Spy ships and Pine Gap

Spy ships and Pine Gap

Peter Cronau, the author of a forthcoming book on Pine Gap, told The Saturday Paper that the facility’s primary function has expanded “from its early focus on passive surveillance gathering, such as collecting military communications, diplomatic traffic and mobile phone calls. It now plays a vital part in active war-fighting, such as providing targeting information for use by lethal drones, invasion forces and aerial bombing missions.”

He said the first hard evidence confirming Pine Gap’s additional role was found in secret US National Security Agency documents about Pine Gap, leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. In new research for his book, Cronau says he has found Pine Gap’s role in boosting US war-fighting capabilities is intensifying. He says there has been a rapid expansion in the capability of the US-built and -funded base, with the construction during the past year of four new satellite antennas covered by radomes. Preparations are under way for a massive new antenna that he says would amount to five new ones in a little over a year, making it the fastest period of expansion for the base, to a total of 41 satellite antennas. Cronau says three of the new antennas are designed to download data from powerful new-generation satellites that will collect information from distant war zones.

James Bradley, Author of Flags of Our Fathers, #1 New York Times Best-Seller, Speaks Out Against the U.S. Military Encirclement of China

James Bradley, Author of Flags of Our Fathers, #1 New York Times Best-Seller, Speaks Out Against the U.S. Military Encirclement of China

The China Mirage ends with a warning for today. Bradley writes that, “from those early days [19th century] until now, America has dispatched its hopeful sons and daughters to faraway Asia in search of a mirage that never was. And never will be.” That mirage is the idea of China as moldable in American hands. Now, according to Bradley, we have entered another disappointment phase as an ascendant China has gone about its business of expanding its economy and hence its worldwide influence. The danger is that Washington will not get over its disappointment. Bradley in fact describes the current situation—where the U.S. encircles China—as akin to dry tinder ready to spark a war.

The China threat is being inflated to justify more spending

The China threat is being inflated to justify more spending

China possesses a decided advantage on its own turf, as Pentagon leaders have seen repeatedly during simulations in which our ships are sunk and air bases obliterated from a distance. With its integrated air defense network, anti-ship missiles and vast number of soldiers, any attempt to attack China within its security perimeter would be a self-inflicted disaster.

But the Chinese military advantage evaporates as you move beyond its shores. The Chinese defenses are almost all based on land and meant to keep invaders at a safe distance rather than project its own military power forward.