Monday, November 20, 2006



Questions for Clark

Some questions for Helen Clark in light of her invitation to George Bush to visit New Zealand:

  • What is the expected cost to the taxpayer of providing security for such a visit, and how many hip replacements would that purchase?
  • Will US bodyguards be permitted to carry firearms?
  • Will they be allowed to bring a minigun?
  • Will she give an assurance that US bodyguards will not be granted diplomatic immunity, and that they will face New Zealand justice if they shoot anyone?
  • Does she agree with the judgement of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg that waging a war of aggression is "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole"?
  • Does she agree with the Convention Against Torture that "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture"?
  • Does she feel comfortable inviting a man who authorised torture into our country?
  • Would she invite Pinochet or P W Botha or General Suharto to make a similar visit?
  • Does she think that leaders should be held to account by the international community for crimes such as aggression and torture?
  • Does she think George Bush should be held to account for his crimes?
  • Will New Zealanders be forbidden to look out their windows or stand on their balconies to view the passing motorcade, as happened when President Bush visited Mainz in 2005?
  • Will New Zealanders be confined in "free speech zones", as routinely happens in the US to those protesting against the president?
  • Will she give an assurance that New Zealanders' right to protest will not be compromised during this visit?

Hopefully someone will grill Clark in Parliament over this; her answers should be interesting, to say the least.

9 comments:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. Posted by Antarctic Lemur : 11/20/2006 04:19:00 AM

Bad formatting in the previous comment. Let's try again...

I doubt Clark will answer, but I'll give it a stab.

What is the expected cost to the taxpayer of providing security for such a visit, and how many hip replacements would that purchase?

Ah, the rational persons standard for measuring the importance of a political conference.

Will US bodyguards be permitted to carry firearms?

The Secret Service is a little more than a bunch of bodyguards. From memory they were allowed to carry handguns during US President Bill Clinton's APEC visit and meeting with the Chinese President in Christchurch, though I'm not 100% sure of this (maybe they were only allowed to have them within reach). Unfortunately US Presidents are rather frequent targets for assassination attempts (you may have heard of a few - JFK, Lincoln etc), so it's kind of important they are well-protected by people with experience at doing that. The New Zealand Police are definitely better equipped to provide security in 2007 than they were in the 90's (ie the Special Tactics Groups and M4's issued to Armed Offenders Squads).

Will they be allowed to bring a minigun?

A minigun is a rapid-firing multi-barrelled weapon and is not person-carryable outside of Hollywood movies. Also there is no mention of a minigun at the link you supply.

Will she give an assurance that US bodyguards will not be granted diplomatic immunity, and that they will face New Zealand justice if they shoot anyone?

Again with the bodyguard reference. Why would the Secret Service run around shooting people?

Does she agree with the judgement of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg that waging a war of aggression is "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole"?

No, the page you link to is of a crime listed by the European-created International Criminal Court, which the United States is not a signatory to.

The post WW2 Nuremburg trials were run by the US, British, French and Soviet governments and were designed to try various Nazi leaders for breaches of various peace agreements (Saddam fits in here), for the mistreatment of PoW's (Saddam fits in here), and for the coldblooded murder and oppression of tens of millions of people (Saddam only managed in the hundreds-of-thousands to millions scale).

Saddam's Iraq in 2003 existed in a state of ceasefire with the USA. Iraq never fully complied with the ceasefire conditions and Saddam tried to assassinate Bush Senior after he left office, a casus belli Clinton decided to ignore. Meh. It's important the world is kept secure from George Bush's and that Saddams are left to run their countries as they see fit.

It's kind of funny the key reference at that Wikipedia page is from Truthout, and is written by a lawyer with the leftist National Lawyers Guild. Now there's a misleadingly bland name if ever I've heard one.

Does she agree with the Convention Against Torture that "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture"?

I'm sure she does, and that it probably won't come up during the meeting.

Does she feel comfortable inviting a man who authorised torture into our country?

Interesting claim, considering the Washington Post article you link to doesn't make such a claim itself. It says things like "The ACLU claims..." and goes on to say the ACLU's accounts are based on other media descriptions, which the ACLU is trying to confirm. Hmmm. I'm sure there ARE some unpublished and secret official directives allowing the use of waterboarding on top non-Afghani Al Qaeda people captured in Afghanistan (otherwise senior CIA interrogators would be up the creek without a paddle). But I get the distinct impression you didn't bother to read and comprehend the Washington Post article you are sending your readers to.

Here is the fax the ACLU actually received from the CIA, so your readers may judge for themselves:
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/27365lgl20061109.html

On a side note, former Foreign Minister Phil Goff held the hand of one of the most notorious terrorist leaders of all time. How do you feel about having a defense minister who does such a thing, Idiot?

Would she invite Pinochet or P W Botha or General Suharto to make a similar visit?

You've already compared Bush to the entire Nazi leadership - why haven't you got Hitler in this list? A little too insane for your readers, maybe?

Does she think that leaders should be held to account by the international community for crimes such as aggression and torture?

Let me guess - Saddam and all the other Middle Eastern, Central Asian and African crapocracy leaders don't top your list. Instead your dramatically higher standard for "torture" is only imposed on the USA, the leaders of which must face the maximum penalty of a European court for their trangressions (rather ironic considering European history), while those who really do oppress their people are left to continue as before. Ho hum.

