Ardern wrong to “accept” US-led air strikes on Syria. The Greens get it right

By   /   April 16, 2018  /   67 Comments

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Prime Minister Adern has made a serious mistake in saying that she “accepts” why the US, UK and France have bombed Syria.

Prime Minister Ardern has made a serious mistake in saying that she “accepts” why the US, UK and France have bombed Syria.

The Greens, through Foreign Affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman, have taken a much better position, summarised in a tweet from Golriz on Sunday reading: “NO to any superpower bombing when they feel like it. NO to fueling perpetual war in the name of peace. NO to undermining international rule of law.”

Golriz wrote a longer piece for Spinoff. While acknowledging the terrible suffering of the Syrian people, Golriz pointed out that the bombing “only makes the people less safe… wreaking more havoc and death just to feel like we’re doing ‘something’…. This bombing is the end point of the venomous, divisive electioneering rhetoric that saw Trump win his presidency. It isn’t what New Zealand stands for.”

Ardern’s support for the bombing won’t meet much favour when she arrives in Britain shortly. Most parties (Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists and the Greens) have come out against the air strikes. Jeremy Corbyn accused Prime Minister May of “trailing after Donald Trump” and said the “bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace” and “makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely.”

Ardern was also wrong to say that “diplomatic efforts and a multilateral approach” had been prevented by the use of Security Council veto powers. In fact, inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have only just arrived in Damascus to begin their work. There are still a lot of discussions to be held at the UN.

In some ways Ardern’s comments are a step back from the stance of the Clark Labour government in 2003, when the Bush administration didn’t wait for weapons inspectors to complete their work before it invaded Iraq. But at least Helen Clark didn’t support that invasion. Today it is the Trump administration trying to get the jump on the chemical weapons inspectors by bombing Syria, and Ardern seems to be in support.

[A new poll by the British Independent showed only a quarter of Britons backed the strikes.]

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67 Comments

  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    100% Keith I agree,

    This was just another lie by CIA and NATO to unseat Assad so they can get their Global oil companies to take over and extract the oil reserves from Syria, and nothing else is there.

    Always when in the arabian gulf when these ‘skirmishes’ arise it is all over oil.

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      Also to get the gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe constructed through Syria, in the hope of undermining the position of Russia as a prime supplier of energy to Europe.

      Funny thing is, it was Tony B Liar (now a multi-millionaire) who promoted the importation of Russian gas in the first place.

      And it was Tony B Liar who was all lovey-dovey towards Gaddafi when it suited Britain to do gas deals.

      Of course, Gaddafi was supposed to have joined the ‘elites’ club and spent the money acquired on London properties etc., not helping poor Libyans or establishing a non-Rothschild African bank.

    • Francesca says:

      https://off-guardian.org/2018/04/16/labours-commissioned-legal-opinion-on-legitimacy-of-uk-air-strikes-on-syria/

      Here’s a legal assessment of the UK strikes, commissioned by the UK Labour Party
      One would have thought our govt was more aligned to the UK Labour Party than the Tories?

  2. Think before you rush to judgement – there are precedents.

    The UK Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has asked Britain’s Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, to explain where was the legal basis for Britain joining in the attack on Syria. “The legal basis . . .” Corbyn said in BBC TV interview “. . . would have to be self defence or the authority of the UN Security Council.” There was, of course, no Security Council Council endorsement for such an act of aggression.

    Syria had reaffirmed its support for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and offered to fully co-operate with, and deliver on, its obligations since joining the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). But instead of waiting for the OPCW to carry out its investigation, the US, Britain and France carried out missile attacks on Syria that may render it more difficult to maintain the integrity of any evidence at the sites of the alleged atrocities. Syria’s invitation to the OPCW is clearly in its own interest in arriving at the truth. It is not unknown for the West to lie about chemical weapons when seeking regime change. Lies about Iraq’s possession of WMDs were concocted by the West to facilitate an invasion for regime change that cost around 500,000 Iraqi lives.

    The Latin term qui bono is used in criminal investigations regarding who, among a number of suspects, might benefit most from a given criminal act. The Syrian Government is emerging as victor in the international war that has been raging in its land and it is difficult to see what possible benefit there could be for it in the execution of a desperate and inhumane act of chemical warfare; especially when such an act would be impossible to keep secret. On the other hand, it would be reasonable to regard as highly suspect, those who had previously been guilty of using lies and deception regarding chemical warfare in order to achieve regime change.

    It would surely be more reasonable for New Zealand to wait for the OPCW to present its findings, along with the required evidence, before assigning guilt and approving military strikes that had no Security Council approval.

    • Linda says:

      She never said she ‘approved’…did no one listen to her interviews?

      • Mjolnir says:

        Ardern said “New Zealand therefore accepts why the US, UK and France have today responded to the grave violation of international law, and the abhorrent use of chemical weapons against civilians”.

        To many people, “accept” would mean “approval”.

        She also said she “accepts WHY the US, UK and France have today responded to the grave violation of international law”. In other words she says she accepts Western rationalisation for attacking Syria.

        She did not use the word “alleged” at any time, nor did she point out that IF the chemical attack took place, the identity of the perpetrators has not yet been proven.

        I think its fairly clear what she meant.

        Norman Kirk would be spinning in his grave.

  3. Afewknowthetruth says:

    The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma.

    The OPCW has been working in close collaboration with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security to assess the situation and ensure the safety of the team.

    This means that the effort by the US and its allies on the UN Security Council, to squash that investigation, has failed at the OPCW, even though the effort had been successful at blocking UN support for that specific investigation.

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/04/15/what-just-happened.html

  4. Michal says:

    The bully boys of the world and their mates are at it again. The U.S. has so far taken 11 Syrian refugees.

  5. Johnnybg says:

    Third way LAP DOG NZ strikes again. In France, while she’s hobnobbing it with Macron, the unions are rioting in the streets to stave off Macron’s globalisation agenda. The irony is worth savouring.

    • Aaron says:

      I think the trip to France was the problem. She went there to drum up support (beg?) for a trade deal with the EU. Criticising France for sending in missiles in the same week she was visiting there was probably never going to happen.

      This Labour Party is nothing if not a bunch of scaredy-cats

  6. Francesca says:

    The OPCW completed an inspection of the Syrian site deemed to be a chemical weapons factory at Barzeh in Nov. 22 2017 and found nothing to indicate chemical weapon manufacture
    The Americans bombed it nevertheless, calling it a CW factory, knowing MSM would not query them
    So we are to believe that the Syrians had a program of sarin making up and running in a mere 4 or so months, knowing that the OPCW could make a return visit at any time?
    Links provided if required

    • Aaron says:

      Are we also to believe they were really concerned about chemicals killing Syrians when they were also saying they were going to blow up buildings that had the same chemicals in them? – thereby releasing those chemicals into the air.

  7. Mjolnir says:

    I am deeply disappointed in Ms Ardern. This is not what I exprct from a Labour-led government.

    We should be promoting a U.N. led resolution, not this bullshit advebturism to mask Trump’s domestic troubles. After Saturday, it is a miracle the Russians didnt retaliate against American warships. We are all damned lucky cooler heads have prevailed in Moscow.

    • Linda says:

      She did promote a UN led solution – she said this in several interviews!

      • Winifred Kiddle says:

        Linda you seem to be an avid Ardern supporter. Do tell – what has she done to support ‘truth’ and world peace?

  8. Aaron says:

    Did the US, France and UK just blow up some of the evidence?

    Given Winston Peters outspoken views earlier on the Russian issue I imagine the NZ Government has been severely lent on since then.

    • Aaron says:

      Here’s another question – what happens to dangerous chemicals when you blow up the building they’re in? Does every last molecule get incinerated or does some of it become airborne and spread to the surrounding area?

      • I suspect that would not concern Mr Trump very greatly, Aaron.

        • Francesca says:

          In fact, un hazcammed Syrian soldiers can be seen around the ruined supposed CW factory , still smoking(not the workers)in the following hours of the strike
          When Sharyat was bombed just about this time last year, the same question came up .
          “What say the airbase did in fact have toxic chemicals, would that pose a danger to innocent civilians?”
          Smartarse pundits replied knowledgeably “Oh no no , the heat from the explosion renders the chemicals harmless”
          Thats not true, and its why sustained heat at very high temperatures over time in sealed circumstances is the only way chemical weapons are destroyed safely
          I’m really sick and tired of people not doing their own research and relying on the media
          They LIE folks, get used to it, find out stuff by going to the source. Look stuff up , read books, seek information out.

          • Francesca says:

            Listen to this Syrian employee at the destroyed facility and judge for yourself if he is lying

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUHBfX6PIv4

            • Brigid says:

              Thanks Francesca. It’s a bit sickening even though there were no casualties.
              What do May, the Orange one and that silly little French boy get out of being so brutal?
              Makes me feel ill.
              And still STILL the wanking chauvinists on the standard keep up with bullshit.
              Get inarticulate when I’m mad.

              • Francesca says:

                I know Brigid
                My language is getting quite foul
                Some over there are so full of themselves but so woefully uninformed, and lazy with it
                It was all I could do to stop myself saying go fxxk yourself to that moderator
                May,Trump and Macron (honestly its like some Roald Dahl tale..the names!)must be some of the most inept leaders ever
                Hang in there though , you’re doing good!

  9. Well at least you can spell her name correctly in the headline. Much respect to you Keith Locke, and there’s certainly a debate to be had, but it does piss me off you calling her “Adern”.

  10. The Masked Moa says:

    Labours support of this war crime is a travesty and makes them accomplices to war crimes, but the Greens support of the Labour government and their refusal to criticise Labour directly also makes them accomplices to war crimes. The Green propaganda that Keith refers to studiously refuses to name and shame Ardern and Labour for their support of war crimes. Trying to hide behind Trump to deflect attention away from their support for Labour is a political crime in itself (well at least in my opinion as a Greens member).

    Now Ardern is swanning around Europe meeting with the very war criminals responsible for bringing us to the brink of a global nuclear war and still not a word of criticism from the Greens.

    NZ defence force personnel are embedded in US/NATO forces in Qatar and would have participated in planning for this crime. We have a frigate involved in the blockade of North Korea. This government is a full steam ahead participant in the neoconservative push for a global nuclear war. These are the actions of a war monger state and deflecting attention on to Trump and saying they are just following orders doesn’t cut it. All the while the reasons for going to war are being exposed as lies:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/independent-swiss-lab-says-bz-toxin-used-skripal-poisoning-usuk-produced-not

    https://www.veteranstoday.com/2018/04/15/terror-fraudsters-clooney-and-trump-and-their-white-helmets/

    Marama Davidson and the other Green MPs are looking more and more like frauds by the hour not criticising Labour directly for supporting Trumps war crimes. What happened to the promise of speaking up against unacceptable government actions? Not a word. Just a tweet about identity politics. Guess what Marama nuclear weapons dont discriminate in the death and destruction they bring.

    The Alliance destroyed itself over a similar issue in regards to the Afghanistan invasion. I guess some people just cant learn the lessons of history.

    • Linda says:

      She never said she ‘supported’ this…

      • The Masked Moa says:

        She never said she opposes Labours policy and Ardern for accepting and going along with Trumps war crimes. Not even a word against NZ defence force personnel being involved in this attack based in Qatar. Ardern sold out for a deal with the EU even though Germany and Italy and other EU members opposed this action.

        What vexes me most is a conversation I had with Phillida Bunkle prior to the 1996 election at the Greens annual conference where she talked about the need for the new Green MPs to reflect the party members wishes. She sold out 2 years later and went with the Alliance to keep her ministerial salary after we voted to leave.

        In my opinion it looks to me like Marama is too terrified to criticise Ardern and Labour in case she jeopardises her shot at a ministerial salary – sold out in 2 weeks now thats a record even for within the Greens. I supported her being voted in to become co-leader, but now are left feeling very disappointed at my mistake.

