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Greens Condemn Attacks on Jewish Graves
. On August 6 the Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson, Keith Locke, condemned the desecration of over 90 graves and the torching of the Jewish chapel at Wellington’s Makara cemetery as an outrage and unacceptable in a country that prides itself on tolerance and respect for all communities.
“Such racist acts have no place in our community, ” said Keith. On behalf of the Green Party, I extend our sympathy to the Jewish community and those families directly affected.”
Mr Locke expressed his solidarity with New Zealand Jewish people in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle after the desecration of 16 graves at another Wellington cemetery a couple of weeks ago.
“It is repugnant that a disturbed individual or group is targeting sites of particular historic and emotional significance to the Wellington Jewish community. This goes way beyond intolerance: this is persecution and we encourage the Police to give this case the highest priority.”
Also see ‘Anti-Semitism Condemned’ in Analysis, below
The NZ Team is Adding to the Afghan Aid Problem
said Keith Locke on July 29. The Green Party called on the Government to reassess its involvement in military Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan, following the withdrawal of the Medicins Sans Frontieres aid group from the war-torn country.
“The doctors’ aid group says the killing of aid workers in Afghanistan is partly due to the Provincial Reconstruction Teams, which represent the ‘co-optation of humanitarian aid by the [US-led] coalition for political and military motives’,” said Keith.
“Our government can’t continue to ignore aid agency criticism of the PRTs, now that Medicins’ entire operation, with 80 international volunteers and 1400 local staff, has been closed down.
“No one is disputing that our soldiers may be doing useful humanitarian work in the militarily benign environment of Bamian province.
“However, by delivering aid in uniform, to win ‘hearts and minds’, PRTs across Afghanistan have undermined the civilian aid effort and done what the Russians, the Taliban and al-Qaeda couldn’t do in 24 years of terror and oppression – force Medicins Sans Frontieres out of Afghanistan.”
“By mixing military and humanitarian mandates, the PRTs must bear some of the responsibility for the 20 aid workers killed in Afghanistan so far this year, and a collapse of the vital civilian aid effort,” said Keith.
“The Government should urgently review our involvement in the PRTs and consider providing aid to Afghanistan through UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations.”
Fahrenheit 9/11 Fliers Available for Handing out at Screenings
. Get the message out there! An A5 size flier (see text below) is now available for handing out at screenings of Fahrenheit 9/11.
Fahrenheit 9/11 Isn’t Just About America
for a PDF (400 kb) copy of the leaflet.
Fahrenheit 9/11 Isn’t Just About America
New Zealand has its own “Patriot Act”
In Fahrenheit 9/11 Michael Moore shows how George W Bush’s “War on Terror” is also a war on the civil liberties of Americans.But it’s not just “over there” that long-cherished freedoms are beingtaken away.
Since September 11 2001 the New Zealand government has effectively passed its own “Patriot Act” through several pieces of legislation.
The power of state agencies to spy on your life has been increased dramatically. New legislation has given the police and the SIS the right to intercept your emails, hack into your computer, and put tracking devices on you. Warrants are required in most instances, but you’ll probably be the last to find out.
Our government has also fallen into line with American demands for biometric details (such as identifying face characteristics) to be put on our passports. Expect to see armed sky marshals on our planes soon.
We even have our own “Guantanamo” legislation whereby government ministers are given punitive powers usually reserved for the judiciary.
Under a bill currently before Parliament, a Minister will be able to take away your passport on “national security” grounds. Under the already passed Terrorism Suppression Act the Prime Minister can designate a modern-day Nelson Mandela or Xanana Gusmao as a “terrorist” and New Zealanders supporting them can get 14 years in jail. “National security” has also been used to keep former Algerian MP Ahmed Zaoui in jail for nearly 20 months. Such punitive measures are taken on the basis of “classified information” which we are denied access to.
Secrecy also surrounds New Zealand’s participation in America’s wars, specifically the NZSAS commitment to Afghanistan. You know that American planes have bombed weddings and the homes of innocent Afghanis, and that American soldiers have tortured prisoners. But we have been denied any information about what the SAS is doing there.
The Clark government, like the Bush government, says “trust us.” Do you??
Help the Greens, the only parliamentary party that has opposed all New Zealand’s “Patriot Acts” and participation in Bush’s Afghan war.
Real security is achieved through social justice not through war and undermining our freedoms.
Auckland Indymedia presents…….The Antidote #8: An Evening of Alternative Political Docos
Sunday 15th August 2004
The Classic Comedy Bar (321 Queen Street, CBD)
7.00pm start time for films
This month’s Antidote #8 features a varied line up of documentaries on topics such as culture-jamming, the attempted coup against left-wing Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez and, back home, the proposed coal mine at Happy Valley near Westport.
