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Issue #1684      May 13, 2015

The Kojarena Defence Communication Station, WA

Part of global network war preparations

In the shadow of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing by Australian and New Zealand troops, many Australians may be left wondering how we are to avoid the devastation and tragedy of war – the senseless waste of life that encapsulated World War I wherever it was fought?

30 kilometres due east en route to the farming community of Mullewa in Western Australia, lies the “defence communication” base at Kojarena.

Successive Australian governments have believed that Australia’s peace and security is wrapped up in close defence and security ties with the US. This helps to explain the large number of US bases which have been set up in Australia as well as the regular war exercises or games between the US and Australia, mostly in Australia’s backyard. The most notorious spy base which our “Defence Partner” has helped to set up in Australia is at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory, still being used today.

In Western Australia, 30 kilometres due east en route to the farming community of Mullewa, lies the “defence communication” base at Kojarena.

The Australian people are told that Kojarena is not a US base but a joint Australia-US ground station “hosted” like other Australia-US “joint facilities” on the basis of our full knowledge and co-operation. However, like other so called “joint” facilities at Pine Gap and Harold E Holt at Exmouth, which we have with the US, are joint access in name only.

The facility relays information from multibillion dollar US Orion satellites and integrates us deeply in a global system which collects signals intelligence (SIGNIT) from space. The missions and capabilities of the base are highly classified – and yet it sits 30 kilometres east of the large coastal mid west port city of Geraldton. The facility is basically unmanned except for a few security staff while maintenance is done by call-out crews.

The facilities which gather this information are part of a system called ECHELON which is operated by the Canberra-based Defence Signals Directorate and also operates SIGNIT systems through ground stations such as the one at Kojarena. Though operated by Australia’s Defence Department, information streaming through it is mostly sent direct to the US.

The Kojarena facility also supports the US Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), a narrow band satellite-based mobile phone network that is designed to support US and Australian military users, including deployed forces, and can play a major role in US drone strike assassinations. The site is operated under the secretive UKUSA Agreement.

The ground station at Kojarena can intercept communications from Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Pakistani regional satellites as well as international satellites throughout South East Asia, making it a strategic tool in the US government’s recently declared military “pivot” to the Asia Pacific region.

Since the 1960’s when Australia joined the United States in its imperialist war in Vietnam, Australia’s foreign and defence policies have been increasingly linked to US foreign and domestic policy, with its military increasingly integrated into the US military.

The presence of these bases such as at Kojarena, which was opened in 1993, the recently reactivated Harold E Holt on North West Cape near Exmouth and Pine Gap in central Australia, tie us more to the defence and foreign policy objectives of the US.

Though we are told by the government that Kojarena is not a US base, but a joint Australia-US ground station “hosted” like other “joint” facilities on the basis of our full knowledge and concurrence, the reality is that even our own parliamentarians, including former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and former Greens Senator Jo Vallentine and current Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, find it difficult to gain access to or obtain even concrete answers on what goes on in these bases.

These bases tie us to the monitoring and surveillance of countries such as China, India, Japan and Russia with which we have important economic and financial ties. This monitoring is used for economic as well as military purposes. The bases have for instance been used to monitor trade negotiations and the communications of corporate manufacturing rivals.

The bases are also used for submarine and fighter jet communications as well as the monitoring of satellite communications in orbit around the earth and make Australia part of the US’s military eyes and ears in its quest to pursue wars of conquest.

The bases are part of Australia’s willingness for US-Australian military interoperability and as such Australia could become a target itself in future conflicts.

The world risks becoming a more unsafe and insecure place as these imperialist strategies are played out to manipulate and exploit the resources and people of the world and the preparations for war. The bases on Australian soil at Kojarena, Harold E Holt and Pine Gap are an integral part of this agenda.

The Communist Party of Australia deplores the continued erosion of our sovereignty and hijacking of our defence and foreign policy objectives through the presence of these foreign, principally US, bases on our soil.

The CPA, in the interests of Australia’s and global peace and security interests calls for the bases to be closed.

Next article – Driving agriculture into the ground

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