Caitlin Johnstone: Australia’s Silence on Israel Arms Deal

The denial of a Freedom of Information request on the grounds that such information “could harm Australia’s international standing and reputation,” suggests the details must be pretty damning.

Australian Minister of Defense Richard Marles with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on Feb 3. (DoD/Alexander Kubitza)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article. 

Australia’s Defence Department has refused a Freedom of Information request about the details of an arms deal with Israel on the grounds that such information “could harm Australia’s international standing and reputation,” which suggests the details must be pretty damning.

Equally as scandalous, this refusal was reportedly made in consultation with the Israeli government.

In an article titled “Details of defence deal with Israel kept under wraps to protect Australia’s ‘reputation,’” the ABC’s Andrew Greene details how the Australian military snubbed a Freedom of Information request by the Australian Greens regarding a “Memorandum of Understanding” between Australia and Israel that was signed in 2017. 

“The document within the scope of this request contains information which, if released, could reasonably be expected to damage the international relations of the Commonwealth,” the Defence Department said in a letter explaining its rejection.

“A summary provided by the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to the Greens reveals that the Israeli government was also consulted about releasing the document before Defence ultimately rejected the FOI request,” the ABC reports.

“The document contains information communicated to Australia by a foreign government and its officials under the expectation that it would not be disclosed,” a Defence official wrote in justification of its decision.

[See: Australian PM Referred to ICC as ‘Accessory to Gaza Genocide’]

Greens Senator David Shoebridge objected, saying 

“There is no place for secret arms treaties and secret arms deals between countries, and there is certainly no place for giving other countries veto power over what the Australian government tells the public about our government’s defence and arms deals.”

“Over 30,000 people have been killed by the State of Israel in Gaza in the past six months. In this context, the Australian public has a right to know about the military trade relationship with the State of Israel,” added Shoebridge.

It’s wild to think about the fact that the Australian warmakers determined this admission, that the truth would harm Australia’s reputation, to be the option that was least destructive to Australia’s reputation. When someone tells you “I can’t tell you the truth about that because the truth will make everyone dislike me,” it means they’ve ruled out every other option before coming to that position because the truth really is that ugly.

It’s like coming home to find your husband frantically burning clothes and mopping up blood and asking him what’s going on, and he says “I can’t tell you because the truth would harm your opinion of me.” Your very first thought after that is going to be that he must have done something very, very bad if that’s the best answer he could give you.

Back in November lawyer and researcher Kellie Tranter  published an article with Declassified Australia titled “Australia’s role in the bombing of Gaza” about Israel’s use of Australian equipment to conduct its F-35 bombing campaigns, writing that “no bombs could be dropped on Gaza by an F-35 without parts manufactured for the F-35s by Melbourne company, Rosebank Engineering.”

Tranter notes that more than 70 Australian companies have been awarded “over $4.13 billion in global production and sustainment contracts through the F-35 program to date.” 

[See also: Targeting Gaza From US Spy Hub in Australia]

Since Tranter’s piece, during Israel’s active genocide in Gaza, the Australian Army has drawn controversy by awarding a billion-dollar contract to Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems.

As we’ve discussed many times, Australia is functionally a military and intelligence asset of the same U.S.-centralized empire as Israel. It’s currently falling all over itself helping the U.S. prepare for a future war with China and providing logistical support for the U.S. and U.K. bombing campaign against Ansar Allah in Yemen. 

If all the violence and chaos we’re seeing in the middle east leads to the U.S. committing to a direct full-scale war in the region, we may be absolutely certain that Canberra will march us into that one as well. All while the empire cages an Australian journalist in a maximum security prison for exposing its war crimes.

Australia, like Israel, is not a real country. Like Israel, Australia is nothing other than a settler-colonialist outpost of Western imperialism built on genocide, ethnic cleansing and theft, and now operates in a way that is inseparable from the U.S. war machine. This land will never know peace or justice until it’s extricated itself from the talons of the empire.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

6 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Australia’s Silence on Israel Arms Deal

  1. Antonio Andolini
    April 11, 2024 at 20:45

    “no bombs could be dropped on Gaza by an F-35 without parts manufactured for the F-35s by Melbourne company, Rosebank Engineering.”

    In my ignorance as an American, until fairly recently, I used to hold a romantic view of Australia as a beautiful, pristine country, largely untouched by the ugly, warmongering ways of the U.S./Israeli led Zionist counterfeit empire. How wrong I was, as Australia makes its little contribution to the slaughter in Gaza…is there anything untainted left in this world?

  2. Roslyn Ross
    April 11, 2024 at 01:25

    So Australia supports and promotes colonial genocide. Great look NOT.

  3. Sanford Kelson
    April 10, 2024 at 16:18

    I suggest that the Australian government request from the United States government it’s forms for the denials of Freedom of Information requests of US citizens.

  4. Valerie
    April 10, 2024 at 16:10

    “could harm Australia’s international standing and reputation,”

    It would be interesting to know what that is exactly. And by whom.

  5. Candide
    April 10, 2024 at 10:15

    This clear vision and strategic analysis can save Australia and its citizens’ aspirations. Pay attention, folks!

  6. susan
    April 10, 2024 at 08:57

    Thank you again Caitlin for exposing the truth. Makes me wonder if the Mass Murder in Gaza was preplanned well in advance of 10/7/23 by empire – it certainly wouldn’t surprise me…

Comments are closed.