Photo: Two Russian Ilyushin-76 transporters arrived in Indonesia on December 4. (Supplied: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)
(Kerry reported this on December 4th but was ignored by all Australian media!)
Exclusive by Defence reporter Andrew Greene
Updated yesterday at 1:59pmSat 30 Dec 2017, 1:59pm
Defence personnel in Darwin were operating at "increased readiness" earlier this month as Russian strategic bombers conducted navigation exercises close to Australia, flying out of an Indonesian military base.
· RAAF Base Darwin placed on a "short period" of heightened alert
· Russian Ministry of Defence claims it "carried out air alert mission over neutral waters of south Pacific Ocean"
· Defence Department would have been concerned about Russian intelligence collection, defence expert says
The ABC can reveal RAAF Base Darwin was placed on a "short period" of heightened alert, while over 100 Russian personnel and several aircraft were stationed at the Biak Airbase in Indonesia's eastern Papua province.
During the five-day stopover two nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers flew their first ever patrol mission over the South Pacific, prompting concerns they may have been collecting valuable intelligence.
The Russian Ministry of Defence claims its strategic bombers "carried out air alert mission over neutral waters of south Pacific Ocean" in a flight lasting more than eight hours.
In a statement to the ABC, Australia's Defence Department said "the ADF maintains appropriate levels of readiness and posture to respond to evolving circumstances," but did not specifically refer to the Russian activity.
"There were no instances of unalerted or unscheduled foreign aircraft operating in Australian airspace during this period," the Department added.
Defence also insists RAAF Base Darwin was never in lockdown, but did acknowledge "in early December there was a brief period of increased readiness" at the facility.
Two Russian Ilyushin-76 transporters carrying 81 personnel arrived on Biak island in Indonesian Papua on December 4, and were joined shortly after by a pair of Tu-95 bombers, bringing the total number of deployed troops to 110.
Russian aircraft 'likely gathering Australian intelligence'
One of Australia's leading defence experts believes the Defence Department would have been concerned about the ability of the long-range Russian aircraft to collect intelligence during their visit to the region.
Executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Peter Jennings said this month's deployment was a significant step by Moscow.
"For the Russians to send a couple of aircraft this far down south I think is really proving it's got the capacity for that long-range reach," he said.
"It doesn't surprise me in the least that our own military forces raised their alert levels in response.
"I'm sure there would have been concerns about Russian intelligence gathering because they wouldn't have come this far south without wanting to look at the one significant [United States] allied presence in this part of the world, which operates out of [RAAF Base] Darwin and RAAF Base Tindall a little further south."
“Rockefeller and the Demise of Ibu Pertiwi” Stealing sovereignty from the West Papuan people
In 1961 and one month following the disappearance of Michael C. Rockefeller off the southern coast of what was then known as Dutch Western New Guinea, Indonesia invaded, annexed and commenced the systematic slaughter of indigenous Papuans, to pave the way for a massive wave of transmigrated Javanese.
With the meteoric rise of the new powerhouses China and India, Indonesian-occupied West Papua’s wealth of oil, gas and minerals precipitates an international power-play for control over the vast, untapped natural resources.
Decades have passed since the twenty-three-year-old Rockefeller disappeared – long presumed dead, when sightings of the heir are widely reported.
Demands for West Papuan independence gains momentum and Australia is again drawn into military conflict with the Indonesian Motherland, “Ibu Pertiwi”.
In Europe, there is growing support for the international community to revisit the flawed 1969 West New Guinea plebiscite. Some member nations of the European Community, including The Netherlands, have suggested that the United Nations might consider reviewing the implementation of the referendum with the purpose of determining whether the process was, in fact, democratic.
And, more recently, driven by anti-Australian sentiment the groundswell has become evident amongst Western Pacific island states which, in concert with their African counterparts such as Zimbabwe, have become increasingly vociferous in their calls for such a U.N. resolution. And, surprisingly, the lead has now been taken up by Ireland.
However, the situation is more than problematic for Australians.
Should the United Nations support a call for a new plebiscite to be held in West Papua, such action would undoubtedly become the genesis of any future confrontation between Australia and Indonesia – fertile ground, indeed, for the growing number of militant religious groups (both Christian and Moslem) that fester throughout the great archipelago that is Indonesia, referred to lovingly as “Ibu Pertiwi”.
What role will the Melanesian Spearhead Group play in this?
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