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Alert! Stop all NZ military cooperation
March 2003, but still relevant
When the gang of three, Bush, Blair and Aznar, announced their intention to go it alone to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein from power - the fact that they could not even get the support of nine members of the Security Council to agree to their warmongering was sufficient to deter the NZ government from giving any direct support by openly sending troops to take part in the invasion of Iraq.
However, there are various ways in which the NZ government is supporting it. At this time it would be particularly useful if you could contact your MP to demand that the NZ government gives NO support whatsoever to this illegal and immoral war which is totally in breach of the United Nations Charter and international law. The government should publicly condemn the invasion of Iraq; as a practical demonstration of their opposition to it, they must withdraw all military co-operation with the US and Britain immediately.
This alert has four sections: 1) why all military co-operation with the US and British armed forces should stop; 2) NZís current involvement with the US and British armed forces; 3) general information; and 4) contact details for politicians.
Why all military co-operation with the US and British armed forces should stop immediately
As you may be aware, the government's Defence Policy Framework (June 2000), states that "New Zealand will not engage in military co-operation or exercises with the armed forces of states which sanction the use of their armed forces to suppress human rights." (point 18). Waging a war of aggression in violation of the United Nations Charter is clearly a gross suppression of human rights of the civilian population of the country being attacked, and on these grounds alone all military co-operation with the US and British armed forces immediately.
In addition, the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act (1987) prohibits any NZ citizen or a servant or agent of the Crown from aiding or abetting ... "any person to manufacture, acquire, possess, or have control over any nuclear explosive device" (Section 5b).
Both the US and Britain have nuclear weapons (and other weapons of mass destruction), and the US government has threatened to use them in a preemptive strike against the people of non-nuclear weapons states - "on 11 December last year the Bush administration issued a statement publicly warning that it reserved the "right" to respond with nuclear weapons if US or allied armed forces were attacked with chemical or biological weapons. Set aside the staggering double standards of the US threatening use its own weapons of mass destruction while invading Iraq just on suspicion that it has such weapons, let alone flouting the laws of war about proportionality. What this means is that an Iraqi attack with crude chemical weapons which killed, say, about 100 US troops could expect nuclear retaliation, killing or maiming hundreds of thousands of Iraqi non-combatants and making a huge area, possibly extending to other countries, uninhabitable for years." 'US has hidden agenda', Robert Green. See also the follow up article 'How to Respond Lawfully to Iraq'.
" "The US reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force, including through resort to all our options, to the use of WMD against the US, our forces abroad, our friends and allies." What this means in practice is chillingly clear. Any attack on US interests, however limited, from whatever source, and anywhere in the world, involving any form of chemical, biological or radiological weaponry could trigger nuclear retaliation." 'Madness in the making: US nuclear strategy threatens the world', Guardian Leader.
"One year after President Bush labelled Iraq, Iran and North Korea the "axis of evil," the United States is thinking about the unthinkable: It is preparing for the possible use of nuclear weapons against Iraq." 'The Nuclear Option in Iraq: The US has lowered the bar for using the ultimate weapon', William M Arkin.
See also 'President Promotes Use of Nuclear Weapons', John Burroughs.
Under these circumstances it can be argued that any involvement with the US armed forces would be in breach of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act (1987).
NZ's current involvement with the US and British armed forces
Currently, the Waihopai spybase is New Zealandís biggest contribution to US wars - more information about Waihopai is available here. The US Air Force Base at Harewood (Christchurch airport) is intricately involved in support missions for US wars - US Starlifter and Galaxy cargo aircraft supply vital US military/intelligence and strike targetting bases in Australia (Pine Gap and Nurrungar) year-round with several flights a month through Harewood. More information about the USAF base is available here.
The NZ navy frigate Te Mana is currently deployed in the Gulf of Oman and Straits of Hormuz as part of Operation Enduring Freedom - while the government maintains it will not take part in any direct attack on the people of Iraq, nevertheless its presence there frees up US naval units to take part in that assault. There are NZ armed forces personnel deployed at the US Central Command HQ in Tampa, Florida; and the US led Coalition Joint Task Force in Bagram, Afghanistan. Details of NZDF involvement in Operation Enduring Freedom is available in a statement from Mark Burton, Minister of Defence.
The whereabouts of the NZ SAS is currently unknown due to Helen Clark's peculiar obsession with keeping their deployment secret.
When contacting your MP, Helen Clark, Phil Goff and/or Mark Burton, it would be useful if you demand that all of the above armed forces be withdrawn immediately; that no further NZ military personnel be deployed to the Middle East (with the exception of those involved in UN Truce Supervisions Organisation on Israel's borders with Lebanon and Syria, and those on Multinational Force and Observers duties in the Sinai); and that you want Helen Clark to make a clear public statement that the NZ SAS are not at this time in or near Iraq, nor will they be deployed there in the future.
Articles and statements about Iraq are available on the Stop Killing the People of Iraq index page.
Bush, Blair and Aznar's announcement is covered in an article 'UK, US and Spain won't seek vote on draft resolution, may take 'own steps' to disarm Iraq'.
The resignation letter of Robin Cook, Leader of the British House of Commons, has some useful points, it is available here.
On the issue of international law, "In the present circumstances as known to us, if there is no further Resolution clearly authorising force, the US and the UK would be acting in violation of international law if they were to attack Iraq." - see the full Matrix Briefing.
See also 'International Law Scholars Appeal to UN Secretary General - open letter urges adherence to international law in Iraq dispute'. Other easily readable articles covering various aspects of international law are available on the International Law index.
Helen Clark, Prime Minister, email, tel (04) 471 9998, fax (04) 473 3579; Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, email, tel (04) 470 6553, fax (04) 495 8444; Mark Burton, Minister of Defence, email, tel (04) 470 6564, fax (04) 495 8465.
MPs can be contacted at their parliamentary office by telephoning (04) 471 9999 and asking to be put through to the respective MP; and contact details for all MPs are available on-line here.