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Remembering Brian Haw - by Stephen Lendman
Early morning June 18, lung cancer claimed 62 year old UK anti-war activist Haw after a long battle, a man London Independent contributor Mark Wallinger called "the conscience of the nation grown quiescent."
His family left a message, saying: "He left us in his sleep and in no pain, after a long, hard fight," ending three months of treatment in Germany. His long vigil, in fact, contributed to his poor heath. It also led to a divorce and largely separated him from his seven children.
After others stopped protesting America's Afghan and Iraq wars, Brian was steadfast against his own government's complicity. In fact, from June 2001, months before 9/11, he camped out in London's Parliament Square against the UN's appalling economic sanctions. They got former UN representative for Iraq's Oil and Food program Denis Halliday to resign for being asked to commit the equivalent of genocide, killing 5,000 children monthly.
Haw, in fact, documented horrific Gulf War depleted uranium birth defects, repeated lies and evasions of US and UK leaders, and imperial lawlessness waging unconscionable wars. Resolutely he remained tenacious against injustice, championing peace and love.
On his own, his decade-long presence pressured his government relentlessly. In return, authorities hounded, arrested, and assaulted him. In 2002, the Westminster City Council petitioned Britain's High Court for an injunction to remove him, claiming he blocked the pavement. The Court, however, declined, ruling his presence wasn't unreasonable.
In 2003, the House of Commons Procedure Committee recommended a law change, prohibiting unlicensed protests on security grounds. He never left.
In 2005, after Tony Blair called him a nuisance to get rid of, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) passed, legislation enacted against him, making it illegal to protest within a one km radius of Parliament without police permission.
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