Operation Stapler at Bentley Blockade in Northern Rivers

The NSW Police have a plan called Operation Stapler to break up the broad and successful Bentley Blockade, a community-based stand to stop the gorgeous farmland of Northern Rivers becoming a gasfield. It involves approx 800 police and the Blockade folk have asked me to approach  environment groups and concerned individuals with information on how they  can help prevent this police action …


On 12 December 1982, 30,000 women held hands around the 6 miles (9.7 km) perimeter of the base at Greenham Common, in protest against the decision to site American cruise missiles there

[Editors Note: Far be it from me to introduce the labyrinthine mysteries of how power protects the status quo, in this case, Metgasco. The bentley blockade is reminiscent of another mass blockade held in 1982 against nuclear missiles in England staged by women. The protest at Greenham Common lasted 19 years. Despite some gains by the anti-nuclear movement over the years, the UK still has a nuclear capability – compare goverments in power  then and now, tories there and here. 1982 was the beginning of the Thatcher era that destroyed gains made by workers in the post war era and entered in a new age of self-interest that has never quite disappeared (sic). So back to Bentley … how do we reconcile signs that read ‘Lock the Gate‘ and ‘For Sale‘ that appear on the same gate, to take one example? For those interested I have included a YouTube clip showing a fictional depiction of the dark events of the time in a BBC series (not the Mel Gibson remake) called ‘Edge of Darkness‘ .

This comment is by no means an attempt to discourage people from participating in the Bentley blockade or to say what happened then (at Greenham Common) must necessarily be repeated now (at Bentley); but, having lived through that era, i sadly fear it may. It all comes back to one question Who owns the land and what is its purpose? In a challenge for power, how do we link with those workers who have the capacity to shut down Metgasco, and with it, the status quo [see testimony of a CSG worker ]. Often we can confound our own purpose. At least we don’t have to put up with what people in Venezuala experience when they challenge the status quo – see Ukraine-style disruption strategy turns to Venezuela — ian curr, 12 May 2014.]


(article continues) … Over 85% of the community in the region oppose unconventional gas extraction. So the intelligence the Blockade organisers get is good – the police coming mostly from other regions need to stay somewhere, eat etc.  Despite some hiccups organising this the police will be in the region from late this week onwards.

The Bentley Blockade organisers are able to quickly gather approx 5000  local people on site, something the police are planning for. But if there is closer to 10000 there is a good chance the police operation will be cancelled, leading to a another round of political hand wringing and increased support for the Blockade in Sydney political circles.

So we want to get people there this weekend, Saturday being preferable. To > show an increased presence on site, adding to the police knowledge of the > numbers who will come locally from the text alert system. Please consider taking the time to support this extraordinary and ground-breaking community stand. I am able to connect your group with organisers if need. Otherwise you can find out more at http://www.BentleyBlockade.org and by following #BentleyBlockade on Twitter.

Generation Alpha have folk coming from Brisbane on Friday and Saturday and  could possibly offer lifts etc to individuals. Let us know as soon as you can. Please forward and act on this email rather than deleting it or letting it fall down the inbox. We have an amazing opportunity to be part  of history and I’d love to see you there.

Ben Pennings
Generation Alpha

4 thoughts on “Operation Stapler at Bentley Blockade in Northern Rivers

  1. Testimony of CSG worker says:

    When I worked in the Gunnedah basin, there was lots of protest by the locals, and road blocks to go through. There were also open cut coal mines being licenced to overseas buyers (particularly the Chinese) who were buying the land up. The farmers didn’t like it.

    Because of the protest our image had to be squeaky clean and there was a lot more control on the industry than in Queensland. Problems with farmers were not such a problem in Western Queensland. There was an occasional well on their property, maybe up to 10 wells on big properties. Santos was building a big airport.

    I didn’t see any protest by farmers in Queensland. It was not a problem on big properties. Santos and Origin own some big properties. Arcadia Valley, north of Injune is a magic pristine country of big aboriginal significance. It is a rift valley, with a huge escarpment and caves. It shouldn’t have been touched, it should be heritage listed.

    AJ Lucas had one rig in the Arcadia valley and disturbed sacred aboriginal sites. There were maybe six holes. There was no more or no less care than in Fairview. I think it was a shame. The wastage was immense.

    In a 12 hour shift 2000 litres of diesel was used just for an exploration rig. (For the production rig to get the gas out of the ground, the fuel usage would be astronomical.) In addition to the drilling, there were air conditioners and generators running all the time. There were 100’s of rigs in the area.

    There were diesel spills and leaks.

    Other waste, Industrial bins full of plastic drums were emptied twice a week; there was a huge amount of food wasted… more at Testimony of CSG worker

  2. Government suspends Bentley gas permit says:

    [Editor’s Note: Such announcements as the one below should be treated with caution. Metgasco attempts to drill may be delayed but there are plenty of others out there willing and able to take their place. This may even be a method of increasing the take up of land by bigger companies. The fossil fuel industry is still going gangbusters in NSW and Qld.]

    The Office of Coal Seam Gas has withdrawn permission for Metgasco to drill a tight-sands gas well at Bentley.

    The trigger appears to be that the application by the junior minor was flawed, characterising the well as a ‘conventional well’ when it is in fact unconventional gas the company was planning to explore for.

    It follows an announcement this morning that The Lock the Gate Alliance and Gas Field Free Northern Rivers were today set to release documents alleging that the gas company does not have a proper permit to drill. … Government suspends Bentley gas permit at http://www.echo.net.au/2014/05/government-suspends-bentley-gas-permit/

  3. Farmers walk out says:

    Sick of not being listened to, Bentley farmers stood up en masse and handed NSW Land and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie letters outlining their concerns before abandoning Tuesday’s meeting.

    The enormous shit storm that Nationals Party member Peter Graham ignited after signing his property over to gas mining in Bentley near Lismore continues to escalate.

    Almost all of his 40 immediate neighbours stormed out in disgust from a meeting with government departments on Tuesday (May 13) after they tried to convince the landowners that gas mining was safe.

    It appeared the bureaucrats, who represented the Office of Coal Seam Gas (CSG) and NSW Land and Water, were unable to provide satisfactory answers by the residents. In fact, the residents appeared better informed and educated than the government reps themselves. …. Simeon Michaels for the Echo at http://www.echo.net.au/2014/05/bentley-farmers-abandon-meeting-deaf-bureaucrats/

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