9 March 2006
NZ FIRST SHOWS IGNORANCE ON ALGERIAN AMNESTY AND ZAOUI
Ahmed Zaoui should not be made to return to Algeria in the wake of an amnesty there, despite calls from NZ First MP Peter Brown for him to do so, Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke says. “The amnesty actually makes it more dangerous for Mr Zaoui to return to Algeria. The biggest threat he would face there would be an extra-legal attack by elements in the security agencies,” Mr Locke says.
“Such opponents of Mr Zaoui and his FIS party will be feeling more cocky after being granted a blanket amnesty for the torture and murder of thousands of Algerians during the civil war. The amnesty decree even criminalises public criticism of the repressive role of the security forces. “It is good that some genuine political prisoners are being released. But Algeria won’t really be safe for Mr Zaoui until there is a bona fide reconciliation process like that which occurred in South Africa after the fall of Apartheid. Algerians need to be able tell the truth about the horrors of the past, and bring those responsible to justice — be they soldiers, police or Islamic extremists.
“It is hypocritical for Mr Brown to bang on about the cost to the taxpayer of the Zaoui affair. He has backed the Government spending a fortune on prison accommodation and court costs. “If NZ First and Labour had accepted the Refugee Status Appeals Authority decision that Mr Zaoui is a legitimate refugee, Mr Zaoui would have been paying taxes, probably as a university lecturer, since August 2003,” Mr Locke says.
IT’S NOT CRICKET TO GIVE A BLANK CHEQUE TO HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSERS.
Saying on March 2nd that he found the Government’s guaranteed welcome for Zimbabwe 2011 Cricket World Cup side disappointing, Green Party Foreign Affairs and Sports Spokesperson Keith Locke also said that the Government should not give away the right to refuse entry to a cricket team representing Mugabe’s Zimbabwe when negotiating to host the Cup.
“The Government shouldn’t rule out doing what it did last year and refuse visas to the Zimbabwe cricket team. Last year this decision was made to illustrate New Zealand’s total opposition to Mugabe’s abuse of power and the large-scale demolition of people’s homes, and we should retain the right to express this opposition in future.
“Denying visas to a sports team should never be done lightly, and only in response to a strong call from the oppressed majority of a nation. And obviously, the views of international sporting bodies must be fully taken into account in the case of large-scale events like World Cup tournaments. But they shouldn’t be given a blank cheque.
“New Zealand should say it is willing to host the World Cup, but with a clause in the contract that reserves us the right, after consultation with the International Cricket Council, to refuse entry to a team from a country that is experiencing extreme human rights violations. This right should only be exercised when there is a call from the people of that country for us to do so, as was the case with Zimbabwe last year and with South Africa under Apartheid,” Keith said.
SOLIDARITY WITH CAPTIVE GREEN SENATOR AND ALL HOSTAGES.
On February 22 New Zealand Green MPs “stood alongside” a kidnapped Colombian Senator on the steps of Parliament.
Ingrid Betancourt, leader of the Greens in Colombia, was seized by anti-government guerrillas in that country four years ago and remains in captivity. February 22 is the anniversary of her kidnapping and was marked by Green parties as an international day of solidarity for hostages around the world.
“By means of a blank cut-out figure standing with us on the steps, we will mark Ingrid’s continuing absence, and the absence of other hostages,” Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke said.
Photos of the action, and of Ingrid, can be found at
PARIHAKA INTERNATIONAL PEACE FESTIVAL — this weekend
There will be lots of music at the Parihaka International Peace Festival, Taranaki, this weekend March 10-12.
In addition to the music, there will be film, comedy, a Peace Forum, jamming, and tree planting. Featured musicians include Whirimako Black, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Anika Moa, Katchafire,SunControlSpecies, Antix, Rhian Sheehan, Nick Taylor, Max Maxwell, House of
Shem, Ardijah, and Upper Hutt Posse. (Featured peaceful Greens include Nandor Tanzcos and Metiria Turei.)
