2003 Press releases

Media Release: Indonesian Army’s Terrorising Of Aceh Must End Now
Date: 19 December, 2003  

The deliberate policy of the Indonesian Army (TNI) of terrorising journalists and human   rights workers in Aceh is at the heart of the problem of securing the release of Ersa  Siegar and cameraman Fery Santoro from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).   The pair would have been released months ago, if it wasn’t for the deliberate obstruction  of the Indonesian Army.

It seems clear that the Indonesian Army are afraid of what these journalists might reveal   about their massive human rights abuses against the people of Aceh since martial law was   declared in May and the entry of over 30,000 troops to the province.

The Indonesian government’s announcement in November that martial law would continue was   a further savage blow for human rights in the province.

“The New Zealand goverment must take a much stronger stance and push the Indonesian   government to end martial law and release the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) peace negotiators   arrested in May. These actions would at least be a move in the right direction.” said   Peace Action Wellington member John Anderson.   For a copy of the soon to be released newsletter ‘Su Dari Acheh – Voices of Aceh’ email   peacewellington@hotmail.com or phone 04 971 6695.

Media Release: US and NZ must get out of Iraq
Date: 15 December, 2003  

‘Saddam Hussein’s capture has taken the media spotlight off Helen Clark’s half-truths   and lies to the New Zealand people. It was revealed on the weekend that the New Zealand   troops are a fully integrated contributor to the bloody occupation of Iraq.’ Said Peace   Action Wellington member Valerie Morse

‘The capture of Saddam Hussein by United States troops is no justification for the illegal   and immoral war on the people of Iraq. There is still no significant evidence of any   weapons of mass destruction or links to Al-Queda on which the entire case for war was   based.’

‘A recent report showed that the occupation of Iraq has cost the lives of up to 50,000   Iraqi people. Blood is on the hands of George Bush and his ruthless ‘friend’ Helen Clark.   The US and its ‘coalition of the killing’ must get out of Iraq now’

Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate withdrawal of all NZ military support for   the war and an apology from Helen Clark for lying to New Zealand about our role in the   occupation.

Media Release: NZ is supporting terrorism
Date: 11 December, 2003  

‘The death of six more children in Afghanistan, killed by the United States in a bombing   raid is a clear evidence that the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ is a war on Muslim people   and anyone who opposes US interests.’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

‘New Zealand is actively supporting the occupation of both Afghanistan and Iraq now. In   Afghanistan, we are serving directly under the Americans. In Iraq, we are serving under   the British. In both cases, it is clear that the brutal violence being perpetrated by   the occupying armies is actually state terrorism.’

‘Helen Clark claims to be committed to the reconstruction of these countries. It is very   difficult to understand how supporting people who are murdering children could be construed   as reconstructing anything.’

Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate end to support for the ‘War on Terrorism’ and   a return of NZDF personnel.

Media Release: Clark already cashing in on Iraq War  
Date: 11 December, 2003  

‘The United States has today stated that only countries which were part of the invading   or occupying forces of Iraq will be able to tender for reconstruction contracts. New  Zealand is on that list as it is actively participating in the occupation of the country,  while countries who staunchly opposed the war like Russia and Germany have been denied’   said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

‘Helen Clark has been two-faced over Iraq and is ruthlessly endangering New Zealand troops   for trade. The soldiers sent to Iraq by the Labour government are not there to help the   Iraqi people, but for the purposes of trade and reconstruction contracts and cosying up to   the US.’

A document released by the Deputy Secretary of Defence states clearly that the countries   are restricted to ‘encourage the expansion of international cooperation in Iraq and in   future efforts.’

It is chilling to think what ‘future efforts’ will include; US government  officials have already shown interest in invading Syria and Libya.  Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate end to all New Zealand support for the occupation of Iraq, and for Helen Clark to clearly state New Zealand’s opposition to US aggression.

Media Release: Kiwi soldiers could be next
Date: 1 December, 2003 

‘The death of seven Spanish intelligence agents south of Baghdad should send a clear   message to Helen Clark: countries that are co-operating with the United States in Iraq   are targets of attack.’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

‘This month, the United States has suffered almost daily attacks by Iraqi resistance fighters. Meanwhile, there has been a significant rise in attacks on the personnel of   countries participating in the occupation of Iraq.’

‘Helen Clark said we would not participate in an illegal and immoral war. Now she is   exposing New Zealand soldiers to extreme risk of death. This is all to get in good with   George W. Bush.’

‘The people of New Zealand will hold her personally responsible for the safe return of   these men and women. No person’s life is worth being able to sell a bit more butter to   Washington.’   Peace Action Wellington is calling for an immediate return of the troops from Iraq.

