#314: Clinton protest off – Tamil refugee protest Monday

GLOBALPEACE AND JUSTICE AUCKLAND
NEWSLETTER No.314, January 14, 2010

If you find this newsletter useful, kindly forward it to your friends andencourage them to join our mailing list by using this this link.

Website: https://gpjanz.wordpress.com/
Contact details:
Forums –
John Minto, Work: (09) 845 2132, Home 09 846 3173 jbminto@xtra.co.nz
Newsletter Editor & Website
– Mike Treen 0295254744 mike@unite.org.nz
Donations
can be sent to GPJA, P O Box 7175, Wellesley St,Auckland.

CLINTON PROTEST OFF – GPJA PLANNING ANTIWAR MARCH FOR MARCH 20- 7TH ANNIVERSIARY OF IRAQ INVASION – SEE YOU THERE (AND EARLIER IF CLINTON RETURNS)

Monday, January 18, 3pm, Waterhouse Coopers Tower, 186-194 Quay St, Auckland
PROTEST AGAINST THE APPALLING CONDITION THE SRI LANKAN TAMIL ASYLUM SEEKERS ARE FACING IN INDONESIA

A vigil will start outside Waterhouse Coopers Tower, 186-194 Quay St, Auckland, around 3pm. Then march at 5.10 pm from Quay Street up Queen Street towards Aoeta Square.

Background: On 1October 2009 254 people of Sri Lankan Tamil origin were heading to Australia, seeking asylum from political persecution. The Australian Prime Minister, Mr Hon. Kevin Rudd made a personal phone call to the Indonesian President, Hon Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to intercept the vessel within Indonesian waters. The boat was stopped by the Indonesian Navy and is now marooned in the Javanese port of Merak. The Australian Government have not taken responsibility of the refugees which has led the fate of the 254 Tamil asylum seekers uncertain.

Major issues: •Inadequate and untimely medical services to the already weakened asylum; •Rudimentary accommodation and appalling sanitation; •Unhygienic food causing many bouts of diarrhea and gastroenteritis; •No access to the UNHCR or any other welfare, legal or humanitarian NGO; •Threat of deportation to Sri Lanka; •Detention cells and not allowed out of the cell; •Being treated as criminals. Those who leave the ship are held in crowded detention cells; •Not allowing the asylum seekers applications for Australian Humanitarian visas; •Safety concerns with only 18 adult life jackets for 30 children and 224 adults; •While waiting for the pending solution from the Australian Government, the Tamil asylum seekers have not only face traumatic events but also faced numerous human rights abuses.

The March will end at Aotea Square with a few speeches.

REPORTS ON PALESTINE SOLIDARITY ACTION IN NZ
Minto accuses police of seeking to destroy megaphone http://www.scoop.co.nz/multimedia/tv/national/31320.html

GLOBAL BDS MOVEMENT FOR BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS
http://www.bdsmovement.net/

ANNOUNCEMENTS

HILLARY CLINTON COMES BEARING A POISONED CHALICE FOR NZ (CAFCA)
Hillary Clinton’s visit this weekend will highlight the factthat negotiations will commence in March for the US to join an expandedTrans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (currently comprising NZ, Chile,Brunei, and Singapore, commonly known as the P4 Agreement), with 2011 as thetarget to seal the deal. This will be used as the backdoor means to secure aUS/NZ Free Trade Agreement. That would be catastrophic for any remainingeconomic sovereignty that New Zealand has. CAFCA says this not because we are“anti-American”. All such FTAs – such as with the existing P4partners, or the more recent ones with Malaysia, the Gulf States and Hong Kong- pose the same threat to a greater or lesser degree. And our opposition tothem is not because of “xenophobia” but for well founded groundsthat they simply enmesh NZ more and more tightly in a cobweb of transnationalcorporate control.So it’s a recipe for disaster to enter into an FTA withthe biggest economy in the world, headed by a Government that aggressivelypushes the interests of American Big Business (there is a seamless flow betweenthe US Government and US Big Business, as is evidenced by the trillion dollarbailout of the mega-greedy financial sector, a textbook example of socialismfor the rich).

A full blown US FTA will:

•Remove any remaining “restrictions” on foreign investment,as the US regards NZ’s (purely token) oversight regime as“discriminating” against US transnational corporations, even thoughthe Government has promised to further “liberalise” the OverseasInvestment Act, a law which is in danger of being liberalised to death.

•push up the price of medicines by potentially hundreds of millions ofdollars a year by attacking Pharmac;

•make access to digital recordings more expensive, and copying morerestricted;

•attack our GE controls and food labelling,

•weaken our controls on food imports where they might carrydiseases.

It is always presented as a means of getting NZ agricultural products intothe US market. Ask Australian sugar cane growers how successful they were ingetting their product into the US under the US/Australia FTA. The Americanshave a simple policy when it comes to “free trade” – do asthey say, not as they do. In other words, they want the world’s marketsopened up to their products, while keeping their own heavily subsidisedagribusiness sector fully or heavily protected from outside competitors.

Both National and Labour myopically see a US FTA as being the Holy Grail oftheir adherence to the cargo cult of “free trade”. It’sactually a poisoned chalice and it will be New Zealand which will be poisonedby it. The other side of the coin is that Clinton will be asking NZ to take abigger role in the American war in Afghanistan. Older New Zealanders willremember the infamous “guns for butter” phrase of Sir KeithHolyoake, Prime Minister during our involvement in the Vietnam War. It meanssending our soldiers to fight in US wars in order to, theoretically, gain tradeaccess. Nothing much seems to have changed in the ensuing 40 years (except nowit is “guns for milk”, as the Government’s trade policy isdriven by a single minded focus on serving Fonterra’s interests).

