News

1 December 2022 PN staff

Call for US to release billions of assets belonging to Afghanistan's central bank

This winter, Afghanistan faces a humanitarian catastrophe, largely due to the collapse of the economy because of the freezing of the country’s foreign reserves by the United States and other Western countries.

On 16 November, 12 countries in the region called on the US to unfreeze billions of dollars of assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank. They were meeting in Russia as ‘the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan’, first set up in 2017. The 12 included Saudi Arabia…

1 December 2022 Kathy Kelly and Ed McManus

Help needed to resettle peacemakers in Portugal

14 November:

We’re writing to ask your help for young Afghans who face deeply troubling circumstances and may be able to resettle in Portugal in the very near future.

In Kabul, they were part of a group which has now disbanded for security reasons and which cannot even be named in public documents. The group welcomed internationals to live with them and become part of their efforts for peacemaking. Onlookers watched them pursue remarkable altruism. They agreed to reject all…

1 December 2022 PN staff

Report assesses impact of nonviolent action

‘Although it is difficult to evaluate it precisely, the nonviolent civil resistance has contributed to stopping the invasion in the north’ of Ukraine.

That’s one of the conclusions of Ukrainian Nonviolent Civil Resistance in the Face of War, published in October by the International Catalan Institute for Peace and Novact – International Institute for Nonviolent Action.

The author, Felip Daza, studied 235 nonviolent actions between 24 February – 30 June.

1 December 2022 PN staff

Zombies visit Home Office over Public Order Bill

Zombies visited the Home Office on 29 November with a gravestone saying: ‘Public Order Bill – Stay Dead’. They were there to hand in a petition (organised by Greenpeace and Liberty) signed by over 300,000 people, calling on the home secretary to stop attacking the basic human right to peaceful protest.

That day, the Public Order bill was having its second reading in the House of Lords. It contains restrictions on protest that had been removed from the Police, Crime, Sentencing and…

1 December 2022 PN staff

US campaigners call for end to 'brutal' embargo

US peace group CODEPINK is calling on the US to respond to the wave of women-led protests in Iran by lifting ‘the brutal sanctions that harm millions of Iranian women every day’.

At least 448 people have been killed by Iranian security forces during the nationwide protests which began with the death of Mahsa Amini in mid-September, the NGO Iran Human Rights reported on 29 November.

In late September, Palestinian-Indian-American journalist Samaa Khullar wrote in Salon…

1 December 2022 Chris Cole

Campaigners explore how to challenge emerging military technologies

Peace campaigners gathered at Birkbeck University on 12 November for the ‘Future Wars: The Shape of Things to Come’ day conference.

Organised by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Drone Wars UK, the event focused on looking at the danger of emerging military technology and how campaigners can challenge and oppose new developments in this area.

Professor Paul Rogers set the scene for the day in an opening contribution made via video.

A panel of expert speakers…

1 December 2022 David Polden

Remembrance Day peace events held in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Bradford and Brighton

Two days before this year’s National Alternative Remembrance ceremony on 13 November, my affinity group, the Mad Hatters, hung placards on the fence by each of the entrances to Tavistock Square in Central London (where the ceremony is held) giving details of the event and inviting people to join it. We also hung wreaths with white poppies by each entrance.

On the day, we gave out leaflets at the entrances inviting people to join the ceremony.

(The Mad Hatters did the same…

1 December 2022 PN staff

Lakenheath protest against return of US nuclear weapons to the UK 

Hundreds of people gathered outside Lakenheath, the US air force (USAF) base in Suffolk, at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) demonstration on 19 November.

They were protesting against the return of US nuclear weapons to the UK.

Originally scheduled for spring 2023, the arrival of the new B61-12 free-fall/glide nuclear bomb at USAF Lakenheath seems to have been brought forward to December.

Speakers at the demo included CND chair Tom Unterrainer, Trident…

1 December 2022 David Polden

Thousands join Global Day of Action in London

12 November was a Global Day of Action called by Egyptian climate justice groups to mark the COP27 negotiations. There were dozens of demonstrations in Wales, Scotland and England.

In London, the Climate Justice Coalition (CJC) had the bright idea of organising the mass painting (in Embankment Gardens) of large colourful banners to be carried on the local march.

On 12 November, the London march set off from behind the Shell building on the South Bank, Shell and other oil…

1 December 2022 David Polden

Actions in Holyhead, Lancaster and Southampton, ahead of January High Court hearing

On 3 December, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) organised a day of action in solidarity with the people in Yemen and against the companies fuelling the war there, in the run-up to their legal challenge to British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, due to be heard in the High Court on 31 January.

