Friends of the Earth respond to military greenwashing of US-Aust joint war games

Friends of the Earth Brisbane have released our response on the AECOM Public Environment Report for Excercise Talisman Sabre 2011, the U.S.-Australian joint war games. TS11 is the biggest military operation outside of war and takes place in several places in Australia, including the Shoalwater Bay area in QLD, the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea. The PER has no legal standing and is not an EIS. It is an elaborate greenwashing excercise for a toxic, dangerous and murderous industry: militarism.

Related: Previous articles on Talisman Sabre | Peace Convergence | Talisman Sabre 2011 - Defence Department

Friends of the Earth believe that social, economic and environmental justice – not militarism - are fundamental to peace. While we have a general opposition to military exercises which are in fact rehearsals for war, we also have specific opposition to the TS11 games for the risk they pose to the environment and human beings in all locations proposed for use in this exercise.

Shoalwater Bay is of particular concern to us, being the largest location for endangered dugong, a habitat for the endangered gree tea turtle and visited by any other endangered and vulnerable species such as whales. It is shocking that the Australian government would permit the U.S. military, the most polluting industry in the world, into this region or the Coral Sea.

Our report shows that despite the greenwashing, the U.S. and Australian militaries are not clean and green. They leave a legacy of toxic munitions pollution, physical damage to the landscape, flora and fauna, and frequently impinge upon the human rights of those who live near their operational areas. The U.S. have an abysmal record of environmental stewardship, polluting the water of over 20 U.S. states and flouting environmental laws by getting governments to exempt them from assessment. They come to Australia to take advantage of the toadying of our political leaders to their aggressive agenda.

Our analysis will strike chords for those of you living with the legacy of U.S. occupation in the Pacific, or unfortunate enough to live near a U.S. base. It also serves as a warning of the social and environmental risks of engaging with the US war industry.

You can read it here:

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