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Protest Planned At Te Kaha Return Tomorrow [Thurs]

Protest Planned At Te Kaha Return Tomorrow

Global Peace and Justice Auckland is organising a protest on the return of the frigate Te Kaha tomorrow [Thursday March 27] from "escort duties" in the Gulf of Oman where its role has included escorting American warships as they make their way into the war zone to attack Iraq.

This role of Te Kaha was exposed recently with the publication of a photo of Te Kaha escorting the US munitions supply vessel the Watkins through the Straits of Hormuz. The government disingenuously says it is not possible to differentiate between vessels when on escort duty. This is pathetic, spineless rubbish.

The chain of command for the New Zealand frigates in the Gulf ultimately goes to the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln which is waging daily bombing raids on Iraq. It is fatuous for Helen Clark to continue to claim that there is no connection between the US war on Iraq and "Operation Enduring Freedom" under which NZ helps the US in the so-called war on terrorism. The US sees no distinction and the NZ frigates provide direct aid to the US war effort.

Te Mana has now taken over these escort duties for America's war machine. Not only is this helping clear the path for America to wage war but in effect New Zealand is protecting America's backside in the Gulf region while it conducts illegal slaughter within Iraq.

The munitions escorted by Te Kaha are now raining down on the people of Iraq. Our government has blood on its hands just as surely as if we had fired these missiles ourselves.

Coupled with this is the other New Zealand support for the US led war namely Our failure to condemn the warmongers Our provision to the US of military and political intelligence from the Waihopai spybase in Marlborough Our failure to condemn the torture and murder of prisoners of war at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan where NZ defence force personnel are stationed Our failure to support moves to call together the UN General Assembly in urgent session to discuss UN action under Article 377 (the "uniting for peace" option so opposed by America)

There was a time when New Zealand was prepared to stand up to America for what we believed in as with the rejection of nuclear powered and armed vessels entering our ports in the 1980's. However in 2003 we have become morally neutered in our "behind the scenes" support for their war effort.

The protest will gather at the Devonport Naval Base from 12.30pm

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