Media Release: Inside Indonesia’s hidden war on Aceh
Date:  20 November, 2003 

William Nessen (Freelance Journalist) talks about his experiences in Aceh including   video footage.   Wednesday, 26 November 6-30pm to 8pm at Turnbull House, Bowen Street Wellington Cost: koha   William Nessen spent 6 weeks behind the lines with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and   40 days in an Indonesian jail. He barely escaped with his life from covering a conflict   that is officially barred to all but Government approved and ’embedded’ journalists’.

Hundreds have died in Aceh since the May 19 imposition of martial law by the Indonesian   Government and thousands have been displaced – but world is blind to the ongoing suffering.

For more information go to http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/billyn.htm, or contact Peace   Action Wellington, peacewellington@hotmail.com.

Media Release: Wellington: Proud to be nuclear-free
Date: 17 November, 2003    

Members of Peace Action Wellington will meet deputy mayor Alick Shaw at 1pm on November   17 in the Council Chambers to present him with a petition to ‘Save the Sign.’

The petition, which has more than a thousand signatures so far, calls on the Mayor and   City Councillors to preserve and protect the Nuclear-free Wellington sign in Calibar   Road as a vital part of the city’s heritage and culture.

The Peace Action Wellington delegation will be joined by Green MP Sue Kedgely, Wellington  Maritime Union secretary Mike Williams, Alliance Councillor Stephanie Cook, and the  president of the Council of Trade Unions, Ross Wilson.

‘Kerry Prendegast has announced that she wants to take the nuclear free sign down’ said   Peace Action Wellington member Don Franks.

‘She is deluded if she thinks Wellingtonians   are just going to allow this important symbol to be removed’.

‘Wellington workers put their jobs on the line to reject a visit by the USS Truxtun because   they were determined to resist these gross weapons of war. Keeping the country nuclear-free   is as important today as it was 20 years ago.’

‘We believe that the reason the Mayor wants to remove the sign is a fear of offending   visitors from the United States arriving for the premiere of the new Lord of the Rings   film’ said Don.

‘Yet, many overseas visitors have signed the petition and are great   admirers of Kiwi resistance to US bullying’.

‘The people of Wellington are committed to keeping the sign and will take whatever measures   necessary to ensure that it remains standing.’   ENDS   For more information, please contact Don Franks at 972-3298 or John Anderson on 027-295-6202

Media Release: No Public aid for the weapons trade
Date: 11 November, 2003    

Peace Action Wellington hung massive banners at Te Papa today condemning the Government   supported Defence Industry Association annual conference being held there. Activists   disrupted the conference with noisemakers and chanted, ‘Arms Trade! Death Trade!’ to the   conference participants.

‘The Government is wasting thousands of dollars of taxpayer money buying defence hardware   that is never used. They are also actively supporting an industry which is in business to   cause death and destruction.’ said Peace Action Wellington member John Anderson.

One banner on the waterfront exterior of the building read, ‘Arms Race at Our Place’ and   featured a giant bloody fingerprint, Te Papa’s logo. The other banner, hung inside the   large foyer of the museum read, ‘No public aid for weapons trade.’

‘It is bad enough that our Defence Force is supporting an immoral and illegal occupation   in Iraq at a cost of some $12 million. The Government clearly thinks military spending is   more important than desperately needed medical and education priorities.’

The Defence Industry Association is a partnership between some of the world’s largest   multinational corporations, the NZ Defence Force, and Trade and Industry NZ.   Peace Action Wellington is calling on the Labour Party for an immediate end to state support   for a weapons industry.

Media Release: No arms race at our place
Date: 10 November, 2003  

Peace Action Wellington will be holding a picket outside of Te Papa from 8:00AM-9:30AM on Tuesday the 11th of November to mark their opposition to the New Zealand Defence Industry conference.

‘It is sickening that the Labour government is spending our money on developing an industry of death, while our hospitals and social services are chronically under funded,’ said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson John Anderson.

‘Not many New Zealanders know that the government is encouraging the growth of a weapons industry in New Zealand.’

The government funded Trade NZ ‘is active in providing assistance in the export of Defence products’ according to the NZDIA’s website.   The products developed by this industry so far have included grenades, weapons firing control systems, shoot-to-kill training equipment, ‘special purpose’ munitions, and aerial bombing score systems.

There will also be a demonstration on Wednesday at 5:00PM at Te Papa to mark the end of the conference and the start of the NZDIA awards ceremony.   Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate end to this state sponsored death industry. For more information relating to New Zealand’s weapons and related industries visit the Peace Movement Aotearoa website – http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/nowarp.htm

Media Release: Save the Sign campaign takes off
Date: 5 November, 2003  

Opposition is growing to Kerry Prendergast’s plan to remove Wellington’s historic nuclear-free sign. The Peace Action Wellington petition to save the   sign is being well received by the people of Wellington, who are frequently   outraged to learn of the Mayor’s intentions.

