Northampton, Massachusetts - Around 20 demonstrators gathered in front of the Northampton office of U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern on Thursday evening to protest the recent decision by the U.S. government to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine. The Biden administration announced the decision to send 31 Abrams tanks on Wednesday, as fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces approaches one year of conflict. Germany also announced on the same day that it would send 14 Leopard 2 tanks on the same day, with 62 tanks in total being sent from NATO-allied nations to support Ukraine, as reported by the Associated Press. The protesters gathered in front of McGovern’s office on Thursday to denounce the decision, saying the U.S. should focus on diplomacy and negotiations instead.
Early on the morning of May 2, 1945, General Vasily Chuikov, the commander of the Soviet 8thGuards Army, accepted the surrender of the German garrison of Berlin. Two days prior, soldiers from the 150th Rifle Division, part of the Soviet 5th Shock Army, had raised the victory banner of the Red Army over the Reichstag. An hour after the banner went up, Adolf Hitler and his mistress, Eva Braun, committed suicide in his study inside the Furhrerbunker. Chuikov, the hero of Stalingrad whose battered 62nd Army was renamed the 8th Guards Army in honor of their victory in holding that city in the face of a massive German onslaught, had led his troops into the heart of the Nazi capital, battling stubborn Nazi resistance in the Tiergarten district of Berlin, where the den of the Nazi beast was located. The Soviet general was rewarded for the courage and sacrifice of his soldiers by being in position to accept the German surrender.
2022 started off with a bang, as January saw the publication of news of Elbit’s permanent closure of their Oldham factory. The victory came after an 18 month direct action battle waged against Elbit’s Ferranti factory in Oldham, which saw 36 arrests and millions of pounds of cumulative damage caused. Despite round-the-clock police patrols and massively heightened security, the efforts of Israel’s largest arms firm to protect their beloved weapons factory failed. The win embodied the power of direct action and community mobilisation – a major validation of Palestine Action’s strategy. Next up, we took aim at their remaining sites. With momentum ripe following our first long-term victory, people across the country geared up to tear down Elbit factories and premises.
At the most recent United Nations COP27 meeting in Egypt, the nuclear industry had a strong presence pushing nuclear power as a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. Clearing the FOG spoke to Dr. Arjun Mkhijani, the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, about why nuclear power is not needed and is actually counterproductive in the age of the climate crisis. Dr. Makhijani wrote the book on a roadmap to a carbon-free, nuclear-free future. An expert in nuclear fusion, he also talks about the Department of Energy's nuclear fusion advances, which is actually a weapons program, and why this is a dangerous path. The false claims of nuclear fusion as a potential energy source are being used to justify this research.
The Democrats position themselves as the party of virtue, cloaking their support for the war industry in moral language stretching back to Korea and Vietnam, when President Ngo Dinh Diem was as lionized as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. All the wars they support and fund are “good” wars. All the enemies they fight, the latest being Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, are incarnations of evil. The photo of a beaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris holding up a signed Ukrainian battle flag behind Zelensky as he addressed Congress was another example of the Democratic Party’s abject subservience to the war machine. The Democrats, especially with the presidency of Bill Clinton, became shills not only for corporate America but for the weapons manufacturers and the Pentagon.
There was great hoopla—largely unquestioned by media— with the announcement last week by the U.S. Department of Energy of a “major scientific breakthrough” in the development of fusion energy. “This is a landmark achievement,” declared Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Her department’s press release said the experiment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California “produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it” and will “provide invaluable insights into the prospects of clean fusion energy.” “Nuclear fusion technology has been around since the creation of the hydrogen bomb,” noted a CBS News article covering the announcement. “Nuclear fusion has been considered the holy grail of energy creation.” And “now fusion’s moment appears to be finally here,” said the CBS piece.
The killing of seven people and wounding of 47 more in Highland Park, Illinois on July 4 was committed with a weapon made by Smith & Wesson, the world’s biggest firearms manufacturer. So was the killing of 17 people at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Perhaps it’s no surprise that guns made by Smith & Wesson would be implicated in gun crimes, a category that reached record heights in the United States last year. Neither is it a surprise that the issue crosses U.S. borders. In a lawsuit targeting major gun manufacturers, the Mexican government cited numerous examples of Smith & Wesson rifles being smuggled over the border to criminal cartels. The company is well aware, the lawsuit says, “that its marketing would motivate and attract criminal users — including the cartels — to select and misuse its products in unlawful acts of violence.”
