Brisbane war games organising picks up to defend pristine coastal environment

Peace activists organising to oppose the bi-annual Talisman Saber US-Aust joint war games are stepping up activities in the lead up to the event in early July. The Peace Convergence is calling for peace action to take place throughout the war games and in various locations in the Shoalwater region, Brisbane, and around Australia.

The TS09 war games will see about 30,000 US and Australian troops descend on the unparallelled seaside habitat of dugong, green sea turtles and humpback whales. They will be practicing bombing, landing and raiding at Shoalwater Bay in Central Queensland (just north of Rockhampton) and in the NT for this year’s Australia-US Joint Military Exercises - Operation Talisman Saber 2009 scheduled for JULY 6 – 26.

What’s wrong with Operation Talisman Saber 2009 (TS09)?

Talisman Saber is the largest US-Australia joint military exercise held. It involves up to 30,000 US and Australian troops spread over northern Australia. Shoalwater Bay Training Area provides terrain for combined air/land/sea live-fire training.

Talisman Saber involves live firing of ammunition and explosives from land, air and sea; the sinking of decommissioned vessels at sea; the use of high power sonar and active sonobuoys, amphibious assaults, parachuting and land force manoeuvres.

Risk to the Environment

The TS09 military exercise poses high level physical and toxic risks for the Shoalwater Bay, the largest wilderness area on the central Queensland coast, a world heritage area abutting the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, containing Indigenous sites and wetlands.

Military activities stand to threaten the habitat of dugong and green turtles, 26 species of dolphins and whales, including humpbacks.

The presence of nuclear powered and nuclear weapons capable ocean vessels poses a major risk to Shoalwater and Australia. In 2006, radiation was detected in the water surrounding a nuclear powered submarine in Tokyo Harbour (the USS Honolulu).

Australia’s Role in Militarisation of the Pacific

As China becomes a global economic force, the US is shifting its military might from the Atlantic to the NW Pacific.

The Talisman Sabre exercises tie Australia to the US military expansion currently sweeping across the north-west Pacific Ocean. Talisman Saber is controlled out of Hawaii, through the Pacific Command (PACOM) there. PACOM controls the US military movement for over half of the earth’s surface – the entire Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Many of the aircraft, ships and submarines coming to TS07 are from Guam, a small island north of PNG & east of the Philippines, facing a major US military build-up.

The US is a nuclear force, with 10,000 of the world’s 27,215 nuclear warheads. While nuclear bombs will not be detonated at Shoalwater, the military forces training there are part of the world’s foremost nuclear armed forces.

<strong>Indigenous Rights

Shoalwater Bay is the ancestral lands of the Darumbal peoples who enjoy only restricted access to their significant sites within the Training Area. Return of the wilderness area to the Darumbal people would advance their efforts to care for their community.

The Indigenous Chamorro (Guam) and Kanaka Maoli (Hawaii) people, whose lands service the war games, oppose the US control over their nations. The US military controls 40% of the Hawaiian lands the US military and controls 1/3 of Guam.

Social Impacts

The Australian military spends over $60 million per day. This impacts Australia’s social fabric because money spent on supporting US foreign policy, and purchasing military hardware unsuitable to defending Australia’s shores, takes funding away from community needs such as health, education, sustainable development, etc.

Historically, there is a recognised increase in experienced military-related prostitution, rape and violence against women and children, drugs, alcoholism, and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases in regions hosting US military bases and activities.
no bases - no war games - no wars

**************Brisbane Peace Convergence WORKING BEE and MEETING:

Come for one or both....

Date: Weds May 6, 2009

Time: WORKING BEE 2pm-4pm
MEETING: 4pm - 6pm (at the latest!)

Place: Friends of the Earth Brisbane
294 Montague Road West End
(just one block from the 199 Bus Stop that is
outside of Sol Breads/across the street from
Micks Nuts)

Please bring something nibbly or drinky to share if possible!

for more information: Peace Convergence 0411 118 737

July 10-12 Peace Convergence Weekend

(Rockhampton with actions and events in Rockhampton,

Yeppoon, Byfield/Shoalwater Training region)

Other events and activities: July3-5 Committed To Change Festival at Byfield, Peace House, support NAIDOC DAY in Rockhampton on July 10, Public Meeting July 10 in Rockhampton… plus more.

We need YOU to make this year’s Peace Convergence a success… Join us in coordinating peaceful action and events or help with media, props, or donations to help others get involved…

Can’t make a trip to Rocky? The US military also uses Brisbane Airport & Brisbane Port. Amberley is also used in the exercises…why not organise something in your own region?

For more information: Peace Convergence 0411 118 737