The Guardian October 1, 2003


Protest in Fremantle at arrival of USS Higgins

Over a hundred people demonstrated against the "Sea-Swap" of crews of 
USS Higgins at Fremantle harbour on September 28. The protest was 
organised by the Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group (FANG) and was part of a 
campaign against Federal and WA State Government plans for the 
establishment of a de-facto US naval base in Cockburn Sound.

The Sea Swap plans include flying thousands of US military personnel in and 
out of Western Australia to meet US warships in Cockburn Sound. Under the 
proposal, the US navy would use WA as a swap over point for the 7th fleet. 
Navy crew coming in and out of theatres of war would go straight to WA 
instead of US bases in San Diego or Hawaii. If Sea Swap is given the go-
ahead, it will mean a dramatic escalation of Australia's involvement with 
the US military.

The USS Higgins was arriving fresh from war service in the Persian 
Gulf and the protest took up the issue of the occupation of Iraq. Anthony 
Benbow of the No War Alliance pointed out that the Americans were now in a 
quagmire in that country and that the Iraqi people were paying the price of 
the war.

He called for action to get the troops out of Iraq now. "We must protest 
when Bush comes to Australia for he is only coming to get more support from 
Australia".

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