IT’S the top secret military facility in Central Australia that plays a key role in US intelligence and military operations around the world.
But rather than protecting us from a potential enemy attack, Pine Gap’s very existence makes us an ideal target.
That’s the view of Richard Tanter, a professor in the School of Political and Social Studies at the University of Melbourne, who told news.com.au the level of data collected from Pine Gap was beyond staggering.
Prof Tanter has conducted years of research into the facility with ANU colleague and leading authority on Pine Gap, Desmond Ball, and will next week deliver a keynote speech on the potential danger it brings to Australia.
Pine Gap will be just one of several topics discussed at the independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) national conference in Alice Springs on Saturday week.
Peace activists, academics and antimilitarism groups will all travel to the red centre to mark the 50th Anniversary of Pine Gap, aiming to illustrate the huge role it plays in US military activity.
Prof Tanter, a researcher with the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, said Pine Gap remains one of the most important intelligence facilities outside of the United States today.
According to Prof Tanter, its importance to the US military is enough to make Australia a target in any major war our American ally is involved in.
He said Pine Gap allows access to satellites that could spy on every continent — except the Americas and Antarctica.
The data collected is used for drone attacks in places where Australia was not even at war, he said.
Pine Gap also plays a vital role in collecting a wide range of signals intelligence as well as providing information on early warning of ballistic missile launches.
Intelligence gathered here could be used to target nuclear weapons and is also used to support US and Japanese missile defence.
“In the centre of Australia we have Uluru and nearby its ‘evil twin’.”