Help PMA grow | Petition forms | Site map | PMA main page
In late September and-mid November, we sent out a mailing to everyone on our mailing lists who does not receive our alerts and updates by email - and had the bizarre experience of the NZPO returning bits of charred envelopes to us soon thereafter with the news that vandals had set the mail boxes on fire. We are not entirely sure what to make of this rather peculiar set of events. As a consequence we are not sure who has received what from us by post over the past three months, so this newsletter is to provide a summary of our work over that time.
The past few months have been extraordinary in a number of ways: the horror of the attacks in New York and Washington; the dreadful anticipation of what the United States government would do in retaliation; the horrific spectacle of the world's most powerful nation carrying out vicious revenge bombings in one of the world's poorest - killing and maiming thousands of people who had nothing to do with the attacks on 11 September, and disrupting the delivery of humanitarian aid to millions of desperate starving people as winter approaches.
>From 12 September there was a sudden and huge increase in our work - for most of September we were receiving close to a thousand email messages a day; the telephone rang constantly with calls from people who had previously had little or no contact with peace people expressing their revulsion at the 11 September attacks, their fears of what terror would be inflicted by a vengeful US government, and wanting advice on what they could do.
As the 'war on terror' got underway, and Helen Clark announced her government would support the attacks on the people of Afghanistan the focus of people's anxieties and anger changed - no NZ military support for revenge, as well as an end to the war against the people of Afghanistan became the dual themes.
>From mid-September there have been meetings, anti-war marches, rallies and vigils for peace all over the country - new coalitions and networking groups have formed in Whangarei, Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin; vigils and protests have been held in these cities and Hamilton, Napier, Blenheim, Nelson ...
We have been frantically busy keeping people in touch, networking peace notices, writing and circulating alerts, responding to requests for information from all around the country about what's going on, and requests for advice on organising protests and writing media releases, uploading new statements and articles to our web site at least twice a week, providing speakers for peace meetings and rallies in Wellington and elsewhere, sending out updates to overseas peace and social justice groups so they know about the opposition here to the war ... and also trying to keep track of the issues we were working on before 11 September.
This work has only been possible because of support from many individuals and groups, both in Aotearoa and overseas. To everyone who has helped out in so many ways over these past few months, thank you. We would particularly like to thank Robin and Craig for their outstanding efforts in keeping the website up to date.
We wish you all a peaceful and restful holiday season; if you are travelling, may you return safely to your home.
It is as though collective amnesia has struck the majority of politicians and mass media since 11 September - forget the horrors of the past and government involvement in them; forget the fact that the process of colonisation in this country the United States, Australia, and other settler countries was terrorist; forget the fact that the colonial powers have inflicted terror on assorted peoples of the world for centuries; forget the fact that every day an average of 31,500 children under the age of five die from lack of access to clean water, food and basic health care while global military spending in a world at 'peace' averages six billion dollars a day ...
Forget the fact that armed forces and paramilitaries are used in many parts of the world to ensure oppressive regimes stay in power ruling over terrorised populations; forget the fact that the world is dominated by a morally bankrupt economic system which prioritises greed over need, wealth over health; forget the fact that around a quarter of the world's population are forced to live on a income equivalent to less than $US1 a day ... most of all forget the simple fact that violence breeds violence, and all that centuries of armed conflict and oppression has achieved is more armed conflict and oppression.
Gunboat diplomacy has become cruise missile (and daisy cutter bomb) diplomacy.
The political will to examine the horrors of the past and present and engage in a thoughtful analysis of what leads to armed conflict and how it can be avoided is just not there. The political will to move beyond a simplistic 'if they don't do what we want, we'll bomb them til they do' knee jerk reaction towards a reflective approach of genuine consideration of other ways of resolving problems is markedly absent.
The article below provides a glimpse into what might have been - instead of declaring war on the 'evil ones' and announcing "if you are not with us you are against us", imagine if Bush really had said this in his address to the people of the US after the 11 September attacks ...
My fellow Americans. I would like to deeply and sincerely apologize to you all, and particularly to those injured and to the loved ones of those lost. You see, largely away from the public eye, my administration and its predecessors have intervened without cease in the affairs of other peoples. But we have not intervened to advance freedom. We have not intervened to advance democracy. We have not even intervened to protect the interests of the relatively small population of this country.
Instead, we have intervened to advance the business interests of our campaign contributors and networks of friends and advisers, to put down the unrest of the many thousands of foreign people who are left impoverished and disenfranchised by our economic policies, and to ensure the military and political dominance of our country over other nations.
In the last ten years alone America's manipulation of the politics and economies of other people has led us to impose economic policies that reduce access to health care and education in poor countries like Argentina, Turkey, and South Korea.
It has led us to arm the governments of countries like Colombia, Israel, Indonesia, and Turkey that themselves use terror - but on a much larger scale than seen today - to suppress the desires of their own people.
And it has led us to brutally attack the Iraqi people with both bombs and sanctions in order to cripple their dictator, in the process killing perhaps two hundred innocent Iraqis for every one innocent American who died today.
