Australia Agrees To Build US Missiles; US Dismisses Australian Concerns About Assange

July 31st, 2023 - by Caitlin Johnstone / Caitlin's Newsletter

Australia Agrees To Build US Missiles;
US Dismisses Concerns About Assange

Caitlin Johnstone / Caitlin’s Newsletter

(July 29, 2023) — Two different news stories about US-Australian relations have broken at around the same time, and together they sum up the story of US-Australian relations as a whole. In one we learn that Australia has agreed to manufacture missiles for the United States, and in the other we learn that Washington has told Australia to go suck eggs about its concerns regarding the US persecution of Australian journalist Julian Assange.

The relationship between Australia and the United States is all the more clearly illustrated by the way they are being reported by Australia’s embarrassingly sycophantic mainstream press.

In a Sydney Morning Herald article published Friday titled “‘Hugely significant’: Australia to manufacture and export missiles to US,” the US-educated war propagandist Matthew Knott exuberantly reports on the latest development on Australia’s total absorption into the American war machine.

“Australia is set to begin manufacturing its own missiles within two years under an ambitious plan that will allow the country to supply guided weapons to the United States and possibly export them to other nations,” Knott reports,” adding that the “joint missile manufacturing effort is being driven by the war in Ukraine, which has highlighted a troubling lack of ammunition stocks in Western nations including the US.”

Knott — perhaps best-known for being publicly told to “hang your head in shame” and “drum yourself out of Australian journalism” by former prime minister Paul Keating over his virulent war propaganda on China — gushes enthusiastically about the wonderful opportunities this southward expansion of the military-industrial complex will offer Australians.

“As well as creating local jobs, a domestic missile manufacturing industry will make Australia less reliant on imports and provide a trusted additional source of munitions for the US,” Knott writes ecstatically in what has somehow been presented by The Sydney Morning Herald as a hard news story and not an opinion piece.

An article published the next day, also in The Sydney Morning Herald and also by Matthew Knott, is titled “Assange ‘endangered lives’: Top official urges Australia to understand US concerns”.

It’s not unusual to see this type of propagandistic headline designed to convey a specific message above Knott’s reporting on this subject; in 2019 he authored a piece which was given the bogus title “‘A monster not a journalist’: Mueller report shows Assange lied about Russian hacking”.

“The United States’ top foreign policy official has urged Australians to understand American concerns about Julian Assange’s publishing of leaked classified information, saying the WikiLeaks founder is alleged to have endangered lives and put US national security at risk,” Knott writes. “In the sharpest and most detailed remarks from a Biden administration official about the matter, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Assange had been involved in one of the largest breaches of classified information in American history and had been charged with serious criminal conduct in the US.”

Blinken’s remarks came during a press conference for the Australia–US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) forum on Saturday, in response to a question asked by Knott himself.

Here are Blinken’s comments in full:

“Look, as a general matter policy, we don’t really comment on extradition matters, extradition proceedings. And so, I really would refer you to our Department of Justice for any questions about the status of the criminal case, whether it’s with regard to Mr. Assange or the other person in question. And I really do understand and can certainly confirm what Penny said about the fact that this matter was raised with us as it has been in the past. And I understand the sensitivities, I understand the concerns and views of Australians.

“I think it’s very important that our friends here understand our concerns about this matter. And what our Department of Justice has already said repeatedly, publicly, is this: Mr Assange was charged with very serious criminal conduct in the United States in connection with his alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of our country.

“The actions that he is alleged to have committed risked very serious harm to our national security, to the benefit of our adversaries and put named human sources at grave risk, grave risk of physical harm, grave risk of detention. So, I say that only because, just as we understand sensitivities here, it’s important that our friends understand sensitivities in the United States.”

The reason Blinken keeps repeating the word “risk” here is because the Pentagon already publicly acknowledged in 2013 that nobody was actually harmed by the 2010 Manning leaks that Assange is being charged with publishing, so all US officials can do is make the unfalsifiable assertion that they could have potentially been harmed had things happened completely differently in some hypothetical alternate timeline.

In reality, Assange is being persecuted by the United States for no other reason than the crime of good journalism. His reporting exposed US war crimes, and the US wishes to set a legal precedent that allows for anyone who reveals such criminality to be imprisoned in the United States — not just the whistleblowers who bring forth that information, but publishers who circulate it. This is why even mainstream press outlets and human rights organizations unequivocally oppose his extradition; because it would be a devastating blow to worldwide press freedoms on what is arguably the single most important issue that journalists can possibly report on.

So here is Australia signing up to become the Pentagon’s weapons supplier to the south — on top of already functioning as a total US military/intelligence asset which is preparing to back Washington in a war with China, and on top of being so fully prostrated before the empire that we’re not even allowed to know if American nuclear weapons are in our own country — being publicly hand-waved away by Washington’s top diplomat for expressing concern about a historic legal case in which an Australian citizen is being persecuted by the world’s most powerful government for being a good journalist.

You could not ask for a clearer illustration of the so-called “alliance” between Australia and the United States. It’s easy to see that this is not an equal partnership between two sovereign nations, but a relationship of total domination and subservience. I was only half-joking when I wrote the other day that our national symbol should be the star-spangled kangaroo.

Australia is not a real country. It’s a US military base with marsupials.

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