Condoleezza Rice – WAR CRIMINALS NOT WELCOME HERE and more

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From STOP THE WAR COALITION NEWSLETTER
No 2006/6: March 27
Email office@stopwar.org.uk
Telephone 020 7278 6694
Stop the War Coalition website

1) WAR CRIMINALS NOT WELCOME HERE
3) BBC SAYS “WHAT MARCH?”
7) NAMING THE DEAD: MASS CIVIL-DISBEDIENCE

1) WAR CRIMINALS NOT WELCOME HERE
“The most unwelcome visit to Liverpool since Oswald Mosley came here in the
1930s”, is how the mass circulation Liverpool Echo newspaper describes
Condoleezza Rice’s visit to the city on Friday 31 March, organised for her
by UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. Oswald Mosley was the leader of the
British fascist party, the BUF. Condeleezza Rice, George Bush’s Secretary of
State, is one of the architects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and
directly implicated in the horrific levels of death and destruction
inflicted on those countries.

Anti-war activists in Liverpool and in Blackburn are outraged by her visit
and have organised demonstrations on 31 March and 1 April. Support for these
demonstrations is being called from across the country and already transport
has been organised to bring protestors from London, Manchester, Bradford,
Leeds and Sheffield.

Mark Holt, chairman of Merseyside Stop the War Coalition, which is
organising the Liverpool demonstration on 31 March, says, “They want to make
this some wonderful cultural events to show off the City of Culture.
But we say it would be a better way to show off the City of Culture by
saying no to this visit in remembrance of the Iraqi culture, which lies in
rubble or in the fires still burning in the Middle East. Condoleezza Rice
and Jack Straw must not be allowed to parade as connoisseurs of culture when
they have destroyed so many lives and so much culture. They are not welcome
here.”

The campaign against Rice’s visit to Liverpool is already having an impact.
She is due to be entertained on Friday by the Liverpool Philharmonic
Orchestra. Following protests by the local anti-war movement, the well-known
Liverpool poet Roger McGough, who was due to compere the performance, has
now withdrawn. Members of the orchestra are being asked to boycott the event
in protest at US policies in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. Alec McFadden,
president of Merseyside TUC, said: “The orchestra are all members of the
Musicians Union and we have asked them not to perform.”

The utterly shameless Jack Straw plans to take Condeleezza Rice to visit a
mosque in Blackburn, no doubt for a nauseating photo opportunity aimed at
countering the widespread revulsion and outrage expressed throughout the
Islamic world over the war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Rice has
been so instrumental in perpetrating.

Rice and Straw must be left in no doubt that this cynical media stunt is an
affront to the vast majority of British people who have consistently opposed
the war in Iraq. And it is a particular affront to the Muslim community,
following Tony Blair’s latest speech on foreign policy, in which he sought
to justify the “war on terror” by claiming that the enemies of
“civilisation” were to be found in Islam.

Blackburn Stop the War Coalition has called a demonstration for 12 noon on
Saturday 1 April. Stop the War’s organiser in Blackburn, Alex Martindale,
says, “We are determined she will see the protests and she will know she is
not welcome.”

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE PROTEST PLANS
The location of the Blackburn demonstration will be announced soon. A
special website called CondiWatch has been set up for the Liverpool and
Blackburn protests. TO KEEP UP TO DATE GO TO:
http://www.condiwatch.co.uk/
Information also available at:
http://www.stopwar.org.uk

BOOK YOUR SEAT ON THE COACHES FROM OUTSIDE LIVERPOOL:
The organisers of the Liverpool demonstration are calling for support from
across the country. Coaches have already been booked to take protesters from
LONDON, MANCHESTER, BRADFORD, LEEDS and SHEFFIELD. For details of coaches
and how to book your ticket, go to:
http://www.stopwar.org.uk/new/Ricevisit2.htm

TO READ THE GUARDIAN REPORT ON THE WAR CRIMINALS NOT WELCOME HERE PROTESTS,
GO TO:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/antiwar/story/0,,1740367,00.html

**************************************************
3) BBC SAYS “WHAT MARCH?”
Dozens of people complained to the BBC that it had no coverage of the 18
March demonstration on its evening news bulletins. If you can stomach a BBC
TV news editor justifying this non-coverage, you can see his explanation
here:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ukfs/hi/default.stm

The Stop the War office has received many calls and emails expressing
outrage at the BBC’s decision, particularly since on the morning of 18 March
Defence Secretary John Reid was given no end of air time to rubbish the
demonstration, claiming the marchers were only helping the “terrorists”,
without any opportunity allowed to the anti-war movement to respond to his
comments.

We’re not prepared to accept the BBC’s excuses for the non-coverage of a
demonstration which, on the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, showed
that many tens of thousands refuse to be silent when crimes are being
committed in their name.

PROTEST AGAINST BBC NON-COVERAGE
There will be a lunchtime protest at BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place,
London W1A 1AA, from 1-2pm on Tuesday 4 April. We are also encouraging
local Stop the War groups to hold lunchtime protests outside regional BBC
offices. If there is a BBC office in your area, contact your local Stop the
War group for details of their protest.

PROTEST AT THE BBC
TUESDAY 4 APRIL 1-2PM
BBC BROADCASTING HOUSE,
PORTLAND PLACE, LONDON W1A 1AA
Supported by Media Workers Agains the War

THE PRINT MEDIA GUILTY TOO
Some national newspapers have also been prompted by readers’ complaints to
explain their reluctance to cover the 18 March demonstration appropriately.
Here is The Observer’s mealy mouthed justification for its conclusion that
Iraq news is no longer “fresh”!
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/comment/0,,1739987,00.html

**************************************************
7) NAMING THE DEAD: MASS CIVIL-DISBEDIENCE
A mass act of civil disobedience in Parliament Square has been called for
SUNDAY 2 APRIL 2006,12 NOON, PARLIAMENT SQUARE, when the names will be read
of 1,000 Iraqis who have died as a result of the invasion and occupation.
The protest will be demanding:
• an immediate end to the US/UK military occupation of Iraq
• massive reparations and debt cancellation so that Iraqis can rebuild their
country free from foreign interference
• prosecution of those responsible for war crimes

Protestors are asked to wear black if possible and come prepared for a long
ceremony and possible arrest, as this is an “unauthorised” demonstration
within 1km of Parliament. Under the new restrictions on protest contained in
the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (April 2005) participation in
such an event is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to £1000.
There will be post action support from the organisers for anyone arrested.
FOR FURTHER DETAILS, GO TO:
http://www.voices.netuxo.co.uk/namingthedead.htm