Tag Archives: No War

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Get on the road to ground the Drones

Get Ready, Get Set, Get On the Road to Ground the Drones May 21, 2014Walk with us part of the 165 miles from the Boeing corporate headquarters in Chicago (where the manufacture of drones and conventional war planes are managed … Continue reading

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Australian Government double standard over Israel

MEDIA RELEASE Australian Government demonstrates double standards over Israel FOREIGN minister Bob Carr recently expelled Syrian diplomats because of human rights abuses in their country. Yet the Israeli defence force and Israeli settlers shoot, abduct, detain and torture Palestinians in the occupied territories on a daily basis. The Israeli government destroys Palestinian homes on the West Bank. On 21 May 2012 an Australian citizen, Khalil Hamdan, received a call from his sister Weam in Nablus. “My sister was distraught because 25- 30 Israeli soldiers broke into her small two bedroom unit at 3am in the Camp No.1 refugee camp in Nablus, Palestine,” Mr Hamdan said. “She is the wife of Ridha Khalid and the mother of five children aged 5 to 18 years. Ridha is employed by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Nablus.” “The soldiers smashed the door down and took Ridha away for no reason and took him to Huwarra prison outside of Nablus. After they took him away, they asked my sister, Weam, to get out of the unit with her children. “They proceeded to destroy everything in their unit: furniture, electrical appliances including the children’s computer; the children’s school books. “Naturally all the children were traumatised and they were mindful of their imminent school examinations.” The soldiers took the food from the pantry, freezer and refrigerator and spread it all over the furniture and floor. They removed all the pictures from wall and smashed them. Weam is aged fifty years. “She is a good woman and cared for her aged parents and her two handicapped brothers since she was a young teenager. She is a good wife, caring mother and kind to her friends and has never been in any trouble. “Weam was born in the Refugee camp. The destruction of the contents of her unit was completely unjust. Her frugal savings and furniture were gone in 2.1/2 hours.” Weam’s husband Ridha distributes aid throughout the West Bank. The Australian Government will contribute $90M to UNRWA over the next three years. Ridha has been taken before and tortured. In 2001 he spent 18 months in detention without charge. His 17 year old son was shot dead and Ridha has been the victim of an Israeli rocket attack. He now is on hunger strike in Huwarra prison near Nablus. Weam is concerned for the future of her husband and their family. I, Khalil Hamdan, call on the Foreign Minister to seek the immediate release of Ridha and compensation for loss of property and savings taken from Weam’s unit. I want an independent medical examination of Ridha. “The Australian government is obliged to act because: 1. I’m an Australian citizen and my family has been attacked. 2. My brother-in-law works for United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The Australian government provides funds to UNRWA. 3. The Australian government is signatory to international agreements that outlaw the abduction and torture of civilians. 4. My sister’s property has been damaged and money stolen. 5. The Australian Government has acted to prevent human rights abuses across the border in Syria but not in the occupied territories. Khalil Hamdan, his mother, father and siblings were driven out of their village in Jaffa in 1948. They fled to Nablus where Weam was born in 1962. “As a result of the 6-day war in 1967 I was made a refugee for a second time and sought a new life in Australia” Mr Hamdan said.” “I want an end to the occupation and the right to return to my village. I am one of 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants. We all want justice.” I, Khalil Hamdan, can be contacted at 0438 194 342 Continue reading

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“No crocodile tears for the dead, bring the troops home now!”

This gallery contains 1 photos.

Editor’s Note: Please find below a press release from StandFast. To my surprise I opened the Australian to find that war monger and US ally Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor AUSTRALIA says that he is in favour of a withdrawal of … Continue reading

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Radical Rosary Mystery Tour *”NO QUEEN…but Mary Queen of Heaven, single mum, refugee, role model for a revolutionary!

DUBLIN M16 – Catholic Worker Radical Rosary Mystery Tour “NO QUEEN…but Mary Queen of Heaven, single mum, refugee, role model for a revolutionary!

