Friday, February 16, 2007

A Letter Worth Reprinting

Two significant events have occurred in the last week or so. Firstly, "How high?" Howard, Prime Monster of Australia, took Barack Obama to task for announcing a withdrawal date from Iraq. Secondly, Australian "Defence" Monster Senator Brendan Nelson announced that we would be hosting a brand new US military base at Geraldton, in Western Australia. More of that later. In the context of these two announcements, the following letter appeared in Adelaide's The News newspaper (Friday Feb 16, 2007). Three cheers for the honesty and guts of people like Edward Cranswick:

Lethal Allies

Strikingly conspicuous by its absence in the argument between US Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama and Mr Howard about Australia’s contribution to the war in Iraq is any mention of Pine Gap, the United States/CIA military base just outside Alice Springs.

In the lead-up to the attack on Iraq, Michael McKinley, a strategic analyst at the Australian National University said: "The Pine Gap contribution is very much more significant than any sending of Australian soldiers."

As a geophysicist and former U.S. government employee, who was found guilty in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court last week for protesting against Pine Gap, I know that Pine Gap is one of the most critical components of the U.S. space-based global war machine and it is Australia’s essential contribution to the war.

Pine Gap is the telemetry/control ground station for an array of U.S. military satellites in the eastern hemisphere that both image targets and guide weapons which destroy those targets. Recent technological and U.S. policy changes have reduced the distance from "sensor to shooter" and Pine Gap is now directly responsible for initiating the selection and destruction of targets.

As Andrew Fowler of the ABC’s Investigative Unit said five days before the attack: "Right now what’s paying off for the Americans is a secret spy base, which has moved the front line in the war against Iraq to Pine Gap."

Hundreds of American nerds sit at computer screens in airconditioned bunkers in the middle of Australia and choose targets to be destroyed – heavily armed Iraqi resistance groups and happy family wedding parties.

This makes them and their Australian allies directly complicit in U.S. war crimes.

This is Mr Howard’s substantive contribution to the war in Iraq, something about which Senator Obama is apparently not yet familiar.

Edward Cranswick

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