Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Politics of ‘Fear and Loathing’ — the pilgrim’s progress

Georges, Uren arrested by Pat Glancy on 30 October 1978 - SMHIn a US Presidential election year it may do well to revisit the role of the secret state in our lives.

Not since 1968 has opposition to war threatened to displace ‘race’ as the main determinant of who will be the American President.

But the following story is not about who will lead, it is a response to peace activist, Ciaron O’Reilly, and his Orwellian epiphany on the road to St. Brigid’s well in Ireland.

In his essay, Counter Terrorist Cops, Special Branch and Paradigm Shifts on the Road to St. Brigid’s Well!, Ciaron describes the demons and monsters which “the pilgrim” must face to reach the celestial well at St Brigid’s. This thought provoking essay was published originally on Sydney and UK Indymedia and now on BushTelegraph.

By demons and monsters I mean the special branch, the Irish Secret police. St Brigid’s well is a place in Kildare in Ireland where a festival was recently being held. The special branch accused O’Reilly, ‘the pilgrim’, of being an ‘eco-terrorist’ – whatever that is.

‘Pilgrim’ is an interesting word. “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan, was the story of an American minister jailed because he would not desist from preaching Puritanism. One of Ciaron’s housemates, Fr Newell, was a priest who spent a lot of time in Bedford prison. His supporters would gather at John Bunyan’s statue before walking up to the jail where Fr Newell was kept. What a curious homage. Catholic workers gathering at the shrine of a protestant heretic.

Ciaron was first labelled an eco-terrorist in Australia because he was falsely believed to have threatened harm to Queensland’s most important living creature — the cow.

But the English and Irish cops, unaware of his notoriety in the antipodes, called O’Reilly an ‘eco-t’ because of Chinese whispers in November 2007. Irish cops saw him boarding a flight to England, they called the British cops and told them Ciaron is a “threat to the aviation industry.” The British cops asked Ciaron “if he’s part of Plane Stupid!”

[Editors Note: Plane Stupid, in a world of flying madness, is a climate change group against cheap air travel. Not surprisingly, Ciaron denied the police allegation.]

Three months later as he passes through Luton on his way to Ireland, the cops still had him down as an ‘eco-nut’, they phoned the Irish police with the recycled info, and, hey presto, he is an eco-t.

*************************

The 1970s in Queensland, where Ciaron received his political education, was a time of fear and loathing. Street marches were banned by the National Party government led by a Lutheran zealot, Johannes Bjelke-Petersen. Ciaron became involved as a young student in the longest sustained revolt against a government in Australian history, 1977 – 1979.

The front page story of the Sydney Morning Herald is a typical example of the mass media of the period. It shows the arrest of Labor MPs Senator George Georges by a plain clothes copper, Det Sgt Pat Glancy. With Georges is Labor MP, Tom Uren, also arrested on 30 October 1978 along with 280 people of Brisbane. These included clerks, wharfies, bar staff, meatworkers, electricians, labourers, semean, lecturers, unemployed, every conceivable occupation and students marching against Uranium mining and export.

For his stand against the Bjelke-Petersen National party government, the ALP had threatened to disendorse Geroges Georges from contesting the 1977 federal election as a Labor senator for Queensland. True to form, the Labor Party, when it gained power in 1983, went on to endorse uranium mining and export (the ‘three mines policy’), increasing uranium production whenever the industry applied sufficient pressure.

***

Ciaron has become the victim of ‘guilt by association’ on an international scale. The label ‘eco-terrorist’ is merely one example of this.

The logical consequence of the “paradigm shift” – to the police state – as described by Ciaron O’Reilly is that more aboriginees, political activists, trade unionists, workers, muslims – the list may be endless – can find themselves in jail on the basis of belief or in fact being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dr Haneef (sic)!

Of course, under ‘democratic’ governments, this has happened before, for example in the 1970s when the capitalists decided to get their hands on yellowcake, jump the Uranium express, mine and export uranium from Queensland and the Northern Territory.SMH 31 October 1978

Ciaron’s essay describes the Queensland Special Branch in the 1970s in the following terms:

“They were mostly corrupt Irish Catholics servicing a corrupt Calvinist (??) Premier Bjelke-Petersen. The deal was the cops could run, or get a take on, the drug, brothel, illegal casino action if the cops were

willing to be used on the streets to deal with dissent.

The politicians took their take from a more elevated trough, in terms of bribes and shares from Japanese & US. transnational corporations devouring the raw materials and carving up the real estate.” — Ciaron O’Reilly in Counter Terrorist Cops, Special Branch and Paradigm Shifts on the Road to St. Brigid’s Well!

concerned-christians.jpg

Concerned Christians protesting in 1977 against the Bjelke-Petersen regime

During the ban on street marches in Queensland in 1977-1979, I was taken into custody at the behest of the Queensland Special Branch on several occasions.

The following

is an account of the risks associated with being an anti-uranium activist and the subsequent arrest and detention in a ‘democratic’ state.

Aboriginal people here in Queensland know all about the dangers of being in police custody.
See https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/whats-on/mulrunji-letter

***

The Uranium Express: live to fight, fight to live

The big capitalists think of politicians as a farmer would a gun dog, they do not like them much, but feed them just the same. – from Live to Fight, Fight to Liv, 1977 Right to March Campaign

On 30 October 1978, I was arrested at an anti-uranium demonstration of about 3,000 people in King George Square in Brisbane. Ciaron and Sean O’Reilly had already been arrested for disobey police direction and unlawful procession. At 6pm they were bailed, Ciaron’s bail being set at $100 and Sean was set free ‘on his own recognisance’. The organisers of the march, the Civil Liberties Campaign Group, paid out over $15,000 in bail money on that day.

Members of the Queensland police Task Force, along with Constables Allan Cameron Todd and Michael Egan, arrested me under a warrant signed by then acting-magistrate, William Joseph Mackay. This was the same magistrate who convicted the young Ciaron of assaulting a huge copper, John Frederick Johnson. The same copper broke Ciaron’s brother’s nose three months later.

I remember sitting in a court room and watching independent eyewitnesses, a tv cameraman, good film evidence, Jim Dowling, whom he first met during this incident.

Ciaron had a good lawyer who later became a judge.

He was backed up by a litany of character witnesses like teachers, nuns and priests all testifying to Ciaron’s innocence.

You’d think such people singing their praises of the young Ciaron – especially in the Irish catholic dominated judiciary of Queensland – would find a sympathetic ear in the magistrate.

But the ears of Magistrate Mackay remained closed – as if his worship lived in a permanent alcoholic haze – as he came down resoundingly in favour of the police and convicted the assaulted student of the very crime to which he (Ciaron) had fallen victim.

But to place Queensland’s problems solely at the door of corruption is to misunderstand history.

***

There is little doubt Queensland cops who were the most active in arresting anti-government demonstrators were also the most corrupt. But that too is only part of the story. We did not ever see the Fitzgerald inquiry impeach the magistrates that went along with the political repression. For example, magistrate Mackay continually accepted the word of these corrupt cops year after year.

As one tiny example, onetime, I stood accused of disobeying a police direction and resisting arrest. In fact I was walking down a footpath in Brisbane’s aptly named main street, the street of her royal highness – Queen Street.

During the subsequent trial I spent 4 days showing film of my arrest to the court, all the while cross-examining the arresting officer who lied through his teeth only to hear Magistrate Mackay confronted with the simple truth of my walking along the footpath played out on film day in day out come down on the side of law and justice and convicted me of disobeying police and resisting arrest. The same erstwhile magistrate went on to have an impeccable career slotting the working class in all their guilty forms on the evidence of corrupt cops. His worship rose to serve for a time as acting chief stipendiary magistrate. This was at a time when the state of Queensland was supposed to have become a better place after the Fitzgerald inquiry.

It should be pointed out that, with the Labor party in charge, an ALP attorney general, Matt Foley, who himself had been arrested in a political street march with 196 others on the eve of a state election on 11 November 1977, finally moved to change the deck chairs of the judicial system. Foley’s strategy was to steadily replace the old guard, National Party magistrates with legally trained lawyers from the profession. The new magistrates were sometime competent Labor lawyers capable of analysing a set of facts [See coroner’s report on the killing of Mulrunji by Palm Island Police] . Essentially their job remained the same, keep the working class in line. But I diverge here from the main story.

***

My arrest warrant signed by Mackay [I too had been labelled a terrorist] was for $50 – a case of ‘the money or the body’- and was issued as a result of charges laid against me in an earlier street march against the Bjelke-Petersen government.

When Todd and Egan approached I did not have $50 on me. An old man, who was standing behind me on the steps of the square, tried to pay the fine on my behalf, but Constable Todd refused, taking me into custody with the help of Egan, and two or three other cops. I have film of this encounter.

As I was arrested, the Queensland Police Task Force used a flying wedge to arrest several others around me.

I ended up in a crowded paddy wagon with about 10 – 15 other people.

The police van was parked in the middle of the street. A plain clothes special branch officer stood nearby. Uniformed police came to the van, opened the door and dragged me out onto the road. A uniformed cop known as ‘Blackie’ held me in a throat hold.

As I lost consciousness I could see a journalist, Dennis Reinhardt, whom I knew as the station co-ordinator of a local alternative radio 4ZZZ, standing on the street nearby. I called out to Reinhardt for assistance. He held a notebook in his hand but did nothing. I passed out on the asphalt as Blackie squeezed my windpipe shut. I had a splitting headache for the next three days.

In an article titled “700 Police face Qld marchers: 280 in street protest held“, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported the arrest in its usual sensationalist fashion:

‘In one incident police dragged Ian Curr, a demonstrator, from a police waggon (sic) and threw him into the back seat of a police sedan.

‘The street march law was introduced in September last year, struggled violently before being overcome by seven policemen.

‘A senior police spokesman said later Curr was wanted on a warrant for another offence.’ — SMH 31 October 1978.

I woke up in the back of a police car. The cops had placed me in handcuffs and I was pushed down on my back with by hands cuffed behind, awkwardly over the centre rise of the rear floor of the police car. As a result of the handcuffing, I would not regain feeling on the skin of my left hand for about 3 months. My shirt was ripped and had blood on it.SMH 31 October 1978 (2)

Egan drove the car and Todd sat in the front on his left. ‘Blackie’ and another sat in the back.

By law, under the magistrate’s warrant for my arrest, I was supposed to be taken to the nearest jail, Boggo Road. Instead, I was taken to police HQ in Herschel Street where I was flung into a lift and taken up several floors where, upon alighting from the lift, I was paraded in front of police currently on duty in the building.

I was then taken to a small room in the middle of the office floor where Todd, Blackie and another cop forced me to undress down to my underpants.

Todd said: You’re not very fit, Curr.

I replied that I was fitter than he would be when he got to my age (I was 27 and he was about 21). Todd claimed to be a state karate champion of some kind.

As Todd and Blackie intimidated me, I could hear Egan outside saying that we had to go (to Boggo Road jail). Todd locked the door. Egan pressed his shoulder against the door and the partition beside it moved. Todd did not respond. Egan then rammed the door with his shoulder and the door came open.

I was taken to Boggo Road, my head shaved, and later placed in a yard full of murderers and rapists.

Yet I was to survive this and other stints in jail.

However, sent to one jail, Stuart Creek in Townsville, in 1980, on the order of a magistrate for contempt of court, nearly resulted in my death.

But that is another story.

I was charged with ‘resisting arrest’ and taken to trial before a magistrate.

Special Branch officers attended throughout the 4 day trial. One special branch officer flashed his ankle holster showing a pistol while I gave evidence in the dock. I was acquitted of resisting arrest and received costs for my ripped shirt.

Soon after, in March 1979, Constable Egan resigned from the police force while on duty at an international women’s day rally and was harassed mercilessly by his former fellow officers for a long time after.Michael Egan escorted by police after resigning and throwing away his police hat at IWD March 1979 See picture of Constable Egan leaving the rally in the custody of police.

Allan Cameron Todd went on to take over his father’s successful Hi Fi business on Brisbane’s southside. Later Egan became a manager at Telstra, given the job of making workers redundant. Ciaron was a onetime teacher in the working class suburb of Logan and went on to become an international peace activist. I spent 22 years as a clerk in the Commonwealth Public Service before I was sacked for union activity. George Georges resigned from the Labor Party when the Hawke Labor government deregistered the Builders Labourers Federation in 1986. He contested the senate elections as an independent and lost his seat in the parliament. He was a co-founder, along with the Transport Workers Union state secretary, Hughie Williams, of the Paddington Workers Club in Brisbane. George rejoined the ALP until he died in the 1990s.

This is not to say that we had all been assigned our roles and faithfully played them as best we could, complaining only occasionally of the parts we had been given. But when recounted like this, one could be forgiven for thinking this is how it was.

The moral of the story?

The power of the state, when confronted, can result in great personal cost to those who oppose it.

Or as a friend said, killing people can put rest to a lot of problems. While we were marching in Queensland from 1977 – 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini deposed the US puppet, the Shah of Iran, as the religious zealots mercilessly put down the secular left.

In democracies like Australia and Ireland, the occasional death in custody may be counterproductive to some, but it may be considered a small inconvenience for the magistrates, police, media and politicians to cover up in the interest of big capitalists who want to get on with business.

Transnational mining companies are once again pressing ahead with plans to mine and export uranium in Queensland despite the marches, the mass arrests, the personal cost to anti-uranium activists like Ciaron O’Reilly when he was a high school student aged only 17. To Ciaron, I say, let us appraise what you have done, from where you have come, what allegory can be drawn from your journey on the peace train.

We should remember that the costs we have paid at the hands of the ‘demons and monsters’ of the special branch are small in comparison to those living in the deserts and towns of Iraq. It is they who bear the legacy of the depleted uranium that has been used and discarded by the US led ‘coalition of the willing’.

In 2001, the British Medical Journal reported that Iraqi health officials say ‘depleted uranium weapons – used by the American and British military during the [‘first’] Gulf war – may be to blame for a substantial increase in the number of cancer cases in the southern part of the country.’ Iraqi doctors wanted testing to be carried out. See BMJ report here.

Yet the economic rationalists are still making the same old arguments for uranium, despite the deaths caused by Maralinga, despite Three Mile Island, despite the deaths during and after Chernobyl.

I ask BushTelegraph readers this question: what does lead to change in a world of superficiality— as seen on many blogs and comments on the internet?

Ian Curr
6 February 2008

See also No Uranium Mines in Queensland

Counter Terrorist Cops, Special Branch and Paradigm Shifts on the Road to St. Brigid’s Well!

by Ciaron O’Reilly

LeftPress Legal Manual — Not Guilty

Civil Liberties (CLCC) Legal Manual for Street Marches

This past Saturday, a van load of pilgrims en route to the Festival of St Brigid in Kildare were stopped by the Irish Special Branch. We were questioned under Section 31 of the Offences Against the State Act and a detective accused me of being a terrorist. The paradigm shifts evident in this event are of concern and worth consideration.I have had dealings with the Special Branch for 30 years now. It’s historically interesting that the original name was the “Special Irish Branch”, I guess when they opened a franchise in Ireland the middle word became redundant. In post WW2 U.S., the FBI went through a period of heavily recruiting “over compensating more patriotic than thou” Irish American diaspora to such an extent – the joke was FBI stood for “Foreign Born Irish”. In the ’60’s along came the Berrigans, the draft board raids and “the Catholic Left” to such an extent that Irish Catholics lost their recently gained status as FBI recruitment fodder flavour of the month and the story goes that recruitment switched to targeting Mormons

In Queensland (Australia) in the ’70’s, we had an enormous Special Branch for the small size of the population. See http://bushtelegrap h.wordpress. com/2006/ 10/28/not- guilty/

They were mostly corrupt Irish Catholics servicing a corrupt Calvinist Premier Bjelke-Petersen. The deal was the cops could run, or get a take on, the drug, brothel, illegal casino action if the cops were willing to be used on the streets to deal with dissent. The politicians took their take from a more elevated trough, in terms of bribes and shares from Japanese & US. transnational corporations devouring the raw materials and carving up the real estate.

During my last year of high school in ’77, all demonstrations were banned in Queensland for the next 3 years. In this period, I got to meet Special Branch as they would photograph me, photograph people talking to me, follow me, beat me up, fit me up, raid my house and detain me.concerned-christians.jpg

For me, this harrassment peaked in ’83 following a riot at the local prison. Instead of looking into the inhumane squalid conditions that caused the riot, a meeting of the Special Branch and prison riot squad concluded that an exotic alliance of lefty groups had conspired to call the shots and instruct the lifers to riot. Groups named were a weird collection of hybrids like the “Marxist Leninist Anarchists”, nonexistent entities the “Circle A Gang”, old dependables for a fit up Ananda Marga, the Sparticus and the Brisbane Catholic Worker community. It reminds one of Abbie Hoffman’s response to the Prosecutor during the Chicago 8 Conspiracy Trial (coming to a movie theatre near you real soon http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Chicago_Seven )

Prosecutor “Did you conspire with these seven others to riot in Chicago?”
Hoffman (looking at his codefendants, many who didn’t like his politics too much) responded
“Conspire? We couldn’t agree on lunch!”

A week after the Special Branch/Riot Squad findings, the state (in order to take ban bjelke march and anti uranium picket 1977squalid prison conditions off the front page) claimed they had received a letter threatening the release of “foot and mouth” disease amongst the state’s cattle if prison demands weren’t met. Three houses were raided, two single Prison Action Group guys and the Catholic Worker hospitality house with warrants for animal pathogen, correspondence, typewriter etc. The State cabinet met, raised the penalty for the offence to 20 years and announced their main suspect had recently moved to Melbourne, was in the jail for a short period the previous year and house had just been raided. It looked like I (temporarily in Melbourne) was being fitted up and we took proactive action. The fact that the Catholic Worker were all vegetarians and didn’t have any intention of eating a cow let alone torturing herds with foot and mouth disease didn’t seem to stop their fantasy. Quite a bit of effort was put into mobilising the Catholic community, bishop, nuns, priests to provide protection from a frame up. The cops backed off.

During that decade there were many Special Branch and police raids in our neighbourhood (it was a time and a place dealt with in the novel/play/movie “He Died with a Falafel in His Hand“.

image I was present in a police raid scene retold in the book, in the movie the scene gets transferred to/set in Melbourne and someone gets shot by the cops – which didn’t happen in the book or real life!).

Whenever there was a raid on an activist house, those raided would try to get the word out and comrades would come running or phoning or announcements would be made on student radio, sympathetic lawyers notified, and folks encouraged to get there. This is before mobiles and Internet, so getting the initial word out was a bit more problematic.

So like the other day in Ireland, it has always been a tactic when raided or detained to get the word out to make as many friends aware as possible should the situation escalate etc.
This state of affairs, and the old Queensland Special Branch, unravelled in the late ’80’s with the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption.

Four government ministers and the Police Commissioner (14 years) went to jail. Premier Bjelke-Petersen came close – his jury hung and his ass saved from incarceration by a young member of his own party.
Since then, due to my nonviolent faith based anti-war activism, I’ve had my run ins with Queensland Counter Terrorist cops, F.B.I, & U.S. Air Force Intelligence http://www.plowshar esactions. org/webpages/ ANZUSPEACEFORCEP LOWSHARES. htm
British based private intelligence firm servicing BAe
http://sydney. indymedia. org.au/story/ spies-caat- catholic- worker-bae- east-timor
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation http://www.indymedi a.ie/article/ 74114

SO WHAT’S NEW?

In the last couple of months it feels as though there has been a paradigm shift!
In Feb 2003 I and four others were arrested and charged with $2 1/2 million criminal damage to a U.S. navy war plane at Shannon Airport www.peaceontrial. com . In August 2006, after three trials, I and my four co-defendants were acquitted at the Four Courts of all charges of criminal damage on the basis that the by damaging & disabling the U.S. war plane I and my four co-defendants had indeed preserved life and property in Iraq.
In the period from Feb 2003-2006 when I was suspected and charged with a serious crime I had no problem entering and exiting England or Ireland at any port or airport.
This past November 07 the paradigm shifted and things have changed.
I returned to Ireland from Australia in late October 07 to launch the documentary “Route Irish” at Seoma Spraoi and also attend a Hedge School on the Rossport campaign in Mayo. After a week I was to board a flight to London where I was taking up residence at the London Catholic Worker community www.londoncatholicw orker.org

As I was taking my bags to check in at Dublin airport, I noticed a Garda nudge another and point in my direction. I then noticed with all the haste of “I’m gonna tell mammy!” the Garda on his radio. I thought I might get stopped and questioned at Dublin airport – not a problem, didn’t happen. What I forgot was mammy is still Brittania whose lads were waiting for me when I landed at Luton. Being grateful for small mercies at least it wasn’t “Wait ’til your Uncle Sam gets home!” and straught into those orange p.j.’s

See report on being detained by count terrorist cops at Luton Airport on link http://www.indymedi a.ie/article/ 84989

Following a low key act of nonviolent civil disobedience at Northwood HQ 28/12/07, the Catholic Worker farmhouse was raided by six detectives with myself, another CW, 3 refugees and 3 children in attendance, see link http://www.indymedi a.ie/article/ 85631
Last Wednesday, I was flying back through Luton. I was stopped by one of the British counterterrorist detectives who had detained me at Luton in November.

He took my boarding pass and passport and said

“Do you remember me?”
I replied. “Yes!”
He said “Have you been involved in any protests lately!”
I replied “Well it’s a democracy isn’t it? That shouldn’t be an issue, should it?”

What I should have pointed out to him was at that very moment there were 20,000 police marching on Parliament for higher wages and asked him why was he here and not there?
Things got a little tense as he indicated he could take me back to the secure room. He eventually let me on my way.

On Saturday morning 26/1/08, I had arranged with an Afri (Action from Ireland) worker to pick me up at Euston Statioin for a lift to their Brigid’s Festival in Kildare. I stood by the side of the road opposite Euston from 9.30am waiting for the Afri van, reading and smoking. At about 10am the Afri vehicle arrived and I got in the rear door. There was the Afri guy driving, an older woman who has worked in El Salvador for the past 25+ years and three young female Afri interns from France & Italy.

After our vehicle took the turn for Kildare at the Red Cow pub, an unmarked car sounded its siren and motioned for us to pull over. Two plainclothes detectives came to the driver’s side and requested the driver’s license. They walked back to their vehicle, I said to the driver, “Those boys sound university educated!”

The driver replied, “They seem like Special Branch!”

The detectives returned to our vehicle.

One detective, “Are you going to protest at Shannon?”

This is a major paradigm shift that is occurring during the war on terror. All protest is linked by the state to criminality.

Driver response: “No we’re going to Kildare!”

Detective: “I want the names of everyone in this vehicle!”

Me: “What gives you the right to take our names?”

Detective leaning through the second window:

“So we have a Mr.O’Reilly here, a self proclaimed eco terrorist!”

2nd. paradigm shift all nonviolent direct action now branded as terrorist activity.

Me: “Where have I ever self identified as that? You know that’s not true!”

Detective: “In interviews with journalists! ”

Me “You know that’s bullshit!

We are going to a religious festival and you are intimidating us!”

Detective: “Who feels intimidated! ”

Me: “I feel intimidated and I don’t intimidate easy!

What right do you have to take names?”

Detective: “Under section 31 of the Offences Against the State Act!”

Vanload of people on the way to St. Brigid’s Festival suspected of terrorist activity.

By this stage the second cop has opened my door leaning into me and stretching over my back to question intern in 3rd. row of van. I suppress an impulse to push him and reclaim my bodyspace with the thought this guy wants me to hit him. The other guy is trying to provoke me verbally. Chill, keep the initiative.

So there you go in ’83 the Queensland Special Branch have me down as an activist willing to sacrifice the ecology for improved prison conditions and in 08 the Irish Special Branch have got me down as an eco hero even though I just arrived on a cheap Ryan Air Flight when I should have taken the train and the ferry.

The paradigm shifts are interesting

1. All protest is associated as criminal

2. Nonviolent direct action is now defined as terrorism

Other observations

3. The Special Branch are sensitive around Shannon. They are not responding to a domestic phenomenon. Today there is minimal activism and organising around the issue of U.S. troops passing through Shannon to wage war on the people of Iraq.

There is faithful remnant of activists at Shannon….. but no movement. In all of 2007 there was no mobilisation at Shannon. There is none planned for 2008.

At Afri’s anti-war Brigid Festival, the word “Shannon” was not uttered until I got up and made an intervention following Briuce Kent’s keynote speech outlining what had occurred on the road to the festival. I heard “Shannon” uttered only once again after that intervention.

The Special Branch are responding to a paradigm set by Mammy Brittania & Uncle Sam. The Irish Special Branch act true to form as the product of that dysfunctional union….intimidating and harrassing pilgrims en route to the festival of St. Brigid in Kildare.

