Welcome by Chris White Basewatch Public Peace Meeting 23rd July Railway Club
We give our respect to the Larrakia people on whose land we meet. Respects to the elders.
America’s Pacific push overrides independent foreign policy in our region.
Welcome to our two guests. Despite the US war machine in Darwin, the good news is that the peace movement is strong all over the world. Tonight we learn of peace actions throughout the Asia-Pacific Region and particularly in Guam.
Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero is an indigenous Chamoru writer and teacher from Guam. She talks on the rapid expansion of the massive US bases in their Pacific Island of Guam, strongly opposed by local people. She testified on behalf of her people to the UN Decolonialisation Committee in 2006. An award winning investigative journalist, she writes for local and US press and hosts a radio programme in Guam.
Bruce Gagnon (USA) speaks on the US military forces pivot into the Asia-Pacific region. He will focus on the militarisation of space and on the environmental effects of military expansion. He is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He leads the worldwide campaign to ‘space for peace’. http://space4peace.blogspot.com
Then we will ask Dennis Doherty from the Anti-Bases coalition in Sydney to speak.
here is a video stream of the talks.
The question of peace not a future war with China is important in this election.
After President Obama said the marines are hear to stay in Darwin for this century, the Basewatch network finds beneath the surface of Australians an unease about our children’s future with this war preparation. Will it be peaceful?
We are alarmed with the integration of the Australian Government’s foreign policies and the ADF into the US war machine. 70% of Australians don’t want more military spending. Yet our government is increasing our military spending in the US interests for build-up for war with China. Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs will be targets in a (nuclear) war.
But Australian people want spending on health and education, not on war. We want peace and independence, not to be hostage to the US Pentagon.
I arrived in Darwin two years ago. I saw a Basewatch leaflet and attended the april 2010 public meeting at the CDU. When I heard the ADF Head of the Darwin Base Major General Krause answering why the US Marines are in the NT and he said ‘disaster relief’, I knew this spin had to be exposed. I go to China and am aware of Australia/China relationship. I was alarmed at the US and ally military build-up for preparation for war with China – 10 or more years away maybe. But the NT is gravely affected. http://chriswhiteonline.org/2012/04/war-or-peace/
We argued with the ADF consultancies on the ‘social impact’ of the Marines. They pushed the Minister’s line that there have been no problems. Here for disaster relief, for playing Oz rules football with aboriginal kids. Do Not Mention the War. http://chriswhiteonline.org/2012/05/basewatch-darwin-consultation/
I realised that with the US Air-Sea-Satellite forces, it is not just the Marines in Darwin, or the US Naval Destroyers, or aircraft, but that the US bases all over Australia are constantly linked to satellites for whatever daily war purpose the US Pentagon wants – North Korea, China, India and Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Middle East. In reality, Australia is becoming a US Base.
In 2014 Canberra Peace Convergence
Drone attacks certainly. http://www.theage.com.au/national/pine-gap-drives-us-drone-kills-20130720-2qbsa.html
US bases including in Shoal Bay here in Darwin that sweep up our emails and listen in to what we are saying for the NSA Prism programme, exposed by whistleblower Snowden.
We the people were never consulted, never asked, lied to. In the future our children are under the direct threat of war.
What to do? Organise.
Follow the understanding: Pessimism of the intellect: Optimism of the will.
Form your own peace network; express your opposition in this election period. I am aware of well-attended peace meetings in the rest of Australia. And Bruce and Victoria are in Melbourne and soon in Sydney.
For your diaries. Friday 23rd August Malcom Fraser and Professor Richard Tanter speak on US Bases and the risk to Australia’s Independence at Parliament House Darwin. Read the analysis on US bases http://chriswhiteonline.org/2013/01/tanter-more-on-our-us-bases/
The next day we visited various places in Darwin the US base and barracks- but the ADF insist it is not a US base but a joint facility that means we pay for it – and bruce made a comment to a guard that we were looking for Snowden – later that day a member of basewatch was rung by the federal Police for an explanation! So, we are constantly under surveillance and soldier/guards did not transmit to their officers the joke in the question.Read here http://space4peace.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/the-pivot-to-darwin.html
I am a union activist for 40 years working for the unions, including ‘Peace is Union Business’. http://chriswhiteonline.org/2013/03/peace-activities/
Independent & Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)
Basewatch is a member of IPAN. Please return your name, address, email, phone to IPAN pledging support to firstname.lastname@example.org You can support IPAN by distributing this agreed statement.
“Ten years ago in February 2003, unprecedented numbers of people joined the largest demonstrations in recorded history to oppose the invasion of Iraq. They were right; there were no weapons of mass destruction and war was not the answer.
Learning from recent history, we, the call for an independent and peaceful Australia. We are concerned about developments that appear to jeopardise Australia’s friendship and cooperation with nations in our region. In particular, we are concerned about the basing of foreign troops on Australian sovereign territory.
We are opposed to the stationing of US marines in Darwin; the presence of the Pine Gap surveillance facility; the use of West Australian naval facilities by US warships and US military aircraft and warships being stationed at Stirling in WA or the Cocos Islands.
Rather than being of benefit, we hold that the presence of US forces on Australian soil to be a handicap to Australia’s international relationships. We see domestic costs to us in financial, social and environmental terms.
Through recent decades we have witnessed a steady increase in the level of Australia’s military involvement with the US. We believe the integration of the two countries’ defence forces and foreign policies has reached a point where our independence is at risk.
We are witnessing expanding US military presence in the Asia Pacific region, with the apparent aim of ‘containing’ China. We fear a consequent rise in regional tensions and an expensive arms race.
We are convinced that these developments are not in Australia’s best interests. They have the potential to sour existing good relations with our neighbours and even to embroil us in further warfare on behalf of a foreign power.
We want to live in an Australia with an independent foreign policy, under which our country is free to choose what is truly in our best interests.”