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PMA newsletter - September October 1997
Kia ora, first and foremost we would like to thank all of you who responded in our time of crisis both with donations which have alleviated our cashflow problems and also with messages, cards and letters of support.
We were astonished (and pleased !) at the level of your support, and it has greatly increased our enthusiasm as we go about sorting out the 'bureaucratic bits' to ensure PMA works well both now and in the future - so we can achieve the vision of our strategic plan which is to be in a position where we can support individuals and groups with peace work, travel and research; as well as to continue with our day-to-day work.
Thanks also to Louise May for her help and support over the past few extremely busy weeks, and of course to the volunteer workers who keep us going.
Edwina is now back working in the office, although the days will vary until the end of the year due to peace and other commitments; to compensate for not having regular times when the office is open, the voicemail is being cleared daily.
Thanks again to you all for your tremendous support, kia kaha till next month.
Things to do, news and views ...
The first project of the newly launched Maori Law Commission is to research traditional Maori dispute resolution methods and develop a practical model for use by whanau, hapu and iwi. The research will be undertaken by Maori Legal Services lawyers Moana Jackson and Jason Fox.
This exciting initiative will endeavour to reclaim and revalidate traditional dispute resolution practices for Maori, and will be a valuable addition to the body of knowledge on conflict resolution in this country.
Support is warmly welcomed - interest in assisting with fundraising to support the project, or with direct donations can be directed to : Julie Lambie, Maori Law Commission, tel (04) 473 1249; fax (04) 473 1781.
Privacy Act ReviewThe Privacy Commissioner is currently reviewing all aspects of the 1993 Privacy Act and public submissions have been invited for this. The deadline for submissions on some discussion areas was 20 October - but you still have time to get your submission in on :
Intelligence Organisations and the Privacy Act (DP11) and Codes of Practice and Exemptions(DP4) have a 3 November deadline;
New Privacy Protections(DP12),
Public Register Privacy Issues(DP5),
Complaints and Investigation(DP6),
Information Matching(DP7), and
Compliance and Administration Costs(DP9) have a 10 November deadline.
If you wish to submit comments on any of these areas, you can get the Discussion Papers from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, PO Box 10-094, Wellington; (04) 474 7597, fax 474 7595, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Official Information Act ReviewFollowing its review of the OIA, the Law Commission has recommended it be changed to help people who are requesting information. Furthermore ... "access to information about the government is vital to effective participation in a democracy" (Dominion , 07-10-97). Well ! there you have it - any ideas on how the government will respond to this radical idea ?
But alas, what price human rights ? It appears that the government is planning to introduce legislation to give itself and its agencies permanent exemption from the provisions of the Act, and
... with a touch of that exquisite subtlety in which they excel, this legislation would be introduced in 1998 - the 50th anniversary of NZ's signing of the Declaration of Human Rights.
But in the meantime the war of words continues on this with a variety of articles in the Dominion and other papers pointing to the sad state of the various bits of the armed forces ... and more concerns expressed by the Australian Defence Minister (speaking in Washington this time !) not only about NZ's defence force spending cuts and the possibility of the third and fourth frigates being purchased from the US instead of Australia, but also about NZ's anti-nuclear policy.
Labour defence spokesman Geoff Braybrooke has also said we should be worried about how National has cut the defence budget and run defence into the ground (Dominion , 10-10-97) - well, we're not.
Why we need a defence forceAnd as we know, the battle over the future of the defence forces is not just being waged in the media - but also in our secondary schools (see August PMA Newsletter ). The critique of the kit put together by Commander Rob Green RN (Retired) states very clearly that contrary to the MoD's assertions, the kit is in fact a propaganda exercise and at one point itself admits that the video is an updated recruiting film !
But the most startling news in the frigates debate came today -
Peters torpedoes third frigate(Dominion, 14-10-97). What is not yet apparent is whether he is referring only to more ANZAC frigates or no third and fourth frigates at all - hmmm, we'll have to wait and see on that one.
Meanwhile, General Motors Canada has offered the government a 'sweetheart' deal on armoured personnel carriers; but alas for GM it appears that the makers of M113 APCs in the US are 'almost giving them away' - it is rumoured that around $140 million will be set aside for APCs in the Spending Review.
