Australian Government signs up
for Star Wars madness
"We are appalled by the Howard Government's decision to sign Australia up to the United States missile defence plans", said Dr Hannah Middleton in a media statement on behalf of the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition last week. The US program is estimated to cost a minimum of $30 billion and Canberra is not giving any estimates of how much Australia will be expected to contribute. With a defence budget already running at over $43 million a day and Medicare and education in desperate need of more funding, this is irresponsible, she said. The Howard Government is dragging us into a massively expensive, controversial and still-experimental system that will make Australia complicit in US plans to turn space into an arena of war. Furthermore, the US is not building a defensive system. It is planning to militarise and control space. The US Space Command report, Vision for 2020, speaks of "dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment". The US Air Force Space Command Strategic Master Plan says the United States intends to dominate the world by turning space into the crucial battlefield of the 21st Century. "Air Force Space Command has the vision and the people to ensure the United States achieves space superiority today and in the future", say the US planners adding that the US will not allow any other power, including its allies, to get a foothold in space. Denounced Most competent authorities have already denounced the Star Wars project. A report by the General Accounting Office of the US Congress warned that Bush' s drive to erect an anti-missile system is hampered by immature technology and limited testing, raising the risk of failure. In February 2002, Australia's Office of National Assessments said that the US missile defence system could provoke a regional arms race and "would not be in Australia's diplomatic or security interests". The announcement by the Australian Government that it is signing up to Star Wars has been followed by a report in The Australian (December 6-7) that the Government is to purchase long range missiles from the United States. These missiles have a much longer range than any missiles presently available to the Australian Air Force and can be fitted with either conventional, nuclear, chemical or biological warheads. No other country in the Southeast Asian region has such long range missiles in its arsenal and the Australian Government's action will inevitably provoke an arms race in the region to possess similar or even more deadly weapons. It is clear that the Australian Government and its US masters are rushing the militarisation of Australia and the Asian region. It involves US bases in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and on ships and aircraft in the region. These steps are all preparations for a large war in the future to contain and overwhelm the People's Republic of China and impose US domination over the whole of Asia. Base for tanks and troops Australia is being turned into a base for the stockpiling of weapons (by establishing a base at Darwin to house US tanks and troops), by renovating the naval facilities at Cockburn Sound in WA to take larger US warships, by using Lancelin (also in WA) as a bombing range and weapons testing area, by upgrading Pine Gap spy facilities and by building up the armed forces of Australia to be used whenever and wherever the US command decides. Australian military, air and naval forces are being steadily integrated into the US military structures by the adoption of military equipment supplied by the US and similar training and command structures. It is called "interoperability" which means that Australia's military forces are becoming a de-facto arm of the US military. The Australian Government is also purchasing three new warships which the Pentagon says are cover against some "longer range threats against the west coast of the USA". China has expressed concern about US plans to surround it with Tactical Missile Defence (TMD) deployments in Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea and on ships and planes throughout the region. The Howard Government signed up for theatre missile defence when it announced on November 7 that work would start on three new air-warfare destroyers by 2006. It is expected that they will be equipped with the US Aegis radar and missile systems. Defence Minister Robert Hill says this program is not "specifically designed to protect continental Australia". Destabilise the region China has repeatedly warned that US plans for missile defence will be destabilising and will provoke a new regional arms race. Development of TMD weapons, the Chinese say, counteracts confidence-building efforts in the region and is bound to undermine the global strategic balance. Another important Australian facility under the effective control and command of the US is the spy base at Pine Gap. It has already been involved in the supply of information used in the bombing of Yugoslavia and in the Iraq war. It has been involved in the Star Wars program for more than a decade. New radomes built at Pine Gap are for the latest satellite system called Space-Based Infra-Red System. Media reports indicate that 50 new homes are being built at Alice Springs for additional American staff coming to Pine Gap. Far from achieving security for Australia, the Government's policies and war preparations will inevitably result in a much wider war in the Asian region, with possibly tremendous casualties and the destruction of any respect for Australia in the region. Australia is already widely regarded as the deputy sheriff of the US and Australia's militarisation and effective integration into the US military command structures and its use of US equipment will confirm that belief. There is no benefit for Australia in the Howard Government's rush to militarise Australia. Our security will be damaged, trade and diplomatic relations with our regional neighbours will be negatively affected and our sovereignty will be diminished. It has been said that President Bush is the most dangerous President to have ever occupied that position in the United States. It can be added that Prime Minister Howard is the most dangerous and warmongering Prime Minister that Australia has ever had.