1 April 2022 David Polden

UK government presses on with plans to criminalise asylum

On 22 March, the house of commons voted down seven of the house of lord’s amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill on its return to the commons.

In other words, MPs have reconfirmed that it will be a criminal offence to arrive in the UK without official entry clearance.

Under the bill, you can be imprisoned for up to four years if you enter the UK unofficially – for example, in a small boat across the Channel.

This will also apply to Ukrainians entering the UK…

1 April 2022 Milan Rai

Punishment sanctions actually reduce Russia’s incentive to end its war, argues Milan Rai

When Britain invaded Egypt in 1956 (in alliance with Israel and France), the US threatened to block attempts by Britain to borrow $561 million from the IMF and to get a $600m credit extension from the US Export-Import Bank. The US also threatened to sell its sterling bonds (tradeable IOUs issued in British pounds), which would have had a catastrophic effect.

These ‘financial warfare strikes’, and other pressures, forced Britain, within weeks, into a humiliating withdrawal.


1 April 2022 Milan Rai

We need to work for peace in Ukraine – and  recognise our greater moral responsibility for peace in Yemen

Noam Chomsky once wrote that some things were almost painful to have to say, they were so obvious. One example is that we have more responsibility for things that we can affect than for things that we have little or no influence over.

In Britain, we can help relieve the suffering of Ukrainians, but we have little influence over the Russian state which is raining destruction on Ukraine.

Whatever influence we have, we should try to use. Bruce Kent gave us a fine example of that…

1 April 2022 PN staff

New anti-war statement omits NATO

Towards the end of March, a new British anti-war statement appeared online. Unlike the two main anti-war groups in the UK, ‘No War on Ukraine’ does not mention NATO expansion as a factor in the Ukraine crisis.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Stop the War Coalition are part of the international ‘Peace in Ukraine’ coalition which organised the global day of action against the war in Ukraine on 6 March.

Members include US groups such as CODEPINK, Food Not Bombs…

1 April 2022 Muzammal Hussain

Eco-Muslims gather with the Zapatistas

It wasn’t just about the day. As we walked to the bus stop that evening, we felt a deep gratitude for the experience we had just been immersed in. As the three core members of an Islamic ecological training and change-making group – Wisdom In Nature (WiN) – our day in North London at a private gathering with the Zapatistas along with local activist groups, felt reaffirming, inspiring and growthful.

What was reaffirming about the day was the emphasis on how to hold space. The…

1 April 2022 PN staff

US peace group calls for economic recovery, not aid

Below is the text of an international open letter to US president Joe Biden.

We are writing to express our outrage over your 11 February executive order regarding the $7 billion of Afghan funds invested in the US Federal Reserve Bank.

We believe that your decision to divide the funds in two, with half going to compensate 9/11 families and the other half going to humanitarian aid, is unjust and will cause grave harm to the Afghan people.

Your decision has been denounced…

1 February 2022 PN staff

Farewell to the Wales page

After 15 years, the Wales Page is suspending service!

Thank you so much, Lotte Reimer and Kelvin Mason for all your years of dedication. We are very, very grateful to you – and to all your loyal contributors.

Lotte has been pulling the Wales Page together every issue since 2012. Before that, she shared editing duties with Kelvin, starting in 2007.

Based in Aberystwyth (is it the real heart of Wales?), Lotte and Kelvin have helped to bring all sorts of activism to the…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Government suffers 14 defeats in the Lords, though anti-Roma laws remain

A day of action was held on 15 January against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (due to be voted on by the house of lords two days later). Thousands protested in Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth and Sheffield.

Shami Chakrabarti, the Labour peer and former director of Liberty, told a rally in Parliament Square in London that the anti-protest provisions ‘represent the greatest attack on peaceful dissent in living…

1 February 2022 David Polden

100,000 block major Belgrade road 

After weeks of nonviolent protest, the world’s second-largest mining company has been shut out of a major project in Serbia.

The prime minister, Ana Brnabić, said on 20 January: ‘All permits were annulled.... we put an end to Rio Tinto in Serbia.’

A coalition of Serbian eco-activist groups had mobilised thousands of people for weeks of road blockades to halt plans by Rio Tinto Group (RTG) to dig a lithium mine in western Serbia.

The protests, in dozens of cities and…

1 February 2022 PN staff

Freed IB campaigner promises 'something new' in 2022

Six climate activists from Insulate Britain (IB) were freed from prison on 14 January after serving their sentences (with time off for good behaviour). The only remaining prisoner from that group was Ben Taylor (27), who had one more month to go.

Two IB prisoners had been released earlier, on New Year’s Eve: Louis McKechnie (21) and Ana Heytawin (58).

