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10 December 2010

Dear Archbishop Williams,

I pray that you will read the attached, brief letter to the Rt.Honourable William Hague pressing for HMG to plead for clemency.  The key sentence is this:-

''How will the agony and the slaughter in Iraq be healed by hooding and hanging this man?''  We could have said a good deal more.

Bishop Michael Langrish has graciously joined our small group in this plea and without hesitation.  I am very grateful to him.

If the Anglican Church was to speak as one clear voice in this, that healing might start.  I have been an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon.  Healing is still very strong within me.  The shredding, burning and the torturing consumes me too.

I thank you sincerely for reading this note.

For truth, reason and justice

David Halpin FRCS  

Archbishop RowanWilliams                                                                              
13 December 2010
Lambeth Palace

The Sentencing to death of Tariq Aziz        
Dear Archbishop Williams,

You will recall our asking you to make a plea for clemency 10 December.  This letter is from myself alone. This courteous reply was received from Mr Tim Livesey:-
Dear David,
Thank you for your email and the attached copy of your letter to the Foreign Secretary.  The Archbishop was pleased to see that Bishop Michael Langrish had joined you in signing the letter.  The Archbishop is opposed to the death sentence in every circumstance.  He therefore hopes that the sentence passed on Tariq Aziz will be revoked or that clemency will be shown. 
There has been enough killing in Iraq, not least in recent days.  It is hard to see how judicial killing is going to help heal the terrible and bloody fractures dividing Iraq at present.
Thank you for writing to Archbishop Rowan.
Yours sincerely,
Tim Livesey                           16 November 2010

With respect, a privately held opinion will not help Tariq Aziz.  He needs your outspoken condemnation of quasi-judicial murder on behalf of the 70 million Christians you lead.

Humankind spirals downwards into yet more mayhem and evil.  Everyone is quiet.  When I write and speak publicly I quote the words of Milton Mayer who left Germany for the USA in 1936.

'They Thought They Were Free' by Milton Mayer, The Germans, 1938-45  (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955)

"What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people. And it became always wider.....the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think....for people who did not want to think anyway gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about.....and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so the machinations of the 'national enemies,'  without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.....

"Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'.....must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing.....Each act is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next.

"You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even talk, don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.'  But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.

"That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed.

"You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father.....could never have imagined."

I find that his words then, describe the state of our populations now.  Britain is the Germany of 1942.  A majority accept the illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan as just and lawful.  The constant propaganda ensures that of course.  The hell brought to earth in Iraq has passed astern.

Before you were enthroned 27 February 2003, you had spoken firmly against the looming Iraq war that was being promoted by the paramount psychopath Blair.  You were one of 3000 signatories of the Christian Declaration handed to the UK 'Government' on Hiroshima Day 2002.  It said: "It is deplorable that the world's most powerful nations continue to regard war as an acceptable instrument of foreign policy, in violation of both the United Nations and Christian teaching."  Exactly.

The sentencing to death of Tariq Aziz by a court that was set up by the invaders is one evil outcome of millions in this war.  You opposed the war and in logic and Christian morality you should oppose this sentence.

It is likely Tariq Aziz is familiar with Aramaic.  I hope he does not have to say to God and to the Christian leaders who have remained silent

 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani'

Please speak up Archbishop, whilst there is still time.

For truth, reason and justice

David Halpin FRCS

23 December 2010
Dear Archbishop,

Whilst your answer is awaited and Abu Ziad, Tariq Aziz, waits for an unusual number of people at his cell door, I thought these things are worth reflecting on.

The BBC and other channels are pumping out loathsome anti-Islamic propaganda.  Ms Hilsum on C4 last night was typical; she addressed the millions with her back to the altar and Communion.  The message, be it overt or 'sub-text', is that Muslims persecute Christians.  You know the opposite is true.  What follows is an expression of unity in suffering and it comes from a journalist who has seen a good deal of the tears, the deformity and the killing the Judaeo-Christian forces have wreaked on the people of Iraq and their beautiful country.
"You know in 1991 and the various massive bombings ('93, '96, '98 and the invasion) all the Catholic, Chaldean, Anglican Bishops and priests refused to leave Iraq and stayed, in solidarity with the people. The Papal Nuncio, Bishop Emmanuel Delli was recalled by the Vatican on each occasion, for his own safety, and refused to go. Same with the Archbishop of Basra, Gabriel Kassab."  I add that 'our brave boys in blue'. the RAF, bombed the general AND the children's hospital in Basra in 1991 Archbishop.

The very last thing we, and it is we, should be doing is hanging the foreign minister of a sovereign state we destroyed which posed no threat whatsoever to us.  We should instead be kneeling to wash the feet of those remaining millions in Iraq.

Finally, I brought the pleas for  the life of this man to the attention of the BBC Sunday programme 17 December:-

" The Bishop of Exeter and 6 others of us have made a plea for clemency to Mr Hague for Tariq Aziz.  We expect Archbishop Rowan to join us by speaking out since he 'is opposed to the death sentence in every circumstance'.  The essence:-

We write as citizens of the UK and as fellow humans.  We plead that you and your government seek clemency for this man who represented the interests of Iraq abroad.  Our main reasons are:-

The present government lacks full legitimacy, so the lawfulness of its courts might not be sound. 

We note that the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal, which tried him, was set up by the Coalition Provisional Authority ie by the occupation forces.

The man has been incarcerated since April 2003

He is old at 74 years and ill.  The BBC reported in January this year that he had suffered a stroke 

How will the agony and the slaughter in Iraq be healed by hooding and hanging this man?"

The answer again was silence, just as Mr William Hague has remained silent though the FCO pretends to be against capital punishment - by rope and bullet but not by Hellfire missile in Afghanistan.

I await a reply Archbishop.

David Halpin 

For truth, reason and justice

David Halpin FRCS