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

Letter regarding the women’s boat to Gaza

 

Friday, October 07, 2016

To: The Hon Julie Bishop

Foreign Minister

c/- Australian Parliament

 

Dear Minister,

Release the women’s boat to Gaza

As a person who frequently cites that Australia has the right of ‘freedom of navigation’ in parts of the South China Sea yet when Israel is the only nation that does not allow that freedom you are strangely silent.

 

We call on you to follow the rules you so stringently support on freedom of Navigation and condemn Israel for its capture and holding of the women’s boat to Gaza.  In the midst of an illegal blockade on the people of the most densely populated part of the globe these humanitarians are being made to look like criminals when the state of Israel is the committer of crimes.  There has been more attention to the budgies smugglers of Malaysia then to the Australian citizen caught up in this mess.

 

We call on you to act loudly and publically to support humanitarians of the world vs your support for the Australian yobbos in Malaysia.

 

Speak out for those women and show yourself to be a person with real humanitarian values.  Call for the immediate release of those women including the Australian citizens they are the pride of our world not Israeli Navy or Government.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Denis Doherty

For Anti-Bases

 

 

 

 

Pine Gap Alice Springs Company targeted by protesters

Media Release

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pine Gap Alice Springs Company targeted by protesters

Raytheon the private contractor behind much of Pine Gap’s work has become a target of protesters who are in Alice Springs to commemorate Pine Gap’s 50 year history of creating instability and war.  Situated in a non-descript building in Whittaker Street, Raytheon Australia, the subsidiary of one of the largest arms dealers in the world, expects to ply its trade without hindrance.

“We mean to upset this smugness which permeates this horrendous corporation whose self-advertising slogan is laughingly ‘keeping the world safe’, it means to do this by massive weaponised force!  Said Denis Doherty of the Anti-Bases Campaign.

 

“In regard to Pine Gap alone Raytheon has much to answer for, creating the software to spy on civilians, to direct drones and to target areas of the world where Australia is not at war with such as Yemen and Somalia. Said Nick Deane from Independent and Peaceful Australia Netowork.

 

“Commentary on Raytheon in the US says the following Raytheon doesn’t have an army of tax collectors, but they certainly do have the money to buy off politicians, and then get those politicians to buy their products with tax payer money.  Now they are doing the same in Australia where Raytheon has big contracts with the Government for a huge range of expensive items.  We call Raytheon a public funded merchant.  Said Dr. Hannah Middleton Anti-Bases Campaign

 

“It is time to shine a light on this massive corporate giant which leeches resources away from much needed services such as health and education to weaponry which in turn creates more use of weaponry and more distress.  Mr Deane continued.

 

Raytheon is not a good corporate citizen but simply a privatized conglomerate to wage war for 0.1% of the USA.

Details: 8 Whittaker St Alice Springs Sept 29 2.30 pm

For more information:  contact Hannah Middleton 0418 668 098, Nick Deane 0420 526929, Denis Doherty 0418 290 663

 

Two exciting events regarding Pine Gap

In the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the agreement that brought the military communications and surveillance facility at

PINE GAP

 into existence, two exciting events have been arranged, by the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) and the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition (AABCC). They will raise questions about

THE ALLIANCE BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND THE UNITED STATES.

1. Public Seminar

From 10.00am to 3.30pm, Sunday 11 September 2016

Featuring James O’Neill, Dr Emily Howie and Dr Vincent Scappatura

  2. Public Meeting

From 2pm to 4pm, Sunday 25 September 2016

Featuring international speakers Prof. Kosuzu Abe (from Okinawa) and
Dr Lisa Natividad (from Guam) who are on their way to
IPAN’s national conference in Alice Springs on 2 October

 Both events will take place at

CFMEU Headquarters

12 Railway Street

Lidcombe

(Easily accessible from Lidcombe Railway Station. On-site parking available)

 

James O’Neill

Brisbane-based barrister, outspoken critic of the Australia/US alliance and frequent contributor to the journal ‘Near Eastern Outlook’.

The South China Sea, Australia and the wider geopolitical context.”

 

Dr Emily Howie

Melbourne-based academic specializing in Australian foreign policy at the Human Rights Law Centre.

Targeted killing using drones in a secret war, what we know about Australia’s involvement and possible legal implications for Australia.”

 

Dr Vincent Scappatura

Sydney-based academic with a special interestin the US “pivot” to the Asia Pacific region. His topic:

“The perils of the US alliance”

 

Prof. Kosuzu Abe

University of Ryukyus, Okinawa. Knownfor her activism and being deeply committed to the protest movement against further militarisation of Okinawa

 

Dr. Lisa Natividad

University of Guam. Long term indigenous activist against the domination of her homeland by the US military and for the indepenence of her Chamorro people.

