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Peace News log archive: April 2015

Articles from the Peace News log.
For archive articles from the whole site, look here

I just read the transcript of the evidence given by John Chilcot, head of the Iraq Inquiry, to parliament's foreign affairs committee on 4 February. I was staggered to read in a footnote that they are going to publish 1,500 British government documents alongside the Chilcot Report itself (which will be hundreds of pages long).

The report refers to 7,000 government documents. They looked at 150,000 documents. These are big numbers.

The MPs on the foreign affairs committee tried to get Chilcot to say that his former colleagues in the civil service had delayed the publication of the report by dragging their feet over the declassification of relevant secret documents. Chilcot (who was permanent secretary at the Northern Ireland Office for most of the 1990s) avoided saying anything critical of the government, the civil service or the decision makers from 2003 who are going to be criticised in the report.

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A sceptical look at the evidence given to the British government's Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 Iraq war by Richard Dearlove, head of MI6 at the time. Dearlove sticks to his WMD story but it has a big hole in it....

In the run-up to the publication of the Chilcot Report into the Iraq war, I've been thinking I might try to read all the evidence given during the inquiry. There's quite a lot of it up on the inquiry website. For no particular reason, I started with the evidence given in a private session by Richard Dearlove, who was head of the secret intelligence service (better known as MI6) at the time.

The transcript of Dearlove's first round of testimoney is hilarious in terms of the massive amount of redaction going on. I counted 19 pages which are completely redacted, there is not a single declassified word on them, just the names of the people who said the things that we're not allowed to read.

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I'm one of 14 young people from different parts of the UK, most with a Quaker background or who had worked for Quakers, who formed a group called Wheel Stop Trident in early 2015.

Our first significant action was a 75 mile bike ride from central London to Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield from 27-28 March 2015, to protest against the possible renewal of our useless and immoral Trident nuclear weapons system at a time when the more genuine, sustainable security of strong public services and renewable energy are facing massive cuts and obstacles respectively. Nine or us were cyclists (a tenth cyclist was prevented from joining us by illness), and the others helped with organising the route, doing social media work, and in one case carrying extra bedding to Reading for the second night. 

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'Our fear and isolation from each other, aiming to get a step up above our neighbours, our reluctance to live in a shared world, may be worse than the other storms we face.' Long-time US peace activist Kathy Kelly writes from inside prison.

Lightning flashed across Kentucky skies a few nights ago. 'I love storms,' said my roommate, Gypsi, her eyes bright with excitement. Thunder boomed over the Kentucky hills and Atwood Hall, here in Lexington, Kentucky's federal prison. I fell asleep thinking of the gentle, haunting song our gospel choir sings: 'It's over now, It's over now. I think that I can make it. The storm is over now.'

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Musing on the manifesto....

Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, said yesterday: 'Austerity has failed and we need a peaceful political revolution to get rid of it.' Pippa Bartolotti, the leader of the Wales Green Party, said: 'We can have a peaceful revolution in the UK and still reduce the deficit to 1%

Peace News has long stood for nonviolent revolution, and we recently re-published the much-missed Howard Clark's classic essay Making Nonviolent Revolution (with a new afterword). While the policies in the Green Party manifesto would be a great step forward if they were implemented (and many of them are desperately needed), our definition of 'peaceful revolution' has been more thorough-going.

The idea of nonviolent revolution was advocated from different perspectives by US activist George Lakey and US author Gene Sharp in recent interviews, and critiqued (also in the pages of PN) by Bob Overy and Diana Francis, two important figures in the postwar British peace movement.

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Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams spoke recently at Winchester University.

Jody Williams spoke at the university of Winchester's Peace Jam event on 13 March. Peace Jam is a new programme launched by Winchester centre of religions for reconciliation and peace (WCRRP) who have facilitated a new partnership with the 'Peace Jam Foundation' (PJ) this academic year.

Originating in the US, the Peace Jam organisation is a global organization to empower and inspire young people to become active citizens and agents for positive change. It has devised a 'peace curriculum' with an innovative and unique education programme for schools and youth groups. Peace Jam staff work alongside Nobel laureates and teachers to recruit young people to participate in devising and implementing small scale projects intended to bring about positive change.

Jody is joint winner, with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. Since then she's been keen to use the accolade to promote peace around the world including the international campaign to stop rape. She is now professor of Peace and Social Justice at the graduate college of social work at the university of Houston, and a visiting fellow at the university of Illinois in Chicago. She has also co-founded the Nobel Women's Initiative.

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