Friday, June 21, 2024

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HomeIssue 8Pine Gap demonstrators provide real time images

Pine Gap demonstrators provide real time images

p2357-pine-gap-protest-3By ERWIN CHLANDA
Six “Peace Pilgrims,” whose ages span 19 to 73, travelled through the desert together last night and are due to arrive on a crest inside military land at dawn and there sing a mournful lament about the human cost of war, according to a media release from activists in town for protests against the joint US-Australian spy base, Pine Gap.
The activists, staging street theatre in various locations with themes embracing medical issues, old age and benign tea parties, are providing real-time images to media, including the images shown here, using state-of-the-art communication facilities.
p2357-pine-gap-protest-2Protestors, including Margie Pestorius, apparently invading the restricted area of the base, were streaming live on Facebook during what appeared to be an arrest.
Meanwhile four protesters have chained themselves to the gates of the premises of the US military contractor Raytheon in Whittaker Street in the industrial area (photo at top). A spokeswoman for the protesters says police are present and are conversing with the activists, but there have been no arrests yet.
The protest organisers have released the following names of the people entering Pine Gap land:
Graeme Dunstan, 72, Peace Activist; Jim Dowling, 61, Catholic Worker and father from Brisbane; Margaret Pestorius, 51, social worker, Gimuy (Cairns); Andrew Paine, 30, disability worker, Brisbane Catholic worker; Tim Webb, 22, student, Aotearoa, New Zealand; and Franz Dowling, 19, musician, student, Catholic worker, Brisbane.
UPDATE 8:45am
The Alice Springs News Online understands there have been five arrests so far.
UPDATE 9:50am
Protest organisers have confirmed that the five people arrested were the ones mentioned in the report above.


  1. I have two things to say on this protest. The base has been there for 50 years or close to it, with no problems.
    If it was to be a target, it will be the fault of the people protesting by drawing attention to it and what they think it is. They are the danger, not the base.

  2. Whether the base is a threat to Alice Springs or not we still have a moral obligation to oppose it and demand it be closed given its role in global warfare including the operation of drones.
    I applaud the protesters for their efforts to put this secretive institution on the map.

  3. Yeah hurry up and leave, America. Oh no someone attacks us … help us America.
    Grow up protesters, you are just bored and looking for something to cry about so you can have some self-importance. No one here is caring about what you are doing. America is our ally (friends), if anything it makes our friendship more important and stronger having them here.
    Oh and why are the protesters all hippy looking people?
    Stop conforming and get a new look. I would love to see protesters clean shaven, nice hair and wearing suits or nice dresses.

  4. The protesters who were arrested are all from interstate.
    They must have nothing better to do than travel around the country protesting about anything and everything.
    Get out of our town! You are not wanted here.

  5. Karen, as one of the protesters currently chained to the gate, I have a real job, a real job that gives me holiday pay other days off.
    I suggest that YOU get a real job, covered by trade union conditions so that you can have time off to indulge your passions.

  6. Yes – Alex: no one, in this day of push-button extinction has asked me if I want to be a statistic, a pawn, a victim of a power-crazed gang who sit in the power capitols of the world.
    Judith Wright put her opinion into print on 8/11/1984: “The Peace Movement might even make a difference to people’s voting habits and actions. If it doesn’t do that, we are all lost. If it does, maybe we are lost nevertheless but at least we have tried to avert for
    our own children and the children of the world the fate of the children of Hiroshima.” Pine Gap! It’s no joke, is it. Find Judith’s Peace Note in Midnight Tulips.
    Ex-secretary / member / performer with Arts Action for Peace 1983-86. Stefanie Bennett.

  7. @ Surprised: “Perhaps that’s why we are looking at Mars for another place to live.”
    Perhaps men have forgotten that originally we were on Mars, that we stuffed it up and came on Earth to started again.
    “Limited in his nature, infinite in his desire, man is a fallen god who remembers heaven.” Alphonse de Lamartine.

  8. Evelyne: Good go at apathy and fool’s gold. Thanks!
    Women are slowly being heard – so we need men to understand how ethics flew out the window the nukes (nuclear power nuts) gained control of the whole of OZ – not just The Alice.
    Even Malcolm Fraser (ex Prime Minister, 2014) called for Australia to break its alliance with The United States.
    Now, a bit of extra info. I’m half Yank (part First Nation red/black Paugussett-Shawnee)
    and I was born here.
    It’d help if readers checked out the arrests in the USA (ongoing) since those protesters are calling for Pine Gap to be shut down.

