Hunger Strike Against Censorship

Seven antiwar activists remain on a hunger strike in front of the Farnesina, the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome, to protest censorship. Leonardo Mazzei, 49, employed by national electric company and spokesman for the Italian “Free Iraq” Committee; Anika Persiani, 31, active in the “Free Iraq” Committee; Lara Wintzer, 21, active in the “Free Iraq” Committee in Germany; Ilia Montani, 20, philosophy student and activist in the Umbria Student Movement; Jörg Ulrich, 38, student and former PKK militant of the “Free Iraq” Committee in Germany; Roberto Gabriele, 66, of the international Foundation “Nino Pasti” of Rome; and Emanuele Fanesi, student-worker in Perugia active in the “Anti-Imperialist Camp” have been on strike since August 31 to protest the refusal of the Foreign Affairs Minister of Italy, Gianfranco Fini, to grant visas for six prominent Iraqi anti-occupation activists to attend the “Leave Iraq in peace – support the legitimate resistance of the Iraq people” conference in Chianciano, Italy. The condition of the strikers remains stable as they enter their 3rd week without sustenance, prominently displaying a banner in Italian that reads “We want to see the visas”.

Among those denied a visa is Haj Ali, a survivor of the events at Abu Ghraib. The photo of him hooded and attached to electrodes as he stood on a box above a wet floor is one of the most horrific images of the torture and humiliation committed against Iraqis under the American occupation. After his horrendous experience, he founded in the “Iraqi Association of the Victims of American Occupation Prisons”. Haj Ali represents one of many voices that Gianfranco Fini wants to prevent being heard by members of the world anti-war movement, accusing him of “spreading hate”.

The conference organized by the Anti-Imperialist Camp, a coalition of left organizations in Europe, will bring together anti-war activists from Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East on October 1-2. Through this gathering they hope “to strengthen the unity between the peoples who are struggling for national self-determination and the working people in the West who suffer under the yoke of their own governments that are engaged in foreign adventures of war and plunder”.

Speakers include Ben Bella, former President and Prime Minister of Algeria and Jan Myrdal, Swedish author of “From anti-globalization to anti-imperialism”. Other activists that will address the gathering are journalist Haluk Gerger of the Turkish Human Rights Association; Ahmed Saadat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Sheikh Jawad al Khalesi, leader of the Iraqi National Foundation Congress , who supported the boycott of the recent Iraqi elections; and Sheikh Hassan al Zargani, international spokesman of the movement of Muqtada al Sadr.

The refusal of visas is only one part of a larger attempt by pro-was forces within Italy and the United States to shut down the conference and slander the Anti-imperialist Camp. On June 28, 44 members of the US Congress wrote a letter to the Italian Ambassador, Sergio Vento, stating “concern” that “supporters of terrorist activity are planning to meet on Italian soil to plan a campaign of financial aid for terrorism”.

In spite of these attempts, the strikers and the conference have received an outpouring of support from around the world. A protest letter to Foreign Minister Fini has been signed on to by hundreds of people including influential activists, intellectuals, writers and members of religious communities. Sit-ins have also taken place in front of various foreign capitals in the last several days together with a protest in front of the Italian embassy in Damascus against the refusal of visas.

KATRINA YEAW is a member of Students Against War, a chapter of the Campus Antiwar Network, at San Francisco State University. She is currently studying in Florence and can be reached at Katrina.yeaw@gmail.com








We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005


More articles by:
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
Patrick Cockburn
Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?
Joseph Grosso
The Invisible Class: Workers in America
Kim Ives
Haiti’s Popular Uprising Calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s Removal
John Carroll Md
Dispatch From Haiti: Trump and Breastfeeding
Alycee Lane
On Heat Waves and Climate Resistance
Ed Meek
Dershowitz the Sophist
Howard Lisnoff
Liberal Massachusetts and Recreational Marijuana
Ike Nahem
Trump, Trade Wars, and the Class Struggle
Olivia Alperstein
Kavanaugh and the Supremes: It’s About Much More Than Abortion
Manuel E. Yepe
Korea After the Handshake
Robert Kosuth
Militarized Nationalism: Pernicious and Pervasive
Binoy Kampmark
Soft Brexits and Hard Realities: The Tory Revolt
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Localization: a Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
Kevin Zeese - Nils McCune
Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?
Chris Wright
The American Oligarchy: A Review
Kweli Nzito
Imperial Gangster Nations: Peddling “Democracy” and Other Goodies to the Untutored