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HomeVolume 28Protesters block Pine Gap road over Middle East war

Protesters block Pine Gap road over Middle East war

By ERWIN CHLANDA

Two protesters have locked themselves to a barrel blocking traffic to the US communications base Pine Gap.

Update 9.20am: Fire officers cutting the barrel to which two protesters are locked.

It provides intelligence for the military operations in the Middle East, according to protest spokesperson Nick (who would not give her surname).

She says some 30 Alice Springs locals are drawing attention to the conflict with Israel during which 20,000 people have lost their lives in Gaza in the past six weeks.

Personnel from the NT Fire Service had been attempting to “disassemble” the protesters from the barrel but had left to fetch tools.

There are several Pine Gap workers with their cars on the blocked Hatt Road.

Nick said this morning police are also present but no arrests have been made.

No permission had been given for the action which he described as peaceful.

UPDATE 10.40am: A media release from the group quotes Declan Furber Gillick, described as a local Arrernte writer: “My family resisted the installation of Pine Gap forty years ago. US militarism wasn’t welcome then and it’s not welcome now.

“Palestinians are being bombed relentlessly by a genocidal apartheid regime that uses military intelligence gathered on Arrernte Country and I won’t stand for it.”

Tommy (no surname) is described as “a social worker secured to the concrete barrel,” is quoted: “Pine Gap is committing war crimes. If I can block a road for a few hours to hinder the security operations of the US and Israel then I have achieved my goal.”

UPDATE November 29:

Police and Fire and Rescue Service say in a media release have been responding to “increased protest activity” in Alice Springs.

Quoting several spokespersons, they say: “Two women, aged 32 and 39, locked themselves to a 44-gallon drum filled with concrete.

“Police attempted to negotiate with the pair, who refused to stop blocking the road, resulting in diversions being implemented around the protestors to allow workers access to Pine Gap.

“Firefighters attended the scene and removed them from the concrete with specialised equipment.

“Both have since been issued notices to appear for summary traffic offences and are due to appear in the Local Court on February 22, 2024.

“The NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services have always respected the right to protest.

“We do not support protest tactics that involve committing offences that diverts emergency resources away from critical care and response.

“Six police officers were required to attend this incident and negotiate with the protestors, provide traffic control, not to mention the hours of work that go into issuing notices to appear and following up court proceedings.

“Four firefighters were required to attend the protest to remove the two women from a concrete block safely. These members can’t be quickly deployed to house fires, wildfires and car crashes.”

25 COMMENTS

  1. Well done to the protesters. None of us should turn a blind eye to the slaughter in Palestine of thousands of people.
    Solidarity.

  2. Oh dear Michael – I am glad you are seeing the horror of war and what Hamas has started.
    Let’s hope the protesters protest against Hamas occupation of Gaza? 7 October – they knew full well that the state of Israel would have to defend her people and go in and destroy Hamas.
    Hamas knew exactly what the reaction would be. Cowards using human shields.
    Also I would take Hamas (internationally recognised terrorist organisation in Australia) figures will a grain of salt.
    Israel, unlike Hamas does NOT intentionally target civilians – in fact goes out of her way to warn civilians of strikes.

  3. Mr Gillick refers to an “apartheid” regime (in Israel). Nothing could be further from the truth (or offensive to those who grew up in South Africa).
    I would like to remind readers that all citizens in Israel have the vote – one person, one vote, all citizens be they Jew, Arabs (over two million reside in Israel), Druze, Christians can serve in the Knesset as a member, serve in the judiciary (there are several judges from the Arabs in Israel, serve as an officer or enlisted in the IDF, attend any school or university, work in any job, buy property, get a passport and travel and marry who they wish.
    There are also full LGTBQ rights in Israel (whereas in Palestinian areas such as Gaza its punishable by death).
    Also the Pine Gap facility would not be in control of any intel activity by US or allied Israel Defence Forces, in that hemisphere more likely to be controlled by the US Fleet offshore, NATO patrol planes based in Germany, or the US base in Italy.

  4. In the Palestinian Territory the vote is controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the former Jordanian area known as Judea and Samaria, and in Gaza by Hamas.
    Neither has allowed an election since 2007. In the actual Palestinian state of Jordan there are some limited voting rights, but no Jews are allowed to reside permanently in Jordan.

