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With weasel words, Australia’s top military brass, and sycophant Richard Marles, justify allowing U.S. nuclear weapons in Australia

US nuclear-armed bomber visits allowed under Australian treaty obligations The Age, Matthew Knott, February 15, 2023 

American B-52 bombers armed with nuclear warheads could rotate through Australia without breaching treaty obligations, the nation’s most senior defence public servant has indicated.

The Australian public would never be informed whether such aircraft are carrying nuclear weapons under the so-called US policy of “warhead ambiguity” in which it neither confirms nor denies if particular forms of military equipment are nuclear-armed.

While adamantly refusing to address hypothetical scenarios, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said: “The responsible way of handling this is to recognise that the US has a ‘neither confirm nor deny position’ which we understand and respect.”

It was revealed last year that the United States is preparing to build dedicated facilities for up to six B-52 bombers at Tindal air base, south of Darwin, for use in the Northern Territory dry season.

Nuclear weapons opponents and the Chinese government blasted the plan on the basis it could escalate tensions in the Asia-Pacific and accelerate an arms race in the region………………….

Australia is prohibited from permanently housing nuclear weapons in the country under its treaty obligations. But Moriarty, speaking in general terms, suggested US nuclear-armed bombers could temporarily pass through Australia without breaching international law.

“The stationing of nuclear weapons in Australia is prohibited by the South Pacific Nuclear-free Zone Treaty to which Australia is fully committed,” Moriarty said.

“There is no impediment under this treaty or the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to the visit of foreign aircraft to Australian airfields or transit of Australia’s airspace, including in the context of our training and exercise programs and Australia’s force posture co-operation program with the United States.”

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can carry out ocean surveillance and anti-ship operations and “can carry nuclear or precision guided conventional ordnance”, according to the US government……………

Greens defence spokesman David Shoebridge said: “It is highly alarming that Australian military facilities are being made available for the US to launch its nuclear-capable bombers.

“This decision not only makes us a nuclear target – it further erodes our sovereignty.

“The US has made it clear it won’t tell anyone when their B-52’s are nuclear armed or not. This leaves Australia in the dark about our role in the USA’s global nuclear strategy.”

Defence Minister Richard Marles said that while Australia had agreed to an increased tempo of American rotations in northern Australia, there had been no change in policy regarding the presence of nuclear-armed weapons.

“America maintains a policy of ambiguity in terms of the nature of assets that are on their platforms and they do that so as to amplify their extended nuclear deterrence,” he told the ABC.

Asked whether US nuclear-armed bombers should be allowed in Australia, opposition defence spokesman Andrew Hastie said: “Of course, we want to see a greater presence of the American military in the Indo-Pacific.”……………………………………………

When the ABC’s Four Corners revealed the plan to build dedicated facilities for the B-52s in October, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “Such a move by the US and Australia escalates regional tensions, gravely undermines regional peace and stability, and may trigger an arms race in the region.”

Greens foreign affairs spokesman Jordan Steele-John said: “Nuclear-capable B-52 bombers have no place on Australian bases, on Australian shores or in Australian airspace. They are an offensive weapon that will destabilise our region.”


February 17, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war

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