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SANCTIONS-BUSTING PLANE LANDS IN BAGHDAD. THE FIRST PEACEFUL BRITISH FLIGHT IN MORE THAN A DECADE DEFIES THE GOVERNMENT AND TOUCHES DOWN IN IRAQ. At around 8am local time (5am GMT) the first British flight since sanctions were declared against Iraq more than 10 years ago landed successfully at Baghdad's international airport - without permission from either the British government or the UN Sanctions Committee in New York. The party of eight included the Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin, George Galloway, hereditary peer Lord Rea of Eskdale and Catholic priest Father Noel Barry, who is the former press secretary of Cardinal Thomas Winning. The plane was an Air Dassault Falcon 50 which flew under the cover of darkness and subterfuge from Manston airfield in Kent. The sanctions-busting flight was paid-for by private donations to the Mariam Appeal, the campaigning organisation which is fighting to stop the embargo on Iraq which has caused the deaths of more than 1 million Iraqis, the majority of them children. The flight was deliberately not a humanitarian one - no drugs or medicine were on board - but was intended to focus world attention on the plight of the people of Iraq. "We don't accept that there are any UN sanctions against passenger flights into Iraq - as the British and American governments maintain - but I do accept that we have committed an offence in Britain by not informing the DTi of our flight plan or allowing the department's inspectors to check out the plane" said George Galloway. "I hope that the government won't take action against us but if they do then we'll relish our days in court." At the same time as the plane landed a letter giving details of the flight was being handed in to Foreign Office minister Peter Hain. The letter says, in part: "We have made this journey to demonstrate the widespread and growing opposition in the United Kingdom to the continuing embargo.As you know my view is that there is not requirement for any UN Sanctions Committee approval for this flight and there is no breach of any international legal requirement." Fr Barry said: "I have written and campaigned against sanctions for some time now and it is time to add action to the rhetoric. Children are dying in Iraq and as a committed Christian I find it impossible to walk past on the other side of the street." FOR FURTHER INFORMATION FOR MEDIA CONTACT Ron McKay on 07967 584272. Also see information on our website at www.mariamappeal.com Trish Meehan Mariam Appeal t: 0044 (0)207 403 5200 f: 0044 (0)207 403 3823 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.mariamappeal.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk