News

2 April 2023 Lyn Bliss

Europe's biggest arms fair is coming

On 18 March, about 30 people attended a Stop the Arms Fair (STAF) organising meeting in Friends House in Central London to build the campaign to resist DSEI, the heinous Defence and Security Equipment International arms fair that will take place in East London in September.

CAAT stepped back from organising around the DSEI protests after 2019, to concentrate on supporting protest at all other UK arms fairs.

Now STAF need more organisations and groups to get involved and think…

1 April 2023 PN staff

Proposal for new disarmament treaty

In mid-March, two US researchers put forward a proposal for a new nuclear disarmament treaty, ‘All START’, in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. This would include all five nuclear weapon states recognised in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Britain, China and France as well as Russia and the US.

Another new move would be to make the treaty ‘of unlimited duration’ instead of time-limited.

Russia announced in February that it would be suspending its participation in New…

1 February 2023 PN staff

No outrage over killing of 25 people in an illegal war

Afghanistan was a major topic of media debate in January, but not because of the humanitarian catastrophe there, or the way that the West has contributed to the economic crisis, including by ‘freezing’ (stealing) Afghanistan’s foreign reserves.

Right-wing newspapers were upset that the younger son of the new king of the UK had ‘boasted’ in his new book, Spare, of killing 25 suspected Afghan insurgents during his tour of duty in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter pilot.

1 February 2023 PN staff

Ziegler precedent leads to not-guilty verdict in trial of Just Stop Oil campaigners

One of last year’s most talked-about British direct actions ended with Hannah Hunt (23) and Eben Lazarus (22) walking free from court, with £850 fines. The two Just Stop oil supporters had glued a nightmare version of Constable’s The Hay Wain over the painting itself in the National Gallery on 4 July – and glued their own hands to the frame of the painting (PN 2661).

They were found ‘guilty’ of aggravated trespass and criminal damage at Westminster magistrates court…

1 February 2023 PN staff

Swarm of AI-controlled drones tested on Salisbury Plain in December 

Drone Wars UK warned in January that two recent trials of AI-controlled military drones showed the urgent need for international controls over the development and use of ‘killer robots’.

In January, the British ministry of defence revealed that it had carried out trials on Salisbury Plain in December of a ‘swarm’ of Ghost drones controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) which was updated during the drone’s flight.

In the US, drone manufacturer General Atomics also carried out…

1 February 2023 PN staff

Release of assets frozen by US / UK crucial to averting further catastrophe

‘The unanimous view of the UN, the Red Cross, Red Crescent, the nongovernmental organisations, our own 1,500 aid workers, who are now being paralysed, is that the crisis is just catastrophic. It’s a population in freefall, really. Again, it’s minus-15 Celsius, but people are out in the open. People have now been hungry for months.

‘Famine is coming and will engulf six million, is the estimation. Water and sanitation is lacking for people. Epidemic disease is threatening. It couldn’t…

1 February 2023 David Polden

UN General Assembly calls on World Court to rule on legal consequences of Israeli occupation

On 14 January, Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers attacked Palestinians protesting against the stealing of Palestinian land in Masafer Yatta by a settler. Masafer Yatta is a community of 12 Palestinian villages to the south of Hebron in the Occupied West Bank.

Witnesses said the soldiers fired tear gas at them and at their homes, suffocating dozens of people, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency. The soldiers then set up checkpoints on the roads to prevent supporters and…

1 February 2023 PN staff

11 Feb 'Night Carnival' to take place in wake of 'Belmarsh Tribunal'

People around the world continue to campaign against the extradition of Julian Assange to the US , where he faces a 175-year sentence for publishing truthful information in the public interest – US government documents revealing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On 20 January, campaigners in the US held ‘The Belmarsh Tribunal’, an online event bringing together a range of expert witnesses – from constitutional lawyers to acclaimed journalists and human rights defenders – to…

1 February 2023 PN staff

Military used diagnoses to 'get rid of the problem'

On 14 January, the Daily Telegraph published its latest investigation into sexual assault in the British army.

Danielle Sheridan, the paper’s defence editor, reported: ‘Hundreds of female members of the Armed Forces who accused their colleagues of rape were “misdiagnosed” with having a personality disorder.’

The women were medically discharged after seeking help for sexual assault and being ‘written off’ with emotionally unstable personality disorder.

Sheridan…

1 February 2023 David Polden

Eco groups file applications in high court

On 13 January, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and South Lakes Action on Climate Change (SLACC) filed applications in the high court to take legal action against the government over the construction of a new coalmine in Cumbria, in North-West England. The two organisations have co-operated in designing their legal challenges to dovetail rather than overlap.

The reason for their request for a judicial review is the decision of Levelling Up secretary, Michael Gove, to grant planning…

1 February 2023 David Polden

Campaign targeting arms to Israel still going strong

Palestine Action (PA) has kept up a hectic pace recently in terms of court dates, and has also carried on its campaign of property damage against British arms firms supplying the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

PA, founded in July 2020, has branched out from its focus on Elbit UK, the British subsidiary of Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, which supplies military drones to the IDF for use against Palestinians.

For example, on 19 January campaigners in Scotland…

1 February 2023 PN staff

Ukrainian conscientious objector jailed

Ukrainian conscientious objector Vitaliy Alexeienko had his appeal rejected on 16 January and is believed to have been imprisoned shortly afterwards by order of an appeal court in Ivano-Frankivsk in Western Ukraine. Ukraine has suspended the right of conscientious objection.

Vitaliy, 46, had told the authorities last June that he refused to be conscripted into the Ukrainian army because of his pacifist religious beliefs.

He said that he was willing to take up alternative…

1 February 2023 David Polden

Three more jailed over Bristol clashes

On 16 December, three more people were jailed in connection with the ‘Kill the Bill’ clashes in Bristol in early 2021, bringing the total in prison to 26.

Earlier, on 18 November, it was reported that Avon & Somerset police had paid undisclosed damages to five people who say they were assaulted by the police during the ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration in Bristol on 23 March 2021.

The incidents took place on College Green after a day of peaceful protest against the Police,…

1 February 2023 Milan Rai

Celebration of campaigns and community initiatives 'influenced by anarchist principles' to take place on 15 February

On 15 February, British anarchists will mark their first ‘Aggravated Activist Day’, after the event was called by participants in a workshop at the Anarchist Bookfair in London last September.

The workshop was run by Netpol, the Network for Police Monitoring, which pointed out in March 2021 that the police had stopped using the label ‘domestic extremist’, and replaced it with ‘aggravated activist’.

Anarchists are classified by the police as taking part in ‘high-level aggravated…

1 February 2023 PN staff

Zelenskyy's call for a Global Peace Summit is about supporting Ukraine’s war effort, not negotiating an end to the war

The mainstream media continues to suppress unwelcome but crucial facts about Ukraine’s recent peace positions, and to distort Russia’s current position.

It goes without saying that the Russian invasion a year ago was a criminal act and that Russia has committed and continues to commit a host of war crimes. However, it does not help us to find a way out of this disaster if we distort the facts.

Lawrence Freedman is perhaps the most respected foreign policy academic in Britain.…

1 February 2023 PN staff

British weapons, advisers and diplomatic support have contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths

After eight years of war, the people of Yemen are enduring one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Oxfam says that ‘24 million people – 80 percent of Yemen’s population – need emergency aid, the greatest number in any country in the world.’

A quarter of the population is malnourished.

There were some signs of hope in January; a new truce may be agreed soon between the Saudi-led coalition and their Houthi opponents.

However, according to one study, there have been…

1 February 2023 Milan Rai

Ukraine: Sunak must support negotiation not escalation

As we head towards the second year of the horrifying war in Ukraine, the British government should be supporting a rapid, negotiated end to the war (see p3 for more on this).

Prime minister Rishi Sunak should be helping to remove obstacles to peace. This includes pressing Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to lift his ban on negotiating with Russia while Vladimir Putin remains president (see PN 2663).

Instead of seeking peace, the British government is supporting…

2 January 2023 PN staff

Britain to send Ukraine depleted uranium weapons along with Challenger tanks

Britain is sending uranium weapons to be used in Ukraine. That was revealed in a parliamentary written answer from junior defence minister baroness Annabel Goldie on 20 March, first reported by Declassified UK the next day. 

The advanced Challenger 2 tanks that Britain is exporting to Ukraine will be sent with 

CHARM 3 armour-piercing depleted uranium (DU) rounds, Goldie confirmed.

CND general secretary Kate Hudson responded: ‘Like in Iraq, the addition of depleted…

1 December 2022 PN staff

New campaign needed to support financing for the Global South

‘The ultimate test of this COP is that it has responded to the voices of the climate vulnerable by establishing a fund for loss and damage.’ That was Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate change, speaking at the closing session of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 20 November, on behalf of most of the Global South – she was representing the G77/China* group.

Here in the UK, Friends of the Earth welcomed the fund as ‘a first step towards wealthy nations providing loss and…

1 December 2022 PN staff

Twenty-eight activists already recruited for unarmed team

28 peace activists have volunteered to act as an unarmed civilian protection team at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

John Reuwer, founder of the Zaporizhzhya Protection Proposal project, writes: ‘Among the most immediate of the many threats faced by Ukrainians is the release of a nuclear dirty bomb by an intentional or accidental mishap at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.’

The group plans to send a team of trained unarmed civilians to support inspectors…