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PMA newsletter - June - July 1997
Kia ora, well here we are again folks after a very busy couple of months. June began with the National Peace Workshops (report below) and PMA Annual General Meeting in Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland. We welcomed two new Working Group members - Deborah James (Waiheke) and Jenny Collett (Hamilton).
We are still looking for a Treasurer ..... if you live in Wellington and have one or two hours to spare each week, then do not hesitate to put yourself forward for this position - full training provided !
With the NPWs and AGM over for another year, work in the office focussed on catching up on the administrative backlog, preparing for the July Working Group meeting, finishing the computerising of our local, regional and national contacts database and finally having some well earned time off.
Just as things were back on schedule, an accident left Edwina with a broken ankle, which has rather disrupted the work plan! She is working from home via email and the phone; with Mike, Christine and Briar keeping the office open when they can. Many thanks to these three for their additional work over the past few weeks.
Kia kaha til next month
We talked about some of the outstanding obstacles to peace in the Pacific region; and how the same issues of colonialism and the right to self-determination apply here as much as elsewhere.
There was much discussion about the way in which peace people and groups sometimes mimic the marginalising / elitist behaviours of wider society - and how this can exclude and anger those who we could otherwise be learning from and working with. The way we perceive peace can help us to get beyond such behaviour - if we believe that peace involves all that is necessary to create and maintain a peaceful society, then it is obvious that we first have to think about and deal with our own attitudes so we are not racist or sexist or elitist in other ways in our work.
Our thanks to Joan, Whaitiri and Hineahuone for a very peaceful enjoyable weekend which has strengthened our networks and commitment; and to keynote speakers Hilda Halkyard-Harawira and Suzanne Menzies-Culling for sharing with us their own stories, and that of the NFIP - powerful inspiring perspectives on peace.
Hiroshima & Nagasaki Commemorations - 6 and 9 August
Messages have been flooding in to PMA with descriptions of commemorative activities and protest actions going on all around the world - mainly linked to the two international campaigns - Women Insist on Nuclear Disarmament (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) and Nuclear Weapons Abolition Days (For Mother Earth International) on Hiroshima Day
Wellington sale of white poppies and street appeal
Keep NZ Nuclear-Free is this year's theme. Collectors are urgently needed to help ! Contact Tony 382 9624 or Chris 384 5057. Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Peace flame ceremony
12-15pm at the Botanic Gardens,speakers Cardinal Tom Williams and Mr Kyosuke Okada. Gathering to commemorate the 52nd anniversary of the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Contact Des Brough (04) 388 3173. Peace Council Aotearoa/NZ.
lantern floating ceremony
6pm, the lagoon (near Frank Kitts park),bring your own lantern or use one of those provided, shelter in the Rowing Club building if weather is bad. Basic lantern pattern available from WILPF. Contact Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) (04) 562 7172.
women's shadow painting, 7pm, meet at the lagoon,The women's shadow painting expedition will go from there. Bring a bucket, large paintbrush, wide chalk and whitewash if you can, some will be provided. Contact WILPF (above) - Part of the International Women Insist on Nuclear Disarmament campaign.
WILPF has restricted permission from the council again this year, so come along and get your permission slip (!) to avoid arrest while doing your graffiti. Shadow painting is a way of commemorating those who were vaporised in the atomic bomb attacks - only their shadows remained. Shadow painting can be a fun way to get across a serious message.
on 8th AugustChristchurch
Lantern floating ceremony6pm, gather at Cathedral Square, speakers Ruth Dyson and Rob Green, then proceed to Avon River for the lantern floating ceremony.
No more Hiroshimas
Nagasaki - never again
'Never again' is definitely not something the US government seems to aspire to.
Thank you to all who responded to our action alert re the sub-critical nuclear weapons test on 2 July. There was huge protest about the test - loads of non-violent direct action at the Nevada test site and protests around the US; citizen's protests around the world; and official concern expressed by the Norwegian, Chinese, Libyan, Iranian and Indian governments, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the German opposition parties; here the Alliance issued a press release following our action alert.
The next sub-critical 'Holog' is scheduled for late August/early September - we will let you know when the date is confirmed (probably one or two days notice).
New information released in the US says that the Department of Energy has already committed between $77-100 million towards the first two tests - and they will cost an additional $15-20 million each on the day. The DoE says the data from the tests will be used to build computer models for 'virtual reality' nuclear weapons tests - total unreality if you ask us, can't they get proper jobs ?
... from US atmospheric tests in the Pacific was much more extensive than previously admitted according to newly declassified Atomic Energy Commission documents - islanders living on Ailuk and Wetje atolls were not evacuated following the series of six of the largest tests at Bikini Atoll, nor have they been medically monitored since, despite their having been subjected to levels of radiation higher than was thought safe even at the time.