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Report from Ciaron O’Reilly in “Royal Visit Security Clampdown Dublin”

Report from Ciaron O’Reilly in “Royal Visit Security Clampdown Dublin” Dublin is in the middle of a 20+ million euro security clampdown for the Royal Visit (first in a hundred years), daily bomb hoaxes (so far!), pre-emptive arrests of suspected … Continue reading

A Report from the streets of Dublin Pre- QE2/U.S. Prez B.O Visits

*** by Ciaron O’Reilly

As the U.S. Grand Jury on WikiLeaks/ Julian Assange breaks cover and the Guardian newspaper settles into its dual role of the “Pravda of the Brit liberal left” and attack dog of the U.S. Feds….the Irish prepare for a change of shift of their imperial masters.

Within a few short days, the British monarch will visit followed by a U.S. President Barack “talks like Jesus, kills like Herod” Obama Love Fest on Dublin town. Continue reading

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Brisbane BDS Flash Mob – join in!

We will boycott Israel! Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Flash Mob The words of the Queen song “We Will Rock You” have been re-written to take the message of the BDS campaign to the people of Brisbane with a Flash Mob … Continue reading

End of hope

On this night like any other night
Maybe raining maybe clear
In a world exploding is any heart open

Can you hear us

Can you hear

‘article 14’ words and music by tony mockeridge

The 4 am ABC news just announced an Iraqi man has taken his own life. Continue reading

Pine Gap 4 have won their Appeal!

by Donna Mulhearn

Dear friends

Today [22 February 2008] Bryan, Jim, Adele and Donna were acquitted of tPhoto shows the four protesters outside court following their successful appeal. (Jack Kerr)heir convictions under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952.

It was a unanimous decision by the full bench of the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal.

The three judges agreed with our submission that there was a miscarriage of justice at last year’s trial because we were not able to bring evidence before the jury about the function of Pine Gap.

There were other grounds to the appeal, of a more technical nature. The judges will publish the detailed reasons for their decision in coming weeks.

The Prosecution quickly sought a re-trial, but was quickly rebutted.

“What would be achieved for these individuals or the community if there is a re-trial?” asked Justice Riley rather sternly.

The judges unanimously ruled there would be no re-trial.

The fact that we had already served prison time was a significant factor in their decision to refuse a re-trial. We are all very glad we did this as now our slate is clean regarding the other charge of ‘damage’, under the crimes act. So now it’s all over!

This ‘David vs Goliath’ outcome is a result of the excellent work of our legal team: Ron Merkel QC, Rowena Orr and Russell Goldflam. Their commitment, persistence and brilliance was amazing. They should be heartily congratulated. (I hope to have a way for you all to do that soon).

The result now raises significant questions for the Government about the use of the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952. It was the first, and mostly likely last time it will be used in this context.

It is a victory for fairness and common sense, and a slap in the face for Prosecutor’s who seek to use draconian legislation to respond to pacifists partaking in non-violent civil disobedience with an extreme witchunt.

Congratulations to our Pine Gap colleagues Jessica Morrison and Sean O’Reilly and thanks to everyone involved in our journey since December 2005.

It’s been an amazing experience for all of us!

Rise Up!

Put Pine Gap on trial!

cheers from

Donna, Jim. Adele, Bryan

PS: Within 10 minutes of the ruling there was national media coverage on most major newspaper websites as well as ABC Radio and TV.

PPS: Some pics to come, news reports below

http://news.smh.com.au/pine-gap-protesters-conviction-quashed/20080222-1txp.html

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23257820-5005961,00.html

See also the pamphlet published by the PG4:

“Liberating Pine Gap” by Jim Dowling (ed.)

Court finds in favour of Pine Gap protestors

ABC Online Posted February 22, 2008 14:15:00
Updated February 22, 2008 14:22:00

The Territory’s Court of Criminal Appeal has quashed the convictions of four protesters who broke into the Pine Gap defence facility three years ago.

Last year, Bryan Law, Adele Goldie, Jim Dowling and Donna Mulhearn were found guilty of breaking into the spy base using wire cutters in the Northern Territory Supreme Court in Alice Springs. They were the first people to be charged under the Defence Special Undertakings Act of 1952. The foursome were fined a total of $3,000.

