Anti Iraq war demonstration in London

This is a video of British MP George Galloway’s speech at the anti Iraq war demonstration in London on 15th March 2008.

Photos of the anti Iraq war demonstration in London are here.

BBC report: here.

See also here. And here.

Glasgow demonstration report: here.

London and Glasgow reports: here.

Protesters across the world condemn Iraq war: here.

Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Baghdad’s Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran: book review here.

McCain vs. Brown on Iraq war: here, And here.

10 thoughts on “Anti Iraq war demonstration in London

  1. Rallys urge troops’ return
    Toronto march among 20 held on anniversary of Iraq invasion

    The Toronto Sun

    Linjamin Mull wanted to pay off his college debt by joining the United States army. But he found out he had to work it off by invading family homes in Afghanistan.

    “I’d hoped to join aviation because it’d be so far removed from having blood on my hands,” said Mull, a 32-year-old war resister who fled to Canada last year from New York City. “I told them that specifically.

    “What I got was house raids. If it’s this crazy with them, what else would happen once I got over there?”

    Mull and more than 500 others crammed St. Paul’s church on Bloor St. W. yesterday afternoon to put pressure, once again, on the government to pull Canadian troops out of Afghanistan.

    Toronto’s rally was just one of the 20 held nationwide yesterday on the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.

    “It’s time to chart a path of peace in Afghanistan with the United Nations!” NDP Leader Jack Layton shouted to the crowd.

    Toronto Coalition to Stop the War said more than 6,500 Afghans were killed between January and September last year.

    “Canadians are in the line of fire,” spokesman Nadine MacKinnon said. “We’re supporting a mission where they dropped a million pounds of bombs on the Afghan people last year alone. Is there a big sign that says, ‘Taliban — bomb here?’ ”

    In Ottawa, several hundred people trudged through slush-covered Sussex Drive for a protest on the lawn of Parliament Hill.

    The crowd took aim at the Conservative government and the opposition Liberals for voting this week to extend the Afghanistan mission until 2011.

    “The original reasons for going in were justified based on 9/11. You hear wavering justifications, like, ‘Oh, well now we’re in to spread democracy,’ ” said Jessica Carpinone, 21. “First it was to protect us, now it’s to protect them.”

    In Montreal, hundreds more protesters waved flags and sang as they marched through the city’s downtown core, clogging several city blocks.

    And what began as an anti-seal hunt protest in Calgary quickly transformed into a rally against Canadian troops being in Afghanistan.

    But there were dissenters.

    “When these people call for an end to the coalition and the troops out now it would mean abandoning the people of Afghanistan,” Merle Terlesky said.


    Sydney rally calls for Iraq withdrawal

    March 16, 2008 – 5:53PM

    About 200 people attended a peace rally in central Sydney calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq.

    Speakers at the rally in Belmore Park, just ahead of the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s pledge to withdraw 500 combat troops from Iraq did not go far enough.

    Stop the War Coalition spokesman Alex Bainbridge said one million people had been killed since the war began, and all troops needed to be withdrawn.

    “This war is a crime and we need to end it,” he told the rally.

    He said Mr Rudd needed to end his support for the war in Afghanistan.

    “The war in Afghanistan is not a just war. It is in fact an occupation very similar to Iraq,” he said.

    “It is leading to deaths of innocent people, it is about taking political control of Afghanistan for the benefit of oil companies, and it is against the wishes of the Afghan people.”

    Peace campaigner Donna Mulhearn, who travelled to Iraq to be a human shield in the days before the war started, said Australia needed to apologise to the Iraqi people.

    “Bringing the troops home is great, and we want to see them all come home,” she told the rally.

    “We are sorry and we are ashamed, and we need our government and parliament to say that and to speak the truth.”

    Greens MP Kerry Nettle said the Iraq war had a human and financial cost estimated by one US economist at $3 trillion.

    “Other foreign occupying forces should withdraw, not just us,” she said.

    Ms Mulhearn also questioned whether Australian athletes should compete at the Beijing Olympics after China’s crackdown in Tibet, in which at least 10 people have been killed.

    “I don’t want to go and play sport with people who shoot Buddhist monks in the malls of Lhasa,” she said.

    Another peace rally was held in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west, with protesters calling for an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and opposing any attack on Iran.