Louis McKechnie told the Big Issue after his release that the group will be employing different tactics this year: ‘I’m not sure…

1 February 2022 PN staff

Warning on climate, WMDs and misinformation

We’re still at 100 seconds to midnight – as close to ‘civilisation-ending apocalypse’ as we’ve ever been. That’s the view of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists which, on 20 January, set its Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight for the third year running.

The board concluded that a positive change in US leadership was not enough ‘to reverse negative international security trends that had been long in developing and continued across the threat…

1 February 2022 PN staff

Nuclear weapons states say 'nuclear war can never be won' as they upgrade their arsenals 

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has forced the great powers to hand over a present in time for its first birthday (it ‘entered into force’ on 22 January 2021).

The crappy birthday present was a joint statement of five declared nuclear-weapon states on 3 January.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the US used language first adopted by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US president Ronald Reagan in November 1985: ‘We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be…

1 February 2022 David Polden

5 million on edge of famine as civilian casualties increase 60%

More than 70 people were killed in an airstrike by a Saudi-led coalition on a prison in a Houthi-held city, Saada, in northern Yemen on 21 January.

Observers believe violence has increased since Saudi Arabia used bribes and threats to shut down the UN’s ‘Group of Eminent Experts in Yemen’ in October. The human rights panel was investigating war crimes in Yemen.

At least five million people in Yemen are on the edge of famine. Food prices increased by 30 – 70 percent in 2021, as…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Senior CIA officials discussed kidnapping or killing Wikileaks editor

On 24 January, the high court in London decided that Julian Assange can appeal to the supreme court to continue fighting extradition on 18 counts of ‘espionage’.

The US government has asked for Assange’s extradition because of his work at WikiLeaks. In 2010, WikiLeaks publicised documents leaked by Chelsea Manning exposing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A district judge at Westminster magistrates’ court ruled in January 2021 that the extradition should not go ahead…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Israeli drone maker sells UK factory as campaigners acquitted in two cases 

Palestine Action (PA), the direct action group, has claimed three recent victories, including winning both of its first two court cases.

On 10 January, the Israeli drone-maker Elbit Systems announced that it had sold off a UK factory which had been disrupted over a long period by PA.

Just 10 days later, three PA activists walked free from Birmingham magistrates court after the crown prosecution service (CPS) dropped charges of criminal damage, aggravated trespass and resisting…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Blind Paralympian released after 10 weeks and 6 days in jail 

On 14 January, the appeal court cut XR activist James Brown’s sentence to four months. With time off for good behaviour, this meant that he was not returned to prison. He had already served 10 weeks and six days, which was over half his four-month sentence.

James was released from Wandsworth prison on 8 December, on bail, while the appeal court reviewed his conviction and sentence.

James, a blind gold-medal-winning Paralympian, had been given a 12-month sentence at Southwark…

1 February 2022 David Polden

Juries find climate campaigners 'not guilty' in two trials 

On 10 December, six climate activists were found ‘not guilty’ by a jury at Inner London crown court of obstructing a Docklands Light Railway (DLR) train at Canary Wharf station in East London on 25 April 2019. Five of them were from Christian Climate Action (CCA).

On 14 January, three CCA direct actionists were found ‘not guilty’ by another jury at the same court. They had also stopped a DLR train, this time at Shadwell station, on 17 October 2019. (One of them had also taken part in…

1 February 2022 Milan Rai

How NATO’s broken promises led us to war  

There are two connected Ukraine crises going on. There is a civil war in Eastern Ukraine, in the Russian-speaking Donbass region, which Russia is involved in. There is also a larger confrontation over NATO expansion. The massing of over 100,000 Russian soldiers on the border and the threat of all-out war are linked to both crises.

As we go to press, it’s not clear what is going to happen.

What is clear is that there are nonviolent solutions to both crises.

Solving the…

1 February 2022 Bruce Kent

Bruce Kent remembers an early martyr in the fight against nuclear weapons

On 10 December, the Nikos Nikiforidis (Non Nuclear) Peace Award for 2020 was given to Turkish peace activist Bülent Tanık, formerly mayor of the Çankaya district of Ankara and president of the Association for Peace and Communication in Aegean (APCA). The ceremony at Athens City Hall had been delayed because of the pandemic. The award, given by PADOP (the Greek Observatory of International Organisations and Globalisation), was made to honour Bülent Tanık’s ‘special efforts in the defence of…

25 January 2022 Milan Rai

Statue-topplers found ‘not guilty’ by Bristol jury

The acquittal of four anti-racist activists of charges of criminal damage has led to a storm of protest from right-wing commentators.

Rhian Graham (30), Milo Ponsford (26), Jake Skuse (33) and Sage Willoughby (22) did not deny their roles in bringing down the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston and rolling it into Bristol harbour on 7 June 2020. The Colston Four argued that their actions were legally justified (see p8 for details) and persuaded the jury to return a majority ‘not…