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1st anniversary of Australia's day of shame.



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Michael Organ MP

Greens Member for Cunningham

***** MEDIA RELEASE ***** 18 March 2004

1ST ANNIVERSARY OF AUSTRALIA’S DAY OF SHAME

Today marks the first anniversary of Australia’s day of shame, the Howard government’s cowardly king-hit on Iraq, Cunningham MP Michael Organ said this afternoon.

“Australian forces fired the first shots in the Iraq war on the evening of 18 March 2003, before the US ultimatum to Saddam Hussein had expired”, Mr Organ said.

“Prime Minister John Howard not only misled the Australian public about the so-called forward deployment of troops to the Middle East, but went far beyond the internationally accepted rules of warfare.”

“At 4:00 am Iraq time on 18 March 2003 US President George W Bush said ‘Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing’.”

“By that evening Australian SAS troops were in action in western Iraq, despite the fact that the first US aerial strikes did not occur until around 5:30am on Thursday 20 March 2003, an hour and a half after the ultimatum had expired.”

“Australia’s disgraceful king-hit has shamed our nation and our armed forces.”

“John Howard has destroyed our reputation as the country of the fair go; he has sold out one of our core values.”

“Ordering Australian troops into action prior to the Prime Minister’s flimsy pretext for war, those non-existent weapons of mass destruction, is an sword hanging over our collective necks”, Mr Organ said.

More from: Michael Organ MP 02 4228 3666, 0439 442 550 Allen Clark (Media Adviser) 0439 464 439

***** MEDIA RELEASE *****