Reports 2016

One Year On From Britain's Continued Bombing of Syria and Iraq

After the US Election – A More Dangerous World

On Thursday December 1st 2016, Newcastle Stop the war is held a meeting to discuss the continued bombing of Syria and Iraq and the more dangerous world following the US election. The main speaker was Daniel Jakopovich - Guest lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Cambridge and other Universities and a Stop the War national organiser. 

Daniel started by talking about the never ending war started by Bush and Blair and its consequences, which has led to more than a million dead in Iraq alone and the continued war under Obama that had left 10,000 dead in Libya and a country destroyed and descended into mayhem by the intervention. He pointed out that in 2015 alone the US had dropped 23,000 bombs on 6 Muslim countries Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.  He said this never ending war  was about to get even more dangerous with the election of Donald Trump.  Hilary Clinton had  also supported to the hilt every war as well. 

Daniel contrasted Donald Trump's US isolationist rhetoric with the reality and his willingness to send 30,000 more troops to the Middle East. He also pointed out Donald Trumps' stance in favour of nuclear weapons and the arming of Japan and South Korea with nuclear weapons.

Daniel concluded his talk with stressing the importance of an organised anti-war movement that had been a constant challenge to the war-mongering governments and spoke about the importance of this work in Britain.   Daniel's talk was well received and was  followed by formal questions and answers and announcements before people engaged in informal discussion with some food and drink to end the programme of meetings for this year.

Report of Newcastle Stop War Meeting

Crisis in the Middle East - no more military intervention!

Chris Nineham Vice Chair Stop the War was the speaker at this months well attended meeting on November 2. He started by expressing the concern of Stop the War around the Western NATO powers and their attempt to blame Russia for their own military expansion in the Middle East and into Eastern European countries and their activities in being behind regime change in 12 countries surrounding Russia.  With Russia's involvement in Syria any attempt of Britain, and the other western powers to try and enforce a "no fly zone" to bring about the regime change they were really aiming for would lead to a war with the Syrian government and Russia.  

Chris Nineham condemned the warmongering statements of the government that Britain will be able to fight a war with Russia within two years. He called on the stop the war movement to prepare and escalate their work to oppose this dangerous shift to war and highlighted the importance of its work to block hands of the warmongering interventionists in Britain which would contribute to ending big power interventions world wide. His contribution was really appreciated and the meeting discussed the organisation of and  working towards  larger events to involve people in the discussion and activities of anti-war movement.

Meeting - 15 years on: Time to stop the war

Mo AbuzahraOn Wednesday, October 12, Newcastle Stop the War Coalition held a meeting to mark the 15th year of the Anglo-US "war on terror". Around 15 people took part with some  students and staff from Newcastle University and Durham University.

Mo Abuzahra, was the guest speaker, the new chair of Unison northern region International Committee.  Mo started by informing the meeting of the work of the unison international committee in the region and its joint work with stop the war and the Palestine solidarity campaign i.e UNISON's long held position of opposing the replacement of Trident and their call for the decommissioning of the existing Trident weapons system, Stop Trident March locally and nationally and their partnership working with Martin Luther King Peace Committee to produce the First World War Centenary Christmas Card. 

Mo having been involved personally in the movement and having originated from West Asia (Middle East) and having family in the region spoke about the war on terror revealing the terrible atrocities of the "war on terror" after the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. For example, he exposed the more than a million dead in Iraq as a result of the invasion and occupation and the 6 million refugees, 5 million orphans and he exposed how the war had created the complete opposite to what the big powers had claimed. Instead of defeating terrorism  it had spread terrorism all over the region. Instead of bringing communities together the war had torn people apart on racist and religious grounds.  Instead of stabilising countries the war had created extreme instability across the whole region.  And then lastly instead of bringing world peace he said  we can see clearly how the "war on terror" has brought us closer to a third world war as there is a high risk of clash between the U.S and its allies with China and Russia.

Mo concluded by saying; "life gives every person a second chance, this chance is called tomorrow. Lets all join in in unity and solidarity to write something that makes all proud"  

Mo's contribution was very well received and it gave the participants important insight into the international solidarity work that  Unison carries out and the vital importance of Newcastle stop the war developing this work with Unison and the wider trade union movement.

The meeting concluded with a number of proposals for further work which will be further planned out at the next meeting. The meeting also agreed to support Unison's meeting on October 20 on the Colombian people's struggle for peace to be held in Newcastle University.

Newcastle People For Corbyn Demonstration & Rally

On Saturday July 30 2016 Newcastle, Sunderland and South Tyneside Stop the War took part in a demonstration and rally to support the anti-war, anti-austerity and anti-racist stand of Jeremy Corbyn and wish every success to the campaign of Labour party members to retain him as the leader of the opposition in Parliament and open up the question of building a social movement to empower the people.

Short You Tube film of demonstration and rally

Meeting - The Peoples' Chilcot Report – A Response to Chilcot and what next

On Wednesday July 13th Newcastle Stop the War  Coalition held an important meeting in  response to the Chilcot report.  About 20 people took part and were addressed by Stop the War Vice Chair Chris Nineham, Green Party representative Rachel Featherstone and Rebecca Moosavian Northumbria University legal equalities expert.  The outcome of the discussion was for the anti-war movement to go all out to take advantage of the favourable conditons created by the report in not only demanding that Blair is brought to account but that the present warmongering interventions of NATO countries and Britain towards Syria, Iraq, Libya is ended and the warmongering stand against Russia is opposed. The meeting was chaired by Roger Nettleship Convener of NSWC.
Summary from the contribution of Rebecca Moosavian, Senior Lecturer Northumbria University School of Law:  Summary

Newcastle Vigil  to Mark the
Release of the Chilcot Report

On Wednesday July 6 around 70 people gathered at Newcastle Monument to mark the release of the Chilcot  report.  Speakers from Newcastle Stop the War, Sunderland Stop the War, Newcastle Trades union council and Veterans for Peace said that the Chilcot report is a damning indictment of Tony Blair and those around him who took us to war in Iraq.  The report highlights most of what we have been campaigning for over the years. Some of the main points are:

Military action was “not a last resort,” the Chilcot Inquiry has found. The report says there was no imminent threat from Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2003. The report says the threat was "deliberately exaggerated".

Decided before to go to war before weapons inspections were concluded. In July 2002 before, well over six months before the invasion of Iraq, Blair wrote to then-US President George Bush promising him that the UK would be there with him “whatever,” Chilcot says. Weapons of Mass Destruction presented ‘with a certainty that was not justified’. Tony Blair to George Bush, 28 July, 2002. "I would be happy to try to put all this together... But it needs a huge commitment in time and energy. So it's only really worth doing if we are all on the same page. On timing, we could start up after the (summer) break. A strike date could be Jan/Feb next year (2003). But the crucial issue is not when, but how."

Chilcot says it is now clear that policy on Iraq was made “on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They were not challenged and they should have been.

Chilcot says the inquiry has not expressed a view on whether military action was legal, as that must be resolved by a properly constituted and internationally recognized court.
“We have, however, concluded that the circumstances in which it was decided there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory.”

Following the release of the report speakers called for Tony Blair and others involved in the Anglo-US criminal invasion to be brought to account.  The rally also called for an anti-war government that ends the cycle of wars and violence by Britain’s interference in other countries throughout the world.

Report of Joint NPSC and NSWC Meeting on Palestine, BDS and Anti-Semitism
Mick Bowman speaking at the Meeting

On Tuesday, May 17 a meeting of 30 people was held in Newcastle on Palestine, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israel movement (BDS) and the attempt of some in the ruling circles and media to present opposition to the Israeli state and its apartheid politics as "anti-Semitic".  The speakers were Maddy Nettleship, Mick Bowman and Ann Schofield all  activists in the movements of the working class and people in the north east area.  The meeting was chaired by Alex Snowdon Chair of Newcastle Palestine Solidarity Campaign.  Recordings of the speeches:
Chair's opening   Maddy_Nettleship  Mick Bowman  Ann Schofield Concluding Remarks

Tyne & Wear May Day

Photo: Chronicle Live

On Saturday, 30 April, more than 300 people representing Trade Unions, political parties and campaign groups took part in the Tyne & Wear May Day march from Princes Square, Newcastle to Exhitition Park. At the park the May Day rally was held with speakers and music. Newcastle Stop the War was represented with activists carrying the banner on the march and the convener Roger Nettleship speaking at the rally.

