Thursday, November 12, 2009

Billabong Flats

Australia's descent into military madness as a support act for US imperialism is gaining pace under the Rudd Government. Read this (& weep):

"Don't tell anyone but the Federal Government is spending $87.5 million on a new Middle East military base. Not that it's using the word 'base'. Instead, budget papers state the money is being spent on 'command and control enhancements' in the Middle East. Under a diplomatic agreement with the host country, the location cannot be revealed. The Government cannot give the location of the old bases the new one is replacing. A Defence Force spokesman said he could not say where the bases are because of security considerations and 'host national sensitivities'. But given that the locations are widely known, the coyness has less to do with security and more to do with 'sensitivities'. Instead, it's imposed by the Arab hosts, who do not want to advertise they are accommodating foreign troops and their hardware. The secrecy leads to a curious absurdity: the details and images of most of the bases are on the internet, in the Middle East press and on Defence Force websites. Australian ambassadors have openly said where they are and they have been mentioned in Hansard. The Sun-Herald is a party to the subterfuge. On an ADF-escorted trip to the Middle East and Afghanistan, it signed an undertaking not to reveal 'operationally sensitive information' - including 'the country in which ADF support bases are located outside of Iraq and Afghanistan'. Without breaching that undertaking, we can reveal - drawing on what spies call open sources, and readers call Google - where these bases are. One of them has a big sign out the front, adorned with red kangaroos and the words 'Billabong Flats'. We can reveal bases have been or are being closed in Kuwait and Qatar. The new one is at Al Minhad Airbase in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. Australian troops going to Afghanistan acclimatise in Kuwait, at a compound attached to a US base called Camp Victory. The base is alongside Kuwait's Ali Al Salem Air Base. You can find more about the base at Liberal senator David Bushby visited the base and told the Senate all about it on June 18." ($87.5m for not so secret army base, Tom Hyland, 8/11/09)

Sorry Tom, the Sydney Morning Herald's Peter Hartcher let the cat out of the bag in March of this year. You can read all about it - and more - at my 2/4/09 post Say It Isn't So.

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