Wednesday, 17 November 2010



Afghanistan: Time to Go

Called by Stop the War Coalition, CND and British Muslim Initiative.


We will be running transport from Coventry, leaving the swimming baths in Fairfax Street at 9 am. Tickets are £12/£donations for unwaged. If you want to book seats, please email or call me on or by Thursday 18th (see number below).

A large banner on this week's huge protest against education cuts said it all: Spend on Education and Jobs - Not on War.

It's a message that is clearly getting through. With little over a week before the national AFGHANISTAN: TIME TO GO demonstration in London on Saturday 20 November, the Stop the War national office is being inundated with requests for leaflets and posters, details of transport being organised around the country to bring protestors to London, and people volunteering to help.

There is a promotional video on Stop the War's youtube channel featuring interviews with Tony Benn, Joe Glenton, and the parents of soldiers who have died in Afghanistan. You can also find it on .

In peace
Andy Pettit
Chair, Coventry Stop the War Coalition
Tel: 07732 030231

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Stop the War Coalition Annual National Conference: 30 October

Stop the War Coalition Annual National Conference
Saturday 30 October 10.00am - 5.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4RL (Tube: Holborn)

For Stop the War members only: Join here... Book tickets... Resolutions...

Our past year

The past year has been very eventful for Stop the War Coalition, including our protest when Tony Blair appeared before the Iraq Inquiry, the two emergency demonstrations following Israel's murderous attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, which brought tens of thousands on to London's streets, the packed public meeting to welcome soldier Joe Glenton on his release from prison, and a series of public meetings in the House of Commons calling for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan.

Around the country, local Stop the War groups have organised hundreds of events, including public meetings, debates, local protests and vigils.

Annual National Conference

Our annual national conference in London on 30 October will debate our policies, strategy and campaigns for the coming year. The continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the threat of an attack on Iran, the siege of Gaza, and the escalating Islamophobia in Britain, will all be part of our discussions.

The conference will include a number of notable guest speakers, including Tony Benn, former soldier Joe Glenton, who refused to fight in Afghanistan, Guardian journalist Seumas Milne and Joy Gordon, author of Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions.

Who can attend the conference?

The conference is open to all members of Stop the War -- whether they are delegates from local Stop the War groups and affiliated organisations or individual national members. Members who joined prior to January 1, 2010 will have full speaking and voting rights. National members who have joined since then can attend the conference as observers.

If you are not a member of Stop the War but would like to attend the conference as an observer, you will need to join before 30 October. Membership can cost as little as £2 per month: Join here...


Delegations from local Stop the War groups and affiliated organisations attend on the following basis:
Up to 4 from each local Stop the War group
Up to 2 from affiliated organisations with less than 1,000 members
Up to 4 from affiliated organisations with 1,000-10,000 members
Up to 6 from affiliates with more than 10,000 members

Delegates details (name, full postal address, email, tel no.) should be sent to the Stop the War national office by Friday 22 October. If sent by email, please write "Delegate Registration" in the subject line.

To be entitled to a delegation, new affiliations to Stop the War must be registered at the Stop the War national office by Friday 15 October. Affiliate here...

Individual delegates and observers

Stop the War Coalition national members who joined prior to 1 January 2010 have full speaking and voting rights at the conference. National members who have joined since then can attend the conference as observers.

Conference fees

Conference fees are £10 for each delegate from an affiliated organisation or Stop the War group. The fee for individual members attending as delegates or observers is £10/£7 concessions. Registration fees can be paid in three ways:

Phone 020 7801 2768

Made out to "Stop the War Coalition" and sent to Stop the War, 231 Vauxhall Bridge Rd, London SW1V 1EH.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Forget the tomfoolery: America is not leaving Iraq

Don't be taken in by the claim that the last US "combat" troops departed from Iraq two weeks ahead of schedule. The Americans are not leaving, says Robert Fisk, and the occupation is not over.

By Robert Fisk
The Independent
20 August 2010

When you invade someone else's country, there has to be a first soldier – just as there has to be a last.

The first man in front of the first unit of the first column of the invading American army to reach Fardous Square in the centre of Baghdad in 2003 was Corporal David Breeze of the 3rd Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment. For that reason, of course, he pointed out to me that he wasn't a soldier at all. Marines are not soldiers. They are Marines. But he hadn't talked to his mom for two months and so – equally inevitably – I offered him my satellite phone to call his home in Michigan. Every journalist knows you'll get a good story if you lend your phone to a soldier in a war.

"Hi, you guys," Corporal Breeze bellowed. "I'm in Baghdad. I'm ringing to say 'Hi! I love you. I'm doing fine. I love you guys.' The war will be over in a few days. I'll see you soon." Yes, they all said the war would be over soon. They didn't consult the Iraqis about this pleasant notion. The first suicide bombers – a policeman in a car and then two women in a car – had already hit the Americans on the long highway up to Baghdad. There would be hundreds more. There will be hundreds more in Iraq in the future.

So we should not be taken in by the tomfoolery on the Kuwaiti border in the last few hours, the departure of the last "combat" troops from Iraq two weeks ahead of schedule. Nor by the infantile cries of "We won" from teenage soldiers, some of whom must have been 12-years-old when George W Bush sent his army off on this catastrophic Iraqi adventure. They are leaving behind 50,000 men and women – a third of the entire US occupation force – who will be attacked and who will still have to fight against the insurgency.

Yes, officially they are there to train the gunmen and militiamen and the poorest of the poor who have joined the new Iraqi army, whose own commander does not believe they will be ready to defend their country until 2020. But they will still be in occupation – for surely one of the the "American interests" they must defend is their own presence – along with the thousands of armed and indisciplined mercenaries, western and eastern, who are shooting their way around Iraq to safeguard our precious western diplomats and businessmen. So say it out loud: we are not leaving.

