Bevan Ramsden asks whether federal Labor’s fears of another United States intervention in domestic politics, such under Gough Whitlam, underpins its enthusiastic acceptance of AUKUS?
On December 9, 1966, the Australian government signed a public agreement with the United States to build what both countries misleadingly called a “Joint Defence Space Research Facility” at Pine Gap, just outside Alice Springs.
Officially, Pine Gap is a collaboration between the Australian Department of Defence and the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. In reality this conceals the real purpose of Pine Gap as a CIA-run spy base designed to collect signals from US surveillance satellites in geosynchronous orbit over the equator.
Since US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, there has been a spike in commentary about the increasing risk of a war in our region — a war that could involve the US and China. As things stand, it would be impossible for Australia to avoid involvement in such a war. That is a reality we must urgently confront.
The six “peace pilgrims” who were arrested last September on the Pine Gap US military intelligence base, near Alice Springs, have now received court summons.
Jim Dowling, Andy Paine, Tim Webb and Franz Dowling of Brisbane and Margaret Pestorius and Paul Christie of Cairns are each charged with trespass under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act and face maximum penalties of between seven and 14 years in prison.
Early on September 29 peace activists blockaded the Raytheon facility in Alice Springs. Four activists locked onto the gates of the facility preventing employees from entering.
This action is one in a series of protests against the military-industrial complex that supplies the joint US-Australian military base at Pine Gap.
Three “Quaker Grannies for Peace” set up breakfast on the road to Pine Gap on September 26 and invited military personnel arriving for work at the base to sit down with them.
The action is one of a series of events marking the 50th anniversary of the secret US military facility at Pine Gap, by groups advocating for the base’s closure.