Hizballah Boosted by Anti-War Westerners, Meeting Told
By Kevin McCandless
London (CNSNews.com) - Hundreds of anti-war activists attending a meeting here on Thursday night were told that their activism was appreciated by the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hizballah.
With the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq fast approaching, the British Stop the War Coalition is preparing for a massive demonstration in London on March 15.
As part of the run-up, the coalition sponsored an evening with various speakers, including Ibrahim Moussawi, the editor of Al Intiqad, a Lebanese newspaper linked to Hizballah.
In a short speech occasionally interrupted by applause and cheers, Moussawi told his audience that it was the support of the anti-war movement that kept Hizballah going during its brief war against Israel in 2006.
"They [HIZ B'ALLAH...ed. A.I.] appreciate everything you did and say you are partners in victory," he said.
Politicians from the opposition Conservative Party complained this week about Moussawi being allowed into Britain. Moussawi said it is simply part of a propaganda campaign against Hizballah.
"It's not that I want to see people killed, no matter what nationality they have," Moussawi said. "It's that I want justice to take place."
Moussawi, who will speak elsewhere in Britain over the next few days, was recently banned from speaking in Ireland.
Earlier in the evening, Ben Griffin, a former soldier with British special forces, accused his country's military of routinely handing over detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan to the American army.
Based on what his officers in Iraq and his fellow soldiers had told him, he said, hundreds of these detainees were later sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba or to other holding centers under the process known as extraordinary rendition.
Griffin said the British government was violating the Geneva convention and other instruments of international law.
Griffin, who first made his allegations publicly earlier this week, told Thursday night's audience that the British government was seeking a gag order against him.
Another speaker, Hassan Juma'a, head of the Iraqi Oil Workers Federation, said the war had brought nothing but death and destruction to his country.
Speaking through a translator, the union leader charged that U.S. forces were as brutally repressive as the regime of the ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.
A controversial bill now stalled in the Iraqi parliament aims to open up the country's oil industry to outside investment. Juma'a said this would only lead to exploitation by the West.
Lindsey German, one of the chief organizers of the coalition, defended her group's decision to bring Moussawi to Britain, saying it supported anyone who stood against American "imperialism."
"They're trying to silence them because we have been incredibly effective," she said. "We have made this a major political issue and we will not go away."
1) Hizballah Boosted by Anti-War Westerners, Meeting Told