    © 2008 AAP


    Winter Soldier then and now

    March 14, 2008 | Pages 8 and 9

    MORE THAN 200 veterans and active-duty soldiers from the U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan will tell their story in Washington, D.C., at a gathering named Winter Soldier. As ERIC RUDER explains, they will be following in the footsteps of the antiwar vets who spoke out against the war in Vietnam.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    THE ORIGINAL “Winter Soldier Investigation” took place in a Detroit hotel from January 31 to February 2, 1971–but it wasn’t the first time veterans of the U.S. war on Vietnam had gathered to give testimony about the war crimes they witnessed or participated in during their deployments to Southeast Asia.

    In fact, the Detroit Winter Soldier hearings followed similar smaller tribunals in dozens of cities and towns across the U.S. as part of a process of reaching out to and identifying vets with compelling stories.

    “Winter Soldier was the culmination of a year and a half of organizing of veterans,” Michael Uhl, one of the vets who helped put on the hearings, said in an interview. “There were dress rehearsals all over the country. We mobilized veterans to speak in their own words about their own experiences.”

    In Detroit, more than 100 veterans provided testimony about atrocities committed by U.S. troops in Vietnam, and at least 500 more came to listen.

    What you can do

    Go to the Iraq Veterans Against the War Web site for more information about how to set up your own local broadcast of Winter Soldier, or to post information about an event you are organizing.

    You can also get news and updates about war resisters and other initiatives by antiwar veterans and active-duty troops at the IVAW site.

    The Citizen Soldier Web site is an excellent resource for active-duty soldiers looking for news and advice about their rights. Soldiers can also contact the GI Rights Hotline Web site, or call 800-394-9544 from the U.S. or 510-465-1472 from outside the U.S.

    Camilo Mejia’s book, Road from Ar Ramadi, provides an eyewitness account of the brutality inflicted by the U.S. in Iraq–and how Mejia made the decision to take a stand against it.

    For an excellent history of the GI rebellion during the U.S. war on Vietnam, read David Cortright’s Soldiers in Revolt, republished by Haymarket Books. David Zeiger’s Sir! No Sir! is an inspiring documentary about the Vietnam soldiers’ revolt, and is available on DVD, along with many other supplemental materials.

    The mainstream media’s coverage of the event was deafening silence. Thankfully, though, this historic gathering was preserved in Winter Soldier, a grainy, black-and-white documentary released in 1972 that has been screened widely in the run-up to “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan,” organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) for March 13-16 in Washington, D.C.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    THE SHOCKING revelation that U.S. troops massacred some 500 people, mostly women and children, in the hamlet of My Lai provided the impetus for the antiwar activists who initially spearheaded efforts to get veterans to tell their stories.

    Though the massacre occurred on March 16, 1968, it took more than 18 months for investigative journalist Seymour Hersh (the same Hersh who has exposed U.S. war plans against Iran today) to get the story and make it mainstream news.

    After first denying that any massacre took place, the Pentagon changed tack when pictures taken by U.S. Army photographer Ronald Haeberle surfaced. Then, Army brass insisted that the mass murder of Vietnamese civilians was the deranged act of a few rogue soldiers. One soldier, Lt. William Calley, was convicted in the hopes that the incident could be swept under the rug.

    That’s exactly what spurred antiwar activists and GI organizers to assemble veterans to bring their voices, grounded in their firsthand experiences, to bear on government attempts to deny the criminal nature of the war on Vietnam.

    “My Lai was only a minor step beyond the standard, official United States policy in Indochina,” explained Al Hubbard, a leading member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). “It is hypocritical self-righteousness to condemn the soldiers at My Lai without condemning those who set the criminal policy of free-fire zones, strategic hamlets, saturation bombing…from which My Lai was the inevitable result.”

    VVAW member William Crandell’s opening statement at the Detroit hearings was laced with the deep sense of betrayal shared by many veterans. “We went to defend the Vietnamese people, and our testimony will show that we are committing genocide against them,” Crandell said. “We went to work toward the brotherhood of man, and our testimony will show that our strategy and tactics are permeated with racism.”

    The harrowing testimony that followed documented beatings, rape, summary executions, and the wanton destruction of livestock and other means of survival in Vietnam.

    But Winter Soldier and the other hearings were more than soldiers telling their war stories.

