A protest has been called outside the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall on Thursday 12 November at 5pm in reaction to the decision to arrest and charge Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, a serving soldier who had the courage to stand up for what many in the army believe; that this is a futile and un-winnable war.
In Afghanistan, the last week has seen the passing of the symbolic 200th British fatality and desperate preparations for the looming elections.
Two important petitions to Gordon Brown are on the official government ‘Number 10’ website.
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to do everything in his power to impose an arms embargo on Israel in light of the recent Israeli offensive in the Gaza strip and to apply pressure on countries supplying Israel with arms that breach international agreements with the intention of restoring lasting peace to the region.”
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Introduce sanctions against Israel.
Israeli must be punished for its failure to adhere to the Geneva convention concerning the collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza. Israeli tactics are cruel, malicious and demonstrate that Israel is not interested in the peace process or a Palestinian State. They are creating the ideal breeding ground for extremism, sabotaging peace efforts and squandering the good will they have been given.”
Both of these petitions are entitled to an official government response. They are currently the third and fourth biggest open petitions on the site…
Petitions’ deadline is 27th January.
On the war:
“…Israel must lose. It is not enough to call for another ceasefire, or more humanitarian assistance. It is not enough to urge the renewal of dialogue and to acknowledge the concerns and suffering of both sides. If we believe in the principle of democratic self-determination, if we affirm the right to resist military aggression and colonial occupation, then we are obliged to take sides… against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank.
We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours, and not upon the criminal use of force.
We believe Israel should immediately and unconditionally end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands, starting with a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.”
On the humanitarian consequences:
“…casualty data are indicative of a military campaign being waged in an indiscriminate, disproportionate, and therefore under International Humanitarian Law, illegal fashion. Failure of the international community to ensure legal culpability would provide military forces around the world with a clear message that the Geneva Conventions can be discarded with impunity, as in Gaza today. If this happens, children and women will continue to pay heavily in future conflicts.”
Update 22.01.09: British students are also taking action in at least eight Universities, adopting various protest tactics.
Cambridge University joins the protests
The Cambridge University Gaza solidarity blog can be read at: http://cambridgegazasolidarity.blogspot.com/
Nottingham University has forcibly evicted students engaged in a sit-in. Security guards manhandled and apparently assaulted students last night to force an end to the protest. A video is available here
More details at: http://occupationnottingham.wordpress.com/
A blog with news on all the different university protests can be read at: http://occupations.org.uk/
“Israel military forces only use munitions that are acceptable under international law and international convention,” Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
22nd March 1995 – Israel signs the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Protocol III, Article 2 states:
1. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual
civilians or civilian objects the object of attack by incendiary weapons.
2. It is prohibited in all circumstances to make any military objective located within a
concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons.
17 January 2009 – “… a number of white phosphorous shells struck the yard of an UNRWA school in Beit Lahia, causing panic among the 1,600 civilians who had taken refuge there. While evacuating the shelter, an explosive shell struck the third floor of the school, killing two brothers, aged five and seven, and injuring 14 others including the boys’ mother. UNRWA has demanded an independent investigation into this incident.”
“…Where you have a direct hit on an UNRWA school where about 1,600 people had taken refuge, where the Israeli army knows the coordinates and knows who’s there, where this comes as the latest in a catalogue of direct and indirect attacks on UNRWA facilities, there have to be investigations to establish whether war crimes have been committed.” – Christopher Gunness, UNRWA spokesperson” [UN OCHA]
DEMONSTRATE FOR GAZA: SATURDAY 24 JANUARY
END THE BLOCKADE: STOP ALL ARMS SALES
BRING THE WAR CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE
Assemble 2.00pm BBC Broadcasting House for rally
Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
Nearest tubes: Great Portland Street or Regents park.
March starts at 3.00 pm. Ends with rally in Trafalgar Square
Assemble and rally Portland Place, March to Regent Street,
Piccadilly, Lower Regent Street, Trafalgar Square,
Northumberland Avenue, Embankment, Parliament, Downing Street,
Trafalgar Square (End rally)
For details and updates: http://www.stopwar.org.uk
“In of the one gravest incidents since the beginning of operations, according to
several testimonies, on 4 January Israeli foot-soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single-residence house in Zeitun (half of whom were children), warning them to stay indoors. Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately thirty. Those who survived and were able, walked two kilometres to Salah Ed Din road before being transported to the hospital in civilian vehicles. Three children, the youngest of whom was five months old, died upon arrival at the hospital.”
“The ICRC/PRCS team found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all there were at least 12 corpses lying on mattresses.
In another house, the ICRC/PRCS rescue team found 15 other survivors of this attack including several wounded. In yet another house, they found an additional three corpses. Israeli soldiers posted at a military position some 80 meters away from this house ordered the rescue team to leave the area which they refused to do. There were several other positions of the Israel Defense Forces nearby as well as two tanks.
“This is a shocking incident,” said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC’s head of delegation for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. “The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded.”…..
…The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable”.
Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions are a peaceful response to Israel’s continued illegal occupation, repression and brutal military operations against the Palestinians. Useful links can be found on the Boycott Israel site.
Another useful site for those interested in Boycotting Israeli Goods can be found at: http://www.bigcampaign.org/
…and if anyone really wants to know more about how bar codes work then here is a good place to start… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GS1
Caution: If you are an US individual or organisation then boycotting Israeli goods is illegal! (US Department of Commerce). I guess its further proof that organisations like these are highly effective.
STOP THE MASSACRE NOW: ISRAEL OUT OF GAZA
SATURDAY 10 JANUARY ASSEMBLE HYDE 12.30 PM
MARCH TO ISRAELI EMBASSY, LONDON W8
Organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and many other organisations.
For updates and more info: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
Update: A continuous vigil for Gaza starts today (08/01/2009) in Parliament Square, London. http://www.vigilforgaza.net/
NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION: SATURDAY 3 JANUARY
HANDS OFF GAZA: STOP THE BOMBING: FREE PALESTINE
ASSEMBLE 12.30 PM EMBANKMENT, LONDON WC2
Nearest tube Embankment or Charing Cross
A national emergency demonstration has been called for Saturday 3 January by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and many other organisations, assembling at 12.30pm at Embankment WC2.
More info and updates from: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/
Richard Wilson, author of Titanic Express and a member of the team that maintained this site in its early days, has now got his own blog. Richard Wilson’s blog is a sceptics guide that seems to target anything from obscure place names on maps, through exposure of Britain’s complicity in torture, on to behavioural psychology.
In this piece he profiles Craig and talks about his decision to include him in his forthcoming book, ‘Don’t Get Fooled Again’.
Amnesty International has accused European governments, including Ireland and the UK, of complicity and inaction over US-led rendition and secret detention, as it published a new report on European renditions and a ‘Six-point Plan’ for their prevention.
Amnesty International’s report, ‘State of denial: Europe’s role in rendition and secret detention’, published yesterday, shed further light on the extent of Europe’s role in the US-led rendition and secret detention programmes. It also exposes the continuing failure of European states, including Ireland, to admit or investigate violations carried out by their nationals or on their territory.
From The Washington Post
A senior CIA lawyer advised Pentagon officials about the use of harsh interrogation techniques on detainees at Guantanamo Bay in a meeting in late 2002, defending waterboarding and other methods as permissible despite U.S. and international laws banning torture, according to documents released yesterday by congressional investigators.
Torture “is basically subject to perception,” CIA counterterrorism lawyer Jonathan Fredman told a group of military and intelligence officials gathered at the U.S.-run detention camp in Cuba on Oct. 2, 2002, according to minutes of the meeting. “If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.” …
Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary, Chris Huhne, has written to the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, calling on her to overturn the ban on the anti-Bush march on Sunday. Referring to the recent 42 day detention without trial vote he says: “Just because the votes of these protesters cannot be bought does not mean that their voices should not be heard by those in 10 Downing Street”
It seems that more than one MP is now waking up to just how serious this governments attack on civil liberties and British traditions has become.
Dear Home Secretary,
I am writing to urgently request that you review the
decision of the Metropolitan Police to ban the anti-Bush
march taking place this Sunday 15 June from marching down
Whitehall. As you will be aware the Stop the War Coalition
have organised dozens of peaceful marches past Downing
Street, and I am deeply concerned that the request has been
In this country we have a long tradition of peaceful protest
and I would be shocked if British civil liberties were
curtailed at the request of a foreign government. I hope
that you can also confirm that the decision of the
Metropolitan Police was not made at the request of the US
A static demonstration in Parliament Square is no
replacement for a protest march down Whitehall and I urge
you to work with the police and the protesters to ensure
they are able to make their voices heard outside Downing
Street. Just because the votes of these protesters cannot
be bought does not mean that their voices should not be
heard by those in 10 Downing Street.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary
(ACLU) NEW YORK – In a stunning blow to the Bush administration’s failed national security policies, the Supreme Court ruled today 5-4 that the U.S. Constitution applies to the government’s detention policies at Guantanamo. The Court concluded that detainees held at Guantanamo have a right to challenge their detention through habeas corpus.
(BBC Online) Shadow home secretary David Davis has resigned as an MP. He is to force a by-election in his Haltemprice and Howden constituency which he will fight on the issue of the new 42-day terror detention limit.
Mr Davis, 59, told reporters outside the House of Commons he believed his move was a “noble endeavour” to stop the erosion of British civil liberties.
Stop the War is planning a protest in London on that day against Bush and his war policies, and against the British government’s continuing support for his wars.
For more details go here
Update: Stop the War have applied to demonstrate down Whitehall but so far the police, presumably under instructions from US security, are banning them. They are challenging the ban and are inviting supporters to send messages of complaint to the Home Secretary:
* Telephone: 020 7035 0198
* Fax: 020 7035 0900
* Email: [email protected]
You can also complain to the Metropolitan Police about the proposed ban: Telephone: 020 7230 1212.
A protest is also be organised for when George Bush goes to Windsor for tea with the Queen at 3.00pm.