4. The Special Branch boys took our plowshares actions at Shannon and the juries affirmation & unanimous acquittal www.peaceontrial. com kind of personal. They should have taken the implicit message from the jury and investigated the high crimes occurring at Shannon. Instead from the flatfoots to the uni grad spooks they are going to make life a little harder for those who question their subservience to the imperial game that slaughters the children of Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe soon Iran.

5. The Special Branch Counter Terrorist spooks inflate, spin, lie about activists and present them as the reason for their budgets, careers and promotions.

Ciaron O’Reilly
London Catholic Worker
ENGLAND
Landline 0207 249 0041
From Overseas 0044 207 249 0041
Mobile Calls & Text 0795 029 0857
From Overseas +44 795 029 0857
http://www.londoncatholicworker.org
http://www.peaceontrial.com


“The poor tell us who we are,
The prophets tell us who we could be,
So we hide the poor,
And kill the prophets.”

Phil Berrigan

[Editor’s Note: this essay was first posted on Sydney and Irish IndyMedia. My response – nay additions – can be read at More than ‘Fear and Loathing’ — the pilgrim’s progress]

No Uranium Mines in Queensland

January 8, 2008

Re: ‘No Uranium Mines in Queensland” fact-finding and awareness raising Tour

Dear friends and colleagues,

Australia is at a critical crossroads of deciding whether it will increase its involvement in the global nuclear industry or support the development of peaceful and sustainable technology. There is increasing pressure on communities to allow more Australian uranium to be mined for export to countries that use nuclear power, many of which are also nuclear weapons states.friends-of-the-dirt-marching-around-in-circles-in-king-george-square.jpg

As you know, Queensland has a long proud history of opposing uranium mining. Labor and the state government currently have a prohibition on the mining of uranium in the state. However, numerous mining companies are exploring for uranium and boasting of profitable finds in Queensland. We are greatly concerned that there will be a push to change Queensland’s “no uranium mine” policy and force uranium mining on indigenous land

With the support of are embarking on a tour of MT Isa to Townsville in either late February or early March for our anti-nuclear campaign. There are proposed uranium mining sites throughout this region & we want to bring it to the attention of the locals. We will be working with local community groups & local aboriginal people to discuss strategies of how to prevent uranium mining. We will be meeting with politicians, aboriginal elders & holding many public meetings to keep everyone informed. Friends Of The Earth Brisbane would like to invite you to be a part of this special journey, to get involved in whatever way you can.

For more information you can contact Robin Taubenfeld on 0411118737 or Robert Jones on 0432956721. Thank you.

Where now for Palestine?

After US president Bush’s visit to Palestine in in January 2008 Israel cut power and fuel in its siege of the Gaza strip yet again .

See http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19128.htm http://www.petitiononline.com/SaveGaza/petition.html for details.

Given the points raised below in the email about Israel’s cutting power and fuel in its siege of the Gaza strip in Palestine, I think that the Stop the War Collective (STWC) in Brisbane should be asked to address what is happening in Palestine.

Nothing was said at pre-election rallies held in November 2007.

Where is the point of fighting electoral politics with petitions and appeals to the Labour Party? Nothing happens. The ALP government is both pro-US alliance and pro-Israel.

There will be no peace anywhere in the Middle East without the liberation of Palestine.

Added to the silence on Palestine, nothing has been said by Australian political parties to condemn recent Israeli bombing of Syria.

Neither did the Coalition nor Labor criticise the war against Lebanon in July 2006.

Foreign ministers support Israel’s lie that it is protecting its borders.

The book Where Now for Palestine? : The Demise of the Two-State Solution depicted here is available from Avid Reader bookshop in 193 Boundary Street, West End.

The ‘Electoralist’ Approach
Does the approach below work? Where is the evidence that it achieves anything?

Petition: Bring your concern about the Gaza siege to the candidates competing for your electorate

Dear [Candidate],

As a Queensland [ / Brisbane / Lilley/ Griffith/ Moreton/ whichever/ electorate] voter I am writing to you and all the other candidates competing for [this seat / Queensland / Brisbane seats] to let you know how upset I am that no Australian politician or political party has made clear protest to the Israeli embassy in Canberra concerning the cruel siege which the State of Israel has been imposing for many months on the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

The crisis has been alarmingly heightened by the decision taken by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on 25 October 2007 to cut off the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip.

Ehud Barak’s inhuman decision follows a prolonged siege which has led to an almost complete paralysing of economic activity in the Gaza Strip, where some eighty percent of the population have fallen below the poverty line.

This shocking siege includes a prohibition on the entry of milk powder for babies and the denial of vital medical treatment to patients who cannot leave the Gaza Srip for treatment. The shooting of Qassam missiles by Islamic Jihad and by Fatah’s Al- Aqsa brigade (while Hamas has been observing a unilateral ceasefire) cannot be an excuse for such a severe collective punishment imposed on one and a half million inhabitants, constituting a severe violation of human rights and international law.

In its authoritative commentary on Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Committee of the Red Cross has clarified that the prohibition on collective punishment does not just refer to criminal penalties, “but penalties of any kind inflicted on persons or entire groups of persons, in defiance of the most elementary principles of humanity, for acts that these persons have not committed.”

The UN Agency for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has described the closures at these crossings, as “unprecedented.” (http:// www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EVOD-77SHRQ?OpenDocument 6 Oct 2007) UNRWA Senior Liaison Officer Saahir Lone reported in June that the Agency had been forced to close nearly half of its food distribution centres.

Asked whether the Agency had an emergency food stockpile, Mr. Lone explained that a chronic lack of funding and restrictions on the movement of goods in and out of the Gaza Strip had made it difficult for the Agency to maintain a food reserve. (http://www.un.org/unrwa/ news/briefings/PressCon_15jun07.html)

I look forward to hearing from you an explanation of your party’s views and actions on this severe violation of human rights and international law. The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution calling on the Israeli government to end the siege. There should be urgent action to raise a bi-partisan resolution in the Australian parliament too, to pressure the Israeli government to lift the siege imposed on the population of Gaza.

With respectful regards,

*********************************************************************************************************************************************

The Gaza Bombshell

After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.

by David Rose April 2008

Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush, whose secret Palestinian intervention backfired in a big way.

“A Dirty War”

The Al Deira Hotel, in Gaza City, is a haven of calm in a land beset by poverty, fear, and violence. In the middle of December 2007, I sit in the hotel’s airy restaurant, its windows open to the Mediterranean, and listen to a slight, bearded man named Mazen Asad abu Dan describe the suffering he endured 11 months before at the hands of his fellow Palestinians. Abu Dan, 28, is a member of Hamas, the Iranian-backed Islamist organization that has been designated a terrorist group by the United States, but I have a good reason for taking him at his word: I’ve seen the video. more>> http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804?printable=true&currentPage=all

My worst moment: remember September 11th … 1973

A short story

The morning of 11th September 1973 will remain forever fixed in the memory of Julio Jorquera Muñoz.

Julio was a Graphic1 maintenance fitter at Elecmetal one of the workplaces in the heavy industry sector under the supervision of the government and which was administered by a Workers’ Council. It was also the political centre of Cordón Vicuña Mackenna, an organization which brought together in one group all of the industries of that sector. This was in Santiago, the capital city of Chile.

When he arrived at work that morning the atmosphere was tense. The radios had announced that the Navy had taken the port of Valparaiso and were suppressing industrial centres and workplaces. Julio, a militant in the socialist party and a union leader, was on the director’s committee of Cordón Vicuña Mackenna.

He had good reasons for being worried as he had tried to contact his wife but communications by then were cut.

However, in accordance with emergency plans already in place for this situation, he assumed responsibility and gave instructions to his comrades to be prepared for any contingency.

At 9:00am, Radio Magallanes, the only station still free to broadcast, announced that President Allende had arrived at Government House to confront the military coup. At the same time Julio received a communiqué from the leadership of the socialist party ordering him to organize a patrol of 12 men to go to Government House and join in the defense of the government.

Julio knew all of his comrades well and was aware that they hadn’t had sufficient preparation in the use of their arms but he called a meeting of party militants and read the communiqué to them. Nobody asked questions because everyone knew what they had to do. Julio called for 12 volunteers and twenty hands went up.

Faced with this situation he felt that the fairest thing to do would be to leave it to chance. Cutting up twenty pieces of paper he wrote the word SÍ on twelve of them, NO on eight, folded them over exactly the same and placed them in a hat.

He then explained to his comrades that whoever took out a piece of paper with SÍ written on it would go on the patrol and those who drew a piece saying NO would have to stay behind. He then asked each one to read out loud the word written on their piece of paper.image

This was how he selected the 12 members of the patrol which he was to lead.

The most difficult thing now, considering that all of the streets were being patrolled by the military, was to get to Government House and join the resistance forces. Julio and his comrades discussed different alternatives to avoid the military patrols but none of the ideas seemed safe.

Finally, an electrician, Jose Sanchez, suggested that as Government House was on fire they might use a fire engine to transport the men.

As the fire station was located nearby, his idea was accepted unanimously. But commandeering a fire engine wasn’t going to be easy so Manuel Carrasco, the political leader in their workplace, proposed that the 12 men should present themselves at the fire station with Julio in the lead, identify themselves as members of the secret police and demand that a fire engine be handed over.

It seemed a good idea because at that time Santiago was in chaos and various special forces, some civilian and some in uniform, were at large.

They made their way to the fire station in two black cars with their number plates hidden. Clutching sub-machine guns and pistols they ordered the station chief to hand over the fire engine and uniforms for a special operation. The chief and the firemen on duty at the time didn’t hesitate for a minute in complying and they didn’t ask questions.

Julio Jorquera and his 12 comrades dressed themselves in the firemens’ uniforms, boarded the fire truck and set out for Government House. Traveling at great speed and with the siren blaring nobody stopped them until they reached the perimeter of Government House.

They approached Santa Rosa St. almost reaching Bernado O’Higgins Avenue when they were intercepted by a 20 man patrol armed with sub-machine guns and under the command of a young officer. The militants led by Julio had their weapons ready to confront the military patrol if necessary but the officer only asked them to identify themselves and to explain where they were going. They had false identity papers and had no problem showing them to the officer and explaining that they had been called to a fire at Government House.

The officer, not very convinced with this explanation, tried to contact the fire station but happily for Julio and his comrades communications were cut. So the young officer decided to let them through and even gave them safe passage so that they weren’t stopped by any other patrol.

Years later Julio Jorquera remembers this dramatic experience and tells his children:

‘That was the worst moment of my life. If we had been discovered we would have been shot in the act, those were Pinochet’s orders. And it would have been a useless death because when we reached the place where we thought we were going to find the rest of the resistance there were only soldiers, the whole sector was surrounded by the military.

‘Judging that sooner or later we would be discovered we made our way to the embassy of Argentina which was located on Vicuña Mackenna Avenue and there we asked for political asylum. Since our lives were in danger, the ambassador, a very humane person, took us in and gave us protection. There were people already there, just like us, who had sought asylum.

At the end of December of that year the dictatorship granted permission for our exit from Chile and so we finally arrived in Buenos Aires where we were able to breathe once again the wonderful air of freedom. Thanks to the solidarity of the Argentinean people our lives were saved and this story can be written down and known by everyone.’

Marcial Parada
January 2008

[BushTelegraph Note: Please note that this is a short story. All the characters and events are fictitious.]

Marcial Parada is also the author of Vuelo Lan Chile – the true story of thirty-one families who left their country to escape from injustice and human rights violations suffered under the military dictatorship that ruled Chile.]

Brisbane Labour History Association (BLHA) news

The BLHA newsletter is available by clicking here: blha-newsletter-jan-08.pdf

Welcome to 2008 – may it be a good one.

BLHA have hit the ground running with 3 great events planned for the next 3 months:

  • Saturday 9 FebruaryWorth Fighting For! A truly exciting concert with Leah Cotterell, Margret RoadKnight, Helen Rowe and the Combined Unions Choir. This is the next in our Rekindling the Flames of Discontent events.
  • Saturday 8 March – Brisbane launch of The Coalminers of Queensland, Volume 2: A narrative history of the Queensland Colliery Employees Union: The Pete Thomas Essays (hosted by BLHA & CFMEU Mining & Energy Division, Queensland District Branch)


  • Saturday 5 April – Launch of DVD Building Unity – celebrating 150 years of CFMEU.

(hosted by BLHA & CFMEU Queensland Constructions Workers Divisional Branch)
Read about these events and much more in the attached Newsletter for January.

Cheers
Dale Jacobsen
Secretary Brisbane Labour History Association
Dale Lorna Jacobsen
PO Box 456
Maleny Qld 4552
Ph: 07 5494 4046
Mob: 0413 843 652

‘Liberating Pine Gap’ Book Launch

A wide cross-section of the peace movement and supporters attended the launch of ‘Liberating Pine Gap’.About 60 people turned up at AHIMSA (meaning Peace) house to hear speeches from PG4 activists Adele Goldie and Jim Dowling with supporting comment from Ann Rampa and Sean O’Reilly among others.

There were dancers, video, original lyrics and music and sing along in a night of solidarity with the Pine Gap actions.

Jim Dowling launched the book with a hand made rocket launcher that read launch books not bombs.

Liberating Pine Gap is available by sending $5 or cheque made out to “Sean O’Reilly”** and post it to 69 Kurumba St, Kippa-Ring, Qld, 4021

Jim Dowling and Adele Goldie leave for Darwin on Tuesday 12 February 2008 for the appeal against their conviction in the Supreme Court under the Defence Special Undertakings Act 1952.

It is likely they will both go to jail – see https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/pine-gap-four-jailed/.

Ian Curr
15 February 2008

***

7 PM, Friday 8th February

AHIMSA HOUSE 26 HORAN WEST END

Live entertainment. Food and drinks available

On the 9th December 2005, four people calling themselves Christians Against All Terrorism walked into the most secure military base in Australia to perform a Citizens Inspection for terrorist activity. The four maintain Pine Gap is involved in providing targeting information for the bombing of civilians, indeed the terrorising of a whole nation. The four were subsequently arrested, and charged under a law never before used in Australia.

At their supreme court jury trial, the prosecution demanded all four be sent to jail. When the judge failed to do so, the prosecution appealed to the full bench of the Supreme Court. This appeal will be heard on Feb 20th – soon after this book launch.

All four will be in Darwin for the appeal hearing. On arrival they expect to be jailed briefly (6 to 13 days)for refusing to pay fines from their trial. They will then attend the appeal hearing.

012108-0528-1.png

The Pine Gap four also hope to return to Pine Gap around Anzac Day this year to continue the resistance. Adele and Jim will be present at the launch.

The booklet details the planning, actions and court case as well as Donna Mulhearn’s harrowing account of life in the recently “liberated” Iraq.

***********************

The Book

One telling passage in the book “Liberating Pine Gap” is the excerpt of an email sent by Donna Mulhearn, one of the Pine Gap 6, about the effect that the Iraq war had on her.

“Wondering if tonight is the night you’re going to die weighs so heavy in your gut it feels constantly sick. Watching others die around you leaves you broken and empty. Trying to comfort the mourner leaves you exhausted, powerless and constantly asking: “did I do enough?”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has affected my entire life. After returning home from the war last year I became so angry I could barely hold a conversation. Whenever I heard an aeroplane overhead I grimaced on the inside, covered my ears and curled up on the ground. I hated to go out and socialise, so I stopped. Although I had a book deal, I couldn’t write anymore, so I stopped. I cried every day for six months. So much it made me sick with nausea. I was a complete basket-case. My Doctor referred me to a Psychiatrist.

That was me – a relatively strong, resourceful adult. Imagine how it affected the kids.

Like the kid who found his mother’s body lying cold in the rubble after a missile ‘accidentally’ hit the wrong house. ”

“In an age of universal deceit,
telling the truth is
a revolutionary act!”
— George Orwell


Contents

Introduction

Email from Baghdad – A Witness to Terror

Entering the ‘gap’ between what’s right and what’s legal

Peace on Earth..

The Charges

Pine Gap on Trial

Written by Christians Against All Terrorism

The booklet contains articles written before, during, and after our action to expose Pine Gap’s role in international terrorism. It will help understand the action and trial as they unfolded.

It is mainly for informative purposes but is also a fundraiser for further actions and trials which are likely to arise.

The Booklet: One copy- $5 including postage. Bulk copies $4 each.

Send to: Sean O’Reilly 69 Karumba St, Kippa Ring, Q 4021
for more details: email penangke@octa4.net.au or phone Jim 07 34253003

Darwin: The Pine Gap 4 (Bryan Law, Donna Mulhearn, Adele Goldie, and Jim
Dowling) will all be in Darwin in February for the appeal against our sentence (i.e. their
further attempt to send us to jail). It is likely some or all of us will spend a week or two in
jail as soon as wee arrive for refusing to pay our fines from the original trial.

ALICE SPRINGS/ANZAC DAY: We are planning further actions at Pine Gap around
the Anzac Day long weekend (25th April 2008). All are most welcome to join us and
support the resistance.

Any people wishing to become involved in our actions would be most welcome, however. Contact Jim Dowling on (07)3425 3003 or email to penangke@octa4.net.au or see http://pinegap6.livejournal.com/

Typeset in Calibri by LeftPress

Cover Photo of Adele at Pine Gap

Introduction

clip_image002This booklet is attempts to serve two purposes. The first is to explain the actions of a small group of people resisting Australian war making. After the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, the Australian government promised to support whatever bloodthirsty revenge the US decided to take and has resolutely kept that promise. This is despite overwhelming public opposition to the war in Iraq. Before the 2003 invasion, over two thirds of Australians opposed the war. The most recent poll (October 2007) shows 64% opposing our presence there right now. Tragically, however, there is rarely any acknowledgement of the terrible wrong we have done to Iraq. Pathetically, discussion often centers on the need to get out because there is nothing more we can do “to help.” Such is the power of patriotism and propaganda to prevent any focus on the real issues in a time of war.

Polls and surveys are also being done in Iraq despite the chaos which reigns. The Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies (ICRSS) recently released poll results showing 90% of Iraqis believe they are worse off than before the US led invasion. Despite the fact that now most of the slaughter is Iraqis fighting one another, the same survey showed that 66% of Iraqis believe the security situation would improve if the occupiers left. More than half of Iraqis now support violent attacks against the occupiers.

A second independent study by ORB, a British polling agency has confirmed the much publicized Lancet reports on violent deaths in Iraq. Both surveys conclude that over one million Iraqis have now been killed since our invasion. This far surpasses the Rwandan genocide figure of 800,000. Unicef reports that malnutrition amongst children continues to rise, while, as I write, a cholera outbreak is spreading throughout Iraq. Prior to the invasion the Baghdad morgue received twenty bodies per month of people killed violently. Now that figure regularly passes 2000, many brutally tortured and left for dead on the streets. In our absurd claim to be fighting a war on terror we have terrorized a whole a nation. The UN now claims over 4.2 million Iraqis are refugees. Think of it – a country with not many more people than Australia, and a population bigger than Queensland’s fleeing their homes.

clip_image004In December 2005 Christians Against All Terrorism traveled to central Australia to do what we could to expose and resist Australia’s largest contribution to the War crime which is the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This small booklet reprints the articles we wrote as our action unfolded – essentially the lead-up, the action, and the trial. As I write we are still awaiting the outcome of the State’s appeal against the leniency of our sentencing, as they attempt once more to send us to jail. The second purpose of this booklet is to encourage others to resist in whatever way they can. The oft repeated sentence bears repeating one more time. “All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing”. Of course not everyone can take the action described in the following pages, so I will leave your form of resistance up to you. The main thing is to do something to resist the violence being done in our name.

Any people wishing to become involved in our actions would be most welcome, however. You can phone me on (07)3425 3003 or email to penangke@octa4.net.au

Peace, Jim Dowling, October 2007

Email from Baghdad – A Witness to Terror

Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Donna Mulhearn felt called to join a group of Westerners in Baghdad who became known as “Human Shields”. They placed themselves at potential civilian targets after notifying the US of their positions. Although they could not stop the war, none of the places they were protecting were bombed while they were there. (At least one place was bombed immediately after Human Shields left).

After the invasion Donna returned home to Australia, In November 2003 she went back to Baghdad to help the numerous street children made homeless by the war. She started a home for some of them called “My Home Iraq”, and later a school designed to help children with trauma. The following is an email Donna sent back to Australia on the 8th February 2004. It can perhaps explain a little why Christians Against All Terrorism risked our liberty to resist our nation’s ongoing role in terrorizing a whole nation.

Dear friends,

Little Mohamed loves to draw. His colourful pictures include typical Iraqi scenes: palm trees, a big sun, blue sky, and of course the tanks, choppers, bullets and blood which are part of everyday life here.

He takes time to draw them in great detail, especially the blood spurting out from the bodies on the ground. The tanks and soldiers doing the killing all display American flags.

Haider, 14, gets angry quickly. He snaps and lashes-out violently at the other kids. He also practices self-mutilation. Once when he was angry, he smashed a window with his fist, grabbed a piece of jagged glass and slashed his arms in front of us.

Haider is an exceptionally smart and talented boy. When I asked him if he wants to go back to school. He answered emphatically “No!”

“I cause trouble in school,” he explained.

“Why?” I asked. “Because I’m angry,” he said shaking his fists in the air.

“Why are you angry?”

“I’m just angry,” he said. “I’m very angry”.

Many of the other boys we meet are angry too. They are violent, agitated, tense. Some haven’t played and laughed for months. It’s as if they‘ve forgotten how.

These boys reflect the state of millions of children across Iraq who are suffering acute trauma as a result of the invasion, the occupation, a decade of harsh sanctions, and life under an oppressive regime.

“The street kids are the tip of the ice-berg,” says Dr Ali Rasheed from the Iraq Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Program.

“In every family children are suffering,” he tells us.

“Because 50% of the Iraqi population is below the age of 14, this means millions of children – an entire generation – are currently suffering psychological stress.”

I’m not surprised.

Many of my friends, well-adjusted adults, who watched the war in intense frustration have since been struck with profound sadness, insatiable anger and a sense of helplessness that is, at times, debilitating.

As for me – experiencing the emotional heaviness of living in pre-war Iraq and then enduring 12 days of the ‘shock and awe” bombing campaign of Baghdad was enough to send me bonkers.

My experience was typical: Regular ear-splitting explosions, sleep deprivation because your bed shakes every night when the bombing starts. The windows rattle, and often smash, the roar of the planes overhead brings with it an anxiety that causes a constant clenching of teeth.

Wondering if tonight is the night you’re going to die weighs so heavy in your gut it feels constantly sick. Watching others die around you leaves you broken and empty. Trying to comfort the mourner leaves you exhausted, powerless and constantly asking: “did I do enough?”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has affected my entire life. After returning home from the war last year I became so angry I could barely hold a conversation. Whenever I heard an aeroplane overhead I grimaced on the inside, covered my ears and curled up on the ground. I hated to go out and socialise, so I stopped. Although I had a book deal, I couldn’t write anymore, so I stopped. I cried every day for six months. So much it made me sick with nausea. I was a complete basket-case. My Doctor referred me to a Psychiatrist.

That was me – a relatively strong, resourceful adult. Imagine how it affected the kids.

Like the kid who found his mother’s body lying cold in the rubble after a missile ‘accidentally’ hit the wrong house.

The girl who started vomiting as she hid under her bed every night when the building started to shake. It shook so hard that the windows smashed all over her bedroom floor, and the explosions were so loud they ripped through her body and she thought her head might explode. Then it all started again the next night.

The boy who watched his mother weep uncontrollably because she was one of many women to lose her unborn baby as a result of suffering shock from the ‘terror’ bombing campaign of Baghdad. A campaign that was not designed to hit targets but to terrorize and create fear. It worked.

Think of little Omar, who I met in a hospital one day during the war. He had just lost his entire family when his house was bombed. He’s now an orphan. The nurses were afraid to tell him because they feared the shock would kill him. Imagine how he might be feeling now.

And there’s the 12-year-old boy who suddenly became the head of his house-hold after his soldier-father reported for duty before the war and never came home. Not even a body. His father is just a statistic now – ‘Iraqi military casualties’ – a statistic that is never spoken of. His mother sends him out to the street to beg so the family can survive.

Think of the little girl who saw her little brother’s legs blown off by one of the thousands of brightly coloured cluster bombs that now lie through the fields in Iraq.

Now think about the kiddies in Samara who were herded into a corner and handcuffed when the Americans raided their house in the middle of the night wielding machine guns just last week. Who watched their mother being humiliated as she was searched by foreign men and to top the humiliation, they put her out onto the street to stand in the cold in her night dress.

