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Govt should support Kiwi RAF dissenter

19 October 2005

Govt should support Kiwi dissenter facing RAF court martial

Green MP Keith Locke has sent a letter of support to a New Zealander being court-martialled by the RAF for refusing to return to Iraq and is challenging our Government to support the officer as well.

In the letter Mr Locke commends Flight-Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, a British air force officer and New Zealand citizen who has refused to return to Iraq because he views the war as illegal, for his "courage in standing up for all those opposed to the war and the continuing occupation of Iraq by United States and British-led forces." He goes on; "There is no way that any British officer should be forced to participate in what is clear an illegal war,"

"The Green Party agrees with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's comments in September 2004 that the invasion of Iraq was illegal and violated the UN Charter," Mr Locke, the Green Party's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson says.

"Helen Clark endorsed the Secretary General comments at the time. I want her government to also give moral support to this bold Kiwi."

In his letter, Mr Locke wrote "too many people have already died in this war, which is increasingly unpopular in Britain and the United States.

"The invasion of Iraq, led by two of the world's great powers, set a very bad precedent. It was embarked on in open defiance of the world community and on the basis of the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We must always look first for peaceful ways of solving the world's problems."

See the full text of Keith Locke's letter below.

*************

19 October 2005

Flt Lt Kendall-Smith, C/o Mr Justin Hugheston-Roberts, Rose Williams & Partners, Waterloo House, 4 Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton

Dear Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith,

On behalf of the Green Party in New Zealand I wish you success in your defence of the charge against you.

There is no way that any British officer should be forced to fight in what is clearly an illegal war. The Green Party has always accepted that the war was illegal and violated the UN Charter. The same position was taken by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in a BBC interview on September 16, 2004. In a Wellington newspaper, the Dominion Post (September 17, 2004) the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, was quoted as agreeing with Mr Annan.

We thank you for your courage in standing up for those opposed to the illegal war and the continuing occupation of Iraq by United States and British-led forces.

Too many people have already died in this war, which is growing increasingly unpopular in Britain and the United States.

The invasion of Iraq, led by two of the world's great powers, set a very bad precedent. It was embarked on in open defiance of the world community and on the basis of the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. We must always look first for peaceful ways of solving the world's problems.

In peace,

Keith Locke MP Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson

ENDS


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