It’s frightening to consider what the US has been capable of in the name of “national security.” What’s even more scary is what an Australian government once considered acquiescing to in the name of the Australia-US alliance:
Defence files have revealed the United States military was planning to test deadly nerve gas on Australian troops in a far north Queensland rainforest in the 1960s.
Australian Defence Department files obtained by Channel Nine show the US was planning to test Sarin and VX nerve gas on up to 200 Australian combat troops by aerial bombing areas around Lockhart River.
The plan never went ahead, but American survey teams inspected the proposed testing site.
The prime minister at the time, Harold Holt, vetoed the plan.
His former staffer, Peter Bailey, says the Australian government was concerned that its Cold War alliance with the US would be damaged if it did not acquiesce. (ABC News Online)
Less than a decade earlier, Australian and British troops and Indigenous Australians had been the victims of nuclear testing at Maralinga, South Australia. British troops were ordered to crawl through radioactive fallout in order to get as much contamination on their clothing as possible. In order to facilitate the tests, the Tjatjara people of the area were removed from their traditional lands to a reserve at Yalata; nonetheless, thousands of Aborigines died of radiation exposure. In 1956, the arsehole that required licking at the expense of public safety belonged to the British government, with which the Australian government collaborated to ensure that the nefarious effects of the Maralinga tests (and those at the Monte Bello Islands off the coast of Western Australia in 1952) remained under a black mist of secrecy. Australia’s chief apologist for the testing, physicist Sir Ernest Titterton, remarked that “if Aboriginal people objected to the tests they could vote the government out,” their lack of citizenship status and ineligibility to vote notwithstanding.