|Subject: Skyhawk refurbishment in Aotearoa
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 08:33:56 +1200
From: "Maire Leadbeater" <email@example.com>
2 October, 1998.
MEDIA RELEASE: EAST TIMOR INDEPENDENCE COMMITTEE PROTESTS SKYHAWK REFURBISHMENT FOR INDONESIA
The East Timor Independence Committee has protested urgently to the Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs over the refurbishment of Skyhawk aircraft destined for use by the Indonesian airforce. The firm Safe Air has been given Government clearance for a lucrative contract with the Indonesian Airforce for a major work over of two Skyhawk aircraft at its Blenheim base.
" New Zealand now compounds the evil of its ongoing military training role with the Indonesian armed forces by becoming an arms exporter," said Maire Leadbeater speaking for the East Timor Independence Committee. "No New Zealander has been consulted about this export of potential death despite the acute concern in New Zealand about the ongoing suffering of the people of East Timor and the struggle for democracy in Indonesia."
"It is sadly ironic that this is happening at the very time that the United States is passing legislation to restrict arms sales to Indonesia to exclude the possibility that any arms could be used in East Timor. Recent reports of a troop build-up in East Timor indicate that another military crackdown is still a possibility."
"Jailed resistance leader, Xanana Gusmao recently invited New Zealand to consider a peacekeeping role in the resolution of the conflict in East Timor - this move to become an arms exporter means that we cannot be considered neutral but instead complicit with the Indonesia military. It is not material whether our technological expertise and equipment helps with actual bombing or training in bombing."
"Skyhawk aircraft are configured and intended for ground attack and for bombing. The use of Skyhawks against civilian populations has been extensively documented by eyewitness reports from East Timor. Skyhawks were used in the bombing attacks on mountain villages that took place in 1978 and again in the 1983-84 "Operation Persatuan" when the villages were bombed with anti-personnel, cluster and incendiary devices."
for further information: Maire Leadbeater: Phone/Fax 09-849-3890 or work 307-4949 pager 93-4822
Maire Leadbeater, East Timor Independence Committee, P.O. Box 68-419, Auckland, New Zealand.