The bit we wanted to share with you is a quote from Josiah Beeman (US ambassador) saying that the opinion polls showing 70% of NZers wanting a return to ANZUS and others showing 70% wanting to retain the anti-nuclear legislation ... demonstrates a schizophrenic attitude !
re the Malaysian resolution calling for timed negotiations leading to a nuclear weapons convention which will be put to the UN General Assembly again this October.
Please contact Don McKinnon and Jim Bolger and whoever else you can think of with the following points
a) congratulating the NZ government on supporting the resolution last year;
b) asking that NZ co-sponsors the resolution this year;
c) checking that NZ definitely will be voting YES again on it this year;
d) asking that they use their influence with the Australian government (!) to encourage them to also support the resolution.
Don McKinnon's office tel (04) 471 9999, fax 471 1444; Prime Minister's office tel (04) 471 9998; fax 473 7045; or write to them at Parliament Buildings, Wellington (no stamp needed); or email <email@example.com>, marked attention of whoever it is addressed to.
Wiri stonefieldsNews last month that Watercare's construction of their sewage pipeline across the Wiri stonefields (see June/July PMA Newsletter for details) has been stopped after Justice Salmon ruled that the Environment Court had misdirected itself. He ruled that the matter be returned to the Environment Court for reconsideration.
It is expected that these hearings will take up to a year, and we'll let you know as more information comes to hand. WAI 262 raises the basic question of whether we want local control of local resources or transnationals to profit from them ...
The Student Christian Movement (Aotearoa) has circulated 'highlights' from MPs replies to their letters raising concern about the MAI - current favourite is that from Joy McLauchlan, National list MP - ...
"For your interest, and perhaps to provide balance to some of the material you have, you might like to read the enclosed speech from Bob Matthew [Chairman of the NZ Business Roundtable]. I always find their material helpful when I wish to find the middle ground".
While the Alliance is speaking out against the MAI, Labour is dithering on it - we suggest that if you wish to work against the MAI it would be useful right now to focus on trying to influence Labour to oppose it, and also your local authority as they will be bound by its provisions.
Independence Day - 28 October... and moving along from threats to sovereignty, the chance to celebrate our independence is coming up. If you are not already involved in local ceremonies or events, perhaps this would be an ideal time to get your banners out in favour of tino rangitiratanga and against MAI, privatisation, falling social welfare / health / education provision, the many faceted losses of sovereignty we appear subject to ...
Snippets from across the Tasman- the Australian government has given the go ahead for the Jabiluka uranium mine to open in Kakadu national park;
uranium mine expansion - in South Australia where the state government has given the go ahead for new mines to be opened at Beverley and Honeymoon; as well as an expansion of uranium processing at Roxby Downs.
RMIT occupations ends - following the RMIT management agreeing to student demands including a student and staff referendum on the proposed up-front fee paying system.
Monash Tent City continues - with no end in sight to the Monash Corporate Plan which the campers are opposing.
Boycott Kleenex !- news from Otways Forest Watch (who have called for a boycott of Kleenex products to try and prevent the clearfelling of Otway native forest) of a weekend camp and 'clearfelling inspection' teams.
Largest ever defence mission to UK- took place in September, Bronwyn Bishop (Minister for Defence Industry, Science and Personnel) and 25 Australian defence manufacturers representatives. Mrs Bishop's press statement complained that the defence industry was ignored by the previous Labour government ... "In particular our defence exporters received no encouragement. That is a shocking indictment of Labour's disinterest in this area" she said.
Lucas Heights reactor - campaigners are still working on trying to get a full public enquiry into the decision to proceed with the construction of the new research reactor.
I'm not a racist, but ... the week of programmes devoted to the theme of racism screened by SBS TV. This included differing experiences and a look at racism in North America, Britain, the Czech Republic, Austria, Sweden, India, South Africa, Germany, Algeria, Rwanda, Guiana, France, Australia and New Zealand.