Many Wellingtonians are willing   to queue up for a chance to register their support for the city’s   nuclear-free stand.   Contrary to Prendergast’s claims, Wellington’s nuclear-free status is still very relevant today. Nuclear waste is being used as a weapon by the US   military in Iraq and Afghanistan, with devastating long-term consequences for both civilians and the troops themselves.

And if that isn’t bad enough,   the US also plans to build new nuclear bombs for use in combat, such as   “bunker busters”. This is a drastic and disturbing change in attitude towards   weapons which have been universally considered too terrible to use for more   than half a century.

“To remove the sign now would be to implicitly condone the aggressive policies of the current US government, which have already lead to thousands of civilian deaths. They’ve invaded other countries on the flimsiest of pretexts, and are encouraging renewed nuclear proliferation,” said Peace Action Wellington member Kelly Buchanan.

But the sign issue is just one symptom of the current city council’s   desperation to please corporate interests at any cost. Parking buildings,   community group premises, large areas of the waterfront, even our water   services – Prendergast and her lackeys want to sell off as many public assets   as they can get away with. All this might make the council accounts look good   in the short term, but they are selling our city’s future.

Peace Action Wellington is a broad group working cooperatively to promote   peace, justice, and self-determination throughout the world. We’re happy to   hear from volunteers who’d like to help out with the Save the Sign campaign   or other PAW activities. See http://paw.randomstatic.net for more information, or write to PO Box 9314, Wellington.

Media Release: Clark prepared to sacrifice New Zealand lives
Date: 4 November, 2003

Helen Clark illustrated her commitment to sacrifice the lives of young New Zealanders in pursuit of a US free trade agreement, with her recent statement that New Zealand troops will remain in Iraq and that “many more forces will suffer casualties”.

“We have already had one soldier wounded. How much bloodshed will it take before Clark rethinks her arrogant position?” said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson John Anderson.

It is also a fact that the ‘water projects’ New Zealand troops are working on are part of an industry that the US government has forced open for privatisation. It is likely that the projects our troops are risking their lives for will not belong to the Iraqi people when they are finished.

If the New Zealand government really cared about the future of the Iraqi people, it would instead be funding the many unemployed Iraqi engineers in the region to rebuild their own country, while demanding that the illegal occupation of Iraq must end.   For more information email Peace Action Wellington peacewellington@hotmail.com

Media Release: Arresting the Peace while the terrorist run free  
Date: 4 November, 2003 

‘The arrest of Auckland Peace activist Bruce Hubbard for sending an email to the United States Embassy is a chilling reminder that freedom of speech is being attacked by the new Counter-terrorism legislation. The email was in protest of the illegal invasion of Iraq’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

‘The new counter-terrorism legislation is a specific directive from Washington DC. Our government is willing to do almost anything to appease the Yanks including arresting its own citizens for nothing more than expressing their opinions. It is likely that Bruce was targeted for arrest and will be used as an ‘example’ to anyone trying to challenge America’s illegal occupation of Iraq.’

‘There is significant evidence that the US and its coalition partners have violated human rights and have committed war crimes in Iraq. Helen Clark has now committed us to participate in these atrocities.’   Peace Action Wellington extends its support to Bruce Hubbard and calls on the Government to withdrawal all support for the occupation of Iraq immediately.

Media release: More soldiers dead as New Zealand war machine serves US Corporates
Date: 3 November, 2003  

‘Helen Clark’s visit this weekend to Afghanistan and Iraq has demonstrated the kiwi willingness to lend a hand to the United States’ illegal and immoral wars which are being waged for corporate profit.  US and NZ soldiers will continue to be attacked as long as these   occupations continue’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

‘The corporates who donated to George W Bush’s election campaign are reaping the profits of vast oil reserves and other public assets in both countries. Some 70 US firms now doing business in both countries donated more than US$500,000 to Bush’s election campaign and their reward has been more than $8 BILLION in reconstruction contracts. Meanwhile, the NZDF in both countries, supposedly doing ‘reconstruction work’ are regarded as part of the occupying armies and will continue to be targets of attack.’

‘It is extremely disturbing that the Prime Minister of New Zealand declared New Zealand’s opposition to the war less than six months ago, and has now dragged our nation into disgusting acts of aggression.’

‘We must ask, who are our soldiers reconstructing Iraq and Afghanistan for – the people or for big business?’   Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate end to all support for the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ and the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Media Release: Another UN attack: means NO to NZ involvement in Iraq
Date; 23 September, 2003  

‘The attack on the United Nations in Iraq yesterday sends a clear warning signal to all nations there that they are viewed as part of the army of occupation. The Labour Government is insisting on sending NZ engineers to serve with a British unit in Basra, Iraq. This clearly says that New Zealand thinks that the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq is acceptable.’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse

‘The New Zealand troops due to be deployed on Friday, September 26, are not acting as part of a United Nations force. We need to ask our government why they are helping to support an illegal and unjust occupation.’

