News

11 December 2020 David Polden

Jury returns unanimous verdict on anti-war action

On 23 October, a jury at Dublin circuit court acquitted peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan of criminal damage to the security fence and runway at Shannon airport, on the west coast of Ireland, in May 2016.

At the nine-day trial, Colm (78) and Dave (60) were alleged to have cut through the airport perimeter fence and painted crucifixes on the runway.

They were arrested after asking soldiers and gardaí (police officers) surrounding a US military C-21 jet to search it…

11 December 2020 Rebecca Elson-Watkins

Groups take action across the UK

From 9 – 12 October, Migrants Organise, Kanlungan and many other groups joined together for a weekend of action against the home office’s ‘hostile environment’.

The ‘hostile environment’ is a web of immigration controls forcing NHS staff, employers, landlords and others to make life unbearable for undocumented migrants.

The weekend of action was exactly 10 years since the deportation-murder of Jimmy Mubenga, who an inquest said was ‘unlawfully killed’ while being restrained by…

11 December 2020 PN staff

Verdict in Assange extradition trial expected 4 January

On 7 November, police arrested four people at the socially-distanced weekly vigil for Julian Assange in Piccadilly Circus, using new COVID-related powers granted on 3 November.

Earlier, on 3 October, police exceeded the powers they possessed at that time by dispersing the vigil. On that occasion, there were 18 people expressing solidarity with the imprisoned WikiLeaks founder.

Twice that many police were on hand, and they arrested four demonstrators, presumably to encourage the…

11 December 2020 Milan Rai

Milan Rai reports on US activists' impressive efforts in nonviolent deterrence and preparation

As we went to press, Donald Trump had just sent a tweet which was the closest thing to conceding that he’s lost the US presidential election that we’re probably going to get.

In the weeks leading up to 3 November, there was anxiety across the political spectrum that Trump might try to hang onto power despite losing the election. In the end, it turned out that he didn’t have the determination, organisation or good judgement to mount a serious threat to the political system.

11 December 2020 Janet Fenton

Nuclear ban treaty will become law on 22 January

On 24 October, Honduras ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), becoming the 50th state to signal its binding agreement with the treaty.

Passing the 50-ratifications threshold means that the TPNW will now actually ‘enter into force’ – become law – on 22 January.

With the 50th ratification, the treaty is irreversible.

Unlike other nuclear treaties, the TPNW specifically mentions the disproportionate impact on women, the damage caused to the…

10 December 2020

Swansea's 'Peace Mala' project extolled as model for cross-racial discussion

On 23 August, an online international workshop on the role of diplomacy in crisis management was held by the Africa Centre for Training, Consulting and Communication in collaboration with Cardiff’s Atlantis Academy.

From Wales, Stephen Thomas of Hub Cymru Africa spoke about Wales as a small nation with an international impact on peace processes and human rights projects in many African countries.

Pamela Christine Evans spoke about the ‘Peace Mala’ project in Swansea as a model…

10 December 2020 Adam Johannes

Cardiff campaigners converge to protest systemic injustices

A few weeks ago, Extinction Rebellion Wales contacted me with the idea of a ‘super-march’. What if diverse campaigns all marched together under one all-encompassing slogan, ‘Justice Now’?

On 5 September, over 1,000 people took to the streets of Cardiff, ringing out chants like: ‘This is what democracy looks like!’, ‘Black Lives Matter!’ and ‘Sea levels are rising so are we!’

Sponsored by 25 Welsh campaign groups including Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter, Youth Climate…

10 December 2020 Jane Powell

Farmers and climate change campaigners deliberate at Zoom assembly

Two months into lockdown, 156 people logged onto Zoom for a two-hour meeting about food and farming in Ceredigion.

After hearing from a range of farmers, community organisers and environmentalists, small groups shared their personal responses to the crisis that is COVID, Brexit, climate change, globalisation and more.

Guided by a facilitator, they listened to each other, looking for common ground and exploring solutions.

Reporting back from the groups, there was a strong…

10 December 2020 PN staff

Photos from September's 'Rebellion'

10 December 2020 Milan Rai

$256,000 crowdfunded in 48 hours to pay whistleblower's fine

This is super-super-late news, there are no excuses. Chelsea Manning, US army whistleblower, was freed way back on 12 March, after attempting suicide in prison the day before.

Chelsea had been detained for over 11 months at that point because she refused to give evidence to a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

The judge also imposed $500- and then $1,000-a-day fines. When Chelsea was released, the total had grown to $256,000.

