G20 arrest: does Ciaron O’Reilly exist?

ciaron web
Ciaron O’Reily

“…it seems most folk rolled over or simply stayed away from the G20 this time and the Brisbane Times reported that Ciaron was the only person who got to use the court holding facilities that had been specially adapted in anticipation of sizeable protests. “ — WISE Up Action blog in support of Assange and Manning.

Oscar winning hollywood film Birdman questioned if we exist if we’re not on facebook or twitter.

In Birdman a washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero is confronted by his daughter who challenges her Dad’s existence:

” I mean, who the fuck are you? You hate bloggers. You mock Twitter. You don’t even have a Facebook page. You’re the one who doesn’t exist.

It seems that Ciaron O’Reilly does truly exist, at least on the WISE Up Action blog and in the Brisbane Times which had this quote from Ciaron outside court today (24 Feb 2015):

“It [my protest] was an opportunity to express solidarity with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden … and I think I achieved that,” he said.

O’Reilly’s lawyer, Terry Fisher, said in court that O’Reilly had wanted to speak to US President Barack Obama about the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

Ciaron O’Reilly is a product of the 1977-79 street march movement in Queensland. This democratic rights movement fought against the Bjelke-Petersen government’s repressive policies against workers, women, and blacks and its support for uranium mining and export.

At one point, Ciaron ran for Brisbane City Council on a Nuclear Free platform, won enough votes (10%) to scare the Labor Party into making Brisbane nuclear free (except for visiting warships, medical waste etc). During a struggle lasting two and a half years, with over 2,000 people arrested, the Qld democratic rights movement tried to minimise arrest and repression.

Concerning the People’s Summit and the De-colonisation before profit campaign organised by Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, I do not agree with this quote from the article in WISE Up. Especially given five well attended protest marches about de-colonisation, sovereignty, stolen children, democratic rights, government cut backs and austerity. And the many who camped out in Musgrave Park for a week in support of Aboriginal Sovereignty and the People’s Summit which covered many topics.

Gone are the days, if they ever existed, when the number of arrests equates with organisation or with the strength of a political movement.

No Wikileaks today about Sapper Jamie Larcombe
No mention of his Afghan mate
They lost their lives at Mirabad last night
Jamie died, despite first aid, unable to be saved
Gunshot wounds killed Sapper Larcombe
Air Vice Marshall Houston sighed
Only 21 years old and his interpreter
Buried according to local custom
         Last Train to Mirabad
          Ian Curr

Free Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange!
Drop the G20 charges against Ciaron O’Reilly!

Ian Curr
Feb 2015

2 thoughts on “G20 arrest: does Ciaron O’Reilly exist?

  1. Anti-war activist Ciaron O’Reilly: conventional protests are 'a dead end' says:

    Ciaron O’Reilly with the handle of the sledgehammer he used during the New York air force base protest in 1991. Behind him is a newspaper bill reporting the group’s exploits. Photograph: Joshua Robertson for the Guardian

    Joshua Robertson meets a man who stormed a New York air base in 1991 and smashed up a B-52 bomber, exploits recorded in a new exhibition in Brisbane

    A quarter of a century has passed since Ciaron O’Reilly, with a sledgehammer and a bottle of his own blood, took his first tilt at the US war machine.

    The Brisbane-born man served what is believed to be the longest jail stint for a civilian protester on US soil during the first Gulf war, over a New Year’s Day sortie by a band of Catholic peace activists into Griffiss air force base in New York in 1991.

    He poured blood on a runway from a bottle bearing pictures of Iraqi children and smashed up the tarmac till his hands were blistered, while his cohorts did the same to the engine of a B-52 bomber on standby for raids in the Gulf.
    O’Reilly served 13 months in jail, which nearly broke him at first.

    But he is quick to point out that his punishment paled besides that meted out to the surprising new vanguard of anti-war resistance – hundreds of members of the military, who received jail sentences of up to six years.
    Giving practical support to conscientious objectors – as well as to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden – has led to an unexpected recent phase in the life of an activist who cheerfully volunteers that he still looks like “the hippie from central casting”.



  2. Bernie Sanders ... says:

    The latest (book about presidential hopeful) is Bernie: A Lifelong Crusade Against Wall Street & Wealth by Darcy G. Richardson. Like the last one was, it is now the most substantial reporting I’ve seen on Bernie’s political career. It also does the most to include the voices of Bernie’s critics from the left (see Chapter 1). In addition it, by far, includes the most information on Bernie’s foreign policy actions, good and bad, over the decades. The book is a bit too heavy on horse-race coverage of each of Sanders’ past elections for my taste, but people who like that stuff will eat it up.

    Having written elsewhere today about public diplomacy by towns and cities, I was particularly struck by Richardson’s chapter titled “International Diplomacy,” which covers, not Bernie’s career in Washington, but his time as mayor of Burlington, Vt. It is safe to say that when it comes to foreign policy Bernie was better then than he is now, was better then than any current mayor in the United States, and was better then than possibly any other mayor ever. I say that while continuing to condemn the horrible things he did, including arresting peace activists for demanding conversion of weapons jobs to peaceful ones.

    Mayor Bernie denounced the Pentagon budget, explained its local relevance, demanded nuclear disarmament, opposed apartheid in South Africa, and sought to improve U.S.-Soviet relations. “We’re spending billions on military,” he said, touching on a theme that today he wouldn’t prod with a $10 billion screw out of an F-35. “Why can’t we take some of that money to pay for thousands of U.S. children to go to the Soviet Union? And, why can’t the Soviets take money they’re spending on arms and use it to send thousands of Russian children to America?”

    Mayor Bernie backed a successful ballot initiative telling the U.S. military to get out of El Salvador. He denounced the U.S. attack on Grenada. The Burlington Board of Alderman voted to encourage trade between Burlington and Nicaragua, in defiance of President Ronald Reagan’s embargo. Mayor Bernie accepted an invitation from the Nicaraguan government to visit Nicaragua, where he spoke out against U.S. war mongering, and from which he returned to a speaking tour letting Vermonters know what he’s seen and learned. He had also set up a sister city relationship for Burlington with a city in Nicaragua. He led an effort that provided $100,000 in aid to that city.

    Again, articulating basic common sense wisdom that he wouldn’t come near today for love or the presidency, Mayor Bernie Sanders said, “Instead of invading Nicaragua and spending tremendous amounts of tax dollars on a war there, money which could be much better used at home, it seems to me that it would be worthwhile for us to get to know the people of Nicaragua, understand their problems and concerns, and see how we can transform the present tension-filled relationship into a positive one based on mutual respect.” Just try to imagine Senator Sanders saying that about the people of Syria or Iraq.

    Richardson’s book is of course largely devoted to the topic of taking on Wall Street greed, on which Sanders has been stellar and consistent for years and years. But we do also catch glimpses of Sanders’ evolving foreign policy from his opposition to the war on Vietnam (which was more serious than other books have suggested) through to his proposal that Saudi Arabia “get its hands dirty” and kill more people. At the time of the Gulf War, Sanders was far more hawkish than a simple look at his No vote on invasion suggests. He supported the troop build up and the deadly embargo. He backed the NATO bombing in Kosovo. He opposed until very late any efforts to impeach Bush or Cheney.

    But on the matter of Wall Street, Sanders has been as good in the past as he was in this week’s speech. He warned of the danger of a crash years before it came, and questioned people like Alan Greenspan who brushed all worries aside. He opposed repealing Glass-Steagall. He opposed credit default swap scams. He opposed the appointments of Timothy Geithner and Jack Lew. His “big short” was perhaps to stay in politics until it became clear to all sane people that he’d been right on these matters, as on NAFTA and so much else. His favorite book in college, we learn, was Looking Backward. He found the root of most problems in capitalism. He developed a consistent ideology that makes his growing acceptance of militarism stand out as uniquely opportunistic and false.

    By that I most certainly do not mean that he is a candidate for peace strategically pretending to be for war, as many voters told themselves about Barack Obama on even less basis. When Bernie was good on foreign policy he campaigned promising to be good on foreign policy. As his performance worsened, so did his campaign promises. Any elected official can be moved by public pressure, of course, but first he’d have to be elected and then we’d have to move him — something millions of people have taken a principled stand against even trying with President Obama.

    One note in Sanders’ defense: Richardson cites a rightwing newspaper article claiming that Bernie and his wife together are in the top 2 percent of income earners. It’s worth noting that were that true it would not put them anywhere at all near the top 2 percent in accumulated wealth. It also seems to be an extreme estimate on behalf of the author of a sloppy article. Another source places the Sanders in the top 5 percent in income, while noting how extremely impoverished that leaves them by the standards of the U.S. Senate.

    David Swanson

    David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

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