Sunday, September 08, 2002

Target Rich Environment
According to the Telegraph (UK), British peace activists to serve as human shields for Baghdad:
British peace protesters plan to go to Baghdad to act as voluntary "human shields" during a war against Iraq.

The activists, who have received President Saddam Hussein's blessing for the mission, want to try to deter attacks by "showing solidarity" with the Iraqi people and witnessing "their suffering".


The "Iraq peace team", from the group Voices in the Wilderness, intends to go to Iraq as early as this month alongside volunteers from the United States.
More "volunteers" are being signed up through the good auspices of Dr. Weevil.
Voices in the Wilderness, founded in Britain in 1998, grew out of the peace protests during the Gulf war, when British activists camped in the desert on the Iraqi border.

The group's website admits that members are involved in breaking "criminal" international sanctions against Baghdad. It says they "risk persecution and imprisonment" in doing so.

The "peace team" idea has been welcomed by the Iraqi regime. Kathy Kelly, the US co-ordinator of Voices in the Wilderness, secured agreement for the mission from Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister, in Baghdad in May.

She said: "We will tell everybody that goes over that they should be prepared to say that they have had a good life and this could be the last year of their life."
From your lips to God's ears.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, troops seized about 1,200 expatriate Britons. On Saddam's orders they were placed at key installations as "human shields". Their presence, Saddam reasoned, would deter allied air strikes.

The tactic prompted worldwide revulsion, especially when Saddam was filmed trying to create favourable propaganda by urging a five-year-old boy, Stuart Lockwood, from Worcester, to sit on his knee. The terrified boy refused.

Diplomatic efforts eventually led to the hostages' release, but many have suffered continuing psychological trauma. Two killed themselves.

Bernard Jenkin, the shadow defence secretary, criticised the planned peace mission. He said: "These people are what the communist Soviet Union used to refer to as useful idiots. They will simply be serving the propaganda interests of an evil dictator."
Don't tell Saddam about the radio tracking beacons sewn into their shorts!