Under Ukrainian government pressure, major US media outlet CBS News censored a documentary that it produced that exposed corruption in Ukraine. The report estimated that, of the tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons that Western governments have sent to help Ukraine wage a proxy war against Russia, just around 30% have actually made it to the frontlines. People involved in the Ukraine arms ratline told CBS in the documentary that there was significant corruption, due to “powerlords” and “oligarchs,” and that much of the military equipment was being siphoned off or sold on the “black market,” in what was a kind of “black hole.” CBS News published these revelations on August 4 in a joint article and video titled “Why military aid to Ukraine doesn’t always get to the front lines: ‘Like 30% of it reaches its final destination.’”
Nearly 2,500 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 837 have voted to strike the Boeing Co. in St. Louis. IAM District 837, which represents workers at three Boeing Defense locations, released the following statement regarding the rejection of the company’s offer: “Our members have spoken loudly and with one voice. We reject Boeing’s current contract offer and will strike at all three St. Louis area locations, starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. We cannot accept a contract that is not fair and equitable, as this company continues to make billions of dollars each year off the backs of our hardworking members. Boeing previously took away a pension from our members, and now the company is unwilling to adequately compensate our members’ 401(k) plan. We will not allow this company to put our members’ hard-earned retirements in jeopardy.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Russia’s goals in Ukraine are now expanded beyond the Donbas region, citing the failed peace talks and Western military aid to Ukraine. When Russia pulled its forces out of areas in northern Ukraine, Moscow said it would focus on the “liberation” of the breakaway Donbas republics, known as the Donestk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR). Lavrov’s comments are the first time a high-level Russian official acknowledged Moscow’s war aims extend beyond that region. Lavrov said that geographical realities changed after Russian and Ukrainian negotiators failed to reach a breakthrough at talks that were held in Istanbul back in March.
Biden said last year that he enacted the ban but has pushed through arms sales for the Saudis since. Reuters reported on Monday that the Biden administration is considering lifting a ban on the sale of “offensive” weapons to Saudi Arabia as President Biden is preparing to visit the country. Sources told Reuters that the decision hinges on whether Riyadh makes progress toward ending its war in Yemen, where a ceasefire has been holding relatively well. The report said that the Biden administration wants the ceasefire to stick. In February 2021, Biden said he was ending support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen, a policy that included a ban on offensive weapons sales. But it was later revealed that US contractors were still maintaining Saudi warplanes that were bombing Yemen, and the Biden administration approved a sale of air-to-air missiles to the Kingdom in November 2021.
Recently, police told Palestine Action activists who were under arrest, that Elbit was abandoning its London Headquarters at 77 Kingsway. Security at the company’s entrance told Samantha Asumadu, a freelance journalist, working for the Big Issue, that Elbit was not at the site and they had never heard of them. The front desk also confirmed that the Israeli arms firm were not there and even denied the company ever was, despite it being well known that Elbit was leasing the sixth floor for many years. A separate security guard confirmed to another source that Elbit had indeed left the building. This makes 77 Kingsway the second Elbit site permanently shut down by Palestine Action, in less than 2 years of sustained direct action. Behind closed doors, war criminals have been facilitating Elbit’s British-based operations — no more!
The United States plans to spend tens of billions of dollars to surround China with missiles. But it’s having trouble finding an Asian country willing to host the offensive weapons. The US military commissioned a study from the RAND Corporation, a Pentagon-backed research group, to assess the feasibility of deploying intermediate-range missiles to the Pacific. The study closely analyzed the US government’s relations with its five treaty allies in the region: Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. Citing “an inability to find a willing partner,” the RAND report concluded that the chance of these nations hosting US ground-based intermediate-range missiles “is very low as long as current domestic political conditions and regional security trends hold.”
This morning, Palestine Action Scotland made its debut – as activists took to the roof of weapons company Thales’ Glasgow factory. A team of six activists scaled the site in the early hours of the morning and are currently occupying the building, rendering it unusable and forcing workers to evacuate. Inside the factory they have dismantled and destroyed factory equipment and facilities. Thales is one of the world’s largest arms companies – producing armored vehicles, missile systems and military UAVs (drones) – in particular, the Watchkeeper drone, used for surveillance and combat on captive populations. Today’s action has begun the campaign to end Scottish complicity in the apartheid, dispossession and ethnic cleansing enacted on Palestinians by the Israeli occupation.