This sum was raised in less than 48 hours (…

10 December 2020 Kate Whitaker 

Tranings support campaigns and communities

Facing job losses and growing inequality because of the pandemic, communities and workers are coming together to support those in their community who need it, demand safety at work, tackle racial injustice, and call for green jobs and well-funded public services, among other demands.

Tripod, a training co-operative, and Friends of the Earth Scotland, a climate campaigning organisation, held a series of online campaign skills workshops to support Scottish communities and campaign…

10 December 2020 David Polden

Assets frozen over attempts to investigate US war crimes in Afghanistan

On 2 September, the US government imposed economic sanctions on two senior officials of the international criminal court (ICC): chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and Phakiso Mochochoko, director of the court’s prosecution jurisdiction division.

The sanctions include the freezing of any assets they hold in the US and barring them from any access to the US financial system.

Announcing the sanctions, shortly after returning from Israel, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said: ‘We…

10 December 2020 PN staff

The 75th anniversary of Nagasaki, Castle Park, Bristol, 9 August. PHOTO: SIMON HOLLIDAY

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, there were several in-person Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations in the UK to mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Japan.

In Bristol, CND, Trident Ploughshares, and XR Peace organised an ambitious four-day Peace Gathering, which began and ended with die-ins, in Castle Park in central Bristol (above).

As well as the ‘longest banner drop in Bristol’ (91m along Finzel’s Reach Bridge over the harbour), there was a leafleting-and-…

10 December 2020 PN staff

Use of automatic facial recognition tech by South Wales police ruled unlawful

In the world’s first successful challenge against the use of automatic facial recognition technology (AFR) by police, the court of appeal ruled on 11 August that the South Wales police (SWP) force’s use of AFR had been unlawful. This overturned a high court ruling the other way.

The appeal was brought by Liberty, on behalf of anti-arms trade activist Ed Bridges. The court upheld three of the five grounds Liberty raised.

It found that the legal framework for the use of AFR was…

10 December 2020 David Polden

WikiLeaks exposed ‘grave violations of law’, court told

On 7 September, Julian Assange faced a new extradition hearing in London, set to last four weeks.

The US had been demanding his extradition to face charges of conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified US diplomatic and military documents – because of his work with WikiLeaks.

If found guilty on all charges, Julian could face up to 175 years in jail.

Clive Stafford-Smith, founder of the legal charity Reprieve, told the court that documents published by…

10 December 2020 Rakesh Prashara

Opencast coal mine stopped

On 8 September, the government said that an opencast coal mine planned for Druridge Bay in Northumberland could not go ahead. Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, rejected the planning application because it was ‘not environmentally acceptable’.

For the last seven years, the Save Druridge campaign has been opposing Banks Mining’s plan to put an opencast coal mine next to the dunes of one of the most beloved beauty spots along the…

10 December 2020 Gabriel Carlyle

Protest against Saudi state terrorism in Yemen

A lance corporal in a British army signal regiment has been arrested after staging a one-person protest opposite Downing Street against British support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen.

In a video recorded before his 24 August protest, Ahmed al-Babati, who was born in Yemen, said: ‘I joined the army in 2017 and took an oath to protect and serve this country, not to be part of a corrupt government that continues to arm and support terrorism… I’d rather sleep peacefully in a cell…

9 December 2020 Robat Idris

Robat Idris remembers a community lost to a training area for the British army

I wonder if you have seen the words ‘Cofiwch Epynt’ (‘Remember Epynt’) whilst travelling in Powys, mid Wales?

It is an echo of the ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ murals that have appeared in all parts of Wales over the last year – but what is behind the words?

It is a story of the heartbreak of losing land, language and a way of life to a training area for the British army.

Sixty square miles of Welsh land fell under the rule of the ministry of ‘defence’; the Welsh language border…

9 December 2020

Beyond Politics or Beyond Foolish?

On 21 July, a new political party calling itself ‘Beyond Politics’ threw buckets of pink paint over the front doors of Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Christian Aid.

The driving force behind the new group – which launched itself at the end of June with a shoplifting stunt at a branch of Sainsbury’s in Camden – appears to be Extinction Rebellion (XR) co-founder Roger Hallam.

On 25 July, XR UK issued a statement clarifying that ‘Roger Hallam no longer…

9 December 2020 Gabriel Carlyle

2020 strategy encourages action for local demands

Extinction Rebellion (XR) UK’s organisers ‘say they are… shifting strategy toward a model that prioritizes the communities in which they operate’ and ‘will also move away from [the group’s] focus on disrupting the public, which won it so much attention’, instead directing XR’s actions ‘at institutions, businesses and government bodies preventing climate action’, Time magazine reports.

According to Time, one member of XR’s UK actions circle ‘describes a “mini civil…