I apologize on behalf of my own administration, but also on behalf of the Clinton administration, the first Bush administration, the Reagan administration, and previous governments stretching back to the very founding of the country, all of which used military and economic power to conquer other lands, choose their political leaders, or set their economic policies.
I apologize on behalf of both Democrats and Republicans, virtually all of whom have unquestioningly supported these actions. I apologize on behalf of the business leaders whose interests have motivated these actions.
And I apologize on behalf of the news media, which have suppressed discussion of the tremendous negative effects of our foreign policy and which will, in this particular case, refuse to raise the question of why foreigners would be so angry at our country. Please accept this apology.
Your leaders, without your knowledge or consent, have used the tremendous power of your country to institutionalize inequality and militarism worldwide. While acting in your name, we have pursued the interests of a narrow, tremendously powerful section of the population. And it is for this reason that you suffer today.
I ask the American people to oppose the attacks that this disaster will surely bring against our civil liberties and against our residents of Middle Eastern descent. Together we must resist the urge to intensify a spiral of retribution and violence, and work instead toward a world in which no one feels so powerless or oppressed that he or she must resort to violence
Anonymous, received on 14 September 2001.
Depends on who you listen to really. Green Party MPs have distinguished themselves by their constant opposition to the 'war on terrorism', attacks on human rights, and the bombing of the people of Afghanistan On the other hand, government politicians have not displayed the balanced view one might have expected from a Labour/Alliance Coalition.
In a Ministerial Statement on 12 September, Jim Anderton (Acting Prime Minister) said: "This has been an evil act. Evil people have conspired together to commit a cold and vicious act against humanity. There is no cause that can justify this." This could equally be said about the maiming, killing and starving of the people of Afghanistan.
And in a media release on 14 September: "We must see this attack not only as an attack on the United States, but as an attack on all civilised nations. It is imperative for all nations to work together to recover as quickly as possible from the attacks in order that terrorists know they cannot bring the world to its knees through these attacks. New Zealand is a small country and the United States is very large, but we will stand ready to offer help in any way we can."
An attack on all civilised nations? Well they have shown just how civilised they are in their response ...
As racist assaults on 'Muslims', 'Arabs', or anyone thought to be such and mosques began here, as elsewhere soon after the New York and Washington attacks, Anderton did issue a media statement "urging New Zealanders not to associate New Zealand's Muslim community or Afghan refugees with the acts of terrorism in the United States yesterday." However it is not clear what kind of message the government's willingness, indeed eagerness, to send SAS troops to Afghanistan has sent to the kind of people who attack others and their places of worship simply because they are 'different'.
Mixed messages from another source too - in a speech on 5 October, Matt Robson said "Those responsible for the horrific attacks on the United States must be brought to justice ... There is no need to take precipitate action that short-circuits international law. The Alliance does not believe that a massive military attack on a disintegrating nation will deliver the result the world is seeking. It is time for cool heads and patience." Cool heads and patience alas did not prevail, within a few days the attacks on the people of Afghanistan began - and the support of Alliance MPs for the deployment of the NZ SAS led to the well publicised division between Alliance party members and caucus.
Phil Goff distinguished himself in parliament on 31 October when in response to a question asking if the bombing would stop soon, he callously quoted Richard Armitage (US Deputy Secretary of State) ... "there is no point in making the rubble bounce. You eventually run out of targets".
A letter from his office on 30 November (to return his Special DICKNZ 2001 'Guided Missiles and misguided men' Award for Government Politicians, see more later in this newsletter) says "Mr Goff has stated several times that the use of force in Afghanistan is regrettable and that no New Zealander would choose that course of action if others were available". Goff is of the 'there is no choice' school of thought which is truly regrettable. There is always a choice - in this instance, the offer of the Taliban government to hand Osama Bin Laden over to a third party government pending the collection of evidence of his involvement in the 11 September attacks could have been explored. Mechanisms established to deal precisely with this type of situation, such as the International Criminal Court could have been used - oh, except for one thing, the US government will not sign up to it because they refuse to be in a position where a US citizen might be put on trial for war crimes or crimes against humanity ...
The fundamental flaw in thinking that there is no choice about matching violence with violence or terror with terror is easily demonstrated if you look, for example, at the concern about the levels of domestic violence and child abuse in this country. Few people would suggest that the solution would be to beat up the perpetrators. The understanding that violence breeds violence, and that the cycle of violence has to be broken, not perpetuated, is widespread.
If anyone were to suggest that the solution to domestic violence and child abuse in this country would be to bomb the perpetrator's neighbours, the village or town they live in or indeed the whole country - that idea would be considered ludicrous. Yet that is exactly the kind of false reasoning which is used at the international level, and regrettably Helen Clark and her government have gone along with it.
Helen Clark - where to begin? We could comment at length on her transformation from peacenik to warrior queen. But her curious comments on National radio on 18 December that she would not support the SAS troops (whose presence in Afghanistan she will 'neither confirm nor deny') being part of an assault against, for example, the people of Iraq, will suffice. What exactly does she have against the people of Afghanistan?
