WASHINGTON – A delegation from the European Parliament (EP) here to confer with peace leaders against war on Iraq hailed the vote by Turkey’s Parliament March 1 to reject Bush’s war in which as many as 3,000 misiles will rain on Baghdad within 48 hours.

“It was a surprise,” said Pernille Frahm, a Socialist Party MP from Denmark. “I know Turkey’s economic crisis and its ruinous foreign debt. It shows just how deep the anti-war sentiment is that they voted no.”

The Turkish parliament voted against allowing the Pentagon to deploy 62,000 troops on Turkish soil to attack Iraq from the north despite Bush administration offers of as much as $37 billion in bribes.

More than 100,000 Turks marched against the war in Ankara the day of the vote. Polls show more than 90 percent of the Turkish people are opposed to the war. In a display of arrogance, the Pentagon had already started to unload a fleet of supply ships anchored in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Frahm is one of the leaders of a delegation of 24 members of the EP who returned last month from a mission to Baghdad. They arrived here March 4 for meetings with lawmakers including Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), James McDermott (D-Wash.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) as well as Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and others who oppose the war.

The EP members will also participate in International Women’s Day “Code Pink” protests at the White House March 8. Another massive march is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of protesters to Washington March 15.

“The main reason for coming here is to prevent the war on Iraq,” Frahm said in an exclusive interview with the World. A public school teacher from Copenhagen, Frahm serves as Vice President of the Confederal Group of the European Left/Nordic Green Left. “We represent the majority in the European Parliament and a majority of the people of Europe who oppose this war.”

Denmark is one of a handful of nations that backed Bush, she said. “But we staged the biggest march in Copenhagen in 30 years. People of all political tendencies are saying no to war. The Danish labor movement is mobilizing against the war.”

Bush has now dropped his pretense that the issue is disarming Iraq, she pointed out. “Now the issue is ‘regime change.’ There is no legal basis for the U.S. to impose ‘regime change’ on Iraq. Iraq poses no threat to the United States or the world. The Bush administration has offered no proof linking Iraq to al Qaeda or the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. We feel this is a war for control of Middle East oil.”

France, Germany, Russia and China joined forces to make clear they will block a second Bush UN Security Council resolution authorizing war on Iraq. Despite arm-twisting, Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared short of gaining even the nine votes needed for a simple majority in support of the war resolution. The London Observer revealed that the National Security Agency is engaged in spying on Security Council ambassadors seeking ways to blackmail them to vote for the resolution. Only Bulgaria has succumbed to these strong-arm tactics.

EP member Pedro Marset Campos, of the Spanish Communist Party, United Left, told the World, “We mobilized three-and-a-half million in Madrid Feb. 15 and another one-and-a-half million in Barcelona, half a million in Seville and about half a million in Valencia and in 40 other cities and towns. Spain had the largest peace demonstrations of any country in Europe. It is a crisis for President Jose Aznar. He is losing support not only among the people but also within his own Popular Party because of his support for Bush.”

Spain has local and regional elections this coming May 25 and next year general elections are scheduled. The huge street protests, he said, are the “first step” toward defeating Aznar’s rightwing, pro-Bush regime. “We may come out of this with a government of socialists and the United Left, which is the Communists,” he said. “The people of Spain are suffering cutbacks in every social service, health care, pensions, public education. The IMF austerity rules are now being applied in Spain. They are trying to destroy the trade unions.”

But a general strike last June 20 followed by a labor movement protest march of 500,000 last October, he said, forced President Aznar to withdraw a package of union-busting measures. “We are regaining our class consciousness in Spain,” he said.

Frahm praised the courtesy at the United Nations where the EP delegation met with UN Inspector Hans Blix, and with Secretary General Kofi Annan and with many other UN officials. “The UN is fighting to uphold the UN charter,” she said. “If the world’s biggest superpower decides not to respect world public opinion, runs roughshod over international law and the United Nations in its rush to preemptive war, it is a crisis. But it is not the end of the UN. Something very big has come into being. Once again the people are standing up to tell the political leaders what they think. War is not inevitable.”

The author can be reached at greenerpastures21212@yahoo.com

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