  11. I’m against the intervention too but I am very underwhelmed by the comparisons with Iraq in 2003. In that case the US raced in on a pretext of lies and fabrications, the goal was regime change and the motivation had a lot to do with oil. With Syria there is a real grassroots movement to challenge Assad (again unlike Iraq), the US has dithered for 7 years and made very limited token strikes against the regime. The ‘weapons of mass destruction’ created by Bush and Blair were fictions, whereas there is no doubt at all that the chemical weapons used hundreds of times by the Assad regime are real (check out Bellingcat, or the work done by Louis Proyect on this topic). Good on the Greens for saying a lot of very easily said things, but for me the best statement by far is this piece by Leila Al Shami:https://leilashami.wordpress.com/…/the-anti…/

    • Winifred Kiddle says:

      Perhaps Marama doesn’t know what the heck is happening.

    • Ike says:

      Tim, I think you have been misled by the mainstream media. The grassroots movement opposed to Assad was completely corrupted by The USA and NATO introducing mercenaries and jihadi’s as well as arming and training them. This compounded what was a small insurrection and created the bloodbath we have witnessed in Syria. This is not how it is presented by the BBC etc.
      With the help of the Russians Iran and Hezbollah the Syrians had almost managed to rid themselves of these rebels. Trump announced US troops were going to be withdrawn and bingo another false flag occurs that ensures no withdrawal. Russia said a week before the latest incident that a “provocation” was planned.
      The goal is the same as Iraq, regime change to allow a gas pipeline from Qatar through Syria and eventually to Europe to undermine Russia’s dominance of this market. Ironically Qatar has seen who is the best bet to bring stability in the Middle East , Russia, and is now cooperating with Iran and Russia to supply its gas to Europe.
      When Obama announced that Syria’s chemical weapons were a red line. Russia made sure that Assad got rid of all his stocks, this was monitored by the OPCW, so there is plenty of doubt that Assad has used chemical weapons. It is also interesting, although unrelated to Syria, to note that Russia and the USA reached an agreement to both destroy their stocks of chemical weapons. Russia has complied and the USA has not, citing the high cost involved. This along with many other incidents is why the Russians describe the USA as non-agreement -capable.
      I suggest you widen your news sources as sadly what we see on TV and Radio here in NZ is nothing short of US/NATO propaganda

  12. Kat says:

    The PM has chosen her words well and very cautiously Keith, read them again in full context. This is what you would expect from an intelligent NZ leader with international relations in mind.

    “The Government has always favoured diplomatic efforts and a multilateral approach. The use of the veto powers at the Security Council prevented that course of action. We have always condemned the use of the veto, including by Russia in this case.

    New Zealand therefore accepts why the US, UK and France have today responded to the grave violation of international law, and the abhorrent use of chemical weapons against civilians.

    The action was intended to prevent further such atrocities being committed against Syrian civilians.

    We stand firm in our condemnation of the use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta. This is clearly in breach of international law.

    It is now important that these issues are returned to the United Nations multilateral processes including the Security Council”

    • Pedro says:

      What evidence has she based her decision on? Are illegal airstrikes in violation of International Law? Who does International Law apply to exactly, all countries or only those the West choose to apply it to?

    • The Masked Moa says:

      No she did not choose her words well as there was no gas attack as confirmed by Robert Fisk: http://podcasts.spiritradio.ie/robert-fisk-from-douma-syria/

      Arderns acceptance empowers the war mongers knowing there will be no critical thinking or analysis done by the NZ government just the another lap dog with some lipstick. She made much of NZs nuclear free status but is blindly leading us into a global nuclear war by going along with the neo-conservative war mongers.

    • Winifred Kiddle says:

      Russia has been consistent in reaching out to the US/EU and asking for a diplomatic approach.

      2. The Russian veto in the UN was because the US wanted to bring JIM onto the scene thus delaying the OPCW investigation. https://www.rt.com/news/423751-un-syria-resolutions-vote/ (A true over view of what happened).

      3. Sweden then put up another resolution which Russia supported but this was voted against by US, UK and France.

      4.Ardern is stating that she knows that France etc know that chemical weapons have been used. Ummm Has the OPCW carried out an investigation yet?

