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Military Exporter To Be Picketed In Auckland

28 September 2005

Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine

Military Exporter To Be Picketed In Auckland

This Thursday the 29th of September a coalition of Auckland peace activists will picket the offices of Oscmar International, a local manufacturer of military training systems, at 25 Shaddock St, Mt Eden at 4pm. The picket will last an hour and a half.

Oscmar exports weapons training systems to the Israeli Defence Force, the United States Army, and it is highly suspected that they also export to the Indonesian, Colombian and Indian armed forces. The weapons training systems that Oscmar makes are used to improve the killing capacities of armies of occupation in Palestine, West Papua and Aceh, and Iraq and Afghanistan.

Earlier this year controversy surrounded the export of Oscmar developed military software to Israel, but the company is thought to have bypassed New Zealand laws concerning export requirements by exporting to Israel via a parent company in the US. Little is known about the secretive company but they are probably still engaged in the development of products destined for the Israeli Defence Force.

Israel has one of the worst records in relation to respecting human rights and International law. Between January and December 2004 the Israeli Defence Force killed "more than 700 Palestinians, including some 150 children. Most were killed unlawfully - in reckless shooting, shelling and air strikes in civilian residential areas; in extrajudicial executions; and as a result of excessive use of force," reported Amnesty International.

Military training systems developed in central Auckland are also most probably being used to train Indonesian soldiers who in 2001 were told by Megawati Sukanoputri, the then Indonesian president that, "You must do your duty.according to your oath of service and your vows as a soldier. In this way you can carry out your duty without having to worry about human rights." In West Papua, an Indonesian province whole villages have been destroyed and nearly 100,000 have died in the ongoing resistance to the Indonesian occupation.

The Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine is opposed to the export of training systems to the Israeli Defence Force and all other repressive armed forces.

"Oscmar is creating the training equipment that is teaching soldiers how to increase their effectiveness at brutally oppressing civilian populations all over the world," said student Omar Hamed.

"Allowing exports of military software to the Israeli Defence Force from Auckland is hypocritical in light of the Israeli secret service agents caught stealing New Zealand passports, and the IDF's disgusting behaviour in the West Bank and Gaza strip where they routinely murder innocent Palestinians.

"New Zealanders have a right to know which countries the Government is approving military exports to. The conflict in the West Bank is one of the most destabilising conflicts in the world today, the New Zealand government should not allow New Zealand companies to destabilise it further. Why is the New Zealand government continuing to grant export licenses to a company which makes weapon systems for armies of occupation?

"If the New Zealand Government was serious in its opposition to exports that fuel regional conflicts then it would deny export licenses to Oscmar when it seeks to export military training systems to countries with poor human rights records," said Mr. Hamed.

ENDS

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