News

3 August 2022 David Polden

Dissident Israelis held on remand for one month

On 20 June, the British branch of Elbit, Israel’s largest arms company, announced it was closing its offices in Kingsway, Central London.

This was five months after Elbit, which produces 85 percent of the military drones Israel uses for attacks on Palestinian territory, announced the sale of its Elbit Ferranti factory in Oldham.

Both these closures are due to a sustained direct action campaign by Palestine Action (PA). In the case of Elbit’s London offices, they’ve been the…

2 August 2022 PN staff

19 million Afghans face starvation due to Western theft of country's reserves

In Afghanistan, ‘more people will die of hunger in 2022 alone than from violence during the last 20 years of conflict’, if the international community does not take drastic action.

That was the warning, back in December, from four aid experts including Elizabeth Winter, executive director of BAAG, the British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group. BAAG includes ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid and Oxfam.

One key issue is Afghanistan’s foreign reserves. When the Taliban retook…

1 August 2022 David Polden

Protests and legal challenge to take place on 5 September

The British government’s first attempt to deport up to 130 refugees to Rwanda was met with legal and direct action and ended in failure on 14 June.

After several lawyers had successfully appealed against the deportation of their clients, the government had only seven refugees listed to fly out of Gatwick airport.

In the late afternoon, a newly-formed direct action group called Stop Deportations lay down in the road outside Colnbrook immigration removal centre, creating a…

1 August 2022 David Polden

Human chain action in London planned for 8 October

On 17 June, the home secretary, Priti Patel, signed the order for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to be extradited to the US to face 17 counts under the US Espionage Act. His ‘crime’ was receiving and publishing secret US military documents containing evidence of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. If found guilty of all the charges, Assange could be imprisoned for up to 175 years.

Assange, who has appealed, remains in solitary confinement in Belmarsh high-security prison where…

1 August 2022 David Polden

Gallery protests demand end to new oil extraction 

On 23 July, the ‘We All Want to Just Stop Oil’ coalition held a ‘mass swarming march’ in Central London. Groups set off from 11 separate locations, causing much traffic disruption, and all converging in Parliament Square for an authorised symbolic mass sit-down. Real Media, who filmed the event, reported that 1,000 people took part.

The coalition is headed by the climate action group Just Stop Oil (JSO). Other members include CND, Disabled People Against Cuts, Fuel Poverty Action,…

1 August 2022 Milan Rai

How Johnson and Truss have helped to undermine diplomacy and prolong the war in Ukraine

As Noam Chomsky has repeatedly pointed out since February: ‘our prime concern should be to think through carefully what we can do to bring the criminal Russian invasion to a quick end and to save the Ukrainian victims from more horrors’ (PN 2660).

This must mean an immediate ceasefire and a quick peace agreement along the lines nearly agreed at the end of March.

The reality is that this brutal and dangerous war will end in one of three ways: the two sides will…

1 August 2022

Send a card to the anarchist illustrator

While preparing this issue, and asking permission to use the graphic on the front page (which is not in the public domain, contrary to what the internet believes), we learned that the revered British anarchist illustrator Clifford Harper was not well (but on the mend).

Clifford is the author of Anarchy: A Graphic Guide and The Education of Desire and has been illustrating radical, alternative and mainstream publications since the 1970s! (You may know him from the…

1 August 2022 Milan Rai

RMT leader calls for general strike if new PM pursues anti-union plans

There should be a general strike if Tory MP Liz Truss becomes prime minister on 5 September and pursues the harsh anti-union policies she has announced recently.

That’s the view of Mick Lynch, secretary general of the RMT rail union, who says: ‘Truss is proposing to make effective trade unionism illegal in Britain and to rob working people of a key democratic right. If these proposals become law, there will be the biggest resistance mounted by the entire trade union movement,…

1 August 2022 PN staff

10-day camp records 'opposition to UK threats of nuclear mass destruction’

Four activists were arrested during the 10-day Trident Ploughshares/XR Peace ‘FABB’ (Faslane Action for Bomb Ban) Camp in Peaton Wood, in western Scotland in June.

On 13 June, one of the arrestees, Gillean Lawrence of XR Peace, was deprived of her heart medication for nine hours by police at Clydebank police station, and threatened with being held overnight without access to her medication. She has made a formal complaint.

Peaton Wood is very close to RNAD Coulport which stores…

1 August 2022 David Polden

Anti-nuke demos in London, Berlin, Paris and Coulport

On 16 June, an International Day of Action was held to call on all countries to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and for all nuclear weapon states to get rid of them.

There were demonstrations making these demands in Paris and Berlin, and letters were handed in to the British nuclear weapons bases at Faslane and Coulport.

The day of action was just ahead of the first review meeting (in Vienna) of the 65 countries who have so far ratified or…

1 August 2022 PN staff

Nine walk free after anti-arms fair protest

On 25 July, a group of nine anti-arms trade protesters were acquitted after a four-day trial at Stratford magistrates court in East London.

The court found that Meredith Dickinson, Yvette Hannon, Lizzy Haughton, Francis Henderson, Joshua Instone, William James, Emily Robinson, James Uzzell and Luke Whiting did obstruct the highway by blocking an access road to the DSEI arms fair last September.

However, the DSEI Nine were acquitted because the court ruled that the…

1 August 2022 Trish Whitham

Unique window into British nuclear decision-making goes online

In August, the Nuclear Information Service (NIS) will be unveiling the first digitised documents from the research archive of the late Scottish CND co-ordinator John Ainslie (see his obituary in PN 2600 – 2601). As well as taking part in campaigning and direct action in support of disarmament, John was ‘an authoritative and internationally respected nuclear researcher’ (the Guardian…

1 August 2022 PN staff

Whistleblowers say weapons were planted to justify killings

SAS soldiers killed detainees and unarmed men in Afghanistan in suspicious circumstances on dozens of occasions, according to a BBC TV documentary broadcast in mid-July.

Military reports obtained by Panorama suggest that one SAS unit may have killed 54 people unlawfully in one six-month tour.

Whistleblowers from the SAS squadron told the BBC they saw SAS ‘operators’ kill unarmed people during night raids – and then plant AK-47 rifles to justify the killing.

1 August 2022 PN staff

30,000 march against military alliance

Peace activists flocked to Madrid before and during the NATO summit in the Spanish capital at the end of June.

There was the biggest anti-NATO march for decades on 26 June, with 30,000 marchers. It was part of the programme of the Madrid Peace Summit, held in the huge, union-owned Auditorio Marcelino Camacho in the city centre.

Sara Herschander reported on Waging Nonviolence that other protests included an XR/Fridays for Future die-in of 30 people at the Reina Sofia…

1 August 2022 PN staff

Former PM rejects proposed increase in military spending

The Italian government fell on 21 July partly over the issue of arms supplies to Ukraine.

The Five Star Movement, the hard-to-define, anti-establishment party, and the largest party in Italy’s parliament, had been in governing coalitions since 2018, but it lost confidence in the current national unity government this summer.

The party also split over Ukraine. Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio, in favour of arming Ukraine, broke away from Five Star in June to form a new party, ‘…

1 August 2022 PN staff

Report highlights differential treatment of Ukraine and Palestine in UK schools

As thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza and the West Bank against US president Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East in mid-July, the British Muslim human rights group CAGE released a report on bias in British education: Understanding Ukraine and Palestine solidarity in UK Schools.

In Bethlehem, Palestine, Palestinian journalists turned up to Biden’s press conference with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas wearing T-shirts featuring the face of Shireen Abu Aqleh,…

1 June 2022 PN staff

Campaigners demand ‘No US nukes in Britain!’

‘No US nukes in Britain!’ That was the message of over 150 activists from around the UK (and from the Continent) who joined the CND demonstration at USAF Lakenheath on 21 May.

The news that the US air force might be returning nuclear weapons to its base in north Suffolk broke on 11 April with a tweet from US researcher Hans Kristensen: ‘Looks like RAF Lakenheath air base has quietly been added to the list of nuclear weapons storage sites receiving upgrades in Europe.’

1 June 2022 David Polden

Campaigners disrupt dinner to denounce 'racist and inhumane' deportation plans

On 6 May, protesters infiltrated a Conservative party dinner in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire. During a keynote speech by home secretary Priti Patel they took it in turns to stand on chairs to denounce her ‘racist and inhumane’ plan to deport refugees to Rwanda. (The audience booed them as they were removed.)

The UK government has reached an agreement with Rwanda by which refugees who arrive in the UK ‘illegally’ (the only way they can), and who apply for asylum, will be flown 4,500…

1 June 2022 PN staff

Protest calls for 'Windmills Not War Machines'

On 22 April, Earth Day, a local anti-militarist action group in North Carolina, USA, held a two-hour blockade of the construction site for a 1.2mn square foot jet engine manufacturing plant belonging to Pratt & Whitney (wholly owned by Raytheon Technologies, the second largest war corporation in the world). The ‘Reject Raytheon Asheville’ protest, called ‘Windmills Not War Machines’, was one of over 30 events in a week of mobilisation around the US sponsored by the War Industry Resisters…

1 June 2022 David Polden

'Justice delayed is justice denied' say women deceived into relationships with undercover police

Women deceived into relationships with undercover police officers have condemned the further delays that have been announced in the government’s Undercover Policing Inquiry. On 20 May, their campaign group, Police Spies Out Of Lives, said: ‘The idea that we have to wait until 2024 for the next tranche of hearings is beyond belief. Justice delayed is justice denied. We urge the inquiry to rethink this timeframe.’

In 2015, the Metropolitan police apologised to seven women and paid…