- by Hannah Middleton
- The Guardian
- Issue #2085
At a recent Gaza solidarity rally in Sydney, Communist Party of Australia members collected over 160 signatures on letters to Australia’s Future Fund chair Peter Costello. The letters demanded that the Future Fund stop investing in Israeli arms corporation Elbit Systems Australia.
Elbit is deeply involved in Australia’s military and intelligence systems, making major profits while undermining our independence and sovereignty.
In November 2017 SBS reported on the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Australia and Israel to enhance defence industry co-operation.
This would allow Australian police, paramedics, firefighters, and Defence personnel to learn new methods of protecting buildings, carrying out surveillance, and using biometrics from Elbit experts.
An Australian government media release in September 2018 reported that Elbit Systems of Australia had been chosen to deliver a cyber training range for the Department of Defence under a three year contract to boost Australia’s cyber security capability.
Then Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne, said Elbit would provide a cyber range, network design and build, cyber range training, and teaching materials.
And in July last year it was revealed that Israeli military corporation Elbit’s cyber arm had been selected to train experts from Australia’s cyber intelligence agency, the Australian Signals Directorate.
Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest privately-owned arms and security company which produces 85 per cent of the drones and land-based equipment used by the Israeli military. It is a major arms exporter which sells its weapons as being ‘field tested’ which refers to the Israeli Defence Force’s extensive use of Elbit weaponry in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Gaza.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions has called on all Australians to oppose and take action to stop arms deals and any research and training agreements with Elbit.
In another example of the increasing US hold over the Australian Defence Force, in June 2022 Congressman Joe Courtney, who is the founder and Co-Chairman of the US AUKUS Working Group, introduced the Australia-US Submarine Officer Pipeline Act.
The bill provides for US-based training of officers for Australia’s future fleet of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS alliance. Three Royal Australian Navy officers have already graduated from the US Navy’s Nuclear Power Training Unit
Courtney stated: “The AUKUS alliance is the most important security partnership that America has entered into in decades, and at its core is the creation of an Australian fleet of nuclear-powered submarines … we need to be sure our partners are ready to pilot them expertly.
“Our bill authorises an education and training program for Royal Australian Navy submariners to receive formal training right alongside our own US Navy submariners, which will maximise efficiency down the road when we’re working together beneath the waves.”