      5.So bombing a supposed chemical factory is going to support Syrian people?
      Wouldn’t the chemicals cause major deaths if this happened?

      6. Also if the US etc knew these were chemical weapons factories, why did they not inform the UN about them – especially as the OPCW had inspected identified Syrian chemical weapons factories, to ensure that Assad had removed all chemical weapons.

      7. Ardern either needs a knowledgable person to inform her about what exactly is going on, on the world geopolitical stage and she steps up to the plate, or we will all know that her time in Tony ‘WMD’ Blair’s office was great grooming for the sycophant, neo con role she is now playing. Shame! Shame! Shame!

    • New Zealand therefore accepts why the US, UK and France have today responded to the grave violation of international law, and the abhorrent use of chemical weapons against civilians.

      Ok, Kat, let’s analyse that statement, shall we?

      “New Zealand therefore accepts why the US, UK and France have today responded to the grave violation of international law…

      On what basis does “New Zealand therefore accepts why the US, UK and France” launched their strike against Syria?

      What evidence was that “acceptance” based on?

      The OPCW hadn’t even begun their fact-finding mission. So the facts weren’t available, one way or another.

      “have today responded to the grave violation of international law”

      Shouldn’t that statement contain the word ‘allegedly’? Shouldn’t it read “have today responded to the grave alleged
      violation of international law”?

      Because the verdict isn’t in, yet.

      If there was a ” violation of international law” – who is the guilty party?

      Syria?

      Rebels?

      Hizbollah?

      Israel?

      Iran?

      Saudi Arabia?

      CIA?

      FSB?

      We don’t know. There’s no evidence.

      And how could Ms Ardern state ” The action was intended to prevent further such atrocities being committed against Syrian civilians” – when we aren’t even sure if (a) there was an attack, and if there was, (b) who caused it.

      In no Court of law in any Western nation would be accept punishment being meted out to an alleged offender until his/her day in Court; a fair trial; and a verdict.

      Why has the West suddenly abandoned those principles?

      Therein lies the hypocrisy of the West.

  13. Alistair says:

    Agree wth criticism of NZ’s failure to take a strong stand against the tripartite strikes on Syria. N.B. – weasel words “accept and understand” in diplomatic parlance quite distinct from “support”. Surely it will be seen as criticism, abeit nuanced, give a tiny power, a cautiously progressive government with a fragile mandate currently seeking engagement with Europe. This includes two of the parties to these AMERICAN-led strikes. As we have seen with the CPTPP, the framing of the paradim shift in foreign policy is reactive rather than proactive., cautious rather tha bold. But in these volatile geopolitical circumstances NZ’s Atlantic reset seems wise, because Europe is more than UK and France , which seem to be breaking ranks wth Germany in this crisis. Labour and our hollowed-out state institutions are mired in neoliberal instincts and old allegiances, so good luck to Jacinda and co in Europe.

  14. ababy says:

    I’m sure the Queen will give her a nice nosebag of oats and brush that hair

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      I’d like Jacinda to discuss this now with the secretary of UN and the heads of OPCW to get the ‘real story’ so she doesn’t get the bumsteer again, and make a mess of herself and our country..

  15. dman says:

    The obvious issue is that we have MP’s who are prepared to assume that one party was responsible for the alleged chemical attack without the slightest piece of proof to indicate guilt of any party.

    As with last years attack, we have politicians and a media who are incapable of critical thinking and questioning who would most likely use chemical weapons.

    The logical conclusion given the proximity to Trump’s comments that he wanted to leave Syria asap just 4 days before the chemical attack, is that it was a black ops move by a player that does not want the US to leave (whether that be a nation state, or the a US black ops team).

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      DMAN; Yes the black ops move by a player that does not want the US to leave (whether that be a nation state, or the a US black ops team) is the CIA.

  16. Historian Pete says:

    Herr Trump brays that only a horrible animal would use chemical weapons on a people. Would that be the U.S.who used the chemical agent orange on the Vietnamese People? Would that be the U.S.who supplied poisonous gas to Saddam Hussein so he could use it on the Iranians in the Iraq/Iran War, and then use it on the Iraqi Kurds? . And now Jacinda Blair heads to Europe for a meeting with Theresa Mayhem and the Grannie Banging Froggy Macron.

