LALIT is publishing a speech by Jammu Narayana Rao, member of the international anti military bases group, Global Network, who passed away on 18 May 2021. Mr.Rao will be remembered for his persistent dedication to the development and construction of internationalist networks in the struggle against military bases. He participated in LALIT’s conference to free Chagos-Diego in 2016.
Speech of Jammu Narayana Rao delivered at the International Conference on Diego Garcia on 2 October, 2016.
DISMANTLE GLOBAL MILITARY BASES
by Jammu Narayana Rao, Director Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Seventy years ago the Second World War came to an end with the defeat of Fascism and Nazism. The allied forces have collectively achieved this despite the western powers tried to back stab the USSR which was challenging a capitalist order of Governance and Economy. On 9 May 2015 Russia observed the 70th year of ending fascism. But the west has ignored it as if they are unhappy with the defeat of Hitler and fascism.
The vision of Hitler to dominate the world has been inherited by the Rulers of United States of America to build an Empire. While retaining the Military Bases which were established during the Second World War, new bases have been established throughout the world. Nick Turse an investigating journalist and a fellow at the Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute states that “In 1955,10 years after world war II ended, the Chicago daily Tribune published a major investigation of Bases including a map dotted with little stars and triangles, most of them clustered in Europe and the Pacific. The American flag flies over more than 300 overseas outposts”.
According to Jules Dufour, President of the United Nations Association of Canada The US military has bases in 63 countries and 244,065 military personnel deployed worldwide by US. The facilities in these bases include 845,441 different buildings and equipments. The land surface is of the order of 30 million acres. According to Gelman, who examined, 2005 official Pentagon data, the US is controlling a total of 737 bases in foreign lands. Adding to the bases inside U.S territory, the total land area occupied by US military bases domestically within the US and internationally is of the order of 2,202,735 hectares, which makes the Pentagon one of the largest landowners world wide. By establishing (1)Air force Bases,(2)Army or Land Bases(3) Naval Bases and (4) Communications and Spy Bases and deploying amore than Million Army Personnel throughout the world the US has converted the entire world a battle ground.
Encirclement of Russia and China is on the top priority of US and NATO. The erstwhile colonial European countries who fought against each other during the first and Second World Wars have become united now formed the European union and became subservient to US hegemony. Both US and NATO have established Military Bases in most of the Countries. According to Rick Rozoff, “The advanced Patriot Theatre anti-ballistic missile batteries in place or soon to be in Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Germany, Greece, Japan, Kuwait, The Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates make an arc stretching from the Black Sea through Southeast Europe to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Caucasus, the Persian gulf and beyond the East Asia. A Semicircle that begins on Russia’s northwest and ends on China’s North East.”
The Military Bases are being used for transit of troops, weapons and controlling natural resources. Often the Countries where these Bases are located are also drawn into the war by US & NATO. These countries are becoming dumping grounds for US Weapons.US Bases in Turkey, Germany, Diego Garcia, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have been used by US for invasion and destruction of Iraq.
Military Bases are also used to for storage facilities for weapons including Nuclear Weapons, for test ranges including Nuclear Weapons, training of US soldiers, intelligence operations and monitor emails, phone and to collect data, communications traffic and for torture, imprisonment and extra judicial functions. Where ever these Bases exist they create innumerable problems the civilian population of that area. Often high level incidence of Rapes committed by the foreign soldiers, accidents by Military Vehicles, violent crimes, pollution and health hazards due to frequent testing of weapons. The foreign soldiers who commit crimes cannot be held responsible and tried because they are covered by immunity.
In South Korea there are nearly 100 Military Bases. In 2002 two teenage girls on their way to a birth day party were run over by US Military tank. The Driver and the other Soldiers on the tank were not allowed to be tried in Korea. They were repatriated to US and a Military court in US declared that them not guilty.
In 2006 more than 2600 car accidents have taken place in Korea involving servicemen. Korean victims were left without the means to claim damages. Korean insurance companies refused to cover the damages, arguing that the claims ought to be paid by those who have committed the crime. But the guilty parties enjoy legal immunity and escape any punishment. By and large this is the situation in all countries where US Military bases are located.
US is not facing any threat from an country and on the other hand it attacks countries creating false pretexts. Earlier it was the bogey of communism. After the disintegration of USSR, now it is global terrorism. Even terrorism is not there it would have invented something else like weapons of mass destruction in Iraq etc. The hidden agenda is building of an Empire, exercising hegemony and corporate domination.
According to Irkalis Tsavardis, executive Secretary of the World Peace Council(WPC) “The establishment of U.S military bases should not of course be seen simply in terms of direct military ends. They are always used to promote the economic and political objectives of capitalism. For example U.S Corporations and the U.S Government have been eager for some time to build gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea in the central Asia through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea. This region has more than 6 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves and almost 40 percent of its gas reserves. The War in Afghanistan and the creation of U.S. Military Bases in Central Asia are viewed as a Key opportunity to make such pipelines a reality”. In this light the ongoing construction of a Naval Base at Jeju Island in South Korea to be used by the U.S Navy is to cut the shipping lines of ships which carry oil to China from Middle East. Majority of the US people don’t support the policies of the US Governments. This is evident in the Agitation of 1% Vs 99%.
Resistance to U.S Military Bases is growing in several countries. Australia, Japan. South Korea, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Spain, Italy, Guam,Mauritius are worth mentioning. The No Bases Network is playing a significant role in building up World public opinion against the Military Bases. The movement against U.S Military Bases in Okinawa in Japan and the heroic struggle of the people of Jeju Island and dismantling of the Guantanamo Base in Cuba are gaining world wide support. It is reported that Iraq has refused to allow the U.S to keep Military Bases there. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has given a notice to US for the removal of US Military Bases from Ecuador. The people of Okinawa in Japan have created history by electing an Anti US Military Base candidate Takeshi Onaga as the Governor of Okinawa and Susumu Inamine who has vowed to block construction of a US Military Base in his City of Nago as Mayor.
The Military Base on Diego Garcia was established due to a treacherous role by UK which illegally occupied it displacing Chagossian people and leased it to US for 50 years to convert it as a Military Base. This Base was used when US attacked Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan. The people of Mauritius are relentlessly struggling against UK and US for vacating Diego Garcia
The atrocities, inhuman tortures by US in the Guantanamo Bay Naval Bases in CUBA are the worst of type of violation of human rights. The detainees are brought from various countries, Afghanistan, , Africa, South Asia. Amnesty International demanded closure of this Base stating that “ a prime example of the USA’s double standard on human rights”. Ms. Navi Pillay, the UN Human Rights Chief demanded on 23 January 2012 closer of this Base stating that indefinite imprisonment of detainees without charge or trial violates international law.
Establishing Military Bases in foreign countries is the legacy of colonialism and imperialism to occupy and dominate other countries. Unfortunately the U.N Charter doesn’t deal exclusively this issue, perhaps due to the fact that when the Charter was being drafted in 1945 the issue of Military Bases was not prominent. But by the time the United Nations Millennium Declaration was drafted in 2000 the problem of Military Bases achieved dangerous proportions. Even then this issue has been ignored. In the Chapter III of the Millennium Declaration while discussion about Peace, Security and disarmament the issue of Abolition or closing of foreign Military bases should have figured. Disarmament and Abolition of Military Bases are complimentary to each other. But this issue never was part of the disarmament campaign globally