by Alice M.
(Above: the Australian naval base HMAS Stirling in Western Australia incorporated in US war plans).
The Australian government’s compliance to US enmeshing Australia in its imperialist war preparations in the Asia-Pacific has angered many people.
More voices are raised condemning the Australian government’s subservience to the US, and calling for an independent foreign policy and national sovereignty.
On the eve of AUSMIN talks in West Australia, the recently formed national Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), representing peace organisations, churches, unions and community groups released a statement expressing concerns that “the AUSMIN talks between Defence Minister Stephen Smith and the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will consolidate agreements regarding the use of Australian territory for US foreign policy behind the backs of Australians”.
In Western Australia before and during the AUSMIN talks several community and peace groups staged a series of protests and distributed leaflets condemning the escalation of US military activities in Australia and the Australian government’s acquiescence to US.
A leaflet distributed by IPAN (West Australia) stated, “While AUSMIN delegates Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard are engaged in preparing for war, IPAN is promoting peace. Don’t let US forces get the nod! We want to live in Australia with an independent foreign policy, under which our country is free to choose what is truly in our best interests.”
Jo Valentine, member of IPAN, a long time fighter for peace and former WA Senator, echoed concerns of many Australians in a letter to West Australian newspapers. She wrote:
“I am utterly dismayed that our Government is prepared to embroil Australia further in the United States’ war planning, which is what the AUSMIN talks are all about.
“What has happened to Australian sovereignty? It’s gone missing in action, while U.S. forces get the nod.
“I feel sickened by this toadying to the American military. It’s not in our best interest, and never has been, to fight in wars decided by other nations. We have a long sad history of doing that from Sudan, Boer war, World Wars 1 and 2, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq wars 1 & 2, Afghanistan... what will the Americans want next?
“How many more dead or severely damaged (physically, psychologically, emotionally) servicemen/women is the government prepared to suffer in order to please the Americans? And in doing so, we risk our own relatively good relations with countries in our region – our trading partners.
“It’s not in my name that our government makes these plans and promises in support of future wars.
“It’s not in my name that our government offers Australian facilities to the deadliest war machine on the planet.
“It’s not in my name that our government buys military hardware which suits the American military command, but which does nothing for the defence of our nation.
“It’s not in my name that our government encourages young Australians to be trained for killing, when most of them would prefer to be trained for building communities, instead of destroying them.
“Let’s put our efforts towards goodwill and justice and working together with nations in our region to mitigate the effects of climate change.”
A broad and united people’s movement for Australian independence from the US is growing.