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Issue #1693      July 15, 2015

Return to Kojarena

To advance the concept of Independence from USA Day, a group of peace and anti-war activists gathered in Geraldton over the weekend of 4-5 July, to hand out leaflets and undertake an action at the gates of the Australian-US electronic surveillance base at Kojarena, 30 kilometres east of Geraldton.

Photo: Richard Titelius

The action was a collaborative effort by a number of peace groups including People for Nuclear Disarmament, Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) and the Communist Party of Australia and drew people from all walks of life from WA and beyond. There was an activist from Byron Bay; an Aboriginal elder from Alice Springs whose land is affected by the operation of the biggest US spy base of them all on Australian soil – Pine Gap – and a woman from the Philippines whose country has once again had to reopen US bases as part of a defence agreement with that country.

The group handed out leaflets on the Saturday and had discussions and answered questions on the base which revealed that some people did not know what the Kojarena base was being used for nor how its use has changed over the years from being a Defence Communications base for Australia to a facility that was predominantly used for spying and other offensive purposes such as a satellite communication monitoring station and as part of a drone strike control network.

The group performed theatre with the Concerned Women Activists (CWA) and displayed the banner calling for the closure of the Kojarena facility at the entrance gate which, although unmanned, have closed circuit TV monitoring movements in the surrounding area. This brought officers of the Australian Federal Police who assist the US operators of the facility with security, to greet the activists.

Further publicity and actions are planned until the facility at Kojarena and all foreign spying and military bases in Australia are closed.

A submission to the government on its 2015 Defence White Paper by the Marrickville Peace Group noted, “If Australia’s military cannot be distinguished from that of the US, then every enemy of the US automatically becomes the enemy of Australia. From a strategic angle, Australia needs the smallest number of enemies. We should be careful of close association with the country that probably boasts more enemies than any other.”

The Communist Party of Australia calls for the closure of the spy facility at Kojarena and facilities elsewhere in the country including Pine Gap. The billions it costs to run these facilities and associated military hardware could be better spent to provide services to remote and regional Australia including the maintenance of remote Aboriginal communities on whose land these facilities are built without their consultation or consent.

Next article – “The unemployed deserve better than this!” – Young Communists against Jobactive

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