Places are filling up fast for the International Peace Conference to be held in London next week.
“It is attracting very widespread support,” says Andrew Murray, chair of the Stop the War Coalition, which is hosting the event.
“There are very significant delegations of trade unionists, who are clearly keen to see the policy of withdrawal from Iraq, passed unanimously at the TUC congress, enacted.”
The conference is taking place just as a deluge of revelations about the disaster of the occupation of Iraq and the “war on terror” is flooding out in Britain, the US and elsewhere.
Stop the War convenor Lindsey German says, “It now seems that they seriously considered bombing Al Jazeera, a news station that dared to criticise the war on Iraq. So much for this invasion being about bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.
“Tony Blair is painted as the restraining hand who prevented this bombing.
“If Blair was the supposed force for restraint, it just goes to show how lunatic this whole project was.
“It is now even more important that people unite to tell the truth about this war — and that soldiers speak out.
“People are coming from all over the world for the International Peace Conference. From India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Australia, US, Iraq and all over Europe.
“This will not just be a fantastic gathering, but also a chance to organise for change.”
Among the many international delegations is one from the Turkish anti-war movement, which managed to prevent their country being part of the war two years ago.
Yildiz Onen of the Global Peace and Justice Coalition says the movement is now targeting Turkey’s role in the wider war on terror. She reports:
“The Turkish ministry of transport has officially admitted that US aircraft, converted by the CIA into prisons-cum-interrogation rooms and used to transport secret prisoners to secret locations, have been landing at Turkish airports.
“The latest such plane, according to the ministry, arrived from Baku, Azerbaijan, stayed for 27 hours at a small Istanbul airport and then headed for Amsterdam on 15 November.
“The Global Peace and Justice Coalition has been campaigning to force the government into disclosing all details of these flights and preventing the use of Turkish civilian and military airports for such blatantly illegal purposes.
“At a time when support for the occupation of Iraq is unravelling even in Washington, when its inhumanity is exceeded only by its illegality, the peace conference in London will give us all an opportunity to exchange information, learn from each other’s experiences, pool our resources and further strengthen our movement.
“The greater international representation there is at the conference, the more effective we can be afterwards in bringing an end to the occupation.”
The conference will be formulating a statement to be circulated internationally. Sessions include: Iraq, the US, Britain: the current situation; military families campaigns; trade union solidarity; and building an international movement.
The International Peace Conference will held on Saturday 10 December, 10am–8pm at the Royal Horticultural Hall, 80 Vincent Square, London SW1P 2PE. For more information on the event and delegate forms go to www.stopwar.org.uk