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Urgent! No NZ Military Support + What You Can Do

22 September 2001

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Urgent! no NZ military support + what you can do
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Apologies for the length of this alert, it was being written for uploading to our website later today, then this morning's paper arrived with the news of Helen Clark's decision to offer full support to the US government's 'war on terrorism'. As we are somewhat pressed for time, and the first section is rather urgent, we are sending out the full alert by email - if you would prefer to read it as a formatted article, it will be available later this afternoon at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/usatresp.htm

Kia ora,

This morning's Dominion has a front page headline "Bush's ultimatum: 'Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists' " Below that is a report that Helen Clark has promised full support, including military support, for a "lengthy campaign" to support Bush's war on terrorism. "American sources have suggested that the SAS could assist with "lightning strikes" on terrorist cells in the Asia-Pacific region, and join the bigger strike forces against Afghanistan".

It also says " Helen Clark said the US was not proposing a knee-jerk reaction to random acts of violence". That is precisely what it is, a knee-jerk reaction of matching terror with terror which will not solve anything and which will result in the deaths of who knows how many more ordinary people.

Helen Clark and her government are ignoring the thousands of people in this country who are saying very clearly that we do not want any part in supporting revenge attacks, that responding to violence with violence is a downwards spiral which only fuels hatred and conflict - the people responsible for the attacks in New York and Washington must be brought to justice; but the 'war on terrorism' is not justice - it is vengeance.

This alert is in five main parts: 1) what you can do; 2) about PMA and how we can help you at this time; 3) how you can help us; 4) contact details for politicians and the nationally distributed print media, Radio New Zealand, TV1 and TV3; 5) a copy of the speech by Jeanette Fitzsimons to the Rally for Peace in Wellington on Thursday - this is included for those of you receiving this alert overseas, not all politicians here support Bush's warmongering. This alert is a shortened version of a longer one we have been putting together - but time and events are changing so quickly, we felt it was more important to get this shorter one out now.

*1*** What you can do ****

* a) As a matter of urgency contact Helen Clark and other government politicians - and tell them what you think about their support for revenge attacks. We have been told by someone who phoned Helen Clark's office yesterday that the woman who answered the phone said they had had no other calls disapproving of US military action and possible NZ military support. She also said words to the effect of 'what do you think we should do ? Just sit back and let [the attacks in New York and Washington] happen again?' We are highly dubious that that was the first such phone call to Helen Clark's office, so at this time, the more phone calls the better.

Below are some suggestions for points which you could include in your calls and faxes to politicians:

* concern for the wellbeing of people in this country - military spending in this country currently averages out to around $6 million a day - aside from the many other reasons why there should be no military support for revenge, is the financial cost. There are any amount of public services in this country urgently requiring funding so that people here can live happy healthy lives - access to decent health, education, proper jobs, affordable housing and so on. If the government is so keen to join in a 'war' - why not a 'war' against poverty here in Aotearoa?

* concern for the wellbeing of people around the world - global military spending averages at around $4 million a minute while every minute (an average number of) 22 children under the age of five die from lack of access to food, clean water and basic health care - that is an average of more than 31,000 children dying every day. Once again we see millions of tons of supplies, millions of litres of fuel and thousands of people are being moved around the globe for the purpose of killing - strange how politicians around the world don't seem to be able to mobilise resources in the same way to save life.

* warmongering is a clear breach of international law: crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide are phrases often heard - usually for good reason, but also usually only applied to what 'they' have done, not what 'we' have done or are doing. These three crimes all come from the Nuremberg Principles, which arose from the Nuremberg war trials at the end of the second world war, and were adopted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations.

However, one seldom hears politicians refer to the first crime defined in the Nuremberg Principles - crimes against peace. Crimes against peace are defined as: (i) planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii) participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i). Doesn't that exactly describe the situation in which we now find ourselves once again?

* Challenge the politicians to come up with creative positive non-violent ways to stop 'terrorism' - that is, acts of terror by individuals, groups and governments. Matching terror with terror is not the answer - the cycle of hatred and violence has to stop.

There are more points which you might like to raise with politicians in the media sections below.

* b) Send Letter/s to the Editor of the nationally distributed print media, contact Radio NZ and telephone your local talk back radio station - comment on the lack of balance in their coverage (if that applies to the particular media outlet); challenge them to present views that are opposing, not promoting, further prejudices, stereotypes and racism; (there are enough of these already in this country without fostering more!); reclaim the words 'justice' 'peace' 'freedom' which have been given radically new interpretations in recent days - it is not 'justice' to kill everyone in the family of, nor the people of the town, city, region where, someone who has committed a crime lives - the person/s responsible should have their guilt established and be punished accordingly, that is what most people understand by 'justice'.

In your letters and in what you say, encourage tolerance and understanding. Be careful not to encourage new stereotypes - instead of referring to 'the Americans', at the very least refer to what the 'US government' is planning. There are thousands of people in the US who have opposed, and continue to oppose, the economic and military violence which the US government has an unfortunate tendency to inflict on various peoples around the world.

