The Guardian 26 September, 2007

Pine Gap in the front line

A statement made last week by Defence Minister Brendan Nelson confirms that the American run surveillance and control base at Pine Gap is a major facility in the global operations of the US military.

It is now and has always been part of a network that straddle the whole of the world from Europe to Asia and the Pacific Ocean. These operations are directly targeted against Russia and China and other countries whose governments are out of favour with the US government leadership.

Commenting on the Pine Gap developments and the US missile program, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is reported as saying that "No one in their wildest dreams should imagine that the trilateral security dialogue between Australia, the US and Japan poses any threat to Russia."

Robert McClelland, the ALP’s shadow foreign minister, echoed Downer’s statement.

At the same time Brendan Nelson warned Parliament about nations that are "aggressively pursuing" ballistic missile program.

The statements of both Downer and Nelson are just plain lies. It is the US that is aggressively pursuing a dangerous missile program both in Europe and in the Pacific and only a politically blind and malicious politician could possibly claim that they are not directed against Russia and China.

The claim that these preparations are directed at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (which has agreed to close down its nuclear weapons facilities) and Iranian missiles (which does not have missiles capable of reaching Europe) or nuclear weapons which it also does not have, are to deliberately mislead those who might be taken in by such garbage.

Both Russia and China have reacted negatively to the present developments and can easily see that Australia is an intimate participant in these preparations for eventual war or a threat of war against them.

Brendan Nelson says that a "Ballistic missile launch early warning information could be used in any US missile defence system, and as such this would be a continuation of a ballistic missile early warning partnership that we have shared with the United States for over 30 years".

These preparations are not part of a "defence system" as Mr Nelson asserts but are aggressive preparations — just another remark of Brendan Nelson that turns the truth on its head.

In a strongly worded media release, Denis Doherty of the Anti-Bases Coalition said that

"The Anti-Bases Campaign has been saying for years that Australia is involved in the US strategy of containing China by the use of bases and agreements to aid the US in its endeavours".

He said that US bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam have been beefed up and Australia is providing bases, storage facilities and training for American forces and their allies.

"There is nothing benign about Pine Gap, it is a war fighting base and the world knows it. Pine Gap makes us a nuclear target and threatens to have major countries like Russia and China targeting us in the event of war", said Mr Doherty. "Howard is sacrificing Australian interest for American interests".

The Anti-Bases Coalition website can be found at www.anti-bases.org

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