They appealed against their convictions, and today the Territory’s full Court of Criminal Appeal found in their favour.

It’s now off to the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether to pursue a retrial or drop the matter.

Minor convictions for trespass and criminal damage will still stand.

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

‘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).

clip_image008

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

Gallery

Vale Bryan Law

This gallery contains 3 photos.

“Can’t add my name into the fight while I’m gone So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here And I won’t be laughing at the lies when I’m gone And I can’t question how or when or … Continue reading

Hard Times for economic refugees

As people are already aware, the main focus of the 2007 election campaign is interest rates on housing mortgages. This is underlined by the number of times the shadow treasurer, Wayne Swan, mentioned interest rates in the debate with Treasurer Costello on 30 October 2007.

Video: Port Hedland Refugee Detention Centre, 2001

Unfortunately it is the lower paid people with large mortgages that will pay for banks increasing the cost of borrowing.

Who can blame these people for their concern?

Especially those who have paid off mortgages and the others who hold shares in banks that are producing record profits and returns on investment.

The latter have benefited from the current boom in the economy.

This is a system that rewards the better off while lower paid, time-strapped workers pay the price.

Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs)


For example, Telstra, with its record profits, recently offered their technicians AWAs.

One was offered an extra $5000 a year for working an extra hour per day and no travel allowance.

As a result, he will be on a reduced hourly rate.

This is the impact of WorkChoices – a reduced hourly rate, loss of allowances and penalty rates and increased control by the employer.

This later point will be useful to governments (Labor or Liberal) in downturns.

The impact is devastating for the unskilled and bad for the skilled but more surreptitious.
As Gore Vidal said: “It is not enough that some will succeed, others must fail.”

For those that wish to read the analysis behind these statements you can read the LeftPress publication After the Waterfront: the workers are quiet

DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS — lest we forget

hanneef-rally-19-july-2007-007.jpg

A lunchtime rally organised by the Stop The War Collective was held today (Thursday July 19) in support of Dr Haneef at the Department of Immigration Offices in Adelaide St, Brisbane to condemn the federal government’s use of the Migration Act to detain Dr Haneef, and the undemocratic nature of the recently introduced “terror” laws.

About 120 people were in attendance plus a large media contingent generated by the sudden detention of Dr Haneef by the immigration minister yesterday.
The Building where the demonstration was held was placed in lock down by police some people were denied entry and workers in the building were kept inside during the protest.

Workers in the QANTAS call centre wanted to know why the police paddy wagons were outside their place of work. One worker said it was the normal police over-reaction.
Another looking out the window of the call centre asked what is the meaning of the placard that read “Reckless with a Sim Card — Arrest Shane Warne.

An Australian Services Union delegate in the call centre said later: “It makes you wonder how clueless some people are about (the Dr Haneef matter)”.

The speakers included Rob Nicholson who spoke on behalf of the Stop the War Collective, Dr Emad Soliman (Australian Democrats and Muslim community); Shabari Nair, Indian community; Peter Russo (Dr Haneef’s solicitor). Others on the speakers’ list were Ciaron O’Reilly (Christian Peace Activist), Jim McIlroy (Socialist Alliance and candidate for Griffith [Rudd’s seat]), and Stop the War representative, Paul Benedek who chaired the meeting.
For details of who said what see the excellent report by the Spring Hill Voice

Dr Haneef’s lawyer, Peter Russo said that the case presents a lesson for all of us. “The question now is, how do we treat people who come to the attention of authorities?” he said. “That’s the crux of the matter.”

The use of such laws is not new.

The report below titled Lest We Forget speaks of 27 crew members of the Pong Su who were released by the Court, only to be scooped up by the Immigration department (then DIMA-now DIAC).

Down the years both extra-judicial and judicial detention has been used against Aboriginal people, trade unionists, socialists and workers. In the early 1990s the Goss Labour Government redefined a detention centre for Aboriginal kids to frustrate an order for their release.