    “We worked very hard to tease the policy out of it–not just the individual atrocities, which we also collected, of course,” explained Tod Ensign, director of Citizen Soldier and one of the architects of the war crimes hearings during Vietnam.

    “We wanted to know how the testifiers knew what they reported. When did you learn this? Where did the order come from? What did the colonel say? We wanted to illustrate the responsibility of the highest echelons of the military and the government for the war crimes that soldiers were forced to carry out.”

    The media’s collective disregard for the Winter Soldier hearings led VVAW leaders to conclude that a more assertive approach was necessary to get noticed and project the soldiers’ message to a larger audience.

    So the VVAW began planning Operation Dewey Canyon III (Operation Dewey Canyon I and II were codenames for U.S. military incursions into Laos in 1969), a weeklong encampment and series of actions in Washington, D.C., in the run-up to a planned antiwar march of half a million people on April 24, 1971–one of the largest marches in U.S. history up to that point.

    These two elements of antiwar protest–actions by vets and bigger demonstrations–reinforced each other. GIs drew confidence for their bold actions from the growing protests, and the larger movement gained new energy from the participation of Vietnam veterans.

    GI organizers also finally succeeded in thrusting their concerns into the political mainstream. Liberal Democratic Rep. Ron Dellums convened ad hoc hearings, at which more than 20 members of Congress came to hear veterans tell their stories.

    Two days before the April 24 mass march, more than 800 veterans tossed their medals onto the Capitol steps. That became one of the most enduring images of the GI movement and catapulted the VVAW into national prominence.

    During the course of 1971, the group grew from about 1,000 members to 20,000. More importantly, Dewey Canyon III cemented the VVAW’s leadership of a significant section of the civilian antiwar movement, with some 50,000 non-veterans joining the organization as supporters.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    TODAY’S WINTER Soldier takes place in an entirely different political moment, with some advantages as well as some important disadvantages.

    Antiwar sentiment today, as measured by public opinion polls, is significantly higher compared to five years after the start of the Vietnam War. And George Bush’s approval rating is even lower than Richard Nixon’s.

    Yet the level of organized antiwar opposition is certainly lower today. “I haven’t heard anyone talking about how we’re going to mobilize this spring to end the war,” said Ensign. “During the Vietnam War, the size of the antiwar movement as a whole produced a dynamism and showed people that they were a part of something. We were engaged, and the whole country was engaged, in what was nothing less than cataclysmic pressure for change.

    “There wasn’t just the antiwar movement. There was the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the African liberation movements, the workers’ movements, including reform movements within the trade unions, the student movement.

    “So when Vietnam veterans came home from the war, they were immediately swept up and influenced by these movements. They would go back into factories and to colleges where these movements were vibrant.

    “Their families and communities were also swept up by these movements. This naturally propelled veterans into organizing. They organized to denounce and activate against what they had been forced to do, to be the executioners of these genocidal policies.

    “The fact that today we don’t have anything approaching a movement of this scale is going to affect how this society receives what these young people have to say, and it’s going to affect participation by the veterans themselves.”

    Today’s veterans can stand on the experience of a previous generation of antiwar GIs who showed that organized dissent within the ranks is capable of hampering the effectiveness of the U.S. military as a fighting force–a decisive factor in Washington’s decision to withdraw the troops from Vietnam.

    But it’s important to recognize that the U.S. has more at stake in the Middle East than it did in Vietnam. Forcing the U.S. to concede that it cannot command the flow of oil and the geopolitical influence it seeks in the region will demand the building of a powerful social movement.

    If it chooses to do so, the IVAW–with its high profile and credibility–can play a central role in shaping the contemporary antiwar movement, while helping to give it new energy.

    According to Phil Aliff, a member of the IVAW’s executive board, achieving this will require the organization to think carefully about how to build up its local chapters in cities and on campuses, as well as reach out to active-duty troops.

    “I was recruited into the IVAW by someone I had served with in my platoon,” said Aliff in an interview. “When he was discharged, he joined the IVAW. Later, he got in touch with me because he knew I was opposed to the war. That’s how I got involved. That initial connection–between me and my buddy who got out and joined the IVAW–was critical to the founding and success of the Fort Drum chapter.

    “So I think the most important step for building active-duty chapters is for IVAW members to think about talking to the people they know who are still serving and are likely to be interested in getting active against the war.