Malaysia - bit of a saga here, with Transfield (Australia) losing out on their bid on a $Aus 2 billion contract to build 27 patrol boats, the contract went to a German company; however, it was announced on 30 Sept that this contract and other major military purchases has been shelved as Malaysia's economic crisis worsens;
Taiwan - is to give Paraguay 12 secondhand F-5E/F fighter planes;
South Korea - defence spending this year will be $US 17 billion, with $19 billion planned for next year;
India - has announced closer ties on arms deals and military technology with both South Africa and Russia in the past few days;
Indonesia - the British government has approved a further 11 new arms contracts with Indonesia worth 'millions of pounds';
- the memorandum of understanding with Germany for the purchase of five U206 subs has now been signed;
- British Aerospace Australia is to help Indonesia develop a maritime patrol version of the CN-235 twin turbo-prop military transport plane;
Australia - Transfield is still awaiting word on the Australian Navy's planned purchase of 6 patrol boats priced at $Aus 1.6 billion; but the navy has confirmed it will still be requiring the eight ANZAC frigates ordered from Transfield.
BougainvilleRather more optimism this month about the prospects of long term peace in Bougainville following the latest peace talks in Christchurch between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville representatives.
On 10 Oct it was announced they had unanimously agreed to a truce calling for an immediate end to armed conflict on the island and for all parties to work towards reconciliation and a return to normalcy.
military exercises in the regionThese involving NZ defence forces - include recent : Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (pretty much worldwide) with US, Australia, Canada , Britain and other NATO; Kakadu III (Darwin) with Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand; Tasman Eagle (northern Queensland) with Australia, ongoing : Northern Sustainer (North Island), Taiaha Tombak (Malaysia) and other defence forces - recent : US Marine Corps training (Oahu); ongoing :MARCOT'97 (US, Canada, Britain, Chile, Australia) around Nanoose Bay, disputed nuclear-sub testing site near Vancouver.
Hiti Tau Health StudyThis has now been released by the World Council of Churches, and states that health checks on the 10-15,000 people who worked at Moruroa during the French nuclear weapons testing programme were inadequate; 91% of the workers questioned during the study expressed no confidence in the health system available to them; and that 10% of the work force was under 18 when recruited (of these, 60% were under the age of 16 when first employed at Moruroa).
During a visit to the Cook Islands around the time of the SPF, the British Foreign Office Minister for State announced that Britain will ratify the Treaty of Rarotonga.
National days of action are planned for 12 November (6th anniversary of the Dili Massacre) and 7 December (22nd anniversary of the Indonesian invasion). For more details contact your local East Timor group or write to Free East Timor Coalition, PO Box 68-419, Auckland.
The worldwide arms trade was $39.9 billion in 1996 ($36.9 in 1995). According to 'World Military Expenditures and Arms transfers 1996' global military expenditure in 1995 was $864 billion.
The US sold $7.3 billion worth of arms to poor countries in 1996; but in a new study on US 'offsets' (concessions granted to foreign governments when purchasing defence items) 86% of offsets demanded and received on new defence contracts went to .... Europe ! The average amount of offset was 104.3% of the value of the contract.
Campaign against LandminesWell, there we were all set to congratulate the Campaign on their achievements at the Oslo conference then word came through that the International Campaign and Jody Williams have been awarded this year's Nobel peace Prize - so congratulations TWICE !
As you will no doubt have heard by now, the text of the treaty to ban anti-personnel landmines was agreed (by most) at the Oslo conference and the treaty will be open for signature in Ottawa from 2 - 4 December this year.
Following the announcement that Russia will support the global ban (although it is still not clear whether they will actually sign the treaty), the US, South Korea, India, Pakistan and India provide the main opposition to it, with Australia and Japan undecided. The US government says they will not sign until they have an alternative 'defensive' weapons system.
Right Livelihood Awards
Congratulations to Dr Jinzaburo Tagaki (Citizen's Nuclear Information Centre, Japan) and Mycle Schnieder (World Information Service on Energy, France) who were jointly awarded the 1997 RLA for their work in opposing plutonium utilisation programmes. This award is frequently referred to as 'The Environmental Noble' or "Alternative Nobel'.
