Monday, March 26, 2012

US out of the Cocos Islands!

The US imperialists are placing a further squeeze on their compliant puppets in Canberra.

Not satisfied with the “offer” for US marines outside Darwin, and the promise of access to the Stirling Naval Base outside of Perth, they are nosing around the Indian Ocean territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

The islands were annexed by the British in 1857 and transferred to Australian control on 23 November 1955 under the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 (an Australian Act) pursuant to the Cocos Islands Act, 1955 (a UK Act).

The islands are strategically placed and were the subject of inter-imperialist rivalry in both World Wars.

Today, they are tourist destinations, with pristine shallow waters around two atolls, with some 24 islets. There are no rivers or lakes, and fresh water is drawn from natural underground storage of rainwater.

U.S. and Australian officials said the atoll could be an ideal site not only for manned U.S. surveillance aircraft but for Global Hawks, an unarmed, high-altitude surveillance drone. The U.S. Navy is developing a newer version of the Global Hawk, known as the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance drone, or BAMS, that is scheduled to become operational in 2015. Aircraft based in the Cocos would be well-positioned to launch spy flights over the South China Sea.

That this is an imperialist attempt to circle and contain China is quite obvious.

Like the naval base proposed for Korea’s Jeju Island (conveniently omitted from the map below), it is tantamount to setting up camp on your neighbour’s doorstep and then accusing him of threatening you.

There will be no consultation with the people of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. But they have an interesting demographic which may not welcome being taken over for aggressive US military purposes.

In 2010, the population of the islands is estimated at just over 600. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island (estimated population 100) and the ethnic Malays on Home Island (estimated population 500). A Cocos dialect of Malay and English are the main languages spoken, and 80% of Cocos Islanders are Sunni Muslim.

The US imperialists are hell-bent on controlling the South China Sea and are making the Chinese out to be the baddies.

For domestic consumption, the Washington Post frames the latest development in these terms: “Although U.S. officials say the regional pivot is not aimed at any single country, analysts said it is a clear response to a rising China, whose growing military strength and assertive territorial claims have pushed other Asian nations to reach out to Washington”.

Look at the map again to see a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

It is the US imperialists who are making assertive claims on Australian (and other) territory to advance the interests of the Empire.

Keep the Cocos clean!

US imperialists out!

1 comment:

Mike said...

Cocos never consulted on drones: resident
March 28, 2012
Cocos Islands residents have never been consulted about basing American surveillance drones on the Australian territory and were recently assured no military base would be set up there, a local businessman says.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith is playing down speculation the US could operate long-range Global Hawk drones from the territory in the Indian Ocean, as reported in The Washington Post.
Mr Smith says expanded use of the Cocos Islands is a longer-term option for a closer Australian-US engagement, but there have been no talks on the issue.
"Cocos is a possibility ... it's a long-term prospect," he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.
Cocos Island dive shop operator Dieter Gerhard says the territory's federal MP Warren Snowdon visited the islands less than a month ago and was asked about media reports of drones being based there.
"I specifically put to him the concern that the community would possibly have and had his assurance at the time that no military base would be placed on Cocos Island," Mr Gerhard told AAP on Wednesday.
"So either he hasn't been informed or chose not to communicate it at the time."
Mr Gerhard said the island community had never been consulted about the possibility of a drone base.
He said if a military base was established it would go on West Island which had a population of about 150 who all lived within 500 metres of the runway.
"If you've got a military base in the middle of town, what other community has to tolerate that?"
Mr Gerhard said currently there were three Virgin flights a week and the odd other commercial or military flight.
He said he could only assume that the net effect of a military presence would be negative with access to areas of the island restricted.
The runway doubled as the community's golf course and a drone base could see that being lost, Mr Gerhard said.
He said the local community had never been consulted about the possibility of a drone base.