Edition 91 March 2022

Editorial - In March free expression was the victim

By AWPR President, Dr Alison Broinowski AM

On the Ides of March, the British Supreme Court refused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange permission to appeal against a decision to extradite him to the US to face charges of espionage. WikiLeaks had published American documents given to him in 2010 which embarrassed Washington. Australia said nothing to support him.

In March, two British women jailed in Iran for more than five years were released and repatriated, after the UK government paid $709 million it had owed to Iran since the time of the Iranian revolution. Australia has no such debt to Britain, but apart from Anthony Albanese saying ‘enough is enough’ for Assange, Australia did nothing to negotiate his release.
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Australia’s Engagement in the War in Afghanistan

With very little publicity the Federal Senate began an inquiry last August into Australia’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan. Scores of individuals and NGOs have made submissions, including Hugh Poate. Mr Poate lost his son Robert in the conflict and has since written a book about the incident in which his son and two other Australian soldiers were killed, and leadership in the Australian army.  The following article is a brief summary of the submission No 57 by Hugh Poate to the Senate Inquiry.

On 11 September 2001 (later referred to as 9/11) a cell of Al Qaeda terrorists carried out four coordinated suicide attacks in the US using hijacked passenger jet aircraft. The most notable attack was two aircraft that were deliberately crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City. Approximately 3,000 citizens were killed, including 11 Australians.
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Senate Inquiry rejects war powers reform bill

It is evident from this report that this Committee is influenced by members who blatantly disregard the sentiment of their respective State constituency. The roles of democratic government and its opposition have been hijacked by the two major parties – or their lackies appointed to this important Senate Committee. Deeply concerned voters have made clear repeatedly and publicly that eighty-seven percent of them want this arcane war power reformed.
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More Independent Candidates support War Powers Reform

In recent months we in AWPR have been writing to independent candidates to seek their views. So far we’ve written to 25 new candidates including some representing minor parties such as the New Liberal Party.
Some have failed to reply. Others have declined to commit on the issue one way or the other. Several expressed personal support but would not go on the record at this stage, even though they understand the looming possibility of another war. Many are concerned about environmental issues. Yet war itself and the war industry are enormous contributors to global warming.
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Articles of Note

RIP Madeleine Albright and Her Awful, Awful Career
Albright’s arrogance was similar to that of George W. Bush and company. In 1998 she expounded on America’s right to bomb Iraq, proclaiming, “If we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future.” 

Read the article
Dozens of children killed, maimed in Yemen in two months: UNICEF
Children are the “first and most to suffer”, UNICEF said, adding that at least 10,000 minors have been killed or injured since 2015, when the Saudi-led military alliance launched air raids in the Middle East’s poorest country.

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'We Do Not Need a Massive Increase': Sanders Criticizes Biden's $813 Billion Military Budget.  
The United States already spends more on national security than "the next 11 countries combined. Biden's military spending request for Fiscal Year 2023 represents a $31 billion increase over the current level of $782 billion, which is already unprecedented.

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How Australia goes to war
As the Ukraine war shows us, conflict can be sparked all too easily. As the risk of a war provoked with China rises, this is the time to reform the war powers, and to do much more. Only by urgent changes to our foreign and defence polices can Australia hope to repair the nation’s standing in the world.

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The rot began with John Howard
Not one major item of defence expenditure purchased over the past twenty years is either fit for purpose or appropriate to Australia’s defence needs. Partly this is due to lack of proper process, lack of scrutiny and an inability to decide strategic imperatives. AUKUS is a smoke screen, along with the non-existent submarine marine deal, for a greater US defence presence in Australia, particularly the north from where they aim to confront the Chinese.

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‘Difficult months ahead’ in Ukraine, as deaths rise, along with global shortages: UN
More than 10 million people – including more than half of Ukraine’s children – have fled their homes. That includes some 6.5 million who are internally displaced within the country, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

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AWPR Veteran Initiative

AWPR’s campaign No War Without Parliament is seeking the voices of some of those Australians most heavily affected by decisions for overseas wars – ADF veterans and their families.

Many hundreds of Australian families are today living with the terrible grief of having lost a loved one as a result of military service in Australia’s recent wars. Many more are living with war’s emotional and physical traumas.

We are seeking the signatures of ADF veterans and family members for an appeal to all federal parliamentarians, urging their reform of the current dangerous and undemocratic war powers.

To date we have almost 200 signatures but we are keen to hear from more people.

Please circulate our Veteran Initiative as widely as you can, especially to veterans and their families whom you know.

Support reform today!

Become an AWPR Member and help us realise our vision of war powers reform. Read More    

Our capacity for campaign work also relies on donations.  Please consider making a donation no matter how small.

Join us as we build a movement to change the way we go to war in Australia

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