October 2, 2007
So Britain lectures Burma on the right of people to protest, the U.N., sends an envoy there and the U.S. - whilst behaving in Iraq and Afghanistan as Burma's Junta, shooting, beating, torturing, imprisoning without trial - go in to broken record mode about the right to peacefully demonstrate and 'freedom and democracy'.
Meanwhile, the British government, under the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown (who as Chancellor of the Exchequer write the cheques for the Iraq and Afghanistan bloodbaths) has instructed the police to ban a peaceful march and Lobby of Parliament - on 8th October, the day that Parliament re-convenes after the summer break - demanding that British troops leave Iraq and Afghanistan.
Veteran former M.P., and former Minister for Energy, The Right Honourable Tony Benn, whose son Hilary is Minister for the Environment, is joining composer, musician and producer Brian Eno; political comedian, satirist and documentary maker Mark Thomas and Labour Executive member, Walter Wolfgang in defying the ban.
Benn has written to the Home Secretary outlining his views on this Burma-style crackdown on the right to protest outside the 'Mother of Parliaments'. Octogenarian Walter Wolfgang had also been subject of 'democracy’s' limitations, having been heavy handedly ejected by Labour Party goons, from the Labour Party Conference for calling out 'Shame' regarding Iraq, when Minister Jack Straw was speaking.
Whatever the Burmese government's indisputable failings and lack of regards for human rights, Britain and America have absolutely no moral ground from which to criticise them. People in glass houses, where the world can thus watch them, would show themselves to be bordering on mental deficiency, to throw stones. Ironically, at this year's Party Conference, Gordon Brown invoked the Biblical:' suffer the little children ...' not, apparently, when it comes to calling for British and American soldiers to stop killing, imprisoning and terrifying them. Hypocrisy does not come more towering than this. Shame, yet again.
Tony Benn's letter to the Home Secretary is attached below.
Stop the War Coalition
Monday 1 October 2007
Tony Benn to defy ban and head 8 October Troops Out march.
In response to the attempt to ban the Troops Out march on Monday 8 October Tony Benn has today delivered a letter to the Home Secretary confirming that he will be marching on 8 October despite the attempt to use the arcane 1839 Sessionallegislation to prohibit this march. The letter appears below. Tony will bejoined at the front of the march by Walter Wolfgang, Brian Eno, Mark Thomas andmany more people calling for the withdrawal of British troops and in defence of civil liberties.
The Right Hon Jacqui Smith MP
House of CommonsLondon
Monday October 1st 2007
Dear Home Secretary
LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT ON OCTOBER 8th
I am writing to you as President of the STOP THE WAR COALITION, to give you advance notice that there will be a demonstration in Trafalgar Square the day Parliament meets calling for the immediate withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan at which I shall be speaking along with others.
Afterwards many of those present - including myself - will be marching along Whitehall to the House of Commons to meet MPs and urge them to support this call for a withdrawal, as I shall be doing in approaching Malcolm Rifkind my own local MP.
We shall be doing this in an orderly manner and I am making available to those who wish to have one, a postcard over my printed signature as a Privy Councillor, asking the police, and others to assist them.
I enclose a copy of this postcard.
The authority for this march derives from our ancient right to free speech and assembly enshrined in our history, of which we often boast and which we vigorously defended in two world wars.
I am copying this letter, and its enclosure, to Jack Straw, the Commissioner of the Metropolis, and as a courtesy, to the Prime Minister’s office.
I hope that you will be able to re-assure me that those who demonstrate and march down Whitehall will enjoy your full support and the support of the police.
But it is only fair to tell you that the march will go ahead, in any case, and I will be among those marching.
Yours in peace
If they are planning an Iranian attack they will have a public even more upset and disgruntled than before. This is what this tightening up is about…..Civil liberties never seem very important until you need them. At times like this we need to be re-enforcing them." Brian Eno
"This is rather a ham-fisted attempt to prevent us from demonstrating. What they (the government and police) do is up to them. We will just ignore them and we have the moral and logical high-ground. I will be marching on Monday 8 October." Mark Thomas
Stop the War Coalition
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