HI all–and here are summaries of the presentations for the webinar on Talisman Sabre–written by Vets For Peace chapter secretary Bob Keilback–about the webinar which I found very helpful for future use if others wish to show parts of the webinar to their organizations:
Thanks to Bob Keilbach of Vets For Peace Chapter 34 New York City for writing up a summary of the presentations in the webinar
Talisman Sabre (TS-21) US-Australia Military Exercises.and to Rachel Clark for organizing and Chapter 34 for hosting the webinar.
Exercise Talisman Sabre 21 is the largest bilateral combined training activity between Australian Defense Forces and the U.S. military, scheduled for late June thru July 31, 2021. This is a field training exercise incorporating logistic activities, amphibious landings, ground force maneuvers, urban operations, air combat and maritime operations. The exercise will include participants from New Zealand, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, and the UK, totalling around 17,000 personnel this year.
Our Guest Speakers from IPAN & the US Peace Movement explained the significance and dangers of these “games” to the environment, to humans, and the world.
Link to the video of the meeting: https://youtu.be/uQe8hefee_Q
Prominent Activists Annette Brownlie, Robin Taubenfeld, Dr. Margaret Beavis, Dr. Vince Scappatura and Col. Ann Wright provided a terrific comprehensive discussion and analysis of the joint biennial Talisman Sabre military exercises TS-21. There have been regular protests against the exercises by peace activists and environmental groups since 2007.
Annette Brownlie is a founding member of the Brisbane based community Peace organization Just Peace Qld and Chairperson of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).
Annette provided a history of IPAN, which was formed in response to Pres. Obama’s pivot to Asia in 2011, causing immediate alarm in Australia. IPAN is a network of over 50 Australian organizations who aim to build public dialogue and pressure for change to a truly independent and peaceful foreign policy. They are especially concerned about the expansion of Australia’s military forces, which is clearly aimed at confrontation with China. www.ipan.org.au
Dr. Margaret Beavis is a Melbourne GP who joined the Medical Association for Prevention of War after recognizing the huge loss of life, health and environmental devastation caused by warfare. She is currently secretary of the MAPW and Co-chair of Australian Management Committee of ICAN. She was fortunate enough to go to Norway for the ICAN Nobel Peace Prize events in 2017.
Margie talked about her concerns about the US/Australian war alliance, and military expansion, beating the drums of war in response to the perceived threat from China. She expressed concern about the dangers of a nuclear accident, as well as environmental damage from the military exercises. She sees war games as a convenient distraction from govt. failure to address human needs such as education. To become more secure, Australia urgently needs to address the threat from Climate Change, not expand their military.
Robin Taubenfeld is a mother, activist, teacher, media maker/artist, community worker and a Peace and Nuclear-Free campaigner with Friends of the Earth. As an American, Robin feels a responsibility to challenge US military expansion. As a migrant to Australia, she also aims to support the first peoples’ struggles through her work.
Robin shared a very creative slide show of her artwork, describing the history of the Australian anti-nuclear movement, and the danger of TS-21 to the environment, especially the Great Barrier Reef, a UN World Heritage site. She expressed great concern about the increasing normalization of militarism in Queensland, which has been justified as “creating jobs” for the people, whereas there would be far greater job creation by moving to renewable energy, instead of military expansion. Checkout: www.peaceconvergence.org
Dr. Vince Scappatura teaches Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University. His research interests include Australian and American foreign policies, international relations of the Asia-Pacific, and Middle East politics. He is a member of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) and a supporter of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Vince provided a slide show about the “Significant Dangers” of TS-21’s role as part of the larger US war against China. Due to COVID concerns, TS-21 involves 17,000 military personnel this year, vs. 34,000 participants in previous exercises. He sees the joint exercises as an attempt to train Australian military forces to play a niche role in a U.S. war with China, and especially as a base for launching of missiles and long-range bombers. Recently, there has been a significant increase in funding for Australia’s missile industry, which is intended to be included in the supply chain for U.S. forces. Interestingly, China has been an “uninvited observer” to the war games, sending one spy ship to the region, vs. the hundreds of U.S. military reconnaissance missions in proximity to China.
Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She also served 16 years as a U.S. diplomat and resigned in 2003 from the U.S. government in opposition to the U.S. war on Iraq. She has visited U.S. military bases in Japan and Okinawa.
Ann provided a slide show about “U.S. Militarism in the Pacific for TS-21” which described the huge U.S. military presence in the Indo-Pacific Command, with over 375,000 military and civilian personnel, over 200 ships, on 121 bases in Japan, 83 in South Korea, as well as Hawaii, Australia, etc. She showed a 3-page long list of U.S. military exercises in the Pacific Region, including TS-21. China has 2 aircraft carriers, while the U.S. has 13. She noted that four of the nine nuclear weapons nations are located in the region; China, Russia, North Korea, and the U.S. She also mentioned that Russian ships have become engaged in their largest Pacific Naval operation since the cold war, operating 400 miles west of Hawaii, while the U.S. is conducting naval exercises 200 miles east of Hawaii!
Ann recommended we check out a video about U.S. Military development of a new hypersonic missile: https://www.armytimes.com/…/navy-army-test-motor-for…/