We have been following the situation there with particular interest over the past few months since the US government began issuing statements about Iran's 'nuclear threat', announced their alarm about reports that Russia and China were helping Iran build long-range nuclear missiles, and more recently about Iranian construction of a long-range missile capable of carrying chemical warheads. These statements have an uncanny resemblance to those made about Iraq by the US government in their build-up to the Gulf war.
Then a few weeks ago, Iranian warplanes bombed Iranian rebel bases inside Iraq; Iraq responded by putting warplanes up into the 'no-fly' zone; the US threatened Iraq with "potent air and naval force" if the no-fly zone violations continued; Iran started naval exercises in the Gulf; the US moved the Nimitz and its supporting battlegroup into the Gulf; and on 13 October a statement came from Washington that the deployment of the Nimitz et al was aimed at Iraq and not Iran !
This last statement was most intriguing, as it acts to confirm our suspicions that indeed the US government may be plotting something against Iran.
Anyway - that's the situation, if you would like to do your own 'preemptive strike', please feel free to contact Josiah Beeman, US Ambassador, US Embassy, 29 Fitzherbert Tce, Thorndon, Wellington; tel (04) 472 2068; fax (04) 471 2380.
And while you're in touch with him, perhaps you could also mention your displeasure and disgust over the continued sanctions against Iraq - Quaker Peace and Service have recently sent us a copy of their letter to NZ MPs on this, and it quotes the International Commission of Enquiry on Economic Sanctions 1996 report as saying more than 1,500,000 people including over 750,000 children under five years of age have died in Iraq as a direct result of the sanctions.
Furthermore, these sanctions are very clearly deliberate in their intent - they are renewed by the UN Security Council every 60 days.
In one of those bizarre little coincidences, the Dominion of 30-09-97 had a page 2 article full of good cheer regarding the visit of Douglas Hurd (Gulf warmongerer extraordinnaire) to Wellington, and a wee snippet in the inside pages about the deaths from the UN sanctions on Iraq - and guess what ? no link between the two items !
We have a number of papers relating to Iran's military capabilities, the effects of the sanction on the people of Iraq, the use of depleted uranium ammunition in the Gulf War and the effects of Gulf War Syndrome on 'allied' troops, contact PMA for more details.
Briefing paper ... With the November PMA Newsletter there will be a briefing paper on what you can do to progress nuclear weapons abolition; this will also contain recent information on new nuclear and laser weapons development; and an update on NZ local authorities who have signed the A2000 Local Authorities Resolution.
Well, even before the summit the arms dealers were in there, the three governments having already committed themselves to increasing their defence procurements over the next five years (NATO membership commits governments to spending at least 3% of GDP on defence). Since the summit a number of 'defence acquisitions' seminars have been held for officials from the three countries - these are not necessarily sponsored by other NATO members, one of the largest was arranged and paid for by Lockheed Martin, the defence contractors who are bidding to sell over 100 F-16 warplanes to central Europe ! Contracts for new equipment are being signed with increasing frequency, and deals between foreign and local arms manufacturers are proliferating at an alarming rate. So on the one hand those who want to be in NATO are practically bankrupting themselves to get there, but what of the costs to existing members ?
Pres. Clinton himself has put the cost of NATO expansion, just to US taxpayers, over the next 15 years at $200 million each year, although the Congressional Budget Office puts it at $1.3 billion per annum. Independent analysts have said the overall costs for existing NATO members could be up to $120 billion - most of this being spent on new military hardware.
And what of the non-NATO countries who are desperate to get into the alliance ? Well, we have received several articles on Romania, wannabe for the second wave of NATO expansion to be announced in April 1999, and their military reduction and reorganisation along NATO lines has begun, as has a purchasing spree for NATO-compatible equipment and technology. In addition, their former state-owned arms manufacturing companies have been restructured readied for privatisation.
Well - what do you think about this ? Waste of money or what !
Latin America arms sales bonanza ?And our other held over summary from previous newsletters is that on the US government's removal of the ban on high-tech weapons to Latin America in August. At the same time, they proposed to designate Argentina a 'non-NATO ally' ( a category previously reserved for very few countries such as Israel, Jordan and S. Korea - those considered US allies in actively hostile regions).
