AABCC Press Release 15 February 2007

New US War Base Condemned

"We are appalled by the announcement that the Federal Government has secretly agreed to set up a new United States base at Geraldton in WA," Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition National Coordinator Denis Doherty said this morning.

"We are sure Australians do not want to supply intelligence and communications for more Bush administration invasions or to host bases which spy on our neighbours and training areas for Australian soldiers to practice fighting under US command.

"The Federal Government has dropped all pretence about 'joint facilities' and is calling the new base, the first of several planned facilities, a United States military base.

"Defence Minister Nelson's claim that the government will have full knowledge of all activities at the base is unbelievable," Mr Doherty said.

"We already have over 40 US military facilities in Australia. We cannot afford more

"This is a case where less is best!

"US bases make Australia a target for nuclear and terrorist attacks," Mr Doherty said.

"They increase the US hold on Australian foreign policy. They undermine Australia's security and add even more to the already out of control Australian military budget which is running at $55 million every day.

"In the most recent budget the military got more money than education.

"These bases do not make Australia safer but they make us poorer," Mr Doherty said.

"Around the world, US bases have become the centre of major social problems. Australia is no different. An Anglican Church report from Hobart details frequent sexual assaults on young men and women by US service people. US MPs assaulted Aborigines in Ipswich during 1997 war games and two US servicemen were tried for rape in Darwin in February 2004.

"There are also major dangers to our environment of pollution from repairs and maintenance programs and from weapons firing.

"The Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition condemns this outrageous agreement and vows to fight it in every way we can," he said.

"Our Coalition and other groups are preparing for a major campaign against another new US base at Shoalwater Bay in Queensland. In June this year there will be protests against the huge joint military exercise called 'Talisman Sabre 07'.

"We call on the Government to rescind this agreement and hold a public enquiry into the US military presence in Australia," Mr Doherty said.

For more information: Denis Doherty 0418 290 663 or 9698 2954 (o)