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Anti-war forces call Sept. 27 day of action

Pentagon ramps up threats on Iran

Published Sep 7, 2008 8:33 PM

While much of the media and public attention has been on the Olympics and the Republican and Democratic national conventions, the Pentagon has been ramping up for what many believe is a planned attack on Iran.

On Aug. 31, the U.S. and Britain finished five days of naval exercises in the Central and Southern Arabian Gulf. According to the U.S. Navy, the mobilization, called “Exercise Goalkeeper,” focused on “command and control in locating and tracking specific vessels deemed to pose a threat to Coalition nations in the Gulf region. The exercise also allows Coalition teams to board the vessel and practice the procedures for handing them over to Coast Guard ships.”

The exercises follow July’s Operation Brimstone, a U.S.-led naval exercise that included units from the British, French, Brazilian and Italian navies. Brimstone provided these forces with training for operation in shallow coastal waters such as the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. This comes as both houses of Congress have pending resolutions that would mandate an air, sea and land blockade of Iran.

A naval blockade, were it to be implemented, is equivalent to a declaration of war. It constitutes a blatant violation of international law. According to Francis Boyle, a renowned specialist in international law:

“A ‘blockade’ is a term used under international law to specifically refer to belligerent measures taken by a nation for the purposes of preventing the passage of vessels or aircraft to and from another country. Customary international law recognizes blockades as an act of war because of the belligerent use of force even against third-party nations in enforcing the blockade. Blockades as acts of war have been recognized as such in the Declaration of Paris of 1856 and the Declaration of London of 1909 that delineate the international rules of warfare.”

Activists across the U.S. and worldwide have been mobilizing. On Aug. 2, in response to an emergency call to action by the Stop War On Iran (SWOI) campaign, there were protests, pickets and rallies in more than 100 cities.

Organizers with SWOI, hoping to turn up the heat and preempt an attack, have called for another day of action on Sept. 27. The call to action reads, in part:

“What we do now can make a difference. We must act now. As more U.S. warships are deploying to the Persian Gulf, we have to mobilize to stop an ‘October Surprise’ or any other attack on Iran—or any other country. Politicians don’t stop wars—they create them. The only force that will stop endless war in the Middle East is a massive grassroots people’s movement.

“While billions of dollars go to war spending, at home the unemployment rate hit the biggest spike in 23 years. Home foreclosures and evictions are increasing. Fuel and food prices are through the roof. While the situation is growing dire for many, Washington’s cuts to domestic programs continue. The coming fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1, will bring drastic cuts. A new U.S. war will bring only more suffering.”

Activists report that response to the call has been encouraging, and that they are expecting to see actions in well over 100 cities across the U.S. and internationally. For more information, to endorse the call to action, or to get involved, go to www.StopWarOnIran.org.