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The Original Abolitionists

If you're like me, there are some things you would like to abolish.  My list includes war, weapons, fossil fuel use, plutocracy, corporate personhood, health insurance corporations, poverty wages, poverty, homelessness, factory farming, prisons, the drug war, the death penalty, nuclear energy, the U.S. Senate, the electoral college, gerrymandering, electronic voting machines, murder, rape, child abuse, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and the Washington Post.  I could go on.  I bet you can think of at least one institution you believe we'd be better off without.

All of us, then, can almost certainly learn a thing or two from the men and women in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in England who abolished first the slave trade and then slavery within the British empire.  I highly recommend watching a film about them called "Amazing Grace."  If you like it, you'll love a book called "Bury the Chains."

You'll discover that this was in many ways the original activist movement.  It created activist committees, with chapters, newsletters, posters, speaking tours, book tours, petitioning, boycotts of products, theatrical props, and investigative journalism -- pioneering all of these now familiar tactics.  It achieved great success without voting, as only a tiny fraction of the population could vote.  That, in itself, should be a lesson to those who believe elections are the only tool available. 

The abolition movement had stamina.  Looking back, its gains appear stunningly swift.  At the end of the 1700s the world was dominated by slavery.  Slavery was the norm.  Before the end of the 1800s it had been outlawed almost everywhere.  Yet, those who worked night and day against the current of their times to create the abolition movement faced endless defeats.  Many of the hardest working activists didn't live to see the final success.  And yet they kept working.  That too may be a lesson for us.

A war between England and France halted progress, and could have stopped it cold.  But the war ended, and the movement was revived -- in large part with a new cast of characters, a younger generation of radicals.  Freezing all forward momentum for wars has been the rule over the ages.  It's a hard lesson for us to face, as we've now accepted that we live in an era of permanent war.  The difficult truth may be that we must escape that era if we are to make headway on numerous fronts.

When the abolition movement sprang into being in England, it was a moral movement demanding rights -- but, unlike most movements we've seen -- demanding rights for other people.  The Britons were not demanding their own freedom.  In fact, they were willing to make sacrifices, to risk a reduction in their own prosperity, and to boycott the use of slave-grown sugar.  This is a useful fact in an age when we are often told that people can only care about themselves.  Never mind the dead Afghans and Pakistanis, we're advised, just make sure that Americans know the financial cost of the wars.  Perhaps that advice can be questioned after all.

However, Adam Hochschild, the author of "Bury the Chains," believes that Britons were able to appreciate the evil of the slave trade because of their own experience with the practice of naval impressment.  That is to say, because they themselves lived in fear of being kidnapped and enslaved by the British Navy and forced to sail naval vessels around the world, and in fear of their loved ones meeting that fate, they were able to imagine the misery of Africans living in fear of being kidnapped and sold into slavery in the West Indies. 

Where might this insight lead us?  Americans do face random senseless gun violence.  Can we appreciate the evil of a drone buzzing over a village and then blowing up a family because we know that our shopping mall or school could soon be the scene of mass murder?  Americans have also been taught to fear foreign terrorism.  Can we appreciate the need to stop funding foreign terrorism in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, foreign terrorism carried out by the U.S. military? 

We do have another tool available to us.  We can make use of video, audio, and instantaneous reporting on the victims of war or other evils.  Perhaps, understanding that morality can move people, we will figure out a better way to communicate what needs to be abolished.  The original abolitionists did not have this ability.

The original abolitionists made great use of newspapers and books which -- unlike those in France and other nations that failed to develop a similar mass movement -- were completely uncensored.  (We come back to the need to abolish our corporate media cartel.)  The original abolitionists benefitted from the egalitarian organizing of the Quakers, at whose meeting any man or woman could speak -- although they were remarkably slow to make use of the voices of freed slaves who could have spoken of slavery first-hand, and who eventually did so to great effect.

The movement to abolish the slave trade was aimed at Parliament.  It did not demand freedom or rights for blacks.  It threatened the livelihood of ship captains but not of the wealthy whose investments were in the plantations across the sea.  The movement persuaded MPs of just enough to pass the legislation desired -- and even less, as abolitionists slipped through Parliament a bill designed to damage the slave trade but not advertised that way or understood by its opponents until the vote had been taken.

The movement was launched in 1787 and by 1807 had outlawed the slave trade.  By August 1, 1838, all slaves in the British empire were free. 

The slaves themselves heard of these efforts, of course, and their own struggles for freedom may have done more than anything else to win the day.  The rebellions in Saint-Domingue (Haiti), Jamaica, and elsewhere had a significant impact on British thinking about slavery.  In fact, the first generation of abolitionists, now aging, failed to keep pace with public sentiment.  Their proposals for a slow and gradual end to slavery had to make way for the demand of immediate emancipation advanced by younger men and the now very active groups of women.  And ultimately a reform bill had to be passed to somewhat democratize the government before the popular demand for slavery's abolition could be answered.

 

Compensated Emancipation

Activists were somewhat disappointed when Parliament chose to compensate slave owners for the liberation of their slaves.  The slaves themselves were, of course, not compensated.  They had little but hard times ahead.

But the compensation of slave owners offered a model that might have served the United States better than bloody civil war.  During the American revolutionary war, the British had recruited slaves to fight on their side by promising them freedom.  After the war, slave owners, including George Washington, demanded their slaves back.  A British commander, General Sir Guy Carleton, refused.  Thousands of freed slaves were transported from New York to Nova Scotia to avoid their re-enslavement.  But Carleton did promise to compensate the slaves' owners, and Washington settled for that.

The original British abolitionists, including Thomas Clarkson, greatly influenced Americans like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas Douglass.  But few picked up on the idea of compensated emancipation, which had not originated with the abolitionists.

Elihu Burritt was an exception.  From 1856 to 1860 he promoted a plan to prevent a U.S. civil war through compensated emancipation, or the purchase and liberation of slaves by the government, following the example that the English had set in the West Indies.  Burritt traveled constantly, all over the country, speaking.  He organized a mass convention that was held in Cleveland.  He lined up prominent supporters.  He edited newsletters.  He behaved, in other words, like Clarkson and many an activist since.

And Burritt was right.  Britain had freed its slaves without a civil war or a slave rebellion on the scale that was possible.  Russia had freed its serfs without a war.  Slave owners in the U.S. South would almost certainly have preferred a pile of money to five years of hell, the deaths of loved ones, the burning and destruction of their property, and the uncompensated emancipation that followed, not to mention the century and a half of bitter resentment that followed that.  And not only the slave owners would have preferred the way of peace; it's not as if they did the killing and dying.

 

Virginia

When a former slave found his voice in London, told his story in a best-selling book, filled debating halls, and became a leader in the movement to free all others, he was a man who had been a slave in my home state of Virginia.  His name was Olaudah Equiano.  He was one of, if not the first, black to speak publicly in Britain.  He did as much to end the slave trade as anyone, and it might have gone on considerably longer without him.

I've never seen a monument or memorial in Virginia to Equiano.  In contrast, just down the street from my house in Charlottesville is a tree called Tarleton's Oak.  Next to it is a gas station by the same name.  The tree is not old, having been planted to replace an enormous aging oak that I recall seeing.  Under that one, supposedly, during the revolution, British troops camped.  They were led by a young officer named Banastre Tarleton.  He later got himself into Parliament, and there was no more obnoxious defender of the slave trade than he.  Africans themselves, he maintained, did not object in the least to being enslaved.  Tarleton lied at tremendous length without a hint of shame.  His memory we mark, not Equiano's.

Budget Day Protest -- Cut War Not Welfare: Scrap Trident

Wednesday 5 December 6pm-7pm
Downing Street London

www.stopwar.org.uk

The government's savage austerity policies have cut tens of billions from the public and welfare services, hitting millions of the most vulnerable people, whether it be the disabled, the unemployed or the poor. Health, education and transport services are under huge pressure from government to implement deep cuts in provision.

But chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne is not satisfied. He has signalled he will be cutting tens of billions more from services in his budget announcement on Wednesday 5 December.

One cut he will not be announcing is in the buget for war and for Britain's pointless Trident nuclear missile system. The Afghanistan war -- which everyone knows is futile and lost -- is costing around £6 billion a year. The yearly maintenance costs for Trident are £2.2 billion a year. The cost of renewing the Trident system -- which this gvernment is committed to do -- would cost up to £130 billion. Two aircraft carriers are being built at a cost of £7 billion. Then there's the £15 billion to be spent buying 150 F-35 jets from the US, each of which will cost £85 million plus an extra £16 million for the engine.

Osborne won't mention a word about war expenditure in his budget speech on Wednesday 5 December, because that is one area of public expendidute which is never subjected to cuts.
Which is why Stop the War and CND will join other anti-austerity groups to protest outside George Osborne's home in Downing Street, London, from 6pm - 7pm. Do join us, if you can.

THE 2012 PEACE PRIZE IS UNLAWFUL AND CANNOT BE PAID TO THE EU

FROM: Nobel laureates demand 2012: c/o Peter Kolbe, Werderstr. 36 69120 Heidelberg, Germany p.kolbe@nobelforpeace-summits.org
TO: The Nobel Foundation, P.O. Box 5232, SE-102 45 Stockholm, Sweden
CC: The Foundations Authority, Stockholm County (Länsstyrelsen)

The European Union, announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee as the winner of the peace prize for 2012, clearly is not one of "the champions of peace" Alfred Nobel had in mind when he described the purpose in his will. We ask the Board of the Foundation to clarify that it cannot and will not pay the prize from its funds.

We would like to remind you of the decision of the Swedish Foundations Authority (Länsstyrelsen) on March 21, 2012, requesting the Board to examine the purpose Nobel described in his will, underlining that all prizes must comply, and clarifying that the Swedish Foundations Act places the supreme authority and responsibility also for the Norwegian decisions in the Board of the Nobel Foundation.

Unauthorized transformation of Nobel's purpose

Instead of an unspecified prize for “peace,” Alfred Nobel in his 1895 testament explained in precise terms the champions of peace (“fredsförfäktare”) whose work he wished to benefit. Nobel intended to support the political work for a demilitarized global peace order (a “folkens förbrödrande”), based on co-operation, law and disarmament.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has redefined and reshaped the prize in a way that is not in accordance with the law. The choice of the EU for the 2012 prize fails on at least two counts:

  1. the EU is not seeking to realize Nobel's demilitarized global peace order,

  2. the EU and member states condone security based on military force and waging wars rather than insisting on the need for an alternative approach.

The purpose of the peace prize is clarified by recent research. In 2008 Fredrik S. Heffermehl, a Norwegian lawyer and author and a former IPB Vice President, published the first known legal study of the prize and its purpose. In 2010 he published The Nobel Peace Prize. What Nobel Really Wanted (Praeger, 2010) with later updates in Chinese, Finnish, Swedish (Leopard, 2011).

The case for declaring the 2012 prize unlawful further rests on facts widely known and mentioned in comments following the announcement and we implore the Foundation to act in defense of the Nobel Peace Prize and its creator Alfred Nobel.

Loyal promotion of Nobel 's global peace order is the committee's main obligation. Even accepting some flexibility with technical rules, the 2012 prize for the EU is particularly problematic in relation to Nobel language on “the last expired year” and that the winner should be a “person.”

We would appreciate an urgent clarification from the Foundation.

Sincerely,

Mairead Maguire, Nobel laureate, Northern Ireland

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate, South Africa

Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel laureate, Argentina

Co-signed by the following in their personal capacities (organizational affiliation only for identification and relevance)

Bruce Kent, former president of the International Peace Bureau, IPB (UK)

Robert Hinde, professor, Movement for the Abolition of War (UK)

Peter Kolbe, Board Member, UNA Branch of Baden Württemberg (Germany)

David Swanson, author, warisacrime.org (USA)

Tomas Magnusson, Co-president, International Peace Bureau (Sweden)

Ståle Eskeland, professor of law, University of Oslo, Norway

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, lawyer and author (The Nobel Peace Prize), Norway

15,000 march for Gaza in London: report, video, pictures

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Newsletter #1263. 25 November 2012

www.stopwar.org.uk | office@stopwar.org.uk | 020 7561 9311
twitter.com/STWuk | facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition

In this newsletter:
1) 15,000 march for Gaza in London: report, video, pictures

2) Become a Friend of Stop the War
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1) 15,000 march for Gaza in London: report, video, pictures


The calling of a ceasefire and atrocious weather did not deter 10-15,000 protesters from marching to show their solidarity for Gaza on Saturday, as Lindsey German, national convenor of Stop the War, reports below. For a video and pictures of the demonstration, see:  http://bit.ly/10QiuCH

LINDSEY GERMAN REPORTS:

The march from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy in Kensington was a marvellous display of solidarity with the people of Gaza.

After eight days of brutal bombardment, which left 160 Palestinians dead, around 40 of them children -- our commitment to show Gaza that it was not alone was not dampened by the ceasefire called two days ago.

Nor did the incessant and gloomy rain stop the determination of 10-15,000 protesters from marching through London to show the British government that the green light it gave to Israel's assault was not in our name.

The crowd was very diverse, with lots of young people and students and Anonymous masks mixing happily with hijabs and Palestinian scarves.

We chanted, waved banners and placards and were a constantly vibrant presence as we passed through some of the most affluent parts of London to the Israeli embassy gates, where we were greeted by Tony Benn, president of Stop the War Coalition, the first of the speakers to express solidarity with Gaza.

Other speakers included delegates from the Palestinian town of Jenin, the Egyptian novelist Adhaf Soueif, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian, MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Slaughter, speakers from the trade unions, and a representative from the SOAS students who occupied their university in solidarity with Gaza.

Very well received was journalist Seumas Milne, repeating what he wrote in his Guardian column last week, that Palestinians have every right to defend themselves.

Renowned film director and long time supporter of the Palestinian cause, Ken Loach, was one of those not able to be there but who sent a message of solidarity. 

The demonstrators were united in their determination not just to protest at this latest outrage by Israel but to call for an end to the siege of Gaza and to see the day -- after 65 years of occupation and brutal repression -- when justice will be achieved for all Palestinians.

The protesters were enthused by the sense that Israel had been forced to curtail its attack -- at least in part -- due to the changed balance of forces in the Middle East since the Arab revolutions, and in particular since the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The distorted media coverage, which has often seemed little more than an adjunct to the Israeli propaganda machine, came in for shouts of disapproval from the crowd -- not least when the BBC was mentioned.

That the motivation for Israel's attack may in part have been motivated by a plan to wage war next year against Iran -- as Britain's chief rabbi Jonathan Sachs revealed inadvertently on BBC radio -- brought roars of anger.

This particular Israeli attack may have ended, but there is no such thing as an Israeli ceasefire where Gaza or the West Bank are concerned.

Our campaign is but another step in the path to freedom for Palestine. Campaigning will go on -- for a boycott of Israeli goods and against any future wars in the Middle East. Stop the War will be at the heart of these campaigns because our anti-war activity has always been driven by an understanding that the issues of war and western imperialism are inextricably linked.

For a video and pictures of the demonstration, see:  http://bit.ly/10QiuCH

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2) Become a Friend of Stop the War

Yesterday's magnificent demonstration was a testament to the work of Stop the War's supporters across the country, who helped mobilise people to join the march for Gaza, and donated to our Campaign for Gaza appeal, without which we could not have funded our activites over the past two weeks.