 

*******

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663 or Nick Deane 0420 526 929

Pine_Gap_50_years_too_long 1a

RADOMES AT THE TOWN HALL

Radome Rising in Town Hall Square

 

A radome will be constructed in Sydney’s Town Hall Square at 12 noon this Saturday.

The dome is a replica of the radomes that cover the radio and radar antennae at the Central Australian war fighting and espionage base at Pine Gap.

Spokesperson for the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) Nick Deane said:-

“We hope our radome will make people curious about what is going on, on Australian territory, at Pine Gap.

“We want people to ask questions about Pine Gap, in Sydney on Saturday and in Alice Springs in September when IPAN will hold a conference with national and international speakers to mark the 50th anniversary of the agreement setting up Pine Gap.

“There is much that the public does not know about the activities that take place at Pine Gap

“Pine Gap ties Australia into the American military machine and thus places our nation at risk,” Nick Deane said.

“It provides a target for any enemy of America, regardless of whether or not Australia is the attacker’s enemy.”

“Pine Gap contributes crucial tracking and targeting information for US drone strikes across the globe.

“Thousands of civilians have been killed by US drone strikes. In Pakistan, for example, drones have killed, maimed and traumatised hundreds of men, women and children.

“The Pine Gap drone program makes Australia complicit in war crimes.

“Pine Gap’s activities have far-reaching implications for Australia’s foreign relations, and we, the people, should know more about them than we are currently allowed to know,” Mr Deane concluded.

 

Contact Nick Deane 0420 526 929 or Denis Doherty          0418 290 663

 

World Military Spending

Press Release

“The positive trend towards less violence…has been broken.”

 

This is one of the gloomy conclusions of the annual Yearbook, published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on April 5. The SIPRI report shows that global spending on all things military rose by 1% in 2015 – making this the first year of growth since 2011.

 

The figures paint a disturbing picture of the level of expenditure on armaments, world-wide.  More alarmingly, military spending in Asia and Oceania (our near region) rose by 5.4% over 2014 levels and was heavily influenced by China. Heightening tensions between China and various countries in the region contributed to substantial increases in expenditure by Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, and triggered the start of a reversal of the long-term downward trend in Japan’s military spending. However, all this expenditure must be seen against the backdrop of the United States’ ‘pivot’ to the Asia-Pacific, the US remaining by far the biggest spender in the world.

 

In Australia the recent Defence White Paper (DWP) would indicate that Australia is contributing to this regional trend of escalating militarism. According to the DWP, Australia’s military budget will rise by $29.9 billion over the next decade, reaching $42.2 billion (2% of Gross Domestic Product) by 2021. This is despite the fact that the DWP states that there is no more than a remote prospect of a military attack on Australia by another country in the foreseeable future.

The SIPRI report also identifies Australia as the sixth largest importer of major weapons, globally.

 

The DWP argues that Australia has a responsibility to commit to defensive operations well beyond local borders – in the near region and in the world at large.

 

Opponents of military spending are marking the publication of the SIPRI Yearbook by taking action on the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS). Kathy Kelly, spokesperson for the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), has said

“Globally, just over 1% of military spending could meet the amount requested by the UN for all its humanitarian programs, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  This global supertanker of military spending needs to be turned around, starting now.”

 

“Our Australian Defence Forces are increasingly embedded with the US forces, and the lack of an independent foreign and defence policy is clear to the world.  Some say the US Alliance keeps us safe, but this view doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.  Rather, the opposite is the case.  When we follow the US into its conflicts around the world, we create more enemies at every stage.  If we weren’t the US’s deputy sheriff, Australians would be more secure. An independent stance from Australia in the growing US-China conflict, for example, would do more to protect Australians, for less financial cost,”.

 

 

 

Ann Wright speaks to Australians

At a meeting at the Teacher’s Federation on Tuesday 16 Feb Ann Wright spoke to around 40 people from many parts of Sydney.  Her main message was do not trust your government to act in your best interests.  Question, resist and protest.

see you tube:

 

Ann Wright bio plus

Ann Wright

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people named Ann Wright, see Ann Wright (disambiguation).
Ann Wright
NLN Ann Wright.jpg

Wright in Staten Island, New York in November 2011
Birth name Mary Ann Wright
Born 1947 (age 68–69)
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Battles/wars Sierra Leone Civil War

Mary Ann Wright (born 1947) is a retired United States Army coloneland retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand people during the civil war in Sierra Leone.[1] She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.[2][3] Wright was also a passenger on the Challenger 1, which along with the Mavi Marmara, was part of theGaza flotilla.