  5. Let’s hope that if Pine Gap is targeted in a war the targeting used by the Israeli Defence Force, assisted by Pine Gap, is not used.
    If it is used we are all toast.
    You can’t kill 15,000 Palestinians including 5,500 kids and say you are avoiding collateral damage.
    Israel is killing civilians on a large scale and committing war crimes.

  6. We must also remember the constant harassment by Israeli settlers of local Arabs in the west bank.
    This is specifically designed to bully the locals into leaving.
    The settlers then take over the land under a justification that sounds remarkably like the good old “terra nullius” we know so well here.
    “The Bedouins are nomadic aren’t they? It’s what they do. Get up and leave.” It’s this perpetual bullying and the crap that goes with it that caused 7/10.
    All the houses bulldozed, the cisterns filled in, the olive groves destroyed, the average of over 200 murders per year of Palestinians by settlers without anyone standing trial.
    It would make anyone angry. It does me.
    The IDF are a terrorist organisation. Arrest Netenyahu. Sanction Israel.

  7. @ Peter Jackson: Israel has gone far beyond self defence is its murderous bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
    One horror does not justify another, and Hamas has a low level of support among Palestinians.
    Almost all the dead are civilians.
    And what about the West Bank where Hamas has no presence?
    Israel is jailing hundreds, killing many and arming illegal settlers who are driving Palestinians off their historical lands.
    Now a new bill will fund even more illegal settlements on the West Bank.
    Shamefully the ABC is almost silent, the Murdoch papers support Israel and our government is hobbled.
    Balanced news sources are X, Aljazeera and TikTok and of course the Alice Springs News.

  8. Very sad the way we just don’t learn.
    I remember when you were anti-Vietnam war you were labelled pro-communist.
    Anti Iraq war, pro-Saddam Hussein. Anti Intervention had you labelled condoning domestic violence. Against spending a very large amount of money on submarines as unpatriotic or even sillier, pro-Chinese. Against mass incarceration has you labelled as being pro-crime.
    Now if you’re against revenge bombing on a massive scale makes you anti-semitic or pro-terrorist.
    Can’t we just be against war? Can’t the bombing please stop?

  9. I agree with you Frank and I still remember the words of my father, a Zouave veteran [a member of a French infantry unit originally composed of Algerians wearing a brilliant uniform and conducting a quick spirited drill].
    He told me that: “If we sincerely want to honoured the fallen of the First Great War, we do not need memorials and ceremonies. We need to stop all wars.

  10. So many incorrect assumptions and opinions about Israel. I am assuming most have never been to Israel or worked there.
    Quite simply, Hamas has said they will target Israel again and again like on 7 October. What is Israel to do?
    Hamas is vowed to destroy Israel and all the Jews – you know “river to the sea”.
    War is messy, and Israel is fighting for its survival. If Israel falls, then the West is next. (Perhaps look up in the dictionary the term “useful idiots”.)
    [ED – A useful idiot is a person perceived as propagandizing for a cause — particularly a bad cause, originating from a devious, ruthless source without fully comprehending the cause’s goals, and who is cynically being used by the cause’s leaders.
    Erroneously attributed to Vladimir Lenin, the term was often used during the Cold War to describe non-communists regarded as susceptible to communist propaganda and psychological manipulation. Similar terms exist in English and other languages. – Wikipedia.]

  11. Hi Susan: You refer to Israel driving the Palestinians off their “historical lands”.
    If you have a look at the history of the State of Israel (before that “Judea” and the Kingdom of Israel) the Jews have been on this land since around 3500 BC, the time of King David.
    The term “Palestinian” only came into general use in 1964-65 by the USSR and the Egyptian Yasser Arafat as the victim was needed.
    Ask yourself and look in the mirror: When Gaza was “occupied” by Egypt up to 1967, and Jordan “occupied” the west bank 1948-67, why no protests?
    Why are you not upset about the 500,000 dead Palestinians killed by Assad, the Russians and Turks in Syria?
    The 200,000 Yemeni Arabs killed by Saudis? The 100,000 dead Arabs in Somalia? The 1.5 million Afghans being driven out of Pakistan into the hands of the Taliban?
    The protestors are very selective in outrage. You know why “no Jews – no news.”

  12. @ Peter Jackson: Israel fighting for its survival?
    Israel has for decades established itself as one of the most formidable and technologically advanced military powers in the world.
    The USA gives Israel US $3 billion every year and right now it has unrestricted access to US military stockpiles.
    Unlike nuke armed Israel, Hamas has no airforce, no tanks, no guided missiles, no artillery, no fighting vehicles, no navy, no air defence systems and its rag tag fighters are equipped with AK47 rifles and some RPGs. They manufacture their own primitive rockets.
    But somehow Israel is the victim?