Secrecy
The use of such tactics can be compared with the use by Labor and Liberal Governments since the Second World War. These attacks on democratic rights have often been policed by secret government organisations like ASIO or Special Branches set up by various governments.

In Queensland the Special Branch worked for years using secret targetting of union members. Student activists were also detained unlawfully by various police acting with support of the Bjelke Petersen goverment.

Response
The message is that this is nothing new. And the response may develop in various ways.

I have addressed three types of response below.
I have ignored the legalistic or liberal response demonstrated by conservative judges arguing ‘due process’ and government ministers.

The idealist response where people protest only to be ignored as happened in the large mobilisations against the Iraq war. Academics, chuch leaders and peace activists often participate in this way.

The opportunist (electoralist) response is demonstrated by people who push candidates for election to parliament on the back of such opposition. As one refugee activist, Freddy Stein, put it. ‘I am not running for parliament so I do not need to speak for more than 2 minutes.’

shane-warne-sim-card.jpg

Freddy Stein spoke well but put much emphasis on a parliamentary solution which has many risks for democratic rights advocates — not the least of which is the parliament is essentially undemocratic.

Parliament means rule for the rich not the poor. It is the executive of the parliament that has the power to detain people summarily.

On a strategic level, the opportunist response has been ineffective.

This is partly because the racists and war mongers on both sides of the house control the federal senate and will continue to do so after the 2007 federal election.
For example, only the minor parties have supported the release of Dr Haneef. Rudd has been silent. His spokeperson, Lindsay Tanner, has been an apologist for inaction.

The class or collective response.
We see little of this today. The workers are quiet. The organised labour movement want to get the ALP elected. At the rally today there was not one trade union leader or organiser who spoke. Yet it is workers who have the power to prevent the abuse of democratic rights.

This is a failing of the anti-war movement as much as it is of the organised labour movement.

We should not forget that this is very difficult to reach ordinary workers through the media. The rally focussed on the media so it was an attempt to get into the lounge rooms in the same way that party political advertisements do.

Also the police told one organiser of the rally that they would arrest anyone entering the building for trespass. For whatever reason this was not conveyed to the rally. I think it is important to let people know what the police have told you. It makes the rally more democratic. However we do live in times of fear, where people screen this kind of information out for one reason or another.

I told people at the rally about it but I was not on the speaking list so could not tell all present.

There are very real limits to protest. Protest does not engage in a challenge for power or, if it does, it is confined to a similar approach as parliamentary parties that ignores the class nature of society.

The power of the executive over courts
Recently a judge of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory fined four Pine Gap activists for entering the US spybase there. Nevertheless Minister Ruddock has authorised the DPP to seek jail terms against these people who were charge under Cold War legislation (Defence Special Undertakings Act 1952).

Punitive Detention
Today Dr Haneef is in punitive detention in Wolston Correctional Centre, at Richlands in Brisbane’s south-west. These means that he cannot speak to other prisioners.

Lest We Forget

The following is a report from Pamela Curr, Campaign Coordinator, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre ASRC, www.asrc.org.au

As the detention of Doctor Haneef once more highlights the seemingly limitless power of the Immigration Act, it is worth remembering other cases where people have been released by the Courts and the Immigration Minister has then turned gaoler under his own powers.

When charges were dismissed for lack of evidence, the 27 crew members of the Pong Su were released by the Court, only to be scooped up by the

hanneef-rally-19-july-2007-011.jpg

Immigration department (then DIMA-now DIAC) and taken out to Baxter detention centre. There they languished in secret in a formerly, unused compound until the day that other detainees became aware of their presence.

Policy changes in the Baxter hellhole allowed detainees to be escorted on foot between compounds instead of in locked vans. On one such occasion, detainees attention was called to this never used compound by cries and eyes peering over the compound walls.

Detainee contacted advocates with their concern for these people. “We don’t know who they are but they are crying for help and we can only see their eyes. We don’t think that they are Chinese- we can’t understand their language.” The guard asked them to disregard what they had seen because “you will get me in trouble”.