  9. Jacob: I do HAVE A REAL JOB in the REAL WORLD, and what’s with the trade union comment? Weird. And my life is rich in many ways.

  10. It is everyone’s right to have an opinion and air said opinion but no one has the right to try to shove their opinion down other peoples neck.
    They also have the right to public protest but this does not give them the right to obstruct or otherwise interfere with other people or their daily routine.
    This is of course unless their opinion agrees with mine. 🙂

  11. The Peace Pilgrims of Pine Gap could do with a bit of inspiration and “oomph” from The Pink Simca Protest of ’69.
    I suggest the three ladies in the pic could add wheels to their deck chairs, paint them pink and stick an old Simca grill on the back.
    Cold Case cops from New York NCIS would be all over them in a flash! Now THAT’s the way to grab world attention, I reckon.
    Just a suggestion to lighten up this Modern Age of World Super Power Armageddon.

  12. @ A ‘bit of light’ on Armageddon’s Pine Gap: We could have High Tea with Yellow Cake Icing & Picasso’s Guernica re-painted by numbers, plus Don Quixote crooning The Last Farewell – still … I prefer to suggest (and I’m no preacher) if things seem pointless then recall that one voice gives off an echo.
    If you’ve forgotten how to dream, try once more.
    Believe in the strength of love and its unity – for each day heads and hearts grow colder – as devastatingly cold as the on-coming nuclear night.
    Imagine, we may even become and form a caring global family.
    Freedom and Peace are for those with nothing left to lose.
    Stefanie Bennett, Arts Action for Peace.

  13. Which recent shower did you come down in, Maureen?
    Protests have been happening at Pine Gap for at least 30 Years.
    Professor Des Ball wrote a book about PG ‘A Suitable Piece of Real Estate’ more than 30 years ago.
    PM Bob Hawke publicly admitted that PG was (and is) a prime nuclear target.
    Possible President Trump should make us Centralians afraid. Very afraid. Because of Pine Gap!

  14. Quite right Charlie Carter. Remember the big rallies at the guardhouse gates back in the mid 80s.
    I recall some protesters got into the grounds, led the AFP guards a merry dance.
    One bloke shimmied up a tall post and superglued his hand to the lens of the security camera in full view of all.
    I remember Helen Caldicott being there at least at one rally.
    In those days you could drive/cycle right up to the gates, have lunch at the picnic grounds there, walk in the little nature reserve (Kuyunba?), see the rock art.
    Nowadays there are big turn back signs well back up the road.
    Which is why the next big demo involved a camp near the junction with the Sturt Highway.
    A mate went out to the nature reserve a few years back, with the Field Nats I think. They were intercepted and questioned by the AFP, much to his annoyance.
    So it’s not as if these current protests are bolts from the blue, there have been ongoing concerns for decades.
    I think this has intensified given the disastrous decision to invade Iraq after 9/11. We joined the Coalition of the Willing (code for lack of UN approval) and stirred up the hornet’s nest that Iraq has always been.
    Its only stability was imposed by Saddam’s brutality. Only to discover there were no WMDs. And it has gone on from there, all the various militias, culminating in ISIS, the caliphate, the foreign volunteer fighters, Russia and Iran giving military support to Assad, the streams of refugees into Turkey and beyond, huge strains on the EU, and even links to Brexit. Plus drone warfare and air strikes as our current response. Which of course depends on Pine Gap communicating with the array of satellites over the Middle-East. Plenty of ethical problems there to go round.
    I’m not surprised that there are people who have deep concerns about all this and object to our involvement via the base. It’s a free country and of course they are within their rights to protest. We should respect that. Although I’m not sure why DET 421 copped a serve.

  15. Thanks Ian for some of The Gap’s background. I reckon very few attempt to understand what has
    become a world theatre of errors.
    Grubby self-interest multi nationals are on the make-and-take (as they’ve always been) while a large percentage of humankind can’t really be bothered to think through the murk and muddle of Trump decisions let alone our own Aussie pollies.
    Recall Vietnam and agent orangeade the mega company rats Dow Chemicals plus Monsanto that hold our live food patents. Who feels safe?
    Maybe The Flat Earth Society sticking their heads in the sand – backside up – not knowing a drone hit’s due and not even Saddam’s laughing.


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