  13. Hi Peter, Palestine has had Jews living there for ages, but the residents have been mostly Arab for all of recent history, and much of ancient history.
    There is no “Israel” on the historical 1881 biblical / historical re-creation of groups living there.
    Before 1948, Palestine was home to a diverse population of Arabs, Jews, and Christians, as all groups had religious ties to the area, especially the city of Jerusalem.
    There is simply no legal or moral basis for exclusively Jewish claims to these lands.
    They are not recognised by the international community, the Jewish settlements are illegal, the apartheid occupation and blockade by Israel is also illegal.
    Laws and military orders in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are very harsh, they even restrict Palestinians from collecting rain water.
    Incredibly cruel conditions imposed on Palestinians are the context for the horror of 7th October.

  14. Peter Jackson tells us the Jews have been on this land for thousands of years.
    So have the Arabs, they see themselves as descended from Abraham too.
    And “Palestine” as a name for the region, is ancient too. The ancient Greek geographer and historian Herodotus used it in his writings, as did the Egyptians the Assyrians before him.
    There is no doubt both Arabs and Jews have ancient “claims” to these lands.
    I just don’t think those claims contribute much to a solution to the modern day problem, except to justify some sharing, the “two state solution”, long proposed, but looking less and less likely.
    Jackson goes on to expand the discussion from Palestinian Arabs to Arabs further afield … and then even as far as Afghans! The Pashtuns and Tajiks would be very surprised to hear themselves lumped in with Arabs!
    As for his claims the protestors are selective in their outrage, Israel claims to be democracy based on the rule of law. They certainly have a better claim to that that any other country in the Middle East.
    Such a claim can only be respected however if the country acts in a just manner. The outrage committed by Hamas on October 7 certainly justifies an Israeli military response, given the zero chance of any effective action by the UN. But their response has gone too far in the eyes on many, thousands of innocents killed. Too indiscriminate. Too much reliance on air strikes. I can’t blame young people for exercising their democratic right to protest against that.
    Israel has only paused the war to negotiate the release of hostages, they plan to resume with a vengeance when it suits them. But what then?
    They can reduce Gaza to rubble, kill and capture many or even most Hamas leaders and fighters … but what then?
    How many new Hamas terrorists are they creating amongst the youth in Gaza and the West Bank? What then?
    Who governs in Gaza? Does Israel continue to allow the building of illegal settlements in the West Bank territory? Does the cycle of violence on both sides just roll on into the future? Will the UN just look on, wringing its hands, Iran continue to supply weapons to their acolytes, America to the Israelis … and both sides claiming they have ancient historic rights to the land?
    Young people protesting might just make some of us think.

  15. @ Susan Sidler: You’ve nailed it with “one horror does not justify another”.
    Nothing new here: Guernica in 1937, Rotterdam in 1940, the London blitz, countless cities during the second world war, to the fire bombing of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo culminating in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    All designed to extract military advantage by sowing terror.
    It didn’t work and neither did the Geneva Convention and other efforts succeed in preventing it from happening again.
    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
    If it looks like a war crime … then it probably is a war crime.

  16. Yes, Ian. Archaeologic and genetic data support that both Jews and Palestinians came from the ancient Canaanites, who extensively mixed with Egyptians, Mesopotamian, and Anatolian peoples in ancient times.
    Thus, Palestinian – Jewish rivalry is based in cultural and religious, but not in genetic differences.
    The Canaanites themselves descended from Stone Age settlers who mixed with newcomers from what is now Iran about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, the researchers said. This mixture could be explained by the expansion of the Akkadian Empire, a Mesopotamian empire that peaked around that time, the researchers wrote.
    Are Lebanese people Canaanites?
    The DNA of ancient Canaanites lives on in modern-day Lebanese.
    According to a study in the American Journal of Human Genetics, today’s Lebanese share a whopping 93% of their DNA with ancient Canaanites who lived nearly 4,000 years.
    May be protesters on both sides should study ancient history before opening their mouths.
    I have been to Jericho and Jerusalem and I witnessed how the Israeli military was treating the Palestinians including children and women.
    The state of Israel was created to be an Jewish state, were people will follow and live by the The Torah, the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
    Not anymore it is only a state like any others.
    God cried: “I will punish them for their ways, and repay them for their deeds.”
    Some of the sinful acts included “swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed.” (Hosea 4.2).