... and levels of radioactive iodine in fallout from the US and British atmospheric tests in Nevada were much higher than previously estimated - levels are now thought to have been at least ten times larger than the releases from Chernobyl according to a new study by the National Cancer Institute. No warnings were given and no precautions were taken to protect people across the US from the fallout.
... these studies come as no surprise to the indigenous peoples in the Pacific, the Western Shoshone whose land was stolen for the Nevada test site, nor to the other downwind communities who have said for years that the US and British governments have lied to and deceived them about nuclear weapons testing.
The Western States Legal Foundation's statement immediately prior to the sub-critical test outlined the serious harm to the health and well-being of the Western Shoshone from repeated nuclear bombing, the violation of their land and of their sovereign integrity - the latter recognised both by international law and the US constitution.
Meanwhile, the US Air Force has announced that nearly 2,000 acres of the Badlands Bombing Range at the Pine Ridge Reservation will be 'cleaned up' for return to the Oglala Sioux - it is so full of unexploded bombs that it is 'too hot' for reuse as a bombing range.
All unexploded ordnance that can be found will be cleared from the surface to a depth of 30 cms; and high explosive items and those items that can't be identified will be blown up on site. The land will then be more or less safe for grazing, but not for cultivation or anything which might involve disturbing the sub-surface.
Bearing in mind that this is the clean up of a conventional weapons bombing range, how do you think they'll ever manage to decontaminate and restore the land at the Nevada test site ? It's enough to make you weep with despair and rage.
... a class action has been filed against the USA and other defendants (including DuPont, General Electric and Westinghouse) on behalf of Native American citizens living in the vicinity of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation which manufactures plutonium. This follows the recent release of declassified documents indicating that the people around Hanford were subjected to deliberate releases of radioactivity high enough to seriously affect the health of living and future generations.
... and just as you might have been starting to think that the US government might actually be held accountable for some of its nuclear crimes and desist from them in the future, think again ... possible replacements warheads for the US Trident submarines are being designed at laboratories in New Mexico - in case problems develop in the existing W88 warheads as they age ...
... the new British government has announced their Trident nuclear warhead numbers are to be 'dramatically downsized' - to only 48 per submarine; they hope to remove the subs from permanent patrol; and to persuade NATO to agree to a 'no first use' policy.
We need a new word to describe this kind of phenomenon - 'disarmament' being an over-exaggeration, suggestions anyone ? de-armament ?
So far as we know, the only council which has adopted this here is Wellington (report in May PMA Newsletter). This report was picked up and publicised around the world by two of our good Australian friends, Irene and Ron, who appear to have been responsible for the huge list of Australian councils and such who have endorsed it !
News from Golden Bay Peace Group that they have spoken with the Tasman District Mayor, Kerry Marshall, who is also very fortuitously the President of Local Government NZ (the networking body for local authorities). The resolution will be included in the LGNZ newsletter.
The Auckland A2000 group continue working on the council in their areas, so hopefully we will soon be able to expand our list upwards from one. Perhaps we can also persuade the A2000 networks of our desire to be referred to as Aotearoa / New Zealand - not that we want to be at the top of the list or anything ...
... and while the British government de-arms, here at home our own government is busily re-arming. The arrival of the first of the new ANZAC class frigates on 11 July was greeted with protest at sea, and demonstrations on North Head and outside the Devonport naval base.
The Campaign against Militarism in Auckland have been organising the protests using the logo:
two too many frigates - stop them now !
Contact : CAM, PO Box 68-419, Auckland, tel (09) 638 8715, fax (09) 377 5541 (see what's on for details of the protest in August when Te Kaha is open to the public).
Anti-frigates protest cardsare available from Eric Felton, 28 Wiltshire Place, Howick, Auckland (koha);
All purpose protest cardsasking for all military spending to be diverted instead to ..... [multi choice options and space for your own alternative] are available from WILPF, PO Box 2054, Wellington (4 for $1).
Other contacts for anti-frigates work are :
* Larry Ross, NZNFPA, PO Box 18-541, Christ- church, tel (03) 388 9816; * Mark Roach, CAM (Wellington), email@example.com, tel (04) 383 5091;
and PMAsent out an action alert about Te Kaha's arrival.
