ANTI-WAR activists broke the silence of this remote and quiet town in Alice Springs, Northern Territory on Thursday.
They staged a protest against a secret US-Australian military facility and five were arrested by the Australian Federal Police but were later released without charges.
Little does the world know that in this town, there is a US military industrial complex that plays a major role in the US-Australian joint military partnership. The activists said it is a complex that serves as a spy and military base that facilitates US drones to kill innocent people in war-torn countries.
Four activists locked themselves at the gates of Raytheon facility on Thursday morning to block employees from entering the premises. They were later arrested by police for breaching the perimeter to the defence facility but were released after Judge Daynor Trigg dropped charges because of “flawed” and “premature” police prosecution.
Close Pine Gap activists claim the industrial complex as a war-mongering machine and responsible for the deaths of innocent people targeted by US military drones. They said it produces “a range of tools of war from technical equipment through to UN-prohibited cluster bombs.”
Activists include people from all walks of life – nurses, community workers, students, parents and grandparents; young and old. They said they are concerned that the Australian prime minister can take them to war with no debate in parliament nor consultation with the people. They lament they have no voice to the increasing build-up of US military personnel in Australia, and Pine Gap renders Australian people like themselves complicit in the murder of many innocent people by bombs dropped from drones by the US and facilitated through the Pine Gap radon array.
The group said, “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.”
Jacob Grech, one of the people locked onto the gate said: “The fact that huge profit-making corporations are directly involved in the operation of Pine Gap is often overlooked. We are here to bring awareness to the people so that they may act to end war together”.
Gaye Demanuele, grandmother of five, stated that acts of civil disobedience by the people are now imperative.
“Our governments have failed us in the name of profit and power. It is now up to us to act to end senseless wars.”
“[We want to] let the workers know that there are people here who don’t like what they’re doing in working at a foreign military base outside Alice Springs, which is obviously responsible for [the] deaths of hundreds of people across the Middle East,” Grech said.
Dozens of people blockaded the access road into the base for more than two hours on Wednesday. The activists claimed they are peace pilgrims and they negotiated with the police.
Protestors demand the closure of the Pine Gap base with the return of the land to the traditional custodians of the land, the Arrende people.