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EDITIONS
Friday, 31 January, 2003, 14:05 GMT
Stars speak up for peace
Bianca Jagger
Bianca Jagger is known for her human rights campaigns

It read like a list from a showbiz party: Bianca Jagger, pop star Damon Albarn, director Ken Loach, actor Corin Redgrave and top architect Richard Rogers.

It will be blood for oil and not only the blood of Iraqis but the blood of British and American people

Bianca Jagger
But it didn't take the formal surroundings of the House of Commons to indicate that these were people in no mood for fun. The sombre atmosphere did that.

Their minds were on just one thing: the prospect of war with Iraq.

Open in new window : In pictures
Celebrities against war

Sitting alongside Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway, star after star articulated their reasons for opposing the policy of George Bush and Tony Blair

Environmental campaigner Mrs Jagger said that in order to justify war the two leaders must have exhausted every other avenue.

Ignoring the law?

Neither the US or UK had presented "irrefutable evidence" that Saddam Hussein was linked to al-Qaeda.

Damon Albarn
Albarn is a prominent anti-war campaigner
War without UN backing would a "terrible precedent" because it would ignore the international rule of law and the United Nations charter, she said.

It was all very well to say the war was for the benefit of Iraq but "what will be the human toll that the Iraqis have to pay".

"Can I ask Prime Minister Blair and President Bush to tell us why, if the weapons inspectors are asking for more time in order to be able to disarm Saddam Hussein they are not doing it?"

"The real reason for this war is because of oil. It will be blood for oil and not only the blood of Iraqis but the blood of British and American people."

Oil

Mr Loach also argued that a war would be about oil rather than anything to do with combating terror.

He pointed to the Cheney report which he said clearly showed that oil imports to the US had to rise 60% by 2020 because of increased consumption.

"Where's that oil to come from? The reserves in Iraq are central to their strategy and that's why suddenly they've discovered they have to deal with Saddam Hussein - they want his oil."

Damon Albarn said that he had yet to meet anyone who actually backed a war.

The former Blur frontman said: "There is a strength of feeling across the board. I don't believe in what Tony Blair is saying anymore because he's not listening to the people who elected him democratically."

'Slaughterhouse'

Mr Redgrave said it was not so much a case of whether the war was going to happen, it was more a case of when and how.

It was necessary to make very clear to both Mr Blair and Mr Bush that if they should not proceed with an attack.

Both men were already war criminals because sanctions against Iraq had claimed the life of "half a million" children.

"If they proceed they will be more odious than the generals and politicians who led people into the slaughterhouse of the first world war. They'll be damned forever."

Mr Galloway urged members of the public to join an anti-war march on 15 February.

Asked if war would be the beginning of the end for Tony Blair the MP said: "I'm hoping that regime change in London won't be necessary."

Millennium Dome
The 'jinxed' Dome was designed by Lord Rogers
Mr Galloway expressed anger about an apparent ban on protesters converging at Hyde Park after they had marched on the 15th.

Earlier it was revealed by one of the demonstration organisers that the Mall and the Dome had been mooted as alternatives but that it would not be a good idea to associate a peace march with the "jinxed" Millennium project.

Lord Rogers said - after pointing out that he designed the Millennium Dome - that "the facts we have today do not justify a war".

"I think a war is being imposed upon us and I stand strongly against it."

See also:

20 Sep 01 | Entertainment
21 Jan 03 | Politics
21 Jan 03 | Politics
31 Jan 03 | Politics
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