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Sandy Davies tells me, regarding the WWI Christmas truce on Christmas Day:
"When I was growing up, my godmother had a German helmet that was given to her father by a German officer after a soccer match in no-man's land that day. I also knew a South African former soldier who was on the front line in the desert near Cairo in 1942. He and his buddies became good friends with the Germans in the line across from them and used to pick up booze, hashish and other goodies for them whenever they went into Cairo. There was a sort of truce for a few months at that point, so they weren't shooting at each other. When a British Spitfire flew over and did start shooting at the Germans, Tony claimed it was the South Africans who shot it down!"
Does anybody know about this or have similar stories?
19 December 2011 - Almost two-thirds of countries asked by human rights groups about their involvement in extraordinary rendition flights have failed to comply with freedom of information requests – with European nations in particular accused of withholding evidence of the controversial CIA programme.
I wrote at the time that the invasion of Iraq would be worse than a crime: it would be the Mother of All Blunders. I told Tony Blair – outside the men's lavatory in the library corridor of the House of Commons, to be precise – that the fall of Baghdad would be not the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. And that the Iraqis would fight them, with their teeth if necessary, until they had driven them from their land. I told Blair that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq, but that if he and Bush were to invade there would be thousands of them.
But two things, as George Bush would put it, I "mis-underestimated". First, that when the tower of lies on which the case for the Iraq war had been constructed was exposed, the credibility of the political systems of the two main liars would collapse under the weight. And second, that the example of the Iraqi resistance would trigger seismic changes in the Arabian landscape from Marrakesh to Bahrain.
Almost nobody in Britain or America any longer believes a word their politicians say. This profound change is not wholly the result of the Iraq war, but it moved into top gear following the war and the militarised mendacity that paved the way to it. In America this malaise has fuelled both the Tea Party phenomenon and the Occupy movement alike, even if the word Iraq seldom crosses their lips. And from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf the plates are moving still ...
WASHINGTON (AP) — In northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighborhood minutes from the heart of the capital city, is a secret the Romanian government has long tried to protect.
For years, the CIA used a government building — codenamed "Bright Light" — as a makeshift prison for its most valuable detainees. There it held al-Qaida operatives Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and others in a basement prison before they were ultimately transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006, according to former U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the location and inner workings of the prison.
The existence of a CIA prison in Romania has been widely reported, but its location has never been made public. The Associated Press and German public television ARD located the former prison and learned details of the facility where harsh interrogation tactics were used. ARD's program on the CIA prison is set to air Thursday.
»Occupy« Declaration against War – Demand to stop preparations for war against Iran and Syria!
- by Occupy Berlin
Starting from Tunisia and Egypt, spreading to Spain, Greece and other European countries and finally to the USA in 2011 protest movements developed that work towards a profound political, social and economic change in the system.
We are globally networked people who feel inspired by these international events and who are motivated to join together in order to be politically active.
Our main demands are »real democracy« – that is real participation – and thus social justice and peace on Earth!
This includes the disbandment of international operating private banks, the disempowerment of the multinational corporations and the military industrial complex, because these three factors largely influence and determine all political decisions in the existing system.
Once again the future of Afghanistan is on the agenda. Ten years ago in Bonn, the issue was the deployment of NATO troops and the toppling of the Taliban. This time around, the summit on Monday is set to discuss the withdrawal of international forces by the end of 2014.
For German peace activists this is not fast enough. They are calling for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. To underscore their demand protesters took to the streets of the former West German capital on Saturday under the motto, "They talk peace, but wage war."
The gathering attracted peace groups, anti-globalization organizations, like Attac, the German Green Party and Left Party, and the German trade union, Verdi.
Doubts about the will to withdraw
Malalai Joya said she doubts the willingness to withdraw Demonstrators expressed their doubts whether the goal of the Afghanistan conference was really the end of the foreign troop deployment.
But even Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked that some troops remain, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as recently as last Friday that German troops may stay beyond the planned exit date to help train local Afghan forces.
At the demonstration rally in downtown Bonn, Afghan politician Malalai Joya, however, described as a "lie" the announcement that NATO troops would leave the country by the end of 2014.
