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NZ’s Military Role in Iraq Confused
. “British officials are representing our army engineers as ‘peacekeepers’ – that is as part of the occupation force,” said Keith Locke. Helen Clark has previously said: “We have not provided peacekeepers. We have provided engineers.” But it seems the British, who will be commanding the New Zealand contingent, can’t tell the difference, and no one else in Iraq will be able to either. Keith said “It’s not too late to replace the planned military construction contribution to Iraq with a civilian team”. Read
Deployment To Solomon Islands
. Keith spoke in an Urgent Debate in Parliament on Tuesday, supporting the prospect of New Zealand (and others) aiding the Solomon Islands, with qualifications regarding the size of the military component of that aid. Read
Keith’s full speech
Independence from the USA – Is the Theme of the National Days of Action
Against US Economic and Military Dominance 3, 4 and 5 July 2003. Below is an idea for what you can do wherever you live, and then more information on what’s going on in specific places. For full details, check the
Peace Movement Aotearoa site
Celebrate American Independence Day — By Writing Letters of Support to Americans
who have lost their personal independence in the cause of peace. Names and addresses of Americans currently imprisoned for peace activism can be found
the Nuclear Resister page
. On the same site is the
story of three Catholic sisters who inspected and symbolically disarmed a nuclear missile
in Colorado in October 2002, and have been convicted for interfering with national defence materials. They will be sentenced in a federal court on July 25, and face years in prison. They have requested that letters of support be individually addressed to Carol Gilbert, Jackie Hudson, and Ardeth Platte c/o Jonah House, 1301 Moreland, Baltimore, MD 21216.
Auckland, Friday 4 July
, 5:30 — 6 30 P.M., US Consulate, Customs St – ‘Independence from the USA’, protest against the US occupation of Iraq to mark Independence Day in the US.
Lower Hutt, Friday 4 July
, 7 P.M. – US out of Iraq! No NZ support for the occupation! US Independence Day protest, at the residence of US Ambassador Charles Swindells, 99 Ludlum Crescent (corner Ludlum Crescent and Woburn Road, by Hutt Rec). If you are coming by train, Wellington folks will be gathering at Wellington railway station from 6pm to catch the train departing at 6:20pm, arriving Woburn at 6:39pm.
Wellington, Friday 4 July
, 12 Noon, Cuba Mall – Whose Independence? US independence from colonial rule is celebrated on 4 July, even as US armed forces continue their occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. New Zealand is accommodating this occupation with its’ plan to put army engineers in a British military unit. Join the lunchtime action to demand Iraq’s liberation from the occupying forces, and NZ’s independence from the United States war machine. Food Not Bombs and street theatre – if you wish to take part as one of the walking wounded representing countries bombed and oppressed by the US government, come dressed in black with bloodstained bandages (countries bombed by the US armed forces since WWII: Guatemala, Indonesia, Cuba, Congo, Peru, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Bosnia, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq); then proceeding to Midland Park on Lambton Quay for speakers and open mike at 1pm.
Public Talk/Discussion, Wellington, Saturday 5 July
, 2-5 P.M., 158 Cuba St. Peace Action Wellington will host a public talk on US military intervention around the world as part of a range of actions planned to highlight the irony of American Independence Day, July 4th.
The public discussion will feature Munir Amin, also known as Bakhtair, and Yilma Tafere Tasew. Bakhtair is from Aceh on the island of Sumatra. At present, the Indonesian government is waging a brutal military campaign to destroy the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Yilma was born and grew up in Ethiopia. A teacher by profession, Yilma left Ethiopia in 1991.
Nelson, Friday 4 July
, 10 a.m. — 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 5 July 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Letter Stall – sign-on to letters to the US Ambassador and to Helen Clark; outside Farmers.
Christchurch, Friday 4 July
, 12:15 — 1 p.m., Outside Christchurch Cathedral, The Square – public event to collect more signatures for the ‘Letter to the people of the USA’ from Christchurch residents, and to hand them over to the person who will convey them to US peace people.
Christchurch, Friday 4 July
, 4:30 p.m., Vigil, Airport Roundabout – extra special ‘US Independence Day’ vigil at the US Air Force base at Harewood, flights from the base serve the vast US military/intelligence bases at Pine Gap and Nurrungar.
Wellington, Saturday 12 July
6 p.m. — 10 p.m., St John’s Church, cnr Willis and Dixon Sts – Fantastic film and food night celebrating the resistance of people in Latin America. Cost: $10 waged/$6 unwaged
Fabulous, all-vegan food includes garlic soup, bean burritos, Mexican rice,
veggie casseroles, and Christmas salad followed by tea/coffee and chocolate.
Dinner from 6pm. Poetry readings with Saray and Ron
Films being screened starting at 7pm are
: Cashing in on the drug war failure” – a view of the complex drug war, US intervention and
: Crisis in Montes Azules” – What’s happening with the Zapatista movement, the threat to Mexican rainforests, Plan Puebla Panama and other schemes that will allow transnational corporations to rob their natural resources.
Money is being raised for: Peace Action Wellington, the Herekeke Eco-collective and the Latin America Committee
Tickets and further info on this evening, contact Valerie Morse, 383-9315
valerie [dot] morse
paradise [dot] net [dot] nz
What is Happening in Iraq Today?
In the article below, retired US colonel Dan Smith draws disturbing parallels between the US experience in Vietnam, and what is happening in Iraq right now. His introduction is below and the
full article can be found at Foreign Policy in Focus
Iraq: Descending into the Quagmire
By Colonel Daniel Smith, USA (Ret.)
”Between May 1, when President Bush declared that major combat in Iraq was over, and June 26, 57 U.S. and eight UK military personnel have died in Iraq. That is more than one death every day. To the U.S. and UK toll must be added the sometimes tens or scores of Iraqis, both Saddamists–military, intelligence, fedayeen, non-Iraqi volunteers–and innocent civilians.
Having splashed the President’s declaration over their electronic and newspaper front pages and magazine covers, the media are edging ever so gingerly toward serious questioning of what kind of “war” U.S. and UK troops (the “Authority”) are fighting in Iraq. “Counterinsurgency,” a 1960s buzzword, has already re-appeared in some reports. The dreaded “quagmire” has also been voiced. The Pentagon denies it is doing “body counts”–although the media always seems to know the number of guerrilla dead. Can “free fire zones,” “five o’clock follies” (the daily official U.S. military briefings in Saigon), and “light at the end of the tunnel” be far off?
These phrases bring to mind Bernard Fall, author, chronicler, and journalist in the Vietnam War. Very early in that war–December 10, 1964–Fall delivered a lecture at the Naval War College on “The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency.” Parts of his presentation seem as current today in the context of Iraq as they were in 1964 for Vietnam.
For example, Fall believed that the real objective of guerrilla (or small) war methods is to advance “an ideology or a political system.” The U.S. government saw fighting as the primary challenge and responded by seeking a military solution. In so doing, it misjudged the depth and extent of political action by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong–the primacy of “political, ideological, and administrative” control–and thus the true nature of their “revolutionary warfare.” Moreover, in failing to properly assess the political and ideological (nationalistic) forces at work in Vietnam, the Johnson and Nixon administrations tended to mischaracterize (or ignore) the multitudinous economic and social cross-currents that were represented by those committed to the cause of Vietnam unification under Vietnamese leaders.
The result was a steady build-up of U.S. personnel and equipment and the expenditures of billions of dollars, none of which brought the U.S. any nearer to the tunnel’s end–but all of which added to the casualties on both sides and exponentially increased the alienation of the civilian population. Even Buddhist monks protested, with some expressing their opposition to the repressive Saigon government and the actions of its U.S. ally through self-immolation. As Fall noted, “One can do almost anything with brute force except salvage an unpopular government.”…
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