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Iraqi Solidarity Action Round-Up

Occupation Watch | 06.09.2003 17:38 | Social Struggles

Round-Up of solidarity activities in Iraq in the past few days and future...

Iraq Solidarity Action Round-Up – from Ewa and Caoimhe in Baghdad

Wednesday Sept 3 saw Irish, Iraqi and Polish/English activists stage a small but symbolic protest outside the US-Polish Occupational handover ceremony in Hilla, Babylon. Activists from Voices in the Wilderness and Occupation Watch held banners in Polish, Arabic and English. They read:

YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO BE OCCUPIED! WHY ARE YOU OCCUPYING IRAQ? (Poland was occupied by Russia, Prussia and Austria in the late 18th Century up until 1918 and then again in the late 30s during the second world war by the Nazis and until 1991 by the Russian empire).



Occupational authorities diverted coachloads of journalist from the front gate where the protest was taking place. Polish soldiers just stared.

Approximately two hours later, after having left the base and driven around Hilla, US Military police stopped and detained Ewa, Caoimhe, Michael Birmingham and two Iraqi friends for over three hours, confiscating their Ids and refusing to comment on the reasons for the detention. They were all then released without charge


Tomorrow, Sept 7th……….

Journalists at Al Jazeera hold a sit-in protest outside the Spanish Embassy in Baghdad tomorrow against the arrest of their collegue Tayseer Aloni

Jazeera regularly broadcast info on human rights violations from US troops, occupation-critical and pro-Palestinian reports.

Tayseer Aloni, world class Jazeera journalist, husband and father, was arrested from his home yesterday by Spanish police for alleged and unspecified 'Links to Al-Qeda'. Tayseer has interviewed Osama Bin Laden before as well as other Al Qeda operatives as part of his work in Afghanistan. Al Jazeera sees this as blatent racist targetting of their staff and an affront to press freedom.

Their protest will be supported by people from Occupation Watch, Voices in the Wilderness and other journalists, including Polish reporters from Polish tabloid SuperExpress, recently banned from the Polish Occupational Force military base in Hilla, Babylon for reporting on a mortar attack on the base in late July. The Ministry for National Defence received the report 'very badly' they were told by Major Andrzej Wiatrowski and as a consequence were no longer allowed to enter the base. The reporters were also ejected from the inaugural ceremony for the handover of power from the US to Polish Occupation authorities on Wednesday, at the base, which they managed to get into and at which was served PIG - pork, pork sausages!!!- to Islamic Imams. A portent for the forces' cultural sensitivity perhaps....

Today – Sept 6th

Activists from Ireland, Poland/England, The US, Kurdistan and Iraq protested outside the Iraqi Convention Centre in Baghdad against the presence of recent Afghanistan and Iraqi war architect and US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

People from the Union of the Unemployed and Occupation Watch plus concerned folks held up placards depicting Rumsfeld speaking, arms wide open, Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein, warmly shaking hands in the days when Saddam was 'our (the US's Man in the Middle East', and a picture of Rumsfeld and Bremer drinking fanta over large maps of Iraq. Words written (in Arabic and English) included

(photo of Rumsfeld) - ALI BABA! (racist slang term for 'Iraqi' used by 90% of all US soldiers)


(picture of Bremer and Rumsfeld) Iraq is not for sale

(Saddam and Rumsfeld) From Saddam to Occupation, the Killing Continues

Black and White Mourning banners: STOP THE KILLING, STOP THE LYING


The protest received wide media attention from Arabic newspapers and Al Jazeera and French and German TV.

Aside: Activists here on the ground are receiving mounting, subtle and not so subtle harassment and intimidation from Occupational Authorities – ranging from one Irish Human Rights lawyer having a gun pushed into his chest at a Union of the Unemployed Iraq (UUI) demo and being told ‘accidents happen’, to Ewa and Caoimhe being referred to as Israeli spies and provocateurs by US Occupation officials in private meetings between them and the UUI, having their phone tapped, and their photos circulated in Occupational propaganda paper The Liberator’, so that they would be easily recognizable at any military checkpoint or base in Iraq (as quoted to journalist friends by Lieutenant Pete Reaker).

Occupation Watch