Crocodile 99, military nightmare preparation
by Denis Doherty Fresh from the 78 days of bombing innocent Yugoslav men, women, children, schools, factories, homes and more, the United States military is practising in Australia to improve its skills in bombing civilian targets. Several phases of the exercise, called Crocodile 99, have already been completed, but the major "pointy end" of the exercise is due to start in September. Despite the US destroying the lamb industry and the jobs of farmers, meat workers and people relying on the industry, the Australian taxpayers will have to subsidise this exercise. The Australian Government is prepared to spend $35 million to subsidise the US military, while the US is causing a $10 million per year loss to our lamb industry. Crocodile 99 The main part of the exercise takes place from September 13 to October 22 along the eastern coast of Australia. The RAAF base "Scherger" on Cape York, which is normally a bare base, will be activated. The Guardian asked the Department of Defence why. "Just to show we can activate it" was the reply. Further south around the Shoalwater Bay training area live firing and bombing will take place in very environmentally sensitive areas, near the last habitat of Dugongs in the southern reef area. Already Rockhampton and Yeppoon environmental groups have expressed grave fears for the environment, as "Tandem Thrust", the last major exercise in their area, was very damaging. The whole exercise will be run from the welfare centre at Williamtown RAAF Base. As well, Williamtown will see the practising of what is called "defensive and offensive air operations in a combat environment". These activities will include the use of Australian and US aircraft (F15s, FA18s, F111s, PC3s), submarines and ships (ANZAC frigates, destroyers, minesweepers), as well as amphibious, parachute and land operations. Sinister overtones During a Senate estimates session on June 8, 1999, the Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Marshall Treloar, explained Crocodile 99, in answer to a question about why only the US and Australia were participating. "This is a two country exercise or activity and is designed for us to work up our interoperability between our two countries' forces", he said. He further explained that other countries such as New Zealand and Indonesia will not participate in, or have observers at Crocodile 99. The worst feature of the exercise is still the concept of "interoperability", which means that the Australian Defence Force is simply learning to take orders from the US military, to prepare them for the next bombing of another small country like Yugoslavia or Iraq. Or is it for intervention in Indonesia? The Sydney District Committee of the CPA has called on members and supporters to send a Stop Crocodile 99 fax to Defence Minister Moore at (02) 6273 4118.