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Peace Starts in the Playground too
. Commenting on reports last week that a group of students were given stand downs of less than a week for allegedly attacking and indecently violating a female student, Green Education spokesperson Metiria Turei called for an independent school discipline review body to ensure that schools dealt with such problems properly. Metiria said that an independent review body should be based on restorative justice principles to give victims a chance to have their grievances addressed. Read
An Eyewitness Account of the Invasin of Iraq
speaking tour. Three opportunities to hear Australian peace activist Ruth Russell speak about her time in Iraq during the bombing, and two chances to workshop peace issues and action with her. Full details at
Peace Movement Aotearoa
Auckland, Thursday, 17 July
, 7-30pm, St Colomba Centre, 40 Vermont Street, Ponsonby,
Auckland, Monday, 21 July
, 7-30pm to 9-30pm, Flat 1, 5 Seymour Street, St Mary’s Bay, ‘Peace: the sensible alternative to war’, an empowering community workshop. RSVP if you are planning on attending to
pl [dot] net
or call (09) 360 8001.
Wellington, Friday, 18 July
, 6pm to 7-30pm, at St Andrew’s on The Terrace, 30 The Terrace
Wellington, Saturday, 19 July
, 2-30pm to 4-30pm, Athena College, 203 Willis Street, ‘Peace: the sensible alternative to war’, an empowering community workshop. RSVP if you are planning on attending to
xtra [dot] co [dot] nz
or call (04) 382 8129.
Christchurch, Sunday, 20 July
, 3pm till 5pm, WEA Centre, 59 Gloucester St.
Solomon Island Speaker, Wellington, Monday 21 July
7:30 P.M., 203 WILLIS ST. Peace Action Wellington is hosting a public talk on the situation in the Solomon Islands, by Dr Kabini Sanga. Dr Sanga has held leadership positions at all levels of institutionalised education, prior to joining VUW. His research interests are in educational policy, governance, international education and Pacific education.
American Weapons Continue the Killing in Indonesia
. Both the US and the UK are still selling arms to Indonesia, despite (or a cynic might say, because of) their use in repressing opposition to a government which has a privileged place for the military, and is backtracking on its former plans to remove the seats reserved for the military from the Indonesian parliament. The foreign arms are now being used to kill innocents in Aceh. Two excerpts from the full article – ”
U.S. Weapons Aid Repression in Aceh
” by Frida Berrigan – indicate the extent of the problem.
”Far from the spotlight and far from Baghdad, another shock and awe campaign is underway. On May 19th, Indonesia launched a military campaign to “strike and paralyze” a small band of separatist rebels in the Aceh province. In a made-for-TV photo op, 458 soldiers parachuted onto the island from six C-130 Hercules transport aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the United States’ largest defense contractor. As many as 40,000 Indonesian troops and a police force of 10,000 followed close behind, backed up by warships, fighter planes, and other high-tech military equipment, declaring war on 5,000 separatist guerillas armed with automatic weapons, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades.
The attack, which is Indonesia’s biggest military campaign since its invasion and occupation of East Timor in 1975, follows the breakdown of five months of peace talks between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Indonesian government. Nongovernmental organizations working to bridge the gap between GAM’s assertion of total Acehnese independence and Jakarta’s insistence that Aceh remain part of the nation, campaigned for both sides to accept greater Acehnese autonomy and at least some say over how profits from the island’s rich resources–including oil and gas reserves–are apportioned. While there was popular support for these compromises throughout Indonesia, and the peace talks had broad support–including from the Bush administration and international lending institutions–the negotiations broke off in mid-May…
… U.S. Weapons Do Not Equal Influence
In addition to the well-publicized use of U.S. origin C-130s, the Indonesian Air Force has deployed Rockwell International OV-10 Bronco attack planes, firing air-to-surface missiles at targets in Aceh. Other U.S. systems, like the F-16 Fighting Falcon multi-role fighter jets, S-58 Twinpack helicopters, and numerous small arms, are ready for deployment. The United States Arms Export Control Act stipulates that weapons are transferred to other countries to be used for self-defense, internal security, and participation in UN operations. It is difficult to see how one could classify what is going on in Aceh as meeting any of these three criteria.
In light of these violations of U.S. law and the fact the Washington backed the peace talks between GAM and Jakarta, the criticism of the military operation from the Bush administration has been exceedingly weak. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who served as Ambassador to Indonesia under President Reagan and was friendly with Dictator Suharto, issued a statement saying that “it would be helpful if Indonesia would make sure that the actions of its forces are transparent – it will help encourage the world that Indonesia is behaving professionally and carefully.”
While the Indonesian military has taken a page from the U.S. war in Iraq, embedding journalists and providing media access, its actions are far from transparent. Members of the media have been fired upon, threatened, and detained in the conflict area, and the military authorities have sought to curtail what news does appear, demanding for instance that journalists stop quoting GAM leaders.
Local human rights organizations have been attacked and international observers dispelled from the region, triggering concerns about the safety of civilians and the “transparency” with which the operation is being carried out.
For many years, the U.S. was Indonesia’s largest weapons source, equipping the country with everything from F-16 fighter planes to M-16 combat rifles. From the bloody 1975 invasion through the 1990s, the U.S. transferred more than $1 billion in weaponry to Jakarta. Congress moved to ban some military exports to and training for Indonesia after the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in East Timor, where soldiers wielding U.S. M-16s mowed down more than 270 unarmed people. And then, in response to military and paramilitary violence after East Timor’s vote for independence in 1999, Congress strengthened the ban, establishing a set of criteria Indonesia must meet before military ties can be resumed. None of the criteria, including the transparency in military budget and the prosecution of soldiers involved in human rights violations, have been fully met…”
JustPeace was produced by Christine Dann, Tim Hannah and Keith Locke, MP
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