Cutting through the bullshit.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Fun and games

Liberated women having a good time: ‘US Defence personnel Alicia Raper, Aviation Ordnance Petty Officer 3rd Class, and Brenda Cantu, Aviation Ordnance Airwoman, attach a Maverick Missile to a United States Navy P-3 aircraft during Exercise Talisman Sabre (2005).’

Operation Talisman Sabre

The Australian Defence Force [ADF] and the United States military are gearing up to engage in 6 weeks of intensive training and war games, or what is known as Operation Talisman Sabre. The operation, which will involve nearly 14 000 US troops and over 12 000 Australian personnel, will run from the end of May to July 2nd, and will be the largest military exercise ever held in Australia. Talisman Sabre will take place at various Australian military locations, including the Australian-US "training facilities": Shoalwater Bay [QLD], Bradshaw and Delamere Range [NT] and the Coral Sea.

The activities that will be carried out by Australian and US troops are aggressive and offensive military strategies, including bombing, parachute drops and onshore landings, combining land, sea and air forces practising with high-tech military equipment. Furthermore, these will be carried out on areas of high environmental significance, i.e. world heritage areas, such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and natural heritage listed sites, which include indigenous sites and Ramsar wetlands. These areas are habitat to many migratory birds and threatened species such as dugongs and humpback whales. Environmental impacts identified by the Department of defence include effects on air quality, fire potential, noise pollution, waste disposal and spills and erosion from amphibian craft landings and weapon target zones.

Operation Talisman Sabre will involve US nuclear powered vessels [all US ‘attack class’ submarines are nuclear powered] and may also be carrying nuclear weapons, as well as depleted uranium munitions. The US has a ‘NCND’ policy regarding nuclear weapons – that is to ‘Neither Confirm Nor Deny’, meaning that Australians will not know if these lethal substances will be a part of the upcoming war games.

Not only does the existence of US bases in Australia carry with it various hazardous environmental issues, various social ills are also a part of the parcel. In the Philippines and Japan, US bases have become the centre of major social problems. Specifically, they are linked to significant rises in levels of prostitution, drugs, alcoholism, rape, sexually transmitted diseases and abuse of women and children. The Australian experience so far is similar.

Apart from the already mentioned disastrous consequences of Operation Talisman Sabre it is imperative to note that this training is far more than general military training. Rather, its specific aim is to conduct collective training and exercise inter-operability between Australian and US forces. Indeed, Operation Talisman Sabre represents the gradual fusion of the Australian military into an extended arm of the US government.

The military exercise Talisman Sabre and the establishment of 3 new US ‘training bases’ are further steps to the accelerating militarisation of Australia. The support of the Howard government in the expansion and upgrading of the US’ military capabilities is ludicrous and must be opposed, as does the overall support that Howard continues to show for Bush’s ‘war on terror’.

[Info courtesy of Paddy Gibson]

A coalition of anti war and environment groups are helping organise people in Sydney to get up to Shaolwater Bay to participate in the "Peace Convergence" against upcoming Talisman Sabre war games from June 21-25.

For further information contact or Paddy on 0415 800 586.

No comments:

Post a comment