In this issue:

REPORT: IPAN National Conference,
Melbourne, 8-10th September, 2017

Warren Smith, Maritime Union of Australia addresses the conference

The 2017 IPAN National Conference in Melbourne, War, Peace and Independence – Keep Australia Out of U.S. Wars, was a great success, building on previous IPAN National Conferences in Canberra (2014), Brisbane (2015) and Alice Springs (2016).

The Conference lifted and strengthened the public call for an independent Australia foreign policy; and consolidated IPAN’s work in building a broad-based peace movement in Australia.

The Conference was characterised by informative and strong evidence- based presentations by a wide range of speakers (speakers audios are now available to use on IPAN’s website); and the large numbers of participants attending the conference – IPAN affiliates, individuals and interested people previously not familiar with IPAN. Close to 200 people attended the Conference throughout the weekend of 8 – 10 September.

 

All speakers’ presentations were thoroughly researched, engaging and inspirational, strongly advocating an independent Australian foreign policy that promotes global peace. The wide range of speakers, topics and themes dovetailed into the Conference’s main theme of independent and peaceful foreign policy and keeping Australia out of U.S. wars.

Many speakers expressed concerns with the integration of Australian foreign policies, defence industries and capabilities into U.S. global military agendas and supporting U.S. wars. Many speakers stressed that now is the time to promote widely and stronger the call for an independent foreign policy and build a broad and united people’s movement for peace and independence from U.S.

The success and interest in the Conference and IPAN reflected the growing public concerns with Australia’s subservience to U.S. global military agendas and the dangers of hosting U.S. bases and the drones program in Australia.

The conference took place at a time of increasing U.S. belligerence and provocations on the Korean Peninsula and the build up of U.S. military on the Peninsula, including the THAAD system and joint military exercises.

In the lead up to the Conference, the wide promotion amongst the community and unions enabled IPAN to reach wider sectors.

IPAN received very positive feedback from many participants, congratulating IPAN for organising an informative and inclusive conference with a strong line up of speakers and a wide range of topics. Conference participants came from around Victoria, Qld, Alice Springs, NSW, South Australia, Alice Springs, Canberra, Tasmania and West Australia. It was a truly national conference with representatives from every state/territory.

All speakers were outstanding, and the 4 overseas speakers in particular of note brought the international solidarity of the people’s struggle for peace, justice and security:

Sung Hee Choi – peace activist from South Korea and Jeju island spoke passionately and eloquently on the history of U.S. military domination of South Korea and called for the immediate removal of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system, all U.S. bases and troops from South Korea and an end to joint military exercises and for U.S. to get out of Korea. Sung Hee Choi’s presentation were warmly received with the conference unanimously passing a resolution below calling on the U.S. to first remove the THAAD system and stop joint military exercises

 

 

David Vine is Associate Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington, DC. He is the author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World. David is also the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. David provided an historical background to the current 800+ US bases operating around the world. Showing us photos of eg Guantamo Bay living quarters for staff little American suburbs placed in far away places like Diego Garcia. His presentation was a real eye-opener. Listen on www.ipan.org.au/conference2017audio.

Olivier Bancoult – passionately told the conference the long struggle of the Chagossians to return to Diego Garcia from where they were removed by U.S. and Britain to make way for the biggest U.S. military base in Indian Ocean

Murray Horton – NZ peace activist inspired us with his report on the success of NZ peace activists

In keeping US nuclear ships out of NZ and their many campaigns against US bases in NZ.

One of the outstanding features of the Conference was the wide range of organisations attending – from faith organisations, different peace groups, community organisations concerned with lack of public funding to meet community needs, academics, lawyers, journalists and unions.

The Maritime Union of Australia had a strong contingent at the conference with delegations attending from Sydney, Port Kembla and Victorian branches. Representatives and members from other unions included ETU, NTEU, CFMEU. The MUA’s support in particular was enormous and IPAN is indebted to the union and its members.

Warren Smith MUA National Assistant Secretary delivered a passionate speech on why the struggles for peace and justice are union business and the long tradition of Australian unions campaigning for peace and justice

All speakers’ speeches were recorded and are now posted on IPAN’s website, https://ipan.org.au/conf2017audio

IPAN Conference Declaration and resolutions on the Korean Peninsula, the Philippines, West Papua and solidarity greetings to the Pine Gap activists facing trial in November were adopted by the conference and detailed below.

Working groups were formed from the conference delegates and addressed the following issues:

  1. Independent Foreign Policy
  2. Move the Money (from war spending to social useful priorities)
  3. US Bases; US marines in Darwin
  4. Militarisation of education; the military -industrial complex
  5. Justice and peace is union business
  6. Building regional alliances in Asia-Pacific

The enthusiasm and ideas from these groups will help promote existing and future IPAN campaigns. You are very welcome to join and participate in theIPAN groups working on these campaigns; for details see the IPAN web site: ipan.org.au

IPAN co-ordinating committee has put a great deal of work in organising the Conference. We wish to thank many of our supporters who enthusiastically promoted the conference to their networks and contacts and volunteered to help on the weekend.

The conference concluded with a protest outside the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne on Tuesday 12 September, calling on the U.S. to remove the THAAD “defence” system and get out of Korea.

Declaration from the IPAN Conference

Central calls of the declaration:

In moving towards an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy:

  • We call on the Australian government and the Opposition to end their unequivocal subservience to U.S. military and foreign policies that have made Australia a virtual rubber stamp, helping to legitimise U.S. foreign policies, military adventures and threats to peace. For example, Australia refusing to ratify the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty; continued support for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the blockade on Gaza, and voting with the U.S. and U.K. against calls in the U.N. for decolonising Diego Garcia U.S. military base and allowing the Indigenous people return to their homeland.
  • We call on the government to immediately end Australia’s military engagements in U.S.- led wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
  • We call on the Australian government to immediately pledge support for the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Bans Treaty.
  • We call for removing U.S. marines and warplanes from Darwin back to the U.S.
  • We call for an immediate end to any contribution from the U.S. military intelligence base Pine Gap near Alice Springs to the drone assassination program. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that US military bases on our soil, including Pine Gap, integrate Australia into the US war machine and lock us into its wars against countries with whom we’re not at war, and jeopardise Australia pursuing friendly and peaceful relations with our neighbours and the international community. These bases deny Australia our sovereignty and our freedom to make foreign policy decisions independently of the US. We support the call made by the former Prime Minister, the late Malcolm Fraser, to phase out U.S. military bases on Australian soil.
  • We call on the government to re-direct public funds from supporting U.S. wars and the military-industrial complex into public and community needs such as health, education, income security for all, affordable housing, creating sustainable and socially useful local industries and jobs; and addressing climate change.
  • We call for the removal of Lockheed Martin and other military corporations from Australian Universities and schools. We oppose the inroads made into the militarisation of education, manufacturing industries and the economy by military corporate conglomerates like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others.
  • We call for the ending of military tensions in the South China Sea by the removal of the military presence of countries not directly involved in the disputed territories. Australia should not be used to provoke a conflict by sending our navy or airforce into the disputed areas.

READ complete declaration

IPAN Conference Resolutions

Resolution for peace on Korean Peninsula This Conference calls on the Australian government to withdraw from joint military exercises in South Korea and work for a peaceful resolution of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula. To realise a Peace Treaty in the Korean Peninsula requires the following efforts from each side:‐ South Korea and the United States should stop all war exercises, refrain from deploying nuclear weapons in South Korea and work for a peace agreement with North Korea. For its’ part, North Korea should respond by stopping nuclear and missile tests. Passed unanimously

Resolution on West Papua We call on the Australian government to support the inalienable right of the West Papuan people to independence from Indonesia, to peace and security.Passed unanimously

Solidarity Message to activists opposing DSEI Arms Trade Fair in London This 2017 Conference of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network send solidarity greetings to the activists currently blockading and opposing the DSEI Arms Trade Fair in London. We are here in Melbourne to seek a peaceful and independent Australian foreign policy: commercialisation of war is a major impediment to this. As Aranduth Roy said, “we used to sell weapons to fight war, now we fight wars to sell weapons.” We stand with you in opposing this trade in death and destruction.Passed unanimously.

