Edition 95 July 2022

AWPR Editorial - July 2022

By Dr Alison Broinowski

August 2022 marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (CIWI), the predecessor of AWPR.

The founders of CIWI – including former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, former Secretary of Defence Paul Barratt, and Dr Sue Wareham on behalf of MAPW (Australia), together with international lawyers, former diplomats and defence staff, civil society organisations and academics – met in Melbourne in May 2012 to discuss a campaign to draw the attention of government to how Australia went to war in Iraq in 2003.

CIWI was launched at an event in Parliament House, Canberra, on 16 August 2012, hosted by Melissa Parke MP, Senator Scott Ludlam and Andrew Wilkie MP.

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A Dangerous Undertaking  

By Bruce Haigh

AWPR was established to ensure that the parliament not a prime minister determines which military conflicts Australia undertakes or gets involved in.
AUKUS has the capacity to make consideration by parliament of war like undertakings irrelevant. The United States has indicated that it wishes to enhance its defence presence in Australia, particularly in the north, centred on Darwin.

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Secret Military Pact - Unions Slam AUKUS

It has received very little media coverage but the NSW Union movement is opposed to the multi-billion dollar submarine deal agreed to by Scott Morrison and now embraced by the Labor government.

In a statement published before the federal election, Unions NSW described the AUKUS agreement as a “secret military pact” and said it would “escalate unnecessary conflict with China”.

The strongly worded resolution seems to differ with the view being put by senior Labor figures including Anthony Albanese and his Defence Minister Richard Marles.

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Updated Statement on AUKUS

The secretive AUKUS military pact is not only about very expensive submarines and whether they will be ready by 2040. It’s about so much more and the other factors are barely mentioned in the media. There are so many unanswered questions about this deal. AWPR has published an updated position paper on the issues the new Albanese government should address. You can read the statement

Articles of Note

Just as the rule of law must be applied impartially, there’s no place for picking and choosing which wars are important and which are not. The wars in Yemen, Palestine, Myanmar, Ethiopia and elsewhere are equally devastating for the millions of people suffering in them. As we stand with the people of Ukraine, let us also stand with war-ravaged populations elsewhere, and apply our best diplomatic and other skills to bringing these conflicts also to an end. We could do so for a fraction of the cost of a single nuclear submarine. (Pearls & Irritations)
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Think tanks across Australia, tanked with cash from US sources and keen to think in furious agreement, are all showing how delighted they are with the AUKUS security pact. From the Australian Strategic Policy Institute to the US Studies Centre, we are meant to celebrate the prospect of Australia as a military annexe to US power in the Asia-Pacific, its sovereignty status subsumed under the ghastly guff of freedom lovers supposedly facing oriental barbarians. (AIMN)
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A US congressional report warns that building the most up-to-date nuclear submarines could be billions more than the current cost of acquiring boats. A current Virginia class submarine costs $US3.6 billion ($5.2 billion) but estimates for the new design put the price tag at between $US5.8 billion ($8.4 billion) and $US6.2 billion ($9 billion) per boat. (Financial Review)
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SAS operatives in Afghanistan repeatedly killed detainees and unarmed men in suspicious circumstances, according to a BBC investigation. Newly obtained military reports suggest that one unit may have unlawfully killed 54 people in one six-month tour. The BBC found evidence suggesting the former head of special forces failed to pass on evidence to a murder inquiry. (BBC)
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The AUKUS agreement to provide Australia with highly-enriched uranium powered submarines – a technology which has been denied to other countries – was made last September by a Coalition government bent on a belligerent response to the rise of China. Labor in opposition hardly dared to reject the scheme at the time and risk being “wedged” as weak on security ahead of a federal election. Nonetheless, despite the Coalition being roundly rejected by the electorate in May, the submarine plan proceeds apace. (Lowy Institute)
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Despite the prospect of another military debacle in Ukraine, just a year after the humiliation of Afghanistan and the most severe economic recession/depression since the Great Depression looming, Western Governments appear incapable of changing direction. At every opportunity they double down in their efforts to weaken Russia, and increasingly to contain China as well. No matter how ineffectual their policies are the only way is forward. There is no reverse gear. (Pearls & Irritations)
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With Sweden and Finland on a fast track to become members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the consequences for Sweden’s traditional stance on disarmament issues are now becoming more obvious. Many voices asked for a debate on these issues before Sweden applied for membership, but it is not until now that signs of such public discussion have been broadly seen. Sweden’s new alignment raises several questions also on the international level. (Bulletin of Atomic the Scientists)
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