Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bikini bombs lawsuit inspires support at NZ peace action conference

Roskill MP and opposition Labour spokesperson on disarmament Phil Goff speaking
at the World Without War conference in Auckland today. Image: Del Abcede
BEFORE Parisian car engineer turned-designer Louis Réard named the sexy two-piece swimsuit he created a “bikini” in 1946, it was the name of an obscure Pacific atoll in the Marshall Islands, lost among more than 1100 islets in the trust territory, now an independent republic.

And Bikini Atoll was the Ground Zero for 23 US nuclear tests in the Pacific – out of some 67 conducted over the next dozen years in the Marshall Islands. (Excellent background on this in Giff Johnson's Don't Ever Whisper).

Last year the little republic filed a controversial lawsuit in the International Court of Justice at The Hague against Washington and the eight other nuclear powers – Britain, China, France, India, Israel (although it denies possessing a nuclear arsenal), North Korea, Pakistan and Russia.

The Marshall Islands accuses the nuclear club members of “violating their duty” to negotiate in good faith for the elimination of these weapons.

Now, over this weekend in New Zealand, some 200 people have participated in a World Without War conference drawing up a list for proposed action for peace and the Marshall Islands action came in for some strong support from several speakers.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

'World Without War' - and a conference to help make it happen?

MORE than 40 people with wide-ranging expertise will pool their knowledge and ideas and propose an action plan for peace at a two-day conference this weekend at Auckland University of Technology.

As Peace Foundation president Dr John Hinchcliff says in the above video interview with Pacific Media Watch's Alistar Kata: “The world is facing a grim future in many directions, in not just nuclear weapons.”

The idea is for people share their knowledge as the basis for understanding the global threats and developing realistic action that might make a difference.

According to the World Without War action website, participants include "senior academics from AUT, the University of Auckland and Waikato University, experts against violence and war from Sweden and New Zealand, critics concerned about high tech weaponry, leaders representing our youth, the United Nations, Māoridom, education and religions."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Rainbow Warrior bombing should have led to French Watergate

Fernando Pereira going ashore at Rongelap Atoll in May 1985. Photo: © David Robie
ANALYSIS By David Robie

THE unmasked French bomber who sank the Rainbow Warrior 30 years ago had some revealing comments during his interviews with the investigative website Mediapart and TVNZ’s Sunday programme, none more telling than “the first bomb was too powerful, it should have ended as a Watergate" for French President François Mitterrand”.

"The last secret of the Greenpeace affair" proclaims
the French investigative website Mediapart.

Mitterrand stayed in office for 14 years - a decade after the bombing and before he finally stepped down when his second presidential term ended in May 1995, the year that nuclear tests ended.

The bomber, retired colonel Jean-Luc Kister, added that had Operation Satanique involved the United States, “more heads would have rolled”.

But while the “innocent death” of Portuguese-born Dutch photographer Fernando Pereira has clearly played on his conscience for all these years, Kister’s sincere apology wasn’t without a hint of trying to rewrite history.

The claim that the secret sabotage operation never meant to kill anybody is unconvincing for anybody on board the Rainbow Warrior on that tragic night of 10 July 1985 when New Zealand lost its political innocence and the crew lost a dear friend.

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