Daily Archives: October 2, 2014

Australian peace activists detained and assaulted by SAS on Swan Island

2 October, 2014
UPDATE : 11am

Before dawn this morning, 8 peace activists entered the top secret Swan Island military base near Queenscliff.

The group entered in the early hours of the morning to nonviolently disrupt preparations for the imminent war in Iraq. Four of the activists were discovered, detained and assaulted by SAS soldiers on the base. The treatment of the activists by the SAS bordered on torture.

The experiences of the four were:

– Forcibly stripped naked, handcuffed, struck on the face and choked
– Activists clothing were cut off with knives
– Hessian bags were placed over their heads and told “welcome to the bag motherfucker and asked “do you want to go for a swim” before being dragged naked across the ground
– SAS personnel stood on activists’ heads and backs causing injury and said “If you move we will kick you in the face”
– Dragged and dropped on the ground when didn’t respond to questions

When the Victorian Police arrived on the scene the assaults ceased. “I was thankful for the arrival of the police, when they got there I finally felt safe” said peace activist Sam Quinlan. An ambulance was called to the front gate as activists were released from custody to attend to activists’ injuries.

“The use of these tactics on citizens of Australia peacefully protesting the actions of the SAS is an alarming indication of the use of torture SAS is employing in Iraq, Afghanistan and other undisclosed locations” says Greg Rolles an activist who entered the military facility.

“We were trying to disrupt the preparations for this imminent war and are concerned that Australia’s involvement will only play into the hands of militant extremists” said Jasmine Pilbrow another member of the group.

The group are particularly concerned about the role of the SAS, who use Swan Island in their ongoing role in Afghanistan as well as likely roles in Iraq and Syria.

“There are clear alternatives to bombing ISIS” said Fiona Taylor who is currently at the Swan Island main gate. “Blocking oil supply channels, having arms embargoes and support of a regional solution all will cripple ISIS without breeding another generation of militant extremists”.

The protestors are part of the Swan Island Peace Convergence, which has seen protestors blockading the island’s only entrance since Tuesday, preventing traffic onto the island. It is the fifth consecutive year of protests at the Island.

Contacts: 0402 857 915; 0439 823 898
Photographs and video are available on request
www.swanislandpeace.org
Social media: ‪#‎SIPC14‬

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Historic films on Democratic & Land rights struggles in Queensland

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I have been asked to share historic films that may assist in coming struggles around g20. Here are my picks about land rights and democratic rights struggles for the right to march and right to assembly. Continue reading

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Foco Nuevo in October

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Friday, 3 October 2014, 8.00 p.m. Kurilpa Hall 174 Boundary Street West End Cakes, tea and coffee available. $10 / $7 BYO More info: http://www.foconuevo.org.au

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Writing to the Cuban Five

Following on from the successful visit of Aili Labañino, the daughter of Ramón Labañino, one of the Cuban 5, we invite you to attend an evening of letter writing to show our solidarity with the Cuban Five. We intend to … Continue reading

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New Parks Laws come into effect

PArkslaw1On 9th September, the Brisbane city council approved a draft for a new local law called the ‘Public Land and Council Assets Local Law’ (PLACA), by proposing to combine eleven different local laws into one.

The PLACA, which changes the way activities are managed in parks, malls and council lands including roads, bush-lands and sport fields, is under the public consultation period until Friday, 10th October, 2014.

Local Councilor, Cr. Helen Abrahams of the Gaba ward, affirms that South Brisbane and West End does not have sufficient green spaces to cope up with the predicted population growth, and will have only 17ha of parklands with council under the acquisition program, while these suburbs should have 40ha.

“I am opposed to this law as it has two outcomes. First, large groups in parks may have to book a park for the event, 20 days in advance and may even have to pay for the park booking. Second, if they do not have a park booking, they can be moved on by the verbal instruction of a Council officer,”  Cr. Abrahams said.

“The new local law reinforces that it is illegal to sleep in a park. This means that a homeless person is at risk of being fined. I would hope that this does not happen but the Local Law certainly gives Council the power to fine a person for sleeping in a park. Council argues that this power is necessary to stop the campervans in our parks,” she added.

A new compliance and oral direction powers for council officers, authorizes the council to revoke their consent in two ways – by a written notice or by giving an oral direction, where they can tell people to “stop the conduct”, “leave the Council land” or “take specified actions to avert or remedy the contraventions”.

Currently there are no immediate processes for reviewing the oral direction in the local law.

According to a council spokesman, most activities in parks will not require permits.