While it is supportive of the Muslim community here to specifically refer to them in your letters and so on, it is also useful to point out that racism is nothing new, it is an ongoing everyday problem in this country. A point which illustrates this - we have been receiving hate mail again this past week because our website has alerts relating to the death of Steven Wallace, shot by a police officer in Waitara in April last year - apparently, we should be be ashamed of ourselves for calling for justice in relation to the death of that young man, because that sort of attitude only leads to terrorist attacks in New York!

* c) Television coverage - contact TV1 and TV3 and demand that they present a balanced view of what is happening, that they give equal air time to those who oppose this vengeful war as they do to those who promote it.

In the case of TV1, tell them clearly that in the event of any retaliatory missile strikes or bombing, you expect them to suspend their usual programming for at least the length of time they did for the attacks in New York and Washington so that they can screen in close up the suffering, grief and anguish of the victims of US revenge terror attacks. Tell them that video war-games type coverage such as that in the Gulf war and the NATO bombing of Former Yugoslavia is not acceptable - demand that they show the real impact that missiles and bombs have on real people.

* d) More information - the PMA website now has three sections which can be accessed through the front page 'Response to attacks in US' link - an introductory page and links to other sources of information; a webpage listing vigils, rallies and meetings for peace; and a webpage with statements and articles from those with alternative viewpoints and visions to the warmongering politicians. We will be uploading new information to these pages later today, then updating them every two to three days.

In addition, there is a large amount of information relevant to this situation already on the site in relation to similar situations in the past - see for example 'Stop Killing the People of Iraq' and 'NATO bombing of Former Yugoslavia'. There is a 'Saying NO to militarism and war' factsheet (the 2000 edition) at which has various facts and figures which may be helpful to you.

Seek out alternative media sources, and let us know the web addresses of any good ones so we can put a link through to them from our website.

* e) Keep in touch, let others know what you are doing - the 'vigils, rallies and meetings for peace' webpage will be updated as required - if you would like your event listed there, please send an email to with a very clear subject heading such as Peace vigil or Peace Meeting - this will enable us to pick them out quickly.

* f) Let others know what you think about this situation - i) email copies of your letters or statements to and we will upload as many as we can to the website (please send as text files, and be aware that there is a backlog of material to go on the website, so your letter may not appear there for several few days); ii) a young woman in the US has reactivated our Saying NO to militarism and war message board which was set up last year as part of the ongoing Saying NO to militarism and war project - you can send a message with your thoughts to the message board via the link at

The purpose of the message board is for sharing thoughts and feelings about militarism and war, and positive, peaceful visions of the kind of world you would like to live in - please respect that, it is not for posting details about meetings etc. If you see a vile or violent message on the board, please email to * g) Look after your children! we have received a number of calls from people concerned about their children's reaction to the attacks in the US, and their fears for the future of the world. Reassure your children that the world is not going to blow up tomorrow - if nuclear weapons are used by the US government (one of the main fears children seem to be expressing), it is most likely they would be one or two 'theatre' nuclear warheads; it is unlikely there will be a full scale nuclear war. There is a website with guidance for parents on dealing with their fears in times of war - but we have mislaid the url for it. If anyone can provide that web address, please let us know and we'll add it to the website tonight.

In addition, some parents have been concerned at the lack of balance in what their children are being told at school about the current situation - speak with your children's teachers about how they are presenting information, and ask them to ensure that prejudice, stereotypes and racism are not being promoted in the school by teachers or other children.

* h) Be aware that hundreds of thousands of people around the world are saying NO to Bush's 'war on terrorism' - you are not alone.

* i) and from Marion Hancock (Coordinator, Peace Foundation) ... think about your own actions and how they promote or prevent peace!

***2*** About PMA and how we can help you at this time

PMA is the national networking peace organisation in Aotearoa / New Zealand. Our primary role is keeping people in touch with others working for peace and justice; and providing information, alternative viewpoints, and visions about peace and social justice issues, including armed conflict, the arms trade and human rights abuses; suggestions for alternative ways of thinking and peaceful resolution of conflict; information on peace initiatives, peaceful protest and preventing war.

Our primary focus is on Aotearoa/New Zealand; our secondary focus is on the Pacific region; and we have regular contact with peace and social justice groups all around the world. We are committed to social change through non-violent means, we are working for a world with real security, lasting peace, and justice for everyone.

Usually, we circulate up-to-date information by e-list several times a week, and update our website once a week. We are currently focussed on providing up-to-date information about the response to the attacks in the US - the US military buildup, international reaction, and planned actions for peace here in Aotearoa/New Zealand - so are sending out more regular updates by email and uploading the website more frequently.

The specific ways in which we can help you - providing information and publicising your activities for peace - are specified above in Section 1, d,e and f.

Unfortunately, as we are receiving so many requests for help and information about the current situation, the ongoing issues we were working on have been temporarily put aside, we will get back onto them as soon as we can.