‘While the idea of assisting in the reconstruction of Iraq seems like a good one, we must ask, who are they actually going to be helping – the British and Americans or the Iraqis? We have not been invited by the Iraqi people. If our government is truly concerned about the welfare of the Iraqi people, then they would be offering direct medical aid, not helping an occupying army.’

‘The Labour Government is dragging New Zealand into a dangerous situation. Our first troop commitment to Vietnam was also engineers. We cannot underestimate the impact that this deployment will have, both in supporting an illegal occupation and also on the good reputation that New Zealand now enjoys.’

Peace Action Wellington is calling for an immediate end to support for US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A public demonstration against the deployment will be happening on Thursday, 25th September at 12 noon outside the NZDF Headquarters on Stout Street.

Media Release: Violent and irrational police actions at protest against NZ troops to Iraq   Date: 14 September, 2003          

‘The actions of the Wellington Police at a peaceful demonstration against the deployment   of New Zealand troops to Iraq sent today were violent and completely irrational’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse

‘As we were preparing to disperse from Minister Marian Hobb’s office on Willis Street, the   Strategic Response Group of the Wellington Police arrived and were intent on arresting people.’

‘The police could find no valid reason for arresting people, so they targeted people for chalking   on the footpath.’   The police ripped the tendons in a woman’s arm, smashed camera`equipment, hit a protestor in the   face, and needlessly arrested 8 people.

‘This is the ugly face of the Labour government when NZ contributions to the invasion of Iraq   and our role as free trade cheerleader is challenged.’

‘There are some serious questions about Police behaviour as well as the Government’s intolerance   of any dissent from their view that need to be asked.’   Peace Action Wellington is demanding a complete end to all support for USA military occupations   of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Media Release: “No Troops for Trade” – Labour Must Take a Stand  
Date: 13 September, 2003  

“No Troops for Trade” is the message Peace Action Wellington will take to the streets this   Friday and Saturday as part of a global week of action against the World Trade Organisation   (WTO) and war.   The New Zealand Labour government is caving in to pressure from the United States to support   military and trade policies which go against the interests and values of ordinary New Zealanders.

“Whether it’s sending troops to support US occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, or supporting   back-room deals at the WTO, the Labour government is showing its true stripes by siding with   US interests” said PAW member Nick Henry.   New Zealanders marched in their thousands to oppose the invasion of Iraq, with the majority   opposing the war. So why is Helen Clark now promising troops to support the US occupation?

Comments by US trade officials and New Zealand Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton have  linked this military support to efforts to negotiate a US-NZ free trade agreement.

“A free trade agreement with the US would only hurt ordinary working people” said Nick Henry,   “you only have to look at the experience of Canada and Mexico under NAFTA to see that.”   “A free trade agreement just isn’t worth fighting for. It certainly isn’t worth fighting   George Bush’s dirty wars to get.”

Peace Action Wellington is calling on the Labour government to withdraw its offer of troops   to Iraq and to take a stand against US military and economic domination.   Demonstrations have been called for Friday morning outside NZDF HQ – Stout Street and Lambton   Quay at 7:30am, and for Saturday morning in Manners Mall from 11am.

LETTER TO MARIAN HOBBS: (a copy was left for Marian at her electorate office, shortly before  eight people were arrested for writing with chalk on the footpath. Yay for democracy.)   Marian,   You know, as we know, that the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq were and are   wrong.   You know, as we know, that the occupying armies are killing innocent people. That they are   trampling on peace, justice and self-determination for the sake of power and greed.   And you know, as we know, that it is the politicians who must be held to account for the   results of their decisions.   As a Minister of this Labour government, you cannot with a clear conscience sanction sending   troops to support these immoral occupations. Nor can you turn a blind eye to the consequences.   We will hold you personally responsible for the lives of those Iraqi and Afghani people who   are being killed, and for the lives of the young kiwis you are sending into the firing line.   These are human lives that no trade agreement can replace. No butter sales quota will heal   the wounds or ease the suffering.   What are we fighting for Marian? What are they dying for?   We will continue to bring this war home to you, Marian, until you take a stand against it.

Media Release:  ‘New UN Resolution doesn’t make it right’  
Date: 4 September, 2003  

‘The US call for a new UN resolution is a desperate attempt to shift the burden of enforcing the unjust occupation of Iraq. Now that the US and UK along with the rest of the ‘coalition of the killing’ has destroyed the country, they are trying to drag the rest of the world into their mess.’ says Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Valerie Morse

‘The US did not plan for any resistance by the Iraqi people. Now that they are faced with US soldiers being killed everyday, they want countries like New Zealand to enforce order and do the rebuilding, while the US maintains control.’

