On protests and IPAN Conference 2016 by Chris White October 11








With the revanchist Trump, and Obama and Clinton daily fanning war drums against Russia and China, and continuous US drone assassinations, Australia has to move to an independent and peaceful foreign and defence policy.

My own arguments focus on :
Close Pine Gap and give notice of closure of all US joint-facilities. OK the bases move. The aim is a limiting of US first strike capacity; a limit on US drone assassinations (see below);a limit space warfare with the closure of the most frightening of all the bases, North West Cape that is at the cutting edge of warfare — in space; and all this will boost nuclear disarmament.

Professor Des Ball “A senior strategic analyst has called for the Federal Government to rethink the Pine Gap communications facility, saying some of its work now is “ethically unacceptable”.

Professor Tanter warns Australia could become enmeshed in anti-satellite warfare. If there was a war between US and China over the South China Sea and US could not bring a fleet near the coast any more, “the first thing they want to do is blind other side’s satellites”.We are providing the US with extra capacity to make that happen, says Prof Tanter. “Do we really want to be implicated in that?”

Paul Keating slams ALP Richard Marles on South-China: sea

Stop Australian action in the South China Sea: See Philippines’ President and Defence chief tells US military to put on hold joint patrols, naval exercises.

Report on the arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea that prepares the way for war. Making a mockery of international law. Read here: /






Move Australia to“Armed Neutrality”

A Peace Department;

Civil Defence infrastructure investment e.g. underground bunkers for Australian cities and areas that are nuclear targets; Pine Gap ‘spy base’ makes Australia a target.
and funding for emergency war hospital care;

Phase out US Marines“On the Rotation of 2,500 US marines”
US Pacific Fleet and US air-force in Darwin and NT and war exercises scaled back and phased out;

Defund expensive overseas war purchases like the F35 and boost Australian-made Defence capabilities;

…as the US Empire declines

Campaigns are being developed from workshops of strong networks of peace groups – a few are referenced below.
IPAN logo light outline

Professor Richard Tanter interviewed on Radio 3CR:

More Radioactive reporting on Radio 3CR on Pine Gap

Radio 3CR recorded and interviewed: earlier

‘Today we will present part three of a recorded program from the IPAN Public Forum held at the Trades Hall Chambers on Wednesday 14 September 2016.

The Forum was organised by a coalition of several peace, anti-war and community groups. CICD is an affiliate of IPAN.’

react-text: 664

Please search through ClosePineGap website for reports

Here is the IPAN website

See more in 2 My Pine Gap story. Below.

1. References:


New Pics of CIA Spy Base at Pine Gap, Australia

February 28, 2016 Rare glimpse at the secrets of Australia’s Pine Gap spy base

a. Background from Richard Tanter on ABC radio LNL on Pine Gap…/09/lnl_20160928_2205.mp3

Pine Gap: Nautilus Institute explores Alice Springs joint defence facility read here

b. What Really Happens at Pine Gap

“First, though, Pine Gap. It’s still run by the CIA, with 25-year agency veteran Tim Howell the current station chief. Every bit of information it collects is shared with the Australians there under deputy director Gary Thorpe, an IT specialist from the Australian Signals Directorate.”…

Pine Gap 2006 was “fundamentally transformed” into a “regional gateway” that blends information collected by ground-based electronic systems, satellites, aircraft and drones, interrogation reports, and human intelligence into product “accessible to war-fighters in real-time”.

Deeper integration with US operations in the Middle East is matched by closer involvement in the Western Pacific than at any time since pulling out of Vietnam, White told me. In the past five years we have planned for conflict in Korea, assigned an Australian general as deputy commander of US land forces in the Pacific, attached a frigate to US naval forces in Japan during a flare-up in the Senkaku islands dispute, and hosted a US marine task force in Darwin.

“These are terribly significant strategic steps that have been taken with very little strategic analysis, certainly with no public discussion, but I strongly suspect with very little serious analysis within government either,” White said. “We’re sliding into situations where we are sending to the United States through these activities a message that we are willing to support them in military operations in Asia against China, and I don’t think we are.

“My worry is not that we’ll end up accidentally finding ourselves sliding into a commitment to go to war with China.

Drone attack ethically unacceptable

Here is a report from RedFlag, an activist on the Bus to Pine Gap

c. Here is a good report from CPA M-L

A brief presentation was made on behalf of IPAN’s national co-ordinating committee outlining a broad vision for an Independent and Peaceful Australia:(Extracts )

“We believe a people’s vision for an independent and peaceful Australia is the only viable and practical alternative to the present subservience and integration into US militarism.

