Review, don’t celebrate Pine Gap: Alice peace group

2465 Pine Gap 1 OKSir – The Alice Springs Peace Action Think Tank (ASPATT) believes that 50 years of Pine Gap should be a time for critical review, and not a cause for celebration.


We know from years of research by experts like Professors Richard Tanter and the late Des Ball, that the Pine Gap Joint Defense facility plays an intricate role in supporting US-led drone attacks, by contributing targeting data to drone operations, including assassinations on suspected terrorists overseas,  which are illegal under international law.


We also know from research into drone warfare that it is not ethical, nor surgically precise and doesn’t stop civilians being killed. In fact, far from reducing the destructive effects of war or terrorism – drone strikes increase these effects.


Ms Alex Edney-Browne, a researcher on drone warfare at the University of Melbourne and a spokesperson for the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has argued that drone warfare creates devastation to innocent families and children in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen.


She says the missiles and bombs that drones drop produce deadly blasts that endanger the lives of everyone near the scene of the attack.


Moreover, the intelligence used to identify targets is often faulty, and many civilians have been killed as a result.


During her time on the ground in Afghanistan, civilians expressed to her that they live in fear “that they will be the next innocent victims”.


This be should of great concern for Alice Springs residents and all Australian citizens particularly as experts such as Tanter have pointed out that Pine Gap’s role in the US nuclear war plans and even major conventional war make Pine Gap and therefore Alice Springs a “pretty high priority nuclear missile target in the event of a major conflict between the United States and Russia or China”.


All Australian citizens should also be concerned about the enormous level of information collected by Pine Gap on ordinary citizens, who are not suspected of terrorist activity, such as who they are communicating with on their mobile phone.


We need to be asking ourselves as a nation whether the continuation of the military alliance with the US is actually in the best interests of our country.


In a recent public statement, IPAN has called for Australia to assert its sovereignty as a nation, take control of its foreign policies and review the presence of US bases and troops in Australia.


It is time we started promoting genuine peace and security, human rights, a sustainable environment and Australia’s independence as a nation.


Jonathan Pilbrow

ASPATT Convenor and an NT representative on the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).




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10 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Terry Carr
    Posted August 2, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Good to see that a few Alice residents see the true value of Pine Gap. Like it or not, It plays a huge part in the protection of the Western World. Thank you USA.

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  2. Jonathan Pilbrow
    Posted August 2, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Here is a very interesting piece from three days ago which comments on the above story.

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  3. Ralph
    Posted August 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Is Pine Gap really the necessary cost to shelter under the US military umbrella?
    Of course not.
    With the rise of China, the USA needs a strong ally in this part of the world.
    It simply isn’t true that the base either protects us or makes a nuclear attack less likely.
    Quite the opposite.
    All out nuclear war is MAD (mutually assured destruction) so limited nuclear war is far more likely.
    Pine Gap is a target in a limited exchange because it is an important eyes and ears of the US military so taking it out downgrades US war fighting capability.
    The loss of the base would not trigger MAD, it would be part of a tit for tat exchange of nukes.
    Our town could be the collateral damage in a superpower conflict.

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  4. John Bell
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I had to smile at Mr Pilbrow’s alarm concerning “the enormous level of information” collected by Pine Gap on Australian citizens. Too late, Mr Pilbrow!
    The Australian Taxation Office, Department of Social Security and Centrelink have been making Pine Gap look like a bunch of pussy cat amateurs for many years when it comes to gathering data on the average Aussie punter.
    Between them, every aspect of our daily lives is covered and shared by these Big Brothers.
    Mind you, I have had enormous respect for the Yanks ever since they managed to get a satellite spy camera into Colonel Gaddafi’s underground bunker all those years ago – and took revealing pics of the good Colonel sitting on the loo.
    On the other hand, the Yanks’ security at Pine Gap was never too flash. Like the time in 1970 on a slow Saturday arvo when a certain Melanka lad and his girlfriend stormed the outer perimeter gate in their trusty Hillman Minx station wagon, with pet cocky in a cage on the back seat.
    Got all the way to the second guard gate before confronted by the gendarmes – a swift “U” turn and did a runner, burning rubber all the way back to the Alice.
    Took the cops a few hours to find the dastardly Territorists, sipping lemonade in the communal dining room. Ah, those were the days of innocence lost!

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  5. Hermann Weber
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Dave Price is correct. Just a reminder, a bit of alternate history: If the Japanese had not attacked Pearl Harbour and Hitler had followed the expeditionary forces from Dunkirk straight to Britain America would not have entered the war.
    We would now be speaking Japanese.
    Thank America for saving us then and keeping us safe now. Don’t worry too much about Donald, he’ll be gone in three years. But Kim will be as well as Putin and Xi.

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  6. Paul Parker
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Re: Hal Duell Posted July 30, 2017 at 6:40 am.
    “For the last several years I have found the international news a riveting display of diplomacy and duplicity.”
    Perhaps this should read read: For the last several years I have found the international news a riveting display of diplomacy, duplicity and stupidity for when facts are just ignored?
    Jonathan Pilbrow presents an argument for NT group of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).
    Whether facts are accepted or not is up to us readers.
    Sometimes presented facts are not the issue.
    Often the issues are not yes/no ones, but probabilities that need to be expressed in percentages, whether on balance consequences from the decision are reasonable.
    Is participation in the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap reasonable to compensate for risks?
    Do risks to Alice Springs outweigh benefits to the wider Australia ?
    Such decisions are complicated enough, partly due Australia’s reluctance towards information being easier to access, compared to elsewhere, for example the USA.
    Freely distributed information on the internet is changing this.
    Consider also how presenters, media and political, still may include or exclude facts deemed inconvenient. Most presenters publish facts relevant to their proposition’s topic or issue, excluding facts deemed not relevant.
    Reince Priebus, former White House communications chief, appeared reject inconvenient facts and ignoring challenges by media reporters.
    Priebus adhered to the Goebbels’ principle, regarding truth as a great enemy. Such lies can only be maintained for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.
    When facts are inconvenient, we need to challenge them to learn.
    The real challenge is our accepting the need to keep learning is something many avoid like infectious plagues.

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  7. Dave Price
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    God bless the Yanks.
    We’re a middle sized power, at best, hanging off the bottom of Asia.
    The fall of Singapore in 1942 put an end to our reliance on Britain.
    The Coral Sea battle made us dependent on the USA as a strong ally.
    With China flexing its muscles and Fatty Kim the Third going ballistically mad in North Asia we need a strong ally like we did in 42.
    I tend to be a pragmatist in relation to international politics. Teddy Roosevelt (after whom the Teddy Bear was named) said of the elder Somoza, dictator of Nicaragua: “He might be a son of a bitch but he’s our son of a bitch.”
    I feel a bit the same about big brother Uncle Sam. Our alliance with the US is the only way we can stay free. The problem with the peacenics like Mr Pilbrow, is that they seem to think that all you need to do is smile a lot and be super nice to the bad guys and they’ll leave us alone.
    History teaches us otherwise.
    The other thing that you have to love about the US is that they let their own people be their loudest critics.
    Americans can say what they like about the faults of their own government. There’s not a lot of others who allow that to happen, apart from ourselves.
    The bad guys don’t do that. That’s why we hear so much about their problems and not so much about the faults of governments that shoot or incarcerate and torture critics.
    Ever since Lenin, they have relied on the “useful idiots” in the West do their propagandising for them.
    I, for one, will be privately celebrating the umbrella of protection that Pine Gap gives us on the fiftieth anniversary of the deal we did.

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  8. Shae
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Australia and America have been allies since WW1 and through every conflict since. We have been allies for a long time now. Pine Gap doesn’t increase Australia being a target.
    You’re a news website, don’t publish conspiracy theories.

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  9. Hal Duell
    Posted July 30, 2017 at 6:40 am

    For the last several years I have found the international news a riveting display of diplomacy and duplicity.
    I hope it doesn’t get us all killed.
    Sure, we could ban the bomb, or, more likely, build a bigger one. But either way, nothing will really change until we stop telling lies.

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  10. Puss 'n' Boots
    Posted July 29, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    “This be should of great concern for Alice Springs residents and all Australian citizens particularly as experts such as Tanter have pointed out that Pine Gap’s role in the US nuclear war plans and even major conventional war make Pine Gap and therefore Alice Springs a ‘pretty high priority nuclear missile target in the event of a major conflict between the United States and Russia or China’.”
    What a load of bollocks. If this was so why hasn’t Pine Gap been made a major target?
    Never read such BS and hysterical rhetoric in all my life. Makes The Kardashians Pretty Little Liars (pun intended).

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