‘New Zealand has committed 60 NZDF engineers to be deployed to Iraq in late September. These soldiers will be part of an occupying army. They are serving under British command and will be armed with rifles and machine guns.’

‘The Iraqi people want control over their own country. They do not want the US or the UN there. They are capable of managing their own affairs. The US is determined to exploit all of the oil resources of the country, leaving any future Iraqi government tied to Washington. This is why violent and horrific attacks against Iraqis who are cooperating with the US are now happening.’

Peace Action Wellington demands that the New Zealand government cancel its offer of troops to Iraq.

Media Release: Kiwi is no protection for troops  
Date: 2 September, 2003  

‘The New Zealand Defence Force troops to be deployed to Iraq at the end of this month will not be immune from attacks by painting a kiwi on their helmets or jeeps’ says Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Valerie Morse.

‘The engineers are going to help rebuild a country that the United States and the UK devastated. We must ask the question: why are we willing to put our troops at risk and legitimise an illegal and immoral occupation?’

‘The Chief of the Defence Force realises that the situation in Iraq is extremely unstable and that all foreign troops are regarded as part of the army of occupation. The attack on the UN in Baghdad last week which resulted in injuries to Major Todd Linton, is evidence of that.’

Peace Action Wellington is calling on the government to cancel its offer of troops to Iraq.

Media Release: UN blast a warning: NZ troops should not go
Date: 20 August, 2003

‘The horrific attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad is clear evidence that any   New Zealand troops will be seen as part of the army of occupation in Iraq.’ said Peace Action   Wellington spokesperson Valerie Morse

‘New Zealand troops will be serving with a British unit. Wearing different uniforms and painting   kiwis on the side of their vans is hardly likely to protect them from attack by Iraqi resistance   forces.’

‘Minister Phil Goff has said that NZ must not bow down in the face of terror by reconsidering   the deployment of 61 engineers to Iraq. But the Minister must remember that many in Iraq view   the invasion and continued occupation of their country as terrorist attacks.’

‘Given the US influence on the United Nations, including the post facto legitimation of the war   on Iraq in UN Resolution 1483, the UN is viewed by many as just an extension of US power.’

Peace Action Wellington calls on the NZ Government to cancel its offer of troops to Iraq.

Media Release: West Papuan human rights advocate speaks in Wellington  
Date: 13 August, 2003

A representative of one of the least-known corners of the Pacific speaks in Wellington   next Monday night. John Rumbiak of West Papua, the western half of the island which includes Papua-New Guinea,   is attending the Pacific Island Forum which opens in Auckland on Thursday.

He will also speak at main centres, including Wellington, about how New Zealanders can support   his people¹s 40 years of resistance against Indonesian armed forces.   Since April this year, the situation in West Papua has worsened considerably with the deployment   of Indonesian special forces and other army units.

Around 1,000 people in the central highland town of Wamena have been forced to flee their homes   and gardens, and hide in the forests. The Indonesian military are refusing to allow church,   humanitarian and human rights workers any access to the area. They are now creating armed   militias similar to those responsible for massacres in East Timor.   John¹s organisation, the West Papua Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy, has been at   the forefront of efforts to establish Papua as a Zone of Peace, an initiative involving Papua’s   governor, church leaders and other senior officials. It is internationally respected for its   human rights monitoring work but has been under strong pressure from the Indonesian military.   Its staff, including John, have received death threats and harassment.

Mark Derby, one of the organisers of John¹s visit to Wellington, says “Everyone knows the   outcome for the people of East Timor of the lack of action by the world community in 1999.   It’s our responsibility to ensure that the people of West Papua don¹t have the same fate   inflicted on them. It’s time to change West Papua from the forgotten Pacific country to the   country which the world is watching.”

John Rumbiak speaks at the Peace Action Wellington meeting, 7pm Monday 18 August at Athena   College, 203 Willis Street. He will be introduced by Professor Rod Alley of Victoria University   and Francesca Pauwer, a West-Papua-born Wellingtonian.

Media Release: Iraqi blood on our hands
Date: 12 August, 2003  

‘The government’s announcement today that an engineering detachment of   61 New Zealand Defence Force personnel will be deployed in late September   to work alongside the United Kingdom forces in Iraq confirms that New   Zealand will be part of the army of occupation.’ said Peace Action   Wellington spokesperson Valerie Morse

‘Only last week, the US Commander in Chief of Land forces in Iraq, Lt.   General David McKiernan stated unequivocally that the war is not over. In   this context, our troops will be part of the occupation force.’