“What would an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy look like? We hope some of these points will inspire positive and unifying discussion and broadening the campaign for peace and independence.

1. Treaty with Australia’s First Nation People

2. Establish independent working relationships with countries, especially in our region, based on mutual respect, equality and national sovereignty. Promote peaceful resolutions of conflict between countries through negotiations and diplomacy, see IPAN’s Statement on the South China Sea Territorial Dispute.

3. Extend aid programs in the region, including countries affected by devastations of climate change and military conflicts.

4. Assert our independence and sovreignty in our relationship with the US, and any other big power. The US is presently the most aggressive war-driven armed to the teeth power in the world and the main instigator of wars around the world.

5. Ensure the military and economic interests of big powers and multinational corporations do not override the welfare, safety and security of the Australian people and the environment

6. Bring home Australian military forces from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and other parts of the world immediately (eg Philippines, Japan)

7. Remove foreign military bases and troops from Australia and withdraw from the US-Australia Alliance to secure genuine and lasting independence from big power dominance and our involvement in foreign wars

8. Internationally, vigorously promote the banning and destruction of all nuclear weapons and stop the arms race

9. The savings made from current expenditure on foreign wars and interoperability with the US global war machine will be re-directed to social and community services – more hospitals, doctors, nurses, teachers, schools, support for struggling farmers, people on disability, single parents and unemployment pensions, protection for the environment, and more

10. Develop Australia’s self-reliant, self-defence industries and assert our independence from the US military apparatus. End military interoperability and integration into the US war machine. The technology presently used for offensive and aggressive warfare should be re-directed towards Australia’s self-defence and improving and securing people’s lives and the environment. Re-tooled, re-engineered and re-designed local manufacturing industries will provide jobs for workers in industries that build security and peace, not the profits of war.

11. Restructure armed forces for self-defence of Australia and civil emergencies

12. Declare Australia an independent and peaceful country

13. Close all refugee detention camps and implement efficient and speedy processing of asylum seekers


14. Internationally, campaign to end wars and poverty and uphold self-determination and sovreignty of countries

15. An independent foreign policy of Australia would embrace economic sovereignty, and fair and equal policies and trade between countries rather than the neo-liberal corporate policies”

Each session was followed by brief questions to the panel members before the conference broke up into four workshops to pinpoint suggested actions and demands for the year ahead. The workshops considered four key areas;

• Nuclear weapons and Australia

• Foreign troops off Australian land – Close US bases

Armed Neutrality – strategy for independence and peace?

• Building a broad movement for peace, justice and independence

At least a dozen or more suggestions were put forward from the workshops and these will be prioritised by the IPAN National Committee and circulated to the various affiliates for comment.

Greens Senator Ludlam and Senator Lee Rhiannon, the Federal Greens Senator for NSW made interesting speeches at the IPAN conference and here outside of Pine Gap

Scott Ludlam

From Green Left Weekly:

d. Ian Curr’s good story on ‘Pine Gap 50 Years War’ telling of 3 peace protesters lamenting war at Pine Gap arrested but with the magistrate dismissing charges on a process point – did not get Senator Brandis AG authorization and we wait for this.

See as well ABC report on the protesters freed :

Tales of 2016 Pine Gap and songs of peace actions ‘swords into ploughshares.’ See here

Andy plays Ryan Harvey’s Its Bigger than a War:

It’s bigger than a war it’s the day to day
Capitalism’s price to pay
It’s a system based on murder and the packaging of fear
The swallowing of lies and the cranking of the gears

Andy Paine’s Insider Interview with the Pilgrims

Peace Pilgrims

Peace Pilgrim Margaret Pistorius


Posted by Cairns Peace by Peace | Sep 29, 2016 |

Margaret Pestorius with her viola. Image: Adam Ginger. Longtime Catholic, social worker and peace advocate Margaret Pestorius says ‘I am taking my viola to Pine Gap to play a song of lament for the dead of war. The viola is the perfect instrument for lamentation because it sings in the range of the human voice. I’ll play a lament with a young musician, guitarist Franz Dowling, who holds hope for the future.’

Please note that the dismissal of the charges is likely to be appealed in the Supreme Court in Darwin. Further support can be offered at

Money donated at this point will go to the Pilgrims for legal costs.

e. An Alice Springs News report of one interesting IPAN Conference speech on Pine Gap Peace protests by lawyer RUSSELL GOLDFLAM. It is good that the politics of defending peace protesters is discussed, as here in “The Pine Gap 4 won a spectacular but incomplete legal victory”.

