News

9 December 2020 PN staff

UK to resume arming war in Yemen, despite pattern of Saudi war crimes

The British government is going to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia again, after deciding there is ‘not a clear risk’ of those weapons being used to attack civilians in Yemen. Saudi-led forces have been waging war in Yemen since March 2015.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) responded: ‘This is a disgraceful and morally bankrupt decision. The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the government itself admits that UK-made arms have played…

9 December 2020 Phil Steele

Phil Steele takes a look at what's been happening in Wales

The pandemic restrictions in Wales meant that from March onwards most peace campaigning took place screen-to-screen via Zoom or Skype.

This, of course, had its limitations, but it did mean that it was no longer necessary – or indeed permitted – to bring people together by making convoluted journeys through the mountains via B-roads or by circuitous train routes.

The Welsh government took a more cautious approach to lockdown than Westminster, but local socially-distanced…

9 December 2020 PN staff

How UK activist organisations and radical media have been responding to the current crisis (continued from last issue).

CND
www.cnduk.org

Since the beginning of lockdown, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has held a series of webinars (including ‘Ventilators not exterminators: why now is the time for defence diversification’); run an online lobbying campaign directed at MPs (‘Wash our hands of Trident to combat COVID19’); and run an online competition to produce eye-catching posters that people can print off and display in their windows.

This year’s…

8 December 2020 Pat Richardson

Vigil for Gaza held in run up to Christmas

Borth and Aberystwyth Women in Black held a vigil on 30 November.

We were responding to a request from a local Palestinian woman whose family still lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon. She felt that Gaza and the plight of its people were forgotten in the midst of Brexit, general election campaigning and the run up to Christmas.

So we gathered on a cold morning and stood in silence with our Palestinian flags and simple placards: ‘Cofiwch Gaza’ (‘Remember Gaza’) and ‘Imagine Peace…

8 December 2020 Lotte Reimer

Welsh witnesses to Israel's occupation

In November, Kate Sherringer and Hwyel and Christine Davies of West Wales Friends of Palestine walked 100 miles through the West Bank of Palestine from Rummanah, near Jenin, to Jordan.

The walk was organised through the human rights organisation, the Amos Trust.

Kate explained: ‘I’ve never done a lot of walking, but it seemed like a good challenge to set myself in my 70s. I’ve been interested in issues around Israel and Palestine for a while, and this is my fourth visit there…

8 December 2020 George Carmel

From Wales to the West Bank

Tell us about your trip.’ ‘Tell us about your holiday.’ Just some of the responses to my visit to Palestine in October 2019.

For a start, I never imagined that I was going on a holiday when I signed up to go with a Peaceful Presence group to help with the olive harvest.

I knew that it would be hard work and that I might witness things that would distress me. Since I came home, I’ve found it difficult to talk about the visit. Knowing intellectually about the situation didn’t…

8 December 2020 David Polden

Extradition hearing to take place on 24 February

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s full extradition hearing is scheduled for 24 February at Woolwich crown court in South London.

The investigative journalist was arrested at the Ecuadorean embassy last April, having spent seven years there after claiming asylum to avoid possible extradition to the US via Sweden.

Sexual assault charges Julian was facing in Sweden have since been dropped, but he has been kept in Belmarsh high security prison because of an extradition request…

8 December 2020 PN staff

Mauritius issues threat of futher action after expiry of UN deadline

British officials might stand trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity because of the British government’s refusal to return the illegally-occupied Chagos Islands to Mauritius.

That was the threat made on 27 December by the prime minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, after an advisory opinion by the world court last February and the expiry of a six-month deadline set by the UN general assembly.

The Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean include…

4 December 2020 David Polden

Police 'counter-terror' guide brands Extinction Rebellion as 'extremist'

Young people who speak emotionally about climate change might be extremists who need to be reported to the authorities. That was the message of a regional police ‘counter-terror’ guide labelling nonviolent campaigning groups as ‘extremist’. A second (national-level) police document which warned of groups like CND and Greenpeace is being challenged by CND, Trident Ploughshares and others.

The first guide, Safeguarding young people and adults from ideological extremism, was…

4 December 2020 PN staff

Nuclear arms race and ‘limited political response’ to climate change shift Doomsday clock forward 20 seconds

The end of the world is closer than it’s ever been, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. On 23 January, the Bulletin moved the hands of its Doomsday Clock 20 seconds forward.

The clock, which symbolises how close humanity is to destruction, is now only 100 seconds to midnight.

Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin, said: ‘We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for…

4 December 2020 David Polden

Seven arrested in attempt to break siege

In January, European activists were arrested as they attempted to break the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza by cutting the fence separating Gaza from Israel.

The campaigners were from ‘Gaza 2020 Breaking the Siege’, a new international movement whose aim is to challenge Israel’s ‘inhumane’ blockade of two million Gazans.

Previous attempts to break the siege have been by sea, including the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of May 2010, in which nine unarmed Turkish solidarity activists were…

4 December 2020 David Polden

David Collins & Hilary Evans on their experiences at COP25

Movement for the Abolition of War’s eye-catching banner ‘War causes climate change – Climate change causes war’ caused an international stir in December when it travelled to Madrid to take its message to the UN climate conference COP25.

The banner was seen and photographed by thousands of delegates and visitors entering the conference centre – and by many more on the 500,000-strong Friday evening climate march through Madrid (led by Greta Thunberg).

MAW has long believed that…

4 December 2020 Milan Rai

Milan Rai surveys the UK media's coverage of the assassination of Qassem Suleimani

A week after the killing of Qassem Suleimani and his nine companions on 3 January, Simon Jenkins was the first person in the mainstream British print media to refer to a US ‘empire’ in relation to the Middle East.

After referring to ‘ceaseless wars of western aggression’ in recent decades, Jenkins wrote: ‘As empires crumble, stuff happens’. He expressed the hope that the US might be about to withdraw from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. (‘Trump’s rant against Iran is the howl of a dying…

28 September 2020 Nik Gorecki

Conference marks 60th anniversary of Cale Rd's Peace House

This year, Peace House – the building on Caledonian Road which is home to Peace News, Housmans Bookshop, War Resisters International, Network for Peace, Campaign Against Climate Change, and many others – is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

To mark the occasion, we are organising a conference on 28 March.

‘Our Power Is Real: A Festival of Grassroots Social Change’ is a one-day event bringing together a wide range of community and grassroots campaign groups.

In…

28 September 2020 Milan Rai

The Baghdad airport massacre is part of a pattern of US assassinations

On 3 January, a US drone strike destroyed two vehicles driving through Baghdad airport, killing 10 men, including Iranian general Qassem Suleimani and a senior Iraqi military official, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

US commentator Noam Chomsky described the Suleimani assassination to the Hindustan Times as ‘at least international terrorism, arguably worse.’

As well being aggression against the territory of Iraq, the assassination was the latest in a long line of acts of…

1 June 2020 PN staff

PN takes a look at how UK activists have been responding to COVID-19

Like everyone else, UK activists have been scrambling to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of ‘lockdown’ and social distancing. In early June we surveyed over twenty different activist organisations, networks and media projects to see what they’d been up to, as well as their plans for the future.

Here’s what we found out …

Campaigns, NGOs & activist networks

Calais Migrant Solidarity
calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.…

1 December 2019 PN staff

Doctors fear for Assange's health

1 December is Prisoners for Peace Day, when activists are encouraged to write to people imprisoned around the world for refusing to fight or for campaigning against war.

This year, we have highlighted the imprisonment of US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

At risk

As we went to press, there were reports that Julian Assange’s health was deteriorating rapidly.

More than 60 doctors wrote an open letter expressing their fear…

1 December 2019 PN staff

East Sussex divestment campaigners to launch nonviolent action campaign

Divest East Sussex demonstrates outside a meeting of East Sussex county council, 15 October. Photo: Divest East Sussex

Climate action coalition Divest East Sussex is gearing up for nonviolent direct action after the first phase of its campaign came to a head on 15 October.

That was the day East Sussex county council was forced to hold a debate on its continued role in funding climate change after Divest East Sussex collected over 5,300 signatures on a petition demanding it…

1 December 2019 Milan Rai

How Northern Ireland's 'Troubles' really began

Graph of Responsibility of Troubles deaths by year, 1969 - 2001. Created from Sutton index data at: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/crosstabs.html. IMAGE: IrishBriton [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

There was a trickle of dishonest and…

1 December 2019 Angie Zelter

Hundreds of peace activists join October actions

Mock Trident missile outside the ministry of defence for XR Peace blockade, 7 October. Photo: XR Peace

Several hundred peace activists took part in XR Peace actions in London during the October occupations and actions by the climate action group Extinction Rebellion (XR).

There were 57 arrests on different charges: causing a public nuisance, highway obstruction, aggravated trespass, criminal damage, and breaching ‘section 14’ orders. (Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986…