New Zealand Defence Force Chief Bruce Ferguson has also confirmed that the   NZDF “engineers” are soldiers first and foremost and are authorised to use   force.

‘Tragically, Helen Clark is fooling the New Zealand people by saying that   they will be well regarded by the Iraqi people. It is clear from the   resistance in Iraq that the population wants the occupying army to leave   immediately.’

‘New Zealand could be providing desperately needed medical supplies to the   hospitals in Iraq, rather than contributing to the United State’s occupying   force of 150,000.’

‘There are some fundamental questions left unanswered. Why are we sending   military to serve in a war our government condemned only months ago? Why   are we sending engineers to a country with one of the most well educated   populations in the world? New Zealand does not want to be a part of George   Bush’s war-mongering.’

Peace Action Wellington calls on the NZ Government to cancel its offer of   troops to Iraq immediately.

Media Release: Depleted Uranium – Hiroshima’s horror today
Date: 5 August, 2003  

As we draw closer to the sixtieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Peace Action Wellington calls attention to another nuclear tragedy, the ongoing use of ‘depleted uranium’ (DU) weapons by the United States military.

In 1991 the United States military dropped 350 tons of depleted uranium on Iraq. This time it was more than 1500 tons.   The radiation produced by DU, a toxic by-product of the uranium enrichment process, will keep on indiscriminately killing and maiming, through multiple generations, for hundreds of thousands of years.

Effects of DU munitions used in the first Gulf War in 1991:   – Since the war nearly 10,000 American soldiers have died of related health problems. – A third of all American veterans of the first Gulf War suffer health problems sufficiently serious to be granted permanent disability status. – In some American military units exposed to tank battlefields in the first Gulf War, two-thirds of all surviving children born to veterans since the war suffer serious illness or deformity.

The Iraqi people have suffered most, with horrific increases in the incidences of cancer, immune system deficiencies, and congenital birth deformities since 1991.   New Zealand’s participation in the occupation of Iraq, even as ‘peacekeepers’ or ‘engineers’, not only endangers the health of Defence Force personnel and their future offspring, it also undermines our credibility as a nation supposedly committed to a nuclear-free world.

Peace Action Wellington demands that the New Zealand government withdraw our troops from Iraq, rescind our support for the American occupation, and join with the other nations of the world in calling for a total ban on the use and manufacture of depleted uranium weapons.

Media Release: Frigate back from aiding terrorist states – USA & UK
Date: 4 August, 2003

The return of the Navy frigate Te Mana from the Gulf of Oman today is a critical opportunity   for the New Zealand Government to reconsider its support of the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’   said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

Over the past year, New Zealand has been supporting ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ with SAS   troops, Orion aircraft and the Navy frigates. This military action has resulted in the   deaths of thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan.

The ‘War on Terrorism’ has not made the world safer from terrorist attacks. A response to   the attacks of 11 September 2001, this so-called ‘War’ has only caused destruction and   chaos in Afghanistan.

‘The United States is using the pretence of terrorism to launch pre-emptive military   attacks on countries. The poorly defined terrorist threat means that the USA will   intervene anywhere, anytime. The people of New Zealand do not want to be part of this   aggressive war-mongering.’ said Ms. Morse.

Peace Action Wellington demands that the New Zealand Government recall all military   personnel and equipment in the service of the ‘War on Terrorism’ immediately.

Media Release: Wellingtonians remember the horror of Hiroshima Day
Date: 14 July, 2003  

‘It is obscene to think that nearly 60 years after the carnage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,   the USA is developing tactical ‘mini-nukes’ for pre-emptive use’ said Peace Action   Wellington spokesperson Valerie Morse.

Peace Action Wellington and Students Against the War are joining forces with Campaign   for Nuclear Disarmament to commemorate Hiroshima Day, August 6.

Along with the annual white poppy appeal, there will be actions throughout the day and   Food NOT Bombs stalls on both Cuba Mall and on the Victoria University quad at lunchtime.   The United States has the world’s largest supply of nuclear weapons. It is the only nation   on earth to have used these weapons against people in warfare.

‘New Zealand has a special place in the world – we have stood strongly for a nuclear-free   world for twenty years. Now we must urge our government to condemn the development of any   new weapons of mass destruction.’ Said Ms. Morse

More information about public events on the day can be found on the Peace Movement Aotearoa   website at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma   For more information, please contact Valerie Morse, (04) 383-9315 or   valerie.morse@paradise.net.nz

Media Release: NZ military interference escalates
Date: 17 July, 2003  

Another 19 members of the New Zealand Defence Force and an Orion aircraft departed for  service in the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ yesterday. New Zealand support for this military intervention is estimated at $26 million. This endeavour has done little to combat terrorism, but has cost the lives of thousands of  civilians in Afghanistan and has left that country in a state of utter lawlessness.   New Zealand soldiers are being put in very risky situations, but there is no clarity by   this government about what a successful mission would actually be.

