2004 Press releases

Media Release: The World still says NO to WAR  
Date: 19 March, 2004  

Saturday, March 20 marks the one year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its so-called ‘coalition of the willing.’ In Wellington, people will take to the streets demanding that the Government ‘END all New Zealand support for Bush’s Wars.’

There will be a rally and march from Civic Square at 12 noon.   ‘365 days have passed and not one single weapon of mass destruction has been found; Iraqi civilian casualties are approximately 10,000; this war of lies will not be tolerated by the world community. This date is an opportunity for everyone to express their outrage and horror at the continued illegal and immoral occupation’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

‘The United States, Britain and Australia have murdered 10,000 innocent people in the Iraq war and occupation; this is state terrorism on a massive scale. Supporting terrorism of this type will endanger New Zealanders overseas and could invite terrorist attacks on New Zealand soil.’

‘The New Zealand Labour Government is complicit in these acts by sending armed troops, including SAS soldiers, to Afghanistan and Iraq. They are propping up the United States’ imperial army.’   Peace Action Wellington works for peace, justice and self-determination and demands an end to all New Zealand support for imperial wars.

Media release: NZ SAS: Complicit in torture and murder
Date: 9 March, 2004    

Helen Clark’s announcement that 50 SAS will be deployed to Afghanistan only days after Human Right Watch condemned the United States for torture of Afghani people is cause for extremely grave concern.

‘NZ SAS are serving in covert missions including directing bombing raids and conducting surveillance for US military. There is a NZDF officer stationed at Bagram Air Force Base, where torture of prisoners is believed to have occured.’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse

‘New Zealand is deeply involved in the brutal occupation of Afghanistan which seeks to legitimate a US-puppet regime.’

‘New Zealand has lost any credibility as a peacekeeper. By sending elite combat troops the government is clearly illustrating that it will do whatever is necessary to appease the United States.’

‘New Zealand has a reputation and long history of supporting human rights and international law. Helen Clark clearly cares nothing about either of these when they stand in the way of a free-trade deal with the US.’

‘This government has deployed more troops to US Wars in the last two years than any government since Vietnam. Most of them have been sent in secret.’   Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate and unconditional end to ALL New Zealand support fo rhte so-called ‘War on Terrorism’

Media Release: Secret Deployment to Iraq
Date: 5 March, 2004  

‘The secret deployment of a second contingent of troops to Iraq is clear   evidence that Helen Clark does not want any questioning of her role in  supporting the US army of occupation. The last time the troops left, in  September, there was significant public opposition and protestors travelled   to Ohakea to voice their objection. This time there was no advance public   announcement of the deployment’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie  Morse.

‘Clark and her cabinet colleagues are cowards. There is no justification   for providing security and support to continue an illegal occupation. They call it reconstruction, but it is really all about getting in good with the   Yanks for a free trade deal. Meanwhile our own NZDF is being exposed to   depleted uranium.’

‘Helen Clark has also refused to participate in a public debate moderated   by Ross Wilson, president of the NZ Council of Trade Unions about the   deployment of troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan.’

‘It is ridiculous to provide engineers to a country with 70% unemployment.   The Iraqis don’t need engineers, they need material and money to reconstruct   their own country. New Zealanders do not want to take jobs away from Iraqis   or provide assistance to the occupation force.’  Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate end to all New Zealand support for Bush’s wars.
Media release: NZ Government Poisoned New Zealand Troops?  
Date: 22 February, 2004  

The recent news that 75 percent of 1500 Australian troops sent to Afghanistan were literally poisoned by anthrax vaccinations shots given to them by their government raises serious questions about whether similar shots, which were suspected to have been harmful, were given to New Zealand troops.