* We have been asked in the past week or so why PMA has not put out any media statements about the response to the attacks in the US; and if we have a spokesperson. We very rarely issue media statements and we do not have a spokesperson for the following reasons: we are a networking organisation, not an umbrella group; PMA members (individual or group) have a very wide range of perspectives about peace and social justice - we believe that individuals and groups expressing a diversity of opinions and statements are much stronger than any pretence that there is 'one voice'. We do not believe any individual can be a spokesperson for any movement.

***3*** How you can support our work

* a) At this time, please be aware that we are being inundated with phone calls, faxes and email messages, so firstly please accept our apologies for not always getting back to you quickly, a lack of reply does not mean we are not taking your views into account.

* b) To assist with passing information on quickly to others - it would be extremely helpful when you are sending us email messages, which you would like us to circulate by email and/or upload onto our website, if you can making the subject heading very clear - eg Peace meeting Tues, or Letter to ... (name of paper or politician), or Fix message board / webpage if you notice something which should be corrected or deleted.

* c) If you would like to go on our e-lists or mailing list, or join PMA, please fill in the form available online at and post it to PMA, PO Box 9314, Wellington.

* d) This sudden and dramatic increase in our workload has stretched our resources almost to breaking point, our work is done with extremely limited resources at the best of times. A list of our most urgent needs is below, please assist if you can:

* if you are able to assist with a donation we would be most appreciative of your generosity. We have charitable status and send tax receipts for all donations. Please make your cheque payable to PMA, and post to PMA, PO Box 9314, Wellington with a note giving your name and address so we can send you your tax rebate receipt.

* We also urgently need assistance with resources - our most immediate need is for a laser printer. One of our printers has just died from the extra strain in the past ten days, and the other has run out of toner - usually not a problem, but that printer is so old we can no longer get toner for it. If you have a spare laser printer which we could borrow or have, please leave a message on PMA's phone (04) 382 8129. If you have other resources or services which could help our work, please email with details.

***4*** Contact details:

* a) Politicians - contact your local MP, any list MPs in your area, Helen Clark, Jim Anderton, Mark Burton, and the Cabinet (which meets on Mondays, hence the urgency), their details are: Helen Clark, Prime Minister, office - tel 04 471 9998, fax 04 473 3579; Jim Anderton, Deputy Prime Minister, office - tel 04 471 9011, fax 04 495 8441; Mark Burton, Minister of Defence, office - tel 04 471 9715, fax 04 495 8465; The Cabinet collectively), office - tel 04 471 9743, fax 04 472 6332. If you don't know your local MPs contact details, you can get them from the switchboard at Parliament tel (04) 471 9999.

Telephoning or faxing is more effective than sending email messages. However if that is what you wish to do, the format for each politician's email address is just type in the relevant first and last names.

* b) Media - Christchurch Press, fax (03) 364 8492, ; Dominion, fax (04) 4740257; Evening Post, fax; (04) 474 0237, ; New Zealand Herald, fax (09) 373 6434, ; Sunday Star Times, fax (09) 309 0258; Press Association, fax (04) 473 7480; Listener, fax (09) 360 3831, ; Radio New Zealand, fax (04) 473 0185; TV1, General Manager - Shaun Brown, PO Box 3819, Auckland, tel (09) 916 7000, fax (09) 916 7757; TV3, CEO - Brent Impey, PO Box 1334, Wellington, tel (04) 915 0670, fax (09) 366 5999.

***5*** Speech by Jeanette Fitzsimons to Rally for Peace in Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand, 20 September 2001

Thank you for coming out today and making a powerful statement that even in the midst of horror and carnage we can hold on to our vision of world peace. Even as we mourn for the victims and the families of last week's atrocities we must keep alive the belief that vengeance and retaliation lead only to more violence and that our goal is a world where conflict is resolved through negotiation and justice.

We condemn absolutely the evil that has occurred. It cannot be tolerated. Our actions against terrorism must be resolute and effective. But our determination to find those responsible and bring them to justice must be planned with calm heads and wise counsel.

We cannot let ourselves become infested with the same hate that motivated those atrocities, and thereby put ourselves in the same moral position of committing similar atrocities. The first step must be finding real evidence as to who are responsible. The second must be to bring them to an international court for trial and, if they are found guilty, removing them from society for good.

There may be a place for armed forces in this strategy provided they are mandated by and under the command of the UN. But there is no place for revenge or retaliation. Killing 5,000 unarmed Afghan civilians who have been terrorised by extremists in their country will not make the score equal. The lesson of war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq is that bombing raids and air strikes kill thousands of innocent people, escalate the hatred and worsen the violence, while the real criminals escape.

I am staggered that anyone could be considering the same strategy again. The chilling lesson from the events of last week is that the military might of the most powerful national on earth could not protect its citizens from this horror and the most sophisticated spying networks on earth gave us no warning. We must look elsewhere for our security.

Jeanette Fitzsimons, Green Party MP, Aotearoa/New Zealand.


<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
Peace Movement Aotearoa
the national networking peace organisation
PO Box 9314, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Tel +64 4 382 8129 Fax +64 4 382 8173
http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/
Internet Peace Gateway - http://www.peace.org.nz
<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>


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