People from all over Australia arrived in Alice Springs last Monday to oppose the surveillance operation of Pine Gap Joint Defense Facility. A significant number are from the Bundjalung/northern rivers region.
Pine Gap is the most secret and strategically important of United States military facilities around the globe. It is a vital link in providing target details and coordinates for drone strikes in places such as Pakistan, in which numerous innocent civilians are being killed. The base’s importance to US military strategy makes it a potential nuclear target.
Fifty years ago when Pine Gap was established the sovereign Arrernte people were never consulted. An elder said of a culturally important waterhole there: ‘It’s the best protected waterhole in all of Australia inside that spy base; Arrernte people would like to view the lease on their lands. The lease has never been made public.’
On Monday three ‘Quaker Grannies for peace’ set up breakfast on the heavily patrolled road to Pine Gap and invited military personnel to sit down with them and negotiate.
A major action is planned for Friday September 30 to march to the gates of Pine Gap. To stay connected to the non-violent peace actions at Pine Gap go to the Facebook page Close Pine Gap or search the hashtag #closepinegap.
Locally there will be a Picnic For Peace in the Park on Friday, gathering at the Byron Environment Centre rotunda in Railway Park, Byron Bay, at 9am.