Daily Archives: July 15, 2007

Aside

National Aborigines and Islanders Day for Justice (NAIDOC) has been celebrated for 50 years. Meetings, Rallies and Marches have been organised in Brisbane this past year (2006-2007). Much effort and organisation has gone into these rallies and marches for Justice. … Continue reading

Pine Gap 4: Crime and Punishment

US Base at Pine Gap

Crown Appeal sentence in Pine Gap Case

Why are the missiles called peacekeepers, when they’re aimed to kill?
Why is a woman still not safe when she’s in her home?
Love is hate, war is peace, no is yes, we’re all free.
But, some-body’s gonna have to answer, the time is coming soon.
Amidst all these questions and contradictions there’re some who seek the truth
Why? a song by Tracy Chapman

The Director of Public Prosecution (on behalf of the Crown) have filed the following claims for the appeal against the sentence of the Pine Gap 4.

Grounds:

  1. The judge failed to have regard to the maximum penalties;
  2. The judge erred by placing inadequate weight on general deterrence;
  3. The judge erred by placing inadequate weight on specific deterrence;
  4. The judge failed to accurately reflect the seriousness of the offending and lack of contrition;
  5. The judge erred in considering the Second and Third Respondents (Jim Dowling and Adele Goldie) gave considerable cooperation;
  6. The judge erred when referring to the antecedent report of the Second Respondent (Jim Dowling);
  7. In imposing fines, the learned trial judge did not consider section 16C Crimes Act 1914 (Commonwealth); and,
  8. Having regard to the objective facts and circumstances, the imposition of fines by the judge was manifestly inadequate.

Without wishing to point out the obvious, this means the government wants to put the Pine Gap Four (PG4) in jail, probably more than the 2 weeks they would have got if they did not pay their fines.

The government regards fines of more than $1,000 too lenient on the PG4. [Jim Dowling was fined $1,300].

They were also required to pay restitution of more than $10,000 for some minor damage to a weld mesh fence. This means that they would lose wages and ant assets they might have. [Speculation that the bailiff could recover superannuation is just that, speculation].

There should be a staunch defence of these activists because their only ‘crime’ was to try to expose the role played by the American spy base at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory.

Pine Gap has been used by the Americans to locate targets to bomb people in Iraq.

Why?

The grounds being used by the Crown (acting on behalf of the Minister and therefore Government) above are quite absurd.

It was Minister Ruddock who authorised the use of the Defence Special Undertakings Act 1952 against these activists in the first place.
The Pine Gap Four co-operated in every way possible with the authorities including admitting to the facts of the Crown case (that they entered the base by cutting through fences).

Such entry into Pine Gap is usually met with a fine.

Why place these people in jail?kh_020.jpg

During the trial the court ignored many of the submissions by the defendants.

One example of the prosecution ignoring submissions by the PG4 defence was when the court refused right of appearance to a scientific expert on Pine Gap:

“MR DEMBO (DPP): Your Honour, firstly you’ll recall that I did say that the Crown would take under advisement the one witness, whose name I forget at the moment, Professor so-and-so. But we have considered very carefully and we make the objection on the same grounds as articulated both by yourself and indeed by the Crown yesterday.”

Who owns Pine Gap?

“I thought I had a good argument on the ownership of the land” said one of the PG4, Jim Dowling, “It belongs to the local aboriginal (Arrernte) people”.

The issue of land ownership was important because the PG4 claim they did not trespass on Pine Gap because they had sought and were given approval by the custodians of the land, an elder (of the Arrernte people), Pat Hayes.

“Aboriginal people supported the protest outside Pine Gap” said Jim Dowling.

The US backed Australian government wants to incarcerate any opponents of their war plans —no matter how effective or ineffective that opposition may be.

Why?

For a full description of this case see Pine Gap: Crime and Punishment

For words from the Pine Gap Four see the comments section below.

Ian Curr