Instead, the millions of American soldiers who have passed through Iraq have brought the Iraqis a plague. From Afghanistan – in which they showed as much interest after 2001 as they will show when they start "leaving" that country next year – they brought the infection of al-Qa'ida. They brought the disease of civil war. They injected Iraq with corruption on a grand scale. They stamped the seal of torture on Abu Ghraib – a worthy successor to the same prison under Saddam's vile rule – after stamping the seal of torture on Bagram and the black prisons of Afghanistan. They sectarianised a country that, for all its Saddamite brutality and corruption, had hitherto held its Sunnis and Shias together.

And because the Shias would invariably rule in this new "democracy", the American soldiers gave Iran the victory it had sought so vainly in the terrible 1980-88 war against Saddam. Indeed, men who had attacked the US embassy in Kuwait in the bad old days – men who were allies of the suicide bombers who blew up the Marine base in Beirut in 1983 – now help to run Iraq. The Dawa were "terrorists" in those days. Now they are "democrats". Funny how we've forgotten the 241 US servicemen who died in the Lebanon adventure. Corporal David Breeze was probably two or three-years-old then.

But the sickness continued. America's disaster in Iraq infected Jordan with al-Qa'ida – the hotel bombings in Amman – and then Lebanon again. The arrival of the gunmen from Fatah al-Islam in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian camp in the north of Lebanon – their 34-day war with the Lebanese army – and the scores of civilian dead were a direct result of the Sunni uprising in Iraq. Al-Qa'ida had arrived in Lebanon. Then Iraq under the Americans re-infected Afghanistan with the suicide bomber, the self-immolator who turned America's soldiers from men who fight to men who hide.

Anyway, they are busy re-writing the narrative now. Up to a million Iraqis are dead. Blair cares nothing about them – they do not feature, please note, in his royalties generosity. And nor do most of the American soldiers. They came. They saw. They lost. And now they say they've won. How the Arabs, surviving on six hours of electricity a day in their bleak country, must be hoping for no more victories like this one.

Monday, 2 August 2010

A badge of honour to have gone to prison says soldier

Joe Glenton, the only British soldier who has refused to fight in Afghanistan, told a packed public meeting in London celebrating his release, it was "a badge of honour to have gone to prison. I have come to the conclusion that the real enemy is not the man in front who is facing your rifle, but the man directly behind and above telling you to pull the trigger."

By Robin Beste
Stop the War Coalition
28 July 2010

Over 400 people packed a Stop the War meeting in London’s Conway Hall on 26 July 2010 to welcome soldier Joe Glenton on his release from prison, following his refusal to fight in Afghanistan.

The meeting could not have been more timely, coming on the day that the whistleblower Wikileaks published 91,000 secret US military documents which validated all the reasons that Joe Glenton gave for disobeying orders to deploy to a war he believed to be unjustified and unwinnable.

Tony Benn, the president of Stop the War, said, "For a soldier to agree to go to prison rather than to fight is a great tribute to him and a reminder that he made a formidable personal sacrifice."

MP Jeremy Corbyn summed up why Joe Glenton has been such an inspiration to the anti-war movement: "What we've heard tonight from Joe Glenton is a testament of decency, of humanity, of honesty, of perception of what the real causes and the real effects of this ghastly war in Afghanistan are about: Joe, we owe you a great debt of thanks."

In his speech to the meeting, Joe said: "In the current climate, I regard it as a badge of honour to have served a prison sentence.

"I've come to the conclusion that the real enemy is not the man in front who is facing your rifle, but the man directly behind and above you telling you to pull the trigger."

He added: "I really do believe that today the conditions exist for us to bring the government to heel: the wheels have truly fallen off the pro-war bandwagon."

This is reflected, as Lindsey German, national convenor of Stop the War, said in her speech, in the numbers of soldiers and their families who are now contacting Stop the War, concerned about the consequences of fighting in Afghanistan.

Yasmin Khan, from War on Want, spelt out what those consequences have been for the Afghan people, whose country is designated by the United Nations as the world's poorest. War, she said, does not bring development, as the government claims: "You can't get development and security by dropping bombs. This war is wrong and unjust, it needs to end now."

The determination of people attending the meeting to help raise the profile of the anti-war campaign was seen in the bundles of leaflets they took away for the national Time To Go demonstration on 20 November – 15,000 in total taken for distribution to their friends, work colleagues, fellow students etc.

Another indication was the tremendous collection at the end of the meeting, with £1,200 donated towards Stop the War's current £10,000 financial appeal to help fund the intensification of our campaigning in the autumn.

Hundreds of people signed up to be actively involved in our campaigns, in recognition that the anti-war movement has a central part to play in helping to bring to an end a war which is opposed by 83 percent of the British public.

As Mark Steel said in the meeting, "We must keep campaigning against the war, firstly because that's the right thing to do, and also because we are, bit by bit, making a huge difference."

As well as the 20 November national demonstration, upcoming events include a protest and lobbying of parliament on 9 September, when MPs will debate and vote for the first time on the Afghanistan war, a Students Against the War conference, a debate between leading pro-war and anti-war advocates, and the organising of local meetings across the country.

What you can do


Help spread the word about the Time To Go demonstration on 20 November. Leaflets are available from the Stop the War national office: Email: Tel: 020 7801 2768

Donate or Join

Make a donation or join Stop the War here...

Lobby your MP

You can lobby your MP online. It takes a couple of minutes and they are obliged by law to respond. E-Lobby your MP here...

If you are a school student...

If you are a school student and would like to get involved with School Students Against the War, contact the Stop the War national office: Email: Tel: 020 7801 2768

Afghanistan - time to go - Tony Benn - London 27 July 2010