    “I also think it’s incredibly important to have other organizations beyond IVAW that are willing to support a chapter. Our chapter at Fort Drum wouldn’t exist without the hard work of other activists and the Different Drummer Cafe, a GI coffeehouse, not only to help organize events near the base, but also to train us as organizers, since we’re so isolated from the rest of the IVAW.

    “We especially want to work closely with student activists, because not only are veterans on campuses, but IVAW members are also students, so groups like the Campus Antiwar Network and the IVAW have a symbiotic relationship.”

    With strong chapters, says Aliff, the IVAW can become known as the GI organization that fights for active-duty troops–that stands up for better health care and services on bases and at VA facilities, that exposes the war crimes that GIs are forced to carry out and sometimes even prosecuted for while the commanding officers go free.

    “Active-duty soldiers are not alone in their opposition to the war,” said Aliff. “Winter Soldier shows that there is a large community of us. We are directly trying to end the war. And we want you to add your voice to the cause.”


  2. Iraq Fax-in: Let’s Show Congress How We Feel

    March 19 marks the 5th Anniversary of Bush’s disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq – yet there is no end in sight.

    The costs so far are staggering: 4,000 young Americans killed, tens of thousands maimed… 1 million Iraqis killed, millions maimed… $562 billion in tax dollars stolen from our children… $3 trillion cost to our economy through veterans care, weapons replacement, higher oil prices, and the collapsing dollar. All that in just 5 years!

    We elected a Democratic Congress in 2006 to bring our troops home, but they keep giving Bush blank checks. Incredibly, Congress will soon vote on another $102 billion blank check.

    On this 5th Anniversary, it is time for everyone who hates this occupation to do something about it. And we’re making it as simple and effective as we can.

    We’re calling it the Iraq Fax-In. It’s like a sit-in, only you can do it from home.

    1. Fax an image to Congress that visually expresses how you feel about the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We’ve posted a few ideas, but we welcome all of yours!

    2. Email your Representatives by signing our “Out of Iraq” petition on the right side here:

    And thanks for all you do to make the world a better place.


  3. Resist in March

    On March 19, peace and justice organizations will hold actions around the country and in Washington, DC to demand an end to the funding of the occupation, along with the impeachment of the president and vice president who launched it. For the full range of activities, see


    MARCH 19, 2008 (Wednesday) Nonviolent Civil Resistance in All 435 Congressional Districts and in the Nation’s Capital on the Fifth Anniversary of the Occupation of Iraq

    Locations in each congressional district, to be determined locally, will include congressional offices (Congress Members and Senators will be in their districts on this day), federal buildings, military recruiters, weapons makers, war profiteers, or corporate media outlets. In Washington, with Congress out of town, the focus will be on war profiteers in the military industrial disaster-capitalism complex. Events will include roles for people not wanting to risk arrest.

    LOCAL EVENTS: Post Yours! Update it.



    Resources for nonviolent activism: HERE.
    Resources for promoting your event in the media: HERE.
    Flyers and posters with room for local info: HERE.
    Ideas for local actions: HERE.


    Forward this message to everyone you know!

    To subscribe, create a free account here:


  4. Dear IVAW supporter,

    I’m here at Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan with 250 members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and military families who have gathered to testify about the realities of the occupations. Our community is strong as we share our stories and build our resolve to bring the occupations to an end.

    We are in the midst of history in the making, as eyewitness accounts of the occupations unfold before our (sometimes tearful) eyes, and thousands watch from screenings around the world, on the satellite broadcast, and live via our website at

    The experience can only be described as moving. To build our movement, I’m writing today to ask for your financial support. If you are moved by the Winter Solider testimony, I invite you to give online now.

    As BBC news reported today, at the first Winter Soldier events in 1971, “their harrowing stories helped turn American public opinion against the war.”

    The impact of our 2008 Winter Soldier testimony is just beginning to unfold. Winter Soldier has been featured in the Middle East Edition of Stars and Stripes, the Washington Post and MSNBC, an in the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times.

    One year ago we had 300 members. Today, we are on the brink of 1,000 – with veterans and troops joining online every hour of Winter Soldier!

    We need your financial support to build the antiwar movement in the ranks of the military, and birth a new generation of GI resistance.