Finally, in case any of you are thinking of further protests about the
cost of the frigates- we thought we should share David Carter's comments (in a reply to NZNFPA) on this with you, because we know you will all be reassured :
" they require fewer crew and will be much cheaper to operate and maintain. Fuel consumption is considerably lower, and the ANZAC vessels have a far greater range of 10,000 nautical miles". (excuse us ? what does that last phrase have to do with the costs ? obviously a well thought out reply this). So you see - no worries ! If you can just ignore the fact that they cost around $600 million each to buy in the first place ...
for the navy, to go with their new frigates. According to the Dominion , 25 June, " $274 million (is) the maximum cost of the project, which would include training, spares and missiles" - but wait !
According to another source - "Kaman Aerospace International has signed a contract with the NZ MoD to supply four multi-mission SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters to the RNZN ... The contract is worth $185 million and includes training, spares and missiles".
Interesting anomaly in the figures there, but wait, there is more ! According to that Dominion article, Defence Secretary ... "Mr Hensley said a related industry programme would generate nearly $100 million of work in NZ over the next 10 years" ... that's about the difference between the MoD and the contractors figures !
Does anyone have an explanation for this beyond the obvious one that maybe related industries are going to be given $100 million over ten years ?
And did you know that these helicopters are going to be armed with systems to fire Mavericks (peace people?) and Penguins (call the SPCA !)? Honest, that is what the manufacturer's specifications say.
We contacted the National Consultative Committee in May to see if they could use their ministerial contacts and such to add to the demands for full public consultation as part of the defence review. Well, the ministerial response to our suggestion has been negative, there will be no public involvement in the review except for watching the spectacle of the various arms of the defence forces scrapping about who is to get what.
Given that this review is likely to result in approval for up to $4.1 billion worth of new purchases, and that it is only covering defence needs and expenditure up until 2010 - it is totally outrageous that there is to be no public consultation; even more so when this lack of consultation is contrasted with the publicity over the compulsory superannuation referendum coming to your letter box very soon.
... Helen Clark says no third and fourth frigates, upgrade the army instead; Mike Moore says our low defence spending stops us being part of 'political solutions to security issues' (pardon ? shouldn't that read 'military solutions'), the Dominion says our defence spending is 'not credible' (perhaps 'incredible' is more accurate), our 'low defence spending' is of concern to the US, and the Australian government says our defence spending is 'inadequate'.
Well ! What do you think about all this ? And what do you think about the purchase of the troop ship Charles Upham, bought for $14.15 million, requiring $34 million worth of modifications to stop it rolling at sea and making the crew seasick ?
money well spent ? make your views known !
Programme makers are required for the fortnightly blocks
from the end of August.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!
... more expenditure and a nasty extension of powers for the GCSB was announced on 30 July, a new antenna and dome are to be built at Waihopai within a year to enable them to extend their eavesdropping capabilities - now they're wanting to listen to NZers who talk to .... foreigners !
They are especially interested in conversations which include 'foreign intelligence' - and who knows how that is defined as the GCSB is quite obviously blessed with very little, foreign or otherwise.
An order in council was approved by the Governor General exempting the Waihopai base from some of the provisions of the Crimes Act to allow this to happen.
For more information, contact Anti Bases Campaign, PO Box 2258, Christchurch, tel (03) 337 3465.
The latest court case against Watercare's desecration of the Wiri stonefields, brought by the Department of Conservation and the Historic Places Trust, failed recently in the High Court. The Wiri stonefields are waahitapu, a site of cultural and historical significance as the only remaining stone gardens in the country. Out of the original 8,000 hectares only 300 remain - the rest being used for quarrying, industrial sites and farming.
Watercare are planning to construct a sewage pipeline across the stonefields and with the failure to gain an injunction to stop them, construction will get underway as soon as weather permits - the pipeline is due for completion early next year. As well, another application for more quarrying in the area is coming up soon.
Contact Tamaki Makaurau NFIP for more information, tel (09) 302 2496 ext 844.
More than eighty countries signed the Declaration of Brussels on 26 June, despite opposition from the US government - who want to have the use of mines in Korea and 'smart mines' exempted from any landmines ban.
The Brussels conference was attended by 115 countries, with the goal of preparing for the treaty to ban the production, use, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. The treaty will open for signing in Ottawa in December.
There is also work going on towards a landmine ban in the Conference on Disarmament too - the US government has indicated this is the appropriate forum for discussions. However, because of the consensus requirement of the CD, it is expected that progress would be much slower than might be the case with the Ottawa talks.
For more information, contact CALM, PO Box 17-195, Wellington, tel (04) 478 1828, fax (04) 342 2112, firstname.lastname@example.org
Glorifying war or recognition of service ? That was the moral dilemma the Wellington City council could have been considering following the application from a commercial promoter for $100,000 of council funding to organise a ticker-tape parade of Vietnam veterans through Wellington next year.
