US Holds World’s Largest War Game in the South Pacific

July 16th, 2020 - by CancelRIMPAC Aotearoa / Action Station Campaign

New Zealand Calls to Cancel RIMPAC 2020

Action Station Campaign created by #CancelRIMPAC Aotearoa

To: Minister of Defense Ron Mark and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

(July 15, 2020) — We urge New Zealand’s complete withdrawal from participation in RIMPAC, the US Navy’s the Rim of the Pacific war preparation and planning exercises in August 2020.

What is RIMPAC?

RIMPAC is a naval war exercise based in and around Hawai’i conducted to demonstrate US domination and control of the Pacific Ocean. It happens every two years; it includes 26 other nations, 25,000 troops and thousands of weapons.

Why we are opposed to RIMPAC: This is military bullying, not international law enforcement. This is for the benefit of US corporations, not to protect ordinary people in the US, NZ or anywhere else. The US military is the tool for US control of valuable resources and access to markets. As a participant in RIMPAC, New Zealand is contributing to this military showcase of imperial violence. The New Zealand public never agreed to be a part of the US-led alliance, and it goes against our societal values of peacekeeping and respect for international law.

Why is this important?

RIMPAC is a violation of international law and Indigenous sovereignty:

Hawai’i is indigenous land that was stolen and illegally annexed by the US to be used as a sugar plantation and giant military base for Pacific operations. The indigenous people of Hawai’i demand a return of their stolen lands and the rightful recognition of their legitimate authority over the islands.

RIMPAC Is a Grave Risk to lLfe and Ecology

During RIMPAC, deadly weapons are used on land and sea causing massive environmental destruction to the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacfic Ocean. The exercise shells island reserves; uses bombs and missiles to sink ships, leaving ammunition and debris in the sea; and detonates underwater explosives. The US Navy is exempt from the Marine Mammal Protection Act meaning it can test underwater sonar weapons that kill and injure whales, dolphins and other species.

Covid-19 Is an Additional Threat

Prior to the global spread of Covid-19, New Zealand had planned to send in excess of 300 troops. Due to the pandemic the exercise has been scaled back from six-weeks to two weeks. The NZ government has indicated that it still plans to send the HMNZS Manawanui, a hydrographic dive vessel with 66 soldiers. 
We have no confidence that the risks to the people of Hawai’i can be effectively managed by the US military given the shocking record of the US government in dealing with infections onboard Navy warships. Nor do we have confidence that there will be effective safeguards to ensure that NZDF personnel are not infected, and do not bring infection back home.

A Global Ceasefire: Now is the Time

The United Nations have called for a Global Ceasefire, to instead focus on combating COVID-19. The fact that the United States was the only member of the UN Security Council to vote against a global ceasefire shows that it is the greatest threat to global security. War and war exercises are not ‘essential business’ — they are a threat to human life and the ecosystems that sustain us. The New Zealand government has done its best to ensure that Covid-19 does not spread to the Pacific. Now we have a responsibility not to be part of planning for a war in the Pacific that will only see untold human suffering and death.

We are living through a time of change, when ensuring a healthy and peaceful world is paramount.

New Zealand has the chance now to be a global partner and a model for other countries by choosing not to participate in 2020. In 1982 New Zealand withdrew from RIMPAC activities. We can do it again.

We believe the Pacific can be a demilitarised place that respects Indigenous sovereignty. We believe the Pacific should be free and independent.

ACTION: Join us in demanding that that New Zealand government #CancelRIMPAC 2020 — Sign this petition. This petition is led by the Cancel RIMPAC Aotearoa Coalition.

References and More Information: 

Webinar: CANCEL RIMPAC: Stop War Games in the Pacific! 

Cancel RIMPAC Now and Forever

26 US Navy Ships Have Covid

United Nations Chief calls for Global Ceasefire

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