Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Resistance flares on Invasion Day


Written by: Lindy Nolan on 1 February 2023

“We ain’t goin’ nowhere!” Lynda-June Coe’s declaration met thunderous applause from the 10,000 at Sydney’s January 26 protest. Round the country, almost 100,000 rallied, with 80-90,000 in Melbourne.

The Wiradjuri and Badu Islander woman introduced the day’s fiery thread, “What do we want? Land rights!” This demand confronts two centuries of criminality.

“They tried to wipe us out. They tried to breed us out by genocide. Still here! Still here! Still here!”

I come from a long line of Wiradjuri People. My leader Wirandyne lives in every single Aboriginal person today! In this place, Gadigal Country, it is Pemulwuy’s spirit that keeps this land going.”

We are all mobilising against the fallacy that is constitutional recognition,” she said.

Australian system’s bloodied hands 
Bundjalung, Dunghutti, Gumbaynggirr compere Lizzie Jarrett joked on her own name, lifting spirits exhausted by warfare, “Just like old Lizzie, the queen is dead. Australia Day is dead with her.”

Gomeroi woman, Aunty Shirley Lomas laughed at politicians, “Albo says he grew up in housing commission. … When I become prime minister, I’m gonna tell them I grew up in a tin humpy at the top camp.”

“For those looking for the republic? Youse get it when we get it too,” she declared. The sticking points? The highest ever rate of child removals and deaths in custody.

Leetona Dungay, mother of murdered Dunghutti man David Dungay Jnr, retold his story, dignified as always in grief and demand for justice. “The death of my son, is not just a one-off event,” she said. “It goes back 235 years… He died at the hands of the Australian system. And no one has ever been held accountable.”

David’s Dunghutti nephew Paul Silva called the forces of the state “trained killers”.

As a young teen, he helped dress his uncle’s body for burial. “My uncle’s nose was flat to his face … eleven imprint boot marks on his back”. Even as David’s father first saw his son’s body, “the police department announced there were no suspicious circumstances”.

Paul Silva said, “The coroner said he had a heart attack, contributed to by the assault, but if you took six men off my uncle’s back, would he have had a heart attack? Fuck no!”

He demanded, “If they have not been given a death sentence, why are they coming home in body bags?” 

A scathing Victorian Coroner’s Court statement asked almost the same question on January 30. 

Every non-indigenous person in these lands should watch the footage of Veronica Nelson’s agonising last hours alone, abused as she begged for help. 

It will explain to them exactly why First Peoples are often angry when they speak of their lives. 

“We demand independent inquiries,” Paul Silva said, thanking people for coming. “I can see a lot of non-indigenous people here. Our message is getting out.”

Next Generation
Teenage Wiradjuri climate activist, Ethan Lyon, spoke of shame but also of direct action. He exposed the irony of governments destroying Country “saying they want to work with us”. 

“Young people are going to spearhead the fight,” he said, announcing a March 3 Day of Action to defend Pilliga against Santos.

 “The land is yours too,” the young leader said.

Emerging Gomeroi and Wiradjuri leader Kyana Hickey Coe told her Peoples’ truth, that despite a ten year battle, industrialisation of Pilliga threatening land and the Great Artesian Basin, has begun.  

“People will not back down to save what little we have left,” she said. (1) 

Young Yuin woman Iesha Simpson-Brown told of growing organisation against Shoalhaven City Council and NSW government approval for a $380m development permit for a massive Chinese Shaolin Buddhist Temple, hotel and golf course to be built on top of sacred birthing grounds and burial grounds.

Unity our future
Black Peoples Union’s Keiran Stewart-Assheton called on First Peoples to unite, declaring, “The government that committed these atrocities and stole our land cannot be trusted to uphold a treaty, or a Voice, or a constitution that would truly benefit our people or make any meaningful change. History has proved this time and time again.  

“Instead, we must form a treaty between Indigenous Nations. … We must come together as one force capable of taking revolutionary action to forge our own path. Only by taking control of our own future can we truly heal from the trauma of colonization and move forward together as a sovereign and self-determining people,” Keiran Stewart-Assheton said. (2)  


(1) Excerpts from the speech by Gomeroi Ian Brown from Gamilaraay Next Generation, and the statement by Suellyn Tighe from Coonabarabran will appear in an upcoming article.
(2) Keiran Stewart-Assheton’s speech can be read here

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Australia’s submarines a US secret

(Photo: The USS Georgia.   Photo: Columbia 107 Creative Commons Flickr)

Written by: (Contributed) on 30 January 2023

The continued stalling of Australia's submarine program and contradictory statements issued by US government officials have revealed security concerns with reliable allies. The statements, furthermore, have raised serious implications for the Australian ruling class’s own defence and security, which is supposed to be primarily focussed upon national considerations and sovereignty. To the contrary, Australia's foreign policies have quite clearly been shown to focus upon 'US interests'.

Several years ago, widespread political agitation, led primarily by trade-unions in South Australia, led to a long-term commitment to build submarines at Port Adelaide. The entire submarine program was planned to last about forty years, from initial planning to the final stages. It was supposed to have provided thousands of jobs, including apprenticeships and traineeships, in the direct and indirect employment chain, in an area of South Australia where unemployment and vulnerable work has been commonplace for decades.

The submarine program was also supposed to provide the much-needed boost for the local TAFE, an area of educational provision aimed primarily for working-class school-leavers and the established trades, which has been systematically undermined or destroyed.  

The whole submarine program was publicised, at the time, as being about Australia's need to update its defence and security provision.

To date, however, the entire program has been stalled, with numerous bureaucratic means, first by the Steven Marshall SA state government and their cronies in federal government in Canberra, and later by decisions taken in the US. Collusion would be an understatement.

Two recent contradictory statements from official sources close to the Biden administration, for example, have now revealed the Cold War-like lack of trust by the US government toward its Australian collaborators.

In early January it was noted by a senior Democrat, Adam Smith, who is a member of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, that concerns had arisen with the US not being willing to share 'top secret military technology with Australia'. (1) The AUKUS security pact which was established by the then Morrison coalition government in Canberra,
included secret negotiations with both the US and UK which 'also promised greater sharing of advanced technology to integrate the military-industrial bases of the three nations'. (2)

The US, however, has strict rules about the sharing of sensitive technology and intelligence equipment, despite the military jargon of 'interoperability' being used by senior government officials. The Pentagon has no wish to cede control of their military facilities which remain fundamental to its imperialist global ambition.

Moves by Australia to secure access at the bilateral AUSMIN meetings in Washington last December failed to have the US 'pare back rules that prohibit US technology export'. (3) They have no wish to do so. The position of the US closely followed Cold War concerns about their own defence and security being compromised by allies. In recent times Australia has been subjected to Cold War allegations, in numerous US media outlets, about Chinese spies, although there is rarely, if ever, any evidence provided by so-called journalists.

Shortly after the US government made its position clear at the AUSMIN meeting, a move to shift attention and not attract unnecessary publicity took place; it was announced, for example, from a rising Republican, Kevin Kiley, that 'the US should put its own submarine program ahead of Australia's following concern that American shipyards would struggle to build enough new submarines to satisfy both the Pentagon and Australia's expectations under the AUKUS security pact'. (4)   

The statement followed a leaked letter from two US senators to President Biden early this year which 'revealed concerns that the US might not be able to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines as envisaged under the 2021 AUKUS agreement without jeopardising the US Navy's requirements of at least two new submarines a year'. (5)

A diplomatic statement from the US Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, noted, nevertheless, 'the US was aware of the problem and was working to reform the rules', reverting to the previous position. (6) Considering the nature of US regulations about the exporting of sensitive military technology, however, the matter may well drag on into another age, continuing the stalling process. Changing US government regulations will require extensive committee procedures and bipartisan agreement in both Washington and the Pentagon in an age when the whole US political system remains bitterly divided. There would appear to be little common ground.

Some serious questions, therefore, arise and include:

          if Australia's submarine program was so important why has this matter now arisen;
          just what type of security vetting is the US intending imposing upon the Australian workforce, their family and friends, and the trade-union movement;

In conclusion:

                                        We need an independent foreign policy!

1.     US secrecy rules over military tech 'could scuttle AUKUS', Australian, 13 January 2023.
2.     Ibid.
3.     Ibid.
4.     US 'needs first before any subs to Australia', Australian, 19 January 2023.
5.     Ibid.
6.     Australian, op.cit., 13 January 2023.

Are Governments Listening To First Nations Peoples?

(Phot source: Creative Commons Flickr)

 Written by: Ned K. on 1 February 2023

There will be limitations to the effectiveness of the Albanese Government's proposed Voice for First Nations Peoples through an advisory body to the federal government, assuming a Yes vote in the proposed Referendum later this year.

For example, in NSW at the moment the Gomeroi People are appealing to the Federal Court a Decision of the National Native Title Tribunal to allow Santos to go ahead with 850 gas wells in the Piliga Forest which adjoins the Liverpool Plains. The Santos plan is also to build a 300km pipeline across farmlands from there to Newcastle. 

The plan is opposed by the Gomeroi People due to the cultural and environmental significance of their land and waterways where the gas wells are intended by Santos. There are also environmental groups, farmers and some Independent and minor political parties opposing it due to the impact of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

The whole plan to build the pipeline and extend the gas wells across the Liverpool Plains is, according to former independent politician Tony Windsor, is not opposed by the two main political parties at NSW or federal level.

The Labor Government Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has initiated a review of 18 "contentious development projects" (Tony Windsor article in The Saturday Paper 28/1/2023) due "climate change impacts." However this Santos plan to go on a gas drilling rampage on Land of the Gomeroi people is NOT in the 18 projects to be reviewed.

I am sure that the Minister and Prime Minister and many other politicans have started off their many speeches stating that they recognise the land of the First Nations People on which they are speaking and saying that "it always was and always will be Gomeroi Land (in this example)".
Implicit in their speeches are that they respect the First Nations People and that they own the land on which they are standing.

However this means nothing if they do not support the concerns and opinions of the issues raised by the First Nations People.

The Gomeroi People are concerned enough about the Santos gas wells and fracking to challenge a Decision in the federal court. Surely this is an example where a federal government which says it wants to listen to First Nations People through an advisory body endorsed by a Referendum Yes vote should “put its money where its mouth is” and step in and squash Santos's gas well invasion of Gomeroi People's land.

Or is the case that big business profits of companies like Santos and the so-called "national interest" take priority over First Nation People's concern about their land?

Saturday, January 28, 2023

NSW Greens take stand for First Peoples’ justice

(Photo: Lidia Thorpe, Lynda-June Coe and Dominic Wy-Kanak at the NSW Greens' policy launch.)

 Written by: Lindy Nolan on 29 January 2023

When Greens NSW speak of Treaty, they mean fundamental change. Their January 24 policy launch in Redfern made this clear. 
Wiradjuri, Badu Islander woman Lynda-June Coe, Greens NSW candidate in the upcoming state election, introduced the launch saying, “We want equality, not tokenistic gestures of how to fix the problems they’ve created.” 

“Invasion is a structure, not an event.”

