Today’s New York Times has an interesting article about antiwar activists in Australia, An American Spy Base Hidden in Australia’s Outback.
According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the United States base known as the Joint Defense Facility Pine Gap controls satellites that gather intelligence related to military operations in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and intelligence gathering related to drone strikes in countries the United States is not a war with, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. And intelligence related to Korea.
Last year 5 “peace pilgrims” breached the perimeter fence of the base. During the activist’s trials, “A Quaker knitted flower brooches. A Buddhist brewed coffee from the back of his van. A collection of colorful banners tied to fences read “Close Pine Gap” and “End the U.S. Alliance and Pine Gap Terror Base.”
“In terms of actions like this, it’s pretty basic: We are called to love our enemies,” said Jim Dowling, 62, a member of the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement who was one of the protesters. “Do good to those who persecute you. To turn the other cheek. Put up our swords. All the teachings of Jesus on nonviolence.” Mr. Dowling said he had been arrested between 50 and 60 times. He didn’t seem concerned about the relatively few number of people who came to support him during his trial.
“There’s not a huge number engaged in nonviolent resistance in the name of their faith, but numbers don’t matter, do they?” he said. “Just follow your conscience, you know?”