"Human Shield to Protect Iraq"
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Sat Sep 14 10:25:43 MDT 2002
Sep. 13, 2002
British Lawmaker Wants Human Shield to Protect Iraq
LONDON - Anti-war British lawmaker George Galloway will call for international
volunteers to form a human shield in Baghdad to try to thwart any attack
after he flies to Iraq on Saturday. "One of the ideas will be an international
peace brigade of volunteers from around the world. People who will go
to Iraq and offer themselves to be witnesses to what may well be about
to happen," parliamentarian George Galloway told Reuters on Friday.
He expected significant numbers of Britons to come forward.
Asked if it would in effect constitute a human shield of people trying
to prevent any bombing raids, he said: "A voluntary one, yes."
He said: "There are many, many millions of British people who are determined
that the Iraqi people will not be bombed in their name."
Galloway, who met President Saddam Hussein last month and has tirelessly
campaigned against war with Iraq, is going to Iraq for the Baghdad peace
conference -- an international group that meets every six months.
"It would normally have met in November, but it has been brought forward
to Monday because of the emergency," said Galloway, a member of Prime
Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party.
He said he did not expect to meet Saddam on this trip, which lasts until
Wednesday, but would be meeting Iraqi deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz
who is chairing the conference.
Galloway said President Bush was intent on war and had used his speech
to the United Nations in New York on Thursday as a smokescreen trying
to hide his true intentions.
"It is clear that yesterday's performance in New York was simply a ruse
to pretend that some sort of recourse to the U.N. and diplomacy was going
to be sought," he said.
"I suspect that while war is never inevitable...it is looking increasingly
more likely," Galloway added.
Bush, who has called for "regime change" in Iraq, said on Thursday U.N.
arms inspectors who left in December 1998 had to be unconditionally readmitted
On Friday as Aziz ruled out the re-entry of the inspectors who had been
seeking to dismantle Iraq's program to build weapons of mass destruction
since the 1991 Gulf War, Bush called for a deadline for action counted
in weeks at most.
Galloway urged the U.N. Security Council to stand up to what he called
the bullying tactics of the Bush administration.
"If it wants to avoid global turmoil it will stand up and insist upon
taking charge of this matter itself," he said.
Galloway said he did not intend staying in Baghdad with any volunteer
human peace shield. His place was in the corridors of power and on the
streets of London trying to persuade Britain to back out of a coalition
with the United States.
"It is the coalition of the mad dog and the Englishman. If we can stop
the Englishman then we can keep the whole world out of the blinding midday
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it is black, and another one for another country, Israel, that is white?..
the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace."
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