Archive for the ‘war’ Tag

Obama exempts CIA ‘torture’ staff

Obama exempts CIA ‘torture’ staff

CIA agents who used harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects during the Bush era will not be prosecuted, US President Barack Obama has said.

The assurance came as memos were released detailing the range of techniques the CIA was allowed to use during the Bush administration.

Mr Obama banned the use of methods such as sleep deprivation and simulated drowning in his first week in office.

But rights groups have criticised the decision not to seek prosecutions.

Amnesty International said the Department of Justice appeared to be offering a “get-out-of-jail-free card” to individuals who were involved in acts of torture.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights, which has championed the legal rights of the “war on terror” detainees, also expressed its disappointment.


New York University occupied

Students at NYU have occupied their campus in solidarity with student occupations around the world and have issued a list of demands, covering union issues, student problems, solidarity with Gaza, and the activities of the university itself. Their demands were issued alongside this solidarity statement:

We, the students of Take Back NYU! declare our solidarity with the student occupations in Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom, as well as those of the University of Rochester, the New School for Social Research, and with future occupations to come in the name of democracy and student power. We stand in solidarity with the University of Gaza, and with the people of Palestine.

Last night a solidarity demonstration resulted in clashes with the police as the occupation continued to grow in numbers. For more updates visit

Dame Vera Lynn takes on BNP over White Cliffs of Dover

Dame Vera Lynn takes on BNP over White Cliffs of Dover

The 91-year-old is said to be ‘furious’ after the BNP used the song, and another of her classics ‘All Alone in Vienna’, on the CD.

The ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ album, which sells for £4.95 and features a Spitfire on the front, states ‘Vera Lynn, Glen Miller and others produced the music by which the English-speaking world went to war from 1939 to 1945.

‘Here, recaptured in re-mastered glory, are the songs the soldiers sang from the deserts of North Africa to the beaches of Normandy. An unforgettable trip down memory lane.’

But Dame Vera has told her solicitor that the BNP had not approached her for approval for using two of her most famous songs on the album – proceeds of which help boost the BNP’s coffers.

Dame Vera Lynn, who lives in Ditchling, East Sussex, is in talks with her legal team about the album which is on sale at Excalibur – the BNP’s trading arm.

Her solicitor Nigel Angel said: “Her position is that the songs were included without her approval.

“She does not align with any political party.

Glasgow Uni liberated for Gaza!

Glasgow Uni liberated for Gaza!

At 2pm yesterday, Glasgow University became the 24th Uni in the UK to be occupied by students in solidarity with the people of Gaza.



We Demand…

1. Written confirmation that there will be no disciplinary, academic or legal repercussions for anyone involved in or supporting the occupation

2. That those involved in the occupation are guaranteed respect for their fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly, expression, and movement in and out of the occupied space

3. That the occupation is given uninterrupted access to electricity, water, internet access (including appropriate wifi passwords) and other amenities as appropriate

4. That the principal meet those involved in the occupation at the occupied space to discuss our substantive demands

Further information can be found at

South Africa: Workers Refuse to Offload Israeli Ship

South Africa: Workers Refuse to Offload Israeli Ship

3 February 2009 In a historic development for South Africa , South African dock workers have announced their determination not to offload a ship from Israel that is scheduled to dock in Durban on Sunday, 8 February 2009. This follows the decision by COSATU to strengthen the campaign in South Africa for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Apartheid Israel . The pledge by SATAWU members in Durban reflects the commitment by South African workers to refuse to support oppression and exploitation across the globe. Last year, Durban dock workers had refused to offload a shipment of arms that had arrived from China and was destined for Zimbabwe to prop up the Mugabe regime and to intensify the repression against the Zimbabwean people. Now, says SATAWU’s General Secretary Randall Howard, the union’s members are committing themselves to not handling Israeli goods.

SATAWU’s action on Sunday will be part of a proud history of worker resistance against apartheid. In 1963, just four years after the Anti-Apartheid Movement was formed, Danish dock workers refused to offload a ship with South African goods. When the ship docked in Sweden , Swedish workers followed suit. Dock workers in Liverpool and, later, in the San Francisco Bay Area also refused to offload South African goods. South Africans, and the South African working class in particular, will remain forever grateful to those workers who determinedly opposed apartheid and decided that they would support the anti-apartheid struggle with their actions.