Resolution on The Philippines: Keep Australian troops out of The Philippines We, the participants of the Independent & Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) National Conference, 8-10th September, 2017 in Melbourne, affirm our commitment to justice and peace in the Philippines over violence and hatred and war and call on the Australian Government to:
READ ON

International Day of Peace protest in Martin Place Sydney.

For a short time on (the International Day of Peace) one of Sydney’s many memorials to militarism displayed messages of peace.

There were two, double-sided placards placed on the soldiers’ bayonets at the Cenotaph in Martin Place. The slogans read:-

  • “No More War”
  • “Honour the War Dead by Ending War!”
  • “Sign the Nuke Ban Treaty!” and
  • “We Fought for Peace”

International Day of Peace celebrated with 6th Annual Peace Lecture in St Johns Cathedral, Brisbane

In Brisbane the International Day of Peace was celebrated with the 6th annual Peace Lecture held at St Johns Cathedral in the city. The University of Qld and Griffith worked with the United Nations Assn of Australia Qld Branch and Just Peace Qld (IPAN member) to organise.

Professor Henry Reynolds lecture was titles Australia’s Unnecessary Wars. Henry Reynolds spoke about how virtually none of the wars Australia has committed to and engaged in were about the defence of Australia. He talked about the massive loss of life and quality of life for those returning from the Boer War through to today where so many returning soldiers suffer PTSD and poor quality of life for themselves and their families. The lecture was very well received.

The evening was complimented by song and other speakers.

CALL FOR GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST MILITARY BASES

7 October 2017 It’s time to resist! TOGETHER!

Determined activists around the world have been resisting occupation, militarism, and foreign military bases on their lands for decades. These struggles have been courageous and persistent. Let’s unite our resistance into one global action for peace and justice. This fall, during the first week of October, we invite your organization to plan an antimilitarism action in your community as part of the first annual global week of actions against military bases. Together our voices are louder, our power stronger and more radiant. Let’s resist together to abolish war and stop the desecration of Mother Earth. Join us in creating a world where every human life has equal value and a safe environment in which to live. It is our hope that this is the beginning of an annual effort that will better unite our work and make our connections with each other stronger. Will you join us in this global effort?

As Albert Einstein said: “War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished.” Will you join us? Let’s make this possible, together.

With the deepest respect,

First signatories NoDalMolin (Vicenza – Italy)
NoMuos (Niscemi – Sicily – Italy)
SF Bay Area CODEPINK (S. Francisco – USA)
World Beyond War (USA) CODEPINK (USA)
Hambastagi (Solidarity Party of Afghanistan)
STOP The War Coalition (Philippines)
Environmentalists Against War (California)
READ DETAILS

The Independent & Peaceful Australia Network

Take a stand against endless war and aggression

 

 

*Afghanistan – 16 years of war- Australia’s longest war
*Iraq 14 years
*Syria 7 years
*North Korea 64 years!

Join us in Brisbane on October 7th as we join with others around the world to call on US coalition governments to leave Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. In North Korea Australia has recently joined the US and others to stage naval and military exercises in the seas off North Korea.

Saturday, October 7th, 2017
11.30am King George Square

Come with friends, colleagues, your MP’s, and Faith Leaders to demonstrate the wishes of people around the world for peace.

Speakers Music and Solidarity

Negotiate don’t Escalate

Solidarity with & support for, the Peace Pilgrims Facing Court in November, 2017

The Pine Gap Peace Pilgrims face court in November in Alice Springs.

The Pine Gap Peace Pilgrims face court in November in Alice Springs.

