Friday, October 06, 2006


Day Four report cont.

We finished yesterday's blog part way through Phil's evidence with his assertion that to use violence in an attempt to create peace would be inherently contradictory, and that his philosophy is one of clear, reasonable and proportionate communication. Which led Ed Rees, defence QC, back to the fencing pliers the prosecution had seemed so confused by yesterday. Phil confirmed that he carried them to use to get through the fence and barbed wire. Had he been able to he'd also have used them, with a hammer, like a small chisel to damage the pod containing bomb aiming and guidance mechanisms which protrudes beneath the front of the plane. The reason for this was that he was likely to be able to reach this specific part of the plane without ladders, elephants or stilts, and that damage to it would make the plane incapable of bombing Iraq.
Phil explained, as Toby had, that he'd done everything else in his power to prevent the war before deciding that he could only stop the commission of war crimes by damaging B52s at Fairford. He'd tried to influence politicians and the military, and explain his concerns to ordinary people, by petitioning MPs, demonstrating near parliament and at military bases, and attending vigils and marches. A particular example was a demonstration on Valentine's day at the gates of Downing Street, locked on to a huge pink heart bearing the message "WAR BREAKS MY HEART", to which Tony Blair didn't respond.
Phil believed that the decision to go to war had been made long before the vote in parliament at the end of February 2003, in which 198 MPs voted that the case for war had not been made. This number included 112 Labour MPs!He referred to a war summit in the Azores attended by US, Spanish, and UK politicians following which Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, adopted a pro-war stance. Shortly after this Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary for Defence stated publicly that the US was likely to go to war alone if no other nations would support it. Asked about the UN, Phil spoke of an announcement in early March 2003 that the UK and US had withdrawn from the UN process and were going to go it alone. Consequently Phil didn't believe statements by the British govt. that the decision to go to war hadn't yet been made. He wasn't prepared to accept the political refusal to fully consider the case against war because of his fears that cluster weapons and depleted uranium-containing weapons would be used. He couldn't believe a statement in the house of lords that they wouldn't be used because his research showed that they had been widely used in all recent conflicts the US and Britain had fought. (And subsequent statements have revealed that in fact the UK used 66 cluster bombs in the ini Iraq War.) Asked about the effects of DU weapons he spoke of a report by Malcolm Hooper for the Gulf War Veterans Association, a technical paper collating information about the long term effects on British soldiers of exposure to depleted uranium.

Right, time for court now - more later.

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