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NZ Buying into the Terror Lemon?

NZ Buying into the Terror Lemon?

From: Peace Action Wellington Date: 19 October 2007

This week has seen an unprecedented buy-in to the US "War on Terror" by the New Zealand Government. A number of steps are being taken, each disturbing in its own right let alone in combination.

"Buying into the US war on civil liberties is buying a lemon, and everybody knows that," said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Jane Cobb. "World-wide public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to the activities of the US military, yet our government keeps sucking up to Bush. We think it's well past time to start questioning that, and rejecting the attempt to instill a climate of fear."

Yet another 77 NZ troops departed for Afghanistan on Wednesday, to participate in the ongoing US occupation. Despite reaching the sixth anniversary of the invasion this month, the country remains a war zone and the drug trade is bigger than ever. "The only reason we're participating in the endless US-led war in Afghanistan is because our government puts trade deals above human lives. The last thing the Afghans need is more people with guns."

The Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill is currently being debated in parliament, the latest in a series of unnecessary new laws following in the footsteps of the US's assault on human rights. "Do we really want to criminalise fundraising 'for the purpose of advocating democratic government or the protection of human rights'? Do we want to remove Court oversight of the designation of groups as 'terrorist'? This bill is blatantly unjust and serves no useful purpose."

Additionally, the SIS has announced it will begin using the US's "terrorist" database. Considering the track record for US intelligence (we're sure Saddam's weapons of mass destruction will turn up any day now), and the SIS's track record of blindly following inaccurate foreign intelligence such as that leading to Ahmed Zaoui's long imprisonment, this is far more likely to lead to further persecution of innocent people than to any genuine security benefits.

And of course there have been the dawn raids on a wide range New Zealand activists. "It seems very odd that after more than a year of surveillance, the police still don't know what charges they want to lay. And just how long have they really been carrying out surveillance? Way back in 2004, the SIS was accused of spying on Maori activists; at the time, it was written off as a hoax, but that verdict is looking more than a little suspicious now."

Finding guns in rural New Zealand is hardly shocking; there are close to a million firearms in the country quite legally. "We know the activists arrested in Wellington, and the idea that they would even consider participating in terrorist attacks is utterly laughable."

Peace Action Wellington is calling for support for the arrested activists. Join the solidarity demo outside the District Court at 10am this morning, or donate to their legal defence fund:

Account Name: Peace Action Wellington Account Number: 02-0536-0458570-00 Particulars/Code/Reference: LEGAL DEF

ENDS

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