Aunty Jennie Munro, a Wiradjuri leader said ongoing invasion “keeps us captive in poverty and mismanagement of Country.” 
She said change “needs to be all community, not just part.”
“We’ve had a voice for 230 years,” she said. “It hasn’t been listened to.”
“We will not be told by the majority of white Australia, which will decide the coming referendum.”
“That’s our laws, that’s our culture, that’s our way of life. I live in hope. I’m still fighting,” Aunty Jennie said.
A long history
NSW Greens’ Policy Initiative for First Nations Justice has three main thrusts – establishment of a Truth & Justice Commission; an Independent Treaty Commission run by First Peoples; and starting a referendum process creating dedicated seats for First Nations people, elected by them, in the NSW Parliament.
The policy also calls for raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years of age, with no person under 16 years of age in NSW in prison.
It says Blak deaths in custody, can be ended by keeping First Nations people out of prison. As the Initiative explains, “In 2021, NSW reported the highest number of First Nations deaths in custody since recording began.”
Last year, UN Rapporteurs on Torture, were refused access to NSW prisons.
Alongside this, NSW Greens and many others call for justice reinvestment programs; community courts controlled by First Nations people; plus a new prison oversight mechanism to prevent torture and degrading treatment of people in custody, to hold institutions to account. 
The Greens initiative has a long history. First Peoples consider Australian Greens senator and former NSW MP David Shoebridge a staunch ally. He knows well the limitations of parliament, calling it “part of the problem”.
“A bad process”
Gunditjmara, Gunnai, Djab Wurrung Greens senator, Lidia Thorpe said, “All we know is how to fight to assert our sovereignty. 22,000 children are in out of home care. It’s an act of genocide.
“We are part of the land. We are part of our Totem. We are part of the air we breathe.”
Lidia Thorpe called Treaty “a negotiation of those who own this country, and those who say they do.”
She said the Victorian process was hijacked by the Victorian ALP government. Several hundred First Peoples voted no to constitutional recognition when it was initially introduced in 2015.
Later, while Daniel Andrews “negotiated” a treaty, he authorised a crown lands’ fire sale, unfettered logging and destruction of birthing trees.
Lidia Thorpe called the Victorian treaty negotiations “a really bad process” with “lots of money spent” but only 11 Traditional Owners of 38 nations registered as “recognised parties … The rest get no say”.
All the time in the world
Lidia Thorpe calls Treaty “a negotiation between those who own their Country and those who say they do.” It requires “free, prior, formal consent.”
“We know treaties have been broken,” she said.
Treaties between First Peoples’ clans are a prerequisite for treaties with governments.
They won’t compromise, and are prepared to wait. “We’ve got all the time in the world. We’ve been here for a long time,” Aunty Jenny said about Treaty. 
Lynda-June Coe agreed, saying First Peoples from NSW are learning from negative examples elsewhere. 
She ridiculed the $5 million set aside by NSW Opposition leader Chris Minns for “negotiations”. “There’s 60 nations!” she exclaimed. 
The 2016 Census makes the Minns’ tokenism clear. 265,685 First Peoples lived in NSW, making up a third of all Aboriginal residents in Australia. The numbers have grown since. Fifty three percent were aged under 24 years. 
Lynda-June Coe said, “It takes years to establish robust processes.”
She spoke of Treaty uniting and benefiting all peoples, not only First Peoples.
Lidia Thorpe said Treaty means peace. “To be a Blakfella is so hard, so hard! Our People are dying, our men are locked up. They’re killing our children.”
“Our women,” she stated, “are left standing.” 
Truth telling
All speakers emphasised the importance of truth telling.
Lidia Thorpe said of the Voice to parliament, “To become an advisory body after 250 years? It’s a slap in the face.” 
“If you believe in climate action, you have to believe in Blakfella justice,” Lidia Thorpe told the audience. 
She said, “Who’s backing the Yulara Statement (1)? It’s the mining companies.”
Torres Strait and South Sea Islander man and Waverly Councillor Dominic-Wy-Kanak said the Statement from the Heart talks about sovereignty co-existing with British sovereignty, but that “a lot of Blackfellas can’t even get on the electoral roll”.
Lidia Thorpe stated, “Even the racists have been lied to. Truth telling is ‘You’re on stolen lands. Pay the rent’.” 
We need to share that truth telling load.
“When Blakfellas benefit, you’ll benefit too,” she concluded.
Lynda-June Coe agreed, “It’s about mutual recognition.”
(1) The Yulara Statement is the name given by First Peoples who opposed the name more commonly called “Uluru Statement”, as the resort town was where the negotiations actually took place. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

January 26 unites First Peoples. We honour them in action.


(Above: First Peoples declared January 26 a Day of Mourning on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of British invasion in 1938.  Fifty years later, the ruling class arrogantly declared the first “Australia Day” on January 26, 1988. Who disrespected whose day? Always was, always will be….)

Written by: Central Committee, CPA (M-L) on 26 January 2023

Statement by the Central Committee 

First Peoples understand January 26. They know what invasion means – ongoing, systematic violence. The day means grief, and strength of survival uniting them in resistance. 

“Australia’s founding in 1788” is a myth. Butchered into separate colonies under British flag and rule, Australia and its pitiful, subservient constitution was cobbled together from the divisive colonial states in 1901, still under British thumb.  

Senator Lidia Thorpe’s powerful refusal and then forced pledge to the British Colonialist Queen may have offended some people. But the DjabWurrung, Gunnai, Gunditjmara woman told Australia just who parliamentarians promise allegiance to. It is not the people. It’s a foreign power.

Few have read the constitution. It’s a shameful document. It enshrines class rule in the dirty deception of so-called democracy. Democracy for whom? First the invader, then its inheritor, the corporatised ruling class. Now these imperialist overlords wear a US brand. They drill gas wells in thousands, dig, blow up or bury sacred sites under suburbs, damn and poison sacred rivers and more, in these vast and stolen lands and waters.

Deception, divide and conquer, and behind them, force of laws, courts, jails, police, military, from constitution down. Mass murders; genocide of child theft, torture, despair; suppression of culture; poverty:  all by deliberate acts or deliberate failure to act. 