Enough about those who support war - their message dominates the mass media, while the voices of those who speak against war are seldom heard. Take for example the combined statement of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Bishops of Aotearoa / New Zealand on 8 November (below).
"As bombs of the most technologically advanced, richest and most powerful nation rain down upon the hovels of some of the world's poorest people in Afghanistan, we reject the description of this bombing as a Christian Crusade, whether offered by Osama bin Laden or anyone else.
We mourn with the victims of the attacks on the United States, acknowledging the anger and grief of the citizens of that country and we repent of a world order in which such attacks are possible.
We question whether the dropping of food parcels can in any way justify the dropping of bombs.
Crises like those facing the innocent civilians of Afghanistan - death, displacement and starvation - are morally divisive, creating a pervasive and sombre anxiety even among people of goodwill. There is the potential for endless hate and bloodshed and for inter-religious strife and bigotry by people who were once fundamentally tolerant, compassionate, just and reconciling.
Those of us who live in relative security and affluence need to be honest enough to apologise most sincerely for our years of blindness to the plight of suffering peoples, the poor, and those who carry the heavy and tragic burden of history, wars, dominations and betrayals. It is an illusion to believe that terrorism can be defeated with revenge or violent reprisal. The perpetrators of terrorism should remain in moral isolation. Sadly they do not when their terrorism is matched with hostilities that cause large numbers of innocent civilian casualties."
I was born on the 8th of October 1979 to an Afghan father and a
New Zealand mother. I have never seen my father's homeland, never smelt the
flowers of their famous gardens and never visited the city of his childhood.
When I was barely three months old when Russia invaded on the 27th of December
1979. There has been war in Afghanistan my whole life and I wonder if I ever
will be able to visit the land of my fathers childhood, or if there will be
anything left when I do.
22 years of war has plunged the country into a desperate
situation, the land is scorched and the people broken. When you talk to Afghans
about their country you can see the tears in their eyes and the pain in their
heart. You are left with only one question why?
Why did little Najimu and her brother Hameed Ullah lose 8
family members when the U.S. missed their target and bombed their house? Why is
it that when hundreds of Afghans are killed by U.S. bombs the media say that
"these claims cannot be independently confirmed"?
Why will the U.S. not stop attacking to let in vital supplies
for the winter months without which 7.5 million Afghans are sentenced to death?
Why have Afghanistan's neighbours been allowed to seal their borders?
Is it because this allows the world to close its eyes and ears
to the plight of the Afghan people?
Why have the Afghan people suffered for years under UN and US
imposed sanctions? Because of someone called Osama Bin Laden. Why do they now
bear the brunt of US attacks, only further crippling their already broken
country? Because of someone called Osama Bin Laden.
Who is Osama Bin Laden? The Afghan people do not know they have
not seen him or heard his name. In a country where it is a daily struggle to
stay alive they worry about finding food to feed their children, warmth to stop
them freezing to death in their arms, safety from mines that are not Afghan but
British or American and make the country the most heavily land mined in the
What time do they have to worry about the Spectre of an
international terrorist? What they know is what they see and every day they see
the United States of America dropping bombs on their homes, their villages, and
their hospitals. They see their children, their husbands, their wives and their
elders being buried. And they see the unexploded bombs that will continue to
poison their land for generations with the words from "New York city" and
"Here's your Ramadan present". And once again they ask the question Why?
The Afghan people have not asked for war, they ask for peace,
yet their voices have been drowned out by anthrax hysteria and US military
officers in front of grayed out computer screens talking of collateral damage
and strategic targets. Targets which have been mostly Afghan people, women and
children. Yet this is not an unforeseen circumstance of war it is the norm. In
the wars of today 90% of deaths are civilian.
My whole life I have lived in peace and security, yet if I had
been born in Afghanistan I would have known exactly the opposite. 97% of Afghan
children have witnessed violence and 40% have lost a parent. I still have both
my mother and father and an Afghan child can only dream of such security. For
the children of Afghanistan have known war all their lives, they do not get the
chance to go to school, to play, to eat, to sleep. Every part of their day is
affected by war and they can never escape it. 45% of fighting forces are child
soldiers and 400,000 children have died fighting in the Afghan war. While I am
able to go to university Afghan children are forced to fight and die in a war
the have not asked for and do not want.
Today we have opened our eyes and our ears to what is happening
to the Afghan people and most importantly we are opening our mouths and telling
the world that we will not tolerate this. As New Zealanders we need to tell our
government that we do not want our SAS troops in war, we do not want them
killing innocent people, what we want is for our Hercules planes to be loaded
with food and blankets and medicine and flown to Afghanistan where we can help
to save Afghan lives.
Jamilla, Rally for peace in Wellington, part of
the International Day of Action to Stop War and End Racism, 27 October
I was born on the 8th of October 1979 to an Afghan father and a New Zealand mother. I have never seen my father's homeland, never smelt the flowers of their famous gardens and never visited the city of his childhood. When I was barely three months old when Russia invaded on the 27th of December 1979. There has been war in Afghanistan my whole life and I wonder if I ever will be able to visit the land of my fathers childhood, or if there will be anything left when I do.