Think of the kids in Balad who screamed when soldiers took away their father with a sack over his head because the military ‘heard’ that he had spoke badly of the Americans. They’ve cried every night for six months because they’ve been refused a visit. He’s been detained without charge or trial. They don’t know when they will see him again. The family now lives without an income and struggles to survive.

clip_image005Think of the children of Baghdad who have had four of their large family ‘amusement’ parks confiscated and transformed into ugly military bases. Where there were once Ferris Wheels there are now tanks, where there were slippery dips there are munitions stores. Baghdad Island has been re-named Bandit Island – the soldiers there have made a large skull the new logo. During the school holidays this week in Iraq large banners around Baghdad asked: ‘Where will the children play?”

Imagine how the kids in Al-Almariyia felt when their school was surrounded by tanks, the guns pointed towards them and 15 students dragged away and put into jail. All because they were in the vicinity of an anti-US demonstration held the day before.

Think of the kids in Ojua, an entire village now surrounded by razor wire and concrete. They can’t leave home to play at the park unless they have permission and a pass. The tanks park outside their homes: the choppers swoop with their thunderous wings overhead all day.

Imagine experiencing any of the above.

Imagine experiencing it as a five-year old boy or an eight year-old girl.

Imagine what that might do to you. To your mind, your heart, your body, your spirit.

I can shed a bit of light.

According to Dr Ali, for a start, nightmares, bed-wetting and panic attacks are common.

Other symptoms of trauma include deficiency in initiative, less interest in school, creating trouble at home and school, reading difficulties.

Apprehension, anxiety, obsessive behavior will develop later. He says Post-Traumatic Stress could erupt after weeks, months or years.

The statistic on Iraq’s age is staggering. Half the population is under 14. That means the recent war was, in effect, a war against children.

And let’s spare a thought for the other part of the equation. A report has found that US soldiers in Iraq are suffering Post-Traumatic Stress in record numbers. Suicides are unusually high. Families of the service men and women back at home also suffer extreme stress and secondary trauma.

But healing is possible. And we can be part of it.

Our Home – Iraq’s new project is based on the fact that we believe it is our responsibility to help Iraqi children heal from their trauma and reach their full potential.

I’ll share with you next how we can do this together.

Your pilgrim

Donna (Mulhearn)

PS: The boys are well, blossoming like flowers.

PPS: Thanks to all who’ve said prayers for my Mum and thanks to Martha for your visit. Mum’s in rehab now and is doing well.

PPPS: “With their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns – in your head, in your head they’re still fighting.” Zombie, The Cranberries.

Bryan published the following in Margo Kingston’s WEBDIARY in October 2005, shortly before we headed for Pine Gap. The footnotes have been added for this publication.

Entering the ‘gap’ between what’s right and what’s legal

Around September 2005 I was invited to take part in a small, daggy affinity- group action at the Pine Gap intelligence facility near Alice Springs. The invitation came from Jim Dowling, a Catholic Worker friend of mine.

Along with the invitation came a few pages of eloquence from Father George Zabelka who, in August 1945 was the Catholic chaplain for the 509th Composite Group of the US Airforce on Tinian Island in the Pacific. He blessed the crews of the Enola Gay (Hiroshima) and Bok’s Car (Nagasaki) before they flew to drop the Atomic Bomb on Japanese civilians.

Father George gave a speech to a Pax Christi conference at Notre Dame University in August 1985.

I worked with Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights struggle in Flint, Michigan. His example and words of nonviolent action, choosing love instead of hate, truth instead of lies, and nonviolence instead of violence stirred me deeply. This brought me face to face with pacifism – active nonviolent resistance to evil. I recall his words after he was jailed in Montgomery, and this blew my mind. He said, “Blood may flow in the streets of Montgomery before we gain our freedom, but it must be our blood that flows, and not that of the white man. We must not harm a single hair on the head of our white brothers.”

I struggled. I argued. But yes, there it was in the Sermon on the Mount, very clear: ‘Love your enemies. Return good for evil.’ I went through a crisis of faith. Either accept what Christ said, as impossible and silly as it may seem, or deny him completely.

For the last 1700 years the church has not only been making war respectable: it has been inducing people to believe it is an honourable profession. This is not true. We have been brainwashed. It is a lie.

Pine Gap – what does it do?

Pine Gap is a ground receiving station for space-based intelligence gathering. It’s the most strategically important US base in Australia and enjoys substantial secrecy and protection from Parliamentary oversight.*

From what is known outside the official record , Pine Gap is a vital component of war-fighting in Iraq. It’s monitoring of radar, cell-phone, radio, and long-distance telephone communication enables it to provide targeting information for US air and ground forces.**

When the US launched it’s “shock and awe” bombardment of Iraq, information from Pine Gap pointed the missiles and “smart weapons” toward Iraqi military targets – towards air-defence radars, towards Iraqi missile silos, and towards command bunkers. Many thousands of civilians died in that initial phase of the Iraq war.***

Now that the US is attacking “insurgents”, information from Pine Gap tracks and monitors telephone communications, identifying and tracking suspects and leading troops, missiles and bombs to the houses and neighbourhoods they live in. Many thousands of civilians continue to be killed as “collateral damage” in these campaigns.

If I asked any one of you, “Ought I shoot to death a family or group of families, or a child or group of children because their lives are inconvenient to me?” , you wouldn’t hesitate in saying NO! If I said I was going to go ahead anyway, you would try to stop me, perhaps by intervening yourselves, but almost certainly by calling the authorities and asking them to act.

Yet Pine Gap is a base which has been used to slaughter thousands of families who got in the way of US and Australian foreign policy, who were inconveniently present in urban areas scheduled for saturation bombing, or who are even now in the wrong place when Coalition forces patrol the chaos of Iraq.

There are no authorities to call regarding Pine Gap. The Australian government and the US government support the massacres in Iraq. They use otherwise just laws (public order, trespass) to protect the operation of Pine Gap, to protect the machinery of war and injustice.

Beyond the “minor” war-crimes of tens of thousands of civilian dead in Iraq, Pine Gap is also a major component of the proposed “missile defence shield”, or “Star Wars” project as it is often called. This “shield” proposes putting satellite based weapons in space to shoot down any incoming missiles. The US has spent billions developing this system but is still a long way form making it work. Both China and Russia have strongly denounced the project, as threatening a new arms race. Obviously it has the potential to allow the US to wage a first strike Nuclear War, if they were confident of shooting down all enemy missiles.

The new US doctrine of “pre-emptive war”, obviously makes the other nuclear states very wary indeed.

Nuclear proliferation has proceeded apace since 1945, and nuclear weapons are now present in Pakistan, India, China, North Korea (?), Israel, England, France, and Russia, as well as in the USA where they were invented. Iran is said to have an active development program. South Africa has disarmed. The first five states I mention are adjacent to areas of active and intense political conflict. In the event of even limited nuclear warfare, it is likely that millions will die

At a time when Australia MUST have a discussion about providing more uranium for nuclear power and nuclear weapons proliferation, we are encouraged to ignore the presence on our soil of an insidious war-fighting base that is preparing to fight a nuclear war. *****

From 16 November this year the Australian government becomes entitled to give three years notice of termination of the Pine Gap treaty with the US, at any time. The goal of our affinity group at this important time is to build public awareness of the goals and operation of Pine Gap so that the Australian government will terminate its lease

Pine Gap – a history of dissent

The first major protest against Pine Gap was a gathering of 700 women on November 11 1983.

The Alice Springs News reported the story of the “Karen Silkwoods” and their amazing protest . Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this protest is that it was supported indirectly by twelve Labor women Parliamentarians, including then Minister for Education Senator Susan Ryan, in a telexed statement approved by PM Bob Hawke and Foreign Minister Bill Hayden.

In October 1987 some 300 people were arrested at a “Close the Gap” action organised by the Australian Anti-Bases Coalition and the Alice Springs Peace Group. These protests were aimed at publicising the nature of Pine Gap as a spy base (it had previously been promoted within Australia as a space research base), its links with nuclear weapons systems, and its role in nuclear war-fighting.

The 1987 resistance at Pine Gap took place in the context of US deployment of Cruise and Pershing nuclear missiles in Western Europe. This very unpopular escalation of the Nuclear threat in Europe created a mass popular peace movement around the world

The next mass action at Pine Gap took place October 7-9, 2002, and was largely aimed at the war-fighting role it was about to play in the attack on Iraq by providing intelligence and targeting information. Around 400 people showed up with the usual vibrant displays of costumes and actions, and were met by an equal or larger number of police.

No members of the Labour Party showed up. The only politicians present were from the Greens and Democrats.

This action continued the themes of nonviolence, national and international networking, and seeking closure of the base. Its new features were the effective use of the internet, and an abandonment of the technique of mass arrests. The 2002 actions were subject to just 17 arrests and achieved national coverage in the Australian media.

Our little affinity group is expecting to undertake civil disobedience at Pine Gap. We believe that Pine Gap, and therefore the laws protecting it, is unjust in its operation.

We will break the minor law to pursue justice and the greater good.

A few days ago Dr Mark Hayes reminded me again of Dr King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, which I read once more and contemplated.

One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws.

Many of you will ask, “Why must you practice civil disobedience? Isn’t it enough that we live in a democracy where we can change government policy through the ballot box?”

Dr King’s letter deals with the issue of waiting for negotiations which never come, or which are conducted in bad faith. Remember that Australian parliamentarians from all parties have been denied essential information about the operation of Pine Gap. Our elected representatives are not allowed to know what the base does.

Secondly, Australians now (from November 16 2005) have an opportunity to terminate the electronic spying of Pine Gap and to end our complicity with the massacre of innocents that it represents. Those following Christ are called upon to love our enemies. How can we accept the murder of innocents? How long do we accept the slaughter of innocents before rising up to say “enough!”?

I’ve been arrested many times for civil disobedience, and the only explanation I can offer for my actions is the dictate of my conscience. In the presence of injustice, how can I not act? I am not able to stand aside just because it’s difficult, or unpopular, or it makes me look like a crank.

There’s some self- interest in it. If I allow injustice to thrive, I will inevitably become its victim. More importantly I’m 51 years old and I’ve learned what Dr King learned, and what Christ taught – that oppression disfigures and de-humanises both the oppressed and the oppressor.

I love humanity. I’ve seen enough of the wonder and power of human love and creativity to rejoice in the miracle of God’s creation. I know that love is the fertiliser for human growth, and that justice protects the flow of love while keeping down the weeds. I weep at the despair and injustice presently in the world, and I am called upon to act. How can I not?

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a remarkably good life with my beautiful, powerful wife and beloved son. I get to live in a lovely house, tend my garden, and work for justice in my local community. I get my share (probably more than my share) of consumer durables, and I love the modern electronics. If it weren’t for this rotten conscience I could stay here forever and enjoy a quiet life.

I believe with all my heart that these are critical times. In front of us lies the choice between a militarist security state, and a liberal democracy. Parliament has failed us. Neither the ALP nor the Coalition will help us. It’s time to make a stand.

Bryan Law

* Indeed in 1999, when the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties asked (twice) for a detailed briefing on Pine Gap, and an inspection of the facility, they were (twice) refused on the basis of “need to know”. Apparently our parliamentary representatives don’t “need to know” the operational nature of the facility for which they’re approving a treaty. Report 26 of the Joint Standing Committee concerns Pine Gap, and Part 2 of that report details the government’s refusal to provide any visit, or any detailed information about the operation of this facility.

**The following appeared IN SMH 23rd August 2002: Michael McKinley, a strategic analyst at the Australian National University in Canberra, said yesterday that the US had been boosting its satellite capability since the 1991 Gulf War, including the level of information feeding into Pine Gap. “What you are looking at with Pine Gap is a lot of signals intercepts and photo reconnaissance,” he said. “Certainly in relation to identifying specific targets, Pine Gap is important. The Pine Gap contribution is very much more significant than any sending of Australian soldiers. “For more detailed information see Prof Richard Tanter’s website: http://gc.nautilus.org/Nautilus/australia/afghanistan

***On October 29, 2004 British medical Journal THE LANCET published the report of the first survey done by John Hopkins University (US).The report claimed that by this stage over 100,000 civilians had died in Iraq as a result of the invasion. The report claimed that the biggest contributor to these deaths was allied aerial bombing.

****Information Clearing House is a news website containing daily reports on the situation in Iraq from a variety of the world’s media. As this booklet is being written, last night’s stories include one of 15 civilians killed by US helicopter gunfire in Sadr City including at least two toddlers (Reuters TV report). Sadly such slaughter hardly warrants a second glance as anyone following the war soon accepts mass murder by “our side” as the norm.

****FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE STAR WARS PROJECT SEE: Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space WEBSITE www.space4peace.org

Peace on Earth

Friday 9th December 2005. Today we were part of a miracle.

A number of months ago I first proposed the idea of exposing the terrorist nature of Pine Gap by attempting to enter it and perhaps climb on one of the structures. Pine Gap is Australia’s most important contribution to the killing spree in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing much of the targeting information for the bombing raids etc which have resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 civilians in the last 3 years

Eventually a group formed for the Pine Gap action calling ourselves Christians Against ALL Terrorism. Bryan Law introduced enormous energy and made the group viable. He notified police and Senator Robert Hill we were coming and even told them the planned date of our action: December 8th. We were full of enthusiasm, but still it was a firm belief of most participants that only a miracle would enable us to succeed given that Pine Gap is the most secure military establishment in Australia. Today that miracle took place.

On Wednesday morning we sought out Pat Hayes, the traditional Arrente caretaker for the Pine Gap area and asked his permission to walk on his land in order to expose the violence of the base which occupied part of that land. No permission had ever been sought or given for Pine Gap to be used by the military. However Pat graciously gave us permission to enter the area.

Late at night on Thursday the 8th, four of us, Donna Mulhearn and Bryan Law in one group and Adele Goldie and myself in the other started the walk to the base from two different directions. We walked for five hours and three hours respectively. At 4 am Adele and I came close to the first 3meter high security fence. As we lay on the ground perhaps 500 metres from the fence, security vehicles drove nearby with their floodlights panning the area. We thought they must have known of our presence and were searching for us. At least twice we thought they must have seen us and our attempt to enter the base was over. Later we realised their surveillance was routine, and they had miraculously not seen us.

After two vehicles had gone Adele and I made the last 100 meter dash through the open floodlit area to the outer security fence. As Adele hung our banner – WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? YOUR BROTHER’S BLOOD CRIES OUT TO ME FROM THE EARTH: Gen4; 10- on the fence, I placed Jessica’s beautiful barbed wire crucifix against the fence. Then I cut through the fence. We climbed through and I cut the second fence about ten meters away. Again we climbed through and realised all the power of the most powerful empire in history could not stop two untrained, unfunded, unarmed Christian pacifists from entering one of their most important and secure bases – even after we had told them we were coming.

I looked around at the huge white domes and radar dishes around us. I had sometimes fantasised about climbing onto one of the white domes but it was obvious that it was not going to be possible. Adele headed for a tower next to a building and climbed on to the roof. I followed. Once on the roof we placed photos, leaflets, and other information on the roof and gave thanks to God. Shortly after this we saw a security guard on a bicycle ride by, but we still had not been seen. But the guard then rode around to the back of the building and must have noticed the banner on the fence. Meanwhile Adele and I took photos of one another with a huge white dome behind us. The security guard came back in sight and quickly climbed a tower which supported the radar dish directly in front of us. Amazingly (although by this time nothing would surprise us), he must have looked around for a minute before seeing us. I waved, and he scrambled back down.

Within a minute there were a number of Federal security guards and police assembled below us. My response to the first one who asked us to come down was to inform him that we had come to inspect the base for terrorist activity and would come down when we had something in writing from the Commander saying we would not be stopped from doing so. A second guard angrily yelled at me that he was coming up to drag me off the roof. I responded that I would certainly not be surprised by violence as I was aware the base had been directly involved in the slaughter of thousands in terrorist attacks.

Of course it is easy to be brave when you are “king of the castle”. But shortly a number of guards and police were on the roof. The first one said, “Get on your knees”. “That’s a good idea”, I replied. I knelt down and prayed that he would withdraw his co-operation from the violence of Pine Gap. Unfortunately, while praying, it was impossible to hear the instructions that were being given to me. This made the original guard who threatened us rather annoyed. Amazingly he used a new compliance technique with which I am becoming familiar – the old “push the head into the ground and push your knee into the head” technique. Luckily unlike the concrete floor last time, the metal roof we were on had a little give and I only suffered a bruised cheek instead of a bloody face. After being escorted from the roof and into a wagon we were driven to the front of the base, searched numerous times and driven to the watch house.

About an hour after Adele and I, Bryan and Donna had completed their amazing walk in daylight. Bryan has health conditions which made the walk extremely difficult, and any chance of running impossible. So they slowly walked the last stretch to the security fence, Donna dressed in black and Brian in his bright white “Citizens Inspection Team” overalls. What followed seemed like another miracle. A security van drove towards them. They waved and the vehicle drove on! They reached the first security fence, unchallenged by the numerous police and guards now behind it- until Bryan started to cut the fence with bolt cutters. Then the security forces realised Bryan was the “enemy” and called out. Bryan kept cutting until a security guard put his hand on his gun, and, perhaps not coincidentally, Bryan decided he had done enough inspecting for the moment.

[Bryan and Donna were “captured” by Ken who had talked to us two days before. Ken Napier is the head of the Australian security at Pine Gap. He had been extremely friendly during a number of visits to the front gate. Now however, Ken had totally lost his jovial sense of humour as Bryan was rolled roughly in the dirt. Donna and Bryan did not think it was the time to remind Ken of how we had all laughed together about his advice that trying to break into the base in white overalls was probably not very helpful for us. Later in the watchouse we joked about how next time we should try it handcuffed and carrying tracking devices to give them a fairer chance of catching us.

The arrests were not over however. Sean O’Reilly and Jessica Morrison had driven to the front of the base and were holding a banner in what they thought was a non-arrestable action (Jessica had a plane to Melbourne booked in 5 hours time, and Sean was due to catch one the next day). They were not expecting the anger of the Federal police. We had been to the front of the base twice to picket and pray. Each time they had happily assured us of our right to be there. Now they were intent on revenge and decided to confiscate our cameras and any interesting documents. When Sean politely asked them what law allowed them to do this, he was arrested and charged with hindering police. No receipt was given for anything taken and as yet nothing has been returned. Later that day it was Jessica’s turn. She was followed by the federal police all morning until she came to the watchouse to visit her friends. She was immediately arrested and told she would be charged with being an accessory. Happily, after an hour or so and much distress, Jessica’s charges were dropped and she was released.

The Charges.

The four who walked into Pine Gap were charged with:

· Destroying or damaging Commonwealth property;

· Trespassing on Commonwealth land;

· Unlawfully entering a prohibited area (Defence Special Undertakings Act)

· Taking a photo on a prohibited area (Defence Special Undertakings Act)

· Unlawfully damaging property.

Sean O’Reilly was charged with obstructing commonwealth police. Sean returned to court in 2006 and was found not guilty, when police seriously contradicted one another.

Later, we were told the Defence Special Undertakings Act charges needed to be approved by the Attorney General. This is the 1952 law with which Defence Minister Hill threatened us when we wrote to him telling him of our intentions to inspect the base. It carries a maximum of seven years jail. No one has ever been charged under this law in Australia before. The NT Director of Public Prosecutions flew down to personally handle our first court appearance. So they are obviously taking our little miracle quite seriously.

Finally an important moral from this story:

One of the most important messages from our entry into Pine Gap is that our security does not lie in bigger and better bombs, bigger and better targeting or surveillance systems. Our security lies in building better relationships. In the words on my Catholic Worker T-shirt: The Only Solution is Love.

Pine Gap on Trial

In November 2005 a small group set off from Brisbane in a vegi-oil powered van to travel 3,500 kilometers to central Australia. Disturbed by our nation’s role in a senseless killing spree in Iraq, we intended to do what we could to “disturb the war”; to “wage peace”. We intended to expose the insidious role of Pine Gap in terrorist bombing campaigns, and do what we could to disrupt it. Indeed we did, for we managed to enter the most secure base in Australia and cause it to be locked down for a number of hours.

Eighteen months later we journeyed back to Alice Springs, this time to face court for our resistance. We hoped to use the court case to continue our disturbance of the war.

From start to finish the state seemed determined to use a sledgehammer to crack nuts (without drawing the analogy with nuts too far.) The four of us were charged under a 1952 law created to protect nuclear testing at Maralinga and Monte Bello. This law had never been used before and required written permission from the Attorney General (Phillip Ruddock) to do so. It carries a maximum penalty of seven years jail for trespass. The trial lasted for 3 weeks. Estimated costs to the state are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When we arrived in court on the first day, we faced a team of six Commonwealth barristers including two QCs. The presence of uniformed and plainclothes police, other security personnel, and Pine Gap staff inside and outside court was no less prolific. At one stage I had a revelation like a scene from Men in Black, a movie I had recently watched with my children. In the movie, one of the “Men in Black” had walked out onto the street and looked around him. He had a sudden revelation that the streets were full of aliens. When I looked around me I did not see aliens (with apologies to the Pine Gap flying saucer theorists), but the forces of the state ranged against us. There were over 20 government security personnel and lawyers standing around the court foyer because of our little act of resistance. During the following weeks, we were often under “secret” surveillance on the streets of Alice Springs. Sometimes it was quite comical, like an old spy movie, with the plainclothes police stopping to look in a shop window when you looked at them. As our friend Ciaron often says, they take us a lot more seriously than we take ourselves. Another friend’s response was, “Well, it just shows the level of fear of these people.”

More than once in court, the chief Prosecutor, Hilton Dembo, would disclose what his “intelligence” sources had revealed about our actions the previous day or that morning. This intelligence prompted his first submission to the court before proceedings even began. He asked Judge Sally Thomas to issue an order that 1) we be made to stay at our home(s) while not in court – i.e. under house arrest; and 2) we be made to come to court an hour early and stay an hour after court. All this was necessary Mr. Dembo declared, because intelligence had informed him we were planning to march in procession to court each day, as well as hold rallies etc in the Todd Mall, and at the front of the base. He believed we might contaminate the jury or further disrupt the base.

Happily, Judge Thomas declined to deny us our basic rights at this time and refused Mr. Dembo’s requests.

As is often the case, a harsh response from the state can galvanize resistance. And so it was that over 30 people made the long flight or drive to Alice Springs from all over Australia to attend the trial. Many of us stayed at “Campfire in The Heart” retreat center run by David and Sue Woods. We started each morning with prayer and reflection before breakfast, and then proceeded to the Todd Mall to begin a colorful procession to the court house. We sang songs of peace and hope, led by a number of talented singers and musicians. Stu Martin who wrote the inspirational song “Flowers in the Guns”, had traveled from Cairns to be part of the proceedings, and we often started off with his song. On arrival at the court house, we gathered in the park opposite to listen to a few final words from the bible or (more recent) inspiring activists, before facing our day in court.

The prosecution opened its case with Paul Burgess, the Deputy Director of Pine Gap. (i.e. the Australian head of the Base.*)

When asked about Pine Gap’s role, Mr. Burgess replied that it provided “intelligence on treaty verification and arms control, early warning information on ballistic missiles, and monitored military developments worldwide”. In cross-examination, Bryan Law asked Mr. Burgess to verify that Pine Gap was used in conventional war fighting, especially in providing targeting information. This question became the trigger for Mr. Michael Maurice QC to earn his $5000 plus a day.

Mr. Maurice was sent by Canberra to make sure as little as possible of Pine Gap’s murderous role in the Iraq war was made public. He had three young barristers to assist him, all seated at a desk specially set up behind the prosecutor. So began two days of what we termed an “Alice in Wonderland” of legal arguments. Mr. Maurice argued that we could not ask questions or introduce evidence that compromised national security (Public Interest Immunity); that we should not be allowed to produce evidence about Pine Gap from books or newspapers as this was merely opinion and not facts; and finally that the laws of Parliamentary Privilege prevented us from using any information from parliament, including Senate committee reports.

So this was how the prosecution intended the case to proceed. Every witness would take the stand and promise to tell “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, and four barristers from Canberra would make sure that they could not keep their oath. Judge Thomas made it clear she would go along with whatever Mr. Maurice and his colleagues declared needed to be secret.

However, we soon discovered in the Wonderland of this court we were still permitted to present evidence that “formed our beliefs”, causing us to act as we did. These beliefs did not necessarily have to be facts. Naturally we used this to great advantage to expose the truth about Pine Gap.

One of the highlights of the case for me was the way in which we were able to expose the lies of the Australian government. When cross examining resumed I asked Paul Burgess why Pine Gap was called a “Space Research Facility” for the first ten years of operation.

“That’s because it was”, he replied.

After an appropriate silence I asked, “Are you serious?”

“Absolutely.”

“Can you tell me what planets and stars were studied there?”, was my next question.

At this point, the farce of the Deputy Director’s version of “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” was terminated by the judge declaring my question “irrelevant” (i.e. lies and deception are a right of the state that override any oath sworn on however many stacks of bibles).

Amazingly, this rather absurd lie was able to be exposed dramatically in the last week of the trial when we were allowed to show six minutes of a Documentary called “Inside Pine Gap”. This documentary was originally shown on Australian TV in 1987. A six minute segment of an interview with former CIA agent Victor Marcettti was shown to the court. On the film Marcetti tells how Pine Gap was set up by his former colleague and friend Richard Stallings, and how a “cover” was used to keep the truth about Pine Gap from the Australian public. Pine Gap was to be called a “Space Research Facility.”

At the end of the segment interviewer Bob Plastowe, asks, “You mean you told a lie?”

Marcetti smiles wryly, “Yes, of course. That’s what a cover is.”

No surprise there. After all, war and lying are the health of the state.

Other Highlights of the trial

The wonders of Pine Gap security systems!

After Paul Burgess, Ken Napier, head of Pine Gap security, had the unenviable task of explaining how four untrained pacifists could penetrate the most secure base in Australia after telling them we were coming.

Both Ken Napier, and Anastasias Markos, security console operator on the night of the action, admitted that all the external alarms were regularly set off by “snakes, lizards or security patrols”, in the words of Mr Markos.. It became apparent that the job of monitoring alarms is so important, that shifts are only 2 hours long. It also seems that the first job of each new operator was to turn off all the previous alarms that everyone had ignored! In effect we were really discovered by the low-tech observation of our banner on the fence and flashing of our camera from the roof of the building where we were gathering information for our terrorism inspection. There is no telling how long we would have remained undetected if we had not hung our banner, climbed over the fences instead of cutting them, and not taken photos with a flash.

Then again… The miracle acknowledged by all

During the preparation for our action, we often talked about needing a miracle to get in. I would sometimes whisper about my personal belief in miracles.

In court Donna pursued the issue. Inspector Napier explained that security at the base was high and preparations had been made for our ‘inspection”, including extra police numbers.

“You would be aware that Mr. Law and I evaded three security patrols to reach the fence. Were you surprised by that?” Donna asked

“Yes,” Inspector Napier answered.

“Many said we’d need a miracle to get in, do you agree with that?”

“At that time, yes.”

Raytheon

The role of the Raytheon Corporation continued to be exposed in court. Raytheon is the world’s fourth or fifth largest military contractor. Their most infamous weapon is the cruise missile. Loaded with conventional or nuclear weapons these little items start at $600,000 each. Hundreds have been fired into Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11.

During the course of our trial it was disclosed that Raytheon are the sole contractor for all operational maintenance at Pine Gap. It was they who presented the absurd bill of $10,000 to fix the small cuts we made in the security fences. Raytheon employs 120 people at Pine Gap and provide much of the hi-tech equipment. In cross examining both Paul Burgess and Raytheon employee Ron Tollasepp, we were able to highlight the insidious nature of this company. Pine Gap is used to provide targets for Raytheon cruise missiles to do their deadly work, as untold wealth pours into their coffers. An article was presented to Mr Tollasepp showing that the Company’s share price rose 46% immediately after Sept11, in anticipation of their huge profits from death and destruction. Adele used her cross examination to expose the numerous fraud charges leveled against Raytheon and subsequent compensation payouts made by them.

It would be hard to imagine a better example of the evils of the “military industrial” complex that US President Dwight Eisenhower warned against after World War Two. Raytheon makes $21billion a year from being involved in almost all aspects of war, from the intelligence gathering, to the targeting, to the bomb making. At the sentencing hearing I took the opportunity of pointing out the absurdity of Raytheon presenting us with a bill for $10,000 worth of property damage when they themselves were responsible for billions of dollars worth of property damage in Iraq during the war – the real crime which we were trying to prevent.

Moving hearts, minds, and tear ducts

It was wonderful to see the positive effect we had on the ordinary people involved in the court process. Court staff looked at us warily for a couple of days, but then became extremely friendly. There were a number of very emotional moments when court staff cried along with many of us. I broke down while trying to read an article by Robert Fisk written in the first weeks of the 2003 attack on Iraq. Fisk describes the scene of a US cluster bomb attack in all its horror, including a villager holding up the remains of his baby screaming at the planes overhead. I distributed this article soon after reading it in April 2003, and no matter how many times I read it, I find it almost impossible to avoid tears. But this time the tears didn’t stop for a long time. An adjournment was called and court staff comforted some supporters.

In another moment of high emotion, Donna brought everyone’s attention to the shoes she was wearing. She had worn those shoes when she walked into a bombed market place in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion. She described the experience of walking through pools of human blood and splashing some of that blood on her boots. She wanted everyone to know there was Iraqi blood in the courtroom, blood caused by missiles quite possibly helped to their murderous end by the Pine Gap Spy Base. It would be hard to find a heart not moved by Donna’s story.

The Verdict and Sentencing

Towards the end of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, there is a long, crazy court scene in which the Queen calls for the sentencing to be done before the verdict. While I have been in a number of court cases where this may as well have been the case, this time we were still holding out vague hopes for a hung jury, despite the Judge’s instructions to ignore the real issues.

As it happened it took the jurors five hours to reach a guilty verdict. Obviously moved by our witness, but unable to rebel against the authority of the court, all the jury had their heads hung down, and one or two may have been crying as the verdicts of guilty all round were read by the foreman.

Prosecutor Hilton Dembo, however, remained his stoic self as, soon after, he demanded prison sentences for all of us, even Adele and Donna who had no previous convictions.

The demands of State Terror have not yet filtered through to all the judiciary, however.

The grandmotherly figure of Sally Thomas was not quite ready to send four people to jail for nonviolently opposing that terror.

We were all fined. Donna and Adele $450 each and Bryan and myself, $1000 and $1300.We were also ordered to pay restitution of $2500 each for fence repair. If we do not pay we will be jailed for one to two weeks. We declared a kind of victory, had a short celebration, and prepared to go home.

But just when you thought…

I had been home for a few weeks when the phone call came from Adele. Federal police had delivered a “Notice of Appeal.” Someone was not happy with having us dangerous people on the loose. (Perhaps they thought it quite a poor return on their considerable investment – us being given miserable fines which we would probably never pay).

Basically the notice said that the crown was appealing the leniency of our sentences, claiming the “learned Judge” had erred in not sending us to jail where we belonged.

Of course we will probably never know who the “someone(s)” is/are who are not happy with the result. All we know is that sometime in the near future they will have another chance of sending us where they feel we belong. The appeal will be heard by the full bench of the NT Supreme Court in Darwin. Some of us may lodge a counter appeal against the conviction. Former Federal court judge Ron Merkle is still keen to challenge the validity of the DSU act being used against us. **

So this part of the struggle goes on…

Hope you can (re)join us sometime.

Thanks to all those wonderful people who have been a part of it so far.

Jim Dowling

* The actual head of the base (despite being called a “Joint Facility”) is always American. An Australian gets to be Deputy, perhaps in a similar way John Howard offered to be George Bush’s “Deputy Sheriff” in the Pacific. Not only was the director of the Base never brought in, but none of us ever saw an American (that we know of) from the moment we entered the Base in 2005 until the court case finished. When John Negroponte, head of US intelligence, made a secret visit to Pine Gap in the same week of our action, the papers called him the top US “Spook”. What an appropriate title, I thought. The 500 or so US workers from Pine Gap have really been like ghosts, nowhere to be seen, as their Australian counterparts do their dirty work for them.

** The date for the appeal hearing has been set for 20th February 2007.

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RISE UP

and

Speak the Truth!

Rise Up and Speak the Truth is a compilation CD with inspirational peace and anti-war music from various artists around Australia and the world. All songs were donated in support of the Pine Gap4.

Professionally produced with beautiful artwork. Probably the best anti-war CD since the sixties – maybe of all time!

Artists include: Shane Howard (ex-Goanna lead singer), Seize The Day (U.K), David Rovics (U.S), The Love Bombs (Cairns), Myrrh (Melbourne), Steve Bevis (Blue Mountains), Dave Andrews (Brisbane), Penelope Swales (Melbourne), Solidarity Choir (Sydney), Trisha Watts (Sydney), Peter Kearney (now in Ireland), Andorra (Sydney), Dana Lyons (remember the big hit “Cows with Guns”-U.S), Alec Burns (Brisbane).

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Available for only $20 each including postage. Write to Sean, 69 Karumba St., Kippa Ring, 4021 or email sean.oreilly@optusnet.com.au


LIBERATED

IRAQ

There has been much debate about what the war was/is about –oil, WMD’s, Saddam Hussein, US imperial domination, Israel…but the photo on the left will tell what this war and all wars are about. Study it. You will learn a lot.

References:

Raytheon 9 – Disabling Raytheon Equipment in Derry During the Bombing of Lebanon
www.raytheon9.org

Anti-Torture Training Resisters Arrested at Ft. Huachuca in Arizona
www.tortureontrial.org

Pine Gap 4 – Citizens’ Inspection of U.S. N.S.A. Base in Alice Springs, Australia
www.pinegap6.org

U.S. Military Resisters
http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/

St. Patricks Day 4 Occupation of a Military Recruitment Centre, Ithaca, New York, USA

Pitstop Plougshares Disarm U.S. Navy War Plane at Shannon Airport, Ireland
http://www.peaceontrial.com
Resistance to Torture Training at Ft Benning, Georgia, USA

BOOK LAUNCH: Iraqi Icicle by Bernie Dowling

BOOK LAUNCH

Thursday, 4 – 6 PM
28 February 2008
West End Library

Address:
178-180 Boundary Street
West End Q 4101
[Just next to the Pensioners League Building]

“QUEENSLAND journalist Bernie Dowling launches his first novel, the detective thriller Iraqi Icicle at West End Library on 28 February 2008.

The launch starts at 4 pm and features original songs and music from local band Jumping Fences back from their tour of Mexico and Cuba.

The book will be on sale for the discounted price of $30 and for the impecunious will be available for loan from the library.

For more details contact Ian Curr at

BushTelegraph on 07 3398 5215

Iraqi Icicle by Bernie Dowling

Dowling said writing a novel, while working full-time, required persistence.

“I had written a short story collection and a short history of the Pine Rivers show but a 400-page novel is more daunting,’’ Dowling said.

He said writing the first draft was the easy part and making the many revisions the difficult task.

“I guess I tried the patience of my wife Trish and son Kevin with all the time I spent at the computer.”

Iraqi Icicle is a detective thriller set in and around Brisbane from 1986 to 1992.

Dowling sees the period as an extraordinary time in Australian and world history.“We had the explosion of personal computers and mobile phones in Australia as well as the recession of 1990-91.”

“In Queensland, we had the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption and the fall of the long-serving Joh Bjelke-Petersen government.

“Overseas, the internet started, the US invaded Panama to arrest its president Manuel Noriega, and America and its allies prosecuted the first Iraq War.”

These international and national events invade the blackly humorous novel, Iraqi Icicle which introduces young orphan gambler Steele Hill as the unlikely “detective”.

‘A cage lined with silk is still a cage’ – detained Iranian refugee

Villawood Death in Custody Demands Ministerial Action

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission says the Villawood Dentention Centre should be demolished. (File photo) (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

The tragic death of a 62 year old Iranian immigration detainee is yet another disgraceful and entirely preventable cost of the ongoing mandatory detention policy” said Pamela Curr, of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).

“Mr F was taken to St Georges Hospital on Friday for an appointment. There he suffered a heart attack and collapsed on the steps of the hospital as he struggled to walk-in. He died in Intensive Care today, Sunday.

Detainees in Villawood have been requesting care for this man who was held in Stage 3. Fellow detainees say that he had to walk 100 metres uphill to the dining room using an umbrella to assist him to walk. Often too exhausted to eat. Only last week fellow detainees sought improved medical care for sick detainees,” Ms Curr reported.

“Mr F. continued to be detained at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) even after it was acknowledged that his condition was so serious that he could not fly making deportation impossible. How then could the Department of Immigration continue to detain such a frail and vulnerable individual in the Villawood Prison instead of releasing him to be cared for in the community?” asked Mr Singh.

“Mr F’s death in custody is yet more horrific evidence of the lethal human cost of mandatory detention. Since December 2000 there have been at least 18 deaths in all forms of immigration detention in Australia and Nauru. This represents a seventeen hundred percent increase in immigration detention deaths when compared to the period 1991-2000. Villawood IDC is ‘managed’ for profit by GSL Limited, a multinational prison and detention corporation with a long history of deaths in custody in their prisons.” said Charandev Singh, volunteer human rights advocate at the Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre.