Read here “ What have we learnt from past campaigns? Well, the biggest lesson, the hardest lesson, the elephant in the room really, is that we are now much further from closing Pine Gap than we were, or at least we thought we were, 30 years ago. Pine Gap is more entrenched, more embedded, more entangled, more powerful than ever. Our campaigns, colourful, imaginative, bold and passionate though they have been, have not yet succeeded. They have not galvanised public opinion, like the Save the Franklin campaign did in 1983, or like the asylum seekers and refugee support campaigns are doing now.

A second lesson is that the strength of the Australian anti-bases movement rises and falls on the fickle and capricious currents of global events: in 1988, the movement was riding high: 700 people had flocked to Alice Springs for the protests the previous year. Back then the Alice Springs Peace Group regularly attracted a crowd of 300 or 400 locals to a demo. Palm Sunday peace rallies in the big cities drew tens, even hundreds of thousands. A year later, the movement had virtually collapsed, along with the Berlin Wall and the fizzling out of the Cold War. Problem solved, many progressive Australians believed. Let’s move on.

The first Gulf War saw a mild revival, but then, in the aftermath of September 11, a flurry of radical anti-terrorism legislation was passed, the authorities sent us all fridge magnets with the alert but not alarmed number to call, and the peace movement was again pushed to the edges.

During the mass protests in the ’80s when there were over a hundred of us at a time on the wrong side of the fence, we must have posed a real threat to the security of the base, but we were all only ever charged with the minor offence of trespass. Things changed after September 11 2001. In 2005, Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie, Bryan Law and Donna Mulhearn, with their conspicuous white overalls, conducted their ‘Citizens Inspection’ of Pine Gap. Although they didn’t pose a threat to the security of the base, they got charged with far more serious offences, the very first time the Defence (Special Undertakings ) Act had been used in the 53 years since its enactment to thwart any spies who might be lurking near the Monte Bello Islands, where the Brits were conducting top-secret nuclear tests at the time.

So the peace movement ebbs and flows. Which brings us to a third lesson: keep a weather eye out for those global currents and tides, and trim your sails accordingly. Be opportunistic and catch any lucky puffs of wind you encounter. But also, be strategic: be alert to the deeper shifting patterns.”

f. Raytheon operationally runs Pine Gap and

“Chief Executive Tom Kennedy said that he is seeing “a significant uptick” for “defense solutions across the board in multiple countries in the Middle East.” Noting that he had met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Kennedy said, “It’s all the turmoil they have going on, whether the turmoil’s occurring in Yemen, whether it’s with the Houthis, whether it’s occurring in Syria or Iraq, with ISIS.”


g. Conversion of arms manufacture to more socially useful products did not really make the debate. I remembered peace activists arguing the Lucas plan and we can put forward a modern manufacturing policy and strategy for conversion.…read here

h. International solidarity with peace activists from Guam and Okinawa at the IPAN conference and Pine Gap:

“Professor Kosuzu Abe, who addressed both the public forum in Alice Springs and the Conference, knows all too well the consequences of a nuclear war affecting the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the ongoing military presence in Japan.

Military power is not the best provider of security for ordinary people. This is what the people of Okinawa have learned through the battle for their island. The installation of foreign military facilities on Okinawa has gone way too far. It is simply a form of colonisation and, as such, is unacceptable.” said Professor Abe.

“The US Military’s recent policy of the ‘Asia-Pacific Pivot’ does not ensure security at all. All it does is provide justification for the ‘other side’, in this case China, to increase its military readiness and intensify the conflict.” she said.

Professor Kosuzu Abe from the University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, told the forum about the many years of struggle and resistance of the people of Okinawa against the US military occupation of Japan’s southern island. This struggle had forced the US government to reduce the number of its troops stationed in Okinawa, with some transferred to Guam and others being shifted to new bases in the north of the island. Several organisations were active in opposing US war preparations and were cooperating for large mobilisations. As with Guam, the people of Okinawa were paying a high price for the US occupation, with stolen land and crimes of violence and abuse never brought to justice.

Professor Lisa Natividad from the University of Guam spoke of the continuing struggle of her people against the US military occupation of their island. More than 30% of the land area is taken over for US military storage and training purposes, with constant aircraft and helicopter movements day and night. Guam is a US colonial possession, but its citizens have limited voting and civil rights, and lesser government services than other holders of a US passport.

To make way for the recent transfer of troops from Okinawa onto Guam, more areas became restricted, denying people access to their lands, and whole villages were disrupted. This was in addition to the ‘normal’ level of harassment and abuse of continued US military occupation.