22 years of war has plunged the country into a desperate situation, the land is scorched and the people broken. When you talk to Afghans about their country you can see the tears in their eyes and the pain in their heart. You are left with only one question why?
Why did little Najimu and her brother Hameed Ullah lose 8 family members when the U.S. missed their target and bombed their house? Why is it that when hundreds of Afghans are killed by U.S. bombs the media say that "these claims cannot be independently confirmed"?
Why will the U.S. not stop attacking to let in vital supplies for the winter months without which 7.5 million Afghans are sentenced to death? Why have Afghanistan's neighbours been allowed to seal their borders?
Is it because this allows the world to close its eyes and ears to the plight of the Afghan people?
Why have the Afghan people suffered for years under UN and US imposed sanctions? Because of someone called Osama Bin Laden. Why do they now bear the brunt of US attacks, only further crippling their already broken country? Because of someone called Osama Bin Laden.
Who is Osama Bin Laden? The Afghan people do not know they have not seen him or heard his name. In a country where it is a daily struggle to stay alive they worry about finding food to feed their children, warmth to stop them freezing to death in their arms, safety from mines that are not Afghan but British or American and make the country the most heavily land mined in the world.
What time do they have to worry about the Spectre of an international terrorist? What they know is what they see and every day they see the United States of America dropping bombs on their homes, their villages, and their hospitals. They see their children, their husbands, their wives and their elders being buried. And they see the unexploded bombs that will continue to poison their land for generations with the words from "New York city" and "Here's your Ramadan present". And once again they ask the question Why?
The Afghan people have not asked for war, they ask for peace, yet their voices have been drowned out by anthrax hysteria and US military officers in front of grayed out computer screens talking of collateral damage and strategic targets. Targets which have been mostly Afghan people, women and children. Yet this is not an unforeseen circumstance of war it is the norm. In the wars of today 90% of deaths are civilian.
My whole life I have lived in peace and security, yet if I had been born in Afghanistan I would have known exactly the opposite. 97% of Afghan children have witnessed violence and 40% have lost a parent. I still have both my mother and father and an Afghan child can only dream of such security. For the children of Afghanistan have known war all their lives, they do not get the chance to go to school, to play, to eat, to sleep. Every part of their day is affected by war and they can never escape it. 45% of fighting forces are child soldiers and 400,000 children have died fighting in the Afghan war. While I am able to go to university Afghan children are forced to fight and die in a war the have not asked for and do not want.
Today we have opened our eyes and our ears to what is happening to the Afghan people and most importantly we are opening our mouths and telling the world that we will not tolerate this. As New Zealanders we need to tell our government that we do not want our SAS troops in war, we do not want them killing innocent people, what we want is for our Hercules planes to be loaded with food and blankets and medicine and flown to Afghanistan where we can help to save Afghan lives.
Jamilla, Rally for peace in Wellington, part of the International Day of Action to Stop War and End Racism, 27 October 2001.
Just a couple of days ago, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that three ballistic missile weapons tests, due to take place in the past week would be postponed. He said, and I quote "I do not want to put the United States in a position of having someone raise a question about whether or not something is a violation of a treaty", "I don't think that's the position the United States wants to be in."
What an obscene joke. The US government and its warmongering allies currently waging war on the people of Afghanistan are in the position of being in violation of so many international agreements and treaties that it would take hours to list them all.
Rather than pontificate on about international law today, we have decided instead to convene a people's court - I will read you some examples of international agreements and you can judge for yourself whether or not the accused (that is, the warmongering governments, including that of this country) are violating international law at this time. You will all be the jury, and the three people here with me on the stage - Maxine from the unions, Grace from the students, and Elaine from the churches will be the judges who will rule on your verdicts.
Let's begin with two examples from the United Nations Charter: Article 2, point 3: All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered; and Article 4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state ... In respect of these two points, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty of violations of the UN Charter? People's court - guilty.
Next to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948. Genocide is defined in Article 2 as ... any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part ... In respect of points a,b and c, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty of violating the Genocide Convention? People's court: guilty.
Next we have the 1977 First Protocol of the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of civilians, and the first two examples are: from Article 48 ... in order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects ... parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives .... and from Article 54: it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless [any] objects [which are] indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs ... crops, livestock, drinking water, installations and supplies and irrigation works ... In respect of these points from Articles 48 and 54, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty of violating the First Protocol of the Geneva Conventions? People's court: guilty.
Further in relation to the First Protocol and the attacks on the people of Afghanistan, both generally and with specific reference to the dropping of cluster bombs, daisy cutter bombs, and the firing of depleted uranium ammunition by the US and other armed forces, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty of violating Article 51: Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate acts are .... those which employ a method of means of combat the effects of which cannot be specifically directed at a military objective ..... how do you find the accused on this charge? People's court: guilty.
And finally, we come to the Nuremberg Principles, on which much international law since the 1950s is based, there are three crimes specified within the Principles:
(a) Crimes against peace: (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of [these acts].
