The Guardian August 13, 2003


More lies from PM Howard

Peace groups reacted angrily to the statement by Prime Minister Howard 
last week that Australia has not been approached yet about providing bases 
for US troops.

"This is the Prime Minister lying to the Australian people again by playing 
with words", said Dr Hannah Middleton from the Australian Anti-Bases 
Campaign Coalition (AABCC).

"The possibility of more US bases in Australia has been the subject of 
discussion in Australian, Asian and American news outlets for months", she 
said, "with senior Pentagon officials quoted as saying this is what the US 
is asking for.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the Howard Government intends to 
embroil us even further in United States military adventures, whatever the 
security and economic costs to the Australian people", Dr Middleton said.

"This is part of the Howard Government taking us ever closer into the orbit 
of the super power which is threatening world peace and stability by 
breaking arms agreements, developing new nuclear weapons and launching 
first strikes against impoverished countries."

Howard declared that "If they [the US] have a proposal to put to us, we'll 
have to consider it. And there shouldn't be any assumptions made that we 
would automatically agree or disagree, we will have a look at it. It's 
possible."

This is the same double-talk formula that Howard used in the run-up to the 
Iraq war, claiming that the Government had not made a decision to 
participate in the invasion of Iraq while actually sending SAS and naval 
vessels to the area.

Star Wars program

"The US also wants Australia to join  and help pay for  its missile 
shield program", AABCC Co-ordinator Denis Doherty pointed out.

Asked if Australia was leaning towards becoming a partner in the 
controversial, expensive and still-experimental "Star Wars" system, Defence 
Minister Senator Hill told the Weekend Australian (12/7/2003): "The 
trend has been in that direction. The more likely progress will be through 
a ship-based scheme that won't be specifically designed to protect 
continental Australia, but will have the capability of missile interception 
that will give us the potential to engage in a broader missile defence 
agenda."

Come clean

Dr Middleton said, "With Australian military spending currently running at 
over $43 million a day, it is time the Prime Minister came clean about his 
government's intentions."

On another front Deputy US Secretary of State Richard Armitage is 
attempting to silence the widespread criticism of US policies in Australia.

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating said, "I hope the Americans have not led 
us into a Mad Max world, while they seek to shield themselves in the cocoon 
of national missile defence."

Malcolm Fraser has criticised the Howard Government for making Australia 
too dependent on the US, which we could not rely on US assistance in case 
of need.

Robert Armitage in an attempt to silence the critics told Malcolm Fraser to 
"Stop. Just stop."

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