Pine Gap is a joint United States-Australia military spy base located on Arrernte country near Alice Springs, Northern Territory. Pine Gap is one of the most important U.S. military bases outside of America, used in both surveillance and military operations. Although much secrecy has surrounded the base, information about its purpose has slowly come to light through leaked documents and research.
Pine Gap was originally built during the cold war to collect information on the testing of Soviet missiles. Today surveillance and intelligence gathering is still the major function of the base, including the interception of cell phones and satellite communications. It is thought that the US controls all of its spy satellites from Pine Gap.
Pine Gap collects data as part of the “Five Eyes” (FEVY) intelligence network, which enables it’s members- United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, and New Zealand- to collect and share information. Documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that this included information collected on citizens.
Pine Gap provides the data that enables the targeting of U.S. drone strikes in countries with which the U.S. is at war, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. These drone bombings are known to kill many more civilians than the people originally targeted, including hundreds of children.
US military and intelligence operates overtly and covertly on many fronts globally. The Australian government is complicit in the deaths, injuries and displacement of many people through its involvement in US-led coalitions in war zones, and in the facilitation of execution-style drone strikes. The Australian Government has allowed the US military, along with its private war industry contractors, to embed in Australia, on land that was never ceded by the traditional custodians, with no consultation of the people of Australia.
For further reading see below (original source):
- Pine Gap drives US drone kills (Fairfax, July 21 2013)
- Pine Gap: Australia At Forefront of US Spying Arsenal (Fairfax, July 26 2013)
- The Falcon Lands (Christopher Boyce Interview) (SBS Dateline, 18 February 2014)
- Malcolm Fraser calls for closure of Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility (ABC Radio National, 28 April 2014)
- Jeremy Scahill discusses dirty wars and the US drone program (ABC Radio National, 23 May 2014)
- Top intelligence analyst slams Pine Gap’s role in American drone strikes (ABC 7:30 Report, 13 August 2014)
- The British-American coup that ended Australian independence | The Guardian (John Pilger, 23 Oct 2014)
- Pine Gap’s new spy role revealed (Fairfax, May 21 2015)
- Only one in 10 Pine Gap spies is employed by Australian government (Fairfax, June 24 2015)
- Rare glimpse at the secrets of Pine Gap spy base (Fairfax, Feb 28 2016)
- Pine Gap- Photo of joint US-Australian spy base revealed in Alice Springs as part of art exhibition (ABC News, 17 April 2016)
Other Media, Blogs, etc:
- Pine Gap: WikiLeaks, Snowden and Transparency — Medium (Robyn Irene, 11 Feb 2014)
- Australia Needs to Be Transparent on Drones | The Diplomat (Emily Howie, 30 April 2015)
- Human Rights Law Centre » Blog Archive » UN urged to probe Australia about its role in deadly US drone strikes (26 May 2014)
- How The USA Invaded Australia — Medium (Gary Lord, Nov 4 2015)
- Pine Gap and the enemy within | Red Flag (Jacob Grech, 9 Dec 2015)
- 3CR Radioactive Shows on Pine Gap – Episode 1, feat. Richard Tanter (Emma Kefford, 13 Feb 2016)
- 3CR Radioactive Shows on Pine Gap – Episode 2, feat. Senator Lee Rhiannon, Jo Valentine and Sue Wareham (Emma Kefford, 27 Feb 2016)
- 3CR Radioactive Shows on Pine Gap – Episode 3, feat. Jacob Grech & Russell Goldflam (Emma Kefford, 26 March 2016)
- Renegade Activists page on Pine Gap
- After 50 years, time to close Pine Gap | Green Left Weekly (Robyn Marshall, 19 August 2016)
YouTube (Pine Gap):
- Home On The Range (1982; 53 mins)
Australian independent political documentary about the US installations in Australia at Pine Gap near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Covers the the Loans Affair and the sacking of the Whitlam Labor Government in 1975, the Christopher Boyce spy trial, the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in foreign territories and its former agent Victor Marchetti as well as government secrecy, security, intelligence, foreign affairs and policy.
