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Action Alert - Madeleine Albright visit
Peace Movement AotearoaPO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued 1 August 1998
Kia ora Folks,
We have received a number of requests from peace people to put out an alert re the impending visit of Madeleine Albright as they are uneasy as to what this might portend. Don McKinnon stated earlier this month that this would be "another opportunity for the government to engage with the US government on the bilateral relationship, regional security, the Asian economic crisis and the lead up to the APEC forum meetings next year".
So, US world domination, parallel importing, perhaps discussion on a new improved (improved for transnationals that is) version of the MAI and how to sneak it past the people ... all these and many more rumours are circulating as to her purpose in coming here.
However, the two greatest concerns for peace people seem to be :
1) A threat to the nuclear-free legislation ? - there is general anxiety about this given Richard Prebble's continued statements that it's time to get rid of it in the interests of increasing trade with the US. Current concern is not so much about the legislation being changed, but rather some kind of quiet underhand agreement to relax it.
For your information, a letter from Jenny Shipley to Larry Ross (7 April 1998) states ..."NZ's nuclear-free policy enjoys the wide support of NZers and the Government has no intention of changing it." Well, that seems straightforward enough - however, one also has to bear in mind that this is the Prime Minister who bypassed all democratic / parliamentary processes in her excitement at receiving a phone call from Bill Clinton in February and immediately sent off troops to the Gulf ... speaking of which ...
2) A supporter of crimes against humanity - Madeleine Albright has been a vociferous supporter of war (both military attack and keeping up the genocidal sanctions) against the people of Iraq. We are reminded by the Iraqi Sanctions Medical Alert Group that while US Ambassador to the UN several years ago, she was asked on a (US) 60 Minutes programme if US policies were worth the death of half a million Iraqi children - her reply ? "yes, it is worth it".
At a time when many peace people here are working on the government to try and get the sanctions lifted, alas we feel we cannot share Don McKinnon's and Jenny Shipley's 'delight' or 'welcome' (Dominion, 11 July 1998) for this visit.