Do you find the accused guilty or not guilty of Crimes Against Peace? People's court: guilty.
(b) War Crimes: in particular - violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill treatment of the civilian population ... wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
Do you find the accused guilty or not guilty of War Crimes? People's court: guilty.
(c) Crimes Against Humanity: in particular - murder ... and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of, or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime."
Do you find the accused guilty or not guilty of Crimes Against Humanity? People's court: guilty.
The judges unanimously agree with the findings of the People's Court.
Thank you for your participation in the people's court, you heard the sample charges, and judged for yourself whether or not the warmongering governments are breaching international law. This war has not been authorised by the UN Security Council. For myself, and I guess for many of you here today, it is totally irrelevant whether or not the killing of the people of Afghanistan has been authorised by the Security Council. Even if the Security Council does authorise the use of force in this situation, it will not make it right.
The people of Afghanistan are not the ones who carried out the attacks in New York and Washington, yet they are the ones now dying at the hands of the US government and its allies. This is not justice - it is revenge and murder. The people directly involved in the attacks in New York and Washington must be identified, have their guilt established and be punished for their crime. That is usually what people mean when they talk of justice - not the wholesale slaughter of a criminal's family, everyone in any towns near them, or indeed in a country where they may have been living.
This war is wrong in every way - it is not only illegal under international law, but it is most of all unjust and immoral.
Wellington Peoples Court, part of the International Day of Action to Stop War and End Racism, 27 October 2001.
A vigil for peace is held every Thursday in Wellington, from 5pm to 6pm at the cenotaph.
Since mid-September, relatives of people killed in the attacks in New York and Washington have spoken out against violent revenge by the US government. There are several of these statements on the PMA website; the first we received, which has since been widely circulated, was the very moving letter sent to US newspapers 'Not in our son's name' by Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez. Just yesterday we have received the article below - written by David Potorti whose brother was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center.
The phrase, 'Just War,' used in reference to the battle being waged in Afghanistan, is beginning to resonate. Not as a deep philosophical concept, but like the names of those specialty stores you find in shopping malls: 'Just Lamps,' 'Just Bulbs,' and 'Just Paper.' In fact, 'Just War' turns out to be an eerily accurate marquee for the little shop known as The United States of America. War, to the increasing exclusion of everything else, is the only thing that America collectively cares about anymore.
We don't manufacture much of anything; just war. We don't concern ourselves with education; just war. We don't attend to the 40 million Americans without health coverage; just war. We don't focus on the 30 million American children living in poverty; just war. We don't support the arts; just war. Even though a a multitude of human needs were in existence prior to September 11, and have only increased since then, we continue to direct our attention and our resources into what we do best: war. Just war.
Need a billion dollars a day for the military? No problem. Need an extra $40 billion for the war on terrorism? Here it is.
Need a blank check to pursue an undeclared struggle with unexplained means and undefined ends? You got it, because that's what America is all about: just war. America is the world's biggest supplier of conventional weapons.
America is the world's biggest supplier of torture devices. America manufactures and exports terrorists at its School of the Americas (now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). America exports violent entertainment around the globe. Prison construction remains one of our top industries. Global slavery is the secret behind our economic success. The military remains our biggest budget item. Whether it's war on people of color overseas, or war on our rights at home, that's what we're all about: just war.
And we've now codified that reality. President Bush's guarantee of 'a long, long struggle,' absent a measurable goal, and without a quantifiable conclusion, suggests that America will be in a permanent militarized state until the end of our days, forever erasing the distinction between 'war time' and 'peace time.'
There was an era when wars were ugly spectacles, dreaded from a distance, entered reluctantly, and ended as swiftly as possible. There were victory parades and celebrations, and a return to 'life as we knew it.' There was a 'peace dividend'--the billions of dollars no longer needed for war could finally be used for the benefit of public health, welfare and the arts.
But no longer. With no legal declaration of war, there can be no cessation of hostilities. With no nations from which to demand surrender, there will be no surrender ceremonies. In the absence of negotiations, there will be no realignments, treaties or agreements. Terrorists, whoever they are, wherever they are, will be rounded up in secret, tried in secret, and executed by secret tribunals. The waging of war will become a regularly-occurring municipal function, like trash collection or street cleaning - all the while draining money out of our schools and hospitals, food out of our children's mouths, and peace and beauty out of the rest of our lives.
There is a moral corruption that comes from living in a militarized society. When military demands continually defy debate, hold center stage at the expense of monumental human need at home, and consume resources essential for the well-being of people, our culture is diminished, and we are diminished along with it. Our national dialogue becomes a monologue. And our interactions become brutal and coarse.
It's a corruption evident in Congressional disregard for the needs of laid-off workers and Americans without health coverage. In the Attorney General's contempt for the civil rights and freedoms he purports to defend. In the continuing debasement of our language into 'war is peace' double speak. And in the creeping fascism of pundits who define those opposed to the war as 'irrelevant,' academics teaching history as 'un-America n,' and anyone calling for alternatives as 'lending aid and comfort to the enemy.'