In spite of this, the people of Guam are not intimidated and are an important voice in the growth and development of anti-war and anti-imperialist unity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr Lisa Natividad: “We in Guam are opposing the militarisation and colonisation of our region. The U.S. military empire continues to stretch its tentacles across the globe to destroy our aboriginal sacred places. Pine Gap plays a significant role as a US surveillance base with drones for air strikes and a missile defence system functioning to militarize the world,” she said.

Report here

Learn about Guam. Here a news report America has since expanded its military presence in Guam, which is seen as key to protecting the superpower’s interests in Asia-Pacific.

The island is a vital part of the US “Pivot” to the region, forming a strategic triangle in conjunction with bases in Japan, Australia and Hawaii.

It’s known as “the tip of the spear” because of its proximity to potential conflict hot spots in Asia, including North Korea and the South China Sea. It has also been dubbed “America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier” and “Fortress Pacific”.

Guam’s picturesque north is home to the less picturesque Andersen Airforce Base. In the south is a naval base.

Steven Wolborsky, director of plans, told US military publication Stars and Stripes the island was home to around 19 million pounds (8.6 million kilograms) of explosives and continuous rotations of Global Hawk surveillance drones, B-52 bombers, fighter jets and 300 airmen.

“We have two 11,000-foot (3400-metre) concrete runways, both rebuilt within the last 10 years,” he said. “We have enough parking for more than 155 aircraft, with a robust in-ground refuelling infrastructure. And more

Quakers for Peace report

i. On drone strikes

1. A Alice Springs News US Predator Drone.

2. Sanctioned Murder: Australia’s Role In Drone Strikes On Innocent Civilians Is Growing

By Michael Brull on October 8, 2016

“The Australian government takes part in the murder of people overseas. They help to murder people who are not engaged in hostilities, in countries we are not at war with, who have not been convicted of a crime.

Even worse, our leaders intend to expand our involvement, so that Australia takes part in its own extra-judicial executions.

We are presently involved in extra-judicial executions through Pine Gap. As reported at the ABC, the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap is “jointly run by the Australian and United States governments”.

According to Professor Richard Tanter, it contributes targeting data to American drone operations, including assassinations. American drone operations are known to take place in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia, and presumably also in Iraq, Syria and Libya.”

“According to the chief of our defence force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, we hope to bomb those who aren’t “taking a direct and active part in hostilities”. Turnbull intends for the new laws, supported in principle by the ALP, to see us “joining with our coalition partners to target and kill a broader range of Daesh combatants – which is consistent with international law”.

That is, we can kill that strange breed of “combatant” who isn’t actually involved in combat.”

Read more here

11. I support US peace actions. Here, not mentioned, Australian operational and intelligence officers are involved at Pine Gap.


i. Melbourne University Students are protesting against Lockheed Martin

Many activists are upset that Kim Beazley is now on the Australian Board of Lockheed Martin

2. My story at Pine Gap is somewhat muted as I was recovering from shingles on my right head, fore-head. I did not travel on the Bus from Melbourne and my dear Kathryn paid for me to travel and stay. I did not camp in the Peace camps outside of Pine Gap but stayed in Alice Springs.I was well enough on two occaisons on Friday and Sunday to go to the Pine Gap gates and listen and participate and I have posted photos.

Here is the letter we delivered to the CIA:

Call on Pine Gap to cease involvement in the deadly US drone assassination program and for the facility to be terminated as soon as possible. Following a well attended and successful anti-war conference held at Alice Springs on 1st October, 2016 the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) organised a peaceful protest involving a cavalcade of cars to the gates of the Joint Defence Facility –Pine Gap on Sunday 2nd October.

At the gates of the Joint Defence Facility-Pine Gap, the following letter was presented to a senior police officer for relay to the Chief of Station, Ms Amy Chaput. Previously, a request by letter to the Chief of the Station (an American) and to the Deputy Chief of the Station, (an Australian), to meet at an IPAN delegation at the gate for presentation of the letter, had been ignored. The protesters were met at the gate and heavily fenced entrance to Pine Gap, by 30 uniformed police plus two police on horses. The protesters had already been “frisked” by police some hundred metres down the road from the entrance.

In the absence of being able to meet an official for the Pine Gap facility, an IPAN representative and a representative of the local indigenous community, jointly presented the following letter to a senior policeman at the gate for relaying to the Pine Gap station.