  17. CLEANGREEN says:

    Also Jacinda should aslo request the ‘other side of the story’ from the russians just for balance.

    I’d like Jacinda to discuss this now with the secretary of UN and the heads of OPCW to get the ‘real story’ so she doesn’t get the bumsteer again, and make a mess of herself and our country..

  18. Observer Tokoroa says:

    So

    Jacinda is very right when she says that Russia, the USA and China can veto anything. The UK likewise does not take the UN seriously.

    There are no laws for those veto gangs. The USA, Russia, and the UK get everything wrong all the time. They have no respect for life or love.

    Also, they are a dreadful example to the pathetically educated Islamic world.

  19. Linda says:

    Jacinda never said she supported or endorsed those attacks…I listened to her interviewed several times. Saying she supported the bombing is not accurate or true.

  20. Jack Ramaka says:

    Agent Orange used on the Vietnamese people were not Chemical
    Weapons ?

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      It was a defoliant but we should not call one of the ‘alleged’ suspected chemicals (chlorine) used in Duma a weapon either.

      this whole issue is a bloody joke as it is truly as bad as the other phony claims always made when the Elitists in NATO/CIA want to knock down the Russians again.

      I believe AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH in his angle asn to what is behind this “Kangaroo court” attempt on Russia.

      QUOTE: credit to AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH (second comment on this article) “Also to get the gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe constructed through Syria, in the hope of undermining the position of Russia as a prime supplier of energy to Europe.”

  21. Observer Tokoroa says:

    To Linda:

    I am glad you have corrected the appalling mistakes of commenters above. It is wrong of anyone one to misrepresent the words of our Prime Minister.

    It is as if the people cannot read plain English. Or is it more sinister ?

  22. Francesca says:

    Best link so far Masked Moa. I hope Frank catches up on this one.
    Look forward to the coming interview with Fisk today on Spirit Radio
    So friggin sick of fact free reporting on our media
    .No doubt Jacinda’s advisers are prepped by our 5Eyes partners
    Has anyone ever asked where Jacinda’s intel comes from ?
    Could someone tell me the quickest and easiest way to register a complaint re: journalistic balance with RNZ
    I have tried emailing K.Ryan several times, I never even get an office generated reply, or acknowledgement of receipt
    Will you forward this to RNZ Masked Moa, with the suggestion of a Fisk interview?
    Thanks so much for tracking this down

    • Winifred Kiddle says:

      My husband has tried several times. But to avail. You need to have recorded what they have said and then back your argument up with references.

      • Francesca says:

        So its a very formal process that takes days no doubt, meanwhile the news cycle has moved on
        Bloody awful

    • Pedro says:

      Its par for the course with RNZ Francesca. I have been witing to RNZ weekly for the last 6 plus years, not one reply.
      I ended up ringing directly and got put onto a geezer named John Barr who was friendly enough but still quite dismissive. He had access to all my previous e mails! Censorship prior to being forwarded to whatever programme is running? Who knows.
      You have 20 days to write a formal complaint to them they have 20 days to respond. I think. If your not satisfied you have to file with the BSA.

      • Francesca says:

        Thanks Pedro and Winifred
        I don’t have cell phone coverage here, otherwise I’d be spending my mornings furiously texting to morning report

  23. Winifred Kiddle says:

    I guess that is why Ardern is in the driving seat. She does as she is told.

  24. Francesca says:

    So its a very formal process that takes days no doubt, meanwhile the news cycle has moved on
    Bloody awful

  25. Louis says:

    PM Jacinda Ardern never condoned it.

  26. […] personally believe the Greens got the wording right and their position was the best in making the response they made, but I don’t see Jacinda’s diplomacy as grounds to put her in front of a UN war crimes […]

  27. Mark says:

    Ardern in Europe right now isn’t helping, she is surrounded in the people involved as well as trying to secure trade deals, naturally she is going to do whatever it takes to make sure those deals are successful so the other countries will now play this to their advantage.
    God I hope she doesn’t sign us up to military action.