The #PINEGAPPILGRIMS face court from 13th November 2017. Pauli Christie who was praying in the valley will oversee the selection of his jury on the Monday 13th. The other pilgrims will meet their jury in court on Thursday 16th November 2017. We invite you to join the Pilgrims in Alice Springs for the court case. Court cases are times of intellectual endeavour and further resistance as we explore ways to keep challenging the military State and telling the stories of resistance. We will conduct public meetings and more actions if we can. We will hear from ‘experts’ who we will call to the trial. We hope to rekindle the spirit of the Pine Gap 4 and the Waihopai 3 and the Rocky Tiger Ploughshares! We will gather from Friday November 10th ready for court on Monday. We will have a media team, and a remote social media team. We will help organise places to stay for supporters – Best we can. Join us through our sign up for more information and to volunteer where ever you are. Its an opportunity for NEW ACTIONS to #ClosePineGap Lets put #WARONTRIAL Contact Margaret directly on Facebook if you are coming or Cate @wagepeaceau to volunteer Donate here Join us for more actions and events to stop warmaking and surveillance as activists face court in 2017. #Endwarculture #NoMoreUSwars #ClosePineGap

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the UN on 20th September, 2017

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017 and will remain open indefinitely. Once 50 nations have ratified or acceded to it, it will enter into force.

United Nations deliberations on Treaty to Ban nuclear weapons development & possession

Donations need for ICAN Campaign to gain Australia’s signature on Treaty

ICAN Australia is calling for donations to fund the campaign for Australia to sign on to the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons development and possession.

It has been a tremendous achievement to reach agreement on the Treaty at the UN and ICAN has been in the forefront of this campaign. Now the Treaty is open for countries to sign the Treaty and it is obviously vital that Australia is among them.

Could you give this your consideration and spread the call among friends and members of your organisation.

Donate by phone:
Call (03) 9023 1958

Donate by cheque:
Please make your cheque payable to ICAN Australia and send it to:

ICAN Australia
PO Box 1379
Carlton VIC 3053

Donate by direct deposit:
Account name: ICAN Australia Inc
BSB: 633 000
Account number: 140361197

FOREIGN MINISTER JULIE BISHOP:

SIGN THE NUCLEAR WEAPON BAN TREATY!

AUSTRALIANS WANT PEACE, NOT NUCLEAR WAR

READ ON and sign the Greenpeace on-line petition to Julie Bishop

The South China Sea and the Risk of War: A Summary

by James O’Neill

It is self-evident that the risk of war is not confined to the South China Sea. In fact, the risk of war there is probably less than in other significant flash points around the world.

Since 1945 The US has overthrown or sought to overthrow at least 55 governments, of which 32 were successful. Recent examples involving Australia include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. All of these countries, and many others from that list of 55, are now seriously dysfunctional. They have certain other features in common, including the reasons for the intervention, which are rarely as publicized. Similarly, the mainstream media likewise continually misrepresents the consequences.

READ ON

Is It Time Australia Pursued An ‘Independent’ Foreign Policy?

If Asia’s future is to be led by China, Australia may need to balance out its U.S.-centric foreign policy.
By Anthony Dodd for The Diplomat
September 12, 2017

Australia faces a number of key challenges heading into the “Asian Century,” particularly regarding how it will balance its economic and security interests. Since Australia signed the ANZUS Treaty with the United States and New Zealand in 1951 during the Korean War, the country has continued to place a great degree of its protection under the American nuclear umbrella. As the significantly smaller ally, some experts say Australia’s foreign policy has long been subverted to the strategic objectives of its great and powerful friend, which has come at a cost.

READ ON

Understanding Korea – U-tube documentary

Worth viewing at ;

https://youtu.be/0r8mGvW6_O8

South Korean members of a civic group hold banners during a rally against the South Korea-US Joint military drills outside of the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Monday. Photo: AP

Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty

By Finian Cunninham

The proper starting point is for the US to finally sign a full peace treaty with North Korea to mark the definitive end of the Korean War. It seems almost bizarre that 64 years after the end of that war (1950-53), the US refuses to commit to a peace treaty. The matter is hardly permitted into public discourse by the US government and Western news media. Even though the issue is key to finding a peaceful solution.

The absence of a binding peace settlement means that, technically, the US and North Korea still view each other at being in a state of war. This gives profound substance to North Korea’s existential fears over the US continually conducting «war games» around the peninsula.

READ ON

RICHARD BUTLER. The Alliance: The Facts and the Furphies

19 September 2017

A review of how we conduct our alliance relationship with the US is urgently required, not simply because it has elected a President who is unfit for his job, but because of the US’ attachment to war.

READ ON