Pine Gap, Our Nation’s Hideous, Grievous and Complicit Gaza Secret, Exposed

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Pine Gap and Gaza

For many in this country, the position the Albanese government has taken on the six-month-long and worsening catastrophe in Gaza is unfathomable.

This is by no means a small group, and, as its elected officials continue to facilitate such an atrocity, societal fractures are starting to emerge.

Indeed, on Tuesday, Home Affairs announced it’s launching a $5.22 million social cohesion package to fund around 37 civil society organisations to respond to “threats of racism, hate speech, violence, polarisation and social exclusion” that’s a direct result of the carnage in Gaza.

This announcement coincided with the murder of Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom, who died among a handful of World Central Kitchen staff, bombed in a car clearly marked as belonging to the aid organisation, and, at this stage, the globe understands that Tel Aviv tends to do this on purpose.

With this new development many continue to be dismayed by our government’s propagation of the mistruth about Israel defending itself in Gaza, as that nation attempts to kill an entire population of Palestinians, in an act that the International Court of Justice ruled is a plausible genocide.

And as Nautilus Institute’s Professor Richard Tanter revealed, during the 27 March Pine Gap and Gaza webinar, this country is far more complicit in the genocide than most would like to admit, due to work at the Joint Facility Pine Gap, and while this remains little known, it is an open secret.

Blood on our hands

Tanter’s presentation on the Pine Gap-Gaza link corresponded with his publication of a complaint letter addressed to the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), regarding the operations of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) at Pine Gap in relation to Gaza.

The professor bases his compliant, in part, on the research that he, ANU Professor the late Desmond Ball and Canadian signals intelligence researcher Bill Robinson have carried out in the past, with the details making up eight research papers on the secretive facility in the centre of the continent.

The complaint to the IGIS, the intelligence community watchdog, raises the point that as a signatory to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Australia has an obligation to prevent the crime under the document’s first article, and not to be complicit in it under article three.

“In these circumstances,” Tanter wrote to the IGIS, explaining he is insisting that the office holder has a responsibility to inquire into recent ASD activities at Pine Gap that relate “to Israel and the situation in the Gaza Strip to ensure Australia is not complicit in any acts of genocide”.

And the rather inconvenient truth that Tanter then delivered to the IGIS is that because of operations at Pine Gap, it’s likely “not possible for the Australian government to assure the parliament and the Australian public that Australia is not complicit in plausible acts of genocide”.

Surveilling Gaza

Four US “geosynchronous signals intelligence satellites are controlled from Pine Gap sitting 36,000 kilometres above the equator in geosynchronous orbits”, meaning they rotate around Earth, at the same time it spins on its axis, states the letter.

Tanter told the forum that these satellites pick up “very faint signals” and each of the three satellites on the western side completely capture Gaza in their orbits, which, he outlined, is “an extraordinary level of involvement” and he implied that this is hardly a secret.

“Pine Gap is often reported in the media as cloaked in mystery, that we can find out nothing about it, that is absolutely wrong,” he made clear. “We know more about Pine Gap than we do about any other American intelligence bases, on the basis, not of rumour… but clear documentation.”

In terms of what is being picked up Tanter listed telecommunications, microwave transmissions, “air defence systems, radars” and “all sorts of military radio communications”. “They also pick up a lot of computers talking to computers and when missiles are being tested, they send their data back”.

And the professor further set out that since the wholesale massacre and starvation of the 2.3 million Palestinians of Gaza, these satellites would be focusing on the Strip in particular and prioritising the monitoring concerns of the Biden administration and, likely, of the Netanyahu government.

The focus is on Gaza

Tanter explained there are no known limits to what sort of information Pine Gap is detecting and passing on to the US, and from there, potentially to Israel.

But he added that we do know that in 1973, Pine Gap-sourced information did give Tel Aviv the advantage in war against Egypt and Syria.

The Nautilus Institute professor then raised a November Declassified Australia interview that journalist Peter Cronau conducted with former Pine Gap leader of weapons signals analysis, David Rosenberg, who worked at the facility nearby Alice Springs in the Northern Territory for 18 years.

The “facility is monitoring the Gaza Strip and surrounding areas with all its resources, and gathering intelligence assessed to be useful to Israel”, Rosenberg explained. “Pine Gap has satellites overhead. Every one of those assets would be on those locations, looking for anything that could help them.”

Cronau underscores that Pine Gap is “no mere passive communication collector”, as it gathers signals and electronic intelligence, “including civilian, commercial and military communications”, and it “provides detailed geolocation intelligence to the US military”.

This means that the US can use this information “to locate with precision targets in the battlefield”, and it’s likely from what the Australian researchers have found that this sort of information is being passed on to the Netanyahu government at present.

A complicating web

In summing up, Tanter left the Pine Gap and Gaza viewers with the understanding that the US ultimately runs the signals collecting base in the middle of the continent, even if half the staff, these days, are Australian, as well as the fact that this country is playing a key role in the Gaza genocide.

And what was revealed by Tanter, Cronau and others, during the webinar, has clear bearing on the current case of the Australian aid worker, who was killed, along with others, by an Israeli airstrike, which directly hit their car, which could be identified via its roof, as an aid group from the air.

The question that now remains unanswered is whether any information emanating from Pine Gap was utilised in the murder of Zomi Frankcom.

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Paul Gregoire

Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He's the winner of the 2021 NSW Council for Civil Liberties Award For Excellence In Civil Liberties Journalism. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Paul wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.

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