When I woke to the news that the USA military would be conducting amphibious manoeuvres on my local beach, I decided to seize the opportunity to protest the context of a growing foreign military presence in and around Darwin. This growing foreign presence has contributed to the largest ever Darwin component of the biennial Talisman Sabre war rehearsals, amid counter-strategic posturing towards China.
It’s almost a year since the public learned of an agreement between Australia and the US to base an ‘enduring presence’ of US Marines in Darwin. The first tranche of around 200 Marines have been and gone in a six-month stint of well-honed PR activity, and the Americans are floating the idea of raising their number even beyond the full company of 2500 announced last year. So how has Darwin welcomed the influx?
Arabunna man Peter Watts is the co-chair of ANFA, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance. Formed in 1997, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (formerly the Alliance Against Uranium) brings together Aboriginal people and relevant NGO’s concerned about existing or proposed nuclear developments in Australia, particularly on Aboriginal homelands.
In early 2012, Mr Watts represented ANFA at the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World, held in Yokohama, Japan. Peter brought a message from Australia; expressing shame that Australian uranium was implicated in the Fukushima disaster; describing the local impacts of uranium mining; and calling all nations to work together to end the nuclear industry.