“Brisbane has an extensive and expanding network of over 2000 parks. Council cares for and manages these valuable assets for residents and visitors to share in a safe and friendly environment.  Brisbane is a growing city with increasing demands on our parks.  Council is considering a range of measures that will help activate our city and ensure parks remain accessible and safe for all to use,” he said.

“Residents can still use Council parks free of charge, as has always been the case.  The only time that a fee will be required is if people are booking a designated area in a park for exclusive use or for some commercial purposes. This is the current process and has not changed.   Refundable bonds will continue to be required for certain activities.  As is currently the case, a permit fee will only be charged for activities requiring the exclusive use of a designated park site or for some commercial purposes,” he added.

All Council permits will be available online or by calling the council’s Call Centre.

A permit will be required for any activity which meets any one of the council’s standard permit criteria such as exclusive use of a designated site, access to and use of council power sources, or erecting, placing or maintaining any structure or fixture.

Certain activities such as Public speaking, use of remote controlled devices ( children’s toys are excepted ), busking (unamplified) or Parkour are categorized as activities that may have a potential impact on the park or other users, and thus a free permit may be necessary.

Whereas some activities that may require a fee and will automatically require a Council assessed permit, due to the possible impact they may impose on the park or other users are weddings, parties and other private gatherings requiring a guaranteed exclusive use of a site, markets or fairs, commercial filming and photography or commercial health and fitness activities.

Jonathan Sri, the greens Candidate for next year’s South Brisbane by-election, suspects that these proposed laws are based on an underlying ideology that governments need to carefully control people in order to discourage conflict.

While he is concerned about some of the less-discussed ramifications of these rules, including their impacts on homeless people, and their potential to restrict citizens’ freedom of assembly and free speech. He believes that it has been drafted so broadly that council could even use them to penalize and fine anyone who tries to protest against the council.

“They’re not evil people, but it’s in their nature to want to have as much control over other people and public spaces as possible. I expect they’ll use their new powers strategically. They’ll still allow some public protests since they don’t want to be perceived as totalitarian, but they’ll make it more expensive and more bureaucratic to get a permit. And if ever there’s a particular event or protest that they have a serious problem with, they’ll have the power to crack down on it,” Mr. Sri said.

“ The new laws even have strict prohibitions against handing out leaflets without council approval. This means someone could be fined for standing in a park and handing out flyers that complain about the Brisbane City Council. That’s definitely not in the public interest,” he added.

“It seems, BCC councilors have an ideological agenda to privatize and corporatize our public spaces. They don’t like the idea that richer people pay rates so that poor people can use public services like parks, for free. In their ideal world, you have to pay for everything yourself, and if you can’t afford to, tough luck.”

Mr. Sri is organizing a public event called ‘the Last big picnic’ on 10th October at the Musgrave Park to celebrate the final moments of the right to use public spaces without council consent, before the council passes the law.

The new law may impact various ethnic communities and especially unions since it will increase the cost of holding union events, limit unions abilities to hold immediate rallies or fundraisers and put additional pressure on organizers to confirm the attendance numbers for rallies.

Under the new law, a person may be fined 50 penalty points or $5,692.50, if a person fails to obtain a required consent or if a person fails to comply with an oral direction. 20 penalty points or $2,277 for not producing a consent on demand by an authorized person, if the person is acting under a consent.

The public consultation on this draft will close on Friday, 10th October 2014. Any disapprovals can be lodged as a submission through the council’s formal process via http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/laws-permits/local-laws/register-local-laws-notices or a submission can be e-mailed to CEO@brisbane.qld.gov.au

Offline disapprovals can be made through the local councilor or the state MP.

Sam Navin 1 October, 2014

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Federal Senate calls for action to stop ongoing Stolen Generations

The Australian Senate today passed a Greens’ motion recognising that the ongoing rate of removal of Aboriginal children from their families in NSW risks creating another Stolen Generations. Federal Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said: “This is an important acknowledgment from … Continue reading

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G20 rally for the climate, peace and indigenous sovereignty

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Help build the G20 rally for the climate, peace and indigenous sovereignty. Posters and leaflets are available. See attached. Contact the Cloudland Collective if you can help put up posters or distribute leaflets, and would like to arrange collection. In … Continue reading

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Why Prison Abolition Movement Must be Global

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ANGELA DAVIS and DEBBIE KILROY to speak on the movement for prison abolition. 7pm Wednesday October 8th Souths Leagues Club, West End Entry by gold coin donation. Money raised will go to the Sisters Inside young Aboriginal women’s art program. … Continue reading