Joya called for the immediate withdrawal of international forces, saying the foreign armies were, among other things, working with warlords. Joya said the presence of foreign troops was actually making the democratization process more difficult.
In Joya's view, the international community should, instead, support the democratic forces in Afghanistan. "Please, strengthen my people by promoting education," she said in her speech. "Education is the key to strengthening emancipation," she added. Joya and other activists are hoping for a kind of "Arab Spring" in Afghanistan.
On December 5th more than 1000 delegates from 90 countries, including 65 foreign ministers, are expected in Bonn, Germany for the "Bonn II" or Petersberg II Conference to plan the future of Afghanistan after troop withdrawal in 2014. Yet parallel to Bonn II, the US is negotiating a US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement that will allow US troops, special forces units, and air power to remain in Afghanistan until 2024 and joint military bases beyond 2024 -- even though all of Afghanistan's neighboring countries are opposed to a long-term US military presence in the region. NATO members such as Germany have announced that they will also keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
We, the 99% on both sides of the Atlantic, also suffer from this seemingly endless war and occupation. 63% of the US people and more than 70% in Germany oppose the war in Afghanistan. In a time of economic hardship, the military costs of NATO’s Afghanistan intervention have already passed $1 trillion, with the US spending $525 billion, the EU $400 billion, and other ISAF partners $100 billion. Meanwhile, 14 million are unemployed in the US, yet the government has no adequarte jobs plan; instead, teachers are laid off, schools and libraries are closed, our infrastructure is crumbling, and nothing is done about looming environmental disaster,
The U.S. Senate bowed to popular sentiment and called for accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on November 30, passing the Merkely amendment to the 2012 Defense Authorization bill which requires the President to present a new withdrawal plan to Congress within 90 days.
Here in the US, UFPJ will join with the Network for a NATO-Free World: Global Peace and Justice in sponsoring a counter-summit conference in Chicago, May 18-19, 2012, when both NATO and the G8 will be meeting in Chicago. The counter-summit will call for complete withdrawal of all US and NATO troops from Afghanistan among other demands: http://www.inesglobal.com/NATO-call.phtml
The Bonn demonstrations are called by more than 170 German organizations and numerous individuals: http://www.afghanistanprotest.de/aufruf/liste-der-unterzeichnungen.html. They will be joined by Malalai Joya of Afghanistan, author Tariq Ali and MP Jeremy Corbyn of the UK, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mairead Maguire of Ireland, and Alyn Ware of New Zealand. Joseph Gerson of the American Friends Service Committee, a founding member of UFPJ, will also address the Bonn rally.
We stand in solidarity with those protesting in Bonn this weekend and join with them to demand an immediate ceasefire, an end to the war in Afghanistan, withdrawal of all US-NATO troops and military facilities, and devotion of significant resources to help rebuild Afghanistan for the benefit of the Afghan people.
- UFPJ Afghanistan Working Group, December 2, 2011
United for Peace & Justice
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1227 2 December 2011 Email email@example.com Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) STOP THE BUILD UP TO WAR ON IRAN 2) NEARLY 400 DEAD... BRING THE TROOPS HOME FROM AFGHANISTAN 3) A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF STOP THE WAR TEN YEARS ON 4) NO TO INTERVENTION IN SYRIA *********** 1) STOP THE BUILD UP TO WAR ON IRAN The western powers seem to be doing everything possible to increase tension with Iran. Yesterday EU ministers imposed new sanctions on top of those agreed
BERLIN—Germany has approved the sale of another Dolphin-type military submarine to Israel and will pay for about a third of its cost, a senior German official said Wednesday.
Dolphin-class submarines are capable of carrying nuclear-tipped missiles, even though there is no evidence that Israel has armed them with such weapons.
Germany's parliament has set aside a maximum euro135 million ($180 million) in next year's budget to pay for its share of the submarine's cost, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Israel already has three Dolphin submarines from Germany -- one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin, and two more are currently under construction.
The official said the latest submarine, which brings the total to six, results from a 2005 agreement between the two nations that included an option for another subsidized sub. That option was now activated at Israel's request.
The contract for the submarine will be between the German and Israeli Defense Ministry and the manufacturer, with Germany starting to pay out its share of the cost next year, he said.
Israel is widely believed to possess a nuclear arsenal. It neither confirms nor denies foreign reports that it has nuclear arms.
By Linn Washington Jr.
London -- Standing on a picket line in front of her work place at a world renowned heart-lung hospital in London wasn’t Jeanette Anderson’s first choice for how to spend her day.
STOP THE WAR: GRAPHIC HISTORY is the story of Britain's biggest ever mass movement. The remarkable legacy of Stop The War is here in pictures for the first time: the unifying of countless individual tales of courage, passion, anger and creativity into a protest movement of true democracy. STOP THE WAR: GRAPHIC HISTORY is a limited edition, full colour publication. It is lavishly produced in A4 size, with 208 pages and includes over 300 images recording the history of Stop the War Coalition, with contributions from many leading artists, such as Ralph Steadman, Banksy and Steve Bell. The book also includes a graphical timeline, illustrating in chronological order all the key events over the past ten years. For more details go to: http://bit.ly/rGtUy1 To see a selection of pages from the book, go to: http://bit.ly/urIyzE STOP THE WAR: GRAPHIC HISTORY costs £20 and is being offered with free postage to all our members and supporters. It is a strictly limited edition, so buying early is advisable. TO BUY: * Buy online: http://bit.ly/rGtUy1 * Credit/debit card: Phone 020 7801 2768 ********************************* STOP THE WAR: GRAPHIC HISTORY BOOK LAUNCH FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER 6.30–8.00PM At Housmans Bookshop 5 Caledonian Road London N1 9DX With Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chair of Stop the War Lindsey German, Convenor of Stop the War and Kate Hudson,General Secretary of CND If you would like to come to the book launch, please RSVP to: Francis Boutle Publishers: firstname.lastname@example.org
An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.
As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:
Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt. In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.
Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution. But only after much pain.
Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR)
Brussels/London – November 18, 2011
The Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) prepares to leave for Gaza with its largest international delegation yet. Delegates include renowned politicians from countries in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe; as well as, two outspoken Members of European Parliament – Ms. Marisa Matias and Mr. Paul Murphy.
On 4 November 2011, Mr. Paul Murphy was detained onboard the Irish boat, MV Saorise, by Israeli authorities in international waters. Along with other activists, he himself was detained for a week for having tried to help break the Gaza blockade.
Retired United States Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright will accompany the delegation. She visited Gaza three times in 2009 and was on the 2010 and 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotillas.
Gerhard Frey has created a petition to the German parliament, the Bundestag, to add an article to the German constitution identical to Article 5 of the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador which reads:
"Article 5. Ecuador is a territory of peace. The establishment of foreign military bases or foreign facilities for military purposes shall not be allowed. It is forbidden to transfer national military bases to foreign armed or security forces."
By MARK LANDLER
IT may seem strange in an era of cyberwarfare and drone attacks, but the newest front in the rivalry between the United States and China is a tropical sea, where the drive to tap rich offshore oil and gas reserves has set off a conflict akin to the gunboat diplomacy of the 19th century.
The Obama administration first waded into the treacherous waters of the South China Sea last year when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared, at a tense meeting of Asian countries in Hanoi, that the United States would join Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries in resisting Beijing’s efforts to dominate the sea. China, predictably, was enraged by what it viewed as American meddling.
For all its echoes of the 1800s, not to mention the cold war, the showdown in the South China Sea augurs a new type of maritime conflict — one that is playing out from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arctic Ocean, where fuel-hungry economic powers, newly accessible undersea energy riches and even changes in the earth’s climate are conspiring to create a 21st-century contest for the seas.
The international public has so far been oblivious to the so-called “KCK operations” carried out in Turkey by Prime Minister Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party for the past two years. Under the guise of “fighting terrorism,” the Erdogan government has been using the judiciary, the police, and the media to penalize all civic activism in support of rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey. The “KCK operations” in particular have been deployed to spread fear amongst activists, to silence public dissent, and to normalize the arbitrary arrest of citizens. Ironically, the Erdogan government’s suppression of dissent and of democratic politics has visibly intensified at a time when “Turkish democracy” is being hailed as a model for the Arab world.
Since 2009, as many as 7748 people have been taken under custody on the alleged grounds that they are associated with the KCK—an organization claimed to be the urban branch of the armed organization known as the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party)—while 3895 people have been arrested and imprisoned without even the prospect of a trial in the foreseeable future. Elected mayors, public intellectuals, members of civic associations, journalists, university students, researchers, academics, and activists have all been undergoing this heavy-handed treatment.
One of the latest victims of the Erdogan government’s assault on public dissent is Professor Busra Ersanli of Marmara University, a highly respected academic. Her only apparent “crime” is to have played an active role within BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), which has been struggling for the rights of Kurdish citizens in Turkey. The members of this party have been systematically targeted by counterterrorism units’ arbitrary arrests, even as the party currently holds seats in the parliament. Professor Ersanli was to attend a conference on “Controversial Issues in the History of the Turkish Republic” at Istanbul Bilgi University on 29 October 2011, but she was taken under custody on 28 October. On the same day, Ragıp Zarakolu—a founding member of the Human Rights Association and the former chair of the “Writers in Prison Committee” of the International PEN organization in Turkey—was also taken under custody within the framework of the “KCK operations.”
Earlier in October 2011, Ayse Berktay (Hacimirzaoglu)—a renowned translator, researcher, and global peace and justice activist—was taken by the police from her home in Istanbul five o’clock in the morning and subsequently arrested. She still remains imprisoned for the foreseeable future. Professor Busra Ersanli, Ragip Zarakolu, and Ayse Berktay are among thousands of people who have been imprisoned and silenced in the last two years.
Under such political conditions that are only getting worse, it has become an urgent task to unmask the arbitrary and authoritarian character of the Turkish government's handling of the Kurdish issue. We are calling on friends abroad to spread the news and to build international pressure, which has become especially crucial and urgent at this time when any citizen of Turkey could be targeted by the Erdogan government, the judiciary, and the police for engaging in political acts of solidarity with those detained under the “KCK operations.”
Peace can never be achieved under the current conditions of public fear, paranoia, and authoritarian politics. Please sign the petition below to put pressure on the Turkish government to immediately release all those who have been taken under custody as part of the “KCK operations” and to demand that Prime Minister Erdogan’s government make a sincere commitment to ending its suppression of civic efforts in support of rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey.
By William Fisher, The Public Record
Turns out that after all the investigations in a raft of countries, a virtual treasure trove of never-seen-before documents has reached the major European legal charity, Reprieve.
As a result, Reprieve is calling on Lithuanian authorities to re-open their investigation into CIA renditions and secret prisons on their own soil, and to focus on a newly-discovered web of new documents exposing well-disguised CIA flights through Europe that demonstrate the European Union’s complicity in the CIA’s secret prisons program.
Reprieve charges that “data focusing on Lithuania, but linked to suspected CIA activity in a raft of other countries in Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa, has been identified by Reprieve investigators and passed to the Lithuanian prosecutor.”
In a letter to Lithuania’s Deputy Prosecutor General, Darius Raulušaitis, Reprieve’s Director, Clive Stafford Smith said: “Compelling new information that has now come to light about the landings of CIA-connected planes in Lithuania makes a rigorous and wide-ranging investigation all the more urgent. It is now clear that previous efforts to chart the extent of the CIA’s rendition operations in Europe revealed ONLY the tip of the iceberg.”
Reprieve claims that the new documents show that:
- Lithuania’s attempts to establish what the CIA did in the country between 2004-06 have been oddly unsuccessful, failing to identify key clues to several potential rendition flights;
- Two flights entered Lithuania from Morocco and Bucharest – known secret prison sites – in February 2005, around the time that ‘High Value Detainee’ Abu Zubaydah was transferred to a CIA black site in Lithuania;
- A crucial plane identified by the previous Lithuanian inquiry (registered as N787WH) tried to disguise its true destination (Lithuania) by filing a route plan to Gothenburg, Sweden;
- Many other European countries now linked to the CIA’s rendition flight program have questions to answer, including Austria, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Jordan, Portugal, Romania and the USA;
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1225 11 November 2011 Email email@example.com Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition 1) MAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY A DAY TO END WARS 2) DON'T ATTACK IRAN 3) STOP THE WAR FUNDRAISING DINNER 4) STOP DRONE WARFARE ***************** 1) MAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY A DAY TO END WARS Anti war campaigners will be joining Remembrance Day ceremonies in towns and cities across the country and laying white poppy wreaths this weekend. After
As the numerologists note our arrival at 11/11/11, our attention is better focused on this day as the anniversary of the end of the useless, worthless, horrifying war that turned so much of 20th Century into a twisted, violent mess. And on how we must prevent the same from happening to our shiny new millennium.
STOP THE WAR COALITION 5 November 2011 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition Anti-war and peace groups across the country, from London to Liverpool, from Edinburgh to Bridport, from Bath to Hastings, are organising events over the Remembrance Day weekend, 11-13 November, seeking to break the link between Remembrance Day and the culture of militarisation that glorifies war and uses the past dead to justify current wars. There are vigils, naming the dead events, white poppy wreath ceremonies, distribution of white poppies (available from the Stop the War Coalition office: Tel: 020 7801 2768) For details of all events announced so far, and for updates as more places are added in the next few days, go to: http://bit.ly/qYQrw7 If you would like to help organise an event in your area, please get in touch and we can give you contacts, advice and materials. Email: email@example.com Tel: 020 7801 2768 FOR BACKGROUND TO THE REMEMBRANCE DAY ANTI-WAR EVENTS SEE: * LINDSEY GERMAN: How the Cenotaph and red poppies became symbols of war: http://bit.ly/tGhnf0 * LAURIE PENNY: The hypocrisy and showbiz of red poppy day for the war dead: http://bit.ly/seOD6c
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1221 04 October 2011 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) ANTIWAR ASSEMBLY WILL BE A VERY SPECIAL DAY 2) IT'S STOP THE WAR'S ANNIVERSARY TOO 3) WONDERFUL RESPONSE TO OUR FINANCIAL APPEAL 4) MARK STEEL'S VERY FUNNY ANSWER TO THE DOUBTERS ************************************* 1) ANTIWAR ASSEMBLY WILL BE A VERY SPECIAL DAY
By Linn Washington, Jr.
London -– Hearing hard-core Republicans applaud the use of the death penalty during a recent televised forum for GOP presidential candidates incensed Sara Callaway, an African-American living in London for the past 25-years.
“It was like a declaration of war against all of us committed to justice,” said Callaway, one of over two hundred people who gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in London’s upscale Mayfair section for a silent, candle-lit vigil protesting the execution of U.S. death row inmate Troy Davis.
STOP THE WAR COALITION Newsletter No.1219 20 September 2011 Email email@example.com Tel: 020 7801 2768 Web: http://stopwar.org.uk Twitter: http://twitter.com/STWuk Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stopthewarcoalition IN THIS NEWSLETTER: 1) TWEETS NOT WAR: LEARNING FROM THE ARAB SPRING 2) 10,000 WATCH COST OF WAR FILM: ARE YOU ONE OF THEM? 3) PLEDGES FOR 8 OCTOBER POURING IN 4) ANDREW MURRAY STANDING DOWN AS StWC CHAIR ************************************* 1) TWEETS NOT WAR: LEARNING FROM THE ARAB SPRING
By Ron Ridenour
It was with joy that I watched television coverage of election day, September 15. According to all the nine political parties running, and the mass media, there were no wars in the world and Denmark no longer was involved in three wars—Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya--alongside the USA.
In fact, all through the three-week long election campaign, none of the parties spoke of war, or of that most fundamental of moral questions a society must ask: do we kill other people who do not attack us?