Anti-Bases Campaign Update 26/6/19
1/ Donald Trump has announced that he is running for re-election in 2020 and has started campaigning (in reality that is all he's ever been doing while supposedly "governing" as President). In light of that, put the datesNovember 8-14, 2021, into your diaries. Why? That is Leaders' Week for APEC 2021 in Auckland. NZ is the 2021 host nation for APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), which involves a whole year of APEC meetings and activities. So, if Trump is re-elected he will be in Auckland during that week. See https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/95803010/new-zealand-confirmed-as-host-nation-of-apec-in-2021 and https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12176552.
Put those November 2021 dates in your diary regardless of whether Trump is re-elected or not. Whoever is US President will be at APEC in Auckland (along with the leaders of countries like China, Russia and the Philippines. So Auckland could be hostingTrump, Putin, Xi Jinping and Duterte all at the same time). The last time a US President - Bill Clinton - visited NZ was the last time NZ hosted APEC, in 1999, also in Auckland.
2/ Funny things involving the NZ covert State happen when NZ hosts APEC Meetings. Let's not forget that it was during Christchurch activities in opposition to the APEC Trade Ministers' meeting in 1996 that Security Intelligence Service (SIS) agents were caught breaking into the Christchurch home of activist Aziz Choudry. The best summary of the whole fascinating ensuing saga can be read at http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/choudry.htm Not only did Aziz win his civil damages case against the Crown but so did David Small, the fellow activist who caught the SIS agents in the act and, for his trouble, was raided by the Police on totally Mickey Mouse grounds. David's victory can be read here http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/94/7david.htm
3/ The annual NZ Defence Industry Forum (better known as the Weapons Expo) has attracted very vigorous protests in recent years, wherever it has been held - Wellington or Auckland and, in 2018, in Palmerston North. See https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/369867/ten-arrested-in-protests-at-weapons-expo-in-palmerston-north Now, the good news is that the Palmerston North City Council may have been shamed into not hosting it in 2019
4/ "Talking of the nation’s defence and security, the annual budget allocation for the security services that did such a great job recently in protecting us from extremism has gone up from $83,577 million to $106,145 million, a 27% increase. Feeling safer? Not." Gordon Campbell on the Budget, Scoop, 31/5/19.
5/ The Listener's Australian columnist on the recent Police raids there on journalists, to find their sources for stories on Aussie SAS war crimes in Afghanistan and domestic mass surveillance https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/world/police-abc-raid-australia-united-fractious-media/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=LISTENER_newsletter_25-06-2019&utm_content=B&utm_term=list_nzlistener_newsletter
6/ The most recent development in the ongoing (and mostly secret) NZ inquiry into NZ SAS war crimes in Afghanistan is that it has now been established that Taliban members were present at the place where civilans were killed. Does this make any difference to the claims made by Nicky Hager and Jon Stehenson in their book "Hit And Run", which is the reason that the inquiry was set up? Not a bit of it. Here's a Stuff editorial
7/ It is good news that NZ is pulling its military out of Iraq (but not for another year, and there are no plans to do likewise in Afghanistan). The official propaganda story has always been that NZ's role in Iraq has been "training" the local military. Oh yeah. In fact, NZs hands are as dirty as those of everybody else involved in Iraq. None more so than being involved in the use of white phosphorus, a hideous chemical that burns through flesh to the bone. Here's a 2017 story from US National Public Radio, about the uise of white phosphorus to "liberate" the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS (it was "liberated" by being bombed flat, with huge loss of civilan life). Note that the General quoted in the story is - a New Zealander.
Winston Peters, Minister of Foreign Affairs, defends the use of white phosphorus in Iraq (in a letter, 25/6/19, to peace activist Maire Leadbeater): "New Zealand has consistently condemned any use of incendiary weapons against civilians or civilan objects, and any other uses incompatible with rules of international humanitarian law. The precise and discriminate use of white phosphorus for obscuration effect is not unlawful, however, it can have military and humaniatrian utilty, for example in facilitating the escape of civilans from conflict zones". Well, that's all right then. Winston Peters is pretty good himself at the old "obscuration effect".
8/ ABC's latest Peace Researcher (June 2019) is at http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/pr/pr-backissues/PR57.pdf