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Asia-Pacific calls for protests during Obama's visits to Guam, Indonesia and Australia

Statement by the Working Peoples Association (Indonesia), People's Democratic Party (Indonesia), Socialist Alliance (Australia), Socialist Worker (New Zealand), Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), Solidarity (Australia), Labour Party Pakistan, Socialist Alternative (Australia), Socialist Party of Malaysia and the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance. Supported by James Petras

[If your organisation would like to add their names to the statement, please email international@prp-indonesia.org.]

March 8, 2010 -- We, the undersigned progressive, anti-war, anti-neoliberalism and anti-imperialist organisations in the Asia-Pacific region, call for a wave protests to meet US President Barack Obama's planned visits to Guam, Indonesia and Australia in March 2010.

While President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, in fact his administration is escalating US-led military aggression all around the world and continuing the Bush administration's so-called “war on terrorism” -- which is in reality a return to colonial military occupations in the Third World justified by lies and a campaign of fear and racism. The war-like policies of the US serve to protect and advance its economic exploitation and domination all around the world.

  • The US has stepped up the war on Afghanistan and spilled it over the border into Pakistan.
  • The so-called withdrawal from Iraq is a fraud as the US will retain hundreds of bases in and around Iraq and the Persian Gulf.
  • The US is promoting a civil war in Yemen and is stepping up threats against Iran.
  • The US is increasing its military bases in Latin America and increasing its military provocations against the progressive governments and movements in the region.
  • The US is building up its military bases on Guam, a small Pacific nation colonially dominated and deformed by US military occupation.
  • Through the Naval Medical Research Unit 2 (NAMRU 2), which has recently changed its name to the Indonesia-United States Center for Medical Research (IUC), the US is gathering intelligence and developing an anti-virus industry and biological weapons in Indonesia.
  • In the agricultural sector, through aid organisations such as USAID, the US government inserted GMO seeds as part of biotechnology experiments by seeds corporation company i.e. Monsanto and Dupont. Often this aid is using food for aid as a pretext.
  • The Obama administration has allocated US$1 trillion to the military in its latest budget even while millions of workers in the US have been thrown out of work and have lost their homes.
  • Under President Obama, neoliberal pressure on the Third World has been intensified. Through the G20, $1.1 trillion is to be spent on an economic stimulus to be delivered through the IMF. However, IMF loans to Third World countries come with severe with neoliberal conditions which will further destroy the livelihood of millions, while bailing out the banks and protecting the capitalist system.
  • The US is supporting the use of dirty energy in developing countries, such as nuclear, agrofuel and coal. Through the international financial institution it controls, funds are given. This shows that US doesn’t have any commitment to save the global climate.
  • The US is planning to re-support KOPASSUS (Indonesia’s special forces), which is notorious for human rights violation in East Timor and Indonesia. This shows that US doesn’t have any commitment to human rights.

President Obama’s visit to Australia will celebrate and boost the reactionary US-Australia war alliance and his visit to Indonesia is to prop up the slavish and corrupt neoliberal regime of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Obama's visit to Guam is aimed at consolidating US military domination and US colonialism in the Pacific.

  • We call on the governments of our countries to end their military treaties and agreements with the US and call for the withdrawal of all political and military support for the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq all other imperialist wars.
  • We demand the removal of all US bases from our countries and all the other 130 countries around the world which currently are the site of US military bases.
  • We also demand an end to the presence of any US troops who are stationed in our countries, in the guise of conducting “training” exercises, under military treaties.
  • We also call upon the governments of our countries to support a policy of international peace and cooperation based on demilitarisation and people-to-people solidarity.
  • In the wake of the global capitalist financial crisis, we also demand that the governments of Guam, Indonesia and Australia end their support for the global neoliberal agenda led by the US imperialists.
  • We also demand that the governments of the US and Australia cancel all the debts owed to them by Third World countries, which are illegitimate debts, accrued through economic exploitation and subjugation of our countries.

This neoliberal agenda has imposed the pillaging of our peoples and the Earth on an unprecedented scale, while the global corporate elite has grown fat on profits and massive public subsidies. No prosperity and peace will come out from this increasingly greedy and destructive capitalist system which the US uses its military might to defend.

That is why we strive to unite to replace the existing exploitative capitalism system with a new world run and owned by the oppressed and exploited majority and based on solidarity, cooperation and respect for the environment.

Socialist Alliance: Protest Obama -- promising peace, delivering war

Pip Hinman

March 6, 2010 -- United States President Barack Obama’s planned stopover in Australia on March 23 takes place around the time of the seventh anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq on March 20. The visit aims to underscore the close relationship between the world’s biggest military superpower and its Australian deputy in the Asia Pacific. It provides an important opportunity to protest US (and Australian) war policies.

The planned visit comes as Obama and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd field rising domestic discontent from dashed hopes and broken promises. In the US, bank bail outs, housing foreclosures and the US$3 trillion spent on wars in the Middle East are helping fuel growing disillusion.

Australia may have escaped the worst of the global financial crisis, but Rudd’s honeymoon is also over.

In the US, the loopy, far-right Tea Party movement is exploiting the political vacuum. In Australia, Coalition opposition leader Tony Abbott is experimenting with his own brand of right-wing populism.

Obama supporters make all sorts of excuses for the Democrat administration’s failure to deliver. But we can’t afford to remain silent out of fear of being accused of fuelling the far-right’s fire. To do so would play into the hands of both the far right and the mainstream apologists for futile, criminal wars.

The protests being organised to coincide with Obama’s visit will not be the size of those which greeted previous US president George Bush, particularly during his visit to Sydney for APEC in 2007. However, they will still be important.

Attitudes are divided over how to respond to an African-American US president who has excelled at playing to the progressive sentiment of millions.

Tariq Ali, the Pakistan-born author and activist, said Bush was projected as the product of a coterie of right-wing fanatics “who hijacked American democracy for policies of unprecedented aggression in the Middle East”.

Ali has argued that the ideological euphoria that accompanied Obama’s election, and his vow to heal the nation’s wounds at home and restore its reputation abroad, has helped maintain this confusion. He persuasively documents the bipartisanship characterising the US (and Australian) political mainstream in “President of Cant”, an article in the January-February 2010 edition of New Left Review.

“There has been no fundamental break in foreign policy, as opposed to diplomatic mood music, between Bush I, Clinton and Bush II administrations: there has been none between the Bush and Obama regimes”, he said. “The strategic goals and imperatives of the US … remain the same, as do its principal theatres and means of operation.

“If a textbook illustration were needed of the continuity of American foreign policy across administrations, and the futility of so many soft-headed attempts to treat the Bush-Cheney years as exceptional rather than essentially conventional, Obama’s conduct has provided it.

“From one end of the Middle East to the other, the only significant material change he has brought is a further escalation of the War on Terror — or ‘Evil’, as he prefers to call it — with Yemen now being sighted as the next target.”

Ali adds that it would be a mistake to think that nothing has changed.

“Substantively, vanishingly little of American imperial domination has altered under Obama. But propagandistically, there has been a significant upgrade.”

This partly explains why the widespread global opposition to the wars in the Middle East — which is growing — is not more vocal.

Among NATO countries, the anti-war mood is gathering strength. A January 27 article in the US Nation said in Germany, 71% of people oppose the troop escalation. In Britain it was 56% and in France, 82%.

Recently, the Dutch government imploded when it tried to renege on its promise to withdraw its 2160 soldiers. The Left Party (Die Linke) in Germany has been strengthened by its principled stand to withdraw the troops. About 51% of Australians oppose the war in Afghanistan.

In the US, the pro-war propaganda offensive may be having an impact: an Angus Reid Global Monitor poll in February found 54% supported the war in Afghanistan, compared with 49% in December.

It is still true that, for Obama and his generals, war weariness looms large in their political calculations. This could be why the political message has shifted away from Bush’s “war without end” to “talks” and “solutions”.

The $250 billion cost of the eight-year war in Afghanistan — roughly $1 million per US soldier — is another major pressure.

While most people around the world want an end to the war, Obama is ramping it up. There is growing evidence to back the Nation article’s analysis that the Obama-Pentagon “peace plan for Afghanistan is for more brutal combat with an emphasis on special operations in the belief that the Taliban can be pounded into accepting an American-imposed peace settlement”.

Obama has presided over a massive increase in drone bombing attacks on Pakistan. His government is also menacing Iran and turning a blind eye to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.

He promised peace but delivered war. His visit to Australia, which will likely include a request for more Australian troops to fight in Afghanistan, is an opportunity to highlight the hypocrisy of these unjust and inhumane wars.

The anti-war movement faces a big challenge turning the widespread, but passive, anti-war sentiment into a more potent political force. Compared with the early years of the Vietnam War, there is a much greater understanding of the role and nature of imperialism.

However, this opposition will remain invisible unless we get out onto the streets.

[Pip Hinman is the national anti-war spokesperson for the Socialist Alliance.]

11,000 sign petition asking Obama to speak with Guam's people, hear buildup concerns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM WE ARE GUÅHAN

March 11, 2010, Guam – With the largest military realignment in modern history slated to hit the US Territory of Guam, more than 11,000 people from the Pacific Island and across the globe signed a petition asking US President Barack Obama to speak directly with the people of Guam during his short visit next week. Obama's visit is an opportunity for the island's residents, who do not have the right to vote for president, to voice the many concerns they have with the buildup.

We Are Guåhan, a grassroots collective of individuals, families and organiations working to inform the community about the impacts of the buildup, began circulating the petition when it was announced last month that Obama would visit the island, but only speak to military personnel at Andresen Air Force Base.

After review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), released on November 30, 2009, We Are Guåhan worked with other concerned organisations and individuals to educate the community on the impacts of the buildup. We Are Guåhan, along with government of Guam agencies, other organisations and concerned individuals submitted thousands of comments on the DEIS – many of them pointing to the negative impacts outlined there for the people, economy and environment.

After the US Environmental Protection Agency's indictment of the DEIS late February, it has become increasingly clear that the military realignment to Guam will threaten the health and safety of the island's residents.

"We have not been able to say yes or no to this", says Jon Blas, resident of the village of Tamuning and member of We Are Guåhan. "Hawaii said no. California said no. But we were never given the opportunity. It's not fair, especially because it is looking like this is going to hurt us more than help us."

We Are Guåhan's growing membership felt that a strong message must be sent to Washington DC. The petition states: “The military buildup will permanently change our island and our lives. The needs of all Guam’s people must come first, for this island is our home. It is critical that President Obama hear our concerns.”

We Are Guåhan will deliver the petition to the White House today both by electronic and paper copy.
There will be a community response on March 19, during Obama’s visit, to break the silence and demonstrate that the island’s people demand to have a voice in their future. Obama is not currently planning to speak with the people of Guam. We Are Guåhan hopes the 11,000 requests for a forum will change Obama’s plans.

For more information visit We Are Guåhan’s website at http://www.weareguahan.com.

US out of Latin America! Protest Obama’s visit to Australia

Statement from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

March 18, 2010 -- The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network calls on US President Barrack Obama during his visit to Australia to acknowledge and act on the desire of all peoples concerned with peace and social justice for an end to the United States’ military and political interference in Latin America.

We call on supporters of peace to join the protests around Australia and add your voice to the demand that Obama bring a halt to US aggressions against Latin America.

For more than two centuries, Latin Americans have suffered constant attack from the United States, including coup d’etats, assassinations, disappearances, torture, brutal dictatorships, economic blockades and sabotage, media lies, biological warfare, subversion, counterinsurgency, diplomatic blackmail, electoral intervention and military invasions.

In the last decade – since the election of independent, progressive governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and other Latin American countries – this US aggression has escalated. Obama’s election in November 2008 raised the hopes of many that he would lead a positive change in US foreign policy. However, in the last two years, the US government has carried out the largest ever military expansion in Latin America. This includes:

• Reactivating the US Navy’s Fourth Fleet in Latin American waters, an action that the Pentagon admitted was a “showing of US force and power in the region”.

• Increasing its military activity in the Caribbean, Panama and Central America. Over the last few years, the US has used its air force bases on the Dutch islands of Aruba and Curazao, just off Venezuela’s coast, for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance missions against Venezuela. In mid-December, drones of US origin illegally entered Venezuela’s airspace.

• Deep involvement in a failed attempt to initiate civil war in Bolivia and bring down the radical, pro-poor government of President Evo Morales.

• Providing behind the scenes support for the coup in Honduras last June that ousted democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya. While the Obama government publicly pretended it was against the coup, US forces stationed at the Honduran base of Palmerola collaborated with coup leader Roberto Micheletti, and Washington did everything possible to sabotage efforts to restore the elected president and democracy in Honduras.

• Signing an agreement with the brutal Colombian government for access to seven military bases in that country and unrestricted use of Colombian territory for military operations. This agreement is purportedly for counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, but a 2009 US Air Force document reveals that the bases would be used for “full spectrum military operations” throughout South America and to increase US forces’ capacity for “expeditionary warfare” in the region.

Colombian authorities have now announced that a new 1000-troop military base, funded by the US, is to be built on the Guajira Peninsula, very near the border with Venezuela. Colombia has also announced the activation of two air battalions at other border areas near Venezuela.

The recent escalation of US aggression in the region is a direct response to the development of Latin American unity and integration being led by Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia, which is strengthening the region’s economic and political independence from imperialism.

Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution, in particular, is being targeted by the US, which is waging a constant campaign to subvert, destabilise and topple the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez. This year, the budget for USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy to advise, train and equip right-wing opposition groups in Venezuela is nearly $15 million – more than double last year’s allocation.

In the last few weeks, US representatives, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have ramped up their propaganda attacks on Venezuela, falsely accusing the Chavez government of failing to combat narcotics operations, violating human rights, repressing the media, “not contributing to democracy and regional stability”, and of being the “regional anti-US leader”.

The peoples of Venezuela and the rest of Latin America want – and have the right to – peace, democracy and self-determination.

We support the call by President Morales for the outlawing of foreign military bases in Latin America, and demand that Obama accept President Chavez’s offer of peace talks, and out an end to his government’s policy of political, economic and military war against Latin America.

Seruan untuk Melakukan Protes Saat Kunjungan Presiden AS, Obama ke Guam, Indonesia dan Australia

Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja, Socialist Alliance (Australia), Socialist Worker (Selandia Baru), Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippine), Solidarity (Australia), Labor Party Pakistan, Socialist Alternative (Australia), Parti Sosialis Malaysia dan Konfederasi Kongres Aliansi Serikat Buruh Indonesia

Kami, organisasi progresif, anti perang, anti neoliberalisme dan anti imperialis di wilayah asia pasifik yang bertanda tangan dibawah ini, menyerukan dilakukannya protes terhadap kunjungan presiden AS Barack Obama ke Guam, Indonesia dan Australia pada bulan maret tahun ini.

Sementara presiden obama dianugrahi penghargaan nobel tahun lalu, faktanya pemerintahan Obama meningkatkan agresi militer dibawah kepemimpinan AS diseluruh dunia dan melanjutkan kebijakan pemerintahan Bush yang disebut “war on terrorism”, yang pada kenyataannya adalah sebuah upaya untuk kembali ke penjajahan militer kolonialis di Dunia Ketiga yang dijustfikasi dengan kebohongan dan kampanye ketakutan serta rasisme. Kebijakan perang AS dilakukan untuk melindungi dan memajukan eksploitasi ekonomi dan dominasi di seluruh dunia.

·                     AS telah memperhebat perang di Afghanistan dan memperluasnya diluar perbatasan hingga ke Pakistan

·                     Apa yang disebut dengan penarikan pasukan dari Iraq adalah kebohongan seiring AS mempertahankan ratusan basisnya di dalam dan sekitar Irak dan teluk Persia

·                     AS mendorong perang sipil di Yaman dan memperkuat ancamannya terhadap Iran

·                     AS menambah basis militernya di Amerika Latin dan meningkatkan provokasi militernya melawan pemerintahan dan gerakan yang progresif di wilayah itu.

·                     AS membangun basis militernya di Guam , sebuah negaradi pasifik yang didominasi dan dipengaruhi secara kolonial oleh penjajah AS.

·                     Melalui Naval Medical Research Unit 2 (NAMRU 2), yang kemudian diganti menjadi Indonesia-United States Center for Medical Research (IUS), AS mengumpulkan data intelejen, mengembangkan industri antivirus dan senjata biologis di Indonesia.

·                     Di sektor pertanian melalui lembaga bantuan seperti USAID pemerintah Amerika Serikat memasukkan benih benih GMO sebagai bagian dari percobaan biotekhnologi  perusahaan korporasi benih seperti Monsanto dan Dupont. Seringkali bantuan bantuan ini memakai dalih food for aid.

·                     Pemerintahan Obama telah mengalokasikan US$ 1 milyar kepada anggaran militer pada penyusunan anggaran terbarunya walau jutaan pekerja AS kehilangan pekerjaan dan kehilangan rumah mereka.

·                     Dibawah kepemimpinan Obama, tekanan neoliberalisme terhadap Negara dunia ketiga semakin kuat. Melalui G20, $1,1 miliar dikucurkan dalam stimulus ekonomi yang akan diberikan melalui IMF. Namun pinjaman IMF ke dunia ketiga datang dengan syarat neoliberal yang kejam yang tentu saja akan berimplikasi pada penghancuran keberlangsungan kehidupan jutaan orang sementara menalangi perbankan dan melindungi system kapitalis.

·                     AS mendukung penggunaan energi kotor dinegara berkembang, seperti energi nuklir, agrofuel dan batubara. Bahkan melalui lembaga keuangan internasional yang dikuasainya memberikan dukungan pendanaan. Hal ini menunjukan bahwa AS tidak memiliki komitmen untuk menyelamatkan iklim global.

·                     AS berencana memberikan dukungan kembali KOPASSUS (Komando Pasukan Khusus) Angkatan Darat Indonesia yang terkenal karena pelanggaran HAM yang dilakukan di Timor Leste dan Indonesia. Yang hingga kini pelanggaran HAM tersebut belum mendapatkan keadilan. Hal ini menunjukan bahwa AS tidak memiliki komitmen terhadap penghargaan HAM. 

Kunjungan Presiden Obama ke Australia akan merayakan dan mendorong lebih lanjut aliansi perang reaksioner AS-Australia dan kunjungan ke Indonesia adalah untuk mendukung rezim neoliberal SBY yang korup dan menindas. Kunjungan obama ke Guam ditujukan untuk mengkonsolidasikan dominasi militer dan kolonialisme AS di pasifik.

 

·                     Kami mendesak pemerintah di Negara kami untuk mengakhiri perjanjian militernya dengan AS dan untuk membatalkan semua dukungan politik dan militer atas perang Afghanistan dan iraq sebagaimana seluruh perang imperialis yang ada.

·                     Kami menuntut pembubaran semua basis militer AS dari Negara-negara kami dan seluruh Negara lainnya yang mencapai total 130 negara di seluruh dunia yang sekarang menjadi tempat basis militer US

·                     Kami juga menuntut diakhirinya kehadiran tentara AS yang ditempatkan di negeri kami, dengan kedok melakukan “pelatihan”, dibawah perjanjian militer.

·                     Kami juga mendesak pemerintah Negara kami untuk mendukung kebijakan perdamaian internasional dan kerjasama berasas pada demiliterisasi dan solidaritas antar rakyat

·                     Dalam kebangkitan krisis financial, kami juga meminta kepada pemerintah Guam, Indonesia, dan Australia mengakhiri dukungan kepada agenda global neoliberal yang dipimpin oleh imperialis AS.

·                     Kami juga menuntut agar pemerintahan AS dan Australia membatalkan semua hutang yang dibayarkan ke mereka oleh negeri Dunia Ketiga, yang merupakan hutang tidak sah, yang terjadi melalui eksploitasi ekonomi dan penindasan terhadap negeri kami.

Agenda neoliberal ini telah memaksa terjadinya penjarahan terhadap rakyat dan bumi kita dalam skala yang tidak terperikan sementara elit korporasi global tumbuh gemuk dalam keuntungan dan subsidi yang massif.

Tidak ada kesejahteraan dan kedamaian yang akan datang dari sistem kapitalis yang semakin rakus dan bersifat menghancurkan. Yang mana AS menggunakan kekuatan militernya untuk melindungi sistem ini. Ini mengapa kami berjuang keras untuk bersatu mengganti sistem kapitalisme yang eksploitatif yang ada sekarang dengan sebuah tatanan dunia baru yang dijalankan dan dimiliki oleh rakyat mayoritas yang tertindas dan tereksploitasi dan berdasar pada solidaritas, kerja sama dan penghormatan atas lingkungan.

[Jika organisasi anda ingin menandatangani statement ini silahkan hubungi: international@prp-indonesia.org]  

 

Comments

Guam: New US military build-up opposed

By Tony Iltis

March 16, 2010 -- On March 21, US President Barack Obama will depart on a short tour of the Asia-Pacific region. His main destinations will be Indonesia and Australia, but the trip will include a brief stopover in Guam.

Obama’s time in the north Pacific island nation that is claimed as US territory will be spent entirely inside the US military bases that occupy a third of Guam.

Guam is under US occupation. Since 1898, the island has been a US colony, apart from a two-and-a-half year Japanese occupation during World War II.

Since then, it has been an important US military base. It currently has about 3000 soldiers, although an increase is planned.

A petition signed by 11,000 Guamanians (out of a population of 178,000) has called on Obama to meet with the community to address their concerns about the military build-up. Serious economic, social and environmental threats are posed by the proposed troop increase.

The petition was initiated by We Are Guahan, which is a “grassroots collective of individuals, families and organisations working to inform the community about the impacts of the build-up”.

It states: “The military build-up will permanently change our island and our lives. The needs of all Guam’s people must come first, for this island is our home. It is critical that President Obama hear our concerns.”

The planned build-up in Guam is related to US and Japanese government plans to reduce US soldier numbers at the military bases in Okinawa that the US has operated since World War II.

But whether it goes ahead will be determined by the sometimes fraught negotiations between the US and Japan over the Okinawa bases.

In Okinawa, opposition to the bases has been fuelled by a provision that gives US soldiers immunity from local laws as well as anger over the failure of the US military to adequately prosecute offences by its personnel.

Anti-social and criminal behaviour by off-duty soldiers — including serious crimes such as armed robbery, rape and murder — is a significant social problem in Okinawa.

In 2006, an agreement between the US and Japan stipulated that about half of the 18,000 US marines in Okinawa would be moved to Guam by 2014. Japan agreed to contribute US$6 billion towards the cost of the relocation.

The build-up will bring nuclear aircraft carrier berthing facilities to Guam, as well as a significant increase in military aircraft, a ballistic missile taskforce, and shooting and bombing ranges. Migrant workers to assist in this build-up will be recruited from the Philippines and the Federated States of Micronesia.

At its peak, the build-up is projected to increase Guam’s population by 80,000 people.

The choice of Guam was based as much on its colonial status as on any military considerations.

Jon Blas, resident of the village of Tamuning and member of We Are Guahan, said in a March 11 statement: “We have not been able to say yes or no to this.

“Hawaii said no. California said no. But we were never given the opportunity.

“It’s not fair, especially because it is looking like this is going to hurt us more than help us.”

On November 20, the military released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Only 90 days were allowed for public submissions.

The February 16 Marianas Variety said requests by Guam’s non-voting representative in the US Congress, Madeleine Bordallo, for a longer DEIS comment period were ignored.

Despite a flawed “in-house” process, the DEIS revealed some of the looming environmental and social catastrophe.

Guam already suffers from the existing military facilities and the legacy of their role in the US war on Vietnam. This legacy includes the dumping of toxic and radioactive military supplies.

Located near the Marianas Trench, Guam is a biodiversity hotspot. An example of the environmental insanity of the military build-up is the planned dredging of the island’s only hammerhead shark birthing area to make a berthing area for nuclear aircraft carriers.

Practice bombing and live shooting exercises already take a toll on Guam’s ecosystem. Highly toxic and radioactive weapons, such as depleted uranium, are among those used. The build-up will increase their intensity and the amount of land and sea affected.

Furthermore, there are plans to extend them to the neighbouring island of Tinian (part of another US colony, the Northern Marianas).

Unlike Guam, Tinian has not had a previous military presence and has a pristine and spectacularly diverse ecosystem.

The social impacts will further marginalise Guam’s indigenous Chamorro people. As well as bringing population pressures, the build-up will increase the destruction of the traditional economy through military expropriation and destruction of land and sea resources.

The influx of migrant workers and US military personnel will raise housing prices and strengthen the “military apartheid” that already exists. Military personnel and their families have high wages, and high quality education and healthcare for their families.

Schools and health services for local people are underfunded and inadequate. Locals suffer high unemployment and temporary migrant workers are paid sweatshop wages.

The arrival of US marines from Okinawa was scheduled to begin in 2010, but this may be delayed due to disagreements between US and Japan over the size of the US military presence to remain in Okinawa.

The Japanese coalition government, elected in August, has taken a tougher stance toward the US military than its conservative predecessor.

[For more information on Guam and the campaign against the US military build-up, visit Decolonizeguam.blogspot.com.]

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