It's a corruption that extends to our high schools, where kids can visit ROTC recruiters on campus - whose presence, more and more, is a condition of receiving state funds for education. It's a corruption that extends to our colleges - where, we are told, kids are flocking to CIA recruiters in droves, perhaps as the result of watching the new crop of network TV dramas which employ official CIA script consultants.
And it's a corruption that extends to our smallest kids. Enlisted by a president who spends billions of dollars on a military campaign that destroys the homes and lives of Afghan children, American children have been asked to send money to clean up the wreckage of his dirty war. Here's a better idea: don't bomb civilians (by one estimate now numbering 3,500 dead) in the first place. Use the money to build and stabilize rather than to bomb and terrorize. And teach our kids from their earliest days that they - and their money - have value beyond supporting the war effort.
The corruption extends across the breadth of increasingly harsh American mass cultural offerings, where you can take your pick of cop chases, spectacular crashes, or real-life fights caught on tape. If you're tired of watching crimes being committed, you can choose from a gaggle of court shows, where a judge of your gender and racial preference will verbally terrorize pairs of arguing litigants. You can get all the blood and gore you could possibly want on the local news--just don't ask the folks at the network to report how many civilians have actually been killed in Afghanistan. Apparently, that information could have a negative effect on the war. And war is, after all, what we're all about. Just war.
With no end to the struggle in sight, no perceivable opposition party in Washington, and no balancing voices of reason being given the light of day by the mainstream media, there's ample cause to believe that America, like its counterparts that sell just lamps, bulbs, and Scotch tape, is becoming a one-product economy: Just War. And where there is just war, there will be no justice.
David Potorti, 15 December 2001. David recently took part in the Family Members of 9/11 Victims DC-NYC Peace Walk
In mid September a group in Dunedin were looking for a petition to express how they felt about the 11 September attacks and the likely US response to them. On spotting the WILPF (Aotearoa) emergency remit to the National Council of Women's annual meeting, they decided the wording was exactly what they wanted to say - and it became the national petition.
On 10 October, 1140 signatures were presented to parliament, (well to Keith Locke to be precise) and a further 2521 during the Say NO to War march and rally on 13 December.
Instead of a minute of silence to remember all the victims of terror, the speakers at the Say NO to War rally were followed by a minute of noise to express outrage and anger at the futility and horror of war - parliament grounds rang to the sound of screams, yelling, banging, off key trumpets shrieking, sirens and amplified chants.
Within an hour of the march and rally, a further 230 signatures for the petition arrived at the PMA office! There will be a further presentation of signatures to parliament when it reconvenes in February - so keep those petition boards circulating. A petition form is enclosed with this mailing, and it is available on-line at http://www.c onverge.org.nz/pma/pet001.htm
There are more than 400 statements and articles opposing the war on terrorism on the PMA website at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/usaresp.htm
Details of anti-war rallies, meetings and vigils for peace around Aotearoa are listed on the PMA website at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/vigil.htm
If you do not have Internet access and would like a copy of the index page listings of articles and statements, just let us know. Please be aware that because our workload is still way above normal, there are some delays in photocopying and posting material from the office.
If you have the time and inclination, you can use the holiday season, when MPs are back in their electorate areas, to contact them and tell them precisely what you think of their support for the killing of the people of Afghanistan. In addition, writing letters to your local papers and the nationally distributed media helps to ensure pro-war views are challenged.
We have two alerts in particular that may be of assistance if you are looking for points to include in your letters or conversations with MPs: Alert! war update: contact your MP now, 24 November 2001 is available from the PMA office or on-line at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/rob00300.htm; and Urgent! No NZ military support - what you can do, 22 September 2001 (but still very relevant) is available from the office or at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/usarespma.htm
Destructive Industries Connected to Killing (DICK)
NZ Awards 2001 and the DICKNZ Special 'Guided missiles and misguided men' Awards
2001 [*] for government politicians
Destructive Industries Connected to Killing (DICK) NZ Awards 2001 and the DICKNZ Special 'Guided missiles and misguided men' Awards 2001 [*] for government politicians
On 15 November the DIC (Defence Industry Committee) NZ Awards for Excellence were presented at a dinner during the Defence Technologies Joint Action Group Inc annual meeting in Wellington. The criteria for the awards are a mystery - are they for the company whose products have caused the most death and injury? the company who has had the biggest public subsidy for private profit?
There is no mystery about the DICKNZ (Destructive Industries Connected to Killing) NZ Awards. They recognise the reality of the achievements of the NZ 'defence' industry. These Awards were presented outside the Duxton Hotel, Wellington; as were the Special 'Guided Missiles and Misguided Men' Awards [*] 2001 for government politicians.
At the DICKNZ Awards dinner (provided by Food not Bombs), a message of solidarity from the Australian Peace Committee (South Australia) was read out and the awards presentation began. A trumpet fanfare accompanied the announcement of each winner, a DICKNZ Award 2001 was pinned to the relevant company name on the ceremonial banner, and those attending greeted the description of each company's activities with a resounding chorus of boos.
Each Special 'Guided Missiles and Misguided Men' Award 2001 [*] for government politicians was placed in an envelope for posting to the recipient.
Those attending the Awards ceremony then applied blood-red hand prints to the special ceremonial banner. Fran Wilde, CEO of Trade NZ (who promote 'defence' companies exports) and Neal Garnett (of Serco, a major DICKNZ Award winner), Chair of the Defence Technologies Join Action Group Inc were invited to join us to accept the banner, but they did not.
Police guarding the sensitive 'defence' industries representatives and their political friends would not permit anyone from the DICKNZ Awards ceremony anywhere near the participants at the Defence Technologies Awards for Excellence. They were very carefully shielded by the police from even catching a glimpse of the 'Defence industry- profiting from death and destruction' reality banner - and the even more dangerous message of 'Support welfare not warfare'!
The DICKNZ Award ceremony was followed by a candle lit vigil in memory of those killed and maimed by the efforts of those who profit from death and destruction.
[*] "We have guided missiles and misguided men" - Martin Luther King.
Fifteen companies, Trade NZ and Industrial Research Ltd received Destructive Industries Connected to Killing (DICK) NZ Awards; and four politicians received the DICKNZ Special 'Guided missiles and misguided men' Awards 2001 [*] for government politicians. A selection of some of the winners are printed below, for the full list of Award winners, and the reasons why they received their awards, send an SAE to PMA.
NZ's 'defence' exports from under $70 million in 1996 to more than $145 million last year.
* Dodgiest overseas links award - joint
~ Babcock New Zealand Ltd, Navy dockyard, Auckland - Babcock NZ Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Babcock International who describe themselves as "a leading supplier of support services to the armed forces'. They currently have contracts to refit British warships including HMS Invincible, one of the British aircraft carriers. British warships have been involved since 1991 in enforcing the economic sanctions which are responsible for the death of more than 4,000 children each month in Iraq.
In Babcock's 1999 'Review of Operations', they describe the fitting of a Tomahawk cruise missile system to a British frigate as one of their 'key achievements'. Babcock International is also deeply involved with Britain's nuclear weapons arsenal.
* Companies with most direct contribution to war, death and
destruction award - joint winners:
~ ADP Industries Ltd, Auckland - little is known about the activities of this company. Navy news (9 July 2001) links them to the production of Penguin air-to-surface missiles; the Sunday Star Times (30 September 2001) states that ADP Industries has contracts with the US government to make vehicles and equipment for loading munitions into planes. ADP Industries products may very well be in use right now by US armed forces killing the people of Afghanistan.
~ Marine Air Systems, Lower Hutt - for producing and supplying fire control systems, communication systems for mortar and artillery batteries, remote detonation systems, devices for remote initiation of explosives and pyrotechnics for battlefield inoculation exercises, and armed forces command and control systems. Their products include the Vanguard artillery computer, the Morfire hand held IBM compatible battlefield computer which "puts the future of the mortar into the palm of your hand"; the Bullseye aerial bombing scoring system; and the Swordfish system for the demolition of underwater obstacles and targets in shallow waters.
Marine Air Systems is part of the British based Halls and Watts (Defence Optics) Ltd group.
~ Trimble Navigation NZ Ltd, Christchurch - is part of the US based Trimble Navigation Ltd. Trimble Navigation Ltd is "a trusted supplier for the US Department of Defence and military customers worldwide" of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Precise Positioning Service (PPS) used by armies, navies and airforces so they know where they are. It is unclear what contribution Trimble's positioning systems make to 'precision' bombing and missile strikes.
In their tutorial on GPS, Trimble state: "the U.S. Department of Defence decided that the military had to have a super precise form of worldwide positioning. And fortunately they had the kind of money ($US12 billion!) it took to build something really good." Can you believe it? that's a direct quote from their blurb.
This astounding piece of legislation, which the government tried to push through with no public consultation, was the subject of several PMA alerts. The areas of major concern with the legislation relate to the extraordinary erosion of human rights it represents. It sets up politicians (the Prime Minister in consultation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs) as the judge and jury to determine who is or isn't a 'terrorist', and provides for such decisions to made on the basis of secret evidence by the agencies of foreign governments. This is totally contrary to the concept of separation of the judicial system from politics; and the right of accused persons to know the evidence against them, and to have their innocence or guilt established in an open trial. The wide definition of 'terrorist acts' leaves the legislation further open to abuse by politicians pursuing their own particular ideology or political agenda.
In addition, the proposed legislation has an exclusion for 'terrorist' acts which are committed "in a situation of armed conflict [which] is, at the time and in the place that it occurs, in accordance with rules of international law applicable to the conflict." That too is clearly a political decision - for example, it is extremely unlikely that the breaches of international law in the US led war against the people of Afghanistan will even be recognised, never mind the perpetrators being brought to trial. Yet that war clearly fits the definitions of 'terrorist acts' in the proposed legislation, and is being carried out, as defined in the proposed legislation, "for the purpose of advancing an ideological or political cause".
