Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Popping Popeye

Next time you see an Australian politician on TV strutting his stuff in front of an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce backdrop, think of Popeye:

"Australia is quietly exporting dozens of missiles to other countries to try to recoup some of the $200 million it has wasted on them in botched military purchases*... The deals have been conducted without publicity... because they are an embarrassing reminder of failed defence projects that have cost taxpayers more than $1.4 billion... Defence has also sold two of its Israeli-built, air-to-surface, Popeye AGM-142 missiles to South Korea... the remainder were disposed of by 'explosive demolition'." (Missiles go cheap: defence's fire sale, Cameron Stewart, The Australian, 11/11/14)

But where the Defence Department is concerned, Popeye's not all that's getting popped:

"Sensitive Department of Defence documents are being regularly destroyed by defence bureaucrats, with erased files including abuse scandals at Duntroon, 'chemical and biological warfare', and 'treatment of Indonesians captured in Malaysia (in 1964-65)'... Fairfax Media can reveal only about 0.3% of surviving Defence records for 1957 to 1987 are listed on the National Archives' electronic database, and even fewer are publicly 'open', effectively shielding the vast bulk of files from public scrutiny." (Defence records being destroyed & kept secret, Greg Pemberton, Sydney Morning Herald, 8/11/14)

[*"In the late 1990s, the RAAF purchased the AGM-142 Popeye missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense systems for use on the F-111 bombers. Due to integration problems, their use was delayed until 2006, just 4 years prior to the bombers end of service." (Wrist-slapping unlikely to halt Israeli military sales to Australia, Henry Lebovic,, 19/12/12)]

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