Join 3,433 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


With allies like these who needs enemies?
July 26, 2008 7:58 PM   Subscribe

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice surprised New Zealand during her visit by calling us allies, despite our long history of disagreement over certain issues. The Auckland Student Association's shameless plug for self promotion has prompted a response.
posted by Samuel Farrow (51 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Hey you lot, watch what you say about our good American friends.
posted by Jimbob at 8:03 PM on July 26, 2008


Rice calls everyone allies who doesn't take a direct potshot at her, look at the Iraqi government.
posted by benzenedream at 8:21 PM on July 26, 2008


The "response" is uncalled for, unreasonable, unacceptable.

The original offer was idiotic.
posted by Class Goat at 8:22 PM on July 26, 2008


Maybe the Secretary of State still believes it's 1984, when the ANZUS treaty still applied to the US-NZ relationship, Konstantin Chernenko's USSR was still the main "un-ally" of the United States, and the Secretary herself was still living the good life at Stanford.
posted by blucevalo at 8:23 PM on July 26, 2008


You have to understand that when a US official uses a word like "ally" he or she really means "vassal". This is one of the reasons why you'll sometimes hear US politicians talking about "our Mexican allies" or "our Israeli allies" or, more recently, "our Iraqi allies" without, to the best of my knowledge, having any official defense treaties with any of those nations.

Ronald Reagan once called Hawaii "our greatest ally in the pacific", I believe. So there you go.
posted by Avenger at 8:25 PM on July 26, 2008 [10 favorites]


There is no such thing as a citizen's arrest in New Zealand (self-link).

In an odd irony, the International Affairs Officer of the AUSA, Omar Hamed, is no stranger to arrest himself.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:26 PM on July 26, 2008


The whole thing was completely stupid from the get go; every few years one of the proclamations from our student bodies manages to be just that little bit dafter than the rest and escapes into the national press. It's not that I am a big fan of Rice or of US foreign policy, but a offering a bounty to detain someone seems blatantly illegal - tantamount to paying a gang to kidnap a neighbor you don't like.
Good job on making your association look like morons.
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:39 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


The photo in Stuff of Condilizard and Winnie is disturbing.
posted by dydecker at 8:41 PM on July 26, 2008


Funny how, in the last link, the supporters of AUSA's idiotic stunt try to look good by holding themselves to the lofty standard of some drunken American redneck's ramblings.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:44 PM on July 26, 2008


I think it's fantastic. Obviously Bush, Cheney and the cabal will get away with all of their crimes, so what is there left to do other than publicity stunts? At least it draws attention to the issue.
posted by dydecker at 8:45 PM on July 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


That the "responder" teakw00d knows who the All Blacks are is itself proof that the teakw00d is just someone taking the piss, not a real ignorant American.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:40 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


dydecker wrote
At least it draws attention to the issue.
No, it draws attention any from the issues and towards a bunch of publicity hounds. If AUSA really thought that Rice has broken NZ law (which seems doubtful to me, but what do I know) then the correct course of action would be to very publically lay a well-reasoned, comprehensive, and well written complaint with the police. The police would never act on such a complaint but they couldn't just ignore it. It would get lawyers and officials talking about the issues and put heat on the govenment for inviting her here in the first place.
The NZ police had to (quite correctly) warn anyone from attempting to collect. Now everyone is just talking about the AUSA but not the crimes that Rice and Co are supposed to be guilty of. Its exactly this kind of thing that caused me to avoid student politics when I was at uni, and nothing has changed.
posted by AndrewStephens at 9:42 PM on July 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Nice stunt.
posted by pompomtom at 9:56 PM on July 26, 2008


"We are obliged to ensure the safety and security of the visiting guest and we will not shirk from that task," he said.

It's a shame that Rice has committed war crimes, yet enjoys full protection by NZ police. Regardless of the merits of AUSA's attempt to bring light on that fact, it speaks poorly of the New Zealand government to grant her free passage through their country.

In other news, Karl Rove continues to evade congressional testimony and, having fled the country, should otherwise be held in contempt. Yet we do not have a national discussion about his criminal behavior.

It's a shame the media distracts consumers with childish nonsense, while very real and serious problems continue to be ignored.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:59 PM on July 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh good, yet another thing for me, as the token american in my workplace, to attempt to defend to my kiwi co-workers. I think I'll just try to repeat Avenger's comment with a straight face.
posted by supercrayon at 10:13 PM on July 26, 2008


Andrew, as far as I can see, they will get away with the causing over a million deaths Scot free, no matter what any NZ lawyers or govt official does.

Look at the expression on Winston's face at meeting Rice. That is the official government policy right there: toadying to power. That face tells it all: the govt of New Zealand can be relied upon to do precisely nothing.

There is also no chance of anything being done about this in NZ. Rice did not break local law. The United States is not signatory to the ICC so no chance of getting her to The Hague. No UN member, let alone lawyer from NZ, has ever brought the issue of the legality of the Iraq War before the United Nations. There is no resolution condemning it as a war of aggression.

The only possibility I can see of these people facing justice is under domestic US law. But there 30% of people support it, and supported it.

Therefore it should be tried it the court of public opinion.
posted by dydecker at 10:16 PM on July 26, 2008


There seem to be a lot of people participating in this thread who are unfamiliar with the concept of "diplomatic immunity".
posted by Class Goat at 10:38 PM on July 26, 2008


I say this as an American... I love New Zealand.
posted by matty at 10:46 PM on July 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Winston Peters has always been willing to toady up to anyone, thats why (if he had to be in government at all) foreign affairs was a good roll. I think you underestimate our government, they have been quite critical of the US's actions in the past, but it is not the sort of thing you bring up during a press conference with an invited senior official.
What would make you happy - the police tasering Rice and dragging her off to prison? NZ holding her hostage and demanding the US withdrawal from Iraq? Arguably we shouldn't have invited her here in the first place, but NZ and the USA still have many interests in common which need to be discussed.
One thing that is missing from the whole kerfuffel is any kind of meaningful debate in the media as to what Rice is meant to be responsible for. This post doesn't even give much clue. Her crimes (if they are actually crimes) have been obscured by a ridiculous stunt and the AUSA has lost what little face it had.
posted by AndrewStephens at 10:54 PM on July 26, 2008


There seem to be a lot of people participating in this thread who are unfamiliar with the concept of "diplomatic immunity".

I'm familiar with the concept. Its application seems odd, however; granting the title of "diplomat" to someone incapable of using the term "ally" in a factually or rhetorically correct manner, when the countries involved do not appear to have that relationship (to my eyes, granted).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:56 PM on July 26, 2008


it speaks poorly of the New Zealand government to grant her free passage through their country

Sorry dude, but we totally and absolutely depend on agricultural exports, and the USA is a big market for us. We have a hard time as it is, thanks to your farm subsidies, import tariffs and quotas. We desperately need friendly people at the top level to obtain what little leverage we can. Our government wouldn't dare jeopardise our opportunities to sell things.

Generally New Zealand reserves its foreign policy backbone for cases where we don't have serious trade relationships, with the Lange government's anti-nuclear policy being a rare exception.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:09 PM on July 26, 2008


Its application seems odd, however; granting the title of "diplomat" to someone incapable of using the term "ally" in a factually or rhetorically correct manner, when the countries involved do not appear to have that relationship (to my eyes, granted).

Really? Since the breakdown of ANZUS, I don't think NZ and the US have had a mutual defense pact, but NZ has "major non-NATO ally" designation. NZ participated in "Operation Enduring Freedom," too.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:22 PM on July 26, 2008


Her crimes (if they are actually crimes)...

Here's my list:

Prosecuting an illegal war of aggression (quite a biggie)
Sanctioning torture
Violating the Geneva Convention by withholding habeas corpus
Doctoring CIA intelligence
Extraordinary rendition
Lying to congress
Being a lizard
posted by dydecker at 11:32 PM on July 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


NZ participated in "Operation Enduring Freedom," too.

I think we were all pleased at putting the boot into the Taliban. It's a shame that freedom doesn't seem to be enduring too well there any more.

Notice that we didn't send any soldiers to Iraq; only a token corps of engineers to work on the reconstruction effort. (Although I do know one ex-NZ soldier who has done a couple of "security" stints. And boy is he fucked up.)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:42 PM on July 26, 2008


Violating the Geneva Convention by withholding habeas corpus.

Does the GC really say that captured combatants are entitled to habeas?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:49 PM on July 26, 2008


Does the GC really say that captured combatants are entitled to habeas?

"[E]very person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, or again, a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:01 AM on July 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


OK. Was that quote supposed to answer the question? With a yes or a no? Help me out here.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:03 AM on July 27, 2008


Well I meant either give them a trial or call them prisoners of war. So I guess that adds another to the list:

Violating Geneva Conventions
Withholding habeas corpus (Is this against the US constitution?)
posted by dydecker at 12:07 AM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I wasn't clear. What I cited indicates that those captured by the US have some kind of legal status, whether combatant, civilian or medical personnel — despite the unilateral invention of the term "unlawful combatant" by the Bush administration. The Third Geneva Convention confers legal status on all prisoners of war, including legal rights such as access to council and due process, i.e., the Supreme Court reaffirms that you cannot be held indefinitely.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:13 AM on July 27, 2008


Dydecker, thats exactly what we need to be talking about, not some wrong-headed student headline grab. There are many issues that Rice should be held accountable for. Of those, only some are of interest to the international community; nobody outside the US cares about lying to congress.
For things like rendition and the status of the prisoners, NZ and other countries should be expressing their displeasure in the strongest possible terms - with economic sanctions and boycotts, etc. Unfortunately, we need the US more than they care about our good opinion of them, so it's not going to happen.
It would be nice if the NZ press took the opportunity to write some editorials on the subject while Rice is here, but I guess that is not going to happen either.
posted by AndrewStephens at 12:50 AM on July 27, 2008


Sorry, I wasn't clear. What I cited indicates that those captured by the US have some kind of legal status, whether combatant, civilian or medical personnel — despite the unilateral invention of the term "unlawful combatant" by the Bush administration.

Ex parte Quirin talked about "unlawful combatants" in 1942, so Bush can't take all the blame for that one.

Even if everyone captured by the US has a legal status under the GC, though, that doesn't answer the question of whether the GC requires habeas. Boumediene certainly doesn't rest on the GC.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:19 AM on July 27, 2008


At least some people are trying now: Rep Baldwin, Vince Bugliosi
posted by airplain at 1:43 AM on July 27, 2008


Frankly, I'm wondering what a New Zealand "citizen's arrest" would look like. To many of us, I think it might be indistinguishable from a hug.

And if there is one thing I've learned by hanging around MeFi, it's that "everybody needs a hug."
posted by paulsc at 1:56 AM on July 27, 2008


Slight derail, I'd forgotten about the DGSE sinking the Rainbow Warrior. Interesting story.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:01 AM on July 27, 2008


Nah mate, more like this.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:05 AM on July 27, 2008


"Nah mate, more like this."
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:05 AM on July 27

Well, in that picture, i_am_joe's_spleen, one guy is upside down, which I think is pretty normal, as Kiwi hugs might go. Isn't it?

What?
posted by paulsc at 2:10 AM on July 27, 2008


Well, it's an arresting image.

thank you very much.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:15 AM on July 27, 2008


I'm stunned that Princess Sparkle Pony hasn't covered this news yet.
posted by Jerub at 2:24 AM on July 27, 2008


If they'd really wanted to get the NZ public to take this issue seriously, the AUSA should have kidnapped Rice, bundled her into the back of a yellow mini and then driven the length of the country, evading ineffectual roadblocks along the way.
posted by Flashman at 4:03 AM on July 27, 2008


There seem to be a lot of people participating in this thread who are unfamiliar with the concept of "diplomatic immunity".

yeah, that's what I thought as well. perhaps the kiwis are trying to compete for the dumb (nationality goes here) moniker.
posted by krautland at 9:38 AM on July 27, 2008


also: what's the nz penalty for unlawful arrest and kidnapping?
posted by krautland at 12:06 PM on July 27, 2008


Up to 14 years imprisonment (Crimes Act 1961).

False imprisonment is still a tort in NZ so in theory the victim might also be able to sue.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:21 PM on July 27, 2008


Even if everyone captured by the US has a legal status under the GC, though, that doesn't answer the question of whether the GC requires habeas. Boumediene certainly doesn't rest on the GC.

The entire reason for the designation of "enemy combatant" is to place the prisoners outside the protection of any law. Although Ex parte Quirin has been cited by the Bush administration, it's not clear that's a valid reason.

Interestingly enough, Wikipedia has something about this very subject:

The validity of this case as a basis for denying prisoners in the War on Terrorism protection by the Geneva Conventions has been disputed.[6][7][8] A report by the American Bar Association commenting on this case, states:

The Quirin case, however, does not stand for the proposition that detainees may be held incommunicado and denied access to counsel; the defendants in Quirin were able to seek review and they were represented by counsel. In Quirin, "The question for decision is whether the detention of petitioners for trial by Military Commission ... is in conformity with the laws and Constitution of the United States." Quirin, 317 U.S. at 18. Since the Supreme Court has decided that even enemy aliens not lawfully within the United States are entitled to review under the circumstances of Quirin, that right could hardly be denied to U.S. citizens and other persons lawfully present in the United States, especially when held without any charges at all.[9]

Since the 1942 Quirin case, the US signed and ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which are, therefore, considered to be a part of U.S. municipal law, in accordance with Article 6, paragraph 2, of the Constitution of the United States (the Supremacy Clause).[10] In addition the US Supreme Court invalidated this premise, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, by ruling that Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions applies to detainees in the War on Terror, and that the Military Tribunals used to try these suspects were in violation of US and international law.[11]
posted by krinklyfig at 2:30 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's been awhile since I looked at the GC's, but if I'm not mistaken, a person is deemed to be a POW until a military tribunal finds him (or her) otherwise, so regardless of category the person is originally placed in, Rumsfeld & Co. are completely out of luck here.

And they know it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:27 PM on July 27, 2008


pfft. They're just trying to divert attention away from the Bledisloe Cup.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:03 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, since when do random civil servants get diplomatic immunity?

Surely it's reserved for the diplomatic corps, ambassadors and such?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:51 PM on July 27, 2008


Come on UbuRoivas Saturday night was a great victory for New Zealander Robbie Deans.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 8:29 PM on July 27, 2008


Yes, 34-19 is a great victory, indeed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:36 PM on July 27, 2008


The entire reason for the designation of "enemy combatant" is to place the prisoners outside the protection of any law. Although Ex parte Quirin has been cited by the Bush administration, it's not clear that's a valid reason.

Whatever. I don't care about that.

I'm asking an extremely narrow question, which is whether the GC requires habeas (and if so, for who). The point was originally brought up by dydecker, who seems to have dropped it, and if no one knows the answer, I'm inclined to drop it too.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:40 PM on July 27, 2008


Wait, since when do random civil servants get diplomatic immunity?

Surely it's reserved for the diplomatic corps, ambassadors and such?


Well, Rice is the Secretary of State, and the Department of State is responsible for foreign affairs and diplomacy, so it's not quite "random," like, say, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development being granted diplomatic immunity would be, even if Rice has been granted such, which it appears she has not.
posted by Snyder at 10:44 PM on July 27, 2008


I'm asking an extremely narrow question etc.

The Framers of the Constitution clearly agreed that the government should not be allowed to lock people up without giving a reason. This is something any decent human would agree with.

The fact that you can come up with some sort of sophistry that lets you claim it's legal in some cases is not very interesting.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:43 PM on July 27, 2008


« Older The gyrojet pistol (video) - a handgun firing 13mm...  |  Remember Cy? Well, meet the wo... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments