Campaign to kick US Marines out of Darwin launched

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) launched its "Give 'Em the Boot" campaign, aimed at ending Australia's Force Posture Agreement with the US and sending US Marines based in Darwin back home, at a "Keep Australia out of US wars" public meeting on July 17.

Spokesperson for Give 'Em the Boot Nick Deane said: "We are seeking support for IPAN's campaign to get US troops out of Darwin. The US Marine Air Ground Task Force there is an attack force, which is proclaimed as 'Ready to fight tonight'.

"These USA Marines are not there to defend Australia: they are under orders from Washington, not Canberra.

"We need to tell the US: 'You can go now'. And the USA Marines won't go unless they are booted out.

"We need people to get involved in the 'Give 'Em the Boot' campaign. That's why we are symbolically collecting boots for delivery to the Australian government.

"We are calling for an end to the Force Posture Agreement with the USA, which authorises the marines to be stationed in Darwin and gives access to USA ships and aircraft to make use of our port facilities.

"We are building a network to campaign against this agreement. Together, we have a chance to build a strong movement against the US-Australia alliance and for a renewed peace movement in this country."

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Marine Corps presence in Australia to rise to 2,500 as soon as possible

U.S. and Australian officials vowed Tuesday to raise the number of Marines rotating through Australia to 2,500 as soon as possible during the Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations, or AUSMIN, hosted by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, California.

The current size of Marine Rotation Force Darwin is 1,587 U.S. Marines, with an additional eight MV-22 Ospreys and six M777 howitzers. It is currently the largest rotation to Australia for the Corps, which is now in it’s seventh rotation since kicking off deployments in 2012.

The Marine deployments to Darwin are part of the Force Posture Initiatives started under then-President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011. The first few rotations to Darwin consisted of roughly 200-250 Marines.

The intent of the initiative between the two countries has always been to grow the Marine presence in Australia to 2,500.

The Corps has steadily been increasing its footprint in Australia over the years as the force begins once of the largest mass movements to the Pacific since World War II to counter a rising China. The Corps is also flexing forces to other areas across the Pacific such as Guam in an attempt to spread out its Marines generally clustered on Okinawa, Japan. About 22,000 Marines are stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

USA Marine bashed woman, 60: court told

A DARWIN-BASED US Marine allegedly disguised himself in a motorbike helmet before dragging a 60-year-old woman from her car and slamming her head into vehicles in the carpark earlier this month.

Court documents allege the woman, who worked at a Brisbane Barracks, was thrown against cars and had her head slammed on vehicles and a steel guard rail while being told “be quiet” as she screamed for help.

Elwood allegedly continued the attack until an Australian Federal Police officer at the Army base heard the woman shouting “no” and “please” and intervened.

The 20-year-old Marine allegedly tried to bite the officer when he tried to help the woman. It took three people to detain the man before he was arrested and granted watchhouse bail earlier this month.

The woman sustained serious injuries, including bruising and cuts.

Marine Rotational Force Darwin spokesman First Lieutenant Jose Uriarte confirmed Elwood remained an “active-duty Marine” despite the charges.

US Marines face $25m abuse suit over colonel

The US Marine Corps is facing a $25 million law suit for failing to discipline a colonel over his lewd conduct in Darwin which included sending inappropriate text messages to a female Australian major and showing pornography to a male navy commander.

The law suit was initiated last week by a woman whose child was sexually abused by Colonel Daniel Hunter Wilson after he was transferred to a new command in the US without being disciplined over his Darwin behaviour.

Australian military officers could be asked to give evidence in support of the legal action relating to Wilson, 56, who last year was sentenced to 5½ years’ jail for sexually abusing the woman’s six-year-old daughter.

Wilson, a 36-year veteran of the marines, was posted to Darwin for six months in the sensitive role as liaison officer for the Marine Rotational Force in early 2016.

But just 10 days into the job he was removed and sent back to the US following complaints about his behaviour from local officers, especially his Australian counterpart.

“Had they (the Marine Corps) handled it properly he would never have been stuck back where he could assault my daughter.’

First US military construction in Australia since WWII

United States Force Posture Initiative in Australia has commissioned the construction of the first military project to be built in Australia by the US since World War II.

The four-spot helicopter parking apron and supporting facilities will be built at RAAF Base Darwin at a cost of more than A$30 million.

The contract is the first of many expected to be delivered under the United States Force Posture Initiative in Australia, in which Australia and the US will invest more than US$1.5 billion into existing defense infrastructure and facilities in the Northern Territory.

The scope of work includes four additional airfield-rated concrete, paved parking spots with asphalt shoulders; installation of four additional Type III fuel hydrant pits connected to existing fuel lines; and relocation of existing fuel isolation valve pits. Additional work includes the installation of airfield ground lighting, stormwater collection and treatment system, jet-blast deflectors and construction of an asphalt access drive.