The Guardian • Issue #2093

PEACE NOTES

PEACE NOTES

Hannah Middleton

The US-Australia Force Posture Agreement (FPA), signed in 2014, provides the legal basis for the comprehensive US militarisation of Australia, especially the north, setting up Australia as a US forward base from which to launch its war against China.

The federal government says it will “harden the north,” re-prioritising defence spending on developing northern bases and ports, and growing Australia’s ability to strike further out from its northern shores – the army would shift from being able to reach out 40 kilometres to a range of almost 1,000 kilometres.

Australia is being further militarised and garrisoned as a forward base for US plans for the encirclement of China – at an estimated cost to our people of a quarter of a trillion dollars over the next 10 years.

This is criminal madness that will make our country a nuclear target while also stealing the money urgently needed to save the environment.

The technical, doctrinal, and organisational integration of northern Australian military facilities into US planning and preparation for a conflict with China has grave implications for Australian security.

From a cluster of military bases in the North West Cape base in Western Australia, to the port and barracks and air base of Darwin, to the new joint RAAF-US Air Force base of Tindal outside Katherine, and to the rapidly expanding Pine Gap base, the hard-wiring of northern Australian military facilities into the US force structure drastically reduces Australia’s sovereignty and freedom of action.

The Force Posture Agreement gives US forces and contractors “unimpeded access to and use of Agreed Facilities and Areas” for training, transit, refuelling aircraft, bunkering vessels, communications; prepositioning equipment, deploying forces, and more.

These “Agreed Facilities and Areas” will essentially be US territory, no longer under Australian control.

The FPA allows massive fuel, munitions, and spare parts storage facilities, as well as maintenance facilities, to be built in the north exclusively for US military use. This construction has already commenced.

PINE GAP

The Pine Gap base near Alice Springs in central Australia is the most important United States intelligence facility outside that country, playing a vital role in the collection of a wide range of signals intelligence, providing early warning ballistic missile launches, targetting of nuclear weapons, providing battlefield intelligence data for US armed forces, critically supporting US and Japanese missile defence, supporting arms control verification, and contributing targetting data for US drone attacks.

Pine Gap, now growing more rapidly than ever before, will play an irreplaceable role in all US military operations from Africa to the Pacific as well as a critical defensive and offensive role in a conventional or nuclear war against China,

Pine Gap’s original and still principal purpose is to serve as the ground control station for geosynchronous signals intelligence satellites developed by the CIA.

The increasing sensitivity and breadth of its signals intelligence capacities – notably in the interception of cell phones and satellite communications – is the technical basis for Pine Gap to provide data enabling the targeting of attacks in countries with which the US nor Australia are at war.

GAZA

There is strong evidence of possible Australian complicity in the Israeli genocide in Gaza through the provision of Australian sourced intelligence to Israel, specifically intelligence from Pine Gap.

The activities of the Australian Signals Directorate at the US military base at Pine Gap in central Australia may constitute complicity with genocide, considering:

The technical capabilities and roles of US geosynchronous signals intelligence satellites controlled through Pine Gap with coverage of the Gaza Strip

The historical record of US signals intelligence from satellites controlled through Pine Gap being provided by the US to Israel

Flows of raw and processed intelligence data from Pine Gap to the US National Security Agency

Signals intelligence co-operation agreements between the US and the Israel Defence Force.

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