Out of isolation
From 1788, First Peoples forced to the edges of “civilisation” were united in poverty. They chose differing tactics of resistance. Some tried to convince the unsettlers to respect their Lore and right to live and thrive. Others sought to overthrow invaders. 

Once armed resistance ended, Aboriginal oppression in isolation served the ruling class, until resistance became united across the lands through the working class. Nyamal, Nyangumarta and other Aboriginal pastoral workers in the Pilbara from May Day 1946 and Gurindji at Daguragu from 1966, began to create nationwide alliances. As years passed, their struggles and many others were supported by growing numbers including communists within and outside trade unions.

The 1967 referendum shifted focus to constitutional change. First Peoples saw it as a turning point. The Australian masses had turned towards them. Racism still existed, but 91 per cent had voted for them to be counted in the census and to transfer control from vicious state governments to the federal parliament. 
Struggle everywhere ramped up. Federal funding for Aboriginal services followed. 

Race powers
Dialectics teach us to look below the surface to understand something, and that a thing may become its opposite, positive become negative, in certain circumstances. 

The 1971 Census exposed for the first time the horror of living conditions for First Peoples, life expectancy, blindness and ill health, arrest, imprisonment and infant mortality rates. TV cameras brought vision into suburban lounge rooms.

Capitalism did not change its spots. Today, the same shameful lived statistics for the majority of First Peoples, with the addition of substance abuse and child suicides.

The Gurindji waited seven more years to be “given” a piece of their own land. An Australian government had to negotiate with the invader’s Vestey Group! Who actually ruled?

And in 2007, John Howard with ALP opposition support, used Section 51(xxvi), the Constitution’s “race powers” introduced in 1967, to impose the 15-year genocidal NT “Emergency” Intervention, for the benefit of resource giants. Finally ended without First Peoples’ input on consequences, in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) alcohol giants profit from a crime wave impacting First Peoples most.  

“We are still here”
On 26 January 1988 at the first point of invasion, a Survival Day March brought 40,000 Elders and young from distant clans to Sydney.  Across occupied Australia, united First Peoples declared, “We have survived.” 

They told the ruling class, “You tried to wipe us out. You tried to crush us. But we are still here. And we will never give up.”   

Ruling class peak body, the Business Council of Australia, was jolted into action. By the year 2000, with million-strong marches of middle Australia, the BCA had already begun implementing a step-by-step strategy of divide and conquer.  

Part of it was constitutional recognition.  

A second, interconnected BCA policy is to win over some First Peoples. A tiny handful are simply bought off. The majority have been convinced that capitalism is too strong and must be worked with.

They’re told, “If a few get through the door, others will follow”. There are well-paid jobs as consultants, or in mines, media, the arts and so on, and millions in government contracts to privately owned Aboriginal companies. 

These lucky ones live different lives, with homes and security, a tiny number in great wealth.

And don’t all people deserve not to wonder when the electricity will be cut off, or medicine be unaffordable, or stomachs empty some days a week? Whether police will jail or kill your child? 

Meanwhile centres of First Peoples’ militancy like 1970s Redfern have been dispersed. Of 30,000 residents, 700 remain and more to go from nearby suburbs. 
In such conditions, lateral violence breeds the invaders’ internalised genocide within and between First Peoples. Its toll is terrible. 

Rolling over us
Reform versus revolution? We learn in struggle for reforms. But, while capitalism exists, compromises by the people are inevitable. 

But under capitalism no victory is safe. Lands not stolen in two centuries are being stolen now. 

Some past Aboriginal leaders found inspiration in the Soviet Union. In the 70s young leaders found it in China led by Mao. 

Now, the propaganda of “brutal, failed socialism” is overwhelming. 

Truth – that under socialism women held up “half the sky” and more people were brought out of poverty than ever in history – lies in capitalism’s gutter.
Reformers, overwhelmingly honest, support a new referendum, with National Voice and Regional Voices. This can’t change fundamentals. 

The BCA has partially sidelined its far-right wing –  particularly sections of the Minerals Council and Murdoch media.

Using an Indigenous NT Senator, this group lies, “There’s no detail” and, “It’s a third chamber of parliament”. When again ascendant, it wants the ability to silence all voices but its own. It knows removing a body enshrined in the constitution will be impossible without upheaval. 

On another side, many Grassroots Peoples say the Voice hasn’t been discussed in their communities. They often call for Treaties. Others ask whether those promoted for the Voices will “roll over us again”. They know the ruling class aims to silence their voices, their cultural projects, their efforts to survive. 