But no - the decision was based on the immoral dilemma of whether or not it would be 'a good tourist attraction'. It was decided at a full council meeting that the organisers would be given $32,000 out of 'funding for cultural events that will attract tourists'.
It is expected that the parade will include Vietnam veterans from here, Australia, Korea and the US. The promoter argued that organising this parade is a public service because Vietnam veterans here never received public recognition - but his social conscience obviously stops at mouthing platitudes because each veteran is going to be charged $95 if they want to take part in the parade.
One of the legacies of another nasty imperialist war continues to cause controversy in the US and Britain with Pentagon, Ministry of Defence and respective government officials arguing over the causes and who is to blame.
At the beginning of June the US government announced it would pay $1 million (US) for a study of British forces to determine whether or not the syndrome exists; two weeks ago the British government announced a new 2.5 million (pounds sterling) research programme to look properly at the causes for Gulf war syndrome.
Some agreement seems to be emerging on at least two of the most likely causes:
- chemical weapons released when the allied forces blew up Iraqi chemical warfare facilities, with news in the past week that post-war demolition of one ammunition dump may have exposed 100,000 US troops and an unknown number of British troops to sarin (nerve gas). The sarin plume is thought to have drifted around 480km before dispersing four days later, no official concern has been expressed by those responsible about the well-being of Iraqi civilians in the path of the plume; the mass administering of multiple vaccinations to soldiers (without their informed consent) - the British defence ministry approved this dodgy practice for British troops even though they had been warned it could be a major health hazard.
What is not clear is whether there will be any investigation into the allegations by veterans groups and others that the US Dept of Defence has repeatedly suppressed crucial government documents about troop exposure to depleted uranium weapons. The Gulf war was the first in which DU weapons were used - more than 14,000 large calibre rounds and 940,000 small calibre rounds, combining to scatter 300-800 tons of depleted uranium around the Gulf region.
Note - this may have been the first time DU weapons have been used in a war, but the citizens of Okinawa have been vociferous in their complaints about the rounds being fired on their land in US training.
and what of the other legacies of the Gulf war, those affecting the health and well-being of the people of Iraq ? It is not known exactly what toxins were released in the bombing of nuclear reactors, or the alleged chemical and biological warfare production facilities, or what the effects of having all those DU rounds lying about might be ... never mind the consequences of all that 'smart' conventional bombing ...
Then there are the iniquitous sanctions - now into their seventh year, reviewed and renewed every sixty days by the UN Security Council. The first six months of 'Oil for Food' (Resolution 986) ended in late June, but it is not clear how much this has alleviated the suffering of the Iraqi people.
And it does not seem as if the sanctions will be lifted any time soon - UNSCOM (UN Special Commission), established to oversee the removal or demolition of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, is concerned that Iraq retains biological warfare capabilities and 'enough missiles to be considered a strategic force'. Just like the US, Britain, France, Russia, China ...
in the August PMA newsletter
a look at the worrying signs that the people of Iran may be being set up to be the next victims of US aggression; the recent NATO expansion and the pressure on the new NATO members to increase their arms spending; the ongoing saga of who is going to arm Indonesia now that the Indonesian government has huffily cancelled its purchase of US warplanes - will it be Russia ?
More on the protests about the Cassini space launch which will send 72.3 pounds of plutonium into space on 6 October; the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), compulsory globalisation/liberalisation of the whole world economy and we don't even get a referendum on it; why you should refuse to use Kleenex tissues;
roundup of news from across the Tasman; and lots and lots of other things.
send in your news, views, dates, ideas, comments, listings ... for the next PMA newsletter. Do it now ! Deadline - 20 August.
It will be a couple of months before we see if the peace process outlined in the recent Burnham Declaration is at all likely to be a lasting solution - a meeting between the Bougainville and Papua New Guinea leaders is scheduled to take place in September on neutral territory (possibly Burnham camp again).
The Declaration has nine major steps - starting with unity and reconciliation among Bougainvillians, then moving on to the negotiations between Bougainville and PNG leaders, declaration of a ceasefire, arrival of a UN peacekeeping force, demilitarising Bougainville (including the withdrawal of all PNG troops), lifting the blockade, access to Bougainville for humanitarian and donor agencies, and an undertaking to ensure the people of Bougainville 'democratically exercise their right to determine their political future'.
We very much hope the peace process does proceed positively to end the war.
