News in brief

GDPR is good PR

The Stop the War Coalition (STWC) took a different approach to the EU’s ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ (GDPR) from most anti-war/peace organisations.

By 25 May, as one part of GDPR, organisations in the UK (commercial and non-commercial) were meant to make sure they had explicit, positive permission from everyone on their email lists to keep their data and to keep sending them emails. (If someone has joined your group as a member, that counts, for example.)

Some peace groups sent out fancy one-click consent buttons. Others, like PN, made you go to their site and type your email address in (and maybe click on a confirmation email as well). The GDPR says ‘silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity should not constitute consent’.

STWC sent out an email on 11 May only giving people the option to unsubscribe. Maybe this showed confidence that it’s already in compliance.

Yemeni port at risk

The ‘vast majority’ of the civilians who’ve been killed and injured in the Yemen war since March 2015, ‘were as a result of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition’, according to Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN high commissioner for human rights, speaking in Geneva on 11 May. That’s 10,185 Saudi-caused casualties out of 16,432.

Since the Saudi war on Yemen began, Britain has licensed £4.6bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade. British forces have also given targeting training to Saudi pilots and artillery operators.

One big reason Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is the Saudi-led naval blockade of Yemen’s main port, Hodeidah, the entry point for almost all the humanitarian aid, and most of the commercial goods, that Yemen receives.

As PN went to press, Saudi-led forces were advancing on Hodeidah by land. The UN and aid agencies warned last year that an assault on the port city could be ‘catastrophic’. Saudi strategy may be to disrupt supply lines coming out of the city, rather than directly attacking it.

Over eight million Yemenis are at risk of famine. Over 17 million need emergency food assistance. Hodeidah receives 70 percent of all food eaten in Yemen. By slowing the entry of food and aid, the Saudi blockade contributes to near-famine conditions.

The British government has never condemned the Saudi blockade or the civilian death toll from Saudi airstrikes.

Western Sahara

In May, a Moroccan state mining company, OCP, bought back phosphate that it had illegally mined in, and shipped from, Western Sahara. Western Sahara has been illegally occupied by Morocco since 1975.

The 50,000 tonnes of phosphate rock was seized in South Africa by court order a year ago (PN 2606 – 2607). It was put up for auction back in March, with a starting price of $1 million. The proceeds were due to go to Western Sahara’s national liberation movement, the Polisario Front.

OCP claimed that it bought the rock back for a symbolic $1 (after covering the auctioneer’s costs). Polisario claimed the auction was a success, but did not reveal how much the phosphate was sold for.

International organisations fail to recognise the occupation of Western Sahara, Western Sahara Resource Watch points out.

At the end of March, OPEC, the oil-producers group, referred to a Saharawi city as ‘Dakhla, Morocco’.

A study of Morocco’s renewable energy plans by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in April failed to acknowledge that a lot of the projects are in occupied Western Sahara (there was ‘Western Sahara’ at all, even in maps of Morocco).

Anarchist penpals

‘June 11’ is the name of a US-based anarchist support group for long-term political prisoners around the world. Most of them have been imprisoned for violent crimes. While PN readers are likely to strongly disagree with their methods, this is an opportunity to offer comfort and solidarity to people in very difficult conditions.

If you do write, it’s suggested that you write about your day-to-day life, and what you are passionate about, and put your address on both the envelope and the letter.


Amnesty International prisoners of conscience Giyas Ibrahimov and Bayram Mammadov are serving 10-year sentences on trumped-up charges of heroin possession.

The student activists’ real crime was to spraypaint ‘Happy Slave Day’, ‘Fuck the System’, and two anarchy symbols on the statue of former president Heydar Aliyev, father of the current dictator, Ilham Aliyev. In Azeri, ‘Happy Slave Day’ looks like ‘Happy Flower Day’ (qul, gül). Flower Day falls on Heidar Aliyev’s birthday.

Ibrahimov is in the Marxist-Leninist Solfront; Mammadov is in the non-party youth group, N!da. Write to Bayram Məmmədov / Giyas İbrahimov. Both in prison at:

Bakı şəhəri Kürdəxanı qəsəbəsi
Bakı İstintaq Təcridxanası,
Sabuncu Rayon AZ1059


June 11 lists imprisoned members of the ‘Conspiracy of Cells of Fire’, anarchists who’ve carried out armed bank robberies, fire bombings and parcel bombings, including: Panagiotis Argirou / Damianos Bolano / Olga Oikonomidou / Giorgos Polidoros / Nikos Romano / Christos Tsakalos / Gerasimos Tsakalos. Address:

Dikastiki Filaki – A Pteryga,
TK 18110 Athens,


Lisa was sentenced in July 2017 to seven years for a bank robbery in Aachen in 2014: Lisa 2893/16/7,

JVA Willich II,
Gartenstraße 2,
47877 Willich,


Tamara Sol is serving seven years for shooting at a bank security guard in 2014, shouting: ‘This is for revenge!’ Her comrade Sebastian Oversluij had been killed attempting to rob the same bank:

Tamara Sol Farías Vergara,
Complejo Penitenciario Valdivia,
Av. Ramon Picarte 4100, 5101516,
Valdivia Los Ríos, Chile

Other anarchist prisoners in Chile are in for armed bank robberies and for a bomb attack: Juan Flores Riquelme / Freddy Fuentevilla / Juan Aliste Vega / Juan Aliste Vega / Marcelo Villarroel. All in prison at:

Unidad Especial de Alta Seguridad,
Cárcel de Alta Seguridad,
Modulo H Norte,
1902 Avenida Pedro Montt,

Rocking up at Roxel

On 9 April, the People’s Weapons Inspectors visited a Roxel arms factory in Worcestershire that manufactures components for Brimstone missiles. An order for 1,000 Brimstones has been placed by the Saudi military, which uses them in Yemen.

Inspectors came from the Christian-Quaker direct action group ‘Put Down the Sword’ and from the London Catholic Worker. Some weapons inspectors blocked the main entrance for over five hours by ‘locking-on’ to each other with arm tubes. Others met with a human resources manager.

No arrests were made.

Zero progress in Zad

As PN went to press, the French government was expected to try again to evict la ZAD (‘the zone to be defended’), a huge occupied site near Nantes in western France.

As reported previously, the French government officially abandoned plans to build an airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes in January, but confirmed that it wanted to clear the ZAD. (PN 2616–2617)

A massive eviction operation failed in April (as it did in 2012), though more than 300 zadistes have been injured since 9 April.

I spy Springfield

Thousands of flasks of radioactive uranium hexafluoride (‘hex’) are transported down country lanes every year from the Springfields nuclear fuel plant near Preston, Lancs. Fuel rods and other nuclear materials are taken to nuclear power plants in the UK and around the world, including Russia.

A new report from the Close Capenhurst Campaign, Kick Nuclear and Radiation Free Lakeland shines a ‘Spotlight on Springfields’: