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The Peace News log

A comic preacher from New York responds to the Brexit debate and vote - Earthalujah!

It sure is strong. Brexit pulls us in. My first response to the vote was to be glad – because we have been fighting for local power for decades here in New York. But Washington is not the same as Brussels. I got my localism confused with the complex struggle of the people the EU left out long ago. And I was (and am) moved by the UK youth who voted three to one to stay in, which has its parallel con-job here in the states. And then from there I exploded into 50 positions. Brexit is a potent tabula rasa.

It has succeeded as a pop phenomenon because it teases up in our souls the idea that we are facing a life-and-death question; except that the debate is led by clowns speaking in tongues. It turns us into over-heated Hamlets who go up on our lines at the point of 'To Be…' We’re doing this everywhere, repeating the question – 'Where do I live and where do you live?' but we know we’re getting it wrong. We sense that there is a far more crucial vote that we know we must soon face… Spoiler alert: The fact is that we can’t stay and we can’t leave.

Brexit has been fun to watch; has it out-polled the Game of Thrones? The nationalists love the sensation of being over-prepared for war, or even minor insults, while the EU business suits create blast-zones of identical details, all humor and music smoothed to consume. The Leaves want a wall to exercise their paranoia and they use that wall like a mirror preening like puffed-up Trumpish drag queens whiles the Remains use walls for 70 ft tall supermodels who look back at you like you just had nasty sex with them or are about to. Borders.

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A thoughtful review of The Truth About Trident: Disarming the Nuclear Argument by Tim Wallis

The Truth About Trident sets out a blow-by-blow detailed analysis in advance of the forthcoming parliamentary debate about the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons’ system known as the ‘main gate’ decision later this year.

Despite the slightly disingenuous claim of the book that it will act as an objective ‘trial’ of the 30-year-old weapons system, Tim Wallis’s credentials as a leading peace activist reverses this expectation. As he states his intention is that ‘the moral case [will] outweigh lesser arguments based on finances, jobs, politics, strategic interests and deterrence and so on.’Mock Trident submarine protests at AWE Burghfield, June 2016

Laid out in a reader-friendly way, the book steers us through key headings such as, What is Trident? What is Radiation? Have Nuclear Weapons kept the peace? Is Trident Affordable? But Wallis does sum up the conclusion of the book in the introduction. ‘What we are left with is a weapon system that is not powerful at all but is extremely dangerous.’

Wallis’ approach is to pick apart the main shibboleths of the Trident argument and in doing so, he hopes to reveal the irrationality of arguing, for instance, that nuclear weapons have kept the peace for the past 70 years.

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With the publication of the Chilcot report, watch the trailer for "A Letter to the Prime Minister", made during the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, and sign up on the website to see the entire feature length film.

Come to protest in the heart of the development of the UK's nuclear weapons system.

June 2016 will see a month of disarmament action against Trident at AWE Burghfield. Situated a few miles south-west of Reading, this is at the heart of the UK's nuclear weapons system. It is the final assembly line for the UK's nuclear warheads, and they return here for major maintenance work.

Opposition to Trident has spiralled rapidly in recent years. In Scotland, polls consistently show 85% opposed to the presence of Trident submarines, the country has elected an anti-Trident government, and blockades of the country's submarine bases are so frequent and popular that blockaders are rarely prosecuted.

It may seem that we are nowhere near this in England, but we should take comfort from the fact the Scotland's anti-Trident consensus has been achieved by ordinary people deciding what they believed in and acting on it. And even in the England, a larger and broader group of people are questioning the planned renewal of Trident. When the lifetime costs of a new Trident system were revised upwards, to £180bn, the veteran Conservative MP Crispin Blunt went on record to say that this couldn't be justified.  Since then, they have risen again, to a staggering £205bn.

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A job advert from Quaker Peace & Social Witness

Q shape logo for the QuakersHours Full Time - 35 hours per week

Salary £20,926 per annum

Contract Fixed Term - September 2016 - August 2017

Location Placed in an organisation within Britain

Closing date 9 am, Tuesday 3 May 2016

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New book marks 20th anniversary of land-mark anti-arms trade action

ImagePress release
27 January 2016
Peace News [1]

Contact 07596 483 272 for more info or to arrange an interview with Andrea

WOMAN WHO DISARMED WARPLANE PUBLISHES MEMOIR
New book marks 20th anniversary of land-mark anti-arms trade action

7pm, 29 January 2016, Friends House, London: A woman who disarmed a warplane bound for genocide in South East Asia will be launching her newly published book about the action and subsequent trial at an event in Friends House, London this Friday, the 20th anniversary of the action itself [2].

Published by Peace News Press, Andrea Needham's book 'The Hammer Blow' [3], is an inside account of the Seeds of Hope East Timor Ploughshares action, in which four women used household hammers to disarm a Hawk warplane at a British Aerospace factory in Lancashire in 1996 [4].  The plane was about to be delivered to the Indonesian military, for use in their then-ongoing campaign of genocide against the people of occupied East Timor [5].

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An important perspective on last November's 'People's March for Climate, Justice and Jobs'

Pictures from 3 demos against UK airstrikes on Syria and further information and actions you can take.

2 December Syria Vote: die-in outside Parliament

All images © indyrikki

For here more images and a full report

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A die-in

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The Department for Energy and Climate Change was renamed the 'department for extreme climate change' as COP21, the UN climate negotiations, opened in Paris.

Christian climate action in LondonFive Christian climate protestors were arrested in Whitehall on 30 November for protesting against government hypocrisy on climate change, which they called a 'climate whitewash'. The five, from Christian Climate Action, were arrested for criminal damage after writing in whitewash and black paint on the wall of the DECC (department for energy and climate change). They said 'underneath the hypocritical whitewash of fine talk on climate, are DECC policies that lead to death.'

The five, acting on the first day of the Climate summit in Paris, arrived at the DECC wearing white paint suits with 'DECC' on them. They delivered a letter to Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, prayed and stood with a skeleton and a 'whitewashed tomb' outside, before whitewashing the wall, and painting in black letters, 'Dept for Extreme Climate Change' on the wall of the DECC. (Jesus, in Matthew 23:27, says: 'Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.')

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After four years of legal struggle, the Metropolitan police finally concede that undercover relationships were an abuse of power and violated women's human rights

ImageStatement by the eight women:

In the apology issued today by assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt, the Metropolitan Police finally conceded that 'officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong' and that 'these relationships were a violation of the women’s human rights, an abuse of police power and caused significant trauma'

AC Hewitt issued this public apology on behalf of the Metropolitan Police as part of the settlement of seven out of our eight claims arising from intimate relationships we were decieved into by undercover police officers Bob Lambert, John Dines, Mark Jenner, Jim Boyling (all Special Demonstration Squad officers) and Mark Kennedy (of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit), all of whom infiltrated environmental and social justice campaigns.

The apology is the result of our four-year legal battle to bring to public attention these state sponsored, deceptive relationships and to prevent future abuses. We have worked together on this painful and deeply personal legal case in order to expose the serious and systemic abuse of power by undercover police officers and their managers. Although no amount of 'sorry', or financial compensation, can make up for what we and others have endured, we are pleased the police have been forced to acknowledge the abusive nature of these relationships and that they should never happen.

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