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U.S. grip over Australia strips us of sovereignty

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and President Joe Biden earlier this year (image via YouTube)

The Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) has further surrendered sovereignty and tightened the U.S. military grip on Australia, writes Bevan Ramsden.

THE INTEGRATION OF the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with the U.S. military, incorporation of U.S. intelligence staff in our defence intelligence organisation and the increased military presence of the U.S. including command facilities in Australia has locked us into any war plans of the United States and made us a launching pad for their wars. The U.S. grip on Australia must be broken to give us independence and a peaceful future.

The AUSMIN 2023 talks between the Australian defence and foreign affairs ministers, Richard Marles and Penny Wong and their U.S. counterparts Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, have further tightened the U.S. military grip on Australia.

Australia has become the U.S. southern Indo-Pacific base from which it may launch military operations. Under the U.S. Force Posture Agreement, the U.S. has established or is in the process of establishing, huge fuel, munitions, spare parts, maintenance and equipment storage facilities on our continent. It has also been given unimpeded access to our airports, seaports, RAAF, RAN and army bases for its military aircraft, warships and nuclear submarines.

Sovereignty has been cravenly sacrificed on the altar of the U.S.-Australia military alliance.

These Australian facilities are being massively upgraded largely at Australian taxpayers' expense to support these U.S. military operations.

The ADF trains extensively with, and is under the command of, the U.S. military in war exercises such as Talisman Sabre. The ADF is now so integrated with the U.S. military and our foreign policy so tied to that of the U.S. that Australia will be swept into the next U.S. war without a whimper from our political leaders and indeed with their enthusiastic support.

That the next U.S. war could be against China, Australia’s major trading partner and that such a war will have a catastrophic impact on every aspect of the Australian people’s lives and those of the people in our region and the world, with the dreadful possibility of a nuclear exchange. 

By agreeing to the outcomes of the AUSMIN 2023 talks, Richard Marles and Penny Wong have shown that they are no more than flunkeys, willing to place the interests of the U.S. above those of the Australian people. They have accepted measures which effectively increase the U.S. grip on Australia and infringe our national sovereignty in a most fundamental way, by denying us the ability to decide if, when and against whom we go to war.

Let’s review the decisions reached at AUSMIN 2023.

AUSMIN 2023 reaffirmed a joint commitment to operationalise the alliance including through enhanced force cooperation across land, maritime and air domains as well as through the "Combined Logistics, Sustainment and Maritime Enterprise". They declared enhanced space cooperation to enable closer cooperation in this critical operational domain.

There will be a fresh expansion of the deployment of U.S. forces to Australia including amphibious troops and maritime reconnaissance planes.

American intelligence analysts will be embedded within the Defence’s spy agency in Canberra establishing a Combined Intelligence Centre: Australia within Australia’s Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) by 2024.

In addition to upgrading RAAF Tindal and Darwin, there will be expansion and “hardening” against attacks of two other RAAF bases in the north, RAAF Scherger near Weipa in Queensland and RAAF Curtin near Derby in WA.

This upgrade will service aircraft used by both Australia and the U.S. including the F-35 Lightning, Super Hornet fighters and C-17 cargo planes. On 1 November 2022, the ABC Four Corners program revealed that RAAF Tindal will be upgraded to accommodate up to six nuclear-capable B52 bombers. On 4 August 2023, it disclosed that a search of U.S. budget filings had revealed plans to build a U.S. Air Force Mission Planning and Operations Centre in Darwin, plans which the Australian Government has fully disclosed.

Through enhanced maritime cooperation, there will be more and longer visits of U.S. nuclear submarines to HMAS Stirling in WA from 2023. These visits are in preparation for submarine rotational force-west involving UK and US nuclear submarines being berthed and serviced under the AUKUS Agreement.

The Americans will now conduct a “regular rotation” of U.S. Army watercraft and deploy a U.S. Navy spy plane to conduct surveillance flights.

The U.S. announced its intention to pre-position U.S. Army stores and materiel at Bandiana Army base near Wodonga in Victoria as a precursor for the longer-term establishment of an enduring logistics support area in Queensland designed to enhance interoperability and accelerate the ability to respond to alleged "regional crises" which are in reality U.S.-perceived threats to its hegemony.

The U.S. will collaborate with Australia in the local production of multiple-launch guided missiles, planned to commence by 2025.

We are in the grip of the U.S. military, which is ever-tightening and underpins U.S. control of our economy. We are indebted to the historian Clinton Fernandes for his analysis showing that of Australia’s 20 largest corporations, 15 are majority U.S.-owned. This includes BHP Billiton, once called the “Big Australian” but now 73 per cent U.S. owned and therefore beholden to U.S. shareholders. The four major banks, NAB, ANZ, Westpac and the CBA, once the government-owned peoples’ bank, are all majority owned by U.S. shareholders, a form of "foreign influence" that the government doesn’t seem to have a problem with.

The huge public expenditure on “defence”, such as the $368 billion for nuclear-powered submarines, $10 billion for Hercules cargo aircraft, $10 billion for armoured vehicles, billions for runway extensions and port upgrades; the list goes on and is at the expense of addressing urgent social needs.

There is no military threat to Australia. The real beneficiary is the U.S. military-industrial complex which has its presence in Australia through Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other corporations.

If we are to have independence and hope for a peaceful future, the U.S. grip on our country must be broken.

There can be no social or economic justice, no real solution to the ever-worsening crises in housing, public health care, public education, care of children and the aged, and no effective measures to address climate change and no peaceful future until we free ourselves from the grip of the U.S. militarily, politically and economically.

Only independence can give us back our sovereignty and self-respect and the possibility of a peaceful future.

Bevan Ramsden is an ex-telecommunications engineer and a long-time peace activist who advocates for Australia’s independence. He was a member of the coordinating committee of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) for a number of years and is the editor of its monthly publication, 'Voice'.

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