|Year 2004 No. 123, November 10, 2004||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBBOOKS||SUBSCRIBE|
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Anti-war protesters demonstrated in Whitehall on Sunday, November 7, in an emergency demonstration against the imminent US assault on Fallujah.
Two hundred protesters gathered in Parliament Square at 4pm to demonstrate against the attacks. Displaying images from previous US attacks on cities in Iraq, they heard personal testimony from a former Fallujah resident about the US assault on the city in April 2004.
Many protesters brought white flowers to mark the tens of thousands of Iraqis and scores of British soldiers who have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion.
They took part in a funeral procession along Whitehall to the Cenotaph, where the flowers were laid, as well as a coffin and a wreath. A small group of protesters subsequently staged a sit-down protest in Whitehall, blocking traffic for fifteen minutes.
Despite the so-called "handover" of sovereignty on June 28, the US continues to detain roughly 5,000 Iraqis. It is also creating a long-term detention facility at Camp Bucca, near the Kuwaiti border, and has stated that it intends to continue exercising powers of internment, contrary to international law. According to a February 2004 Red Cross report, military intelligence officers estimate that "between 70 percent and 90 percent of the persons deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake" (New York Times, 30 May).
Meanwhile, according to Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh who broke the story of the Abu Ghraib torture photos in May the "Special Access Programme" which "encouraged [the] physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners" was "reconstituted" mid-June with "[t]he same rules of engagement" (New Yorker, 24 May; Chain of Command, p.65).
STORIES OF OCCUPATION & SOLIDARITY
Speaking tour by Peggy Gish, co-ordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Iraq Project.
Monday 15th November: Bristol. 7.30pm, Broadmead Baptist
Church, The Horsefair, Bristol. Organised by the Sedgemoor Peace Group and the
Tuesday 16th November: Dorset, 8pm, Methodist United Reformed Church Hall, Cheap Street, Sherborne. Contact: 01300 345 109.
Wednesday 17th: Slough, 7.30pm, Slough Friends Meeting House (Quakers)
74 Ragstone Road. With Milan Rai. Contact 07910 332684
At 6pm there is a launch party for the exhibition "The Other Way" - it's a series of woodcuts made by Israeli children - Arab and Jewish, reflecting their responses to the conflict. The exhibition and launch are at St Mary's Church, Slough, just around
the corner from where the talk is taking place.
Thursday 18th November: London, 7.30pm, Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road. With Jo Wilding and Philip Pritchard (B52two). Org. by CPT-UK, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and Voices. See below.*
Friday 19th November:
- Bradford, 1-3pm, Peace Studies Department Dept, University of Bradford. Contact 01274 235 171
- Leeds, 7pm, All Hallows Church, 24 Regent Terrace, Leeds LS6 1NP. Contact 0113 242 2205 (Ray Gaston).
Saturday 20th November: Manchester. Time and venue tba. Contact 0161 232 8685.
Sunday 21st November:
- Northampton, 12 2pm, Friends Meeting House, Wellington St
- Reading, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, 2 Church Street. Contact 0118 967 1362
* 7.30pm, Thursday 18th November
Friends House, 173 - 177 Euston Road,
London NW1 (nearest tube Euston).
A public meeting with:
* Peggy Gish (Iraq co-ordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, recently
returned from Iraq)
* Jo Wilding (activist, in Fallujah during the US assault on the city in April)
* Philip Pritchard (activist currently awaiting trial for pre-invasion disarmament action at USAF Fairford)
All welcome, no need to book. Organised by Voices in the Wilderness, Quaker Peace & Social Witness and Christian Peacemaker Team UK. For more information, visit www.voicesuk.org
Peggy Gish co-ordinates the Iraq project of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) which has been working on the ground there since October 2002, focussing on the issue of detainees since July 2003. Peggy has spent more than 11 of the last 18 months in Iraq. She is a mother, grandmother, farmer, and long-time peace and social justice activist from southern Ohio.
Activist Jo Wilding was one of the few internationals to remain in Iraq during the invasion. She returned to Iraq in November 2003, remaining until May 2004, and was in Fallujah this April during the US assault on the city, where she was an eyewitness to war crimes (e.g. the ambulance she was accompanying was fired on by US marines). Her blog http://www.wildfirejo.org.ukhas been read around the world. More recently she took part in - and spoke at - the anti-war protests outside the Republican National Convention in New York. This is her first London speaking engagement since her return from Iraq.
Philip Pritchard is one of the 'Fairford Five' - a group of activists currently awaiting trial for acts of disarmament (and attempted disarmament) at USAF Fairford in the run-up to last year's invasion. Together with Toby Olditch, Phil spent three months on remand in Gloucester Prison last year before receiving bail. For more info. see http://www.b52two.org.uk
Sunday 5 December 2004
University of London Union
Malet Street, London WC1
Lou Plummer (US Military Families Speak Out)
Michael Hoffmann (Iraq Veterans Against the War)
Christian Parenti (author of The Freedom: Shadows and Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq)
Sami Ramadani (Iraqi writer, teacher, and activist)
Haifa Zangana (Iraqi artist, writer and activist)
Dr Nadje Al-Ali (Exeter University Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies)
Phil Shiner (human rights lawyer representing Iraqi families)
Bridge to Baghdad (Un Ponte per Baghdad, Italian NGO working in Iraq)
Plus: special guests from Iraq
Tim Gopsill (editor, The Journalist, NUJ)
Dr Kamil Mahdi (Exeter University Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies)
Milan Rai (Voices in the Wilderness)
David Miller (editor, Tell Me Lies: Propaganda and Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq)
Dr. Salam T. Ismael (Doctors for Iraq Society)
Jo Wilding (activist, recently returned from Iraq, eyewitness to Fallujah events)
Ewa Jasiewicz (activist and journalist, spent eight months in Iraq earlier this year)
Jubilee Iraq (anti-debt campaign)
Mike Marqusee (author, activist)
Including workshops on: human rights in Iraq; the Iraqi economy; legal challenges in Britain; the British media; women in Iraq; resistance in the military; practical solidarity and direct action; solidarity, resistance and the anti-war movement
(More speakers and workshops will be announced later.)
Supported by Voices in the Wilderness
The winning entries in Iraq Occupation Focus Red Pepper Poetry Competition (judged by Adrian Mitchell) will be announced and read out during the day.
Registration: £5 (waged), £2 (unwaged). No need to register in advance.
Crèche for children aged up to 10 years will be available. Please register for the crèche by 21 November 2004, stating age, numbers and any special needs of children. (Contact address below or firstname.lastname@example.org)
The international teach-in on 5th December will offer all those opposed to the USUK occupation of Iraq a unique chance to learn, discuss and prepare for action. The British media has largely failed to report or explain the realities of the occupation and the resistance to it. At the teach-in, a wide range of speakers from Iraq, the USA and Britain will share their knowledge, expertise and experience. 5th December will be a day to inform ourselves about the situation in Iraq (and the USA), to strengthen our arguments against occupation and examine the challenges facing the anti-war movement.
Contact Iraq Occupation Focus at:
PO Box 44680
For more information see: www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk
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