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Irak - USA blokerer for "Leave Iraq in Peace" konference i Italien
Italy pro-resistance conference: U.S. blocks Iraqis from speaking
John Catalinotto, 23. august 2005
Konservative amerikanske Congress-medlemmer har presset Italiens regering til ikka at udstede visa til irakiske politikere, der ønsker at deltage i konferencen 'Leave Iraq in peace — support the legitimate resistance of the Iraqi people' 1-2 oktober 2005.
A group of right-wing members of Congress close to the Bush administration has pressured the Italian government into interfering with an October conference —a gathering scheduled to build solidarity with Iraqis fighting to liberate their country from its occupiers.
The theme of the Oct 1-2 conference is "Leave Iraq in peace — support the legitimate resistance of the Iraqi people." The Italian government has refused visas to the representatives of Iraqi civilian organizations who have agreed to address the conference.
The Italy-based Free Iraq Committee, which organized the conference, has begun a campaign to reverse the government's decision. Among other tactics, organizers are circulating a petition demanding the Iraqis be allowed in to Italy.
According to the Free Iraq Committee, Italy´s embassy in Baghdad had earlier agreed to issue the visas. Then, on June 28, 44 members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to Italy´s ambassador to the United States demanding that the Italian government stop the conference.
Six weeks after this letter was sent, the Italian Embassy in Baghdad said it was reversing its agreement, based on a decision of the foreign ministry.
The U.S. members of Congress accused conference organizers of supporting “terrorism.’ They especially focused on one of the Free Iraq Committee's coalition members: the Anti-Imperialist Camp, which two years ago held a campaign to collect 10-Euro ($12.50) donations for the Iraqi resistance. Aside from 2,000 Euros used to send a cargo plane of medical supplies to Iraq from Austria, the AIC says the rest is being held to provide political support for whatever Iraqi political front is formed representing the resistance.
Among the more notorious U.S. politicians involved is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. She is tightly connected with ultra-right Cuban counter-revolutionary groups in the Miami area that helped George W. Bush steal the 2000 presidential election. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush managed her campaign in 1990. Ros-Lehtinen fully supported anti-Castro terrorist Orlando Bosch, who was connected with Luis Posada-Carriles and the bombing of a Cubana airliner in 1976 that killed 73 people. President George H.W. Bush pardoned Bosch.
Italy refused visas to Sheikh Jawad al Khalesi, leader of the Iraqi National Foundation Congress; Ayatollah Ahmed al Baghdadi; Salah al Mukhtar, former Iraqi ambassador to India and Vietnam; and Sheikh Hassan al Zargani, international spokesperson of the movement of Muqtada al Sadr, among others.
Among the prominent non-Iraqis on the conference speaker list are former Algerian President Ahmed Ben-Bella, philosopher Samir Amin and Philippine leader Jose Maria Sison. The International Action Center plans to participate from the United States.
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