Keep Space for Peace and the RAN Naval Powers Conference

All advanced military forces including Australia’s are dependent on space systems in many ways—for communications; command and control; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; navigation; and meteorology and oceanography – and they will be even more so in the future.  Australia’s White Paper on Defence 2013 says “Space-based systems are a critical enabler of a modern networked military capability”.

The US Navy has an amazing amount and sophistication of space based assets to assist its mission to any part of the globe.  Australia sees itself as having a smaller role yet it still has to cover large distances, the country’s vast area of interest in the Indo-Pacific region, and dispersed areas of operation globally, require a robust command and control architecture and communication systems. (White Paper 2013).  Hence it has space based assets and is extending them.

The Government has invested in terrestrial and satellite communications and command systems that deliver a digitised and better connected force. Enhancements to Defence’s command and control capabilities will continue to be progressed to meet operational requirements as they evolve. (White Paper 2013)

And again they say

8.35 Communications satellites provide an independent source of connectivity for deployed operational forces and are often the only available connection between ADF tactical areas of operations and the strategic networks used by the remainder of Defence.   Defence will continue to invest in the ground and space-based elements of satellite communications capabilities, including the important Wideband Global Satellite Communications program.

We are protesting the use of space for terrestrial warfare by any forces be they US, Australian or any other country, we say keep space for all, keep space for peace.  The prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) should be a critical issue on the UN disarmament and arms control agenda.

Weapons such as Ballistic Missile Defence and Unmanned Vehicles (drones) are dependent on space based assets, this is the practical application of space for war which we are protesting about.  These systems must be brought under control and minimized for a peaceful world.

Keep Space for Peace Week is an annual event at many sites around the world, in Sydney 2013 our event will at the RAN Conference.  Keep Space for Peace!


Pine Gap’s Secrets Revealed

In late July The Australian reported it was revealed that the US/Australian satellite tracking spy base Pine Gap is likely connected to US drone strikes which have killed Pakistani citizens.

Pine Gap is a secretive facility nearly 20km southwest of Alice Springs and has been there since 1970. Run by both Australia and the United States, its official name is the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap.

“It is fair to say that Pine Gap has some fairly awesome capabilities when it comes to intelligence gathering,” said a former worker at Pine Gap, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak about his work. “It’s secretive.”

Pine Gap is essentially a satellite tracking station, situated in the middle of no­where. It is believed that the US and Australia “listen to Asia” from the 14 antennae concealed beneath white domes at Pine Gap.

A Pakistani lawyer went on record in July saying Pine Gap tracks the commu­nications of al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. This, he says, enables the US to target those militants with its drone strikes. Sadly, these strikes kill civilians in increasing numbers.