ASEAN Summit must address the unwanted US military presence

Besides Spratly Islands dispute:
ASEAN leaders dared to raise issue of unwanted US military troops, at Summit

"Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III's call for peaceful sharing of Spratly Islands' resources is important, but the unwanted presence of US military troops and facilities in Asia-Pacific must also be raised by Aquino and other heads of state at the on-going ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. The hundreds of US troops in the Philippines under the unconstitutional US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement, the US military bases and its 47,000 troops in Okinawa, thousands of troops in Korea, and the Waihopai spybase on New Zealand soil are equally important issues affecting territorial sovereignty, peace and security in the region that must be challenged. The rape and prostitution of women, death of civilians and destruction of environment where US war games and exercises are being held must be stopped."

This was the challenge issued by peace advocates and anti-bases activist groups in New Zealand as they host Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Negotiating Panel in a series of public meetings around NZ to promote support for peace process the Philippines.

Luis Jalandoni “Foreign troops and bases 
must not be allowed on Philippine soil”
At the meetings in Christchurch, Blenheim and Wellington, Jalandoni and Ledesma talked about continuing US economic domination and military intervention in the Philippines as major obstacles to peace in the Philippines. 

"The Waihopai spybase in New Zealand is used by the US to spy on countries like the Philippines. We support the struggle to have this closed down. National sovereignty must be upheld to achieve lasting peace in the Philippines. Foreign troops and bases must not be allowed on Philippine soil just as the Waihopai spybase in NZ and US bases in Okinawa must be closed down," Jalandoni stated.

According to Murray Horton, main host of the peace tour and Secretary of Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA), "Waihopai does not operate in the interests of New Zealanders or our neighbours.

Basically it is a foreign spybase on NZ soil and directly involves us in US wars. Although officially a 'New Zealand' facility, Waihopai is an American spybase in everything but name."

The Waihopai spybase was subjected to unprecedented public attention by the March 2010 trial and acquittal of the three Ploughshares peace activists who penetrated its high security in 2008 and deflated one of the two domes concealing its satellite dishes from the NZ public.

At the US-ASEAN leaders meeting last September 24, US Pres. Barack Obama stated: "Through the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) forum and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we're pursuing trade relationships that benefit all our countries. The United States also wants to focus on deepening its political and security cooperation with the region."

Waihopai: “a foreign spybase on NZ soil and directly involves us in US wars”
"By all indications, the US is poised to strengthen military presence in Asia-Pacific to protect its economic interests in the name of 'free trade' that ensures massive profits for giant US corporations and local elite. The US, which benefits from unrestricted trade in labour and capital investment in Asia-Pacific, is actually causing massive social inequities which are root causes of armed conflict in the Philippines. ''Free trade' fuels war," Rod Prosser, convenor of Wellington Kiwi Pinoy, another group hosting the NDFP peace tour, added.

"We are aware that Mr. Aquino courted US support for Philippines' bid to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership during his meeting with Obama. Just like APEC, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade - World Trade Organisation (GATT-WTO) and other US-designed trade deals, TPP spells more profits for big business and nothing but losses for ordinary people in the Philippines, New Zealand and other countries," Horton noted.

Horton, who is also the Spokesperson of 'New Zealand Not for Sale' campaign, concluded, "Filipinos and New Zealanders have had enough of unrestrained trade liberalisation that destroyed local agriculture and industries. Thus the TPP issue is a common ground for us to oppose what is essentially a back door way of achieving another free trade agreement that will mainly benefit the US.

Climate change deniers funded by BP : Guardian Report

Tea Party climate change deniers funded by BP and other major polluters

US Senate climate change deniers and Tea Party favourites including Jim DeMint and James Inhofe are being funded by BP and other polluters
 Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Guardian reports that BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama's energy agenda.

Checkout the Center for Responsive Politics
An analysis of campaign finance by Climate Action Network Europe (Cane) found nearly 80% of campaign donations from a number of major European firms were directed towards senators who blocked action on climate change.


CAFCA makes the media


examines the media battle for hearts and minds over offshore farm sale

Listen online  - Download mp3

Morning Report 
“Farmers' group says Labour land plans worry for farmers”

Federated Farmers says it fears the Labour Party's plan to clamp down on farm sales to foreigners will undermine the rights of farmers.

Listen online  - Download mp3

Listener  October 9-15 2010

New rules for overseas buyers of our land need to strike  a balance – appease those who don’t want New Zealand’s crown jewels sold off, but not hurt already
depressed farm prices.


The full text will be available online on October 30

Why didn’t labour do something when it was in power?

Come out and admit you were wrong, Phil, 
turn your back unrestricted foreign investment and “free” trade

The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) congratulates Labour for seeing the light and announcing  a policy that recognises the glaringly obvious fact that unrestricted foreign “investment” (meaning takeover or economic recolonisation) is a disaster and for starting to take some painfully modest steps towards rectifying that  (should it be returned to office). CAFCA would never be so cynical as to suggest that this is a classic ploy by an Opposition party sensing a vote winner and desperately trying to curry favour with public opinion, which is way ahead of the politicians on this issue.

The obvious question is – why didn’t Labour do something about foreign investment when it was in power for nine whole years? Oh, I forgot, they did – they made that foreign takeover easier. For example, this was the Government that trumpeted Shania Twain’s purchases of South Island high country stations as signaling a “smarter” kind of rural land sales to foreigners. Helen Clark made sure that she got into the photo opportunity with the singing superstar when a walking track through her hobby farm was opened.
Celebrating “smarter” land sales
If Labour’s actions on land sales to foreigners were feeble, its policies on foreign investment overall were outright criminal. Literally days before the 1999 election which brought it to power the threshold above which official permission was required for foreign takeovers of NZ companies was increased from $10 million to $50 million. As soon as Labour was in Government CAFCA wrote to every Labour MP urging that the threshold be returned to the previous limit. Not one Minister or Labour MP had the courtesy to reply to us. And in 2005 Labour further liberalised the Overseas Investment Act – one detail was that threshold was increased from $50m to $100m (and Michael Cullen wanted it to be raised to $250m; only public opposition, including from within his own caucus, prevented that).

Phil Goff’s policy announcement says nothing about Labour’s continuing addiction to “free” trade, which goes hand in glove with unrestricted foreign investment. Indeed NZ’s Free Trade Agreements usually include an embedded investment agreement. Both Helen Clark and Goff declared the 2008 FTA with China to be the pinnacle of their trade policy. And, guess what, the investment agreement in that with regards to Chinese companies is the reason why Natural Dairy can bid for the Crafar Farms, the very same proposal which is the trigger for the current public upsurge of opposition to foreigners buying NZ land, specifically dairy farms.

Nine years of actions in Government speak louder than a few meek words in Opposition. Is Phil Goff now going to admit that he and Labour were wrong to sign that FTA and its accompanying investment agreement with China? We challenge him to declare Labour’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership currently being negotiated with a number of countries, and which he, when Labour was in power, proclaimed to be the means to effect an FTA with the US, which is held up by both National and Labour as being the Holy Grail of trade agreements. Once that is signed US agribusiness transnational corporations will vacuum up NZ dairy farms with impunity. Will Goff then be wringing his hands? Come out and admit you were wrong, Phil, and turn Labour’s back on the road to ruin and recolonalisation represented by unrestricted foreign investment and “free” trade. You will pick up a whole lot more votes as a result.