Editorial : Back in ANZUS?

Reprinted from The Common Good, No 61, Pentecost 2012

After nearly 30 years of independent foreign policy, a respected voice in the international community, NZ has sold its soul to the Devil. Ten years of intrigue and subversion by military and foreign policy leaders has returned NZ to the status of an American ally. Compliant media have played their part. Recent announcements have highlighted that the previous diplomatic impasse is ‘fully defrosted’ and NZ exercises with US forces are ‘hugely symbolic’ (The Press, 12/5/12). We are to ‘celebrate’ the 70th anniversary of the arrival of US Marines here in 1942.

The subliminal messages are blatant. Even more worrying are the signs of a concerted public relations campaign to undermine public resistance to a closer relationship with the Pentagon, and potentially, NZ’s nuclear free policy. There has been a cunning manipulation of Anzac Day commemorations to infiltrate US troops into this country. The ‘Wolfhound’ Regiment made a brief appearance at Burnham Army Camp, near Christchurch and, apparently, at Anzac Day ceremonies. Everywhere we are suddenly confronted in the media with the idea of ‘celebrating’ the historical arrival of US Marines in Wellington in 1942. More deviously, NZ schoolchildren are being conned into identifying a long past event in a long ago war with military manipulations of today: a competition, set up by the NZ Defence Force, Archives NZ, and the American Embassy, is asking kids to compete to make the best video about the 1942 event.

In June 2012, a small number of NZ Army engineers is scheduled to take part in military exercises in California. The Kiwi Navy, and some soldiers, are to take part in the large scale Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, which is one of the world’s largest international maritime exercises, hosted by the US, for the first time in almost 30 years. Sadly ‘military exercises with the US are now back on the agenda’ (The Press, ibid.). It is clear that NZ’s military and foreign policy officials have, against the general public opinion, and in secretive and probably ethically unacceptable manoeuvres, managed to reorient this country’s foreign policy.

As far back as 2002, schemes to get NZ back in bed with Washington were in train. According to Nicky Hager in his book Other People’s Wars: ‘A senior military officer who helped plan the Iraq deployment explained that it was ‘all pushed by the senior policy leaders at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)’….It was seen as a ‘low risk, high reward’ deployment to advance US relations’.

US Covert Action with NZ Collaborators

The first real signs of success in the satanic crusade appeared when a large United States military delegation took part in Exercise Maru, an international security exercise in New Zealand in September 2008. Kiwi soldiers had been operating in Afghanistan alongside Americans for some years (mostly not in the humanitarian role the media proclaimed) and in 2010 New Zealand and the United States held military exercises together and shared intelligence on Afghanistan. These had been announced by US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, Kurt Campbell, who was launching a major new study into New Zealand-US relations. The study, backed by both countries’ governments and agencies including the Pentagon and US State Department, was sponsored by the New Zealand and US Business Councils. Standard Washington covert action in full flight!

Cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed that this subversion of New Zealand independence had been going on for some time. New Zealand’s collaboration with United States intelligence agencies was ‘fully restored’ in August 2009 but both governments decided to keep the decision secret (Sunday Star Times, 12/12/10). The cables also made it clear that New Zealand had quietly increased its military cooperation with the US and that the then American Ambassador Charles Swindells put pressure on New Zealand to change its nuclear free policy ahead of the 2005 election.

And what have we been pressed into signing up for? Working with a military that runs courses that ‘America’s enemy is Islam in general, not just terrorists… and the [USA] might ultimately have to obliterate the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths’ (The Press, 12/5/12), these Pentagon courses also taught that the Geneva Conventions which set standards for conduct of warfare were ‘no longer relevant’. While these courses have been suspended by the embarrassed US military, we have a clear indicator of the military mentality with which Kiwi soldiers are supposed to integrate.

So has a proud era of NZ foreign policy come to an end? With the insidious machinations (is treachery too strong a word?) of senior defence and foreign policy personnel, with the compliant role of an incompetent media, with the silence of a defunct peace movement, this country has sunk back into the depths of Pentagon depravity – the way of lies, atrocity, and brutality.

The collateral damage in support of a resource-addicted failing empire is now official policy for New Zealand.

Warren Thomson

Warren Thomson is along time peace activist based in Christchurch who has monitored NZ defence relations since the Vietnam War. He is co-editor of Peace Researcher)

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