It is critical that Immigration Minister Chris Evans accepts the first recommendation of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner Graham Innes who said unequivocally that “Australia’s mandatory detention laws should be repealed”.

This is the chance for the Rudd Government to break with this history of death, abuse and scandal that is integral to the mandatory detention policy.” concluded Ms Curr.

PRESS RELEASE DATED 13 JANUARY 2008

The latest HREOC* report on detention was released in early January 2008. Commissioner Graham Innes has shown the sort of moral courage we have yearned for over the last decade and headed the list of recommendations with HREOC’s first recommendation “Australia’s mandatory detention laws should be repealed” says it all.

Remember when we all called for this and were regarded as looney lefties, latte sipping elites, bleeding hearts and generally Traitors to the nation- ah well !!! Thank you and bless you Grahame Innes. Government detention monitoring bodies have not been known for their adherence to a past Australian tradition of calling a spade -a bloody shovel!!

As an Iranian detainee said to us in 2004 “a cage lined with silk is still a cage”. Commissioner Innes is to be congratulated for his moral courage in standing by this first recommendation. For a country with claims to being a free democracy to arbitrarily imprison innocent people without charge for possibly their whole lives is an outrage which no political spin meister can gloss over.

Unfortunately HREOC did not have the latest information on Mental health in Detention which saw a suicidal man turfed out of hospital the week before Christmas, back to the detention which made him sick in the first place. Inexplicably DIAC** staff handed this man 6 days supply of drugs. During the lonely hours of darkness on the first night back, he took the lot. This is the absymal standard of care in detention.

Also DIAC and GSL*** forgot to draw attention to a stateless man who has been in Villawood detention for 3 years despite the fact that he is severely mentally ill- too ill in fact to even represent himself. He has a NSW guardianship officer overseeing his continued detention and lack of care.

The Summary of Observations following the Inspection of Mainland Immigration Detention Facilities in 2007 can be found online at www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/idc

It would be great if the papers were inundated with letters supporting the HREOC findings – they might then publish a few and ensure that this report gets due care and attention.

Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ASRC
12 Batman St West Melbourne 3003 ph 03 93266066 fax 03 93265199 www.asrc.org.au Pamela Curr
Legend as follows
*HREOC has only recommendatory powers – NO one can over-rule Immigration Dept decisions.

**DIAC is the latest acronym for the Immigration Department- it follows DIMA and then DIMIA. DIAC stands for Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Initially it was DIC which was unfortunate so they broke the convention and added an A.

***GSL is Global Solutions Limited which is a subsidiary of Group 4 Falck although they keep buying and selling each other on the New York Stock Exchange.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Pamela Curr Asylum Seekers Resource Centre: 0417 517 075

Charandev Singh Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre: 0403 659 431

LeftPress Facilities and Resources

LeftPress Printing Society
Workers Printing & Publishing

Recently there have been a number of queries about LeftPress resources.

LeftPress is involved in a number of printing & publishing ventures and provides PA facilities to a wide range of groups who conduct public rallies and meetings in and around Brisbane.

Speaking Equipment: $25 per rally, forum, meeting etc ($35 if accompanied by a LeftPress Member). Request an invoice and receipt if required.

Contact: Ian Curr 0407 687 016 to organise pick-up and return of equipment.
Pls Note that this is a voluntary community service so please be mindful to avoid inconvenience by bringing $25 cash or cheque on pick-up or by depositing hire fee at the following account:

LeftPress Printing Society
Commonwealth Bank
BSB:  06 4001
Account number: 0091 9228

 Please note that on occasions, LeftPress equipment has been used in confrontation situations; groups engaging in such activity are better off using loud hailers or alternative set-ups (LeftPress has some). If need be, speak to Ian about how to minimise risk from authorities . Be mindful it takes time and effort to maintain this equipment, it is very expensive to replace. More info @ LeftPress Printing Society

LeftPress is a not-for-profit community organisation and operates on Turrbul and Jagera Lands – lands never ceded.

samwatsonspeaksatlaunchofhissenatecampaignaugust2010

Sam Watson speaking at a forum at the Lizard in West End Brisbane, 1 Aug 2010 at the commencement of his campaign for election to the Australian Senate. Photo: Ian Curr

On Democratic Rights and the Work Ethic

1977 is not that far from 2007

Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it.”

1977 was a time when Australia was governed “by four farmers and a sheep” — Bob Hawke.

Early in 2008, the Australian National Archives released the cabinet papers of the Fraser coalition Government of 1977.

In many ways, 1977 was a watershed year for Australian politics, as well as for other countries in the British Commonwealth like Pakistan.

1977 was the year the father of the recently assassinated former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, was executed by the military.

Some other parallels exist between 1977 and 2007:

Don Chipp founded the Australian Democrats and won two senate seats in the 1977 December election. It was the November 2007 election where the Australian Democrats lost their last senate seats held by Andrew Bartlett from Queensland (among others). The liberal democratic party set up to keep governments honest had lasted only 30 years.

After Australia’s Uranium decision (as Fraser called it) Joh Bjelke-Petersen sent out the Queensland police onto the wharves and the streets to make sure opposition to uranium mining and export was stopped. Thus the Fraser Government’s authorisation of uranium mining and export precipitated the longest period of sustained popular revolt in Australian history, the Queensland Street marches of 1977-1979.

Like many others, under Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s street march ban I was arrested as a result of my opposition to uranium mining and export. These arrests occured at both state and federal pre-election rallies in Brisbane in 1977.

I recount the circumstances of one of those arrests. On 24th November 1977 Prime Minister Fraser spoke at a lunch time rally organised by the Queensland Liberal Party in King George Square in Brisbane. He spoke in favour of his government’s policies which included mining and export of uranium.

I was arrested for speaking against these policies and the street march ban on the same platform just a few moments after Fraser had finished speaking. I was thrown into a paddy wagon without being advised of the charges laid against me or the name of the arresting officers.

Seven other people known to me were arrested at the same rally.

I was taken to the South Brisbane watchouse where the desk sergeant advised me that I would be charged with ‘disorderly manner’ and ‘resist arrest’ and placed $80 bail for my release. Four of those people arrested at the rally were bailed out at a total cost of $280 by the Civil Liberties Co-ordinating Committee [CLCC] that had been set up to oppose the street march ban imposed to prevent opposition to uranium mining.

I was no more disorderly at that rally than Prime Minister Fraser nor did I resist arrest. Yet I and the six others were arrested in King George Square that day and he was not.

On 23rd March 1978 appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges laid against me. I subpoened TV footage of my arrest shot by an ABC camera-person. His film showed that I had merely addressed the crowd and had been no more ‘disorderly’ than Fraser. The ABC opposed the production of the footage of my arrest. Theit business was news not appearing in court on democractic rights charges. Nevertheless, a nervous ABC camera-man gave evidence of what he saw that day.

I was acquitted on both charges.

Unfortunately the others arrested on that day did not contest the charges laid against them and were all convicted in their absence and their bail was forfeited. It was not uncommon for the CLCC defence fund to pay out up to $30,000 in bail at right-to-march rallies during this period.

1977 Cabinet papers reveal that Fraser threatened to use the army if workers and their unions tried to stop uranium exports.

BushTelegraph has put together a retrospective based on the national archives material and an interview with the former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser.

Malcolm Fraser, who had been minister for the army during the Vietnam war, became Prime Minister after Sir John Kerr sacked the Whitlam Labor government on 11th November 1975.

The Fraser coalition government held power for 8 years until defeated by the Labor party led by Bob Hawke in 1983.

BushTelegraph conducted a candid interview with Mr Fraser by phone at his sheep property, Nareen, in Victoria over the Christmas break of 2007. Fraser’s advice to the Rudd labor government elected in November 2007 was “to work hard and keep the unions in check”. The interview is reproduced below.

BT: Good Morning Mr Fraser, thanks for speaking with BushTelegraph.

Could you give your impression of the first fifty days under the Rudd Labor government?

Malcolm Fraser: I would like to start by saying that for the first two weeks of the Whitlam Labor government, before the full electoral result was known, Whitlam and Barnard formed a two-man ministry, known as a duumvirate, to govern until a full ministry could be announced.

During that time Mr Barnard held 14 portfolios including Defence and Immigration. Barnard was a nice enough chap who held the seat of Bass in Tasmania. Lance Barnard lost the deputy leadership to Dr Jim Cairns and served as Defence Minister. But Mr Barnard was soon put out to pasture by the labor caucus as ambassador to Norway or Sweden or some other social democracy like that. This enabled my government to win the seat of Bass at a bi-election which paved the way for our landslide victory in 1975.

BT: But in those first two weeks, Whitlam and Barnard withdrew troops from Vietnam, arguably the longest period of sustained genocide in the 20th century, ended conscription, announced tertiary education for all that wanted it, foreshadowed equal pay for women, land rights for aborigines in the Northern Territory…

Fraser: But lacked the economic know-how and hard work to back it up. Gough Whitlam liked to make these wide-sweeping declarations and then crack open the champagne – a classic champagne socialist, if a conservative one. Dr Cairns who became Treasurer after Barnard left was even worse than Gough.

Whitlam never made a virtue of hard work. After the Governor General, Sir John Kerr,Governor-General Sir John Kerr with former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies at his home, December 1977. Sir John resigned as Governor-General on 8 December 1977. took away Whitlam’s commission, Gough went and had lunch with advisors before even consulting with his labor senate team about what the government should do in the senate. That gave us, in opposition, the opportunity to obtain support for a double dissolution election and the landslide that followed.

Gough probably had a glass of wine with his steak after being sacked by the Governor General.

Then Gough had the temerity to go out on the steps of parliament and say those words “Well may we say ‘God Save the Queen’, but nothing will save the governor general…”

But then Kerr liked the champagne himself …

BT: Sorry to cut you off, but didn’t your government have a freeze on wages without similar controls put on prices. But I asked you about Rudd.

Malcolm Fraser: Oh, pardon me; I was placing the new Labor government in an historical perspective.

Firstly Mr Rudd obtained a landslide victory over Mr Howard’s government but not as big as mine was over Whitlam.

Mr Rudd will not control the senate in the way my government did.

Mr Rudd has indicated he will wind back refugee policy of the Howard years, re-instate work-for-the-dole in the Northern Territory, and re-employ Dr Haneef in the hospital system.

You see the difference between Gough and Mr Rudd is that the Whitlam government made all these changes in the first two weeks and then sat back for the next three years and let the economy slide into crisis, and allow inflation to break out while having negative growth.

BT: Perhaps I should inform our readers that the Whitlam government introduced a universal health care system [Medibank] in Australia for the first time and began relations with China paving the way for a trading partnership, mainly based on coal and other mineral exports and cheap consumer imports that gave Australia yet another post war capitalist boom in the 1990s and 2000s [the first boom was from 1945-1975].A miner at Peak Downs Coal Mine, Queensland 1977

Nevertheless, Mr fraser, what will Rudd do?

Malcolm Fraser: My prediction for 2008 is that Mr Rudd will make some concessions to the wets and let the country slide into stagflation.

BT: What should Rudd do?

Fraser: Do what I did, keep inflation in check, maintain free tertiary education, accept the boat people after the failure of the war in Vietnam, pardon, I mean in Iraq, maintain universal health care [Medicare], export uranium, and keep a tight reign on the unions by banning secondary boycotts.

Generally speaking, I would advise Mr Rudd to create a better environment for business to flourish.

BT: Is Rudd up to task?

Fraser: That, my friend, is in the lap of the gods.

I did try to keep wages in check with limited success because of the unions, we tolerated student unions but allowed for conscientious objectors to opt out of unions, provided free tertiary education for many, accepted boat people who came to our shores from Vietnam, the communists had taken over there, maintain the US alliance, provide aboriginal land rights in the Northern Territory, at the same time open up bauxite and uranium mining and kept the unions in check.

One thing though, Mr Rudd has a far greater work ethic than Gough did which is a good start.

BT: Thank you Mr Fraser.

Next week BushTelegraph will be interviewing Gough Whitlam on the progress of the Rudd Labor Government.

NB: BT acknowledges the National Archives of Australia as BT has reproduced images from their website.

BushTelegraph advises that some material in the cabinet papers is the subject of continuing ASIO classification and was witheld by the national archives for reasons of ‘national security.

Ian Curr
3 January 2008

Resources: Courier Mail article “Bjelke-Petersen Law unto himself