    Today, together, we can end this war – but it will take a powerful alliance of GIs, Veterans, Military Families, Unions, Students, People of Faith, and people like you.

    Watch Winter Soldier online – live this weekend, and archived forever.

    Give to IVAW online, and thank you for all of your support and efforts to end the occupations.

    Kelly Dougherty
    Former Sergeant, Army National Guard
    Executive Director
    Iraq Veterans Against the War

    P.S. Broadcasting Winter Soldier around the world is amazing, and expensive. Please make an online donation today! You can also send a check or money order made out to “IVAW” to PO Box 8296, Philadelphia, PA 19101.



    MARCH 16, 2008

    Global protests against Iraq war

    Organisers said that 10,000 people gathered for the protest in London [AFP]

    Tens of thousands of protesters across the world have taken part in a day of protests demanding the withdrawal of US and British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The World Against War action was organised to mark the fifth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq on March 20.

    In London, police said that 10,000 activists had rallied at Trafalgar Square before marching the short distance to parliament. Organisers said that between 30,000 and 40,000 people had gathered.

    A spokesman for The Stop The War coalition said that five years after the invasion of Iraq, military action had only managed to make the world “a much more dangerous place”.

    “Estimates suggest as many as one million people have died violent deaths as a result of the occupation of Iraq,” Paul Collins said.

    He said that Gordon Brown, Britain’s prime minister, was sending more troops to Afghanistan and claimed “this hidden war is fast becoming a disaster mirroring Iraq”.

    Demonstrators outside parliament waved placards which said “Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan”, “Don’t attack Iran” and “Freedom for Palestine”.

    ‘War crimes’

    Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s member of the European Parliament, called for Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, and Gordon Brown to be prosecuted for war crimes.

    “They need to know you cannot bomb your way to peace,” she said.

    “They need to know you cannot bomb your way to peace”

    Caroline Lucas, UK Green Party’s member of the European Parliament

    Tony Benn, a former Labour Party minister, said that Britain’s involvement in Iraq, where the country has 4,100 troops, and Afghanistan, where it has 7,800, had caused “devastation”.

    But Britain’s foreign office disputed Stop the War’s conclusions.

    “In Iraq, there is clear evidence we are making steady progress, particularly in terms of security,” a spokesman said.

    “In Afghanistan, Nato forces are winning the struggle against the Taliban.”

    Elsewhere in Europe, around 500 people opposed to the US presence in Iraq marched through Stockholm city centre in freezing rain carrying banners with messages including “Yankees Go Home” and “Five years of war, one million dead.”

    “I’m here because I think it is extremely important to demonstrate against American policy in Iraq, especially now that the media is focusing less on the tragedy there,” Leif Staalhammer, a 67-year-old actor, said.

    ‘Sorrow and anguish’

    In Los Angeles, organisers said that up to 10,000 people took to the streets of Hollywood, many carrying banners denouncing George Bush, the US president, and calling for an end to the conflict.

    Police said that around 2,000 protesters had turned out for the rally.

    Ron Kovic, a Vietnam war veteran whose book Born on the Fourth of July was turned into a film with Tom Cruise, joined the march down Hollywood Boulevard in his wheelchair.

    Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic said he felt “sorrow” for Iraqis and US troops [AFP] Shot and paralysed in Vietnam 40 years ago, Kovic told the AFP news agency that he felt “sorrow” and “anguish” for the Iraqi people and for the US troops “who are suffering, who are losing their arms and legs, who are being killed”.

    “But I feel more than anything, when I see what’s going on in Iraq, I feel determined, determined to fight with everything within us to stop this madness,” he said.

    The march ended on Sunset Boulevard where organisers said that they hoped several California politicians and actors would join the demonstrators.

    “We’ve been in the war for five years, right now we’re about to be in a recession, and trillions of our dollars are going to a war we don’t want to be in,” one protestor told the crowd.

    Demonstrations also took place Saturday across Canada, including in Toronto, where 1,000 people protested against parliament’s decision last week to extend Canada’s 2,500-strong deployment to Afghanistan.

    Christine Jones, co-chairwoman of the Canadian Peace Alliance, said parliament’s vote on Afghanistan was misguided.

    “Afghanistan is worse off because of the military occupation and Canadians are more opposed to the war than ever before,” she said.


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