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Taxpayer funded murder results in Rakon Protest

Joint Media Release: Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine and Global Peace and Justice Auckland

Thursday 31 August, 2006, 9pm

NZ Taxpayer funded murder results in Protests at Rakon AGM

Anti-war protestors from Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine and Global Peace and Justice Auckland will be holding a demonstration outside the first ever Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Rakon shareholders tomorrow.

The demonstration will commence at 1pm on Friday outside the Shareholders AGM at the Ellerslie Convention Center, located at 80-100 Ascot Avenue, Greenlane, Auckland. It will include a life-sized model of a bombed out Red Cross ambulance with a Rakon-guided missile protruding through its roof, similar to the Red Cross ambulances that were bombed in Lebanon last month by "smart bombs" which were guided by New Zealand taxpayer funded components.

Auckland company Rakon is the sole supplier of an important component in smart bombs made for the United States military. Thousands of these bombs have been dropped on civilian populations in Kosovo (1999), Afghanistan (2002-), Iraq (2003-) by the US Air Force, and by the Israeli Air Force in Lebanon and Gaza in August 2006.

Many of these weapons are used on densely populated built up areas where each bomb has the potential to kill dozens of people. While Rakon continues to supply compo­nents for these bombs, they play a small but vital role in the deaths of men women and children every single day.

Spokesperson for the demonstration Omar Hamed said, "The world has watched over and over again as Joint Defence Attack Munitions (JDAM) for which Rakon makes components are used to kill civilians in recipient nations of the Bush administration war of terror. [1]

"The recent bombings of Red Cross ambulances is a perfect example of how Rakon made components are used. Rakon's director Brent Robinson has himself said "Rakon's vision is to dominate the lucrative and expanding guided munitions and military positioning market.""

"This is a totally abhorrent goal. Furthermore the fact that the New Zealand superannuation fund owns 3.4 million shares in Rakon and that Rakon has received hundred of thousands of dollars worth of government grants means that the New Zealand taxpayer is now directly complicit in the murder of thousands of innocent people across the world.

"We are calling for two key demands. Firstly the government must cease granting Rakon export permits to sell it's components for weapons related production and that Rakon pay back the $600 000 in government grants to the New Zealand taxpayer," Mr. Hamed concluded.

--

[1] What exactly does Rakon do for the bomb making industry?

The JDAM (Joint Defence Attack Munition) is a guided weapon kit that is used to turn unguided bombs into 'smart" GPS guided bombs. Tens of thousands of JDAM bombs have been used against civilian populations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Lebanon and Palestine by the US and Israeli air forces. The GPS guidance system in every single JDAM bomb con­tains vital electronic components made in Auckland by Rakon Ltd.

ENDS

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