PS - can anyone tell us why the peace talks were held in an army base ?
sadly, no sign of any kind of progress towards peace for the people of East Timor, despite the UN Human Rights Commission's April criticism of Indonesia for ongoing human rights abuses against the East Timorese. On 16 June, the UN Special Committee on Decolonization (East Timor hearings) heard testimony including that of the Hobart East Timor Committee. There was another Amnesty International paper released at the beginning of June about the arming of Indonesia and how this contributes to human rights abuses in East Timor, Aceh and Irian Jaya.
Here the East Timor Independence Committee (Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland) recently issued a press statement condemning NZ participation with Indonesia in a naval exercise, and organised a demonstration outside Defence HQ (Great North Road) on 17 July against NZ providing military training for Indonesia - this marked the 21st anniversary of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.
PMA has a vast amount of information on East Timor, please contact us if you would like copies of any of the reports mentioned above.
genetically engineered food
and more on GEF in the June and July issues of the highly informative and entertaining Peace News, news of 'field' actions this time. If you are wanting more information on this, please contact the PMA office.
September18-21 Auckland; 22 New Plymouth; 23 Taupo; 25 Tauranga; 29-2
OctoberWellington/ Lower Hutt; 4-5 Nelson/Takaka; 6-8 Christchurch; 9 Queenstown; 11 Dunedin.
For more details and local contacts, Foundation for Peace Studies (FPS), PO Box 4110, Auckland, tel (09) 373 2379, fax (09) 379 3017.
For more details contact IPPNW, tel (04) 385 5999 x 6050, fax (04) 389 5725, <email@example.com>
6 September- 10am, next meeting at the Riverside Community, contact (03) 526 7805.
- deadline for nominations for The Rogers Awardwhich will be given to the worst transnational corporation which has had the most negative impact in this country. Send your nomination to The Rogers Award, c/o PO Box 2258, Christchurch, organised by CAFCA, GATT Watchdog and Corso.
5 August- 8pm, Baptist Church Hall, Waiwhetu Rd, Lower Hutt, 'Rio - the Earth Summit revisited', with Derek Wilson, contact Arthur Quinn, (04) 567 0533.
14 August- 7-30pm, Crossways Community House, UBI meeting with Anne Else, John Lepper and Lowell Manning, contact Eva Naylor, (04) 475 8956.
23 August- six day intensive training workshop for Conflict Partnership facilitators with Dudley Weeks, contact Legal resources Trust, (04) 801 7066.
29 September- 6pm, venue to be confirmed, 'From nuclear-free NZ to a nuclear weapons-free world', public meeting with Rebecca Johnson. Contact WILPF, Megan Hutching, (04) 494 0631.
1 October- 7-45pm, auditorium, Te Papa (Museum of NZ), second Erich Geiringer Oration, delivered by General Lee Butler. Contact IPPNW, tel (04) 385 5999 x 6050, fax (04) 389 5725, <firstname.lastname@example.org>
2 October- 9-30am, Wellington School of Medicine, review of main peace themes and work to be done, with panel - Rebecca Johnson, Lee Butler, Dr Ron McCoy (Malaysian Canberra Commission member), Kate Dewes and Rob Green, contact IPPNW (see above).
10-11 August- Dudley Weeks Conflict Partnership workshop, contact Legal Resources Trust (04) 801 7066.
20 August- first of the Clinton Roper Peace Lecture series 'It takes a village to raise a child', Jane and James Ritchie, also
3 September, contact FPS, (09) 373 2379.
23 August- 11am - rally at Princes Wharf as Te Kaha is open for public viewing, banners, leafletting of visitors. Contact CAM, (09) 638 8715.
23 October- Media Peace Awards, main speaker Noam Chomsky, contact FPS, (09) 373 2379.
Touring Aotearoa/New Zealand
now on- the Auckland Unemployed Workers Rights Centre's totally amazing roadshow, for details of their progress around the country contact AUWRC, tel (09) 302 2496, fax (09) 377 4804, <email@example.com>
August & September -SURF (Stop Uranium - Reclaim the Future) Pilgrimage - a journey to sites of nuclear menace and special cultural and spiritual significance, talking with the Aboriginal custodians of the land now desecrated by uranium mining, linking the global to the local. Contact Gaia Foundation, PO Box 1417, East Victoria Park, WA 6981, tel/fax (08) 9272 4252, email <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Message to the heads of government of the nuclear weapons states- postcards campaign, send one to each HoG every month for six months, contact Mia Tay (03) 385 4889.
Peace Brigades International Emergency Response Networkto human rights abuses around the world - contact PBI Group, Riverside Community, RD2, Upper Moutere, Nelson.
Next month in resources ... popular books now available from the ever resource-full GATT Watchdog, how to get an inspiring anti-nuclear cassette tape free from PMA, and lots more !
Link to earlier PMA newsletters.
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