Australia subsidises US assault operations

The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) condemns the latest Australian government’s purchase of 18 drones (Shadow 200) and training packages worth $175 m.

Ms Marlene Obeid, spokesperson for the anti-war group, said “the drones are part of an offensive weapons system that, almost certainly, will be linked to US systems in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“In other words, Australia will be subsidising US assault operations, which are more than likely to result in the death of more Afghan women and children.

“The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), known as drones, do not identify improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as the Defence Minister, John Faulkner, wants us to believe” Ms Obeid added.

According to Dr Hank Jones, of MLB Company, spy-planes manufacturer, the “Shadow 200” is used to identify “enemy technicians”, that is, groups of people who could be installing IEDs, and transmit the information to a ground station which can call in artillery or other assaults.

The last government's budget allocated $1.1 billion in upgraded “protection measures” for Australian troops.

Ms Obeid says that the best way to protect Australian troops is to bring them home and, instead of spending money on war, Australia should be directing this to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

The StWC calls for an end to the war on Afghanistan and the withdrawal of all Australian troops. Anti-war campaigners will be picketing the Broadway office of Tanya Plibersek, Labor MP, this coming Thursday August 5, from 4.30pm.

Peace groups will also join the Hiroshima Day remembrance vigil this Friday August 6, at 6pm at Belmore Park, Sydney.

For further information contact Marlene on 0401 758 871 or Anne on 0404 090 710.