Statement on the attack on Iran and the assassination of Qasem Soleimani

Statement on the attack on Iran and the assassination of Qasem Soleimani

The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign condemns unequivocally the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian General killed by a US drone strike on Friday 3rd Jan.  Assassination as a form of political action is not conducive to positive responses or an improvement in relationships.

 

“While the world watches what Iran will do in response and the risk of war rises exponentially, we in Australia watch with horror as we realise that US bases in Australia may have had a hand in the targeting of Qasem.” Said Denis Doherty of the anti-bases campaign.

 

“Furthermore, due to our total compliance with US wishes we have warships in and around the Strait of Hormuz which could be a handy target for Iranian anti-ship missiles.  Once again Australian lives are put in harm’s way for the satisfaction of Australian political leaders proving their devotion to the US Empire.”

 

In WW 2, the Prime Minister had to call back Australian troops to defend us in the face of a possible invasion by Japan.  In 2020 Australia faces the terrible emergency brought by on by climate change and the bushfires.  No units of the ADF must be allowed to be involved in any conflict with Iran.”

 

“This is not the time to provide an extra battalion or air squadron but a time to concentrate on the emergency on our own shores.  We cannot afford the lives or treasure for the US war against Iran.”

 

We call on the Prime Minister and his Government to act in the best interests of the country and keep our troops fighting bushfires and our climate catastrophe.

 

Our demands are:  No new ADF elements to be sent to Iraq/Iran

Bring back HMAS Toowoomba to Australian waters

Bring back the 300 Australian troops presently in Iraq.

No to war against the Kurds – Condemnation of the Turkish Government

ANTI-BASES calls an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syrian Territory.

The war started by Turkey is an aggression against the Kurdish people and an attack against the Syrian territorial sovereignty.

This cannot be and is not the solution of the regional problems. It only brings more civilian suffering and death.  After 4 days of the Turkish Operation there have been many causalities and over 100,000 are fleeing the fighting.

We state categorically that the following entities: the Turkish Government led by President Erdogan, the USA or any other imperialist force can bring peace to the people of Syria.

The real threat to the security of the Middle East is NATO, the US and the imperialist forces and those who insist on collaborating with them.

ANTI-BASES strongly condemn Turkey’s invasion with the permission of the US.  We acknowledge that the Kurdish people that have bravely fought against ISIS and protected civilians in the region.  We further condemn the cynicism of the US officials who acted to have the Kurdish forces remove the defensive barriers in a so called ‘security mechanism’ against an incursion by Turkey which left the Kurds in an even more vulnerable position.

ANTI-BASES calls for an immediate ceasefire.

The ANTI-BASES further condemn the limp wristed response of the Scott Morrison and his Government and the almost mirror image by the ALP opposition.

We call on the Morrison Government to follow French and German example by banning all military cooperation with Turkey.  That includes putting the list below on hold:

  • cooperation on Airborne Early Warning Aircraft development and use;
    • cooperation on Landing Ship Helicopter Dock (LHD) development and use;
    • Joint Defence Industry Trade Missions, and;
    •Training exchanges.

We further warn that the Australian Government must not hide behind the ANZAC myth when it comes to this action.  We do not honour the men who fought in Gallipoli by piling Kurdish corpses on the graves of the fallen of WW1.

Also, ANTI-BASES stresses that the UN must to take its responsibilities vis-à-vis the rights of the Kurdish people. Negotiations must start with all stakeholders in order to guarantee the rights of the Kurdish people.

ANTI-BASES supports all protest actions in front of Turkish embassies and consulates all over the Australia. The ANTI-BASES urges its members and supporters to join with members of the Australian Kurdish Community in expressing our disgust at the decision by Turkey to invade and the treacherous actions of the US.

America’s $300 million push to expand naval facilities in northern Australia

Australia is a Vassal of the United States not an Ally

America‘s $300 million push to expand naval facilities in northern Australia

“The Australian Government is handing over Darwin and its surrounds to the US military with secret plans for a naval base, a commercial port and roads. Once again Canberra is giving up Australian sovereignty and independence,” said Denis Doherty of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign.

Reports today of the US military putting aside $305 million for a naval base in Northern Australia (Darwin) indicate how low Australia has sunk to appease the US and its attempts to remain dominate in the Asia Pacific area.

