NEW ZEALANDERS WILL HAVE A FEDERAL election in September of this year, an election which may or may not return Prime Minister David Lange's anti-nuclear Labour Party to power. New Zealand is currently in the middle of a government loan scandal which peace activists suspect was initiated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to discredit the Labour Government.
The Maori loan scandal resembles the CIA destabilization program of forged documents and accusations that created the crisis which brought down the administration of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975. Whitlam had threatened not to renew the lease for the U.S. surveillance site at Pine Gap and had also withdrawn Australian troops from the war in Vietnam. Activists believe the strong anti-nuclear stance of New Zealand's Labour Government is seen as a similar threat by American officials.
The scandal involves a government official's attempt to raise a $300 million loan to develop businesses for New Zealand's indigenous Maori people. The scandal began, according to New Zealand peace researcher Owen Wilkes, in December of last year when opposition National Party Parliament member Winston Peters revealed that the secretary of the Department of Maori Affairs, Tamati Reedy, had been negotiating for the loan from a Hawaiian financier. This was unauthorized, as only the Minister of Finance can sign loans. Peters said that the Cabinet and the head of the Department of Maori Affairs, Koro Wetere, knew about the illegal negotiations. Wetere has offered his resignation but it has been refused.
Several middlemen involved in the financial negotiations are alleged to have been on the CIA payroll Bruce Allen and James Haina were involved in a court case and accused of working for a business that laundered money for the CIA Attempts to subpoena Allen as a witness during the case were stopped by the CIA on the grounds of "national security." Another middleman, Steve Thomas, is thought to be the new CIA station chief for Honolulu, operating under a commercial cover. Thomas has been feeding information to the New Zealand media about the negotiations, and has made statements that opposition politician
Winston Peter does indeed have evidence that the Cabinet knew of the negotiations.
While no money changed hands, and the Lange government has stated that it stopped the negotiations as soon as it learned about them, the loan scandal has exacerbated racial tensions in New Zealand and placed the Labour government on the defensive. An article in the February / March issue of END Journal, the bi-monthly magazine of the European Nuclear Disarmament campaign, entitled "How the U.S. Tries to Subvert Lange" shows a complex network of U.S. agencies attempting to undermine support for Labour's ban on port visits by nuclear-armed U.S. warships.
Contact: Peace Movement Aotearoa, P0 Box 3314, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND. Tel. ()4 737 247.
The military increasingly sees its own countries' citizens as dangerous. Because of this, NATO created its "Wintex /Cimex" (W/C) exercises. These involve "civil defence." No soldier is being trained for combat in this exercise. W/C is a gigantic war game played on thousands of offices' desks. Its purpose is to ensure that in time of war, communication systems, transportation services, and supplies of food, clean water and electricity are available. Civilian and military personnel are taught how to handle panic canted by nuclear explosions and how to deal with "disrupters," such as peace activists. W/C is NATO-wide, but in most countries only the "Wintex" or Winter Exercise part is being conducted. Cimex" (Civil Military Exercise) is being conducted in the ERG, the Netherlands and Belgium. Began in 1979, 1987 was the fourth year for the exercises, W/C had not received much attention from the peace movement because of its top-secret nature. But this year many details were discovered, and many actions took place in protest' mostly in West Germany and the Netherlands.
Cimex was held on March 4 to 10, while Wintex staled earlier and ended on March 17. The scenario was that economic difficulties in the 'Orange Bloc' leads to unrest in Poland. The so-called Orange Bloc leaders are afraid that the West will exploit the situation. They transfer troops to their Western borders and start the huge manoeuvre 'Obstacle West' in the GDR, Czechoslovakia and Poland. In the FRG their secret services begin a covert campaign leading to a "Peace Week". The events lead to a nuclear war.
Many cities and counties in the FRG, mostly in Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria, participated. Police offices as well as highway departments were involved. It seems that a main point of the exercise was dealing with refugees. It included how to keep roads empty for military vehicles and how to force people to stay at their work place. There were plans to detain "disrupters," to confiscate private vehicles (the FRG Office for Motor Vehicles sends a list every two months of all new registered cars to the FRG Army) and to cut telephone and postal services. Emergency laws (from the late '60s) provide the legal basis for these actions. West German peace activists are afraid that the results of the next national census will he used in this context.
