US Desperately Bullys New Zealand
Auckland, Tuesday 12 August 2003:
Greenpeace has called the latest attempts by the US Undersecretary of Commerce to undermine New Zealand's nuclear free legislation as desperate bullying. US Under- Secretary Grant Aldonas accused New Zealand of preventing them from fighting terrorism by maintaining our nuclear free legislation.
"It's nothing short of blackmail to infer that somehow our legislation prevents the US from taking on terrorism. Having a US nuclear powered ship or a nuclear armed submarine in our harbours is more likely to attract terrorism to our shores than deter it," said Bunny McDarimd, Greenpeace spokesperson.
"The timing of these comments is suspicious as they conincide with the beginning of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting here in Auckland," said McDiarmid.
The Pacific region also has a nuclear free treaty which has long rankled with the US. "The spread of nuclear free zones is much more likely to prevent nuclear terrorism than parking US warships or submarines in your harbour," she said.
Mr Aldonas called our legislation "an artefact of another age", part of the Cold War, but what he did not say is that not since Ronald Reagan's Cold War days has US Defence strategy placed such emphasis on nuclear weapons.
The Bush Administration's ambitious programme to revitalize their nuclear arsenal means the development of smaller more 'usable' nuclear weapons. These new weapons are explicitly linked to the pre-emptive first strike policies of the US Administration.
"Nuclear power and nuclear weapons have not got safer overnight and the real fear factor today is that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. Our world-leading legislation is even more relevant today than it was in 1986. It's nuclear weapons that don't belong in today's world - not our legislation".
The US Navy is their 'forward defence' said Aldonas and he emphasized that US ships no longer carry nuclear weapons. But US submarines do, and it is the submarines that are likely to play a key role in the new US pre-emptive first strike policies, a major departure from international agreements. Having them in our harbours would be tacit support for the US pre-emptive first strike policies. Mr Aldonas wants us to believe that nuclear powered vessels are harmless, but it is impossible to decouple the nuclear propulsion issue from the US nuclear defense strategy given the only nuclear powered vessels today are military ones.