STOP THE WAR COALITION NEWSLETTER
No. 1128 30 November 2009
Email office@stopwar.org.uk

IN THIS NEWSLETTER
1) THE ONLY SERIOUS EXIT STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN
2) THE IRAQ INQUIRY CATCH PHRASE: “NOT ME, GUV'”
3) VIVA PALESTINA CONVOY TO GAZA: 5 DECEMBER
4) SUPPORT GROWING FOR MILITARY FAMILIES PROTEST
5) DON’T FORGET JOE GLENTON

1) THE ONLY SERIOUS EXIT STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN
Inevitably the news of yet another British soldier dying in Afghanistan coincided with Gordon Brown’s announcement that he is sending 500 more British troops to fight in a war which in the latest poll 71 per cent of the British public opposes.

We are witnessing a very dangerous escalation of the war. With Barack Obama likely to announce a surge of around 30,000 troops, and other Nato allies adding a further five thousand, the total number of foreign troops occupying Afghanistan will equal that deployed by the Soviet Union in the 1979-89 Afghan war, which ended in its catastrophic defeat.

Gordon Brown’s troop surge is a response to failure after eight years of war. All the various war aims have been shown
to be false. The war has not made Britain safer from terrorism, but has made it more dangerous. The war is not being fought for democracy, but to protect one of the most corrupt governments in the world. The troops are not engaged
in a humanitarian mission, but in a war of occupation opposed by the majority of Afghans.

Brown and Obama both claim that this dramatic increase in the number of troops is the  beginning of an exit strategy. It is nothing of the sort. It is the signal that the major powers are planning to continue a war ,which after Vietnam is the second longest in American history for years to come.

Just as in Vietnam the US claimed that sending more troops was the key to bringing peace, Obama and Brown are proposing more war as necessary for their “exit strategy”. There is only one serious exit strategy: that is to recognise that Britain and the other Nato powers have no right to be in Afghanistan, and far from escalating the numbers Gordon
Brown should be withdrawing all British troops now.

2) THE IRAQ INQUIRY CATCH PHRASE: “NOT ME, GUV'”
The evidence given to the Iraq Inquiry in its first week saw a
series of establishment figures trying to absolve themselves of any blame for their part in the build up to war, implying
all responsibility lay with Tony Blair.

It appears that Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General who
notoriously changed his advice about the legality of the war just days before the invasion, is getting his “not me, guv'”
in early even before he appears at the inquiry. The details of a letter he wrote to Blair eight months before the
invasion, in which he stated categorically that the war was illegal, were revealed over the weekend. You can read the
details here: http://bit.ly/6Tk6w7

Apparently Gordon Brown is worried that in the run up to the general election all these revelations about Iraq will remind people of why they opposed  the war in the first place. Stop the War is taking every opportunity to ensure that the issues remain in the public eye, not least the key question of holding the war criminals to account. Stop the War held a protest on the first day of the Chilcot inquiry, which received worldwide media coverage. (See http://bit.ly/5IYYCK). We will announce soon a major public meeting on the issue.
And we await with much anticipation the appearance of  Tony Blair before the Iraq Inquiry likely to be in January or
February, when we will organise a large scale protest to ensure he is warmly welcomed.

3) VIVA PALESTINA THIS WEEKEND
On 27 December, the anniversary of Israel’s barbaric invasion at the turn of 2009, convoys from Britain, the United States and Turkey, packed with aid donated by the people of those countries, will converge on Gaza to break the inhuman siege which prevents essential resources reaching Palestinians in the world’s most densely populated area.
The British convoy leaves London this weekend. Details of the departure place and time will be available shortly on the Viva Palestina website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/

4) SUPPORT GROWING FOR MILITARY FAMILIES PROTEST
Support is continuing to build for the Military Families Against the War protest at Downing Street at 5pm on Monday 21 December. As well as many families who have lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, or have relatives serving in the Afghan war, there will be a number of former soldiers joining the protest, when the Bring the Troops Home petition will be handed in to Downing Street. The military families also plan to demand to see Gordon Brown.

All the local Stop the War groups across the country have been asked to sponsor military families in their area to come down to the Downing Street protest and to send delegations in support. The families are asking for the widest support possible. Please help publicise the event as widely as you can. For further information: http://bit.ly/4Z3eCR

5) THURSDAY 28 JANUARY: DATE FOR YOUR DIARY
Gordon Brown has announced that he is organising an international conference on Afghanistan in London on Thursday 28 January 2010. As well as organising a protest at Brown’s conference, Stop the War will in response hold its own alternative meetings and conference. Please note the date now. We will publicise further details soon.

6) DON’T FORGET JOE GLENTON
Send messages of support to Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, in prison for speaking out against the Afghan war and facing
court martial for refusing to return to Afghanistan. Email messages of support to: defendjoeglenton@gmail.com
Write letters, cards to:
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton
Military Corrective Training Centre
Berechurch Hall Camp
Colchester CO2 9NU

7) XMAS PARTY: FROM BLIAR TO STOP BUSH
If you live in London, Stop the War’s Xmas party on Friday 11 December is not to be missed. As well as food, drinks and music, the party takes place surrounded by a showcase of Stop the War’s history, drawn from our archive which is now housed at the Bishopsgate Institute.

The displays will include many of the posters and placards going back to our earliest demonstrations, including the now iconic designs by artist David Gentleman, leaflets, pamphlets, press cutting, photographs etc. Admission is free.

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