Campaign to kick US Marines out of Darwin launched

US marines in Darwin

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) launched its "Give 'Em the Boot" campaign, aimed at ending Australia's Force Posture Agreement with the US and sending US Marines based in Darwin back home, at a "Keep Australia out of US wars" public meeting on July 17.

Former Australian ambassador to several Asia-Pacific countries and former NSW president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs Richard Broinowski told the audience: "For some considerable time we have been embedded in US wars. This follows our colonial history of involvement in British wars since the 19th century.

"Australia seems to have learnt nothing from history in regard to our government's foreign policy. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's statement that 'we're joined at the hip with the US' is outrageous.

"Nevertheless, we hope that US President Donald Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-un will lead to a breakthrough with North Korea. We hope that it will finally lead to a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula and to nuclear disarmament in the long run.

"However, the US double standard is shown by Trump's move to spend US$3 trillion on 'upgrading' the US nuclear arsenal. Turnbull is following up with the Australian government's establishment of a new fund to massively expand Australia's military equipment export industry."

NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon told the forum: "We are all working now to rebuild the peace movement in this country. From the Greens' perspective, the Australia-US alliance should be ripped up.

"Public spending on wars and military equipment wastes resources that should be used for the public good. We need to push for the dismantling of the entire military-industrial complex.

"Australia is already the 13th highest spender on its military in the world. And now, the Coalition government wants to allocate a further $230 million to help AusTrade expand Australia's arms exports.

"Australia already is deeply tied to the US war machine. For example, the Pine Gap spy base plays a critical role in US drone strikes in the Middle East and Australia has clandestine military and intelligence operations in various parts of the world.

"The challenge before us now is to build a strong peace and anti-nuclear movement in order to confront these threats of war, and to end the Australia-US military alliance."

Spokesperson for Give 'Em the Boot Nick Deane said: "We are seeking support for IPAN's campaign to get US troops out of Darwin. The US Marine Air Ground Task Force there is an attack force, which is proclaimed as 'Ready to fight tonight'.

"These US Marines are not there to defend Australia: they are under orders from Washington, not Canberra. And the US is the most violent country on Earth.

"We need to tell the US: 'You can go now'. And the US Marines won't go unless they are booted out.

"We need people to get involved in the 'Give 'Em the Boot' campaign. That's why we are symbolically collecting boots for delivery to the Australian government.

"We are calling for an end to the Force Posture Agreement with the US, which authorises the marines to be stationed in Darwin and gives access to US ships and aircraft to make use of our port facilities.

"We are building a network to campaign against this agreement. Together, we have a chance to build a strong movement against the US-Australia alliance and for a renewed peace movement in this country."

[For more information, contact: giveemtheboot2@gmail.com or visit www.ipan.org.au.]

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