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Christchurch Firm Profits From US War In Iraq

Christchurch Firm Profits From US War In Iraq - Murray Horton

Business South is a monthly giveaway paper delivered to every PO box at the Christchurch Postal Centre. If you get one, don't chuck it away, as it regularly contains gems of information. For example, the May issue has a spread on SteelBro, a long-established Christchurch firm. It has an eyecatching little article in it, headed "Helping The Military". I'll quote it in full.

"Steelbro NZ has sold 10 sidelifters * to an American company that will be used to supply goods to United States forces in Iraq. Steelbro's managing director, Bill Lee, says that two more units could be sold to the US military at Fort Bragg to handle military equipment. Mr Lee says the sidelifter can be easily adapted for military operations. During peacetime deployments and exercises, it can be used to load munitions and move artillery to and from exercises. However it is during conflict that the machinery really comes into its own. 'Whether working at railheads, weapons dumps or near forward positions, the sidelifter permits containerised and palletised arms and munitions to be moved quickly and safely. Its compact design also enables it to be carried aboard some military cargo aircraft'". *A sidelifter is a device to lift containers on and off trucks, without needing forklifts, etc. They cost $$250,000 each.

That's pretty clear, isn't it. If local anti-war activists are looking for a Christchurch focus for their opposition to the American occupation of Iraq, this strikes me as being a pretty good candidate. The above is from the horse's mouth, in a business paper. The company boasts about how useful their product is in combat situations and its pivotal roles in transporting and unloading arms and ammunition. And at $250,000 each, they're a nice little earner for our local war profiteer (that figure comes from a less detailed December 2003 Press story, quoted in PR 28, "Full Speed Ahead Into The Quagmire: NZ Blunders Into Iraq", Murray Horton. It can be read online at http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/pr28-91.html).


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