Argentina responded by opposing the lifting of the high-tech arms embargo, they do not have the money to spend on such things - and do not want their military officers becoming restless through envy if neighbouring countries upgrade their armed forces. Chile and Brazil were upset by Argentina's new designation, as they see themselves as close friends of the US. Goodness - its like reading a description of a kindy class's interpersonal relations don't you think ?
In the meantime, US defence manufacturers were overjoyed at the prospect of an arms sales bonanza - but alas for them, to date they appear to be foiled by the reluctance of Latin American governments to dramatically increase their arms spending ! Nevertheless arms sales to the region (as elsewhere around the world) are ongoing - a report received in August pointed out that Chile's proposed $US 1 billion purchase of war planes is equivalent to a sixth of their annual social services, health and education expenditure, and that in a region wracked by poverty ANY arms sales (whether high tech or not) are likely to contribute to instability because of the drain on social expenditure.
Wellington peace peopleThere are still big gaps in the roster for Peace Forum, the Wellington Access Radio programme produced by peace persons and groups.
Programme makers are required for the fortnightly blocks from mid November. Remember - if there are no programme makers, the programme will have to be shut down. Please phone Mike at PMA (Monday afternoons or Friday mornings) as soon as possible to book your dates!
The $US 3.4 billion mission to investigate Saturn began today with the launch of the Cassini space probe despite massive international protest and attempts to stop it in court. The protests focussed on the 32 killograms (thank you Don for your metric conversion) of plutonium on board.
Although the launch went without mishap, the danger from Cassini is not over as it will return in August 1999 to bounce off Earth's atmosphere on its way to Saturn.
Jenny Munroethe Aboriginal woman who is the regional NFIP representative will be travelling the country probably during November. For more information contact Suzanne Menzies-Culling, PO Box 1375, Dunedin; tel (03) 477 33 95; fax (03) 474 0736; <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland 23 October - Media Peace Awards,contact Foundation for Peace Studies for details, (09) 373 2379.
1 November - 9-30am to 4pm, Forum on Third World Debtat Ellen Melville Centre, cnr Freyburg Place and High Street, organised by Auckland Debt Crisis Network, contact Sue Grayson, Trade Aid (09) 488 0341.
Note - we are getting a little behind on our resources listings because we have so many ! An attempt will be made to remedy this next month ...
PADET Scholarships- for MA or PhD students researching topics which promote international peace, disarmament or arms control, grants up to $10,500, closing date 31 October.
Contact PADET, Trusts and Fellowship Office, PO Box 10-345, Wellington; tel (04) 495 9323; fax (04) 495 7225.
Petition for the return of Telecom to Public Ownershipand the very handy and informative CAFCA Fact Sheet No 4 about Telecom, get yours from SPOT (Society for Publicly Owned Telecommunications), Box 2258, Christchurch.
Appeal of the Nobel Peace Laureatesasking that the UN General Assembly declare 2000-2010 the Decade for a Culture of Non-Violence, that 2000 be declared the Year for Education in Non-violence, and that non-violence be taught at every level in all societies - they are calling for signers to their appeal, copies from PMA.
Anti-nuclear messages on audio cassette- we have been given copies of each of these tapes which were made in the 1980s, the tapes may be dated but their messages are not !
Perfectly Clear - essential facts of the Nuclear Age (Dr Helen Caldicott); A Prescription for Survival (Informed Democracy Group); And you thought civil defence was boring ... the myth and morality of civil defence (Dr Jack Geiger).
These tapes were donated to us by a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility (the US branch of IPPNW), please contact PMA if you would like any.
Sojourners / interns wanted !
Malu 'Aina Centre for Non-violent Education and Action, 10 miles south of Hilo, Hawaii, is a small scale organic farming based community committed to peace, justice, simple living and preserving the environment.
Short and long term volunteer internships for adults are available - contact Jim Albertini, Malu 'Aina, PO Box AB 'Ola'a, Hawaii 96760. Tel + 1 808 966 7622.
Link to earlier PMA newsletters.
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