AABCC Press Release 5 Sept, 2007

New Australia-US military treaty condemned

The new military treaty between Mr. Howard and Mr. Bush will send a shudder of dread through the Asia-Pacific region with its message of greater belligerence, more spying, more war games and an arms build up.

"We condemn this treaty as a declaration of war on the Asia-Pacific region," said Denis Doherty, national coordinator for the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign today.

"It contains the seeds of future conflicts. It will create greater tension and generate more spending on the military but less on the urgent economic and social needs of the region's people.

"The treaty foreshadows more Australian purchases of US high tech weaponry. These send a message of aggression to our neighbours and will add to current excessive military spending of $55 million every day," Denis Doherty said, "money that would be better spent on public health, education, and affordable housing.

"Mr. Howard speaks of co-operation on humanitarian issues but this is really an excuse for the United States to increase the stores of its military equipment and materiel in our country.

"There is no heart of compassion that beats in Mr. Howard," Mr Doherty said. "He was unable to find troops for the appalling tragedy in Darfur but is able to find more troops for Iraq or Afghanistan when the US asks.

"The commitment to enhanced joint exercises takes us further down the path of the ADF becoming a de facto arm of the US military.

"It will also subject pristine and sensitive areas of Australia to environmental damage from the toxic impact of war games with the US .

"Talk of enhanced military cooperation is ominous and threatens even greater Australian involvement in yet more wars. Only yesterday media outlets reported that the build-up of Guam is a 'spear pointing at China '.

"Trade with China has become economically essential for this country. Why should we shoot ourselves in the foot by supporting aggression against China ?

"The new treaty with the US will make us poorer and less secure," Mr Doherty said.

"We are the poorer because we are forced to buy exorbitantly expensive war materiel from the US . We pay 50 per cent or more for the cost of their war bases on our soil and subsidise their war games.

"There are already almost 40 US military facilities in Australia .

"They include facilities to spy on domestic and international phone calls (Echelon), bases for spying and targeting (Pine Gap), and US military communication bases (Geraldton).

"Mr Howard spoke at today's press conference of further cooperation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisaance access and capabilities.

"What this really means is that Australia will become more complicit in aggression (US "pre-emptive strikes"), the targeting of civilians and facilitation of crimes against humanity.

The 'closer ties' with the US have already started an arms race in Asia and are creating increased tensions as the US steps up its stand over tactics towards resource-rich countries in our region.

"The way for Australia to go is to adopt a non aligned and independent foreign policy. A proper relationship with the United States should be friendly and mutually beneficial while allowing our government to put the interests of the Australian people first, instead of last.

" Australia will greatly benefit if US military facilities on our soil are closed down, joint war games are ended and the US-Australian military alliance (ANZUS) is terminated," Mr Doherty concluded.

For more information: contact Denis Doherty 0418 290 663 or 9698 2954.