2005 DICK NZ Award Winners
A participatory shame-meter, devised by MC John Minto, was used at the 2005 DICK NZ Awards event on 23 October to determine the winners of this year's Destructive Industry Connected to Killing - DICK - Awards and the 'Guided Missiles and Misguided Men' Award for Government Politicians.
The Supreme DICK NZ was awarded to Oscmar International Ltd, with Rakon and Steelbro each receiving a 2005 DICK NZ Award.
The first round of voting for the 2005 'Guided Missiles and Misguided Men' Awards for Government Politicians left both Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control Marian Hobbs in the running. During the play-off second round, the chorus of 'shame' for Helen Clark left no doubt that she is this year's winner.
The selection of the winners followed a NO WARP! audio-visual presentation on the tragic global outcomes of the prioritising of military expenditure over spending for socially useful purposes. The slide show, set to 'Where is the Love' (Black Eyed Peas), also covered the NZ government's contribution to an obscenely over-militarised world, including their funding and promotion of companies involved in military and weapons related production and exports.
Information about the 2005 DICK NZ Award finalists is included below.
About the Awards
Since 1998, the Defence Industry Committee of New Zealand has presented Awards for Excellence at the annual get-together of the NZ Defence Industry Association, the lobby group for companies that profit from bloodshed and war. The criteria for their awards are a mystery - are they for the company whose products have caused the most death and destruction? the company which has had the biggest public subsidy for private profit? the company which has contracts with the most oppressive governments and armed forces around the world?
There is no mystery about the DICK NZ Awards. They recognise the reality of the business of the NZ 'defence' industry. First held in 2001, the DICK NZ Awards are back this year - and from now on they too will be an annual event.
And there is no mystery about the 'Guided Missiles and Misguided Men' Award for Government Politicians either - they are awarded to those who by their words and/or actions support bloodshed and war. The name for these Awards is from a statement by Martin Luther King, Junior: "we have guided missiles and misguided men".
2005 DICK NZ Awards Finalists
Oscmar produce and export 'realistic' shoot-to-kill laser training equipment. They describe themselves as - "a world leader in the field of Realistic Combat Simulation". Initially a NZ owned and operated company, Oscmar International was acquired by the US company Cubic Corporation in 2000. Cubic includes Cubic Defence Applications (CDA) which "provide the complete spectrum of training that war fighters need to survive on today's battlefield. This includes live combat training systems, mission support, doctrine and leader development, simulation development and technical support". Their slogan is: 'Helping Our Forces Fight, Win and Return'.
Oscmar have been nominated for the 2005 DICK NZ Awards because of their dodgy dealings around a contract with the Israeli Defence Force.
In 2002, CDA was awarded a contract to supply an Advanced Combat Vehicle Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System to the Israeli Defence Force. In March 2004 Oscmar's application for a permit to export an Mk8 Harness to fulfil that contract was turned down by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and the decision to decline the application was confirmed in June 2004.
In February 2005, a No WARP! Update was published which revealed Oscmar's response to the export permit being refused:
"That setback however, did not appear to have diminished either Oscmar or CDA's determination to fulfil the IDF ACVM contract. In July 2004 they proceeded to hatch a plan to transfer the production of the Mk8 harness to CDA in San Diego and Cubic de Mexico. In the meantime, Oscmar was to continue producing a 'small' quantity of Mk8 harnesses to be sent to CDA for integration with the other parts of the ACVM, and for product testing.
Information about this apparent breach of the Strategic Goods list regulations was given to the Disarmament Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and to Customs who investigated Oscmar through March and April. They then apparently referred the decision as to whether or not Oscmar would be prosecuted back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In a letter dated 20 May, Marian Hobbs said that "The New Zealand Customs Service had now completed its investigation into the allegations No WARP! made. They have found there is no case to answer, and therefore no further action will be taken." This decision is thought by some to be related to the government's moves to resume diplomatic relations with the Israeli government around that time.
For more information about Oscmar see NZ company involved in suspect military export to Israeli Defence Force.
Rakon is a privately owned company that manufactures quartz crystals used for "frequency-control devices at the heart of GPS technology, in cell phones and in other electronic equipment". Last year the company earned revenue of more than $70 million. Rakon was the winner of this year's New Zealand Trade and Enterprise export awards.
In August, a New Zealand Herald article revealed that Rakon had received more than $500,000 in government funding to support their work. Ten per cent of Rakon's work is military-based; they manufacture quartz crystals for the US company Rockwell Collins to use in global positioning systems (GPS) for 'smart' bombs. US GPS guided 'smart' munitions include the infamous bunker buster bombs, Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and the Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb - the 21,000-lb successor to the equally infamous 'Daisy Cutter' bomb.
In response to the Herald article, Rakon put out a media release which said: "the company respected the commercial confidentiality of its contracts with customers, and was not privy to the end-use systems, equipment or applications developed by its customers" and "Rakon has not developed any technology specifically for the US military. No technology has been specifically developed by Rakon for use in smart bombs or missiles." While it may be technically correct that Rakon has not developed any technology specifically for the US military for use in smart bombs or missiles, their comment that the company is "not privy to the end-use systems, equipment or applications developed by its customers" reveals either a level of startling irresponsibility or of duplicity.
Rakon were nominated for a DICK NZ Awards in part because of the work they do, and in part because of their duplicitous response to publicity about their contribution to death and destruction.
For more information about Rakon see the No WARP! web page.
Steelbro was established in Christchurch in 1878 to produce horse-drawn wagons, coaches, gigs and drays. In the 1960s, Steelbro developed container handling technology which originating from Germany. Currently the company focuses on two product categories: trailers, container trailers and Sidelifters - a sidelifter is a device used to lift containers on and off trucks without the need for forklifts and other lifting equipment. Sidelifters are sold for $250,000 each.
Steelbro were nominated for a DICK NZ Award because of activities revealed in Business South, a monthly giveaway paper in Christchurch. This said that Steelbro had sold ten sidelifters to a US company that will use them to supply goods to US armed forces in Iraq. Steelbro's managing director is quoted as saying:
"during peacetime deployments and exercises, [the sidelifter] can be used to load munitions and move artillery to and from exercises. However, it is during conflict that the machinery really comes into its own. "Whether working at railheads, weapons dumps or near forward positions, the sidelifter permits containerised and palletised arms and munitions to be moved quickly and safely. Its compact design also enables it to be carried aboard some military cargo aircraft.""
For more information about Steelbro see Christchurch Firm Profits From US War In Iraq.
Nominations for the 2005 'Guided Missiles and Misguided Men' Award for Government Politicians
Helen Clark was nominated for the second and third deployments of SAS combat troops to Afghanistan which took place during the time covered by the 2005 DICK NZ Awards. While in Afghanistan, the SAS are integrated with other special forces in the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force which is headquartered near Kabul under overall US military command.
Helen Clark was also nominated for making a big deal during the recent election campaign about combat troops not taking part in the invasion of Iraq - but omitting to mention any of the three SAS deployments to Afghanistan.
Marian Hobbs was nominated for the number of Strategic Goods List export permits approved during the years she was Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control.
The Strategic Goods List is the way the NZ government is supposed to regulate the export of military and 'dual use' goods. Applications for Strategic Goods List export permits are made to the Disarmament and Arms Control Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control is in charge of that Division. During 2002, 2003, 2004 and the first half of 2005, there were 1127 applications for Strategic Goods List export permits - 1121 were approved, and just 6 were declined.
Jim Anderton was nominated for his willingness to provide public money to companies involved in military and weapons related production and export during his time as Minister for Economic Development. Examples of this include: $480,000 from the Growth Services Fund to Pacific Aerospace Corporation (PAC) in July 2005, PAC manufactures aircraft including the CT4 air trainer which is used for military training; and $59,412 of Growth Services funding to Rakon in September 2004.
He was additionally nominated for his statement as quoted in the NZ Herald article on Rakon:
"Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton said he was satisfied that through the strategic goods list the Government controlled the export of goods that could be used for military purposes. However, we cannot regulate the end use of every item that leaves New Zealand's shores. It must be remembered that the vast bulk - 90 to 99 per cent - of Rakon's products are used for peaceful purposes, Mr Anderton said."
Rakon's quartz crystal exports are not included on the Strategic Goods List.
Phil Goff was nominated because during his time as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, he was the government minister with overall responsibility for the Disarmament Division, the export of Strategic goods, and minister responsible for NZ Trade and Enterprise who actively promote and support military and weapons related exports.
Examples of NZ Trade and Enterprise's enthusiasm for this include:
"Opportunities abound for New Zealand companies able to meet US demands for defence and Homeland Security products and services, according to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise trade development consultant Kathleen Moore" ... "Moore says NZTE is providing more resources to assist companies wishing to supply the US market. US defence and aerospace specialist John Mercer has been engaged to work with Moore to identify potential opportunities, partners and projects for New Zealand companies. NZTE is preparing a toolkit for prospective exporters on the US market entry requirements and how to prepare for the US market."[New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Media Release, 18 October 2004];
"By smartly identifying a lucrative global niche and with help from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, FlightcellŽ is enjoying strong sales in the United States and plans to market in Europe this year. The firm has just enjoyed a second year of growth with major sales to the United States military and is now a million dollar business with tremendous export potential" ... "With help and funding from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise the company formed an alliance with the United States military resulting in a major order for 900 FlightcellŽ last year and a number of other large orders were achieved in 2004." [New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Newsletter, March 2005].
Mark Burton was nominated because in 2004, during his time as Minister of Defence, the Devonport Naval Base management contract was awarded to VT Fitzroy. VT Fitzroy is made up of the VT Group (also known as Vosper Thornycroft, Britain) and Fitzroy Engineering of New Plymouth. The VT Group's US subsidiary, VT Griffin Services, has a ten-year base support contract for Kings Bay, Georgia, which is where US nuclear armed submarines are based.
During his time as Minister of Defence, Mark Burton kept up the NZ army base maintenance and supply contracts with Serco Project Engineering Ltd. SPEL, as it is known, is a joint venture of Projeng Pty Ltd (Australia) and Serco Group Plc (Britain). Serco Group Plc, together with British Nuclear Fuels Ltd and Lockheed Martin manage Britain's nuclear weapons establishments including AWE Aldermaston and AWE Burghfield - which design, test, manufacture and 'refurbish' nuclear warheads.
The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act, also known as the nuclear-free legislation, prohibits any NZ citizen or a servant or agent of the Crown from aiding or abetting ... "any person to manufacture, acquire, possess, or have control over any nuclear explosive device" (Section 5b) - giving contracts to companies involved in the production or deployment of nuclear weapons is at the very least a breach of the spirit of the Act, and is considered by some to be an actual breach of that legislation.