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8/7/06 
STOP THE WAR COALITION NEWSLETTER No. 2006/23 8 July 2006
  

Email office@stopwar.org.uk
Telephone 020 7278 6694
Web: www.stopwar.org.uk

IN THIS NEWSLETTER:

1) TIME TO ROOT OUT BLAIR?S EXTREMISM
2) TRIDENT: HYPOCRISY WITHOUT END
3) MALCOLM KENDALL-SMITH SPEAKS
4) AFGHANISTAN: A FIASCO BEYOND BELIEF
5) GAZA: KILLING A COUNTRY TO RESCUE A SOLDIER
6) CLOSE DOWN GUANTANAMO DEMONSTRATION
7) STOP THE WAR AT BESTIVAL

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1) IRAQ: WHY IT’S TME TO GO
Tony Blair says that Muslims should “root out extremism” in their communities. He adds, “I am probably not the person to go into the Muslim community. It’s better that we mobilise the Islamic community itself to do this.”

Tony Blair is right when he says he is “not the person to go into the Muslim community”. He is right because he and George Bush are already ‘in’ the Muslim communities of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the extremism and terrorism of the US and UK invasions has left a trail of devastation, massive loss of life and the collapse of public services.

By the day, the statistics coming out of Iraq become unimaginably more horrific. Even the Pentagon now admits that 50,000 have lost their lives since March 2003, a figure which must be a massive underestimate, given that Baghdad’s central morgue alone received 30,204 bodies in the same period, most of whom died violent deaths. (See tinyurl.com/ombam)

The Red Cross says that Iraq’s health service, which once had “a high level of technology and state of the art medical care” comparable to any country in the world, has been “bombed into the middle ages.” The World Health Organisation says life expectancy for those who don’t die violent deaths is now 51 for men and 61 for women. 20 years ago Iraqis had the same life expectancy figures as anyone in the West. (See tinyurl.com/feq8q)

Despite the attempt by the US military, with the usual connivance of the mainstream media, to present random killings, torture and abuse as rare activities of a few “bad apples”, there is a clear pattern of collective punishment, intimidation and terror — from the torture chambers of Abu Ghraib to the revenge killings in Haditha from the massacres in Ishaqi and Qaiem to the wholesale destruction of cities and towns such as Fallujah and, just recently, Ramadi. (See tinyurl.com/lp722)

The terrorism in London on 7 July 2005 was an appalling atrocity, for which there is no justification. But in the scale of atrocities it is dwarfed by the carnage inflicted on Iraq in the past three years. Blair may say, as he did this week, that Muslims have “a completely false sense of grievance against the West” but a police report has just confirmed what the majority of people in this country have always known — that July 7 was a direct consequence of the carnage inflicted on Muslim communities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Neither Muslims nor non-Muslims need nauseatingly hypocritical lectures from Tony Blair, when he says, “We can only defeat extremism if we have people in the community who are going to stand up and not merely say ‘you are wrong to kill people through terrorism’”.

On Saturday 23 September, the eve of the Labour Party Conference in Manchester, we will all have the opportunity to do exactly what Blair says. The TIME TO GO demonstration, organised by Stop the War and CND, will bring protestors from every corner of Britain to demand the rooting out of Tony Blair’s extremism, which has caused so much death and suffering among millions of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, which threatens more illegal wars in Iran and elsewhere and which is a threat to the security of us all, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.

TIME TO GO DEMONSTRATION
Troops Out of Iraq, No Attack on Iran No Trident Replacement SATURDAY 23 SEPTEMBER ASSEMBLE 1PM ALBERT SQUARE Organised by Stop the War and CND

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
* Distribute flyers, available from Stop the War.
* Get your trade union branch, campaign group, church or mosque to support the march
* Help raise money and organise local transport to Manchester
* Contact your local Stop the War group
* Encourage your family, friends, work colleagues, fellow students to join the TIME TO GO demonstration

FOR LEAFLETS, POSTERS, BADGES ETC AND INFORMATION ABOUT TRANSPORT OR YOUR LOCAL STOP THE WAR GROUP, CONTACT STOP THE WAR COALITION:
Phone: 020 7278 6694. Email: office@stopwar.org.uk. Web: www.stopwar.org.uk

ARRANGE YOUR TRANSPORT NOW
Coaches are now being organised all over the country. There will be a special train to take people from London to Manchester (more information soon), as well as many coaches organised by London STW groups.

SEND DETAILS OF COACHES BOOKED
The Stop the War office is already getting many requests for details of transport from around the country. Local STW groups should send details of their coaches to the office as soon as possible, so they can be publicised on the website and passed on to people contacting us for information.
FOR COACH DETAILS: GO TO tinyurl.com/h74zb OR CONTACT STOP THE WAR COALITION: Phone: 020 7278 6694. Email: office@stopwar.org.uk.

ALL LONDON STW ACTIVISTS MEETING TUESDAY 11 JULY 6.30PM ST PANCRAS CHURCH HALL LANCING STREET NW1 (opposite EUSTON STATION, off EVERSHOLT STREET)
For Stop the War’s 14 previous national demonstrations the rest of the country has come to London. This time London is going to Manchester and a London wide meeting for Stop the War activists has been called for Tuesday 11 July to plan and co-ordinate London’s mobilisation for the TIME TO GO demonstration. We want to ensure the biggest possible turnout from the capital. The meeting is open to all. Every London Stop the War group should make sure it is represented and encourage all of its supporters to join the discussion on Tuesday, at 6.30pm in St Pancras Church Hall, Lancing Street, NW1. Opposite Euston Station.

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2) TRIDENT: HYPOCRISY WITHOUT END
There are no depths to which Tony Blair’s hypocrisy cannot sink. With his partner in war crimes, George Bush, he is threatening Iran for its plans to develop nuclear power, which is entirely legitimate under the conditions of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. At the same time Blair is planning to break those conditions himself by spending £25 billion on a replacement for the Trident missile.

As well as calling for the removal of troops from Iraq and the end to threats of war against other countries, the TIME TO GO demonstration, organised by Stop the War alongside CND, is a protest against Blair’s plans to replace Trident with a new generation of weapons of mass destruction. Each Trident submarine carries 48 nuclear warheads, each of which has an explosive power which is 8 times the power of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing an estimated 140,000 people.

CND believes that Trident is illegal, immoral and a waste of resources. It does nothing to increase world security and undermines international efforts to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. This is the first national demonstration to include a specific anti-nuclear message for many years and CND is urging all its supporters to join us in Manchester to show the Labour Party our opposition to a new generation of nuclear weapons. FOR MORE INFORMATION: tinyurl.com/s5crh

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3) MALCOLM KENDALL-SMITH SPEAKS The highlight of A Night on Conscience on 28 June was a video message from Malcolm Kendall-Smith. Malcolm was court martialled on 12 April 2006 and sentenced to eight months imprisonment for refusing to return to Iraq. He was two weeks ago under outrageous conditions which subject him to a 6.00pm to 6.00am curfew until September and forbid any contact with the media until December.

Over 650 people attended the completely sold out fund raising benefit at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, organised by Stop the War to help pay the £20,000 legal costs imposed on Malcolm. Tony Benn introduced comedians Mark Thomas and Mark Steel, composer Michael Nyman, film director Ken Loach, playwright David Edgar, actors Simon Callow and Janet Suzman, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, singer Ed Harcourt and many more.

In the video filmed at his home, Malcolm regretted that the curfew prevented him joining A Night of Conscience and thanked the many people throughout the anti-war movement who have given him support. He urged everyone to continue the struggle for peace and justice in Iraq. TO SEE THE VIDEO, GO TO tinyurl.com/rnp6o

Among the many message many messages we received following A Night of Conscience were:

TONY BENN: Congratulations on organizing that inspiring and wonderful event at St James’. You did a really magnificent job and I was very moved by it all.

JANET SUZMAN, ACTOR: That was a great evening last night – one of the most varied and interesting I can recall, but then the whole raison d’etre is unique and I was so pleased and proud to be part of it.

SAMI RAMADANI, IRAQI EXILE AND ACADEMIC: It was a difficult and very emotional evening for me and Fenik. I was terribly distressed beforehand reading about the war victims. Everyone I talked to thought it was the type of meeting that made them feel they should do more.

AUDIO EXERTS FROM A NIGHT OF CONSCIENCE WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE STOP THE WAR WEBSITE SOON. Malcolm Kendall Smith’s first public appearance will be at the Stop the War National Steering Committee meeting on Saturday 15 July, which is during the day, thereby not breaking his curfew.