Some events took place before the official day of action. On 2 December, there was a demo outside BAE Systems in Holyhead, on Anglesey, and, in Lancaster, Demilitarise Lancaster, Solidarity…

1 December 2022 David Polden

$160m contract withdrawn from arms company targeted by campaigners

Palestine Action (PA) has claimed more successes (including eight acquittals) in its direct action campaign against the British subsidiary of Israel’s largest weapons company, Elbit Systems, which supplies military drones to the Israeli Defence Force for use against Palestinians.

Defence procurement minister Alex Chalk confirmed on 24 November that Elbit Systems UK had been removed from a £160mn contract to deliver crew training for the new Dreadnought-class submarine that is…

1 December 2022 PN staff

UK government ditches plans for embassy move

The British embassy in Israel will not be moving to Jerusalem.

During the Conservative party leadership contest in the summer, both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak expressed support for the move.

While prime minister, Truss ordered a review, but, on 2 November, a spokesperson for Rishi Sunak told the London-based New Arab news site: ‘There are no plans to move the UK embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv.’

The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians had warned in…

1 December 2022 David Polden

Thousands surround Parliament in call to free Wikileaks founder

Thousands of people came to London from across the UK and around the world on 8 October to create a human chain around the Houses of Parliament, calling for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be freed.

The demonstration was called by Don’t Extradite Assange (DEA), which campaigns for freedom for Julian Assange, currently in Belmarsh Prison awaiting extradition to the US to face conspiracy charges for publishing secret documents revealing US war crimes in Afganistan and Iraq.

1 December 2022 Milan Rai

As the US civilian leadership engages in deceit about peace talks...

In November, there was a surprising development in relation to the Ukraine War, with pressure for a diplomatic solution coming from the US military (pressure that has been resisted fiercely by the civilian political leadership).

The New York Times reported on 10 November that the chair of the US joint chiefs of staff, general Mark Milley, argued in private top-level meetings for…

1 December 2022 Milan Rai

Biden’s ‘offer’ to negotiate was a half-hearted dishonest trick

The United States could make a huge contribution to the safety and wellbeing of the Ukrainian people – and to global security – by giving its full support to a peace process between Ukraine and Russia, and by promising that all US sanctions on Russia will be lifted once a peace treaty is signed and Russian forces are withdrawn.

Instead, US president Joe Biden is playing a cynical game by trying to appear as though he is in favour of peace talks, while actually having no interest in…

1 October 2022 PN staff

Extra captions added to Shell-sponsored exhibition

On 10 September, some extra captions and exhibits were added to the Shell-sponsored carbon capture exhibition at the Science Museum, London.

Artist Darren Cullen (AKA Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives) ‘thought it was weird that an exhibition about carbon capture, paid for by an oil company, didn’t once mention that 81% of all the carbon ever captured by this technology has been used by oil companies and pumped back into oil wells to help extract more oil’.

He decided to correct…

1 October 2022 David Polden

More countries sign and ratify anti-nuke treaty

On 22 September, five more countries signed the UN’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and two more ratified it, making 91 signatories and 68 ratifiers in total.

Barbados, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti and Sierra Leone were the signers, and the Dominican Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo the latest ratifiers.

They were called the ‘Magnificent Seven’ by the chair of Britain’s Nuclear Free Local Authorities, David Blackburn of Leeds city…

1 October 2022 David Polden

Legal challenge to deportation policy

In early September, the high court in London carried out a judicial review of the British government’s plan to deport refugees to Rwanda.

On the first day, Raza Hussain KC told the court: ‘Rwanda is a one-party state that does not tolerate political opposition. It is a regime that repeatedly imprisons, tortures and murders those it thinks its political opponents. Those who protest or dissent from government directives, including refugees, are faced with police violence.’

The…

1 October 2022 David Polden

Scores imprisoned for blockading oil terminals

On 14 September, dozens of Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists broke an injunction by blockading the Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire. 51 of them were held in prison for at least a week, because they’d been banned from the terminal after a previous action.

Two campaigners, Rajan Naidu, a civil rights advocate, and Dr Sarah Benn, a GP, were given 34-day prison sentences, both for a third breach of the injunction.

Birmingham magistrates gave 28 other activists sentences of up to…

1 October 2022 Milan Rai

Can negotiations succeed despite Russian annexations?

Despite his warlike words, and the enormous brutality of his invasion forces, Russian president Vladimir Putin has also signalled that he wants negotiations with Ukraine to end the war.

Britain and the US must end their anti-negotiations position (see PN 2661).

Putin put pro-negotiations language into both his 21 and 30 September speeches, which…