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Australian Greens protest at outback US spy base

Australian Greens protest at outback US spy base
MELBOURNE - Australian Greens politicians launched a peace campaign outside a U.S. spy base in the outback near Alice Springs, joining about 200 protesters opposing Australia\'s involvement in a war against Iraq.
As the mostly peaceful rally at the joint U.S.-Australian Pine Gap surveillance base went into a second day, the Greens joined in, urging the government of Prime Minister John Howard not to allow the base to be used for spying on Iraq. \"The question of whether SAS troops are sent to Iraq or not is peripheral given Australia\'s most significant input is already under way in the activities at Pine Gap,\" Greens Senator Kerry Nettle said, according to the AAP news agency. \"The prime minister has a duty to tell the Australian people exactly what role is being played by these facilities, and how he justifies these activities in light of the massive and growing opposition to Australian involvement in such a war,\" Nettle added. Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill said in August that Pine Gap would be used to help the United States in any action against Iraq. Groups including the Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Medical Association for Prevention of War, and Friends of the Earth Australia bused people in from across the country to take part in the Pine Gap protest. Four people were arrested on Saturday after a scuffle with police and charged with offences ranging from carrying an offensive weapon, which was a paint-filled balloon, and resisting arrest. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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