‘While the Indian Government has refused a United States request for troops without a   specific UN mandate, Helen Clark is bending to the wishes of the United States, Britain   and Australia. She is willing to legitimise an illegal and immoral war on the people of   Iraq to make good with the Bush and his coalition partners.’ said Peace Action Wellington   spokesperson Valerie Morse.

Now the Labour Government has committed more military along with 50 police to become an   occupying force – this time in the Solomon Islands.

Peace Action Wellington is calling on the Labour Government to immediately end all support   for the ‘War on Terrorism’ and cancel its offer of troops to occupy Iraq.

Media Release: Clark legitimates invasion of Iraq
Date: 14 July, 2003  

‘Helen Clark’s statements at the Progressive Governance Conference in London this   weekend legitimated the illegal invasion of Iraq by British and US forces.’ said Peace   Action Wellington spokesperson Valerie Morse

Clark said that British Prime Minister Tony Blair was acting on accurate intelligence   when the invasion was launched. However, even a superficial investigation of the   documents, which indicated that Iraq was attempting to buy nuclear material from Africa,   shows they were clearly very suspect to begin with.

‘That the United States and the UK are willing to launch a pre-emptive war on false,   ‘sexed-up’ or manufactured evidence is extremely alarming. Helen Clark is attempting   to re-ingratiate herself and the Labour Party with Blair’s government by signalling   that Blair was acting in good faith.’ Ms. Morse commented.

However, the United States and the United Kingdom were unwilling to extend any good faith   to Iraq despite the pleadings of the United Nations Weapons Inspectors and the world   community. There is yet to be any confirmation of any weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Peace Action Wellington is calling on the New Zealand Labour Party to renounce the   so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ and rescind its offer of troops for Iraq.

Media Release: New Zealand deploys more troops to Afghanistan  
Date:  17 July, 2003  

NZ deployment of another Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is aiding a war on the people   of Afghanistan     Another team of New Zealand troops is being deployed to Afghanistan today to participate in   the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ which is still being waged in Afghanistan.

‘This military action is not a war at all as a war generally means a fight between two   relatively equal sides. In Afghanistan, the high-tech United States led attacks are killing   defenceless innocent people.’ said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Valerie Morse.

In the days following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States was praised for   ridding Afghanistan of the brutal Taliban regime. There is now evidence that the Taliban   has been invited back to work with the US to help bring stability back to the country.  Thus, the so-called ‘War’ has done little but bring about several thousand casualties.

‘New Zealanders are being asked to risk their lives in a conflict without a foreseeable   end – the enemy is not the people of Afghanistan but a nebulous ‘threat’.   The government must stop this military action offer real assistance such as direct medical   aid to the people of Afghanistan.’

Peace Action Wellington is calling on the government to stop all support for the ‘War on   Terrorism’ by recalling our troops and the Navy frigate, Te Mana.

Media Release: Feeding the world, and fending off capitalism with Food NOT Bombs
Date:  4 July, 2003  

Peace Action Wellington took its message of peace, justice and self-determination to Cuba Mall today, providing “The FREE FRENCH” Fries and tasty vegan burgers. The action attracted hungry midday crowds and plenty of police, who must have smelled a free meal.

People dressed as the ‘bombed’ nations attacked by the United States since the end of WWII to illustrate the irony of US ‘Independence Day’. The statue of Liberty was shot through the head with a gaping bullet wound and was harrassed by Uncle Sam wielding a M-16. After being fueled up with great food, the group travelled through the middle of Wellington, demanding ‘US out of Iraq’, and ‘free, free, Palestine’.

After arriving in Midland Park, ‘bombs’ covered the lawn making a grim display of US military invasion and bombing. Speakers, including Green MP Keith Locke, Jared Phillips of the Anti-Capitalist Alliance, and Quentin Findlay from the Alliance Party, all spoke for the need to condemn US actions in Iraq and the need to expose New Zealand’s complicity in the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’.

Sam Buchanan drew the link between New Zealand sovereignty and the moratorium on genetic engineering. The United States is a forceful proponent of GE and is using its power ensure the Labour government lifts the moratorium on GE which is due to expire in October.

The rally closed with a brand new tune ‘Independence Day Rag’ by legendary activist, Don Franks.   Peace Action Wellington will be continuing its ‘Independence Day’ actions later at the US Ambassador’s residence in Lower Hutt.

Media Release: Whose Independence?
Date: 3 July, 2003

The United States Ambassador Charles Swindell had his 4th of July party crashed by Peace Action Wellington (PAW) last night.   The party, held at Skyline restaurant in Kelburn, was picketed by fifty protesters uniting under the banner ‘whose independence?’ and calling for the expulsion of Swindell.

