Pine Gap aiding Israel’s war

Spy base Pine Gap is almost certainly playing a key role feeding intelligence to Israel for use against Gaza.

Academic Richard Tanter has made a complaint to the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, arguing that Pine Gap’s operations mean Australia could be complicit in Israeli acts of genocide identified by the International Court of Justice.

Located just outside Alice Springs, Pine Gap has played a key role in the US intelligence gathering system for 50 years.

Pine Gap controls “four United States geosynchronous signals intelligence satellites”, he writes, which intercept “foreign telecommunications and satellite phones” as well as “telecommunications towers through which many cell phone and internet connections are transmitted; air defence systems, radars and radio communications systems”, among other things.

These ORION satellites, “sit over the equator in a row, ranging roughly from where Pine Gap is through to the middle of the Indian Ocean,” he told an online forum in March. This allows them to intercept signals from a large area of the globe. “The westernmost three of those satellites cover Gaza completely.”

Israel and its spy agencies have an “extraordinarily intimate intelligence relationship” with the US, he writes, with one 2013 secret US National Security Agency (NSA) document showing that, “NSA signals intelligence was to be made available to Israel en masse and in detail, including data captured by Pine Gap-controlled ORION satellites”.

The US has passed on intelligence from Pine Gap to Israel during wars in the past. During the 1973 Yom Kippur war, “the United States unilaterally provided Israel with strategically significant Pine Gap-derived intelligence on the positions of Egyptian military forces pressing Israeli forces in the Sinai”, he notes.

“Pine Gap-derived intelligence enabled the Israel Defence Force to break through Egyptian lines, and encircle a substantial Egyptian force.”

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