Does she think George Bush should be held to account for his crimes?

See above.

Will New Zealanders be forbidden to look out their windows or stand on their balconies to view the passing motorcade, as happened when President Bush visited Mainz in 2005?

Are the Mainz Police running New Zealand now?

Will New Zealanders be confined in "free speech zones", as routinely happens in the US to those protesting against the president?

This Wikipedia page is a very good example of the crappola frequent on various leftist-friendly Wikipedia topics. The real problem with protests during US political conventions (unmentioned on that page) is they often turn violent, as Idiot's less calm fellow travellers take their blind stupid-fueled rage out on the hated McDonald's. I'm not sure how the host city is supposed to deal with that - banning all protesters from the immediate vicinity of the convention area seems wise, banning them to a concrete-barriered area seems harsh.

But then according to the page you linked to, the trend started with the Democrats in 1988. And wasn't the Mayor of Atlanta back then a Democrat?

Regardless of the problems caused by leftist thugs for American cities, the last time I checked this is New Zealand... not the USA.

Will she give an assurance that New Zealanders' right to protest will not be compromised during this visit?

I'm not sure what you're talking about here. Maybe you could list a range of possible protest activities, then people could tell you what is OK and what crosses that fuzzy boundary into inappropriate disruption of a legitimate political process.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur : 11/20/2006 04:40:00 AM

A minigun is a rapid-firing multi-barrelled weapon and is not person-carryable outside of Hollywood movies. Also there is no mention of a minigun at the link you supply.

- ALs response to I/S's questions.

The Americans had also wanted to travel with a piece of military hardware called a 'mini-gun', which usually forms part of the mobile armoury in the presidential cavalcade.

- A mention of a minigun in the article I/S linked to.

Where would the New Zealand blogosphere be without Antarctic Lemurs scrupulous research keeping us all intellectually honest?

Posted by danyl : 11/20/2006 07:46:00 AM

there was a mention of a minigun in the link I read - I think the idea is that it would be mounted on a vehicle. It's what you use to mow down crowds or take out a small aircraft

Posted by Anonymous : 11/20/2006 08:40:00 AM

I'd assumed I/S's use of the hip replacement "currency" was ironic.

It's one of those interesting quirks of the national character (especially post the Upton/Birch "reforms") that the opportunity cost of public expenditure in any area is measured in hip replacements foregone. See: waterfront stadium debate. What is it with Kiwis and their hips?

Posted by dc_red : 11/20/2006 08:41:00 AM

Anon: yes. And I think anyone looking at the demands the US made over Bush's visits to London and Mainz has powerful reason to be concerned. Total shutdowns of city centres? People forbidden to watch the show? Legally unaccountable foreigners running around with handguns, with a gatling-gun so they can mow down any crowd that gets too rowdy? Protestors put under surveillance, and herded round so that the President (or his accompanying media) doesn't see them? And all this for a man who by rights should be in a cell next to Saddam Hussein? Fuck that for a joke.

DC_Red: pretty much. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the NZ$-to-hip-op exchange rate - but I could probably figure it out from some press releases.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 11/20/2006 11:31:00 AM

Whilst I can see the geo-political realities which mean that his visit will go ahead... I would _love_ to see how snubbing him would go down.

I can see it now...

"Dear Mr President,

We would like to inform you that as a torturing war criminal we have decided that your visit to New Zealand would go against our principles of supporting justice and peace."

Just imagine the look on his face, just imagine the media scrum. I mean it's like kicking sand in the face of the biggest bully on the beach.

It would be priceless.

OTOH it would also mean that we could then host very few world leaders. But hey.

Posted by muerk : 11/20/2006 04:29:00 PM

"And all this for a man who by rights should be in a cell next to Saddam Hussein?"

Yes of course, silly me, I forgot that Americans have no freedom of speech, can't criticise the President, get executed without trial, get villages that support the Democrats gassed.

Your moral equivalency is just utterly vile - you presumably think that Saddam Hussein, Ahminidejad and Kim Jong Il are no worse than Bush. You are so utterly blinded by your hatred of Bush that you put him in the same front as tyrants who glorify and engage in mass murder with pleasure.

In 2009 Bush will not be in power, Kim Jong Il will be, Ahmadinejad might be - go to North Korea and Iran and tell me that it is "just like the USA" that the Bush administration is morally equivalent.

and don't trot out the historic blame the USA for Saddam and Afghanistan nonsense - why not blame Russia as well, as it did more to screw Afghanistan than any other country by far.

Bush is no angel, but to compare the leader of a constitutional liberal democracy with the leader of a totalitarian state where his word was law and he could order executions at will is either stupid or despicable.

Posted by libertyscott : 11/21/2006 01:30:00 AM

We would like to inform you that as a torturing war criminal we have decided that your visit to New Zealand would go against our principles of supporting justice and peace."

Just imagine the look on his face, ...
It would be priceless."



Serioulsy, have you been living under a rock? Bush hears stuff like that more often you eat.

Also: since when did NZ support Justice and Peace? We didn't go into Iraq.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/21/2006 01:58:00 AM