Last week, Western Australian members of the Maritime Union of Australia resolved to support the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel , and have called for a boycott of all Israeli vessels and all vessels bearing goods arriving from or going to Israel .

This is the legacy and the tradition that South African dock workers have inherited, and it is a legacy they are determined to honour, by ensuring that South African ports of entry will not be used as transit points for goods bound for or emanating from certain dictatorial and oppressive states such as Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Israel.

One Band Moves Its Metal Out of Iraq

One Band Moves Its Metal Out of Iraq

It was a heavy metal miracle.

Acrassicauda had been through hell as a rock band in wartime Baghdad. Its practice space was bombed. Its members were branded Satan worshipers and received death threats for making Western-style music. Then they suffered through two purgatorial years as refugees in Syria and Turkey, killing time and dreaming of rocking out in the land of the free.

And on Sunday night, two days after the last of the band’s four members was resettled in the United States, they enjoyed what any metal fan would have to call heaven: bearhugs and “Wow, dude” heart-to-hearts backstage with Metallica at the Prudential Center in Newark. It probably wasn’t necessary for James Hetfield, Metallica’s lead singer, to surprise them after the show by handing over one of his guitars, a black ESP, and signing it “Welcome to America”; their minds were already blown.

We, The Anarchists – An Interview with Stuart Christie

We, The Anarchists – An Interview with Stuart Christie

Anarchist participation in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 remains one of the most complicated, inspiring, and troubling moments in the history of anti-authoritarian activism. Even today, more than seven decades later, historians and militants continue to study and debate the events.

One such person is Stuart Christie, a longtime anarchist, whose recent book, We, The Anarchists! A Study of the Iberian Anarchist federation (FAI) 1927-1937, attempts to answer key questions about the fate of the anarchist movement, while also bringing alive some of the drama of the times.

I asked Christie to tell me a little about his book in January of this year. What follows is a transcript of our exchange.

Caption This

Thursday saw a protest in London against a visit by Geva Rapp, a high-ranking member of the Israeli Defence Forces. Police and the crowd clashed as protestors attempted to enter the building and officers attempted to violently disperse the crowd.

While a serious demonstration, I am afraid my attention was drawn to the following:

Captions, anyone?

Cornwall Arms Factory Disrupted

Cornwall Arms Factory Disrupted

This morning, activists from Stop Kernow Arms Trade occupied the roof of Helston Gunsmiths, a company who manufacture tanks & small arms, to highlight the irresponsibility of the arms trade.

In 2007, the UK sold weapons to 11 of the 13 countries identified as being locations with at least one armed conflict in 2006. Helston Gunsmiths were involved in supplying guns to the Iraqi police force which ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda. It’s hard to determine where weapons will eventually end up, and arms manufacturers have a vested interest in keeping things this way. Around 90% of casualties in armed conflicts are caused by small arms, which are used for domestic repression by corrupt regimes and prolong violent conflict.

Humvee with frikkin laser on it takes out killer robot

Humvee with frikkin laser on it takes out killer robot

US aerospace leviathan Boeing was delighted yesterday to announce that its Humvee-mounted “Laser Avenger” deathray weapon had shot down a small drone aircraft.

According to Boeing:

Laser Avenger achieved its principal test objectives by using its advanced targeting system to acquire and track three small UAVs [Unmanned Air Vehicles] flying against a complex background of mountains and desert. The laser system also shot down one of the UAVs from an operationally relevant range. These tests mark the first time a combat vehicle has used a laser to shoot down a UAV.

The Laser Avenger, in which a laser weapon is added to Boeing’s existing Avenger gun’n’missile anti-aircraft system, had previously suffered from a reputation for being a bit feeble. The best it had done to date was to cook off improvised bombs and unexploded shells lying stationary on the ground.

But Boeing say the Laser Avenger now kicks coherent-light arse.