Reports and news related to the so-called 'war on terror' and the police state measures carried out in its name.
The so-called 'war on terror' is nothing new; it has its precedents in operations like Gladio; can be seen as the "strategy of tension" gone global and a logical extension of the US-UK imperial policy post 1945; it is the latest justification for the actions of a genocidal Empire which has caused between 20 and 30 million deaths since World War II; imperial genocide is not a new policy. According to Youssef Aschkar, the 'war on terror' did not start on September 11, 2001: "between 1996 and September 11, 2001, the culture of hate and fear was spread to the United States by the publication of thousands of books and articles on the subject of terrorism. From that time onward, 'Islamic terrorism' became the new Evil Empire". The Power of Nightmares, a BBC documentary, even starts from earlier. It "explores the origins in the 1940's and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, Neoconservatism in America and the parallels between these movements." Now, with the neocon's 'war on terror', legality and morality gone out of the window, torture [1|2], detention without trial [1|2|3], rendition, secret prisons, dawn raids, death squads , profiling, fabricated terror plots, executions and Orwellian Big Brother surveillance are the new norm as muslims are demonised in order to justify the "clash of civilisations" and the military industrial complex's perpetual global war.
Campaigns: Campaign Against Criminalising Communities | Scotland Against Criminalising Communities | National Guantanamo Coalition | Cage Prisoners
Blogs: Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed | Craig Murray
Radio: Taking Aim | Guns and Butter
The trial in the Court Martial of Welsh-American WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning is finally scheduled to begin on Monday 3 June 2013 at Fort Meade, Maryland, US after an unprecedented three years of pre-trial detention. The mistreatment of Bradley Manning in prison including almost a year of torture by the US authorities that was condemned by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has to be seen in the context of the vast, 'secret' Grand Jury conspiracy and espionage investigation into WikiLeaks and the pressure that must have been exerted on Brad in a sustained but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to persuade him to testify against Julian Assange, who the US authorities very badly want to get their hands on.
Read or listen to Bradley Manning's statement to the court (extracts below) and his chat logs to see why he felt that the information he found himself in possession of should be shared with the world and what he hoped might happen as a result of risking his life and liberty to do this.
There are 22 charges against Brad including 'Aiding the Enemy' that potentially carries the death penalty although the prosecution has said it will not seek this sentence. Brad has already pled guilty to 10 lesser charges that could themselves result in a 20 year jail term and the government has accepted his lesser plea on just one count but not on any of the other lesser charges, for which it will still bring evidence. During the final pre-trial hearing on 21 May, Judge Lind announced that portions of the trial dealing with 24 witnesses, including US Ambassadors, will be held in closed session, with redacted transcripts provided afterwards.
The US, aided and abetted by Britain, is pursuing a permanent 'War on Terror' and continues its project of creating and escalating conflict around the globe at terrible cost to human life. The significance of the anti-war actions of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange can be judged by reference to the zeal with which both are being persecuted by the US authorities and the extent to which they have been variously misrepresented, vilified, smeared, ridiculed or ignored in the mainstream media. As anti-war activists or war resisters, they deserve our support and solidarity.
Join existing or create your own solidarity actions on Saturday 1 June and throughout Brad's trial, expected to last into August unless there's an early plea deal. 1 June solidarity is currently planned for London and Cardiff.
Previous features: December 2012 (Torture hearing) | April 2011 (Call-out for solidarity)
On the newswires (recent): Thanking Bradley Manning in Kabul | Bradley Manning's in jail for us, We're on the streets for him | 1 June call-out for Cardiff | Vivienne Westwood supports Brad | London solidarity in run-up to trial | Solidarity at Chester May Day | Downloadable flyers for 1 June | London solidarity/Report from Fort Meade | Brad nominated for Nobel Peace Prize (again) | Wrexham solidarity on 1000th day of detention
Accused WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, the young American military intelligence analyst with Welsh and Irish roots, gave evidence in person for the first time at Fort Meade, Maryland in a hearing on the Defence's Article 13 unlawful pretrial punishment motion. The court sat for eleven days between 27 November and 11 December to hear the case that Brad was subject to unlawful pretrial punishment at Quantico brig where he was held for nine months before being transferred to less punitive conditions at Fort Leavenworth in April 2011. Brad's mistreatment at Quantico has already been condemned by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez. On the strength of evidence of mistreatment, the Defence is calling for all 22 charges Bradley Manning faces in connection with the biggest anti-war whistleblowing act in history to be dropped or, failing that, for any sentence imposed if he is convicted to be substantially reduced. Judgment has been reserved and the ruling of military judge Denise Lind is unlikely before January.
