Peace Crimes – Pine Gap, National Security and Dissent
By Kieran Finnane
Queensland University Press, 2020
Kieran Finnane, a journalist with the Alice Springs News for nearly 30 years, gives an engrossing account of a valuable chapter in the resistance to the United States military facility at Pine Gap, over the length of its existence in the very heart of Australia.
The base, just 20 kilometres from Alice Springs, has been questioned from its inception, but the Australian government has ‒ by distraction, secrecy and lies ‒ sought to keep the true nature of the base’s role and function hidden from the Australian people.
A group of six protesters (Peace Pilgrims) with a Christian ideology made their way onto the base on the night of September 28, 2016. Finnane gives an account of this event and their subsequent trial, and opens up many serious aspects of the Australian government’s policies in relation to the military and the US.
Australia is on a road to aping the US military-industrial complex, and jettisoning any qualms about morality, principle, cost to Australians, or the environment. Anything goes, as long as we have a US alliance.
Finnane discusses how Australians, in general, are not interested in the issue, how the media neglects to discuss militarism and the US alliance in a critical way, how every level of government is complicit in the stationing of bases such as Pine Gap on our shores.
Alice Springs Town Council’s policy on Pine Gap is to support the presence of the base and to be grateful for the contribution it brings to the town.
The militarisation of Central Australia from Adelaide to Darwin continues apace without protest and with little comment.
Richard Tanter, an academic expert on US bases in Australia, says: “The book is about Pine Gap … But through Kieran’s subtle and elegant writing it becomes much more than that. For me, the Australian struggle and pain about Pine Gap over half a century has found its full voice in Kieran’s book, one filled with compassion but alert to complexities and promise of principled civil disobedience.”
This is an important book for all Australians who want a country that contributes to making this world a better place rather than an offshoot of the world’s bully ‒ the US.
Finnane will be in conversation with well-known ABC journalist Peter Cronau, along with one of the pilgrims, Margaret Pestorius, in an event hosted by Gleebooks on October 16, at 6.30pm.