The Parihaka International Peace Festival celebrates the vision and example of 19th century peace leadersTe Whiti and Tohu, and the openness of the people of Parihaka to advocate non-violent action in the face of oppressive forces and daunting odds. For further information visit
parihaka [dot] com
“If any come with guns and swords, be not afraid. If they smite you, smite not in return.” Te Whiti O Rongomai
KICKING THE OIL (AND WAR) HABIT. Daphne Wysham and Nadia Martinez of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (SEEN) (a project of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.) responded to President Bush’s comments on America’s oil addiction in his State of the Union address with an article, ‘Breaking the Oil Addiction’, which looks at what American could and should do to get itself out of trouble (which would really help the world to do the same). It’s sound advice for New Zealand too. The full article, and comments by readers, can be found at
BREAKING THE OIL ADDICTION , February 7, 2006, Daphne Wysham and Nadia Martinez
In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush admitted to the American people that America has a problem: Oil addiction. The first step in overcoming an addiction is acknowledging the problem. The logical second step should be addressing the root causes of that addiction and correcting the imbalances that enable it. But the Bush proposal does little to meet this challenge.
If past is any prediction of the future, one need only follow the money to see who has profited under the Bush Administration’s energy policies and who has not.
Exxon Mobil Corp., one of Bush’s strongest supporters, made a record $36 billion in profits in 2005. Exxon Mobil has also been actively campaigning against the Kyoto Protocol, for fear their profits may be affected. Bush followed their urging, and withdrew from the climate negotiations in 2001. To post record profits in a year when a historic hurricane season made thousands homeless, killed over a thousand, and cost over a $100 billion in damages–and record prices at the pump–is obscene. But it is also the result of Bush’s energy strategy.
In comparison, the money that Bush has committed to such items as the “solar America initiative” and the “clean energy from wind” is dwarfed by the amount of tax breaks, subsidized loans and other forms of government handouts that are given to the oil, gas and coal industry every year, and result in record profits such as these. Oil and gas companies are the lucky winners of $6 billion in subsidies written into law with last year’s approval of the Bush and Cheney energy bill alone.
Bush’s vehicle tax credits mean SUV drivers can get a full deduction for the price of a new 6,000 pound SUV priced under $25,000–most of which get less than 20 miles per gallon, but the $2,000 tax credits for hybrid vehicles, which get more than 50 miles per gallon, are being phased out.
What is left unsaid in the pledges Bush made in his so-called “advance energy initiative” is almost as important as what was said. The most striking statement made by Bush was his claim that he will set a goal of “replacing more than 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.”
Yet our consumption of oil and gas is going up, not down, and to replace this roughly 15% of our imports with another source means one of several possibilities. One is increase in extraction from poor and troubled countries such as Nigeria or Angola. Merely changing where the oil comes from doesn’t address the real issue of energy independence, however; it only shifts it from one part of the world to another.
Another option would be turning to ethanol, as the President suggested. What he didn’t mention is that ethanol requires using large amounts of farmland for energy production. There are fundamental problems, which will only increase as the world’s population grows, with turning crops into fuel for the well-fed in a world where over two billion people go hungry each day.
It also could mean exploitation of the tar sands in Canada’s Northern provinces. Buried in Canada’s tar sands is more oil than is found in all of Saudi Arabia, but it is also very carbon intensive; simply extracting it from the soils of Alberta would mean doubling Canada’s CO2 emissions into the already overheated atmosphere.
The only way that America will become truly independent of its oil dealers, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere, is by kicking the oil habit.
Here are three simple ways we could begin to really address our fossil fuel addiction:
1) Replace subsidies and tax breaks for the oil, gas and coal industry with carbon taxes, and phase this in simultaneous with a comparable phase-out of the payroll tax to avoid regressive impacts on the poorest and to encourage employment.
2) Stop muzzling the climate scientists and listening only to oil, gas and coal interests so that our energy policy can be better informed by both science and the public interest.
3) Withdraw American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and start to reorient the funds now being spent on the military with a clean energy fund to rapidly phase in emissions-free vehicles, better public transportation, and the rapid uptake of renewable energy nationally and globally.
Such a policy would not only break our oil addiction, it would make America a true leader by taking the world down the path to a clean energy future.
JustPeace is produced by Christine Dann, Hannah Scott and Keith Locke, MP
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