“It seems extremely likely that the New Zealand SAS and other deployments received these shots like their British and Australian counterparts, and that they suffered ill effects” said Valerie Morse of Peace Action Wellington.   “Helen Clark’s blatant misleading of the New Zealand public about the deployment of SAS troops gives us no faith that she will be immediately honest when answering the question ‘did her government poison New Zealand troops'”

Peace Action Wellington have sent an Official Information Request to the Ministry of Defence to request full information about any vaccinations programs given to troops sent to Afghanistan or Iraq since 2003.

Media Release: Justice for Ahmed Zaoui Now
Date: 19 February, 2004  

Concerned citizens in Wellington are invited to a picket starting at the New Zealand Immigration Service (56 The Terrace) and moving to the Security Intelligence Service (Ministry of Defence, Stout Street) today at 12 noon. The action, organised by Peace Action Wellington, is an opportunity for people to express their outrage at the handling of the case of Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui who has now been in prison for over a year without any charge.

‘The New Zealand Government is appealing a ruling that Mr. Zaoui’s human rights be taken into account by the Inspector General of the SIS. This is appalling. There is no government agency which should be exempt from respecting human rights.’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

‘This is a very frightening prospect. Under the Terrorism Supression Act, the Government decides who is a terrrorist, it then judges that person, denies him the right to know what the accusations against him are and then denies him his basic human rights.’

‘The so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ is really about destroying civil liberties and prosecuting people who are different, not about protecting New Zealand from threats. It is really a war on people.’

Peace Action Wellington demands 1. that Ahmed Zaoui be moved from prison 2. an end to all New Zealnd support for the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ 3. a review of the NZ Security Intelligence Service

Media Release: No more troops to support the US occupation of Iraq
Date: 3 February, 2004  

Anti-war activists will be outside of the beehive on Tuesday morning from 7:30-10:30am as Cabinet Ministers arrive. The message to the Labour Government: ‘No more troops to support the US occupation of Iraq.’

The Labour Government has announced that it will send another deployment of troops to Iraq to replace those currently serving in Basra, Iraq at the end of their six-month deployment. This deployment coincides with the first anniversary of the invasion on March 20. Large rallies are being planned all over the country on that day.

‘Helen Clark has done a good snow job convincing New Zealanders that soldiers are not part of the occupying force. But the French, Germans and Canadians have all refused to go to Iraq precisely because they know that they will be part of the occupation army.’ said Valerie Morse, Peace Action Wellington member

‘Clark said she didn’t support this war. But offering troops is most definitely support. This war was illegal under international law, the occupation is illegal, and the lies and deceit of Washington and London are not fooling anyone. New Zealand cannot support these regimes who commit war crimes in the name of democracy.’

Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate end to all New Zealand support for the occupation of Iraq. This includes all troops, technology and intelligence (provided through the Waihopai spybase).

Media release: What are we doing in Iraq?
Date: 23 January, 2004  

An action is set for Friday, January 23, at 12:30 in front of the Old Bank Arcade on Lambton Quay.   Members of Peace Action Wellington will demonstrate what the New Zealand contribution to the occupation of Iraq actually means. A colourful action will highlight the role of the more than 60 NZDF personnel that are serving with the British in Basra.

‘Despite clever propaganda to the contrary, New Zealand soldiers are part of the army of occupation in Iraq.’ said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.

‘Helen Clark will have blood on her hands when New Zealanders are killed while serving in Iraq. Already, two members of the NZDF have been injured in Iraq. The longer they are there, more likely this becomes.’

‘The New Zealand soldiers have the authority to shoot to kill to protect not only the occupying army, but their property and even third-party contractors. The Labour Government is interested in maintaining a cozy relationship with Washington and London with deadly repercussions for both NZ troops and the Iraqi people. It is disgraceful.’

‘The Labour Government is so desperate to get in on the spoils of war, particularly large reconstruction contracts, that it is willing risk people’s lives.’

‘We must ask: whose interest are we serving when we send soldiers around the world – New Zealand’s or Washington’s?’   Peace Action Wellington demands an immediate end to all New Zealand support for Bush’s wars.

 

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