When does the ruling class amplify the voices of native title applicants with empty wallets and travel costs, couch surfing to attend meetings? Or those hit with massive legal costs for daring to claim their own lands? 

These fault lines of distress create struggle. They break into open conflict. 

First Peoples will deal with their own people, settle their own disputes, tell their own truths. 

In occupied Australia
Colonialism, long morphed into monopolising capitalism called imperialism, offers bandaids for the deathly wounds it causes.

January 26 brings First Peoples and their allies together in tens of thousands. They understand ongoing invasion. 

Many First Peoples want to overthrow this system, as we do, though we are a tiny minority.

Whatever the result of suggested amendments to the ruling class’s Australian Constitution, we need to create independent forces with united demands. 

The ruling class is still much more powerful than the people, but in and around the struggles of First Peoples, a groundswell is already growing. 

Standing alongside them in occupied Australia, our united Peoples will one day demand real democracy in action, independence from all invaders, and socialism where profit serves the people not the trillionaires.

When that full understanding and organisation grips the masses, no power on earth will stop them. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Exercise Bushido Guardian links Australian and Japanese militaries


(Above: Japanese and Australian airmen on exchange flights in 2019 Exercise Bushido Guardian.  Photo credit - Defence)
Written by: (Contributed) on 24 January 2023

The announcement that Australia will be joining Japan's Exercise Bushido Guardian 2023 can be regarded as part of a growing trend of closer liaison between the two most important hubs for 'US interests' in the Indo-Pacific region. The joint exercises have occurred since 2019.

Some other, related matters, also show the unequal nature of the triangular diplomatic relations.

The announcement coincided with Japan also planning to use the ADF for 'rotational deployments' alongside US counterparts and provides further evidence of US-led diplomatic hostilities and war-mongering in the Indo-Pacific region. (1) The announcement was made by Japan's Ambassador to Australia, Yamagami Shingo, who also stated that Washington, Tokyo and Canberra 'needed to work closely together' in the face of rising competition from China and recognition of a changing balance of forces. (2)

The present Japanese government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has also approved a major overhaul of defence policy which has included a doubling of its defence budget; the move is explained as part of US-led military planning to elevate the alliance with Japan as the Indo-Pacific Strategy and a 'global alliance'. (3) Japanese troops are now being trained for deployment elsewhere, and not for strictly defensive reasons.

The US has also announced plans to re-organise existing troop organisation on Okinawa into formations of rapid-response groups of 2,000, equipped with sophisticated weaponry, for deployment 'on islands south-west of Okinawa, less than 160 kms from Taiwan'. (4) Okinawa, despite being a small island, is home to 32 US military base facilities and most of the total deployment by the Pentagon to Japan. (5)

During the past decade many of the small islands in the region have taken on greater geo-strategic significance for a variety of reasons, including contested sovereignty, large-scale mineral deposits and natural resources and the Pentagon reusing its former Cold War policy of Island Chain Theory. In 2014, for example, Japan announced it was intending nationalising about 280 of an estimated four hundred remote landmasses and designating them 'important national territories'. (6) Japan is currently in dispute with South and North Korea, China and Taiwan, and Russia, over the sovereignty of various islands, which adds to the volatile nature of regional diplomacy.

Examples of hotly contested sovereignty of some of the islands has included the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, which are jointly claimed by Japan and China, and the Takeshima Islets which are contested between Japan and South Korea; the fact Japan's education ministry have also introduced teaching manuals claiming the contested territories were 'our inherent territories', has led to controversy amongst number of Japan’s neighbours that the government of Shinzo Abe was planning 'to put a gloss on Japan's war-time history'. (7)

Contested islands, to the north of Japan, in the Kuril Island Chain, which were occupied by the former Soviet Union and now Russian Federation, have also added to the diplomatic problem. Russia maintains a military presence on the islands, with a headquarters on Iturup Island; anti-aircraft systems are based on Tor and Buk together with a submarine project, Varshavyanka. (8)

The Kuril land-masses also form the northern part of the US-led present Cold War Island Chain Theory now used to contain and encircle China's access and egress into the wider region, with direct military implications, adding to the sensitivity of the whole area.