We were also very gratified to see how many people were inspired by our Gaza campaign to become members of Stop the War members, which is one of the best ways to help sustain all our anti-war activities (become a member here -- it costs as little as £2 a month: http://bit.ly/IjsLPu ).

We also have a special layer of membership, called Friends of Stop the War, for those who are able to pay an increased monthly subscription, and who then receive a range of benefits. To become a Friend of Stop the War see: http://bit.ly/IjsOen

The need for an anti-war movement that actively campaigns against the war policies of our government was never clearer -- with the pointless war in Afghanistan still being waged by politicians and generals who know it is lost, the looming prospect of overt western intervention in Syria, threats of war against Iran, Britain's investment of billions in drone warfare . Many thanks to all our supporters and members for helping Stop the War its its aim to achieve this.

Campaign for Gaza: We need your help

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Newsletter #1261. 21 November 2012

www.stopwar.org.uk | office@stopwar.org.uk | 020 7561 9311
twitter.com/STWuk | facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition
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1) Campaign for Gaza: We need your help

Stop the war is stretching its resources to the limit in the build-up to Saturday's national demonstration for Gaza. Many thanks to everyone who has donated to our Campaign for Gaza Emergency Appeal. The response has been magnificent. But we still urgently need funding to ensure that we can meet the challenge of mobilising for Gaza and sustain all our anti-war work. If you have not donated yet, please consider doing so now. We appreciate contributions of any size, big or small. GO HERE TO DONATE: http://bit.ly/XS9qhx

Tony Blair in hiding from anti-war protesters

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1b Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ


Newsletter #1260
. 14 December 2012

 

www.stopwar.org.uk | office@stopwar.org.uk| 020 7561 9311
twitter.com/STWuk | facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition
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1) Tony Blair in hiding from anti-war protesters
 
The man trying to rehabilitate his career in mainstream British politics is proving very reticent when it comes to public appearances. When it became clear that protests would greet Tony Blair's appearance at the launch of University College London's Institute for Security and Resilience Studies (ISRS), the much publicised event suddenly became very secret and UCL denied it had anything to do with it.

The provost of UCL, Malcolm Grant, who sits on the advisory panel of ISRS, instructed his media relations department to contact Stop the War to say, "provided the law is observed, we do not operate a policy of barring speakers with controversial views".

The irony of applying the principle of observing the law to Tony Blair was obviously lost on the UCL provost. But it was not lost on the thousands who over the past week have signed the letter -- initiated by John Pilger, Tony Benn and others --  reminding UCL that it is totally innapropriate for a seat of learning to invite a war criminal to lecture on peace and war.

Nor was it lost on over 200 protesters on the day of the conference. Report and pictures here: http://bit.ly/SlefsP

As for defending the right of free speech, the only place this should be granted to Tony Blair is in a court of law, answering charges of international war crimes. There are hundreds of thousands of Iraqis whose right to free speech was taken away with brutal finality when Blair and Bush concocted their lies to wage an illegal war of mass slaughter.

TAKE ACTION: ASK YOUR MP TO SIGN EDM 712
MPs Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Virendra Sharma have signed an Early Day Motion in Parliament which states: This House is appalled at University College London (UCL) opening the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies on its premises' and noted that the institute is 'in partnership with weapons manufacturers, Ultra Electronics and European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company both of which supplied weapons used for the bombing of Iraq'. (See full text here: http://bit.ly/RXUvNJ )

Write to your MP here: http://www.writetothem.com


Thousands sign no Tony Blair comeback letter

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1) Thousands sign no Tony Blair comeback letter

A letter initiated by John Pilger, Tony Benn and others calling on University College London (UCL) to cancel an invitation for Tony Blair to speak at the launch of the university's Institute for Security & Resilience Studies - has been signed by thousands of academics, students and members of the public who are angry at what is seen as an endorsement of Blair's crimes in Iraq. Add your name here: http://bit.ly/R0rD7p

Stop the War has called a protest at UCL on the 13 November to make it clear to the university management that war criminals are not welcome in our universities. Over 300 people have joined the Facebook event to say they will be there. See Facebook event here: http://on.fb.me/VTrmTx

Protest Tuesday 13 November 11am
War criminals out of our universities
Main Entrance, University College London
Gower Street London WC1E 6BT
For full details see: http://bit.ly/R0rD7p

Contact UCL Provost to complain at the invitation to Tony Blair
Email: provost@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: 020 7679 7234

Information? If you are are student or academic at UCL and have more information about the meeting at which Tony Blair will make his speech, please telephone the Stop the War National Office: 020 7561 9311 or office@stopwar.org.uk.

See also: How Tony Blair and friends help arms dealers get into bed with Britain's universities: http://bit.ly/VTsM0f

The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize is unlawful and cannot be paid to the EU

-          The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the EU is unlawful and cannot be paid, says the International Peace Bureau, IPB, in a letter today to the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm.

The demand from IPB is based on the fact that the Nobel Foundation is by law responsible for overseeing that all the five Nobel Prizes are awarded in accordance with the will and testament of Alfred Nobel.

-          The latest prize to EU may even be seen as directly contradicting the purpose to reach demilitarized international relations, the purpose Alfred Nobel had with his prize.

Confronting War Today - an international conference

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Newsletter 1258 25 October 2012
www.
stopwar.org.uk | office@stopwar.org.uk | 020 7561 9311
twitter.com/STWuk | facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition
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1) 
Confronting War Today - an international conference
Ten years after the biggest demonstrations in history in February 2003, this conference will discuss and plan opposition to continuing and further wars. As millions around the world predicted, the war on terror has caused catastrophe from Afghanistan and Pakistan through Iraq and the Middle East to Libya, Somalia and beyond. The Conference will bring together leading activists and commentators to analyse continuing Western aggression and how to confront it.
Tickets cost £15 / £8 concessions.
Book your ticket on the conference web site www.tenyearson.org.uk or telephone 02075619311 or email office@stopwar.org.uk

You can help us promote the event by sharing with your Facebook contacts here on.fb.me/Si81Nd

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2) Why is David Cameron still sending British troops to kill and be killed in Afghanistan?

On the same day that David Cameron came out of Number 10 Downing Street to buy a poppy to remember the dead, the deaths of two more British soldier have been announced in Afghanistan. Nothing could better symbolise the cynicism of this government's attitude to the war in Afghanistan.

At the very same time as he is professing respect for dead soldiers, David Cameron is sending troops to kill and be killed
in a war fully 80 per cent of the British public regard as being a total waste of life and resources.

Read the full article on the Stop the War web site (link: bit.ly/Xn5SlG).

Experimental Polygons in Sardinia, Half a Century of Deadly Military Occupation

By Angela Corrias

Guest writer for Wake Up World

“Italy is a huge naval air station on the Mediterranean, leaning toward East and peeking at Orient. Within this huge air station is Sardinia, which is part of the station, but doesn’t have the annoying problem of people and cities.”

This is how the CIA described the Italian island of Sardinia in the 1960s, a “poor” land, thus easy to buy with a handful of jobs in the military bases. And it worked, with the results of creating a war-like zone and buying people’s mind into claiming as their own rights living and working in or near these highly contaminated stations.

Such bases, experimental polygons and shooting ranges are officially under the NATO rule, and the Italian Army and government don’t hold much decision power over them.

Sardinia houses 60 per cent of Italian military property, and today investigations are shedding light on serious health emergencies, such as cancers, tumors and birth defects in both humans and animals.

Lands and water are heavily contaminated and farmers are now being prevented from working in their own farms. The experiments, bombings and simulated war operations have been carried out for more than fifty years, and depleted uranium (even though Italy had signed the international agreement to ban this kind of weapons) and white phosphorus have been repeatedly used, creating in these areas the same conditions of war zones such as Iraq and the Balkans. “Here the question is” asks Carlo Porcedda, journalist and author of investigative book Wind knows. Sardinia’s invisible illness, “if according to the international agreements Italy has signed using white phosphorus at war is a crime against humanity, using it for a test inside a polygon what kind of crime is it?”

Actual Supporters of Peace Put Their Bodies on Line to Stop Latest Nobel Peace Laureate's Mass Murder Preparation

Vredesactie http://www.vredesactie.be - Action pour la Paix http://www.actionpourlapaix.be

Peace activists hinder departure of F16 airplanes to NATO nuclear weapons exercise

As of 7:30 AM peace activists are using non-violent means to try and stop the departure of F16 airplanes from the base in Kleine Brogel. Starting today, Belgian pilots are training for the deployment of nuclear weapons together with their NATO-partners. Small groups of activists are going onto the runway to stop the taking off of the F-16s. Meanwhile, the main gate of the base is being blocked. In this way, Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix hope to prevent the preparation for war crimes.

action Steadfast Noon - picture Tim Dirven-VredesactieFrom 15 to 26 October, Belgian F-16s from the military base of Kleine Brogel are participating in the NATO-exercise “Steadfast Noon” in the German air base of Büchel. This exercise is a way of training for the deployment of nuclear weapons. All NATO-countries that have American nuclear weapons on their territory are participating: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland and Turkey. Some other countries are taking on a supportive role.

“The American nuclear weapons stored in Kleine Brogel are not merely relics from the Cold War”, says Roel Stynen from Vredesactie. “This NATO-exercise makes it clear that the deployment of these weapons is being actively prepared. If these nuclear weapons no longer have any military purpose – as we are told – then which scenarios are being practiced?”

Benoit Calvi from Action pour la Paix: “The majority of the population wants these nuclear weapons removed from our country. But our minister dodges any attempt to a debate. Apparently being a member of NATO is more important than having a functioning democracy.”

Preventing the preparation of war crimes

Small groups of activists have entered the base. They head towards the hangars for aeroplanes to stop the departure of combat planes, risking life and limb. Meanwhile a colourful blockade at the main gate stops entry of personnel to the base.

With this action the activists are trying to prevent the preparation of war crimes in a non-violent way. The use of nuclear weapons and the preparation for said use is in violation of international humanitarian law. The International Court has pointed out the fundamental rules of the law of war as applicable to nuclear weapons in its verdict of 8 July 1996.

First of all a distinction must be made between enemy combatants and civilians. It follows that weapons that are incapable of making such a distinction can never be used. Second, it is forbidden to inflict unnecessary suffering to enemy combatants. Therefore, weapons that inflict such suffering can not be used. The consequences of using nuclear weapons cannot be limited in time and space. The nuclear weapons stationed in Kleine Brogel can never be deployed without violating these fundamental rules of the law of war and without committing war crimes.

Belgian criminal law also penalizes these acts of preparation, e.g. in art. 136sexies of the penal code: “the keeping of an object destined for such a crime or which facilitates the perpetration of such a crime”. Participation in this exercise amounts to an active preparation for the use of nuclear weapons and therefore for crimes of war. It also makes it clear that the storage of nuclear weapons in Kleine Brogel is a part of this active preparation.

Belgian peace organizations file a complaint

On October 9 several Belgian peace organizations - Vredesactie, Pax Christi Vlaanderen, Vrede vzw, CNAPD, Action pour la Paix en MIR-IRG - already filed a complaint with the police against this exercise. Tom Sauer (professor of International Politics at the University of Antwerp) participated in filing a complaint: “These weapons are useless and dangerous. It is unacceptable that Belgian pilots are practicing for the deployment of weapons of mass destruction.”

So far neither the department of defence, nor the judicial authorities have indicated that the participation in the nuclear exercise will be suspended, which is why Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix are taking their responsibility to try and prevent these war crimes.



Images on:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vredesactie

http://www.flickr.com/photos/actionpourlapaix

A Nobel Peace Laureate Opposes Awarding the E.U.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2012 AWARD TO EUROPEAN UNION

FROM -  MAIREAD CORRIGAN MAGUIRE, NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE (1976)

Alfred Nobel was a visionary who believed in a demilitarized peaceful world.  In his Will he left his Nobel peace prize to those who would work for ‘fraternity among nations’,’abolition or reduction of standing armies’, and ‘holding and promotion of peace congresses’.

In Nobel’s will the award for Peace was to go to Champions of peace, those working to replace militarism with international order based on law and the abolition of national military forces.  Nobel’s vision and dream was to replace the power of militarism and war, with the power of law.   I believe the Awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, does not meet the criteria of  Alfred Nobel vision and spirit,  and his vision of a demilitarized peaceful world.

In many ways the European Union has  done much in the past sixty years for Peace and reconciliation amongst nations, but it has sadly done little for the demilitarization of Europe.  Whilst the EU imposes  severe Austerity measures upon many EU  countries it simultaneously supports the growing militarisation of Europe by its support for US/NATO (guilty of war crimes against Iraq, Afghanistan,  etc., )   It continues to support the policies of   USA Nuclear weapons, held in six EU States.  It supports  arms sales from European States (UK, Germany, etc.,) to coutries all around the world.   The EU instead of upholding human rights for countries such as Palestine, has rewarded  Israel by giving them special trading status and huge grants (EU tax payers money) for its Military Research and weapons thus enabling it to continue it illegal policies of  occupation and Apartheid  of Palestine.  

I cannot support this decision to give the peace prize to EU  and  appeal to the Swedish Foundation Authority to hold the Nobel Committee accountable for giving, yet again, a political award  instead of supporting People taking courageous, and often dangerous stands to help move the human family away from military international Relations to one based on peaceful resolution of conflict. 

I believe that the reform of the nobel peace Committee is now necessary. As is the case of all other nobel prize committees which are made-up of experts in their particular field, perhaps it is time too for the NPP Committee to be comprised of people experienced in the field of Peacemaking and International Law.

Mairead Corrigan Maguire – Nobel peace prize (1976)

Why Europe Did Not Deserve a Nobel Peace Prize

Yes, indeed, it is a little-acknowledged feat of miraculous life-saving power that Europe has not gone to war with itself -- other than that whole Yugoslavia thing -- since World War II.  It's as clear a demonstration as anything that people can choose to stop fighting.  It's a testament to the pre-war peace efforts that criminalized war, the post-war prosecutions of the brand new crime of making war, the reconstruction of the Marshall Plan, and ... and something else a little less noble, and much less Nobel-worthy.

Alfred Nobel's will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Fredrik Heffermehl has been leading a valuable effort to compel the Nobel committee to abide by the will. Now they've outdone themselves in their movement in the other direction. 

Europe is not a person.  It has not during the past year -- which is the requirement -- or even during the past several decades done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations.  Ask Libya.  Ask Syria.  Check with Afghanistan.  See what Iraq thinks.  Far from doing the best work to abolish or reduce standing armies, Europe has joined with the United States in developing an armed global force aggressively imposing its will on the world. 

There were good nominees and potential nominees available, even great ones

Now the Nobelites have almost guaranteed themselves a second-ever pro-war peace-prize acceptance speech.  If you don't recall who gave the first one, I'll tell you after the U.S. election when you might be better able to hear me.

What a disgrace that the Nobel peace prize needs alternative awards that don't go to warmongers.  What a further shame that even those don't always go to people who measure up to Nobel's will.

Was Nobel asking so much really when he asked that a prize go to whoever did the best work toward abolishing war? 

The West is so in love with itself that many will imagine this award a success.  Surely Europe not going to war with itself is more important that Europe going to war with the rest of the world!  Imagine how many white people might have died if Europe had kept its warmaking to itself.  By directing the threat of war outward and engaging in humanitarian wars and philanthropic wars, Europe has taken us beyond naive war abolition and into an era of powerful possibilities. Oh, and some dark people died.  But we're looking at the Big Picture.

Does this not frighten anyone?

Cari Italiani, aiutateci a combattere la tortura in Usa

English version below.

MicroMega

Con la condanna degli agenti della Cia coinvolti nell'illegale sequestro dell'imam Abu Omar il sistema giudiziario italiano ha dimostrato che davvero la legge può essere “uguale per tutti”. Ora, quasi diecimila cittadini americani chiedono all'Italia di andare oltre.

di David Swanson*, traduzione di Patrick Boylan

Quasi diecimila americani hanno già inviato i loro ringraziamenti all'Ambasciata italiana a Washington in seguito alle condanne definitive inflitte in Italia dalla Cassazione, lo scorso 19 settembre, ai 23 agenti della Cia rei di aver rapito l'ex imam di Milano il 17 febbraio, 2003, e di averlo mandato in Egitto per essere interrogato sotto tortura. Noi di RootsAction.org, movimento di cittadinanza tra i più attivi negli USA, abbiamo promosso una raccolta di ringraziamenti per dire al governo italiano che esiste un'America felice della sentenza della Cassazione e che ora vuole l'estradizione in Italia dei 23 condannati che altrimenti continuerebbero a vivere liberi e impuniti negli Stati Uniti.

New Book for Ages 6 to 10: Tube World

http://davidswanson.org/tubeworld

New Book for Ages 6 to 10: Tube World

Tube World is the first children's book by David Swanson, author of several nonfiction adult books. The illustrations for Tube World are by Shane Burke.

Parents: Have your kids been tired in the morning?  Have you found wet bathing suits in their beds?  Do they know things about far-away places that you didn’t teach them and they didn’t learn in school?  Do children visiting your town from halfway around the world always seem to be friends with your kids, and to only be around during certain hours of the day?  You won’t believe the explanation, but your kids might grin and wink at each other if you read it to them.

Kids: Did you know the center of the Earth was hollow?  Do you know the words that can take you there, if you’re under the covers in your swimming suit and prepared for the trip?  Can you imagine traveling anywhere in the world where there’s a swimming pool — and being home again in time for breakfast?  If you haven’t been to Tube World yet, this book will tell you the secrets you need to know.  And it will tell you about some children who discovered Tube World and used it to make the whole world a better place.

Buy the PDF, EPUB (iPad, Nook, etc.), or MOBI (Kindle) from Ebookit.

The paperback has been published in two versions, one with slightly better color, slightly better paper, and a dramatically higher price.

Buy the standard paperback from Amazon,

(If you order from Amazon it will ship right away even if Amazon says it won't ship for weeks; it is print-on-demand.)

Buy the premium paperback from Amazon,

Your local independent bookstore can order the book through Ingram.

Anyone can order the book in bulk at the lowest possible price right here.

Buy PDF, Audio, EPUB, or Kindle for $8 right here:

http://davidswanson.org/tubeworld

Advance Praise for Tube World:

“This book will make you laugh till water comes out your ears!”--Wesley

“This story is super flibba garibbidy schmibbadie libbidie awesome, mostly!”--Travis

“The best part is we saved 2,000 islands and pretty much the whole world in our swimming suits!”--Hallie

About Shane Burke:
Shane Burke lives in Denver Colorado and has been drawing and painting since he could hold a pencil. He took private art lessons when he was young and began winning awards and contests by the age of seven. His first big commission came at age nine when he created artwork for a billboard near his home town of Tracy California. His greatest influences came from his grandfather and elementary school teachers. He loved watching his grandfather paint landscapes and wanted to be just like him. Shane is a creative day dreamer and at complete peace when putting ink to paper.  You can see more of Shane's work at www.beezink.com

Naming the Dead - Afghanistan 11 years on - Sunday 7th

Inline images 1

    Stop the War Coalition 2 October 2012
    Email: office@stopwar.org.uk
    Tel: 020 7561 9311
    Web: http://stopwar.org.uk
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition
Twitter: https://twitter.com/STWuk


Naming the Dead - Afghanistan 11 years on - Sunday 7th
Syria & Iran - No to Western Intervention - Tuesday 9th

**************

This Sunday is the 11th anniversary of the Afghan war. We will be organising a number of local events, and in London a Naming of the Dead in Trafalgar Square at 1pm on Sunday 7th October.
 
The event will be attended by those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan, and among others Mitra Quayoom from Afghans for Peace, MPs Paul Flynn and Jeremy Corbyn, actor Miriam Margolyes, and musician Dave Randall.

We are asking our London supporters to mobilise widely for this. There is growing opposition to the disastrous war and we need to be on the streets. On the day we will also be handing in a letter to David Cameron from Military Families which will be launched as a national petition on the weekend.
 
Let us know you are coming by joining the Facebook event and please share with your contacts: on.fb.me/SjcRFQ

On Tuesday 9th October Tariq Ali will be the main speaker in a public meeting on Syria and Iran. The 'No the Western Intervention' meeting will discuss the situation 11-years on from the start of the war on terror. Please come along and support. 7pm University of London Union, Malet St, London WC1. You can join the Facebook event here: on.fb.me/NxElex
 
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Italians Protest Weapons Shipments to Israel

http://nessunm346xisraele.blogspot.it

On Saturday, October 13, 2012, a national demonstration will be held in Varese, Italy, where most of the country's military aircraft production is located, to denounce the weapons industry, in particular the sale of 30 M-346 trainer jets to Israel. The protest will take place at the Alenia Aermacchi headquarters, manufacturers of the M-346 and part of Finmeccanica Group, one of the world's top weapons producers.

Afghanistan: past a tipping point


   
    Stop the War Coalition
25 September 2012
    Newsletter No. 1255
    Email: office@stopwar.org.uk
    Tel: 0207 561 9311
    Web: http://stopwar.org.uk
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/STWuk

IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1) Afghanistan: past a tipping point
2) Anniversary conference - date for your diary
3) Syria and Iran
4) Extraditions given green light - no justice
5) Naming the dead - help us spread the word - 7th October 2012 at 1pm

**************
1) Afghanistan: past a tipping point

The occupation of Afghanistan has passed a tipping point. Monday's Daily Mirror reports a poll showing four out of five Britons think that the war has been a waste of lives and only one in ten think it has been worthwhile. 52% believe the troops should be brought back immediately and that David Cameron's timetable should be scrapped.

This is a majority of the population, according to polls, who want immediate withdrawal - a view barely represented in mainstream politics or media.

This reflects a growing realisation of what the war and occupation really mean: misery for ordinary Afghans, a growing death toll and a sense among soldiers that the war is lost. (SEE The Mirror: "Get our heroes out of pointless Afghan war now" http://bit.ly/OobT0f).

The attack on Camp Bastion two weeks ago revealed the weakness of  Nato forces and the underlying strength of the resistance. This attack and the continued green on blue deaths marked a turning point in opinion. We now need to increase our campaigning to end this war and occupation.

We are asking all our supporters to do everything possible to step up the pressure to bring the troops home by Christmas. There is a petition calling for troops out you can download at bit.ly/OScCH9

Members of Military Families have written an open letter to David Cameron calling for him to bring the troops out by Christmas which will be launched on the weekend of the anniversary of the invasion on the 7th of October.

There will be a Naming the Dead Ceremony in Trafalgar Square on the 7th October at 1pm organised with Afghans for Peace, which will be attended by Joan Humphries, whose grandson died in Afghanistan. Please share the facebook event widely. Other people attending include Paul Flynn MP, the actor Miriam Margolyes and the composer Howard Blake. Please spread the word as widely as possible.

We are reprinting our pamphlet on Afghanistan with a new introduction. Please order this and other materials from the office.

If you live in London, you will be very welcome at the London Activists' Meeting on 26 September 2012 to discuss actions. Full details at on.fb.me/RCet2E

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2) Anniversary conference - date for your diary

To mark the 10th anniversary of the major 2 million strong demo against the Iraq war, which took place on 15 February 2003 we are holding a conference in London which will discuss the aftermath of the war and the threats of war in the present and future. It will be in Friends House, London on Saturday 9th February 2013. A wide range of prominent speakers have already been booked. Brochures and more details to follow soon.

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3) Syria and Iran

The UN meets in New York this week with more threats of intervention in the Middle East, in Syria and Iran. Obama's speech to the UN general assembly is to say that the US will  'do what we must' to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and that a nuclear-armed Iran 'is not a challenge that can be contained'. (SEE "Obama's UN General Assembly speech condemns extremism" bbc.in/OZy0og).

There is no sign of the crisis abating as we enter the final stage of the US presidential election. Stop the War has a public meeting against intervention in Syria and Iran on Tuesday October 9th at 7pm in University of London Union, Malet St, London WC1. Speakers include Tariq Ali, Lindsey German and Sabah Jawad.

**************
4) Extraditions given green light - no justice

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights to uphold the extradition of five terrorism suspects is a blow to all those campaigning against extradition to the US of suspects of crimes committed in the UK. In particular it is a blow to the families and campaigns over Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan, who have fought long and hard against this outcome.

We send our support and best wishes to the families and support them in any further steps they take to reverse this decision, which will mean long term solitary confinement for all the extraditees. Incredibly the judges sitting in Strasbourg agreed a ruling that their human rights would not be violated by life sentences in a 'supermax' prison. Please watch for any further actions which we will put on the website.

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5) Naming the dead - help us spread the word - 7th October 2012 at 1pm

We have created a Facebook event for the Naming the Dead Ceremony at Trafalgar Square on Sunday 7 October. This will mark the 11th anniversary of the start of the conflict in Afganistan. Please help pulicise this event as widely as possible. If you are on Facebook, share the event details with your contacts: on.fb.me/SjcRFQ

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Italy court affirms convictions of 23 Americans in CIA case

ROME — The Associated Press

Italy's highest criminal court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of 23 Americans in the kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect as part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program.

The ruling marks the final appeal in the first trial anywhere in the world involving the CIA's practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries where torture is permitted.

The 23 Americans all were convicted in absentia following a three-and-a-half-year trial, and have never been in Italian custody. They risk arrest if they travel to Europe and one of their court-appointed lawyers suggested that the final verdict would open the way for the Italian government to seek their extradition.

`'It went badly. It went very badly,” lawyer Alessia Sorgato said. `'Now they will ask for extradition.”

The Americans and two Italians were convicted last year of involvement in the kidnapping of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 — the first convictions anywhere in the world against people involved in the CIA's practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries where torture was permitted. The cleric was transferred to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany before being moved to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He has since been released.

Those convicted include the former Milan CIA station chief, Robert Seldon Lady, whose original seven-year sentence was raised to nine years on appeal. The other 22 Americans, all but one identified by prosecutors as CIA agents, face seven-year terms.

Previous Italian governments had declined to act on prosecutors' request to extradite the American suspects, most of whom had court-appointed lawyers the defendants never met. While some of the defendants in the case were known figures attached to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Milan, many of those named in the trial are believed to have been aliases, impeding any formal extradition.

Among those whose sentence was upheld was Air Force Col. Joseph Romano, who was head of security at the Aviano Air Force base where the Egyptian cleric was driven from Milan before being taken by plane to Germany and eventually Egypt.

Romano's lawyer, Cesare Bulgheroni, said he would appeal the verdict to the EU human rights court in Strasbourg on the basis that Romano was never formally notified of the charges against him, and that lower courts had rejected some witnesses. Romano was one of only two Americans who received permission to hire his own lawyer during the original trial.

The court also ordered new appeals trials for five Italian intelligence agents, including the former head of military intelligence, Nicolo Pollari. They had been acquitted by lower courts because of state secrets.

During the original trial, three other Americans were acquitted: the then-Rome CIA station chief Jeffrey Castelli and two other diplomats formerly assigned to the Rome Embassy. Prosecutors appealed the acquittal, as they can in Italy. The appeal is still pending in Milan.

Afghanistan: A weekend of carnage, an occupation in turmoil


   
    Stop the War Coalition
 17 September 2012
    Newsletter No. 1254
    Email: office@stopwar.org.uk
    Tel: 0207 561 9311
    Web: http://stopwar.org.uk
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/STWuk

IN THIS NEWSLETTER:

1) Afghanistan: A weekend of carnage, an occupation in turmoil
2) The anti-Islam video and blowback for western intervention

3) Going to university? Help build the movement in the colleges
4) The Media and War - Challenging the Consensus
5) Tenth anniversary of the largest demonstration in UK history

6) London activists meeting - September 26th

**************
1) Afghanistan: A weekend of carnage, an occupation in turmoil

A few days ago we were being told by UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond that progress was so significant in Afghanistan that the Ministry of Defence was accelerating the withdrawal of British troops. This weekend exposed the real situation. Nine NATO soldiers have been killed, including two British soldiers and two others at the high security Camp Bastion. The attackers at Bastion,  NATO's most secure encampment, caused massive damage including destroying six vital aircraft. The attack will be a terrible blow to the morale of the occupiers. If Camp Bastion is vulnerable, NATO is at risk everywhere. (SEE: Weekend of Carnage in Afghanistan by Lindsey German http://bit.ly/NxLCuP).

Sunday 7 October is the anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Stop the War is co-organising a Naming of the Dead ceremony with Afghans for Peace in Trafalgar Square. It will coincide with protests in the US and Canada and with the march for peace against drones being organised in Waziristan.

**************
2) The anti-Islam video and blowback for western intervention 

The outrage across the Muslim world at the 'Innocent Muslims' video insulting the prophet Mohammed should surprise no-one.

The video itself is a hateful act of provocation, but the worldwide response also reveals boiling resentment at the atrocities committed against Muslims by the west in country after country. Events in Libya put the lie to the Western narrative of a stable, democratic regime coming out of the Western intervention there. (SEE Killing of US ambassador in Libya is yet more blowback for western intervention: http://bit.ly/NxMU96)

But as Tony Blair's appalling interview on Radio 4's Today programme this morning showed, western leaders continue to believe in their right to intervene around the world in the name of 'progress'. At present there is a constant threat of an increased intervention in Syria, while Israel continues to push for an attack on Iran. (SEE Why is the deluded, self-justifying war criminal Tony Blair given airtime by the media? http://bit.ly/Rg1lRi)

Stop the War has organised an autumn campaign of public meetings around the country to protest against the drift towards more war in the Middle East. Check the campaign page for details of meetings near you: http://bit.ly/TPweKh.

NATIONAL RALLY IN LONDON
Syria and Iran: No to Western Intervention
Tuesday 9 October, 7pm,
The Venue, University of London Union,
London WC1 E7HY
Speakers include: Tariq Ali, Lindsey German and Sabah Jawad
Please share the Facebook event for this rally with your online contacts: http://on.fb.me/NxNBz6

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3) Going to University?  Help build the movement in the colleges

This September and October, Stop the War is organising more stalls at university freshers' fairs than for many years. For details see http://bit.ly/NxNWSp.

A number of unis have contacted us asking for help in setting up Stop the War societies. If you would like to get involved, please email office@stopwar.org.uk

**************
4) The Media and War - Challenging the Consensus

Day conference at Goldsmith's College - November 17
Stop the war is co-organising this event with the Centre for Global Media and Democracy at Goldsmiths University
Speakers include John Pilger, Peter Oborne, Seumas Milne, Michelle Stanistreet, David Miller, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chris Nineham and Rizwan Sabir. More details and publicity and how to reserve a place will be on the Stop the War website soon.

**************
5) Tenth anniversary of the largest demonstration in UK history

Stop the War is organising a conference to mark the tenth anniversary of the biggest global demonstrations in history that took place on the eve of the Iraq War on 15 February 2003. The conference will be held at Friend's Meeting House in London on Saturday 9 February 2013. Leading speakers from the movement in Britain will join with international guests to discuss the impact of the 'war on terror' and the priorities for the campaign against further wars.

**************
 
6) London activists meeting - September 26th

Westminster Quaker Meeting House at 7pm.
52 St Martins Lane
London WC2N 4EA
Two minutes from Leicester Square. Map bit.ly/TNc1Wu

This open meeting is to discuss preparations for our upcoming national events and building the campaign to stop a new war in the Middle East. All welcome. Facebook event http://on.fb.me/RCet2E

European Parliament criticises failure to investigate CIA torture and renditions, calls for ‘transparent’ inquiry in UK

Today the European Parliament adopted by an overwhelming majority a new resolution condemning the role of European states in the CIA's secret detention and torture programme.
 
The Parliament criticises member states for failing to fulfil their obligation to investigate serious human rights violations connected with the CIA programme, pointing out that previous investigations have been hampered by lack of transparency, prevalence of political interests, restriction of victims' right to effective participation, and lack of rigorous investigative techniques.
 
In the wake of the abandonment of the UK’s Gibson Inquiry into the mistreatment of detainees in the ‘War on Terror’, the report “calls on the UK to conduct [a future] inquiry with due transparency, allowing the effective participation of victims and civil society.”
 
The Parliament calls on Romania and Lithuania, in particular, to reopen investigations in the light of new evidence produced by Reprieve. In Poland, where a prosecutorial investigation is still ongoing after several years, the Parliament has deplored the lack of official communication on the scope, conduct and state of play of the investigation.
 
Rapporteur Hélène Flautre MEP noted that until now, progress had been made difficult by a "miasma of secrecy, footdragging and obfuscation" in countries involved in the programme, but said she hoped that the Parliament would be able to assist in inspiring action.
 
Reprieve investigator Crofton Black said: “This comprehensive statement shows that Europe – including the UK – has failed to come to terms with its key role in the CIA’s programme of torture and rendition.  Countries including Britain, Romania and Lithuania have failed to carry out the necessary inquiries into the part they played in some of the worst human rights abuses of the war on terror.”
 
ENDS
 
Notes to editors
 
1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 427 1082 / donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk
 
2. More information on the new evidence produced by Reprieve on Romania’s and Lithuania’s involvement in the CIA programme can be found on Reprieve’s website:
http://reprieve.org.uk/press/2012_09_10_new_rendition_data_european_parliament


http://reprieve.org.uk/articles/CSCRomania
 
3. Regarding the UK Government’s Detainee Inquiry, initially established under Sir Peter Gibson before being halted in early 2012 in the face of criticisms over its lack of power and independence, the European Parliament today “Notes the criminal investigation launched in the UK on renditions to Libya, and welcomes the decision to continue the wider inquiry into the UK’s responsibility in the CIA programme once the investigation has been concluded; calls on the UK to conduct this inquiry with due transparency, allowing the effective participation of victims and civil society.”

4. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives.  Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’ Follow Reprieve on twitter: @ReprieveUK; if you were forwarded this release, sign up to join our press mailing list.

Reprieve logoReprieve
PO Box 52742

London EC4P 4WS
Tel: 020 7353 4640
Fax: 020 7353 4641
Website: www.reprieve.org.uk
Twitter: @ReprieveUK

Reprieve is a charitable company limited by guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 6YH; Chair: Ken Macdonald QC; Patrons: Alan Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon Roddick, Richard Rogers, Ruth Rogers, Jon Snow, Marina Warner, Vivienne Westwood

The Method to the Post 9/11 Madness

To your average educated careful consumer of U.S. news media, our militarism looks like ad hoc reactionary responses. A crisis flairs up here. We "intervene" there. An irrational foreign dictator threatens the peace over yonder. We get into wars because we have no choice, and then continue them because ending them would be somehow even worse than continuing them.

Stop the spread of war in the Middle East


NEWSLETTER 21 August 2012
    Email: office@stopwar.org.uk
    Tel: 0207 561 9311
    www.stopwar.org.uk
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition


    Twitter: https://twitter.com/STWuk

In this Newsletter:
1) Stop the spread of war in the Middle East
2)
London rally: Stop Western intervention in Syria, Don't attack Iran
3) Afghan occupation at crisis point
4) Calling all anti-war students
5) How to resolve the Julian Assange issue by Michael Moore and Oliver Stone
______________________________

_______________

1) Stop the spread of war in the Middle East

The threat of a new level of Western intervention in Syria grew yesterday when Barack Obama claimed the threat of any use of chemical weapons Syria was "a red line for us", adding that even movement of these kind of weapons "would change my calculations significantly."(see http://bit.ly/QVRLgn)

Hillary Clinton announced in Istanbul that "very intensive operational planning"for military action in Syria would take place involving Turkish and US military and intelligence officials.  She went on to say, "we have been closely co-ordinating over the course of this conflict, but now we need to get into the real details." (See Chris Nineham's article: "How the US and its allies are inching towards more direct intervention in Syria": http://bit.ly/Rdcctl)

Meanwhile, Israel is using the Syrian conflict to raise the stakes over Iran. Last week, the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak have set a deadline of 25 September for Obama to clearly state that the US will take military action. (See http://bit.ly/SgL89F)

Stop the War is calling on all its groups and supporters to campaign against further war in the Middle East. Public meetings and other events are being organised around the country in September and October. (see http://bit.ly/qrKPEM)

A fact sheet on the Syrian situation is available on the Stop the War website. (see http://bit.ly/NlVuDp)

Please get involved in our campaign by contacting us in the office by phone or e-mail or your local group.

 

_____________________________________________

2) London rally: Stop Western intervention in Syria, Don't attack Iran

There will be a public rally in London on 9 October with Tariq Ali, Lindsey German and Sabah Jawad. The Venue, University of London Union, Malet St, London WC1E 7HY(see http://bit.ly/RyUaEs)

 

_____________________________________________

3) Afghan occupation at crisis point

Twenty US troops and one aid worker have been killed in the past two weeks, half of them shot by rogue Afghan soldiers or policemen. The frequency of green-on-blue attacks represents a crisis for the occupation, creating confusion and demoralisation in the NATO operation. US personnel have been instructed to be armed at all times, even on base. US Army general Martin Dempsey's plane was damaged by a rocket attack during a visit to Afghanistan to meet with officials to discuss a change of policy. (see http://bbc.in/SgbZ8P)

Read Lindsey German's article "What Barack Obama doesn't want us to know about his war in Afghanistan": (http://bit.ly/NBSzaQ)

_____________________________________________

4) Calling all anti-war students

With the threat of a new war in the Middle East clearly growing, we'd like to encourage all our student supporters to get involved with our campaigns over the coming weeks and months. Students have always been at the heart of our campaigns against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Stop the War is holding campaign stalls at various university freshers fairs in September and October, and will be putting on other events in colleges up and down the country. We're looking for volunteers to help out. For more information go to our student action page: http://bit.ly/Nhk1cr

If you are interested in setting up a Stop the War group in your university, contact the Stop the War national office for help and advice:
Go to our student action page for more information, or contact us directly if you want to help set up a Stop the War group at your university. (see http://bit.ly/Nhk1cr)

_____________________________________________

5) How to resolve the Julian Assange issue by Michael Moore and Oliver Stone

Writing in the New York Times, Oscar-winning filmmakers Michael Moore and Oliver Stone welcome Ecuador's decision to give Julian Assange asylum and describe their solution to the issues surrounding his case. Read the article here:  http://bit.ly/MJ5lqX

_____________________________________________

Sardinia: The Future of Jeju Island to Be Avoided

At the recent national convention of Veterans For Peace, Helen Jaccard and Bruce Gagnon conducted a workshop on Sardinia and Jeju Island.  Jaccard described what the U.S. military and NATO have done to the Italian island of Sardinia.  Here is the powerpoint.  And here is the information in an article.  Gagnon described what the U.S. and South Korean militaries want to do to Jeju Island, South Korea, but have only just begun.  This environmental and human tragedy can still be prevented.  Please take action here.