The group condemned the celebration of American independence as ‘bizarre and grotesque, since the United States is denying the independence not only of Iraq, but also of Afghanistan and a multitude of other nations around the world’.

Invitees, including Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast and National Leader Bill English, had to walk past a line of rowdy picketers who denounced their presence at the event as ‘shameful’.

PAW member John Anderson said ‘While these elite few are stuffing their faces with spit-roasted chicken and cocktails, people in Iraq are living in terror of US raids on their houses and are fearful for relatives held in illegal detention camps’.

Valerie Morse, another member of PAW, said that similar demonstrations in Iraq have been met with lethal force by the occupying powers.

Media Release: Independence for all on July 4
Date: 27 June, 2003  

Every 4th of July, the USA celebrates the anniversary of its independence from British colonial rule while denying freedom to people around the world.   This year, Peace Action Wellington (PAW) is calling on people to join us in protesting at the US ambassador’s Independence Day function.

“US military forces are occupying Afghanistan and Iraq while its corporations exploit those countries for private profit”, said PAW spokesperson Grant Brookes.

“Under the cover of the so-called ‘war on terrorism’, the United States is intervening globally in dozens of countries. Our government is lending its support.

“The US continues to arm and fund the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. $12 billion in assistance has been allocated to Israel this year, including $3 billion in direct military aid.

“Meanwhile, US-supplied warplanes are also being used by Indonesia to suppress the popular independence movement in Aceh.

“We oppose the US government’s economic, political and military repression of the world’s people”, said Grant Brookes. “But we are not ‘anti-American’.”

“There is another America behind the false images of the media and culture industry. Our protest will support the people demonstrating across the US on July 4 against the invasion of Iraq and the erosion of their civil rights.

“We will also call on the New Zealand government to end all support for the so-called ‘war on terrorism’, recall the military forces sent to Afghanistan this week and rescind the offer of New Zealand troops for Iraq.

“Any New Zealand troops in Iraq would certainly be identified by Iraqi people as part of the enemy occupation.”   P

eace Action Wellington will protest the US ambassador’s function at the Skyline Restaurant (top of the cable car) from 4.30pm on Thursday July 3, organise street theatre in Cuba Mall from 12 noon on Friday July 4 leading to a rally at Midland Park (Lambton Quay) with speakers and open mike at 1pm, and will hold a public meeting on “The role of the US around the world” at the Girlies Space, 158 Cuba St, from 2pm on Saturday July 5.   These events will part of a July 4 national day of action which will also see protests in other centres, including Auckland and Christchurch.

Media Release: New Zealand lies and Iraqis die
Date: 10 June, 2003  

The New Zealand government has made a mockery of its own rhetoric regarding the war on the people of Iraq and is demonstrating its self- interested greed by offering up a team of NZDF engineering personnel to assist in the reconstruction and a million dollars worth of aid to rebuild the Agricultural Ministry.

Helen Clark stated that New Zealand would assist when, “the necessary multilateral cover had been provided.”

The absurdity of this action should be countered on numerous points:   1. The resistance to US/UK occupation by the Iraqi people continues unabated, thus it is absurd to think these people will differentiate between NZ soldiers and the British soldiers they are working with.   2. ‘Necessary multilateral cover’ is just a nice way of saying that the world has capitulated to United States imperialist ambitions and NZ is now in line to feast on the spoils of war.   3. The United States and its ‘coalition of the killing’ waged this unjust and illegal war, killing people, leaving radioactive waste and destroying infrastructure. Now these war criminals want the world to pay for their acts of violence.   4. New Zealand Business is keen to see that the Agricultural Ministry is quickly reconstructed so that we might get on with selling lots of dairy products to the Iraqi people. Our government’s greed is as obvious as Bush and Blair’s lies about weapons of mass destruction.   A further issue with the government’s offer is the continuing support of the so-called ‘War on Terror.’

This is a brutal and senseless assault on the people of Afghanistan in which New Zealand is taking an active role. We have deployed SAS troops, both frigates, Te Kaha and Te Mana, and an Orion aircraft. This so-called war has had the effect of unleashing lawlessness throughout the country.

The United States has utterly failed in its attempts to bring members of al- Queda to justice, but it has succeeded in murdering and terrorising thousands of innocent civilians. Our government has made us complicit in these acts of violence.   Peace Action Wellington is calling on the government to immediately rescind this offer.

The government must go further by renouncing the ‘War on Terror’, recalling all New Zealand military and logistical support for these actions, and disbanding the SAS.   Peace Action Wellington is asking people to protest the United States’ utter disregard for the freedom of the world’s people on July 4 at the residence of the US Ambassador in Lower Hutt.

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