  17. @ Bob Beadman: Perhaps the energy and passion about the genocide of Palestinians does have a connection with our own social problems.
    Israel is the last colonial settler nation but we were also one.
    In the “killing times” there was a deliberate attempt to eradicate Aboriginal people and seize their lands.
    The conflict was widespread and massacres were planned, 415 of them in the latest count by the Colonial Frontier Massacres Digital Map project.
    The war crimes in Gaza and the West Bank remind us of a past that doesn’t explain all our social problems but nor is it irrelevant.

  18. @ Bob. If only our own social problems were disconnected from those other problems.
    There is some truth in Chaos Theory’s Butterfly effect. And don’t worry Bob, there is a fair bit of energy and passion applied to our own social problems. For an example of this local energy and passion, read Mike Gillam’s buffel grass essays.
    As for the protesters, someone has to fight the windmills.
    Kieran Finnane’s book Peace Crimes is well worth reading to get an insight into what Pine Gap’s role is and what motivates the protesters.
    Whether we like it or not Pine Gap contributes to our own social problems.

  19. Isis believe every Israeli, every western born citizen should be put to death. It’s not about just Palestine, it’s about killing the infidel.
    I find it very confusing that people would march for genocide and terrorism. October 7 was genocide. Babies cooked in ovens, beheading, rapes of women, children and elderly.
    I find it ironic that soon people celebrate the birth of a Jewish man by billions around the world, yet do not believe Israel existed before 1948.
    It’s become “fashion” to hold a poster up and chant free Palestine. Ignorant. Let me assure you if you were to face the terrorists that murdered innocent people that day be assured they wouldn’t care less if you supported them or not!
    Hamas would torture and murder you like the rest.

  20. @ Anna Pon: Hamas is not Isis. Israeli’s claim that there’s no distinction between Hamas and the Islamic State is propaganda aiming to cast Hamas, along with all Palestinians, as “human animals,” evil and therefore legitimate targets for savagery in reprisal.
    In fact, only a small minority of Palestinians support Hamas and the vast majority of the people, many of them children, being slaughtered are innocent civilians.
    While the world looks away and our politicians show us how submissive they really are, holding up a poster and chanting free Palestine is a brave protest against the genocide of the Palestinian people.

  21. Terrorist Israelis should leave Palestine and go back to where they came from … Hell or Mars are my best guesses.

  22. @ Anna Pon: “Babies cooked in ovens, beheading …”
    Yes, and Elvis is still alive.
    On 18th July 1290, Edward I of England issued a Royal decree, The Edict of Expulsion from England. Jews were expelled from England for several centuries. Fuelling the antisemitism that led to the edict was the belief that Jews carried out blood sacrifices of Christian children.
    On 16th April 1943 the suburb of Haarlem (Holland) in which I was born several months later, was subjected to a bombing raid by the RAF.
    The Dutch broadcast out of London claimed that the nearby railway yards (which had been the target of the raid) had been completely destroyed. My Dad told me that not a single bomb had fallen on the railway yards. Eighty five civilians were killed during the raid.
    During my childhood in Argentina when Gypsies (Roma) camped on the outskirts of our town we were told to be careful because Gitanos were known to kidnap children.
    Many years later we heard the testimony of a young Iraqi girl who had seen premature babies thrown out of Baghdad hospitals only to be told that the girl was nowhere near Baghdad and was living in the US with her Iraqi father who was a member of the Iraqi opposition in exile.
    Closer to home we had Mal Brough asserting there were paedophile rings operating on Aboriginal communities in the NT. The AFP was allocated millions of dollars to investigate these allegations, only to come up empty handed.
    Which brings me to the babies cooked in ovens, beheadings. I Googled this. The allegation by a first responder at a kibbutz which suffered a massacre on 7th October was that one baby had been put in an oven. Pretty soon the one baby in the oven morphed into the widely reported 40 killed babies including beheadings.
    We even had President Biden refer to beheaded babies only to have the White House retract the allegation a few days later.
    Two months later the Israeli Government (and please note I’m referring to the Israeli government and not to the Jewish people) as it was losing the propaganda war felt the need to further demonise Hamas as a disingenuous excuse (the defence of Israel) to continue its genocidal carpet bombing.
    Now we have Netanyahu suddenly referring to widespread rape during the October 7th attack.
    Makes you wonder why these rape allegations weren’t raised immediately after the heinous attack.

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