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Voices in the Wilderness UK (www.voicesuk.org ) Press release Tuesday March 4th 10.40 am 0845 458 2564/ 0794 783 9992 Anti war activist put on suspected terror list for sending food to Jack Straw A peace activist has allegedly been placed on a suspected terrorist list after sending a letter to Jack Straw, containing rice as part of a letter writing campaign to evoke compassion in the Foreign Office for the ordinary people in Iraq facing a massive humanitarian crisis in the event of war. The letter unexpectedly closed down Jack Straw's office for 3 hours on Friday January 24th after an x ray of the mail sparked a bio terror alert. The activist was visited by police that night who told him of the result of his innocent mailing and advised him he was now on a suspected terrorist list and it was only his postcode and his "respectable" family that saved him from being raided by anti terror police. The campaign, "deluge the decision makers" was initiated by anti war group Voices in the Wilderness UK, who are now concerned that they and the many other supporters who took part in the action are now on a list of suspected terrorists. The campaign was inspired by a similar campaign in the 1950s which is credited with helping prevent a US nuclear attack on China.(2) The 1950s model has inspired numerous other groups who have recently been sending rice to Downing St. from groups as widely spread as Women in Black to Franciscan monks (in one case sparking a similar scare at King's Cross Post Office (3)). Voices in the Wilderness UK spokesperson Richard Byrne said, "Our action was never intended to cause any fear or alarm at the foreign office and we regret that it did. Our intention was simply to evoke feelings of compassion for the 22 million people in Iraq who right now have real reason for fear and alarm from the terror of a US/ UK attack. We are greatly concerned at the heavy handed police response to this incident. We have written to the police and the Home Office seeking reassurance without response. It is ridiculous that someone could be told by a police officer they are on list of suspected terrorists for sending foodstuffs to the foreign office." Voices sent out a message cancelling the rice action as soon as they became aware of the problem at the Foreign Office. They are running other postal campaigns however, sending photographs of children to the Prime Minister higlighting the damage to children caused by the sanctions and war and sending bone shaped dog biscuits to Tony Blair, urging him to not be George Bush's poodle. Contact Voices on 0845 458 2564/ 0794 7839992 www.voicesuk.org (1) Voices in the Wilderness UK is a campaign to lift the economic sanctions and stop the war on Iraq. (2) In the 1950's the US Fellowship of Reconciliation launched a "Feed Thine Enemy" campaign in response to reports of famine on the Chinese mainland. Thousands of bags of rice were sent to President Eisenhower in the White House, who never acknowledged their arrival. A decade later it emerged that during meetings with Joint Chiefs of Staff to consider US options in the conflict with China over two islands, Quemoy and Matsu, the generals twice recommended the use of nuclear weapons. Eisenhower each time turned to his aide and asked how many little bags of rice had come in. The huge number of bags convinced Eisenhower not to use nuclear weapons. (3) see Camden Chronicle Feb 13, 2003. Police spokesman said, "It's all part of a political awareness campaign. This is not a crime because no offence has been committed." sign the pledge of resistance to the "war on terrorism" www.j-n-v.org _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk