Northrop Grumman not welcome in Western Sydney

Northrop Grumman not welcome at Badgerys Creek

NSW Premier Ms Berejiklian described Prime Minister Turnbull’s announcement that US defence corporation Northrop Grumman will be the first tenant in a new $50 million centre of excellence at Badgerys Creek airport as “the start of something really great.” Peace groups have responded by saying that western Sydney does not deserve such a corrupt and criminal corporation in its midst.

“Northrop Grumman has a record of supplying defective equipment, over charging, environmental pollution and more,” said Dr Hannah Middleton from the Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition in Sydney today.

The first major scandals in Northrop Grumman’s history came in the early 1970s, when the company was embroiled in controversies over illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign as well as some $30 million in bribes paid to foreign governments to win orders for fighter jets.

In 1989, Northrop was charged with falsifying test results on cruise missiles for the Air Force and Harrier jets for the Marine Corps. In 1990, the company agreed to plead guilty and pay a fine of $17 million.

In 1992 the company had to pay $4.2 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that the company padded its invoices on MX missile guidance system work.

In 1999, the company was sued for knowingly giving the Navy defective aircraft. Ten years later, Northrop Grumman agreed to pay $325 million to settle the suit.

In 2000 Northrop Grumman paid $1.4 million to settle a whistleblower case alleging that the company overcharged the Air Force for B-2 bomber instruction and repair manuals.

In 2003, the company was sued for overcharging the U.S. government for space projects. It later paid $111.2 million to settle out of court.

In 2003, Northrop Grumman agreed to pay $80 million to settle two cases, one involving the delivery of allegedly defective drones.

In 2004, Northrop settled for $1.8 million a case involving cruise missiles. The following year it paid $62 million to settle remaining claims relating to overcharging on the B-2 bomber program.

In June 2010 Northrop paid $12.5 million to settle charges that it neglected to test electronic parts it supplied for navigation systems in military aircraft and submarines.

In 2015 Northrop Grumman was cited for eight health and safety violations at its Lake Charles, Louisiana, worksite after it was discovered that workers were exposed while removing paint and repainting to methylene chloride and hexavalent chromium, hazardous chemicals with strict regulations regarding job safety.

“This is just a small sample of the armaments corporation’s shady dealings,” Dr Middleton said. “The company is not a good corporate citizen and is not welcome in our city.”

 

Contact Dr Middleton 0418 668 098

Move the Money – Global Day of Action to Reduce Military Spending

Time for the Australian Government to reduce military spending

 

Australia is among the top five spenders on armaments in our region, joining China, India, Japan and South Korea in the club of big military spenders on the military, according to figures published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

 

According to the SIPRI data, world military expenditure increased in 2016 by 0.4% in real terms, and is now estimated at roughly $1686 billion. The top 10 spenders in 2016 were the USA, Russia, China Saudi Arabia, India, France, UK, Japan, Germany and South Korea.

 

SIPRI comments that “What we see is a predatory system of greed and power, a system that exploits the natural resources and energy of most of the world, and for this the military is the primary tool. For this reason, military spending must be reduced if we want to ensure a fair distribution of natural resources and an effective world decolonization. “

 

Australia will spend an estimated $1 trillion on war preparations over the next 20 years,” said Denis Doherty of Anti-Bases Campaign.

 

“We say Australia has a duty to reduce military spending in this time of high tension in the region brought on by the rash actions of the Trump administration.

 

“There has been an international campaign, including around Australia, in recent days, calling for a cut in the arms race.

 

“The aim is to push governments to invest money in human needs including health, education, employment and climate change rather than military.

 

“It is more and more urgent to drastically cut military spending worldwide and redirect this money to the promotion of human rights and to the construction a new, peaceful way of life based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

 

“It is urgent that we build human security structures worldwide and at the same time put a stop to war and destruction. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are examples of wars that have destroyed countries and their people. The vast majority of humankind desires a peaceful life,” Mr. Doherty said.

 

 

Avert War -Close Pine Gap

Avert war – close Pine Gap

Pine Gap, the highly secret United States war fighting and surveillance base, is reported to be spying on North Korea as tensions escalate on the Korean peninsula.

The base, near Alice Springs, provides provide key intelligence to both Washington and US Forces in the Pacific.

“We cannot accept the use of Pine Gap by the United States which would mean Australia would be deeply involved in any US military action against or even invasion of North Korea,” said Denis Doherty from the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition.

“And this could happen without Australian Government agreement or even knowledge.”

US warships and fighter jets have been diverted from a planned visit to Australia to Korean waters after the DPRK launched a ballistic missile test.

“With growing talk of US military action following its strikes against Syria last week, the US has notified Australia that it is prepared to shoot down any North Korean missile launches,” he said.

“Yet North Korea is called ‘provocative’!

“North Korea does not have the capability to deliver a nuclear warhead to the US or Australia. Yet Defence Industry Minister Pyne felt able to claim that North Korea has the ‘capability to hurt Australia, the United States, South Korea, and Japan’,” Mr Doherty said..

“The Republic of Korea and the United States, with help from others in region such as Japan, conduct massive annual military exercises off the coast of North Korea every year. Yet North Korea is demonised as unstable and dangerous.

“US President Trump is on a dangerous course to provoke war in our region and yet our Government and Opposition remain united in all out support for the US regardless of the risks to Australians and to the world.

“The way forward is to take Pine Gap out of the US arsenal to help prevent massive destruction and human suffering in our region and to ensure that our government and our people are not complicit in aggression and even war. Close it now!” Mr Doherty said

For more information

Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

 

Anti-Bases Statement on US Bombing of Syria

Statement

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Condemnation of the US bombing of Syria

The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign unreservedly condemns the bombing of a Syrian airbase (April 6 2017) by the US based on the excuse of the use of chemical weapons.  We also condemns the weak response by both the Coalition Government and the right wing opposition Labor Party in which we see a complete dereliction of duty to pursue to peaceful means.  Instead both the Australian Government and the ALP opposition are in lock step agreement with the disastrous US bombing.

 

“After years of supporting the insurgency against the Assad Government in Syria, the US is trying to puff itself up as being on the moral high ground.  The US has supplied the insurgents with weapons and some of these have made their way to the hands of the IS.  The US’s allies namely Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Gulf States have financed the IS while the US has turned a blind eye to the damage and civilian deaths caused.”  Said Denis Doherty of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC).

 

“The arms used by the IS are all US made and the Toyotas used by this force is likewise a direct result of the US support and financing of the jihadists.  Meanwhile the legitimate Government of Syria with all its faults is battling a massive insurgency which is financed with US cooperation by countries with deep pockets such as Saudi Arabia.

 

“The claims of the US of concern ring especially hollow, as the US just killed over 230 civilians including children in Mosul.  The western world’s response was a sympathetic murmur of ‘collateral damage’ such indulgence is not afforded to Assad.  The US and Australian Governments are puffing themselves up as being concerned with civilian casualties when they are just as bad.  A person killed by a weapon which is either ‘nice’ US one or a chemical is still dead.

 

The US inspected Assad’s stockpile of chemical weapons and then destroyed them.  As in Iraq the US is now declaring Assad must have hidden some but how can we trust them after the disaster it caused in Iraq?

 

A determined effort by the US and Australia to assist a cease fire being enacted would see their efforts being more positive and advantageous to peace.  Instead the US and Australia always rely on military force which is totally ineffective and spreads more misery and death.  Shame on the Trump administration and the weak irresponsible Australian Government and Opposition.

 

 

Anti-Bases Report on Military Training Bases

Environmental Report on Australian Bases
for Rockhampton and Townsville Beef Producers

 

Introduction

 

This report focuses on effects of military training and military produced contaminants.  It is safe to say that these activities have overwhelmingly negative effects on the ecosystem structure and function.  These effects include habitat alteration, environmental pollution and disturbance to populations of flora and fauna which can bring about both long lasting and acute effects in both land and water.

 

The weapons employed by militaries during land conflicts create probably the greatest hazard to ecosystems. The numerous explosive techniques and tools at the disposal of army forces during ground warfare have left a legacy on landscapes across the globe of large craters, shrapnel, and contamination, devastating many ecosystems across the biosphere (Westing 1980; Hupy 2008; Certini et al. 2013).

 

This report uses mostly US material but there is a growing amount of Australian information coming to light in recent years.  The US situation is severe as its military is far bigger and has been using nuclear and chemical weapons as well as conventional weapons while the Australian military has restricted itself to the conventional.

 

Military bases which exclude human use do sometimes contribute to a better environment.  The ‘no-man’s land’ in the DMZ on the Korean peninsula has become a sort of reserve or park for cranes.  The area around Pine Gap where no cattle or people are allowed is better country than the neighbouring farms.

 

The Australian military is sensitive to environmental issues in a public relations sense. They now commission environmental impact statements (EIS) on all their major works and exercises.  The drawback is that these statements tend to be produced by tame commercial organisations which rarely reject the proposals and seldom require clean-ups and remediation. The military’s real view of the environment is probably best summed up by US Admiral Jeremiah who stated that in many cases the environment is used as a screen to mask hidden political agendas. He said these agendas could often be characterized as ‘anti-military’.  Environment regulations must recognize the fact that war and its preparation are inherently destructive.

 

Military Training Bases

A military training base is a general designation applied to military facilities that house military equipment and personnel, and facilitate training exercises and tactical operations.  Military training bases can range from small outpost sites to large military ‘cities’. The variation in size and operational use of military training bases leads to a broad spectrum of human produced impacts, both in type and severity, on the local ecosystem.  These impacts can be broken down into two broad categories: (i) the development of military training bases, which includes the establishment and construction of the facility and site; and (ii) operations of the military training base, which include the functional operation of the infrastructure itself and the corresponding military activities designated for the specific site.

 

There are differences between the sites near Shoalwater Bay (Rockhampton) and Townsville proposed for the Singaporean base.  The main difference is that the Rockhampton area is wet tropics and has a higher annual rainfall than the Townsville area which is dry savannah.  This will mean that water pollution will act more quickly in the Rockhampton area than further north.  However hazardous material is just as dangerous wherever the contamination is present.

 

(i) the development of military training bases, which includes the establishment and construction of the facility and site

 

What actual construction is planned at each site is not clear at this time but there are several points we can make with some surety.  There will be buildings to house the soldiers, workshops, hazardous material storage and so on. There will be infrastructure such as roads, helicopter landing pads and obstacles for training, etc.  These items will cause impacts which include habitat degradation, soil erosion, and chemical contamination.

 

Initial site development requires the clearing of vegetation and trees, followed by intensive soil excavation and compaction. This process alters the natural landscape by the removal of existing vegetation and the prevention of future vegetation growth.  The removal of vegetation coupled with soil excavation increases the potential for soil erosion, and reduces water infiltration rates, altering the landscape ecology by changing soil structure and chemistry, and increasing water runoff rates.  Chemical contamination of local water sources can also occur from increased water runoff carrying sediments and chemicals associated with waste dumping (e.g., hazardous building materials, paints, solvents, etc.), and accidental chemical spills (e.g., fuel and oil) during the development stage.

 

For effective combat training in real-world scenarios, military training bases need large areas in a wide variety of environments and climate zones.  The USA has training bases in various climate zones. In fact 6% of the world’s surface has been put aside for military training. However, it is hard to understand why the Singapore military would need to train in an arid savannah area when they would be operating in a hot tropical forest area if their purpose is the defense of Singapore.  It is likely that the impetus for this sort of training is the pressure the US is exerting on ‘allies’ such as Singapore (and Australia) to do some work in the Middle East. It is legitimate to ask why Australian farmers have to suffer for Singaporean and possibly USA foreign policy objectives.

 

The proposed Singaporean base will create great tracts of land where flora and fauna can thrive. However, this small environmental silver lining is hardly sufficient to give the farmers who lose their land any solace.  Compulsory acquisition of the farms will eliminate economic production and jobs (direct and indirect – mechanics, abbatoir workers, transport workers, etc). Farming activities can continue for generations but a military base is not productive and is likely to create profits for only local pubs and night club owners.

The environmental impacts associated with the upkeep of military infrastructure and equipment have been a growing concern in many countries around the world.

 

Military infrastructure and equipment is subject to constant use, often under extreme conditions, creating the need for constant maintenance and upkeep. This maintenance leads to the generation of large quantities of hazardous wastes including heavy metals, solvents, corrosives, paints, fuel, and oils.

 

When these hazardous wastes are improperly stored or disposed of, it can cause serious water contamination and habitat degradation issues, which can directly affect biodiversity.  There have even been documented reports of military sites that dump hazardous wastes into open holding ponds, evaporation ponds, mines, and wells.

 

Aerial wastes

While the Singaporean base will probably not house ground attack aircraft, we can expect them to have helicopters (their own or on loan from Australia). The maintenance of helicopters requires the use of hazardous materials, oils and fuels, and cleaning solvents.

 

An additional hazard is the impact of noise on the animals in the local area.

 

The construction of landing areas and frequent take offs and landings will also be a source of disturbance of soil and plants besides the animals.

 

Chemical composition of artillery and tank shells

Most shells are high velocity carrying an explosive payload to do maximum damage to the target on arrival.  Shells can also carry chemical, incendiary and other payloads.  Since an international agreement has banned chemical weapons there is little likelihood that Australian sites will use such chemical weapons.  Australian munitions use RDX and TNT. http://www.australian-munitions.com.au/portfolio-item/high-explosives/

  1. Trinitrotoluene (TNT) is a high explosive used in the manufacture of bombs and other munitions. It is primarily absorbed by humans through the skin or through inhalation or ingestion of its fumes and dust.  Some of its effects are liver and kidney damage, anemia, leukocytosis, and peripheral neuropathy.
  2. RDX is an acronym for “research and development explosive” (hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5 triazine). The army (US) noted toxic affects among soldiers in Vietnam who were exposed to RDX, either through accidental ingestion or prolonged exposure to RDX fumes. Its long term effects were not well known but US soldiers were documented to have seizures, vomiting, amnesia and even coma from exposure to the chemical. (Ref Seth Shulman “The Threat at Home – confronting the toxic legacy of the US military pp 203-211).

 

These two chemicals can get into drinking water, be blown in the dust many kilometres from the original blast and set up populations for chemical contamination for many years to come. Neighbouring farmers could be contaminated as could farm animals.  If beef cattle were detected with various chemical contamination emanating from military training areas it could cause a severe drop in revenue for the meat industry.

A similar case involving different chemicals can be seen in the farms around Oakey Queensland and Tindall NT where contamination from cleaning chemicals has caused a toxic plume to enter surface and bore water.

  1. One of the payloads an artillery/tank shell can deliver is depleted uranium (DU). However, the Australian Government does not allow depleted uranium shells to be used in Australia.  However, there is no guarantee that some time in the future this restriction will be lifted.  It is important not to alarm people about the dangers of DU especially when the important issue is the real contaminates at present affecting Australian populations.

 

UXO- Unexploded Ordinance

For any number of rounds fired either by tank, artillery piece or other means, a certain percentage do not detonate.  These rounds penetrate the soil to some depth or skid off and lie on the surface.  The danger of the surface live rounds is that they can detonate for any reason, a cow stepping on them, a boy throwing them, bushfire, etc.  The rounds that penetrate the surface can only be removed by armoured bulldozers and sifting equipment which is extremely expensive. No one knows how long such UXOs remain live — there is still ammunition detonating from WW1 on Belgian farms.  This is why we say the land will be locked up for many decades and rendered useless for any farming.

 

Australian experience:

The current environmental scandal affecting the military is the toxic plumes that flow from RAAF bases right around the country.  Apparently a solvent used to suppress fire was used on all RAAF planes for many years. The solvent was washed down nearby drains and as a result there are toxic plumes moving out from the bases.  Williamtown near Newcastle and Oakey near Toowoomba  have been in the news and Tindall outside Catherine and in a beef producing area of the NT has experienced the contamination of their bores from this toxic plume.  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/health/2016/08/27/exclusive-toxic-chemical-conflict-defence-sites/14722200003667

 

Low standards

The Saturday Paper has revealed that three companies that won multimillion-dollar Defence Department contracts helped to set the controversially lower standards.

The consultancy firms joined government health officials at an invitation-only workshop to draft new safe limits for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), both widely used on defence bases for almost 50 years. They are increasingly linked to cancer, liver and thyroid disease, immune suppression and reduced fertility.

The April 5 workshop set “tolerable daily intake” levels for both chemicals at 75 times higher than acceptable limits in the United States. Safe drinking water limits were set at more than 78 times the US level.

This information is not good news for those whose properties adjoin Australian military bases.  The Morton National Park near the town of Milton on the South Coast of NSW was a training area for the Australian military who dumped many toxic substances in a certain area of the park.  This area is fenced off but vulnerable to bushfires and a few years ago was threatened during a particularly intense bushfire season.  No one knows what will happen if fire does get into this area and what damage and contamination may spread from such an event.  As bushwalkers enter the park they are confronted by this sign:

 

Conclusion

Australian and American experience of training bases is that the land is too contaminated to be used again for farming.  Any clean-up is far too expensive and difficult so the military’s best plan is to put a fence around the land and let it stagnate for decades.

The map below is a fair summary of what the military have at their disposal at present.  It is impossible to argue that the Australian and Singaporean militaries do not already have enough land area for practice and training. The current Federal Government plans are reckless and cannot be justified by the billions of dollars being paid by the Singaporean Government for a military training base.

Australia will benefit if our government gives priority to food security over military security.

 

 

Prepared by Denis Doherty

Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition
Mobile 0418 290 663
Website www.anti-bases.org

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Anti-Bases Response to the RAAF bombing of Syrian Government Fighters

Media Release

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Anti-Bases Response to the RAAF bombing of Syrian Government Fighters

RAAF Hornets dropped bombs in botched strike that killed Syrian government forces

There are many unanswered questions in this botched operation but at the heart of is Australia’s illegal involvement with the forces wanting regime change in Syria.

“Australia has bombed Syrian Government Forces and killed dozens of fighters against the IS, yet the very presence of Australian forces is illegal.  The Syrian Government has not invited Australia into the conflict to defend it.  So we have a situation that an unwanted and illegal force (Australia) has mistakenly bombed fighters of the legitimate Government of Syria.”  Said Denis Doherty of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign today.

“This must be a double crime for all those in Syria and the world who are genuinely wish for an end to extremists.”

“No Australian is to be punished or demoted?  Why ever not?  Surely the entire Australian Force in Syria must be returned to Australia lest they embarrass us on the world stage again.  Above all the Government should apologise to the Syrian people and offer some compensation.”

“The Australian Prime Minister and Opposition leader must apologise to the Australian people for being so hairy chested in the first place, pretending that we are on the high moral ground in relation to conflict in the Middle East.  The complicity of Australia in the war on Iraq is known by the world.  The results of that deception live on in groups like the IS who would not have arisen but for mayhem caused by Australia and the others in the US led ‘coalition of the willing’.”

“The main reason for the presence of US facilities in Australia such as Pine Gap, Kojarena and other places is so that the Australian military can get a share of the ‘state of the art’ intelligence for our operations.  Yet as soon as it is tested it comes up as a very second class form of intelligence which is blamed for us committing a horrible atrocity on behalf of the US in their fight for regime change.

 

We repeat the message: ‘time for the end of the alliance’ and ‘time for the end of the US embarrassing us on the world stage’

.

 

For more information.

Contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

 

Reaction to SMH Column by Peter Hartcher Australia has a secret weapon to keep Donald Trump in our alliance

by Nick Deane

I almost agree with Peter Hartcher (‘Our secret weapon to woo Trump’ Nov. 15). He writes that “it’s a good time for a deep examination” of Australia’s alliance with the US. However, the point to be made is that the Trump election renders that examination absolutely imperative and urgent – much more than just a good idea!

 

Nick Deane

Marrickville Peace Group

by Denis Doherty Anti-Bases

Dear Editor,

Peter Hartcher takes the wrong approach in his column ‘Australia has a secret weapon to keep Donald Trump in our alliance’ SMH Nov 15.  Instead of taking the arrival of Donald Trump as an opportunity to look at the US alliance anew too many are searching for ways to keep the alliance as it is.  Paul Keating among others has called for the renewal of our approach to the US.

 

Pine Gap is at the moment the poisonous heart of Australia in a real way as the site from which Australian citizens have their privacy violated and their details sent to the US and other states, it assists in the war crimes of the Obama drone program.  It has been used in the wars against Iraq and the Afghanistan.  Far from assuring us of security it actually makes it more probable that Australians will be targets in any so called ‘blow back’ operation from those injured or threatened by the drones.  Above all security wise Pine Gap is a nuclear target and experts explain to us that within 30 mins of a nuclear exchange with China or Russia the area around Pine Gap and Alice Springs will be devastated by a nuclear blasts.  After that Pine Gap and its nearby areas will be poisoned by nuclear contamination for many years.

The cost of the US alliance is too expensive.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Denis Doherty

US alliance and Trump

In the light of remarks he made during the campaign, Donald Trump’s election raises questions about the extent to which Australia can rely on the United States of America for military protection. The folly of over-reliance on a foreign power for the nation’s defence should now be absolutely clear. No doubt senior figures in our defence establishment are grappling with this realization right now.

 

What they should do is look on this as an opportunity to completely re-assess Australia’s approach to its defence. The hallmark of any truly independent nation is, surely, the willingness and capacity for that nation to look after its own defence. Now is the time to open debate on how Australia might best do just that.

 

The strategic situation was fluid enough before the election. We now face a very uncertain future. This is the time for Australians to accept the reality of true independence and the responsibilities that that brings. Time for the nation to stand up and assert with confidence that we can look after ourselves!

 

Nick Deane

Marrickville Peace Group

 

 

Anti-Bases Anti-Nuclear Letter to Australian Politicians

To Senators Penny Wong and Nick Xenophon

Thursday, 6 October 2016

 

The Hon Penny Wong

Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate

c/- Parliament House Canberra

 

Dear Senator Wong,

Re:  the support of Scott Ludlam’s motion re: a ban on nuclear weapons

 

Australia is in a unique position to urge the major nuclear states to desist from the use, the threatened use and the stockpiling of nuclear weapons as it has no weapons of its own.  Australia when led by Labor has had a good reputation in promoting peace and justice around the world.  This reputation built up by Labor is being trashed by the government so why support them on nuclear weapons?  Labor organised and promoted the Canberra Commission where we as a nation played a part in urging the reduction if not elimination of such weapons.  Labor stood up to the US over the use of the MX missiles in our area.  Australia played a part in the banning of land mines and chemical weapons why can’t we play a part in banning nuclear weapons?  Surely the action of around 116 countries around the world is sufficient to convince you to get with the strength and vote against nuclear weapons.

 

We draw your attention to a quote by Paul Dibb a well-respected Australian defence expert who was even used in preparing the last white paper on defence.

 

Paul Dibb, “We judged, for example, that the SS511 ICBM site at Svobodny in Siberia was capable of one million instant deaths and 750,000 radiation deaths on Sydney. And you would not have wanted to live in Alice Springs, Woomera or Exmouth – or even Adelaide.” –

“America has always kept us in the loop”, The Australian, 10 September 2005.

 

I am sure that you do not welcome the threat that Adelaide is under from nuclear weapons as you represent that city and state and your partner and child live there.  We ask humbly are you prepared to accept a million instant deaths and 750,000 radiation deaths in Sydney?  If so could you inform the people of Sydney that is what you are prepared to accept in order to keep nuclear weapons?  As our group is Sydney-based we are not very happy to be a target of nuclear weapons.

 

As a young man I lived in Alice Springs when the then Foreign Minister Bill Hayden informed the citizens of Alice Springs that they were a nuclear target.  It galvanised the town and led to Alice Springs having the biggest peace group in Australia.

 

I visited Exmouth in the 80’s where even the ‘checkout staff’ were fatalistic and said things like ‘well at least we’d go quickly’.  This is not the positive Australians that the Labor party wants us to be or is it?

 

We are not asking much just that you inform the people of Sydney, Adelaide, Alice Springs and Exmouth that their lives are the price you are prepared to pay to support nuclear weapons.

 

We ask that you inform Opposition Senators to support the Ludlam motion when it comes up in the near future.

 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

 

The Hon Nick Xenophon

Senator for South Australia and leader of the Xenophon Team

c/- Parliament House Canberra

 

Dear Senator Xenophon,

Re:  the support of Scott Ludlam’s motion re: a ban on nuclear weapons

 

Australia is in a unique position to urge the major nuclear states to desist from the use, the threatened use and the stockpiling of nuclear weapons as it has no weapons of its own.  Australia has had a good reputation in promoting peace and justice around the world.  This reputation built up over the years is being trashed by the government so why support them on nuclear weapons?  Australia organised and promoted the Canberra Commission where we as a nation played a part in urging the reduction if not elimination of such weapons.  Australia played a part in the banning of land mines and chemical weapons why can’t we play a part in banning nuclear weapons?  Surely the action of around 116 countries around the world is sufficient to convince you to get with the strength and vote against nuclear weapons.

 

We draw your attention to a quote by Paul Dibb a well-respected Australian defence expert who was even used in preparing the last white paper on defence.

 

Paul Dibb, “We judged, for example, that the SS511 ICBM site at Svobodny in Siberia was capable of one million instant deaths and 750,000 radiation deaths on Sydney. And you would not have wanted to live in Alice Springs, Woomera or Exmouth – or even Adelaide.” –

“America has always kept us in the loop”, The Australian, 10 September 2005.

 

I am sure that you do not welcome the threat that Adelaide is under from nuclear weapons as you represent that city and state.  We ask humbly are you prepared to accept a million instant deaths and 750,000 radiation deaths in Sydney?  If so could you inform the people of Sydney that is what you are prepared to accept in order to keep nuclear weapons?  As our group is Sydney-based we are not very happy to be a target of nuclear weapons.

 

As a young man I lived in Alice Springs when the then Foreign Minister Bill Hayden informed the citizens of Alice Springs that they were a nuclear target.  It galvanised the town and led to Alice Springs having the biggest peace group in Australia.

 

I visited Exmouth in the 80’s where even the ‘checkout staff’ were fatalistic and said things like ‘well at least we’d go quickly’.  Is this the positive Australians that your party wants us to be?

 

We are not asking much just that you inform the people of Sydney, Adelaide, Alice Springs and Exmouth that their lives are the price you are prepared to pay to support nuclear weapons.

 

We ask that you inform your team to support the Ludlam motion when it comes up in the near future.

IPAN’s Media Release on Drones and Pine Gap

Media Release

7th October, 2016

 

 

Call on Pine Gap to cease involvement in the deadly US drone assassination program and for the facility to be terminated as soon as possible

Following a well attended and successful anti-war conference held at Alice Springs on 1st October, 2016 the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) organised a peaceful protest involving a cavalcade of cars to the gates of the Joint Defence Facility –Pine Gap on Sunday 2nd October.

 

At the gates of the Joint Defence Facility-Pine Gap, the following letter was presented to a senior police officer for relay to the Chief of Station, Ms Amy Chaput. Previously, a request by letter to the Chief of the Station (an American) and to the Deputy Chief of the Station, (an Australian), to meet at an IPAN delegation at the gate for presentation of the letter, had been ignored. The protesters were met at the gate and heavily fenced entrance to Pine Gap, by 30 uniformed police plus two police on horses. The protesters had already been “frisked” by police some hundred metres down the road from the entrance.

 

In the absence of being able to meet an official for the Pine Gap facility, an IPAN representative and a representative of the local indigenous community, jointly presented the following letter to a senior policeman at the gate for relaying to the Pine Gap station.

 

2nd October, 2016

 

TO THE CHIEF OF STATION

JOINT DEFENCE FACILITY-PINE GAP

 

Ms Amy Chaput,

 

Following the well-attended and successful conference organised by the Independent and Peaceful Australian Network (IPAN) at Alice Springs this weekend, it was determined that:

1.      The Pine Gap facility is a threat to the peace and security of the people of Australia and Alice Springs, in particular

2.      The illegal drone assassination program perpetrated by the United States with the assistance of Pine Gap makes the Australian people complicit in this illegal activity

For these reasons, IPAN, on behalf of all concerned people of Australia, calls for the immediate cessation of this illegal drone program and the termination of the Pine Gap facilities as soon as possible.

 

Australia will then be a safer place for all of us.

 

Yours in peace,

 

IPAN Co-ordinating Committee