People who kid themselves that “we” stand to gain from a FreeTrade Agreement with the US would be wise to reflect on the rueful words of SirChristopher Meyer, Britain’s Ambassador to the US in the runup to the2003 US/UK invasion of Iraq. Speaking to the current public Inquiry intoBritain’s part in that invasion and war: “Meyer expressedfrustration that Britain was unable to gain much diplomatic leverage from itsposition as the US’ chief ally. Britain failed to persuade the US toliberalise trans-Atlantic air travel and, almost on the day when Britishcommandoes joined the fighting in Afghanistan, the US imposed tariffs onimports of specialised British steel” (Press, 28/11/09). If this is theway that the US treats its “chief ally” when it comes to protectingits own trade and economic interests, how do you think little old NZ will geton?

For full details see the New Zealand Not For Sale Websitewww.nznotforsale.org There you will find a wealth of information about just whythis proposed Free Trade Agreement is such a bad thing. We particularlyrecommend that you read Bill Rosenberg’s excellent article “WhoWins If We Get A Free Trade Deal With The US?” http://nznotforsale.wordpress.com/who-wins-if-we-get-a-free-trade-with-the-us/

Murray Horton, Secretary/Organiser, CAFCA

PLEASE WRITE TO MPS OPPOSING A FREE TRADE DEAL WITH THE US(CAFCA)
Hillary Clinton’s NZ visit has been postponed at the lastminute, due to the Haiti earthquake but, regardless of that, negotiations willcommence on March 15th for the US to join the existing trade and investmentagreement, the grandly named Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership– often known as the P4. The US wishes to use this as a platform for abroad Asia/Pacific free trade bloc, and several other regional countries haveindicated that they want to join the current P4 members – New Zealand,Singapore, Chile and Brunei . There are already moves afoot to extend the P4into investment and financial services. The aim is to have the deal done in2011 (meaning that it will be too late to raise it as an election issue).

This becomes the means to open negotiations for a US/NZ Free TradeAgreement, which will (among other things): •Remove any remaining“restrictions” on foreign investment, as the US regards NZ’s(purely token) oversight regime as “discriminating” against UStransnational corporations; •push up the price of medicines by potentiallyhundreds of millions of dollars a year by attacking Pharmac; •make accessto digital recordings more expensive, and copying more restricted; •attackour GE controls and food labelling, •weaken our controls on food importswhere they might carry diseases.

Prime Minister John Key has already confirmed that NZ “must beprepared to make concessions”, saying that the US will have its own“shopping list… You can’t rule out Pharmac – it’sbeen on the list before. You can’t rule out issues of intellectualproperty and investment. All of those things will inevitably be part of thenegotiations” (Press, 17/11/09; “Concessions needed for US deal,Key”).

Both National and Labour myopically see a US FTA as being the Holy Grail oftheir adherence to the cargo cult of “free trade”. New Zealanderswho kid themselves that “we” stand to gain from a Free TradeAgreement with the US would be wise to reflect on the rueful words of SirChristopher Meyer, Britain’s Ambassador to the US in the runup to theUS/UK invasion of Iraq. Speaking to the current public Inquiry intoBritain’s part in that invasion and war: “Meyer expressedfrustration that Britain was unable to gain much diplomatic leverage from itsposition as the US’ chief ally. Britain failed to persuade the US toliberalise trans-Atlantic air travel and, almost on the day when Britishcommandoes joined the fighting in Afghanistan, the US imposed tariffs onimports of specialised British steel” (Press, 28/11/09). If this is theway that the US treats its “chief ally” when it comes to protectingits own trade and economic interests, how do you think little old NZ will geton?

CAFCA is calling on other groups and individuals to join us in the campaignagainst this very dangerous proposal. As a first step we’ve set up theNew Zealand Not For Sale Website http://www.nznotforsale.org There you will find awealth of information about just why this proposed Free Trade Agreement is sucha bad thing. We particularly recommend that you read Bill Rosenberg’sexcellent article “Who Wins If We Get A Free Trade Deal With TheUS?” http://nznotforsale.wordpress.com/who-wins-if-we-get-a-free-trade-with-the-us/That Website also has a list of New Zealanders who have publicly expressedtheir opposition to a US/NZ Free Trade Agreement. You can view the list at http://www.nznotforsale.org/2009/05/13/signatories-to-statement-opposing-p4-free-trade-agreement/

If you would like to add your name (and any organisational office held, ifapplicable) to that list, just e-mail cafca@chch.planet.org.nz with yourname and/or position. Title your e-mail “I Oppose US/NZ FTA, Add Me ToThe List”. And we’re asking all of you to write to MPs saying thatyou oppose this proposed deal and why. Below is a template letter (which isalso downloadable from the Website).

Murray Horton, Secretary/Organiser, CAFCA, Campaign Against Foreign Controlof Aotearoa, Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand. http://www.cafca.org.nz

Let your parliamentary representatives know what they should berepresenting! Here is a template letter/e-mail to send to MPs and partyleaders, opposing the extension of the P4 Free Trade Agreement to include theUS and investment and financial services. Real letters are taken much moreseriously than form letters, so the draft letter below has some ‘mix and match’options (in italics) to help you craft an individual letter without too muchextra trouble. OR you could just use the headings provided (in bold) to providea logical structure for your letter, and say things entirely in your own words.You can send free letters to MPs (no stamp required) to Parliament Buildings,Wellington; or email them in the standard format.@parliament.govt.nz

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: