21 C
Byron Shire
September 17, 2021

Time to tell the truth about the militarisation of our economy

Latest News

Reece Byrnes re-elected as Tweed Deputy Mayor

With many many local councils are juggling the elections timetable owing to COVID-19 restrictions, and last night the Tweed Shire elected their Deputy Mayor.

Other News

Homelessness

The Bangalow CWA branch is way more than tea and scones. The branch has a strong commitment to the...

Cartoon of the week – 15 September, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Printmakers make their mark at Tweed Regional Gallery

A new exhibition featuring the work of some of Australia’s leading printmakers has been installed and is ready to be enjoyed by visitors when the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre reopens tomorrow.

Did NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian bow to media pressure?

After announcing last Friday that she would discontinue her daily press conference and the media backlash that followed, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian was back at her post at 11am today fronting the camera and question

Lockdown cells

Michael Lyon, I understand you took the initiative to collaborate with neighbouring mayors in the Northern Rivers to address...

From Lismore XR to multi-faith ARRCC – now is the time for climate action

From XR to religious multi-faith networks the call is becoming stronger for real action on climate change.

Landforces Arms Expo Brisbane 2021. Photo Miriam Torzillo

Miriam Torzillo

Since the successful disruption in the first week of June of the huge arms expo ‘Landforces’ in Brisbane, there has been increasing interest in the Australian Government’s defence policies and budget. The experience of everyone who joined the Festival of Disruption was the same.

The person in the street was surprised, shocked and often distressed that a weapons expo was taking place in the middle of Brisbane, cheek by jowl with the Southbank parklands and entertainment district. Some even asked if such a thing was legal.

Imagine if a conference of the gambling industry or tobacco companies were to be networking on a scale as massive as this; finding out ways to join together and get more of the largesse of government funding to increase usage and sales of their products, including ways to introduce those same products into schools, disguised as science lessons.

Landforces Arms Expo Brisbane 2021. Photo Miriam Torzillo

Rheinmetal

The company Rheinmetall provides an interesting case study of the ways that global weapons corporations have insinuated themselves into the economies and policies of both state and federal governments, and have become feted almost as saviours. The huge munitions firm of Rheinmetall Berlin AG used thousands of concentration camp laborers during WWII. Rheinmetall were active in the crimes of the Nazi regime in WWII and continue to profit from the war machine in this century.

It was recently announced that Rheinmetall had secured the support of the Queensland government in its bid to supply Australia’s $18 billion to $27 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 program in Queensland at its new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) at Redbank. The federal government is also supporting smaller companies like NIOA with land and funds to build new factories as part of their partnership with Rheinmetall, and other prime contractors, with the sweetener of becoming part of the global supply chain and the government’s defence-led economic recovery.

Landforces Arms Expo Brisbane 2021. Photo Miriam Torzillo

Weapons industry and education

In fact, during the expo, a professional development workshop for high school teachers of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) to be held at the Rheinmetall factory at Redbank was cancelled and the whole factory locked down, apparently they feared that activists had found out about the workshop. Five activists singing anti-war songs and seeking to hand out information for teachers apparently warranted this reaction, and the deployment of at least ten police and a paddy wagon to the site.

The peace activists were well aware of the ways that weapons manufacturers are seeking to launder their reputations and ensure a future workforce. They also seek to cement their place in the government’s jobs and growth narrative, by way of professional development, teaching materials and programs for children as young as four and five. Lockheed Martin for example have made billions from the war in Yemen. Back in Australia, Lockheed has been influencing kids, by insinuating itself as a major sponsor of the National Youth Science Forum which is  a registered charity.

Defence or offence

This militarisation is insidious and far-reaching. Both federal and state governments are lavishing billions on the Defence Global Supply Chain Program. They are supplying potential defence industry partners with information and the support to access export markets and partner with global corporations. They offer them the very support they fail to supply to industries that might actually help us as we enter an uncertain climate-constrained future, such as for regeneration of forests and farmland, climate ready housing, local resilience systems and more.

This obsession with defence and militarism is particularly disturbing in light of the multiple crises that currently face us, and the very urgent need to address the future climate. Militarism monopolises the funding needed to seriously address the climate crisis.

In Australia, military spending is out of control and a staggering $98.9M a day is being poured into our defence forces and related agendas.

Landforces Arms Expo Brisbane 2021. Photo Miriam Torzillo

Truth telling

The defence industry is full of euphemisms. The image of the defence industries is carefully curated. Companies are described as focusing on ‘high end technology’, or of being ‘security and aerospace companies’ or ‘defence technology and innovation companies’ or of being ‘leading systems integrator[s]’.

Defence ministers, government officials and company marketing material all use the same language in which companies are ‘solving complex problems’ to ‘make the world safer and more secure’.

Truth doesn’t come easily in this world. For a week during the weapons expo, peace activists used nonviolent direct action in a festival of disruption. Yet according to the Landforces official press release at the end of the expo ‘The protesters’ noisy antics and offensive conduct failed to deter industry from conducting one of the largest single industry engagement events anywhere in the world since the onset of the COVID pandemic’. Why then did it even get mentioned? The truth is, they were rattled. And we, all of us, need to keep rattling that cage of secrecy. Truth needs to be told about our history, about our future, and about the world that we are being embroiled in. In the words of Julian Assange, ‘If wars can be started by lies, they can be stopped by truth’.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

4 COMMENTS

  1. The 2nd largest industry in the world is the armaments industry and 46% of that global industry is in the USA. 46% of the 2nd largest amount of money in the world can afford a huge chunk of the finest democracy money can buy, which probably explains why the USA has been in an almost constant state of war since WWII.

  2. And the largest industry in the world is now the medical/pharmaceutical industry and just like the armaments industry who tells us that are doing for our good,so does the pharmaceutical industry now! And people are made to believe they are doing it because they care for our health! The armaments industry needs conflict,hate to make ever more money from killing…the pharmaceutical industry needs disease and fear of viruses and bacteria to increase their profits!Letting them looking after your health is like letting the fox look after your chickens,not such a good idea,is it?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

COVID update includes trial of home quarantine

When media were told that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian would be at today's 11am update, we expected big news – the Premier said last week she would only attend the updates if it were important news.

How is RT-PCR used to diagnose COVID-19?

It’s fast, reliable and full of lines – but might look different to the PCR you learned about in school.

Queensland passes voluntary assisted dying laws

Dying with Dignity NSW has welcomed the passage of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) laws in Queensland and is hoping that NSW Parliament resumes next month so that this issue can be addressed in NSW without further delay.

Planning staff back Wilsons Creek DA, residents’ concerns downplayed

Residents living near a proposed 15-lot housing development in Wilsons Creek say it will negatively impact a precious wildlife corridor on the site, exacerbate traffic safety problems on the surrounding roads, and damage the peaceful character of their quiet enclave.