Ms Amy Chaput,

Following the well-attended and successful conference organised by the Independent and Peaceful Australian Network (IPAN) at Alice Springs this weekend, it was determined that:

1. The Pine Gap facility is a threat to the peace and security of the people of Australia and Alice Springs, in particular

2. The illegal drone assassination program perpetrated by the United States with the assistance of Pine Gap makes the Australian people complicit in this illegal activity

For these reasons, IPAN, on behalf of all concerned people of Australia, calls for the immediate cessation of this illegal drone program and the termination of the Pine Gap facilities as soon as possible.

Australia will then be a safer place for all of us.

Yours in peace, IPAN Co-ordinating Committee

PO Box 573, Coorparoo, Qld, 4151 For further details:Annette Brownlie: 0431 597 256 Nick Deane: 0420 526 929

After the IPAN conference, on the fine Saturday evening, we walked to the War Memorial at the top of the hill and here a wonderful lamentation against all wars, lead by the legendary Peace Bus protester Graeme Dunstan.

After carrying the banners down, we walked to the bank of the dry River Todd, and we all ate heartily very good food by cook Eli.

Please scroll through this PeaceBus website

I was able to meet old friends in this post and meet new Peace activists. I was most pleased at a packed room of 200 for the Public IPAN meeting and for very good presentations at the IPAN Conference and workshops – never enough time!.

We hear of past protests.

1983 Women’s camp:

“The main aim of the 1983 Australian women’s camp was to draw people’s attention to ‘the dangers of Pine Gap’ and to demand ‘termination of the lease in 1986’ by the Hawke Labor government.” … Read more

From Disarm Jacob Grech an organiser after chaining himself in protest to Raytheon gates but for hours not arrested: What do you do to get arrested in Alice Springs? Jacob on Radio 3CR here

Jacob again here

Activists are from WILPF Please explore their international activities

Basewatch Darwin is a key organiser

Hannah Middleton distributed a pamphlet “6 Reasons to Close Pine Gap” see reports and follow actions at IPAN NSW –

A major group in IPAN and at the Conference and protesting are doctors against war. Please follow on the Medical Association for the Prevention of War . The Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) works for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction and the prevention of armed conflict. We promote peace through research, advocacy, peace education and partnerships. Please use our many resources on nuclear weapons, power and waste, peace and conflicts.

Nick Deane is a key organiser from NSW,303

NICK DEANE. Reflecting on Troubled Waters. South China Sea

Posted on 06/09/2016 by John Menadue

Visit Marrickville Peace Group

I am a Founding Member of the Graham F Smith Arts Peace Foundation in Adelaide. Please support

US labor against war

When having to say that Australia’s war-mongering with the US is as dangerous now as ever: one read is A Dangerous Diplomatic proposal:

As Middle East expert Patrick Cockburn points out, “The U.S. remains a superpower, but is no longer as powerful as it once was.” While it can overthrow regimes it doesn’t like, “It can’t replace what has been destroyed.”

Obama’s and Clinton’s and Power’s framework for diplomacy is a formula for a never- ending cycle of war and instability.

Five decades later, Israel’s brutal occupation is stronger than ever Antony Loewenstein

September 15, 2016

From David Perkins A 1973 protest song from “The Balls of Bob Menzies” WE DON’T WANT NO YANKEE BASES

(Tune: We Don’t Want Your Millions Mister)

I was wandering way out back,

On a bumpy old desert track

And there in the sun was a bloke with a gun

Who turned to me and said, ‘Hey Mack,

You’d better turn around

Or your body may never be found.

Uncle Sam owns this here land

And there’s much more here than sand.


Oh no, we don’t want no Yankee bases,

It’s outrageous to have these bases.

Oh no, we don’t want no Yankee bases,

No Yankee bases – so send them home.

I looked at him with scorn,

In his American uniform,

And then I swore

Till my throat was sore

And cursed the day he had ever been born.

‘Why don’t you go back home,

And leave our land alone,

Australia was a better place,

Before you showed your face!’

He said, ‘Now hang on mate,

Don’t underestimate,

The good we do

By protecting you

From a very undesirable fate.

We defend your land and seas

From the hordes of red Chinese.

Our military presence keeps you free

From a red catastrophe.’

But I said, ‘Now listen to me,

You own our industry.

You own our oil

And live on our toil

And legalise your robbery

By parliamentary talking-shops,

And gaols and courts and the cops,

You’re only here to guard your gold

And the profits that you stole!’

He looked with hate at me.

And waved his .303,

So I shot through

But I’m telling you

It’s time we set Australia free.

Let’s organise our might

Against the parasite,

And make the very first demand –

No bases on our land.

Anonymous song published in the ‘4 July Songsheet’ , 1973.

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