 

 

Early life[edit]

Wright grew up in BentonvilleArkansas, in what she referred to as “just a normal childhood”. She attended the University of Arkansas where she was recruited in the U.S. Army.[3] Wright earned a master’s and law degrees, while she worked for theU.S. Army.[3] Her law degree comes from the University of Arkansas and her master’s degree in national security affairs is from the U.S. Naval War College.[4]

U.S. Army[edit]

Wright earned a master’s degree in National Security Affairs from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and later participated in reconstruction efforts after U.S. military actions in Grenada and Somalia.

Wright was stationed at Fort BraggNorth Carolina, from 1982 to 1984. One of her duties during that time was to draw up contingency plans for invading several countries, one of which was Iraq. She would later express dismay over what she considered the dismissal of such carefully laid plans in the actual invasion of Iraq in 2003.[citation needed]

Wright went on to serve 13 years in active duty in the U.S. Army, and 16 years in the Army Reserves, rising to the rank of colonel. She was placed in the Retired Ready Reserve, meaning the President could call her back to active duty in a time of need.

U.S. State Department[edit]

In 1987, Wright went to work for the Foreign Service within the U.S. State Department.[5] Over the course of her State Department career, Wright served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassies in Afghanistan (which she helped open following the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, an assignment she volunteered for), Sierra Leone (an embassy which she helped close and then reopen again), Micronesia and Mongolia, and also served at U.S. embassies in Uzbekistan (which she helped open), Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, and Nicaragua.[6]

Wright’s eventual resignation was not the first time she had spoken out against policy. In an interview, Wright said that she spoke out against United Nations bombing tactics waged in Somalia, in the effort to kill rebel leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Wright also says that she didn’t agree with policy on multiple occasions, but continued her State Department work despite her own disagreements with the policy.[7]

Resignation[edit]

Wright submitted her resignation letter to then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on March 19, 2003, the day before the onset of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Her letter was published on the internet the following day.

In her resignation letter, Wright listed four reasons she could no longer work for the U.S. government under the Bushadministration:

Wright was the third of three State Department officials to retire from service in protest in the month prior to the invasion of Iraq, the other two being Brady Kiesling and John H. Brown. Wright says that she did not know the other two, and had not read their resignation letters at the time she submitted her own.

Peace activism[edit]

Protesting with Code Pink in 2006.

Since her retirement from the State Department, Wright has become a prominent figure in the movement opposed to the occupation of Iraq. She has attended many conferences and given numerous lectures on her political views and on her experiences before and after her resignation.

Wright has worked with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on several occasions, most notably by helping organize the Camp Casey demonstration outside George W. Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch in August 2005,[8] and by accompanying the southern leg of the Bring Them Home Now bus tour. She also volunteered at Camp Casey 3, the Veterans For Peace shelter for Hurricane Katrina victims in Covington, Louisiana, during the bus tour. She marched with Sheehan in 2006 with the Women Say No to War campaign, which was meant to deliver a petition with over 60,000 signatures of citizens against the war.[9]

Wright has willingly been arrested while taking part in anti-war demonstrations, the first such arrest occurring in front of theWhite House on September 26, 2005. She has said in interviews that she does not remove the arrest bracelets attached to her wrists upon the processing of her arrest, but rather collects them.

On October 19, 2005, Wright interrupted a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, shouting at Secretary of StateCondoleezza Rice, “Stop the war! Stop the killing!” Wright was uneventfully escorted out of the hearing room.

Wright served as one of five judges at the January 2006 sessions of the International Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration. She was also one of three recipients of the first annual Truthout Freedom and Democracy Awards.

Wright was one of three witnesses called to testify at an Article 32 hearing on behalf of U.S. Army Lt. Ehren Watada, who on June 22, 2006 refused to deploy to Iraq with his unit, asserting that the war violates both the United States Constitution andinternational law.

On April 1, 2007 Wright was cited, along with 38 other anti-nuclear activists, for trespassing at the Nevada Test Site during aNevada Desert Experience event protesting against the continued development of nuclear weapons by the United States.[10]That evening Wright appeared on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss the Geneva Conventions and how they applied to Iran in its taking of 15 British hostages. The discussion grew heated, and Wright stated that she had served 29 years in the military. During the course of the exchange, O’Reilly questioned Wright’s patriotism and when she pointed out she had served 29 years in the military and O’Reilly had never served at all her microphone was cut off.

