Stop the War's Tribute to Becky Nettleship

WE ARE SORRY TO REPORT THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF REBECCA (BECKY) NETTLESHIP ON JULY 23 AGED 32.



Through all of her life Becky engaged with the movements of young people to fight for a better future, and strove for a world where peace prevails. She worked with us in the Stop the War Coalition for a while nationally in her younger days, and then worked with Durham Stop the War in its early founding days of 2017/18 when she was at Durham University.

In the last ten years she embarked on the pursuit of a scientific career and, against all the odds, got a Master’s degree at Durham University in theoretical physics. From being a talented dancer in her youth she was then on the road to becoming a talented data scientist when she moved to London in 2018.

Only weeks before she died, Rebecca took part in a large demonstration in London when Stop the War, together with people around the world, were demanding justice for the Palestinian people.

Our best wishes and condolences go out to the family, comrades and friends of Becky. We also thank them for the generous donation of 800 to Stop the War as part of the donations made by family, comrades and friends at her funeral.


LIBERAL INTERVENTIONISM, THE GAME IS OVER

Lindsey German
As the last US soldier left Kabul on Monday night, Joe Biden acknowledged the defeat not just of the war and occupation there but of the whole policy of liberal interventionism. ‘This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries’.

The wars started by George Bush – ably abetted by Tony Blair – have come to an ignominious end. Those of us who argued 20 years ago that this war should never happen, that it would worsen terrorism worldwide and worsen the lives of millions, have been proved right. There were many who saw that the war and intervention launched then would not succeed in its aims. We were ignored by politicians, media and military who launched a propaganda war to cheer the real one.

They have a lot to answer for. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, then Libya and Syria have seen more than a million dead, many more have become refugees, and whole countries have been devastated by their consequences. The human costs have been immense – in the countries wrecked by war but also in those launching the wars. Biden acknowledged in his speech that 18 veterans in the US commit suicide every day. The loss felt by families of those killed never goes away. The future costs of medical care and disability for those who served in the wars runs into billions.

The US has spent $300 million a day on the Afghan war alone, at the expense of health care, education and much else. It has left Afghanistan one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. For all the talk of making Afghanistan free from terrorism ISIS-K has grown as a force under the occupation, just as it did in Iraq. The Taliban, defeated very rapidly in 2001, have been able to seize back a country governed by corrupt pro-US politicians and unable to deliver for most of its citizens.

The whole idea that the world’s largest imperialist nation could ‘remake’ a country was itself a conceit born of overweening power and military might. The vast bulk of Western resources in Afghanistan went into military and related expenditure, as it was always going to. The war and its successors were about regime change and asserting Western imperialism’s role, not championing human rights.

Those who argue for continued ‘humanitarian intervention’ are spreading the illusion that this was ever on offer. It was not. It is therefore right for the troops to leave and for the Afghan people to decide their own future. The west should help through reparations and accepting refugees as equal citizens, not as the pariahs they are treated by Western governments.

Despite the bluster of the British government, the withdrawal has shown its weakness. There is no independent military operation (or even evacuation) without the US.

There is little sign of government or media here facing up to the reality of the past 20 years’ failure. Instead, the very military and politicians who caused such a catastrophe are asked for their opinions on a daily basis while those who predicted this outcome are ignored.

Yet the impact of anti-war movements on public opinion and on shifting perception of wars has been profound and it continues. It’s why Biden still talks about ending the ‘forever wars’. And it’s why, as tensions grow with Iran, Russia and China – all of whom will be playing a role in Afghanistan – we need to keep campaigning.



A British judge ruled Monday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, one of the world's most high-profile whistleblowers, cannot be extradited to the U.S.

Judge Vanessa Baraitser said extradition would be oppressive due to Assange's mental health.
"The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man, who is genuinely fearful about his future," Baraitser wrote in her ruling. "For all of these reasons I find that Mr. Assange's risk of committing suicide, if an extradition order were to be made, to be substantial."
The U.S. is expected to appeal the decision within the allocated two-week time frame.
Assange is wanted in the U.S. over the publication of hundreds of thousands of classified military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010 and 2011. He is wanted on 18 charges, 17 of which fall under the U.S. Espionage Act.
His health has deteriorated while being held in a U.K. prison.
The U.S. has specifically accused him of conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to decipher a password known as "hash" in order to access a classified U.S. Department of Defense computer and expose military secrets.
Assange's supporters argue that the U.S. is targeting him for political reasons after his journalism exposed alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as human rights abuses.
If the 49-year-old Australian is extradited and convicted in the U.S., he could be sentenced to 30 to 40 years in prison, his lawyers have said. His mother, Christine Assange, said on Twitter that he won't survive if he is extradited. Prosecutors have said he would face no more than 5 years behind bars.
Assange's lawyers said in a closing written submission to Baraitser that the prosecution had been politically motivated "during a unique period of U.S. history under the (President Donald) Trump administration."
The legal team representing the U.S. said federal prosecutors are forbidden to consider political opinion in making their decisions.
New indictment
The U.S. Justice Department issued a new indictment in June alleging that Assange conspired with members of hacking organizations and tried to recruit hackers at conferences in Europe and Asia who could provide WikiLeaks with classified information.
Assange's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, tried to delay the hearing, arguing in August that the indictment arrived too late for his team to review and respond to it properly. James Lewis represented the U.S. authorities.
Fitzgerald said he had not seen Assange face to face for six months, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the BBC. However, a bid to rule out the new charges was unsuccessful.
Speaking from a glass box in August, Assange said he did not consent to extradition.
The hearing lasted four weeks, with dozens of witnesses called to give evidence.
Locked up in Belmarsh
WikiLeaks published U.S. military video footage in 2010 showing a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a dozen people. It then published thousands of secret military documents and diplomatic cables.
Soon after, Sweden tried to extradite Assange from Britain for alleged sex crimes. When he lost that case in 2012, he fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and sought asylum.

Assange was arrested at the embassy in April 2019 for breaching his bail conditions and has since been held at the high-security Belmarsh Prison in southeast London.

Assange's partner, Stella Moris, told PA Media in the summer that her partner's has health was deteriorating.
"This is an attack on journalism," she said. "If he is extradited to the U.S. for publishing inconvenient truths about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then it will set a precedent, and any British journalist or publisher could also be extradited in the future."
Moris launched a crowdfunding campaign last month to pay for Assange's legal fees. Over 175,000 ($239,000) has been pledged.

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