MESSAGES OF SUPPORT AND DONATIONS TO THE FUND TO HELP PAY MALCOLM’S COSTS CAN BOTH BE MADE TO MILITARY FAMILIES AGAINST THE WAR: www.mfaw.org.uk/.

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4) AFGHANISTAN: A FIASCO BEYOND BELIEF Not content with waging illegal war in Iraq, Tony Blair has now committed five thousand troops to one of the most dangerous areas in the world, the Helmand province in Afghanistan. Within weeks of deployment, six British soldiers are dead and something near panic has struck government circles. In an answerable article, Guardian columnist Simon Jenkins voiced what everyone knew when Blair first announced he was intending to send yet more soldiers to kill and be killed in someone else’s country. “The dishonesty and stupidity behind this Afghan fiasco is beyond belief,” writes Jenkins, in calling for the government ministers responsible to be held to account. (Read the full article: tinyurl.com/jyrdt)

In another devastating depiction of reality for the British army in Afghanistan, read the report from Christina Lamb of the Sunday Times, an “embedded” journalist with the British army, who describes how a British unit on a “hearts and minds” mission to an Afghan village was subjected to ferocious attack just at the point when the Major in charge (called appropriately Blair) said, “I thought that went rather well.” (Read the full article: tinyurl.com/kd2t9)

But what is Blair’s response? To announce that the one billion pounds already earmarked for this disaster will now become a blank open cheque and more equipment and troops will be sent to try and pacify a people exercising their right under international law to resist occupation by a foreign power.

TO READ STATEMENTS FROM STOP THE WAR COALITION AND MILITARY FAMILIES AGAINST THE WAR TO THE AFGHAN FIASCO, GO TO: tinyurl.com/nkyol

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5) GAZA: KILLING A COUNTRY TO RESCUE A SOLDIER Not a word of condemnation has come from George Bush and Tony Blair, as Israel has violated no end of international laws in invading Gaza, destroying much of its infrastructure, including power and water supply, kidnapped most of the Palestinian government and killed dozens of civilians, including women and children. The United Nations says the whole of Gaza is on the brink of humanitarian disaster.

Even as this was being reported across the mainstream media, Tony Blair was insisting that Muslims who oppose his foreign policy, which includes uncritical support for Israel, regardless of how many atrocities it commits against the Palestinian people, have “a completely false sense of grievance against the West”. FOR LINKS TO A SERIES OF ARTICLES BY WRITERS WHO ARE MORE IN TOUCH WITH REALITY THAN BLAIR, SUCH AS JOHN PILGER, GO TO: tinyurl.com/fek53

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6) CLOSE DOWN GUANTANAMO DEMONSTRATION SATURDAY 15 JULY 2006, ASSEMBLE MARBLE ARCH 12 NOON MARCH TO US EMBASSY End detention without trial, illegality, torture, deaths and Guantanamo Bay as a whole. Called by the National Guantánamo Coalition. Demonstrations will also be held in the United States, Australia, Kuwait and Bahrain. FOR MORE DETAILS: Email: bhamguantanamocampaign@yahoo.co.uk Tel: 07721427690 Web: www.guantanamo.org

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7) STOP THE WAR AT BESTIVAL ISLE OF WIGHT: 8-10 SEPTEMBER Following the hugely successful Stop the War Gig last December, when Rachid Taha, Brian Eno, Mick Jones from the Clash and others packed London’s Astoria, we are a featured organisation at BESTIVAL, one of the musical highlights of the year. Petshop Boys and Scissor Sisters headline the 3-day Bestival on 8-10 September on the Isle of Wight, when Rachid Taha with special guest Brian Eno will again be appearing for Stop the War.

BRIAN ENO EXPLAINS WHY HE’S APPEARING FOR STOP THE WAR COALITION: tinyurl.com/o8xqv ARTISTS APPEARING AT BESTIVAL: www.bestival.net/

VOLUNTEERS WANTED: If you are interested in helping Stop the War Coalition at Bestival, contact the StWC office on 020 7278 6694. We will be publicising the TIME TO GO demonstration on 23 September, selling T-shirts, badges, posters etc to help fund the demonstration and encouraging people to get involved with the anti-war movement.

WATCH OUT FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS OF MORE BIG NAME STOP THE WAR GIGS IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

 
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