The Guardian August 4, 1999

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 

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 

"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.

Back to index page