WikiLeaks exposes Aus. gov’t

February 12, 2011

WikiLeaks has released secret US diplomatic cables that show secret Australian government negotiations to sell uranium to India, despite it not being a signature to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Other cables show the government covered up details about its spy satellite program with the US.

A leaked cable shows resources minister Martin Ferguson told US officials in 2009 that a deal to supply India with nuclear fuel could be reached within years, said on February 10.

This contradicts the government’s public position that India must sign up to the NPT before Australian uranium would be sold to them.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlum said the government is playing a “double game”. “I swear some days you can smell the uranium on Martin Ferguson’s breath,” he said.

A leaked cable from February 2008 revealed a secret deal between the Australian and US governments to share secret intelligence from spy satellites, the Melbourne Age said on February 7.

The deal explains the “high priority” given to acquiring an Australian spy satellite announced in the May 2009 defence white paper (DWP), the Age said.

The satellite is intended to monitor south-east Asia and “people-smuggling” boats in Australian waters. It could also “potentially acquire imagery of intelligence significance for the US and other US allies”, the Age said.

The federal Labor government also secretly hosted US military teams supporting operations of ballistic-missile defence satellites, the Sydney Morning Herald said on February 8.

Two US teams worked in Australia for more than two months to support the operation of two surveillance satellites launched in September 2009.

The operations went against statements in the DWP. Then-defence department deputy secretary Mike Pezzullo told US diplomats the DWP had been carefully written to fool the ALP “Left” faction — which opposes US plans to develop a missile defence shield.

“In reality [it] will allow the GOA (government of Australia) to continue its missile defence research and development co-operation with the United States,” a cable recorded Pezzullo saying.

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