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February 15 Demonstration in London: More than a Million People
[From our representative Shaikh Mohommed, London, England.]

It turned out to be a memorable day. 15 February 2003.
My family and I participated in the march and rally. Because of my health, I went straight to Hyde Park to listen to speeches. My son and daughter participated in the march organized by Stop the War Coalition, CND and British Association of Muslims.

Estimates of the number of marchers ranged from 750,000 to two million, with "more than a million" being the most widely accepted figure. (Daily Mirror 17 February 2003.)
Here I must give credit to the tabloid paper The Daily Mirror of London which has been and is waging incessant campaign again Bush and Tony Blair to stop the War against Iraq. U.K has two tabloids which mould the opinion of the masses one is the Sun and the other is the Mirror.
The Mirror has come out openly against the hypocrisy of Bush and Tony Blair. It also waged campaign against the war on Afghanistan.
Amongst the speakers at Hyde Park were Tony Benn (MP), George Galloway, Harold Pinter, Ken Livingstone (Mayor of London) and many other prominent politicians and campaigners including Jesse Jackson. The Palestinian issue was also raised by the speakers as well as mentioned in the placards.

The most telling speech was that of Harold Pinter who claimed US barbarism would destroy the world and called on Tony Blair to resign. To cheers, he said: "It is a country run by a bunch of criminals with Tony Blair as a hired Christian thug."
London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "Let everyone recognize what has happened here today, that "Britain does not support this war for oil." The British people will not tolerate being used to prop up the most corrupt and racist American administration in more than 80 years." (Daily Mirror 2003,17)

"We now have to wait and see whether the Western Governments of the West listen to their own people or not. It would be a sad day for democracy if Iraq is attacked despite such a clear disapproval from the masses."
[In response to our article on the demonization of President Hussain.]
[Our correspondent, Dr. Edward Miller, has sent the following note from Ms. Diane Johnstone with an article from Prof. Stephen Pelletiere which we quote very briefly. He was Senior Analyst for the CIA at the time of the incident.]
It has been almost universally taken for granted by all of us that Iraq gassed its own Kurdish citizens in Halabja in 1988. The accusation that Saddam thereby committed "genocide" against his own people has of course become part of the Bush administration's standard war propaganda. But the same accusation is repeated by opponents of the war as a way of demostrating that there anti-war sentiment does not imply sympathy for the regime of Saddam Hussein.

But what if the accusation is not true? The articles below provide quite plausible arguments that the Halabja killings were (1) not genocide, and (2) were not even committed by the Iraqis, but by the Iranians. They were an accidental by-product of the Iran-Iraq war, what the U.S. calls "collatoral damage".

THE GOOD NEWS: deliberate "genocide" may turn out to be far less frequent than believed.

THE BAD NEWS: war produces much more "collatoral damage" in terms of inadvertent massacres than admitted by those who advocate war as the perfect way to solve problems.
(From Stephen Pelletiere)

Immediately after the battle, the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.

The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent that is, a cyanide-based gas which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time."

2003-02-19 Wed 08:34ct