According to the government, the legislation is necessary to implement Security Council Resolution 1373 - but that is simply not correct. In any event, that resolution has already been put into effect by the United Nations Sanctions (Terrorism Suppression and Afghanistan Measures) Regulations 2001, Order in Council, 26 November 2001; and the United Nations Sanctions (Afghanistan) Amendment Regulations 2001, Order in Council, 26 November 2001 which amends the United Nations Sanctions (Afghanistan) Regulations 2001, Order in Council, 12 March 2001.
Steven Wallace Update
While the government moves to rush through it's repressive terrorism legislation with unseemly haste, there has been no urgency whatsoever about implementing Justice Gallen's recommendations to improve the accountability of the Police Complaints Authority - those recommendations were received by Phil Goff last December. The review of the PCA arose because of the public concern about the police shooting of Steven Wallace.
On 6 September a private prosecution for murder was brought against Constable Abbot, the police officer who shot Steven Wallace on 30 April 2000, by Steven's father Jim Wallace. At that time, more than sixteen months after Steven's death, no progress had been made towards justice by the official bodies whose duty it is to investigate the actions of police officers which result in harm or death.
The applications of the lawyers acting for Constable Abbot have added to the sense that police officers are above, rather than accountable to, the law. Their applications to delay the inquest in May and June on the grounds that the inquest may be prejudicial to the interests of the officers involved, and that it would be an abuse of process for the officers to be compelled to give evidence was extraordinary.
Yet the same argument was used in response to the private prosecution - "Our view is that this prosecution is without any foundation and that it would be an abuse of process to issue a summons and require Constable A to submit to a legal process." (Paul Shearer, on behalf of Constable Abbot, reported in 'The Daily News', 11 September 2001).
After hearing of legal arguments, Judge Christopher Harding decided on 21 September that a summons would be issued to Constable Abbot requiring him to appear in the New Plymouth District Court. In November, the start date for the depositions hearing was set as 21 January.
On 27 August, women around the world celebrated the 20th anniversary of the birth of the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp with a range of events and actions. Women gathered outside the US Consulate in Auckland, the US Embassy in Wellington, at Harewood in Christchurch, and outside US federal buildings in some US cities to say NO to Star Wars.
In Wellington around 40 women gathered outside the US embassy. Women old and young came together to honour the Greenham women, and all the women who have worked and died for a better world.
We heard the messages from other women around the world gathered to mark this day, then walked around the embassy compound, blowing whistles, banging tins and singing the 'women say NO to star wars' song to ensure the US diplomatic representatives were awake to hear our message. Then we went to work on the fence, singing and weaving woollen webs, tying up peace doves and women's symbols with messages, and a young woman whose mother had taken her to Greenham as a toddler tied a photo of herself at Greenham to the fence too.
As it grew dark we lit our candles, and together with the peace bird, turned our backs on the embassy and the violence that the US government and big business represents. We stood in the night as women spoke of their opposition to the insanity of the weapons race, the amount of money and resources which are poured into military spending overseas and here while children die for lack of food and health care; the theft of common land; the plans to put weapons in space; the impact of Star Wars on the people of Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific; and the heritage of our foremothers who have opposed militarism and war for centuries and who guide us into the future from the past.
If you get bored with singing carols during your holidays, you could learn the Women Say NO to Star Wars song (to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic)
Our eyes have seen the glory of the coming of George II / he plans to fight wars in space right above you / with laser guns and killer satellites, and weapons that are new / so star wars goes rolling on.
(chorus) Glory glory they want war in space / US business wants another weapons race / they've militarised the earth and now they need a new place / so star wars goes rolling on.
Their eyes have seen the glory of the profits they could make / with McDonalds out on Mars, for star wars troopers burger breaks / why stop at planet earth when there's a universe to rape? / so star wars goes rolling on.
There is a collection of articles about Star Wars and weapons in space, including two excellent detailed Working Papers by Bob White, Centre for Peace Studies, plus reports from the International Day of Action to Stop Weapons in Space (13 October) at http://www.conv erge.org.nz/pma/stwars.htm
And as if colonialism in all its forms, nuclear weapons tests, dumping of nuclear waste, firing of missiles at Kwajalein lagoon, storing of chemical weapons, and the dumping of asylum seekers on Pacific nations by the Australian government were not bad enough - the US plans to bring its 'war on terrorism' into the Pacific too. As well as reports of CIA operatives flooding into Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines; there are reports that suspected terrorists and prisoner of war will be incarcerated on Tinian (Northern Marianas), pending trial by Bush's new military tribunals, and presumably execution if they are found guilty.
These reports have been denied by US authorities who say the heavy equipment being moved onto Tinian is in preparation for their "annual Christmas drop" of gifts to islands in the region. Meanwhile Senators on Guam have introduced a resolution asking Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to remove Guam from their list of potential sites for war tribunals.
Views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the PMA Working Group or all members.
© Peace Movement Aotearoa 2001. Permission is given for written material to be used by groups and individuals sharing our aims and objectives - please credit sourced material to its original source, unsourced material to PMA. Photographs should be credited to their original source; if uncredited, then to PMA
Link to earlier PMA newsletters.
Return to top of page.