Monday, August 10, 2020

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Home Issue 5 Pine Gap's role in ‘extra-judicial’ killings

Pine Gap's role in ‘extra-judicial’ killings

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
 
Sir – Alice Springs has a long and proud history of association with modern forms of communication, going right back to the 1870s and the days of the Telegraph Station.
 
Communications – putting people in contact with one another – has had enormous benefits for us all; there is no question about that! However, there are aspects of present day communications that are much less benign.
 
The ‘Communications Facility’ at Pine Gap does rather more than simply put people in contact with one another.
 
It allows United States intelligence agencies to gather metadata – information that tells those agencies who is communicating with whom and when they are doing so. Effectively, this is espionage.
 
This is not a good thing for any ordinary citizen sending or receiving messages in the course of business or, dare I suggest, political discourse.
According to whistle-blower Edward Snowden, interception of communications (the gathering of metadata) is routine work at Pine Gap.
 
It is this work which allows the US to identify targets for its program of “extra-judicial” killings of suspected terrorists in distant lands. What is more, Pine Gap is probably also involved in the complex systems that guide the very drones that conduct the same killings.
 
I find this link between Australia, the shady world of espionage and the drone-strikes that have killed countless innocent civilians, extremely disturbing.
 
It is something that I, as a citizen, resent being associated with. For these reasons, I intend traveling all the way to Alice Springs to take part in events being organized by the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) during the first weekend in October.
 
Nick Deane
Marrickville,  NSW
 
 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Yes Nick, my understanding is that Pine Gap provides real time targeting data needed to conduct drone strike assassinations in a range of countries that the US let alone Australia, is not at war with.
    There have been many mistakes, tall men with beards targeted by Hellfire missiles because they could have been Osama Bin Laden, but they were actually just farmers who happened to look like him.
    There have been many houses destroyed along with the inhabitants including women and children when no terrorists were at home or had ever been there.
    Wedding parties annihilated by mistake.
    Residents of many towns live in fear of drone strikes.
    We are part of all this, Pine Gap is a joint defence facility on our soil.
    In case of nuclear war we will reap the whirlwind because Pine Gap is a first strike target to knock out targeting capability.
    Keep educating Australian’s Nick.

  2. Collateral damage: Injury inflicted on something other than an intended target; specifically: civilian casualties of a military operation.
    Bombs had been dropped from the air as early as 1849 on Venice (from balloons) and 1911 in Libya (from planes).
    The 1923 Hague conference crafted a sixty-two article “Rules of Aerial Warfare,” which prohibited “Aerial bombardment for the purpose of terrorizing the civilian population, of destroying or damaging private property not of a military character, or of injuring non-combatants.”
    It specifically limited bombardment to military objectives, prohibited “indiscriminate bombardment of the civilian population,” and held violators liable to pay compensation.
    In World War I, 90% of the fatalities directly attributable to the war were military, nearly all of them Europeans and Americans. Most estimates place World War II casualties in Europe in the range of 50% to 60% non-combatants.
    It is hard to see how it is in Australia’s national security interests to play an active role in the lethal drone program of the US. Now is the time for an open and honest public debate.
    Not only is Australia playing a “key role” in a program that international legal consensus has declared illegal, it is also betraying an important ally. Pakistan’s government has repeatedly called drone strikes “a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”, and has called for an “immediate end” to them.

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