Wikileaks Responds to UK Threat to Ecuadorean Embassy

Thursday 16th August, 3:00am UTC

In a communication this morning to the government of Ecuador, the UK
threatened to forcefully enter the Ecuadorian embassy in London and arrest
Julian Assange.

The UK claims the power to do so under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises
Act 1987.

This claim is without basis.

By midnight, two hours prior to the time of this announcement, the embassy had
been surrounded by police, in a menacing show of force.

Any transgression against the sanctity of the embassy is a unilateral and
shameful act, and a violation of the Vienna Convention, which protects
embassies worldwide.

This threat is designed to preempt Ecuador’s imminent decision on whether it
will grant Julian Assange political asylum, and to bully Ecuador into a
decision that is agreeable to the United Kingdom and its allies.

The Greek Grassroots Challenge to the Politics of Austerity

By Thomas Harrison and Joanne Landy
 Co-Directors of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (New York)

The West stokes more war in the Middle East



BULLETIN 07 August 2012
    Email: office@stopwar.org.uk
    Tel: 0207 561 9311
    www.stopwar.org.uk
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/STWuk

In this Newsletter:
1) The West stokes more war in the Middle East
2)
Don't Iraq Iran
3)
Become a Friend of Stop the War and get a signed copy of David Gentleman's new book
_____________________________________________


1) The West stokes more war in the Middle East

The situation in the Middle East is becoming more and more dangerous. As the violent siege of Aleppo continues, the risk of further western intervention is growing.The West is already intervening in the Syrian conflict by arming the opposition through its proxies Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. It was revealed last week that earlier in the year President Obama authorised the CIA to support the opposition in trying to topple the Assad regime. The CIA are actively vetting which groups receive arms. (see http://bit.ly/NVt8SA)

The CIA is also working closely with the opposition leadership and campaigning
internationally for regime change in Syria. Since the early stages of the uprising, the Turkish-based Syrian National Council (SNC), which is being treated by western powers as the main opposition coalition, has called for foreign intervention. The SNC leadership has close links to the US policy elite that go back several years. For the last six months representatives of various Syrian opposition groups have been meeting in Germany to plan what a post-Assad government would look like. (see  http://bit.ly/MpbQMO)

Outside intervention, particularly that of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is inflaming the conflict and increasing sectarian tensions. Western intervention -- supposedly to support 'democracy' and 'freedom' -- brought nothing but blood and destruction to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. There is no reason to think it would be any different in Syria. It would deny the Syrian people the ability to shape their future, and risks turning the civil war into a disastrous regional war, drawing in Iraq, Lebanon, Iran and Turkey.


Pressure is mounting for more intervention by the west, and, with Hilary Clinton scheduled to visit Turkey for talks with the Syrian opposition this weekend, the chances of escalation are high.

75 Years Later, the Lessons of Guernica

By Amy Goodman

Seventy-five years ago, the Spanish town of Guernica was bombed into rubble. The brutal act propelled one of the world’s greatest artists into a three-week painting frenzy. Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” starkly depicts the horrors of war, etched into the faces of the people and the animals on the 20-by-30-foot canvas. It would not prove to be the worst attack during the Spanish Civil War, but it became the most famous, through the power of art. The impact of the thousands of bombs dropped on Guernica, of the aircraft machine guns strafing civilians trying to flee the inferno, is still felt to this day—by the elderly survivors, who will eagerly share their vivid memories, as well as by Guernica’s youth, who are struggling to forge a future for their town out of its painful history.

READ THE REST.

When reality outstripped satire at the Tony Blair mad-hatters banquet

The Iraq war will follow Blair wherever he goes. He lied, bullied, manoeuvred and deceived in order to get his way. But some now say that's in the long past and we should "get over it".


By Lindsey German
Stop the War Coalition
12 July 2012


Tony Blair joins the protest outside his comeback banquet at Arsenal football stadium. Picture by Matthew Aslett. See more pictures here...

The Blairs and the Milibands in their finery for the Arsenal banquet.

LITTLE did I think while watching the BBC’s TwentyTwelve about the London Olympics on Tuesday night that just 24 hours later reality would outstrip satire. Yet Ed Miliband’s announcement that his new policy review adviser is to be none other than Tony Blair, giving advice on the Olympic legacy, does just that.

Even at this late stage, Blair could perhaps secure a place in the comedy about the Olympics preparations, giving advice on security to the harassed character played by Hugh Bonneville, who in this week's episode was shot in the leg with a starting pistol.

Blair’s new position was announced at a Labour Party jamboree at the Arsenal Emirates stadium last night. The great and the good paid up to £500 a ticket to hear the good news.

The Emirates was an apt venue, and one in which Blair will surely have felt at home, given his forays into war in the Middle East, backed all the while by the Gulf States, who are a by word for reaction in the region.

I was one of those demonstrating outside the giant stadium to remind the guests that their main speaker was a war criminal. The organiser of the event, his henchman Alistair Campbell, helped to ‘sex up’ the September 2002 dossier that dishonestly claimed that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could hit British interests ‘in 45 minutes.’

Campbell repeatedly used his journalistic talents to spin his and Blair’s way to war, regardless of the consequences.

Whoever told Miliband that rehabilitating Blair was a good idea has obviously forgotten the deep and lasting hatred and contempt that millions of people in Britain feel for him.

Give Tony Blair the boot: Protest 11 July

Stop the War Coalition
Bulletin 10 July 2012

    Email: office@stopwar.org.uk
    Tel: 0207 561 9311
    www.stopwar.org.uk
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/STWuk

The attempt to rehabilitate Tony Blair’s public image continues unabated. After editing the Evening Standard he will now be appearing on Wednesday 11 July alongside Ed Milliband at a dinner to promote British sport at the Arsenal Emirates Football Stadium. Help give him the welcome he deserves: War Criminals are not welcome here... or anywhere except at the International Criminal Court facing charges for war crimes. Please help spread the word in every way you can. And sign the TONY BLAIR NOT WELCOME HERE e-petition: http://bit.ly/MXrS33

War Criminals Not Welcome Here
Protest Wednesday 11 July 5.30pm
Main Entrance: Arsenal Emirates Stadium
London N5 1BU

Nearest tube Holloway, Arsenal or Finsbury Park.
How to get there: http://bit.ly/MXjWyK
Facebook event: http://on.fb.me/MXk0yB
For details and updates: http://bit.ly/MXnrFE

* E-PETITION: Make sure you sign the TONY BLAIR NOT WELCOME HERE e-petition:
http://bit.ly/MXrS33
* SEE Lindsey German: Why war criminal Tony Blair's comeback plan must be stopped in its tracks:
http://bit.ly/Ng4RqT
* SEE: Nowhere safe for Tony Blair as yet another attempt to arrest him for war crimes:
http://bit.ly/LoamA8

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