[Dr. Dhafir is an honorary member of the BRussels Tribunal.]

Francois Hutart BRussels Tribunal 12/06/09

Dear friends in justice and peace,

In 2005 the West celebrated the end of World War II. Now Western Europe is getting ready to commemorate in 2014 World War I. Meanwhile, we hardly realise that in 2009 war remains for millions a daily reality. “No more war” is a dream and a just wish, but unfortunately has not materialised.

In 1967 – more than 40 years ago – the Bertrand Russell Tribunal condemned US war crimes in Vietnam. But only on 27 January 1973, six years later, did the Americans withdraw. Today, it’s almost seven years since US troops invaded Iraq and the illegal occupation seems far from over.
Like the Vietnam War, the war in Iraq is a war of aggression. The United States and its allies invaded Iraq on 20 March 2003 under the pretext that Iraq had developed weapons of mass destruction (afterwards proven false).

Just before the invasion, and immediately afterwards, there were massive protests against the British-American plan. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair forfeited the necessary credibility to become the first president of the European Union. Meanwhile in Britain a fourth committee has been established to investigate why Blair decided to participate in the illegal invasion.

Yet we are surprised that the protests of civil society against this war resound ever weaker, though the devastation wrought is enormous. Seven years of war on Iraq have caused more than one million deaths with 4.5 million people forced to flee.

The BRussells Tribunal tries to gather as much information as possible about the real situation in Iraq, and wants to reach as many people as possible with real news of this war and occupation, including:

– The impact of the use of depleted uranium

– The reasons for the destruction of the Iraqi state, its infrastructure and cultural heritage

– Why academics, doctors, journalists were kidnapped, obliged to leave the country or killed

– Violations of the basic rights of Iraqis, especially women, children and civilians.

The BRussells Tribunal wants to give voice to the Iraqis who live under the daily terror of a horrendous occupation.

And if there is occupation, there is resistance. That was the case in World War II, and Iraq is no different. We want that voice – totally absent in our media – to be heard.

The BRussells Tribunal is well known for its accurate and verified information, collected and disseminated online: www.brussellstribunal.org.

From January 2010 onwards, we want to keep as many interested people as possible abreast of the situation in Iraq and the Arab world via a newsletter detailing the activities and publications of the BRussells Tribunal. We would appreciate it if you verify that we have your data correctly recorded. By clicking here, you can view this data and complete it. If you know friends or colleagues who would be interested in our newsletter, you can forward this e-mail to them.

Many thanks for your cooperation and we hope to meet you again via our next newsletter, or via email, or see you at one of the activities of the BRussells Tribunal.

For the BRussells Tribunal Committee,

Professor  Emeritus François Houtart

Participant in the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal on US Crimes in Vietnam in 1967
Senior Advisor to former President of the United Nations General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann
Recipient of the 2009 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence, Belgium