“POPaganda: The Art & Subversion of Ron English” is a film about the culture-jamming and billboard-liberation antics of Ron English. The modern day Robin Hood of Madison Avenue, Ron paints, perverts, infiltrates, reinvents and satirizes modern culture on canvas, in songs, and directly on hundreds of pirated billboards. The film chronicles the evolution of an artist who offers an alternative universe where nothing is sacred, everything is subverted and there’s always room for a little good-natured fun. Directed by Pedro Carvajal.
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Chavez the Film
A documentary about the role of the media in the Venezuelan revolution. The Venezuelan elite has already tried to stage several coups against the government of President Chavez with US support. The defeat of the April 2002 coup was captured in gripping detail by a group of Irish film makers. The film makers were inside the presidential palace when Chávez was ousted by a military-civilian uprising. The resulting documentary is as thrilling a piece of political drama as you’re likely to see. It has aired repeatedly all around the world, arguably becoming the prevailing interpretation of the continuing Venezuelan political crisis.
Save Happy Valley
8 mins. 2004
In June of this year, state-owned Solid Energy was granted resource consents for a new opencast coal mine at Happy Valley, near Westport. Concerns about climate change, acid mine drainage, river pollution and habitat destruction have resulted in opposition to the mine by both local and national groups and the formation of a national campaign against the mine. These concerns are only magnified by Solid Energy’s atrocious environmental record. This video shows the problems the locals have had with Solid Energy and their response to the proposed mine. For further information, visit
The Antidote is a regular forum for the exposure of alternative political filmmaking and media art. This is the eighth screening presented by Auckland Indymedia. For more information
indymedia [dot] org
. On August 10 Parliament unanimously passed the Motion:
“That this House deplores recent attacks on Jewish graves and a Jewish chapel in Wellington, recalls the terrible history of anti-Semitism over many centuries, culminating in the holocaust under Nazi rule, and expresses its unequivocal condemnation of anti-Semitism, violence directed against Jews and Jewish religious and cultural institutions, and all forms of racial and ethnic hatred, persecution and discrimination.”
Below is Keith Locke’s speech on that motion:
“On behalf of the Green Party, I would like to endorse what the previous speakers have said, and express our absolute repugnance at the desecration of Jewish graves in Makara and in Wellington.
We share the sadness and the pain of the Jewish community.
What has happened is particularly distresssing becasuse New Zealanders have taken some pride in being largely free of the anti-Semitism that we see in some other countries. It is therefore important that on this sad occasion we renew and reaffirm our opposition to all forms of racial intolerance.
The Nazi symbols daubed at the cemetery make this crime even more dastardly. The Nazis killed 6 million Jews, and crushed democracy and freedom in Europe. These Nazi symbols are an affront, not only to the Jewish families of the people killed in the Holocaust, but also to the families of the thousands of New Zealanders who died fighting fascism.
Today we stand together with the Jewish community in remembering those who died, and in expressing our horror at the desecration of the tombs of their ancestors.”
Speeches of other Party’s Spokespeople is available in
Hansard – 10 August
Hear No Evil, See No Evil
: The U.N. Security Council’s approach to Human Rights violations in the global counter-terrorism effort. Yesterday Human Rights Watch released a briefing paper on this issue. The document is available at:
Hear No Evil, See No Evil
and we reproduce parts of the summary below.
“The United Nations Security Council has the international stature and resources necessary to exercise farsighted global leadership in the campaign against terrorism. To date, it has largely failed to fully realize this potential. An important reason has been its failure to take seriously the protection of human rights in the context of counter-terrorism.
“Counter-terrorism measures pose dangers to established human rights protections. As numerous recent cases attest, those dangers are not hypothetical and not limited to minor players or issues. Rights violations in turn are threatening to undermine the success of counter-terrorism efforts in many countries…
“True global leadership by the Security Council in the effort against terrorism would require that the council not only press governments to take decisive and concerted action to block the financing of terror, and promote improved cross-border information sharing, among other steps that the council is taking, but also that it play a prominent role in ensuring that counter-terrorism measures not erode pillars of the human rights framework-pillars which have taken decades to erect. Instead of asserting such leadership, the Security Council all too often has allowed itself to be a forum where governments offer no more than self-serving accounts of aggressive steps they have taken to combat and prevent terrorism.
“The Security Council is currently restructuring its work on counter-terrorism, bolstering the efforts of its Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) with the establishment of a fully staffed Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED). Although the CTC has unequalled power to compel governments to explain their actions and has set up a mandatory counter-terrorism reporting system for all UN member states, that reporting system currently includes no human rights component…
“The Security Council’s disregard for the human rights implications of counter-terrorism has been particularly disappointing because, given the stature of the council, any effort could have far-reaching effects.
“As detailed in the concluding section of this paper, HRW believes the work of the Security Council could be substantially improved if it were to take two straightforward steps:
“(1) Appoint at least one human rights expert to fill the new senior staff positions on the CTED, with the responsibility to review counter-terrorism measures for their compliance with states’ rights obligations, to ensure more effective “cross-referencing” between the CTC and U.N. human rights bodies and other rights monitors, and to offer forward-looking proposals for making rights an important tool in the counter-terrorism effort;
“(2) Require that governments include in their reports to the CTC an accounting of the human rights implications of their counter-terrorism measures.
“The Security Council is uniquely placed to play a leading role in reversing the global trend in which rights are viewed as an inconvenient obstacle to progress in the campaign against terrorism. The council should be leading the effort to show in concrete ways that rights are an essential ally.”
They Saw No Evil, Heard No Evil, And Certainly Will Not Speak Of It
. “Americans are refusing to do anything about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners under the regime they appointed, writes Paul McGeough” [In today’s Sydney Morning Herald].
Below is reproduced the beginning of the article, the full article can be found at:
Sydeny Morning Herald – They saw no Evil…
and includes an interesting, if not enlightening, except of a press conference with US State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher.
“Now there is unambiguous proof of two things we knew were happening in liberated Iraq – Iraqi prisoners are being abused by the new, US-appointed regime; and the Americans, as a matter of policy, refuse to do anything about it.
“They did nothing in the wake of last month’s Herald report of eyewitness allegations that the interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, murdered six prisoners; and they refuse to act on a Red Cross report on systematic abuses at half-a-dozen Baghdad police stations, including the Al-Amariyah police centre where Allawi is alleged to have carried out the summary executions in the days before Washington gave him control of the country.
“Now we have a chilling report by Mike Francis, of The Oregonian, which is published in the American north-west, of on-the-record, eyewitness accounts by US national guardsmen who intervened to stop the torture and abuse of dozens of prisoners – only to be ordered to withdraw by their military superiors…”
The Oregonian article referenced can be found at:
Ordered to Just Walk Away
I Disapprove Of What You Say, But…
Today Keith replied to an opinion piece by New Zealand Jewish Council President, David Zwartz, in The Christchurch Press on Monday. Unfortunately, it seems that David Zwartz’s piece is not available online. Keith Locke’s argument is reproduced below:
Let Him Come
Jewish Council President David Zwartz (The Press, August 9) is undermining his own cause by objecting to David Irving coming here.
Irving’s Holocaust views are hurtful to the Jewish community and repugnant to any decent New Zealander but, with the strength of truth behind it, the Jewish Council should be confident enough to rebut Irving’s twisted view of history.
Without the guise of victimhood provided by attempts to suppress him, Irving’s arguments would have largely disappeared from sight many years ago.
New Zealanders rightly get indignant when told they have to be protected from other people’s opinions. We have allowed plenty of other racists to visit, from apartheid apologists to Australian One Nation leaders. Their views have been discredited in debate and people have gained a better understanding of what is wrong with their position. Such visitors generally won’t admit they are racist, so this too has to be debated.
It is not useful to shut down this discussion, unless the speakers directly call for action against ethnic groups.
We get into dangerous ground, contrary to civil liberties and human rights law, when we try to suppress words and ideas. This is why legal prohibitions today are only against people inciting violence or discriminatory action.
The fact that a community feels hurt is not a reason to suppress free speech or freedom of movement. Once you grant the State the power to suppress these rights, even for despicable characters such as Irving, you open the way for it to be used against other people the Government wants to close down.
We have already had problems in this respect. For example, the Muldoon Government stopped Jose Ramos Horta, now East Timor’s Foreign Minister, from visiting New Zealand, because it didn’t like him criticising the Indonesian occupation f his country.
I hope one day anti-Semitism is a distant memory, but that is most likely to come about in a world where such views are countered by the truth. The Holocaust was only possible because Adolf Hitler first eliminated freedom of speech and people’s ability to protest.
While we may disagree on how best to deal with Irving and his ilk, most of us stand with the Jewish Council against the malevolent actions of the callous few, such as those who desecrated the Jewish graves in Wellington.
(Christchurch Press, Wednesday 10 August).
JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP
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