Newcastle Public Meeting

Why we should scrap Trident

On Tuesday, March 22, at Broadacre House, Newcastle Stop the War Coalition (NSWC) hosted a meeting with the support of Unison Northern Region on why we should scrap Trident. Around 20 people took part.

Clare Williams, Unison Northern Region Convener spoke about Unison's policy and concern in the unstable world conditions created by the big powers and their added concern against Trident. She said we need to organise to have a different type of world that brings peace and not war and brings people together.  She said that from a  union perspective it made no sense to say that Trident would "protect" jobs and outlined how the whole austerity programme, which was linked to this policy of nuclear weapons  was destroying both manufacturing and public services. She explained Unison's strategy for an alternative to austerity. She concluded by saying there needs an atmosphere of ongoing discussion in Unison and other unions on these issues and a working together with Stop the war, CND,  and other organisations and utilising information and facts from all these organisations in the future. 

Alex Snowdon, Newcastle Stop the War concurred with the  previous speaker and the chair around "project fear" that was increasingly being used to stop serious discussion of these vital issues of Trident as well as other issues in society.  There was a need to take these issues up in the movement and he spoke about the  recent mass demonstration in London, the first for many years, which showed the increasing opposition to the renewal of Trident.  He said especially when, you have leaders of SNP, Greens and the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn speaking there and in Parliament against Trident.   He pointed out how Trident was totally dependent on the US.  That for the government, Trident  was about prestige and global standing. It was ludicrously expensive, dangerous and useless in addressing the 21st century security issues. He concluded by saying that what needed to be done was firstly to put the arguments across, support Corbyn and campaign and lobby MPs for the vote in Parliament and secondly to create a broader vision in the movements of the people for peace and justice and work for a world without endless war.

Dave Webb, Chair of CND complemented the other speakers giving some detailed accounts of the nuclear weapons systems, the costs and the legal frameworks. He pointed out that one submarine which was on duty all the time could hit 40 targets with nuclear weapons and that 3 million people could be killed with one strike. He pointed that to target civilians in war was illegal in international law and then gave facts on how Britain was in breach of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty it had signed by its actions to renew Trident. Talking about the costs he said the latest figures that been worked out by a Conservative MP and put the figure at 180 billion over 30 years, 6 billion a year.  He concluded by also calling for CND working together with other organisations and it was agreed by all that there needed to be a new branch of CND set up in Newcastle.

Contributions and discussion were very much focused on developing discussion in the trade unions and in Labour Party circles and amongst MPs as well as broadly in society. The meeting was chaired by Roger Nettleship Convener of NSWC.

Newcastle Stop the War Annual General Meeting 2016

One of the vital future events discussed at the AGM

Newcastle Stop the War Coalition held its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday February 2nd. The context of the AGM is the continuing dangerous situation coming from the Anglo-US warmongers stepping up their covert and overt military intervention in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and elsewhere using the pretext of a "war on terrorism". Equally dangerous is the attempt to criminalise the Muslim community and  to attack the rights of all the people in Britain under the guise of opposing terrorism. Present at the AGM were members of Stop the War and one guest. A new steering committee was elected and the officers were re-elected. A report was produced on the activities over the last year and the convener gave a report on the work of Newcastle Stop the War Coalition over the last year which generated some important discussion. There were no motions. The AGM then discussed and agreed future activities for this year including national events of Stop the War.

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Newcastle demonstration against the invasion of Afghanistan, October 2001

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