Deliberate malice

ImageRe: article by Rikki Blue (PN 2532). It is noted that Mr Blue is incapable of any genuine "reporting" of what others, including myself, actually do.

It is noted that Mr Blue's nasty little "article" was written behind Brian Hawís back, and was intended to continue publicly trying to smear my name while publicly questioning my honesty and my integrity.

I will therefore be submitting Mr Blueís article (who frankly has been acting as the mouthpiece for Peace Strike [another permanent protest in Parliament Square initiated by Maria Gallastegui - eds]) as further evidence of deliberate malice, and ongoing harassment etc, in the Westminster city council claim.

It was not until I came along and joined Brian 24/7, that Ms Gallastegui ìchoseî in fact to then campaign 24/7. In 2007, Ms Gallastegui (and in fact Mr Coverdale) unilaterally began a separate campaign (Peace Strike) while claiming to still be supporting Brianís campaign, which most people would find odd, and which I now believe and has been borne out by events and Mr Blueís article to have clearly been intended to cause all manner of conflict to undermine Brianís genuine campaign.

When Ms Gallastegui was asked to leave our campaign, she falsely misrepresented to the public that prior to 1 May 2010 she had been campaigning 24/7 which everyone knew she was not.

Mr Coverdale and Ms Gallastegui, who were not campaigning 24/7 so have nothing to lose by the loss of 24/7 campaigning, have, through their dishonesty, dragged us into all manner of very serious legal proceedings, including searches, the mayor of London and Westminster city council, that have all been about stopping our 24/7 campaigning.

When people choose to publish such irresponsible articles that make light of what are very serious issues, you lose credibility as a publication that has any connection to justice, which involves fairness.

Babs Tucker, London

Editor's response:

A response from Rikki:

There is no doubt the authorities have behaved unjustly towards Brian (who sadly died of cancer earlier this year), but Barbara's fixation on whether other activists campaign 24/7 or not doesn't substantiate her very serious and unfounded allegations of "agent provocateurs". To all who know Maria Gallastegui, it is abhorrent that her name is repeatedly smeared this way.

It pains me, as a long-time supporter of Brian Haw's peace campaign (including spending many months of my life filming and making "SOCPA - the movie"), that my old friend Barbara now spends so much of her time attacking peace campaigners, activists, journalists, and others.

She remains a powerful campaigner for peace, but amongst the brilliant commentary and analysis, her brianhaw.tv website is unfortunately undermined by unfounded slurs about an ever-growing list of people (apparently now including me) who are supposedly in league with the police and authorities to bring down her campaign.

A response from the editors:

We stand by Rikki's thoughtful and careful report of the protest camps in Parliament Square, which we believe accurately portrayed the situation. We do not believe the article questioned Barbara Tucker's honesty or integrity. Rikki wrote that Barbara's writings contained "claims and personal insults, but no evidence". Barbaraís letter demonstrates the validity of his observation.

Having stood alongside the late Brian Haw at the very beginning of his anti-sanctions (later anti-war) vigil, and having known him and the vigil at different points along the way, we are completely confident that Maria Gallastegui has been entirely honest about her own campaigning activities and that she has been a committed and loyal friend to Brian.

We are also completely confident that Maria Gallastegui has not contributed in any way whatsoever, directly or indirectly, to the police repression suffered by the round-the-clock anti-war protest in Parliament Square that Brian Haw initiated and that Barbara now carries on. - Eds

Action is all

ImageAt the Catholic Worker we have a theory. If 1% of those who marched against the war were willing to go into nonviolent resistance to the point of imprisonment and the other 99% who marched were in proactive solidarity with these resisters, we could have, and still can, stop these wars.

It shouldn't be a case of resisters isolated in jail and the rest of us going home thinking because "we can do little, we can do nothing at all". In truth, we are neophytes to both serious nonviolent resistance and to building a culture of solidarity. We have a lot to learn on both scores.

Anti-war resistance springs from the most unlikely places and we must be alert beyond our limited social circles and expectations. In 2010, US Army Intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was arrested in Baghdad accused of releasing footage of a US war crime - the slaying of 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians by a US helicopter gunship (www.collateralmurder.com).

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who was central to circulating this footage and subsequent cables became the latest US public enemy. Meanwhile, in Plymouth Royal Navy medic Michael Lyons viewed and read the WikiLeaks exposes dealing with the nature of the war on Afghanistan and in consicence decided to refuse his deployment orders to Afghanistan.

For the past year we have attempted to raise the name of Bradley Manning (reared in Wales) in Britain with vigils, speak outs and blockades of Downing St. We have stood outside the dozen court appearances of Julian Assange as he has run the gauntlet of detention without chatge and character assasination.  When we read of the imprisonment of Michael Lyons in Colchester Military Corrective Training Centre we contacted his wife Lilian, staged a vigil with 25 other peace activists outside Colchester MCTC, included Michael Lyons name in our anti-war vigils and blockades. Along with Veterans for Peace we went to visit Michael imprisoned in Colchester.

We put a call out for financial support for Michael and his wife. An Australian rock band immediately kicked in 300 quid, a couple of hundred more came from our informal network. Peace News took up the call and donations doubled.

Many thanks to all the Peace News readers who contributed to raising the £1,000 and for all those who wrote letters to Michael during his incarceration. Many thanks to Lilian and Michael, who has now been released, for continuing the nonviolent resistance to this war on the people of Afghanistan.

Ciaron O'Reilly, London

9-11 truths

ImageIt is with regret that I have cancelled my subscription to Peace News after many years. This is because of your blind acceptance that 9/11 was carried out by so-called al-Qaeda, as stated as fact in your front page article in the September edition.

There is plenty of evidence to the contrary, and suggesting that it was an ìinside jobî, and I urge you to consider this evidence rather than buy the US version of events.

Alex Forrest, Sutton

Editor's response:

Thank you for your letter. Weíre sorry that youíve decided to cancel your subscription. Itís inevitable that there will be things in Peace News that someone disagrees with ñ we sometimes publish articles that we ourselves donít agree with! We wish you well in your work for peace and justice. - Eds