Actions by the peace movement took place all over the country. More than 35,000 flyers and over 5,000 posters were distributed. A small demonstration was held in Amweiler near Bonn, where the emergency parliament's shelter is located. The Greens, with members on most city and county councils, aided in making the exercise more public. In some cities letters written on official stationary were sent to citizens announcing food rationing. Officials had to answer many questions and there were denunciations on radio and television in Nordrhein-Westfalen. In the Netherlands the Queen's emergency bunker in Noordwijk was broken into and flooded.
Planing by the military for W/C '89 has started. So has planning by the peace movement. They hope to convince people that the best protection is not preparation for war but disarmament. Contact (Contact Point for Non-violent Action), Rathnaustr #0, 7000 Stuttgart, FRG 256998.
IN FEBRUARY THIS YEAR THE POLISH MOVEMENT Wolnosc i Pokoj (Freedom and Peace) announced it would hold an international conference on "International Peace and the Helsinki Accords" on May 6 to 9 in Poland's capital, Warsaw. This conference would be the first of its kind organized by an independent group in a Warsaw Pact country. WiP has its roots in the Students' Solidarnosc, an organization that was prohibited when martial law was denied in December 1981. WiP was founded in the spring of 1985, and was officially announced during the END Convention in Amsterdam in June of that year. From the beginning, has emphasized international cooperation on peace and human rights issues. R is a member of the Network for East-West Dialogue and has actively worked in the drafting of the "Giving Real Life to the Helsinki Agreements" memorandum. In Poland, despite official harassment, WiP supports imprisoned conscientious objectors by public hunger strikes and demands for human rights. WiP also demonstrates against environmental pollution and petitioned against the first Polish nuclear power plant at Zamowiec near Gdansk, which is of the same type as Chernobyl. It also works on the unpopular issues of Polish-Jewish relations and the rights of Poland's Ukrainian minority.
It was not certain that the conference would be allowed. Polish government spokesman Jerzy Urban warned that "this is an illegal seminar organized by an illegal organization. The authorities will do everything to prevent it" The Polish Primate, Archbishop Glemp, disliked the event because of its political character.
Before it began, about 30 Poles were detained without charges for 48 hours (which is legal in Poland), about 20 Western participants were refused visas, and almost all Warsaw Pact participants didn't get a passport But surprisingly, although the secret service constantly filmed and recorded the conference, there were no disruptions.
About 200 people participated in the seminar, held in a church near the former Jewish quarter. Seventy were from almost all the West European countries, the U.S. and Canada Only one Yugoslavian and a Czech member of Charta 77, Jiri Ventura, got visas. But letters came. The Moscow Trust Group revealed that two of its members had been arrested again recently; the East German Initiative Peace and Human Rights and the Dutch Interchurch Peace Council also sent messages.
Western participation may change the common Polish view that the Western peace movement is a Soviet tool. Violations of human rights by the authorities have convinced many Poles that Reagan and Thatcher are their main friends in the West, while Western peace activists (with the argument that alter a nuclear disaster there won't be any human rights questions) often show a lack of understanding of Eastern European issues.
Discussions about this were very fruitful; both sides accepted the other's priorities. The West German Greens' proposal to set up an international Intervention Office in the West in case of human rights violations in the East was accepted Its provisional address is the office of Bundestag (FRG Parliament) Greens member Helmut Lippelt. A vision of Europe without blocs, with open borders and independent nations, was created in a workshop about the next stage in détente. Another workshop about personal responsibility for peace, especially conscientious objection and nonviolent struggle, ended in a common document underlining the personal growth gained in nonviolent struggle.
"Pollution knows no borders" was the conclusion of the fourth workshop on ecology, where a paper was agreed to, promising better cooperation between environmental movements in the East and West.
The day alter the conference, May 10, a demonstration was planned at the grave of Otto Schimek in Machewa, a village near Krakow. Otto Schimek was a German Nazi soldier of Austrian origin who was killed because he refused to shoot Polish civilians. He is a symbol for WiP of conscientious objection and nonviolence. WiP has tried six times to hold a rally at his grave, and has been prevented each time by the police. This time, perhaps due to the many foreigners, only a few secret service agents stood nearby to film the event.
The participants at the conference felt it was an event for the peace movements in both Europe and the West. For Poland, "we hope now to be able to get many people out of the political apathy they have been living in since the beginning of martial law and Solidarnosc's prohibition in December 1981. We showed people who didn't believe in it anymore that opposition is possible," a WiP member said alter the seminar.
Contact Jacek Czaputowicz, ulica Wilcza 43/8, 00-78 Warsaw, Poland. Tel 48-22-293424 or the WiP's representative in the West: Jan Minkiewicz, Reguliersgracht 46, 1017 LS Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel 31-20-261623.
APPROXIMATELY 100 WOMEN FROM OVER twenty countries attended the international symposium on "Women and the Military System" organized January 22 to 25 by the Peace Union of Finland. While many of the papers presented dealt with the issue of women and conscription, other issues such as the military's use of women in propaganda, a war economy's impact on women, and prostitution around military bases, were also discussed. Women and conscription, however, was a recurrent theme. A decreasing pool of eligible males for military service, along with the increasing rate of conscientious objection, is making the issue more attractive to policymakers. The governments of Finland, Italy. Switzerland, and the Netherlands have discussed conscription for women in recent years. In military academies (e.g. in France, where the number of women in the military has grown from 7,880 in 1972 to 18,700 -- six percent of the total military force) opportunities are opening up. A question inside official circles, including NATO, is how far women should be integrated into military forces.
A major, and still unresolved, issue within the various countries' feminist movements was the "old issue of equal rights versus equal opportunities," a participant said. This unresolved question is important for organizers against militarism, as the case of Italy shows. There, this contradiction "caused the silence of women's organizations on the matter of military service," said Elisabeth Addis in her report at the symposium. "This is the reason for the impasse of the progressive political forces. Nobody in the left dared to make a proposal on the matter of military service of women... the result is that we now have to counteract this law horn a defensive position and with little debate among ourselves." The proposed law, which is expected to be discussed in the Italian Parliament this spring, would allow military service for women only on a voluntary basis. A woman would not be allowed into combat units' but could enter the military at a higher rank than a man. This is similar to the Dutch proposal debated in the Dutch parliament this February, except that women are allowed in combat jobs. There, women comprise three percent (approximately 1,500 women) of the total military forces. The government wants to raise this to five percent by 1990. The Netherlands is the only European country which allows women in combat jobs, which some Dutch feminists believe is an experiment by NATO leaders.
The increasing rate of young men who are declaring themselves conscientious objectors is also seriously affecting the military's manpower, which again makes the military interested in using women. While many women oppose militarization, their legal status is hurt by lack of recognition. In Sweden. people who refuse civil defence training must pay a special military tax. Refusal of both training and tax classifies one as a C.O. -- if you're a male -- for which there is legal protection. The situation is similar in Belgium. There again, since women are not conscripted, they cannot be C.O.s. Yet there is unemployment issuance for male C.O.s who refuse defense-related jobs while looking for work. Women who refuse such work can lose important social benefits. Peace groups such as the Mouvement International de la Reconciliation-International des Resistants a la Guerre and Confederation du Service Civile de la Jeunesse are continuing to encourage women to declare themselves as C.O.s and are pushing for legal recognition.
The number of women in Western militaries varies. They are 9.5 percent of the total U.S. forces -- approximately 214,152 women. This figure does not include the number of women in the Reserves or National Guard. This is the highest proportion of women in both the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries. In Norway, at the other extreme, the 500 women in the military comprise about one percent. The numbers are likely to increase throughout the Western countries and become an issue for both the feminist and the peace movements to deal with.
Disarmament Campaigns' address: Anna Paulownaplein 3, Postbox 18747, 2502 ES The Hague, The Netherlands. Tel: 070 I 453566. STAFF: Editor: Shelley Anderson Editorial Staff: Pamela Felicia, Birgit Gaflirey, Alexander Kendzia. Treasurer: Koos Krijnders.