The Eager Role of Julia Gillard – Published on OpEdNews OEN, by John Pilger, Oct. 26, 2012.
… Australia has 40% of the world’s uranium, all of it on indigenous land. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has just been to India to sell uranium to a government that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and whose enemy, Pakistan, is also a non-signatory. The threat of nuclear war between them is constant. Uranium is an essential ingredient of nuclear weapons.
Gillard’s deal in Delhi formally ends the Australian Labor Party’s long-standing policy of denying uranium to countries that reject the NPT’s obligation “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”
Like the people of Japan, Australian Aborigines have experienced the horror of nuclear weapons. During the 1950s, the British government tested atomic bombs at Maralinga in South Australia. The Aboriginal population was not consulted and received scant or no warning, and still suffer the effects. Yami Lester was a boy when he saw the nuclear flash and subsequently went blind. The enduring struggle of Aboriginal people for recognition as human beings has been a fight not only for their land but for what lies beneath it. Since they were granted a status higher than that of sheep — up to 1971, unlike the sheep, they were not counted — many of their modest land rights have been subverted or diminished by governments in Canberra.
In 2007, prime minister John Howard used the army to launch an “emergency intervention” in Aboriginal communities in the resource-rich Northern Territory. Lurid and fraudulent stories of paedophile rings were the cover; indigenous people were told they would not receive basic services if they did not surrender the leasehold of their land. Gillard’s minister of indigenous affairs has since given this the Orwellian title of “Stronger Futures.”
The tactics include driving people into “hub towns” and denying decent housing to those forced to live up to a dozen in one room. The removal of Aboriginal children has reached the level of the infamous “Stolen Generation” of the last century. Many may never see their families again.
Once the “intervention” had got underway, hundreds of licences were granted to companies exploring for minerals, including uranium. Contemporary politics in Australia is often defined by the power of the mining companies. When the previous Labor prime minister, Kevin Rudd, proposed a tax on record mining profits, he was deposed by a backroom party cabal, including Gillard, who reduced the tax. Diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that two of the plotters against Rudd were informants of the US embassy, which Rudd had angered by not following to the letter US plans to encircle China and to release uranium for sale to US clients such as India.
Gillard has since returned Australia to its historic relationship with Washington, similar to that of an east European satellite of the Soviet Union. The day before Barack Obama arrived in Canberra last year to declare China the new enemy of the “free world,” Gillard announced the end of her party’s ban on uranium sales … //
… On 5 October, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, which includes Aboriginal groups from across the country, gathered in Alice Springs. They called for a moratorium on all uranium mining and sales. Indigenous women made a special plea to Gillard, recently ordained by the white media as a feminist hero. No response was expected.
On 17 October, all the testaments of obedience and servility to the mighty patron finally paid off when Australia was rewarded with a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, known in Canberra as “the top table.” The timing is striking. An attack by Nato on Syria or Iran, or both, has never been closer. A world war beckons as 50 years are marked since “the world stood still,” wrote the historian Sheldon Stern. This was the 1962 Cuban missile crisis when the US and the Soviet Union came within an ace of nuclear war. Declassified files disclose that President John F. Kennedy authorized “NATO aircraft with Turkish pilots … to take off for Moscow and drop a bomb.”
The echo today could not be clearer.
(John Pilger grew up in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, author and documentary film-maker. He is one of only two to win British journalism’s highest award twice, for his work all over the world …).
Prime Minister Julia Gillard says transition of control to Afghan National Security Forces on track, on Herald Sun, by Patrick Lion, October 31, 2012.