The National Defense Authorization Act, which is still being discussed in Congress, says the money has been allocated for new “Navy Military Construction” in Darwin

“It is shameful that the Australian people are not consulted about hosting this base and becoming a target should there be conflict, even nuclear, between the US and China,” Mr Doherty said.

As well as the projected naval base, secret planning has begun for a new port facility just outside Darwin which will speed up US Marine operations in the region. The multi-use development would be in the Glyde Point area, roughly 40 kms north-east of Darwin’s existing port.

In addition $40 million has been spent on sealing Gunn Point Road near Glyde Point, improving all year accessibility.

Other than the use for tourism, Gunn Point Road is already utilised by the Australian Defence Force and Police and Emergency Services,

“US common practice is to put the entire bill for its aims on the host country,” Mr Doherty said.

“With the US marines in Darwin, Australia paid the total cost of their accommodation to the tune of $2 billion.

“$300 million will in no way pay for a new harbour/naval base. The cost would be in the billions. So the $300 million is only a token with the Australian taxpayer to pick up the bill for the rest.

“News reports talk of angry reactions from China, but they do not report on the angry reactions from the Australian people who do not want to be targets because we host antagonistic facilities aimed at China,”

“Will this base bring peace and stability and prosperity to our region or insecurity and turmoil? Why do we have to go all out in our desire to please the USA? Mr. Doherty concluded.

Kick the US Marines out of Darwin
No US Naval Base for Darwin or PNG.

 

Australia provides weapons to the Yemen War. media release 25th July

Australia must be transparent about its military exports:

Australian Arms Control Coalition

25th July, 2019: A newly formed group of civil society organisations and human rights advocates are calling on the Australian Government to lift the shield of secrecy over the sale and export of Australian-made military assets, following a damning ABC report aired today.

The story on ABC News 24 today called ‘Fighting Yemen’s dirty war, an Arab military is buying a weapons system made in Canberra’ clearly indicates the duplicity of the Australian Government over the last few years.  It also does not put the former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne in a good light.  Mr Pyne often claimed that Australian weapons would not be used in the conflict in Yemen.

The story refers to the company Electro Optics Systems (EOS) which produces weapons systems in Canberra.  Pallets of these weapons systems are clearly marked to be sent to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of the Interior are seen at a warehouse at Sydney Airport awaiting transport to the war in Yemen.

At the head office of EOS in the Sydney CBD the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign has held a vigil on the second Thursday of the month about EOS systems going to the Yemen conflict.  The vigil has been going for nearly a year now.

“The evidence presented in the ABC story raises a whole range of questions around where Australian arms are going, what risk assessment processes are taking place and what kind of follow ups are being done to ensure these arms are not inadvertently being used to carry out human rights abuses,” said Kellie Trantor, a lawyer and member of the newly formed Australian Arms Control Coalition, which encompasses key Australian civil society organisations and advocates.

“The lack of transparency around Australia’s defence exports is extremely concerning. Australians should know who their government is sending arms to and how those arms are being used, and they should have concrete guarantees that those arms will never be used to commit or facilitate violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law. Right now those concrete guarantees do not exist, and that is unacceptable.”

Chair of the Australian Arms Control Coalition (AACC), Save the Children’s Global Campaign Manager Joe Rafalowicz, said:

“It is unthinkable that Australian made defence exports could be helping fuel the war in Yemen, which has left more than 22 million people in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance, while some 85,000 children have died from the effects of war including starvation.

“The coalition is calling for increased transparency and accountability surrounding Australia’s defence exports processes, and associated risk assessments. We cannot turn a blind eye to the war in Yemen, and the role foreign weapons are playing.”

The Australian Arms Control Coalition formed in April 2019 out of shared concern around Australia’s current defence exports, particularly to parties to the war in Yemen.

Its members include Save the Children, Amnesty International, the Medical Association for Prevention of War, Sum of Us, Wage Peace, Human Rights Watch, the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network, Australian Centre for International Justice, Anti-Bases Campaign and Oxfam Australia.

This comes after a UK appeals court last month found the UK had unlawfully authorised exports of British weapons to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the war in Yemen. The Court held that the UK’s system for assessing the risk of defence exports leading to IHL violations in Yemen was flawed because it failed to properly assess and consider relevant evidence of Saudi Arabia’s IHL violations in Yemen.

“This significant decision, which forced the UK government to change its processes for future applications and reprocess all current permits, raises the possibility that Australia’s system is also falling short of a suitable due diligence process,” Ms Traintor said.

For more information

Australian Anti-Bases Campaign

 

 

 

64% Australians reject arms sales to Saudi Arabia media release

Media release 12th June 2019

The majority of Australians believe that Australia should follow countries like Germany and Finland and suspend weapons trading with Saudi Arabia which has been accused of committing human rights atrocities as part of the on going war in neighbouring Yemen.

A new survey by Essential Research has revealed that 64 per cent of respondents oppose Australian arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Only 13 per cent support the sales.

In Yemen an estimated 85,000 children under the age of five have died from starvation due to the war being waged by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

An Australian company called EOS (Electro Optics Systems) has received a $450 million contract to supply weapons systems to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Australian Government has subsidised this sale to the tune of $35 million.

EOS has its registered office at75 Elizabeth Street, near the corner with King Street in Sydney’s CBD.

Peace and human rights activists hold a vigil outside this office on the second Thursday of every month, demanding an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and an end to the war in Yemen.

“We are campaigning for our Government to stop encouraging the export of weapons to the Middle East,” says Denis Doherty of the Anti-Bases Campaign which is organising the monthly vigils.

The next vigil will be held at 75 Elizabeth Street, Sydney from 12 noon to 1pm on Thursday 13 June.

Contact: Denis Doherty on 0418 290 663

SIPRI military expenditure data, 2019

World military expenditure increase by 2.6%

 

  • World military expenditure increased in 2018 by 6 per cent in real terms, and is now estimated at $1822 billion.
  • The top 10 spenders in 2018 compared to 2017: 1. USA (+4.6%); 2. China (+5.0%); 3. Saudi Arabia (-6.5%); 4. India (+3.1%); 5. France (-1.4%); 6. Russia (-3.5%); 7. UK (+1.0%); 8. Germany (+1.8%); 9. Japan (approx. no change); 10. South Korea (5.1%).

 

Increases USA and China, Decrease in Saudi Arabia and Russia

 

  • US military spending rose for the first time since 2010. The US spending in 2018 was $649 billion. The US remains by far the largest spender in the world, accounting for 36% of global military spending in 2018.
  • African military spending decreased by 4%, North Africa declined by 5.5% while sub-Saharan Africa went down 11%.
  • Spending in the Americas was up by 4.4%. In Central America and Caribbean it increased by 8.8% compared to 2017; N. America’s spending grew by 4.4% and in S. America it was up by 3.1%.
  • Spending in Asia and Oceania continue to rise, especially in East Asia (increases in China and South Korea). At $250 billion, China accounted for 14% of world spending in 2018.
  • European spending increase by 1.4% since 2017. Central and Western Europe both increased their military spending amid continued threat perceptions towards Russia. In Eastern Europe, spending decreased mainly due to fall in Russia spending for two consecutive years.
  • Military spending by states in the Middle East for which data is available fell in 2018, by 1.9%. Saudi Arabia decreased its spending by 6.5% while Turkey had the largest relative annual increase (24%) of the top 15 spenders in 2018.
  • Total spending by all 29 NATO members was $963 billion or 53% of global military spending.
  • Top 15 increases 2017–18: Burkina Faso (+52%); Jamaica (+40%); Armenia (+33%); Bosnia and Herzegovina (+26%); Turkey (+24%); Latvia (+24%); Bulgaria (+23%); Ukraine (+21%); Zimbabwe (+19%); Lithuania (+18%); Czechia (+18); Nigeria (+18%); Romania (+18%); Uganda (+17%); Kazakhstan (+16%).
  • Top 15 decreases 2017–2018: South Sudan (-50%); Sudan (-49%); Benin (-28%); Congo, Republic of the (-27%); Trinidad and Tobago (-18%); Angola (-18%); Iraq (-16%); Bahrain (-11%); Gabon (-10%); DRC (-10%); Iran (-9.5%); Myanmar (-8.9%); Lesotho (-8.8%); Sri Lanka (-8.4%); Malaysia (-8.2%).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regional details

 

Region Change in military expenditure since 2017 Top 5 spenders in 2018 Big increasers and decreasers

(>10% in real terms 2017-2018)

Americas Moderate increase USA, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico Increasers: Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Mexico

Decreasers: Trinidad and Tobago

Africa Decrease Algeria, Sudan, South Africa, Morocco, Angola Increasers: Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo

Decreasers: South Sudan, Sudan, Benin, Republic of the Congo, Angola, Gabon, DRC

Middle East Highly uncertain Saudi Arabia, UAE (2014), Turkey, Israel, Iran Increasers: Turkey

Decreasers: Iraq, Bahrain

Asia and Oceania Moderate increase China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia Increasers: Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Pakistan

Decreasers:

Europe Minor    increase France, Russia, UK, Germany, Italy Increasers: Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, Czechia, Romania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ireland, Albania

Decreasers:

 

What does the RAAF do when it kills civilians?

Media Release

Friday, February 1, 2019

The answer is easy it awards the commander who was in charge of the operation with a medal and awards it on Australia Day!  Here is the citation for 2019 Australia Day Awards covering 2018.

Distinguished Service Medal.

Wing Commander M

For distinguished leadership in warlike operations on Operation OKRA. Wing Commander M’s composed and purposeful leadership style, skilful supervision of flying operations and exemplary personnel management inspired his unit to deliver outstanding air power in support of Operation OKRA objectives. His actions ensured the survival and continued operational effectiveness of friendly forces while protecting civilians in proximity to the fighting.

The RAAF has excused itself.  ‘Unfortunate the results of war’ said Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld.

Both Minister Pyne and Prime Minister Morrison have excused the RAAF.  ‘The Australian Defence Force would never bomb civilians’ yet today’s announcement show that they have.

Denis Doherty spokesperson for the Anti-Bases Campaign said today.  “We reject the Government’s explanation of this tragedy, we say they should not be there using aircraft in city areas!”

In 2018 after the RAAF bombed the Syrian Army and killed 6 Syrian soldiers, we had the same excuses over again.  On top of that the commander of that operation got a medal on Australia Day 2018!

When asked to explain why after a ‘stuff up’ a commander should get a medal the RAAF spokesperson Air Commodore S V Edgeley, Acting Deputy Chief of Air Force said “Royal Australian Air Force members who were reconised in the Australia Day honours served their country with distinction in a demanding operational environment, and have been recognized accordingly.”

RAAF on both occasions did not serve their country with distinction and do not and did not deserve medals.  Some poor countries reward officers who commit human rights violations with promotions are we no better than those militaries?  The 2019 citation read:  ..”while protecting civilians in proximity to the fighting.”

The RAAF has been recognised as most recalcitrant of services in providing coordinates of their missions to a human rights organisations even worse than the US!  On the 7.30 report of 14/3/2017 several NGO’s including a UN representative complained about Australia’s lack of transparency in regard to providing information on bombing raids including dates and coordinates.  Australia’s intransigence contrasted strongly with of all people the US and the NATO states.  This is a continuation of the ADF’s policy of not providing information to the Australian people on a range of issues relating to it’s operations.  In view of the exorbitant amount money provided by the Australian taxpayer for ADF operations the lack of information is really scandalous.

The RAAF has reported this event 2 years after the event so that the information can be controlled and no protests will result in the withdrawal of RAAF from their bombing spree.

 

 

Cabinet Papers are they telling us all? NO not about Pine Gap

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/what-is-still-being-held-back-in-cabinet-papers-release-20181228-p50oku.html

 

What is still being held back in Cabinet papers release?

By Sally Whyte

1 January 2019 — 11:00pm

The annual release of Cabinet documents from 20 years ago is generally seen as an exercise in transparency, with the public able to get an insight into the issues considered by the government of the day, and the advice given by various ministers.

In the National Archives of Australia’s January 1 release of Cabinet documents for 1996 and 1997, the first year of the Howard government is documented, including how it dealt with gun control, native title, immigration and other issues still felt today.

The secretive Pine Gap facility, photographed in 2016.

But there are still some documents that aren’t released to the public, or are only released with big black boxes where the information is still considered too sensitive to be made public.

Advice given to the Howard government about the expansion of US military operations at Pine Gap outside Alice Springs is still subject to redactions, because it contains “information pertaining to Defence plans, operations or capabilities of continuing sensitivity”.

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One of the documents is marked “SECRET AUSTEO,” which means for “Australian Eyes Only”.

What is known is that then defence minister Ian McLachlan recommended the government approve plans to expand operations at Pine Gap to include a Relay Ground Station at the facility.

While the Pine Gap station had existed since the 1960s, the proposal came after the US announced it intended to close a similar facility at Woomera in South Australia.

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Official cabinet historian Paul Strangio said it was unusual for the documents to be redacted, and that most redactions were in Cabinet documents relating to national security and foreign affairs.

“It does pose really interesting questions I think in terms of fundamental principle – the idea of moving from 30 years to 20 years – most people would support that and think it’s a good thing but it does mean of course some of the issues, there’s a greater likelihood of sensitivity,” he said.

Cabinet’s national security committee agreed to support the proposal under the conditions that Australia could “exploit the capabilities of the system to address Australian Defence Force (ADF) interests” and would be enabled “to make a contribution to performance of the system’s missions”.

The government also wanted it to be ensured “that Australia has full knowledge and concurrence of the operations of the Relay Ground Station and the wider system it supports”.

The most redacted section is under the heading “Functions of the RGS,” and while its known capability to detect the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles is explained, every other statement about its functions is fully or partially redacted.

A screenshot of a page of a Cabinet document from 1997 regarding the US Defence facility at Pine Gap. Released as part of the January 1 release of Cabinet documents, it is still heavily redacted.CREDIT:NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA

Cabinet was advised that Australia being aware of what was going on in the facility “is important from the standpoint of sovereignty” and that the US had given “high level assurances” that the measures outlined in the submission would be “reflected in the Implementing Arrangements”.

Cabinet was told to expect criticism “by issue motivated groups opposed to a US presence in Australia, or to cooperation with the United States in ballistic missile early warning”.

It was also told the facility “would prolong cooperation in a mission that has been a central strand of the alliance relationship for over 25 years” and would be in Australia’s interests.

 redacted by The Australian Government – so much for budget honesty!

Christmas 2018 Urgent Appeal

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Attn: PEACE LOVERS –Urgent Appeal.

The recent APEC conference in PNG laid down the provocative position that the US along with Australia and other countries would engage in aggressive competition rather than cooperation with China.  This position means Australia is becoming part of a regional effort to threaten and oppose rather than cooperate with China.  Our region deserves better.  Australia and US have added a military base on Manus Island which will ramp up tensions in our region still further.  The ground is being prepared for war rather than peaceful cooperation.  The situation in our region needs citizen action against the foolhardy and mistake-prone Trump administration in Washington and a bumbling Morrison Government here.

At present the Anti-Bases group has less than $50 in our account.  We can’t act for peace without financial resources.  Hence, as Xmas the season of peace approaches, we are making an urgent appeal to you.  We ask you to donate a spare $50 or $100 even more if you want, to our campaign to resist the new Australian Base on Manus Island and to keep us going.

Yours in Peace

Denis Doherty

Bank details: BSB: 659 000 acc no: 734 827 acc name: Australian Anti-Bases

Or send cheques etc to PO Box 899, Sydney Sth NSW 1235

Australian Militarism in the Pacific

A letter we wrote to the Minister for Defence 20th Oct, 2018

The Hon Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Defence
PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

Re.: Australian militarism in the Pacific

The Australian Government’s decision to re-claim the Lombrum military base on Manus Island, under the guise of a joint facility agreement, is extremely alarming. There seems little doubt that the main motivation for the move is not to benefit the people of PNG but to counter Chinese interest in the island’s port development.

The Lombrum agreement exemplifies how Australia’s adhesion to a ‘hip-to-hip’ alliance with the US, its own military ambitions and its anxieties about China are undermining any capacity we might have to engage on a mutually beneficial basis with our much smaller and less powerful Pacific neighbours. The people of the Pacific have suffered long and hard at the hands of military powers and many have worked tirelessly for a peaceful Pacific. Instead of being inspired by that work, Australia is wielding its economic and military muscle unfairly, compromising the independence of Pacific Island states’ own foreign policy making.

What began as the Australia’s Defence Department’s Pacific Patrol Boat Program in the 1980s, the Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP) has now grown military tentacles that extend far beyond our rightful reach. December 2017 saw the inauguration of a 30-year regional aerial surveillance capability, supposedly ‘civilian’, involving a $10 million Department of Defence contract (annual?) with Technology Service Corporation and the permanent basing of two long-range aircraft in the region. The new capability is in addition to the ADF’s Operation Solania and activities of the Quadrilateral Defence Coordinating Group (Australia, NZ, France, US).

Australia has also established a $2 million communications centre at the Lombrum  base and extended its patrol boat program by promising 21 new Guardian Class (i.e. military) patrol boats to 12 Pacific nations, including 4 for PNGDF and 2 for Timor Leste; the reported cost is over $300miliion. Plans for an Australian Pacific Security College are also being implemented.

Now the program is to include a ‘joint military facility’, what will be in effect a foreign military base for Australia – a $5 million upgrade of PNG’s Lombrum naval base all the better to support US and Australian navy operations and accommodate large US and Australian warships. The base is also to receive regular deployments of Australian armed forces, adding to the network of RAN advisers already deployed in PNG.

The PMSP, combined with other ADF activities in the Pacific, is a program of military intervention and risks abusing the sovereignty of Pacific states. Non-intervention and sovereign equality are founding principles of the UN Charter. Australia’s insistence on assuming economic and military leadership in the South Pacific has made us a bully. Even conservative commentators acknowledge our misuse of power. ASPI’s Graeme Dobbell recently stated, “The hegemon isn’t always benign—we have form as a selfish bully” https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australias-agenda-for-integrating-the-south-pacific/. Another ASPI spokesperson, Michael Shoebridge, has made clear what is the true purpose of the Manus Island base: “ … it makes ‘good sense’ for Australia and the US … it would help give the US a wider operating and support footprint in the Pacific and give Australian naval forces a location 2000km from [their otherwise closest base in] Darwin …”

Australia’s excessive offshore military posturing in the Pacific makes no sense strategically. It is perceived by China as a hostile, provocative action, simply an augmentation of US aims to militarily contain China.

Australia needs to be talking to and building a cooperative relationship with China, not spending huge sums of aid money on such things as the Lombrum naval base and other developments to pre-empt or compete against Chinese interests. Why couldn’t Australia have worked with China on upgrading PNG’s ports, something we could have done also on the $136 million internet cable between PNG, Solomons and Australia?

Every dollar spent on military aid is an opportunity lost. Many Pacific communities are among the poorest in the world. They need support to develop their education, medical and other essential services, not a base to accommodate foreign defence forces. Imagine what could be achieved if the PMSP and its Pacific military budget were transferred to DFAT and used to help meet civilian need, including the islands’ efforts to mitigate the effects of sea level rise and severe weather events!

Pacific leaders have rightly criticised Australia for its failure to meet its global responsibilities in dealing with climate change. Global warming is the world’s greatest security threat, and the Pacific Islands are among the first and worst of its victims. Australia’s foremost and indeed most urgent responsibility to the Pacific Island states (and the world) is to put in place its own emissions reduction measures to achieve, within the next 12 years, a 78% emissions reduction on 2010 levels, as demanded by the recent IPCC report.

Besides being unduly interventionist, the Lombrum agreement is anti-democratic. PNG’s Prime Minister and defence command may support Australia’s military interventions but neither the people of Manus nor of Australia have been consulted. The agreement has not been given so much as an airing in either country’s parliament. For the past 5 to 6 years, Manusians have had their community life and economy seriously disrupted by Australia’s notorious refugee detention centre, managed by our militarised ABF. Now, they are to suffer the imposition of a foreign military base and become the focus for Chinese and US/Australian strategic rivalry.

The glaringly obvious question to you and your government is: How does Australia’s military impositions on Manus Island, PNG generally and other small Pacific neighbours differ from the destabilising strategies of which you accuse China? Australia’s increasing military expansion – its claim on Lombrum naval base, its development of Fiji’s Black Rock military camp, its increasingly provocative military exercises, such as the annual Indo-Pacific Endeavour wargames – is diametrically opposed to a peace promoting foreign policy and the ’de-escalating of uncertainties’ to which the PM has given lip service.

We also ask that, as demanded by basic accountability, the full text of the Lombrum Base agreement with PNG and related documents be made public. Has revision of the SOFA between PNG and Australia occurred? What environmental and social assessment has been undertaken?

Australia has the capacity and responsibility to be a force for peace in our region. It is tragic that the government is denying our potential.

Sincerely,