US Marine charged with violent assault returns to Brisbane

A US Marine charged with the violent assault of a female public servant in a car park at Enoggera has had his bail amended to allow him to return to Brisbane.

Taylor Wyatt Elwood, 20, was arrested at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane's north-west on July 3 after allegedly dragging the woman, aged in her 60s, out of her parked car and assaulting her.

He was further charged with allegedly assaulting an off-duty police officer who intervened, and wilful damage to the woman's car.

The woman was taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment of facial injuries and later released. In July Mr Elwood was permitted by the court to relocate to Robertson Barracks in Darwin as part of the US Marine Rotational Unit.

US troops must leave Australia, says peace network

A 2014 military agreement means Australia is host to the US military, from where it can launch hostilities against our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific-South East Asia region.

The Force Posture Agreement allows up to 2500 US Marines to be stationed in Darwin for six months each year. They are equipped for immediate deployment and train for war in exercises with the Australian Defence Forces.

The agreement allows US fighter planes and bombers access to Australia’s airfields and airport facilities, and US naval vessels access to Australia’s seaports.

The agreement affirms (in Article VII) that the United States Forces and their contractors “shall have unimpeded access to Agreed Facilities and Areas for all matters relating to the pre-positioning and storage of defence equipment and supplies including delivery, management, inspection, use, maintenance and removal of such pre-positioned material”.

This means that Australia has become a base for the US military, which currently has its sights set on the islands claimed by China in the South China Sea. Some commentators believe the US aims to put pressure on China by blocking the straits of Malacca, China's major shipping route.

who controls and directs the US Marines on board Australian naval ships, and who directs the Australian ships with the US marines on board?

US Marines sent a message to China with Darwin deployment

The deployment of US marines to Darwin announced by Julia Gillard in 2011 was partly aimed at countering the rise of China and anchoring a US presence in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes.

“China was a part of the backdrop of that, not because we want to use the marines in Darwin to go to war with China, but because their presence sends a message to all the countries in the region that the US is going to be engaged here,” he told The Australian.

“We had to be careful and work through the Australian government. We didn’t want to ­antagonise China, but we wanted to show the US working with ­allies like Australia in that part of the world.”

Mr Rhodes called Australia a “top tier” US ally who shared “the same basic view of the world”.

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."

For more information, contact: giveemtheboot2@gmail.com or visit www.ipan.org.au

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.