On April 17, 2007, Wright attended a hearing of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee. She was ejected from the hearing room after speaking out of turn in response to comments made by Republican Congressmember Dana Rohrabacher.[11] On September 11, 2007, Wright was arrested, and later convicted, for disrupting a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing at which general David Petraeus and Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker were testifying.[12]

Wright took part in a September 15, 2007 protest march and die-in on the steps of the United States Capitol Building, organized by the ANSWER Coalition and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). She was arrested for stepping over the wall after several IVAW and Veterans for Peace members were arrested.[13]

On October 3, 2007, Wright and Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin were denied entry to Canada because their names appear on an FBI database, called the National Crime Information Center, due to arrests related to their anti-war activism.[14][15] Wright and Benjamin were told that if they wish to enter Canada in the future, they will have to apply for resident’s permits.[15] In regards to the incident, a Canadian MP, Olivia Chow, was “alarmed to learn that Canadian border police are enforcinig rules that have been determined by the FBI and other U.S.-based agencies.”[16]

In December 2008, Wright has recently expressed her dissatisfaction with the current U.S foreign policy toward Palestine.[17]

In 2009 Wright began work as a leading member of the steering committee for the Gaza Freedom March.[18]

In August 2014 she was among the signatories of an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel by the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity in which they urged the Chancellor to be suspicious of U.S. intelligence regarding the alleged invasion of Russia in Eastern Ukraine.[19]

Gaza flotilla[edit]

Stop the bombing of Syria by Australian Forces

media release

Press Release

August 21, 2015

 

Peace activists across the nation are united in their anger at the announcement that Australia will now join the US in bombing targets in Syria. The Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) is a network of peace groups with affiliates in every State and Territory. It has consistently opposed the use of military power to solve international problems and believes that Australia has lost its independence through too close an alliance with the USA.

 

Nick Deane, spokesman for IPAN says

 

“After more than a decade, it should be clear that military intervention in the Middle East has been an utter failure. It has achieved no worthwhile outcome in Iraq, instead reducing that once prosperous nation to destitution. Many respected observers attribute the growth of fundamentalist militarism to the large scale Western interventions in the Middle East over the past few decades. Intervention hasn’t worked and it isn’t working. It is time for us to admit this and seek new strategies. Why persist in repeating the patterns that we can all see to be failing?

 

Significantly, once again, our nation’s military commitment has been ramped up without any debate in our Parliament. One back-bencher (Dan Tehan) floats the idea, and the next week the government follows his suggestion.

 

Increasing our military activity in this way, which will undoubtedly mean the deaths of more civilians as a result of our government’s actions, is not in Australia’s best interests. Besides, this is blatant ‘mission creep’, whatever its proponents might say.

 

It is time for the Defence Establishment to wake up to the realization that increased military activity does nothing more than add fuel to the fire that is ISIS.

 

If we genuinely want to live in a peaceful and independent Australia, we must end our proclivity for engaging in military action whenever it suits the interests of the USA.”

 

Don’t be Yanked into War Games

yanked singleJuly 6, 2015

 

Don’t Be Yanked Into War Games

“Don’t be yanked into war games” is the call of a protest to be held in Sydney’s CBD today to protest against the coming Talisman Sabre war games.

 

“Talisman Sabre is a joint United States-Australian rehearsal for war that takes place every two years in Australia, primarily on the central coast of Queensland at ShoalwaterBay, north of Rockhampton,” said Nick Deane from Independent and Peaceful Australia (IPAN).

 

“The 2015 Talisman Sabre war games will involve 22,000 US troops, 12,000 Australians as well as military from New Zealand and Japan engaged in nuclear-weapons-capable land, sea and air warfare practice.

 

“Held in July, they will be the biggest military exercises ever to take place in Australia – and this in a time of regional peace,” he said.

 

Peace and environmental activists will gather in Town Hall Square at 12 noon and then walk to the DefencePlaza in Pitt Street where they will sing their protest to the military and Defence Department bureaucrats.

 

“Our message to the government is simple,” Denis Doherty from the Anti-Bases Campaign coalition (AABCC) said.

 

“The exercises deepen Australia’s military involvement with the world’s most aggressive nation, the US. Australia can no longer operate independent of the US in military matters.

 

“They send a clear message to China that if conflict breaks out between the US and China, Australia will take part with the US, Denis Doherty said.

 

“Activities associated with preparing for war cause extreme damage to the environment. TS2015 is no exception. During the exercises two years ago, unexploded bombs were dropped on the Great Barrier Reef.

 

“Preparing for war diverts money from alternative, peaceful activities and takes it away from essential social services.

 

“The Talisman Sabre war games are not in our best interests and should be cancelled,” Denis Doherty concluded.