Monday, September 29, 2014

Stop the First World War - talks and discussions presented by Conway Hall Ethical Society

Conway Hall Ethical Society's imminent series of events, STOP THE FIRST WORLD WAR, will feature a lecture on Bertrand Russell, to be delivered by Chris Bratcher on 7 October at 7pm. We enclose the current programme here.

Readers may be interested in our timely book on Russell, A Pacifist At War: Letters and Writings 1914-1918. See http://www.spokesmanbooks.com/acatalog/Bertrand_Russell.html for further information on this title.


 


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Russell Tribunal finds evidence of incitement to genocide crimes against humanity in Gaza

Russell Tribunal finds evidence of incitement to genocide crimes against humanity in Gaza

 

September 25th 2014
 
For Immediate Release





The Russell Tribunal on Palestine's Emergency Session on Israel's Operation Protective Edge held yesterday in Brussels has found evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and also incitement to genocide.


The Jury [1] reported: 'The cumulative effect of the long-standing regime of collective punishment in Gaza appears to inflict conditions of life calculated to bring about the incremental destruction of the Palestinians as a group in Gaza.'


'The Tribunal emphasises the potential for a regime of persecution to become genocidal in effect, In light of the clear escalation in the physical and rhetorical violence deployed in respect of Gaza in the summer of 2014, the Tribunal emphasises the obligation of all state parties to the 1948 Genocide Convention ‘to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide.’


The Jury heard evidence from eyewitnesses to Israeli attacks during the Gaza war 2014 including journalists Mohammed Omer, Max Blumenthal, David Sheen, Martin Lejeune, Eran Efrati and Paul Mason, as well as surgeons Mads Gilbert, Mohammed Abou Arab, Genocide Expert Paul Behrens, Col Desmond Travers and Ivan Karakashian, Head of Advocacy and Defence for Children International.

 
In terms of the crime of incitement to genocide, the tribunal received evidence 'demonstrating a vitriolic upswing in racist rhetoric and incitement' during the summer of 2014. 'The evidence shows that such incitement manifested across many levels of Israeli society, on both social and traditional media, from football fans, police officers, media commentators, religious leaders, legislators, and government ministers.'


The Tribunal also found evidence of the following war crimes:

Willful killing

Extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity

Intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and civilian objects

Disproportionate use of force

Attacks against buildings dedicated to religion and education

The use of Palestinians as human shields

Employing weapons, projectiles, and material and methods of warfare which are of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering which are inherently indiscriminate

The use of violence to spread terror among the civilian population


The Tribunal further stated: 'It is recognised that in a situation where patterns of crimes against humanity are perpetrated with impunity, and where direct and public incitement to genocide is manifest throughout society, it is very conceivable that individuals or the state may choose to exploit the conditions in order to perpetrate the crime of genocide.

 
It further noted: 'We have have a genuine fear that in an environment of impunity and an absence of sanction for serious and repeated criminality, the lessons from Rwanda and other mass atrocities may once again go unheeded'.


The Tribunal calls on Israel to fulfill its' obligations under international law and for the state of Palestine to accede without further delay to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, fully cooperate with the human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry and fully engage the mechanisms of international justice.


The Tribunal also reminds all states to cooperate to bring to an end the illegal situation arising from Israel’s occupation, siege and crimes in the Gaza Strip. In light of the obligation not to render aid or assistance, all states must consider appropriate measures to exert sufficient pressure on Israel, including the imposition of sanctions, the severing of diplomatic relations collectively through international organisations, or in the absence of consensus, individually by breaking bilateral relations with Israel.


It calls upon All states to fulfill their duty ‘to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide’.

 
The Full and detailed findings and recommendations of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine can be found at the Russell Tribunal website: www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com


The Tribunal will present its' findings to the European Parliament today.


 

Notes

 

 

CONTACT

Email: pressRTOP@gmail.com

Ewa Jasiewicz 0032 487 384 948 (English, Polish and Arabic)

Katarzyna Lemanska 0032 489 04 48 22 (French and Polish)



Twitter: @RussellTribunal

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Russell Tribunal on Palestine - Extraordinary Session

Israel’s Crimes in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge – Extraordinary session of the Russell Tribunal

24-25 September – Brussels


A few weeks ago, members of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, outraged by Israel’s terrible assault on Gaza and its population, decided to start working on an extraordinary session of the Tribunal that will look into Israel’s Crimes (including War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and the Crime of Genocide) during the still ongoing “Operation Protective Edge” as well as third States complicity.

During this session our jury, composed of Michael Mansfield QC, John Dugard, Vandana Shiva, Christiane Hessel, Richard Falk, Ahdaf Soueif, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Roger Waters, Ronnie Kasrils, Radhia Nasraoui and Miguel Angel Estrella will listen to testimonies from Paul Behrens, Desmond Travers, David Sheen, Max Blumenthal, Eran Efrati, Mads Gilbert, Mohammed Abou-Arab, Mads Gilbert, Paul Mason, Martin Lejeune, Mohammed Omer, Raji Sourani, Ashraf Mashharawi, Ivan Karakashian, Agnes Bertrand and Michael Deas.

The jury will give its findings on 25th September in the morning during an international press conference at the International Press Center (IPC, Brussels). In the afternoon, the Jury will be received at the European parliament and address a message to the UN General Assembly for its reopening.

Watch the Tribunal live at: http://livestre.am/4naSD

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Israel's systematic attacks on civilians to be examined by the Russell Tribunal on Palestine

Israel's systematic attacks on civilians to be examined by the Russell Tribunal on Palestine
24-25 September – Brussels – Albert Hall, Brussels
 
 
For immediate release
 
Wednesday September 17th
 
 
The Russell Tribunal's extraordinary session on Gaza will examine Israeli attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure during 'Operation Protective Edge' in July and August of this year.
 
Human Rights Watch recently accused Israel of committing war crimes in a report analysing three attacks on schools in Jabalya, Beit Hanoun and Rafah. The attacks killed 45 people, including 17 children.
 
This is not the first time that a human rights probe has made such claims. United Nations and Amnesty International investigations have also found evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
 
According to the United Nations, 2,131 Palestinians were killed during Israel's last 50 day offensive. Of those 501 were children with about 70 percent aged under 12 according to UNICEF.
 
In the same period, the Ministry of Health in Gaza recorded 10,918 people injured including 3,312 children and 2,120 women. According to the United Nations, 244 schools were shelled and one used as a military base. According to Al Mezan human rights organisation at least 10,920 houses were damaged or destroyed of which 2,853 were completely destroyed. Furthermore 161 mosques, eight hospitals – resulting in six being taken out of service - 46 NGO 50 fishing boats, and 244 vehicles were also hit.
 
John Dugard, Professor of International Law and former UN Special Rapporteur to the Occupied Palestinian Territories said:
 
In its shelling of houses and apartment blocks believed to be occupied by Hamas militants the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) has shown a callous disregard for what it views as collateral damage, but this collateral damage has often taken the form of the killing and injuring of civilians and the destruction of their property. This failure to distinguish between military targets and civilians constitutes a clear war crime.”
 
Raji Sourani, Director of the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said: “The civilians have been in the eye of the storm for this entire offensive. Israel has been following the rule of the jungle. This was made possible through the lack of accountability following Cast lead and Pillar of Defence. We need the rule of international law and accountability to end the Israeli occupation which is criminal by its' nature”
 
Ivan Karakashian, Advocacy Unit Coordinator at DCI-Palestine will be presenting on the use of children as human shields by the Israeli army, including the case of Ahmed Abu Raida, held and used for five days. Ivan said:

"Internal investigations by the Israeli military are neither transparent nor independent, and are certainly not serious. To date, no Israeli official has even contacted Ahmad or his family to obtain information concerning his use as a human shield. In this context, the International Criminal Court and initiatives like the Russell Tribunal on Palestine are vital to push for and deliver justice for Palestinian children."
 
The Tribunal will hear evidence from experts and witnesses who were on the ground during the attack including British Channel 4 News journalist Paul Mason on the targeting of school shelters, PCHR Director Raji Sourani on the targeting of civilians, surgeons Mads Gilbert and Mohammed Abou-Arab on the attacks on medical facilities and workers, journalist Martin LeJeune on the targeting of industrial zones and factories, and Ashraf Mashharawi on attacks on government energy and waste infrastructure.
 
Please contact the media team if you would like to interview any of the witnesses or jury members.
 
The entire event will be live-streamed: http://www.livestream.com/russelltribunalonpalestine?t=538802
 
CONTACT

Ewa Jasiewicz 0044 7754 360 030 (English, Polish and spoken Arabic)
Katarzyna Lemanska 0032 489 04 48 22 (French, Spanish and Polish)

Twitter: @RussellTribunal

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Irish Neutrality League and the Imperialist War 1914-18

Public Meeting
The Irish Neutrality League and the Imperialist War 1914-18
Tuesday 21st October, Liberty Hall, Dublin


Speakers
 
Gerry Adams
President, Sinn Féin
 
Mary Carolan
Sheehy Skeffington School of Human Rights and Social Justice
 
Jack O'Connor
General President, SIPTU
 
Michael O'Reilly
Dublin Council of Trade Unions
 
Dr. Margaret Ward
Director of the Women's Resource Centre
 
Chair: Freda Hughes
Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

www.pana.ie

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nottingham Festival of Words has gone to press...


As we write, our programme is being printed. It's not happened until now because some of the fantastic international events we are bringing you didn't get confirmed funding until a week ago and we've been working our socks off since then to get the final programme completed. So it is an appropriate time to give a big high five to our designer at Silbercow and printers at Russell Press who have been exceptionally friendly, patient and responsive to our increasingly hysterical demands. Sorry, I meant urgent demands.

Russell Press themselves have an interesting history, being founded by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation in 1968 which seems a spectacularly relevant coincidence to some of our international programme, especially an event called Faultlines (14 October) which will be chaired by English Pen and features writers from conflict-ridden and dangerous parts of the world.

Tickets for this, and other events, will be on sale via the Nottingham Playhouse Box Office very soon.

The only exception to this are the tickets for Ali Smith in conversation with Jon McGregor on Friday 17 October at Nottingham Lakeside Arts - tickets are already on sale via the Lakeside Arts Box Office. Ali Smith's book, How to be Both, has today been announced on to the Man Booker shortlist - we are very excited to be welcoming her along.

With a month to go, it's party time!
We'd like to invite you to help us please - and be amongst the first to hear what's planned. We will be holding a programme launch on Thursday 18 September at 6pm at Nottingham Writers' Studio.

All welcome - on condition you're prepared to take away some posters and programmes to spread the word far, wide and quickly!

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Disarmament for Development online course - Open University of Catalonia

Dear colleagues and alumni,

Please help us to disseminate this information regarding the new online course organised by the Open University of Catalonia and sponsored by the International Peace Bureau titled DISARMAMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT

We believe that today - more than ever - military budgets have to be reduced and funds allocated to human development.

Best wishes,

Daniel Jakopovich
Council member of the International Peace Bureau
 
=====

Disarmament for Development

NGO: International Peace Bureau
Dates: October 1, 2014 - February 15, 2015
Language: English
Credits: 6 credits (150 h)
Cost : Registration and Enrolment fees €300

Organised by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in partnership with the International Peace Bureau (IPB)


Introduction

The world spends over $1.7 trillion each year on the military. Even a fraction of this sum could go a long way in tackling mass poverty and mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Meanwhile weapons of all kinds undermine development and do unacceptable harm to civilians. How can we work to change this situation?

In order to achieve more just and peaceful societies, which is the dream of most people and the mission of the UN, it is important to look seriously at some of the major hampering factors.

This course deals in particular with the excessive military spending and the misuse of resources that should have been used to meet people’s basic needs and interests.

It addresses the need to change attitudes and rethink unsustainable and destructive production and consumption patterns.

The Disarmament for Development perspective is presented within the broader context of global efforts to create a Culture of Peace. IPB and UOC Disarmament for Development program focuses on a set of issues often overlooked by those working on poverty or peacemaking. This course offers an introduction both to the issues and to ways of campaigning.


Objectives

The Disarmament for Development program is intended to enable students:

·To gain theoretical perspectives on a multi-disciplinary topic of considerable scope.

·To access information and knowledge relevant to the theme and to the politics and economics surrounding the military choices that impact development.

·To acquire skills of analysis and practical planning of actions to impact decision makers.

·To develop techniques and strategies for building campaigns, projects and interventions in the political arena.

·To learn ways to inspire, to lead and to facilitate the participation of others in programs in this field.

·To develop new ways to communicate with a variety of interlocutors: governments, civil society actors, academics, media, the general public.


Contents

- Disarmament for development

- Military spending at a time of global economic crisis

- Military tools

- Military bases

- Developing campaigns

- Links between investment in the military and the UN's Post-2015 Development Agenda

- The impacts of weapons on sustainable development

- Justifications and doctrines underpinning support for and investment in military solutions

 
These contents are based on:

·Books and other materials on this topic published or collected by the IPB.

·The experience of IPB and its members / partners in this field since 2005.
 


For more information write to: secretariacp@uoc.edu, or mailbox@ipb.org

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Welcome to the Nato-fest

As Nato leaders gather this week in Wales, JEREMY CORBYN explores how the military alliance finds ever new ways to justify its seemingly endless expansion.

Thursday 28th Aug 2014
posted by Morning Star

Looking at government websites about the forthcoming Nato leaders’ conference at the Celtic Manor golf club, one could be forgiven for assuming it was some sort of gourmet festival.

The leaders of 60 nations will descend on Celtic Manor hotel, be treated to a sumptuous dinner at Cardiff Castle hosted by Prince Charles, visit a warship in Cardiff Bay and enjoy all the best hospitality on offer.

The chef has been named, the roads closed, the security fences built and demonstrations planned. To counter this (presumably unwelcome) intrusion there will be Nato-themed exhibitions and culinary delights.

There is no encouragement of the BBC or other media to discuss the actual role and purpose of Nato, its effects on our foreign and defence policy or its role in conflicts around the world.

To get the whole mood off to a good start there was a big display of Nato photos in Parliament which was designed to encourage MPs to better understand the peaceful role and purpose of Nato. This curious display of images of planes and ships was designed to assure everyone of military alliance’s commitment to peace and democracy ...

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE AT: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-3235-Welcome-to-the-Nato-fest

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

NATO: NO THANKS!


The Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation Ltd.
 

Russell House, Bulwell Lane, Nottingham NG6 0BT, England
 
 
 


MESSAGE
 
The leaders of 28 NATO member countries and others gather for a summit meeting in Newport, the third city of Wales, on 4-5 September 2014. For days together, this small city has been besieged while fences, gates and barricades are erected to protect those attending. The cost is substantial, and there is considerable inconvenience to the people of Newport and to the activists of the international peace movement who have organised a counter-summit there. NATO’s uselessness is never more apparent than when it rudely disrupts people’s lives in order to exult in 65 costly years of existence.
 
It was with some foresight, in 1949, that the distinguished Irish Foreign Minister, Seán MacBride, rejected an invitation, sent through the American Ambassador in Dublin, to participate in a meeting to discuss the formation of the North Atlantic Alliance. Later, MacBride gave several reasons for his opposition:
 
‘First of all I regarded NATO as being a rather dangerous military alliance that might well involve Europe in another war at more or less the wish of the United States. I could quite well see the American anti-communist view pushing NATO into a cold war first, and then into an active war.’ 
 
How prescient MacBride was. Nowadays, Russia may no longer be communist, but it remains the target of large-scale NATO expansion; in the Baltics, in Poland and elsewhere in central Europe, in the Balkans (Serbia included), around the Black Sea, especially in Georgia and Ukraine. Ukraine shares a long border with Russia. Planned missile ‘defence’ installations in Poland and Romania underline the aggressive posture towards Russia which the US maintains.
 
It should never be forgotten that the United States runs NATO in its own interests. When the US wanted to go to war in Afghanistan in 2001, immediately after 9/11, it spurned NATO’s offers of assistance, made by the then Secretary-General, George Robertson. Only later, did the US identify a useful, and expensive, role for NATO in that theatre of operations.
 
Be that as it may, Ireland had a particularly compelling reason not to join NATO, according to Mr MacBride:
 
‘… it was completely illogical for us to enter into a military alliance with Britain while a part of our country was still being occupied by British forces. We would be condoning and accepting the British occupation of Northern Ireland by entering a military alliance with Britain.’ 
 
The fundamentals of that situation endure, notwithstanding the real achievements of the peace process in Ireland. MacBride went on:
 
‘I can’t think of any good reason why Ireland should join NATO, then or now. NATO is a dangerous military alliance and I have noticed that there is a great deal of hesitancy among many of the NATO countries. I am very glad that we didn’t join and that we didn’t spend vast sums of money on quite unnecessary armament.’
 
There have been few statesmen with such clear vision. Seán MacBride developed his critique of NATO when accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1974. He said: 
 
‘ … It would be foolish to underrate the massive influence of the organized lobbies of military-industrial complexes in the United States and Western Europe. They constitute an unseen and unmentioned powerful force operating silently in the corridors of NATO and of most Western governments. Their resources are unlimited and their influence is great. This constitutes a huge vested interest which works silently against General and Complete Disarmament.’
 
The world is much in need of statesmen with MacBride’s experience and vision. Are there any to be found in Newport this week?
 
 
Tony Simpson
 
Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation
 
3 September 2014



 

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