The stated 'strategic alignment' of the US-Japan military alliance has also included Australia: recent high-level diplomatic meetings have announced 'scaled-up defence co-operation and established a vital new basis for enhanced interoperability between Australia and Japan through more sophisticated joint exercises and multilateral exercises with partners and mutual use of military facilities'. (9) Australian involvement in Exercise Bushido Guardian is, therefore, best viewed in that context: it is also not difficult to envisage how Australia might find itself part of 'real-war scenarios' due to its military alliances.

Any questions about nature of the military planning involved should also consider the following considerations: diplomatic and military planning and activity is steeped in protocol, ceremony and official procedure. Rank, together with seniority, takes precedence over all over considerations within a strictly imposed chain of command.

It is, therefore, important to note the three heads of US forces in Japan are a Lieutenant-General, a Brigadier-General and a Chief Master. (10) Under the reciprocal access military agreement between Japan and Australia, official liaison, however, is conducted through an ADF officer based in Japan and a Japanese officer in Australia, of the ranks of Major. (11)
Controlling the strictly need to know basis of all military communications, the official Pentagon press secretary has the rank of Brigadier-General. (12)

It is not particularly difficult to establish who is conducting the military planning, implementing policies and driving the continual stream of US-led regional war-games and exercises in the name of 'US interests':

                                         We need an independent foreign policy!

1.     Beware the sting in China's tale, Australian, 10 January 2023.
2.     Ibid.
3.     The reasons behind Washington's push for GSOMIA., Hankyoreh, 12 November 2019.
4.     Japan shifts balance of power, Editorial,  Australian, 16 January 2023.
5.     Wikipedia: US-Japan Alliance.
6.     Japan to nationalise 280 islands, The Age (Melbourne), 10 January 2014.
7.     Japan puts disputed islands on school curriculum The, Age (Melbourne), 13 January 2023; and, Academics blast efforts to revise war history, The Age (Melbourne), 11 February 2015.

8.     Wikipedia: Russia-Kuril Islands.
9.     Editorial, Australian, op.cit., 16 January 2023.
10.   Website: US Government.
11.   Australia and Japan to strengthen defence co-operation, ADM., 2 December 2021.
12.   US missiles sent to Japan to deter China, Australian, 13 January 2023.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Death merchant Israeli Aerospace Industries should be kicked out of Australia.

(Above: Glorifying death by technology, Israel's Point Blank missile drone.     Image source: Asia Pacific Defence Reporter)

 Written by: Nick G. on 23 January 2023

An Australian government agency has worked hard to establish a branch of a notorious Israeli arms manufacturer in Australia.

It has been assisted to begin operations in Australia by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), the Australian Government’s international trade promotion and “investment attraction” agency.

Israel Aerospace Industries opened an office in Australia is time to promote itself at Queensland’s 2021 Land Forces Australia arms expo.

It tried to come in innocuously, on the quiet, under the cover of having set up a joint venture (JV) with what was said to be an Australian company, Bis, to launch Auto-mate, a new company that will provide autonomous systems to the mining industry. Bis was formerly Brambles and is now privately-owned by US private equity companies Carlyle and Varde. So much for it being an “Australian company”!

Auto-mate means getting rid of jobs in the mining and transport industries. Something the government agency Austrade was apparently pleased to be involved with. According to its website:

Austrade played a pivotal role in bringing IAI and Bis' JV to fruition. Austrade provided market and customer research and analysis, connected IAI with relevant industry and government officials within Australia and targeted relevant companies for the JV.

Austrade has worked with IAI since 2013 to pursue a partner in Australia for autonomous/robotic mining and introduce potential partners and relevant institutions. Over the last two to three years, Austrade has assisted IAI to expand its presence in Australia and advised on ways and opportunities in which it can expand its role within Australia’s defence ecosystem.  

Oh well, that’s the Australian taxpayer’s dollar at work.

Loitering around the arms expo

But back to the armaments industry. At the Land Forces exhibition, AIA presented “awareness solutions including information gathering reconnaissance, surveillance, communication as well as a selection of loitering munitions capabilities.”

A “loitering munitions capability” is not something that hangs around street corners waiting to be picked up by Constable Plod.

A loitering munition (also known as a suicide drone or kamikaze drone) is a weapon system category in which the munition “loiters” around the target area for some time, searches for targets, and attacks once a target is located.

The 2021 version was the Harop drone.  

The new version, announced a couple of days ago, is the POINT BLANK electro-optically guided missile, that can, according to an AIA press release, “be carried in a soldier’s backpack. The system answers the battlefield requirement to provide tactical units ranging in size from small tactical teams to battalion level, with an independent and organic capability to increase their lethality. POINT BLANK allows these units to attack a variety of targets in real time with great precision and high lethality, without the need for support. The missile is hand-launched, operated by a single soldier, and can take off from and land vertically back to, the soldier’s hand.”

