Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dirty Wars and Ignored Laws

Toby Manhire pointed out in Friday's NZ Herald that the country seems to have sleep-walked into a war. No-one appears to have noticed a New Zealander getting a collateralised death sentence by US drone. Not the prime minister, who has all but given up the ghost of an independent foreign policy for gimp status that would make Reek flinch with recognition. Not the public, which seems inured against war crimes or seem indifferent as long it doesn't affect their day-to-day grind.

As the Snowden NSA papers come closer to our shores, threatening to wash up all sorts of dirty security laundry, NZ may well have to face their complicity in atrocities. As a thought experiment, imagine John Key appearing before The Hague for aiding and abetting war crimes.

It's not such a mad proposition after reading this transcript from today's The Nation between Paddy Gower and Dirty Wars author Jeremy Scahill. Whether Key & Co know it or not, they're donkey deep in a very dirty war. A morsel (vid here, interview transcript here):
I can’t disclose specifics on this but what I can tell you is that I have seen dozens of top secret documents that the New Zealand Government has been provided by the United States, because of the Five Eyes status of New Zealand, that indicate that New Zealand is extremely aware of the extent to which the United States is engaged in drone strikes around the world and is briefed fully on the infrastructure of that programme. And the fact is that New Zealand through signal intercepts is directly involved with what is effectively an American assassination programme. People can say ‘oh well we are just giving them intelligence on terrorists’. The fact is that the world – most countries of the world – view what the United States is doing as rogue actions.
Never mind the fluff of polls, PR and show ponies, this stuff is important. It goes to the guts of sovereignty and statehood. NZ was one of the founding members of the League of Nations after WWI. It was a founding member of the United Nations after WWII. John Key's government has blithely swept all that precedent away by including NZ materiel and labour in these many crimes against International Law, including the Geneva Conventions.

The Nats have sold our century of pacific soul to Hollywood. Do you feel horribly short-changed yet?