12 Jan: This feature (below) now finalised
12 Jan: Verdict from this hearing Judge declines to dismiss all charges; finds some unlawful pretrial punishment but ignores most; only 112 days sentencing credit awarded.
On the newswire - Notes from the courtroom: Verdict | 11 Dec | 10 Dec | 7 Dec | 6 Dec | 5 Dec | 1-2 Dec | 30 Nov | 29 Nov | 27-29 Nov | London vigil: 27 Nov Report | Call-out | Previous feature: April 2011
This feature has been compiled from the sources listed in the posts above. Read the full article for a summary of the hearing and links to articles by independent journalists and supporters of Bradley Manning.
While over seventy countries now possess drones, so far only the UK, the US and Israel are known to have used armed drones. The UK has launched over 300 drones strikes in Afghanistan but there is little public information about these strikes. Israel regularly launches drone attacks in Gaza and the US has been using drones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. It is suspected, but not confirmed that US drones have also undertaken strikes in Mali and Philippines this year.
On the newswire: Ground the Drones Week of Action announcement | Drones Week of Action events listings | The faceless face of military drones at Menwith Hill: 9 October | Veterans for Peace action at General Atomics | Terrorist drones come to Lincolnshire – drones peace walk | Drones and Thrones – A London Diary
As the Taliban prepares to open a political office in Qatar, the US stalls on releasing Taliban prisoners and a leaked US military report alleges that "the Taliban's strength and morale are largely intact despite the Nato military surge, and that significant numbers of Afghan government soldiers are defecting to them", the UK is witnessing a small upswing in anti-war activism over the raging conflict.
Last month peace activist Maya Evans returned from a month-long delegation to the country with US activists from Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and she is now embarking on a speaking tour around the UK. Whilst in Afghanistan she helped deliver over £2,000 worth of aid, raised by NUJ members at the Financial Times and the readers of Peace News, to internally displaced Afghans in the capital. She is believed to be the first British peace activist to visit the country since 2001.
Meanwhile, photojournalist Guy Smallman - himself recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan - will be speaking alongside ex-soldier Ben Griffin at an event in London on 9 February, and activists are preparing to re-establish a peace camp outside RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire in anticipation of the UK starting to use the base to pilot its Reaper drones in Afghanistan later this year. In September last year, the RAF announced its 200th drone strike in Afghanistan. British drones are currently piloted by RAF pilots based in the US. In December, Catholic Workers occupied the entrance to Northwood Military HQ in protest at the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan.
Thoughtful observers have long pondered the question why, given the undoubted horrors of the war in Afghanistan as well as its deep unpopularity with the general public, there continues to be so little UK activism focused on the war. Indeed, for many years the only UK-based protests marking the anniversary of the 2001 invasion involved a tiny handful of people [ 1 | 2 | 3 ]. Similar actions took place on the tenth anniversary last October [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ], as well as a Stop the War rally but even the latter was a relatively small affair compared to earlier 'national' Stop the War demos.
Whether recent events herald a change on this front remains to be seen.
Gloucestershire's skies were darkened again by the Royal International Fairford Air Tattoo as some of the world's worst climate criminals and human rights abusers compared their best killing machines. This is an event about the glorification of everything that a civilised society should feel repelled about. Despite this, virtually every single newspaper, TV and radio show lavished it with praise. In so doing, they justified the entertainment budgets that the military industrial complex lays on at our expense.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took his appeal against extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual offences to the High Court in London on 12 and 13 July. Assange has been electronically tagged and required to sign on daily at a police station for over six months since being released from Wandsworth prison in December 2010 prior to the extradition hearing which took place in February this year. The manner in which the allegations against him have been pursued has led many to conclude that the extradition is being sought neither for the benefit of the two women involved nor in the interests of protecting other women, but rather to secure Assange's extradition to Sweden with a view to onward extradition to the US where he would face the full wrath of the Empire, an Empire comprehensively exposed by WikiLeaks revelations. Assange has received many death threats from the US; there have been calls for him to face the Death Penalty over the WikiLeaks disclosures, as well as calls from prominent politicians and media personalities for him to be 'hunted down' and assassinated.
In the two weeks leading up to this appeal hearing, solidarity actions and events took place in London. Anti-war supporters of Assange and others maintained a presence outside the Royal Courts of Justice from 9am on Tuesday 12 July and throughout the two day appeal hearing. At the end of the hearing, judgment was reserved and is expected within the next few weeks.
On the newswires (re. current hearing): Report from the court Wed 13 July | Tues 12 July | Call-out for support at extradition appeal | Call-out for solidarity protest in Dublin | Assange Subterranean Homesick Blues |
Early on Saturday morning 18 June 2011, veteran peace protester Brian Haw, 62, passed away just after the camp he established right opposite the Houses of Parliament had celebrated its tenth anniversary of highly visible opposition to the wars being waged on ordinary people. Brian had been suffering from lung cancer, diagnosed less than a year ago.
There has been growing anger at the University of Nottingham's attempts to silence Dr Rod Thornton, author of a critical article which exposes the complicity of university management in the wrongful arrests of the 'Nottingham Two'. A student and a member of staff – Rizwaan Sabir and Hicham Yezza – were arrested as suspected terrorists in May 2008.
Dr Thornton, who was one of Sabir's tutors in the School of Politics, used information released under Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection Act requests to piece together a damning picture of the University management's attempts to cover up their wrong doing. The University used legal threats to get the article removed from the British International Studies Association website and, later the same day, suspended Dr Thornton with immediate effect.
On Tuesday 10th May, a letter calling for Thornton's immediate reinstatement, signed by 70 leading academics and scholars from across the world, including Professors Noam Chomsky, Neera Chandhoke, Paul Gilroy and Charles Tripp, was published in the Guardian. On Thursday 12th May, a protest of was held on campus.
On the newswire: Nttm 3! Dr.Thornton, Rizwaan Sabir & Hicham Yezza | Call to reinstate Rod Thornton | The paper Nottingham Uni doesn't want you to read | University whistleblower suspended | 'Al-Qaeda Arrest' Whistleblower Silenced | Islamophobia and the Nottingham Two | Interview with Hicham Yezza & Rizwaan Sabir
Previous features: Censorship at University of Nottingham | New light shed on the Nottingham Two | Campaign Victories As Hich And Amdani Are Released On Bail | Hundreds Join Demo for Academic Freedom and Against Deportation | Nottingham Uni Detainee Innocent But Still Facing Deportation | Anger Over 'Terror Arrests' at Nottingham University
This feature summarises Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English (WISE) solidarity efforts for Bradley Manning to date and is a call-out for anti-war activists and all those who believe in civil liberties and freedom of expression to take up Manning's cause and build a solidarity movement that can't be ignored.
Accused WikiLeaks whistleblower and US army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning has been held for almost a year since being arrested in Iraq after allegedly releasing confidential documents and video footage to WikiLeaks, including the Collateral Murder video, which shows unarmed civilians including two Reuters journalists being killed in an unprovoked US Apache helicopter attack in Iraq. The charges against him now include aiding the enemy which carries a possible death sentence. He was held at Quantico Marine Brig for months under conditions of torture, apparently in a so far failed effort by the US authorities to get him to deliver Julian Assange who could then be extradited to the US. Under such sustained ill treatment, there have been serious concerns for Manning's mental and physical health. Mid-April, after months of public outcry over his torture, he was moved to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas with the authorities claiming improved conditions of detention, since when Barack Obama has seen fit to declare him guilty 1 | 2. Why bother waiting for the show trial?
Read full article for background, analysis and all previous newswire links.
The press release for the event didn't mention the arms industry related work that takes place there but simply stated that, "The Nuclear AMRC is a new collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the University of Manchester, with the backing of the Government and leading companies involved in building the new generation of civil nuclear power stations."
The day before, Stuart Parkinson, executive director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, speaking at the Sheffield CND AGM exposed the often used argument about job creation for facilities of this nature — only 3,000 are employed in the defence sector in the Yorkshire and Humberside region and the money invested could generate far more jobs in sustainable industries.
Newswire: Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Protest | Protest at the Queen's visit to the Rotherham Death Park | Royal Visit to Death Park! 18th Nov. 2010 | Nuclear Dawn at Rotherhams Advanced Manufacturing Park | Stuart Parkinson: Arms Conversion for a Low Carbon Economy