That description is the inspiration for the rather fanciful ad for the drone which sees a bird of prey taking off from a handler’s gloved fist and morphing into the missile drone.

What isn’t shown are the civilian casualties among the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, or any other people fighting for their liberation from capitalist oppression and imperialist domination and control, as the loitering missile-loaded drone unleashes its firepower on targets selected by individual soldiers lurking kilometres away.

IAI and Australian guided missile manufacture

In June 2021, IAI signed a cooperation agreement with the Australian Missile Corporation (AMC), owned by Queensland based NIOA, owned by the family of federal politician Bob Katter’s son-in-law Robert Nioa. The AMC was established that year after PM Scott Morrison determined that Australia should manufacture its own guided missiles as part of US imperialism’s preparations for war with China. He had established the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise ("GWEO") program for that purpose.

Retired RAN Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, CEO of AMC, said in June 2022, “Our next steps will involve working with Defence and the GWEO Strategic Partners, Raytheon Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia, on a roadmap that meets the GWEO capability elements.”

As part of that roadmap, IAI is to provide Australia with a ‘very advanced autonomous maritime system’, although the details remain classified.
IAI charged with criminal conduct in Israel

Meanwhile, back in Occupied Palestine, IAI has had to deal with allegations of criminal conduct.

Israeli police arrested 13 people in March 2017 from IAI and private companies who either supplied or were supplied by IAI, on charges of corruption, aggravated fraud, money laundering, theft by public officials, illegal business practices, fraud and breach of trust.

“The covert investigation of this affair has thus far shown systemic criminal business practices and the suspicion of deep corruption, which is apparently common in the Israeli Aerospace Industries,” police said.

Then in 2020, The Times of Israel reported that IAI transferred at least $155 million in 2012-2014 to two companies that were reportedly used as a secret slush fund for Azerbaijan’s elite shortly after the company signed a $1.6 billion arms deal with Azerbaijan.

The bank accounts for these two offshore companies were serviced by the Russian bank International Financial Club, which is part owned by the wife of Sergei Chemezov, the CEO of Russia’s state-owned arms manufacturer and exporter, Rostec. In other words, a bank that is partly owned by the wife of a US-sanctioned Putin ally performed a key role in suspicious payments from two state-owned Israeli arms manufacturers to offshore companies reportedly controlled by members of the Azerbaijani elite. 

In addition, from June 2016 to May 2017 IAI paid $ 2.8 million to a British Virgin Islands firm called Bakinshaat Group Ltd., whose website describes it as a construction company involved in government projects in Azerbaijan.

It has been widely reported that IAI is the top supplier of arms to Azerbaijan, including of lethal “loitering” drones that some analysts believe helped Azerbaijan gain an edge over Armenia in the recent hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In 1993, IAI established a marketing arm, Spacecom, for its AMOS satellites. In February 2016, Israeli police recommended bribery, fraud, breach of trust and extortion indictment against Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz. The case alleged that he intervened in internal IAI matters involving the workers union, in exchange for favours from IAI employees.

The head of IAI’s employee union is his son, Yair Katz.

Katz’s involvement occurred as IAI pressed the Israeli government to award it a contract for a new generation communications satellite even though a US rival’s bid was for only half the amount asked for by IAI.

In August 2016, with the IAI bid faltering, Spacecom shareholders agreed to sell the company for US$500 million to China’s Beijing Xinwei Technology Group, but the deal collapsed in September when the latest AMOS satellite was destroyed in a launch test.

The Israeli government subsequently awarded the contract for the new satellite to Spacecom and IAI in 2018 amid controversy, as allegations about political deal-making and a state bailout at the taxpayers’ expense clash with a government citing national security as justification for its decisions.

Throw them out

IAI, with its inglorious record of corruption, was nevertheless feted by Austrade which used Australian taxpayers’ money to pave the way for the company to set itself up here.

This is a company which is making a killing from the making of killing expertise.

It is an enemy of progressive humanity and should be widely exposed and condemned.

When we reported in 2021 on IAI’s presence at the Land Forces Expo, we said, “We must oppose IAI’s presence in Australia, and any cooperation between it and the Australian military.”

We repeat that call today.