- Journey To An American Spy Base (Bob Plasto, 1987; 50 mins)
Documentary exposing the secrets and deceits behind the operations of US spy base in Pine Gap, Australia. Directed by Bob Plasto and released in 1987, the film features interviews with CIA operatives and a revealing exposition of the facilities at pine gap with the Australian Defence Minister at the time, Kim Beazley.
- The World from Below – Pine Gap and Drones (19 Sep 2014)
Interview in three parts with Richard Tanter from the Nautilus Institute and Emily Howie from the Human Rights Law Centre.
Segment 1 (8 mins): We discuss the history of the military and intelligence base at Pine Gap, Northern Territory Australia. We talk about the law that applies, including the role it plays in the drones war.
- Segment 2 (14 mins): We discuss Australia’s involvement in the drone wars, including the death of Australian Christopher Harvard in Yemen.
- Segment 3: (3 mins): We discuss the role of Pine Gap in mass surveillance operations.
YouTube (drones general):
- Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars (Robert Greenwald, 2015; 1 hr)
“Unmanned” investigates the impact of U.S. drone strikes at home and abroad, observing their effect on the War on Terror, the lives of individuals, and U.S. foreign policy.
- Pine Gap links & resources page
- Pine Gap – An Introduction (Nautilus Institute, 21 February 2016)
- The Corporatisation of Pine Gap (Nautilus Institute, 25 June 2015)
- The Militarisation of Pine Gap (Nautilus Institute, 14 August 2015)
- The Higher Management of Pine Gap (Nautilus Institute, 18 August 2015)
- The SIGINT Satellites of Pine Gap (Nautilus Institute, 15 October 2015)
- Expanded Communications Satellite Surveillance and Intelligence Activities Utilising Multi-beam Antenna Systems
- The Fourth Eye: Australia’s Role in the Five Eyes before and after Snowden
- Get The Data: Drone Wars Archives – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (various authors, various dates)
- Naming the Dead: Bureau announces new drones project – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (4 Feb 2013)
- Yemeni man brings the horror of drone strikes home to US Senate | The Independent (Farea Al-Muslimi, 25 April 2013)
- 41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground | The Guardian (Spencer Ackerman, 25 November 2014)
- American Drone Operators Are Quitting in Record Numbers | The Nation (Pratap Chatterjee, 5 March 2015)
- The Side of Drone Warfare No One Is Talking About | The Nation (Pratap Chatterjee, 13 July 2015)
- The Intercept – The Drone Papers (various authors, 15 October 2015)
- Air Force Whistleblowers Risk Prosecution to Warn Drone War Kills Civilians, Fuels Terror | Democracy Now! (20 Nov 2015)
- Life as a drone operator- ‘Ever step on ants and never give it another thought?’ The Guardian (Ed Pilkington, 20 Nov 2015)
- Killer Drone News Blackout Continues As Mainstream Media Ignore Four Whistleblowers | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization (John Hanrahan, 3 Dec 2015)
- Victim of Obama’s first drone strike- ‘I am the living example of what drones are’ | The Guardian (Spencer Ackerman, 23 Jan 2016)
- Imprecise, Automated, Deadly- Why Australia Shouldn’t Buy Into The Drone War – New Matilda (Alex Edney-Browne, 16 March 2016)
- How a Hollywood film reveals the reality of drone warfare | The Guardian (Derek Gregory, 10 April 2016)
- I am on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by drones | The Independent (Malik Jalal, 12 April 2016)
- When Drone Operators Become Collateral Damage | The Nation (Pratap Chatterjee, 21 April 2016)
- Like Drone Strikes, ‘Eye in the Sky’ Is Much Less Accurate than Claimed | E-International Relations (Alex Edney-Browne, 25 May 2016)
- Who’s Next To Borrow from America’s Drone Strike “Playbook”? | PBS Frontline (Priyanka Boghani, 11 August 2016)