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*Iraq Privatisation On Trial* Naomi Klein to Give Evidence*Protest Picket*

Solidarity | 09.11.2004 15:29 | Social Struggles

Two human rights activists have been accused of 'disrupting a lawful activity' i.e The Iraq Procurement Conference held April 2003 and are now facing trial. The two beg to differ. They are charging that the organisers and participants were in fact engaging in unlawful activity - facilitating acts of pillage..............

November 8th 2004

Peace Activists Put Iraq Privatisation on Trial -
Naomi Klein to Give Evidence

Human Rights Activists Ewa Jasiewicz and Pennie Quinton will stand trial later this month charged with “aggravated trespass” after protesting against the Iraq Procurement Conference held in London on 26-28th April 2004.

Ewa has recently returned from 9 months solidarity work with trade unionists, families, refugees and women’s groups in Iraq. Pennie is an Indymedia activist.

Their trial will be held at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on Tuesday November 23rd and Wednesday 24th at 10.30am. A lively support picket will take place on both days, starting at 9am (PLEASE COME!!!)

Naomi Klein, Journalist activist and author of No Logo, will be attending the trial on Wednesday as a possible witness. She has written articles and conducted research into the imposition of privatisation and free market policies in Iraq.

Windrush Communications organised the Iraq Procurement Conference, bringing together:

“Over 200 companies and organisations from around the world … to discuss the wide range of economic opportunities available. The event was open to interested businesses and organisations from all countries, immediately following the awarding of up to $18.4 billion in contracts from the US Congress and prior to the handover from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to the new Iraqi government on 30 June.” (Source:

Ewa and Pennie have been charged with intending to disrupt a “lawful activity” when they unravelled banners and addressed the delegates in Arabic and English as collaborators in the daily massacres in Iraq.

The defence will argue that the meeting was not a lawful event as it was facilitating acts in breach of the Iraq constitution - illegal under the Hague Regulations of 1907 and Geneva Conventions 1949. Britain and the US are signatories to both the Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions.

In a leaked memo dated March 26th 2003, UK Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith advised Prime Minister Blair that in his view, 'the imposition of major structural economic reforms would not be authorised under international law'. (Source: Guardian, 7 November 2003, “Pillage is forbidden: Why the privatisation of Iraq is illegal“ Aaron Mate). The defendants will invite the Attorney General to give evidence at the trial, but it is not yet known whether he will attend.

This case will be the first time the legality of the pillage of Iraq is challenged in court. The defendants hope the court will rule that the conference was unlawful as occupying forces must comply with international law.

For information, contact the defendants –
Ewa Jasiewicz at or 07749 421 576
Pennie Quinton at
Their solicitor Rhiannon Jones at Bindman and Partners 0207 833 4433

Related Information:

Iraq business deals may be invalid, law experts warn (Source: Thomas Catán, Financial Times September 30th 2003)

The US-led provisional authority in Iraq may be breaking international law by selling state assets, experts have warned, raising the prospect that contracts signed now by foreign investors could be scrapped by a future Iraqi government.

International businesspeople attending a conference in London October 2003 heard that some orders issued by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) may be in breach of the 1907 Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

"Is what they are doing legitimate, is it legal?” asked Juliet Blanch, a partner at the London-based international law firm Norton Rose. "Most [experts] believe that their actions are not legal", she said. "There would be no requirement for a new government to ratify their [actions]."

International law obliges occupying powers to respect laws already in force in a country "unless absolutely prevented" from doing so.

According to international law experts, that throws doubt on the legality of the CPA's September 19 order opening the Iraqi economy to foreign investment. In what amounted to a blueprint for transforming Iraq into a market economy, Order 39 permitted full foreign ownership of a wide range of state-owned Iraqi assets, barring natural resources such as oil.


1- On the Iraq Procurement Conference, Jasiewicz says-

'Its as simple as this. Iraq is not America's to sell. It is up to the people of Iraq to decide, finally, theirs and their county's destiny - political, social and economic. Everything right now is being done to prevent that from happening. We, as people of consciousness and conscience in this country, have the responsibility to do whatever it takes to fight for that freedom. Our liberation is connected to their liberation. The liberation of the people of Iraq.

The forces which are oppressing us not just in Iraq but Palestine, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, West Papua, America, Poland, the world over, bear the same features, same dynamics, and follow the same agenda. These forces are fomenting a global crisis of poverty, panic, war and ecocide. The support networks for this process are present in this country and manifest themselves in conferences and meetings of the powerful and remorseless, planning and legitimising the plundering of economies and the perpetuation of war, disempowerment, poverty and killing. They happen here. They are the Iraq Procurement Conference. We have a responsibility to stop them.'

3- Relevant Links: - website of the Iraq Procurement Conference - website of the Occupation Administration - Orders can be found in the Documents section. Of particular relevance are Orders 30 and 39 plus Orders on Taxation Strategy - Up-to-date info and analysis on the continuing occupation and traumatisation of Iraq - Ewa Jasiewicz's 3 month research report on workers struggle in British Occupied Basra SOC Workers Throw Out KBR, Reconstruct Their workplaces Autonomously article by Ewa Jasiewicz - Iraqi Workers Threaten General Strike, Armed resistance - article by Ewa Jasiewicz - Basra Braces Itself for Industrial Shut-Down - article by Ewa Jasiewicz on Electricity Sector workers threatening strike action - Update on Electricity Workers Strike article by Ewa Jasiewicz - Umm Qasr workers wrestle with the prospect of forming a union. There is now a trade union at Umm Qasr! International Longshore and Warehouse Union members, employed by SSA Marine (formerly known as Stevedoring Services of America), the company which has been responsible for Umm Qasr since the occupation began sent a letter of solidarity and encouragement to the workers at the key Port. It is thought this helped workers gain the confidence and build on the already existing desire to form a union.