Frigate too close to Iraq, says Green MP

New information shows that the New Zealand frigate Te Kaha will operate even closer to Iraq than first indicated, Green MP Keith Locke revealed today.

“Our frigate and Orion will definitely be in a position to provide useful information for a United States invasion of Iraq,” said Mr Locke.

“The role of the task force they are in is to map the position of every boat in the southern Persian Gulf and relay that information to a United States aircraft carrier, on which the American commander of Operation Enduring Freedom Maritime Interdiction Operation is based.

“In answer to one of my questions in the House today, Prime Minister Helen Clark said the Orion and frigate would not be withdrawn from the operation even if the United States invaded Iraq without endorsement of the UN Security Council.

“It is also clear that the addition of Te Kaha to the Canadian-led sub-group of the American-led task force, could free up one of the two British warships in the sub-group to participate in an invasion of Iraq. There is a strong parallel with Robert Muldoon offering a Kiwi frigate to free up a British frigate to fight in the Falklands.

“Any idea that the main function of the task force is to seize al-Qaeda terrorists is a bit of a joke. After interrogating the captains of thousands of boats and searching over 200 craft all they have come up with is four al-Qaeda ‘suspects’ — and there is no evidence they turned out to be the real thing.

“With the United States actively preparing for war in Iraq, there is no way we should have our ships under US command or anywhere near the Gulf,” said Mr Locke.