Subsequent investigations revealed that they might be the crew of the ‘Pong Su’. This was confirmed when a list of names was produced. The list indicated the likelihood that many of these sailors were most likely fathers and sons. They were not seeking asylum. They desperately wanted to go home to their families but DIMA were holding them for their own purposes. It was only after it was revealed how distressed they were at being held incommunicado that they were finally granted their wish to leave- 13 weeks after the Courts had found them not guilty of any crime.

Technically the power to detain under the Migration act is so that persons can be removed from Australia, however as we have witnessed in the case of long term detainees, this power in reality allows the Australian government to hold a person for their entire lives without charge or judicial oversight.

To contact Pamela Curr about this article visit http://justfreedom.org.au

OR at ASRC, 12 Batman St West Melbourne 3003, ph 03 93266066 fax 03 93265199

See also on BushTelegraph The Sweet Life

Pine Gap 4: Crime and Punishment

US Base at Pine Gap

Crown Appeal sentence in Pine Gap Case

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

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

Grounds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

Why place these people in jail?kh_020.jpg

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

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

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

Who owns Pine Gap?

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

Ian Curr

Pine Gap: Crime and Punishment

*warning – this article contains information that has been withheld from the jury in the trial of the Pine Gap Four in Alice Springs in June 2007.

The government, the attorney general, the minister for defence, commonwealth lawyers, the prosecution and the judge in this has have used the law to hide from the jury the facts of this case.

If you are a member of the jury you are prohibited by the Justice system from reading the article below!*

Where is Pine Gap, what is it?

Pine Gap is in the central desert of Australia near Alice Springs. It is one of the largest satellite ground stations in the world, covering an area of 4398 acres and 20 perches. Pine Gap consists of ‘radomes’ [pictured below] that that have satellite dishes inside the outer dust proof shield.

Pine Gap was gazetted in 1967 as a restricted area by the then Defence Minister, Allen Fairhall and the Australian people were told that it was a space research station. This was a lie. This official cover-up lasted for the next 25 years.

The truth is the US military run Pine Gap to locate its nuclear targets throughout former Soviet Union but also China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq.

The U.S.-Australian Alliance

Head of the School of Strategic Studies at ANU, Prof Des Ball, stated in 1999 that Pine Gap gives:

“a good picture of missile developments in, over the years, not just the former Soviet Union but also China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and elsewhere in an area that stretches from the Middle East across to the western Pacific.”

from JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON TREATIES Reference: Pine Gap MONDAY, 9 AUGUST 1999 CANBERRA. (This is an uncorrected proof of evidence taken before the committee.)

Pine Gap is an important part of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s world-wide intelligence setup.

“The CIA and National Security Agency are in control of Pine Gap today” comment by former CIA Agent on Channel Nine program “Inside Pine Gap” 1986 by Bob Plastowe.

Journalist Bob Plastowe asked US Senator Cohen from the committee into Intelligence : “Do you trust the CIA?” His answer was “90% to 95% of the time they (the CIA) live within the rules“. Many CIA employees are stationed at Pine Gap. Prof. Ball says that since the 1991 Gulf War started:

“The number of personnel there (Pine Gap) has now reached nearly 900 and the number of satellite ground dishes is now 26 which is about double what it was in the mid-1990s. It’s really been a very remarkable increase.”

Prof. Ball says that Pine Gap is used in advanced weapons development, such as ballistic missiles, used for arms control verification; signals from anti-missile and anti-aircraft radars; transmissions intended for communications satellites; and microwave emissions, such as long distance telephone calls.

The three major bases on Australian soil, Pine Gap, Nurrungar and North-West Cape were all of high importance to the US during the 1960’s and 70’s. Since the Gulf Wars in Iraq, Pine Gap has become more important. In 1999 the following Defence submission was made to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties inquiry into the Agreement to extend the period of operation of the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap :

The systems supported by Pine Gap will evolve to meet the demands of the post Cold War era, and it is expected that Pine Gap will remain a central element in our cooperation with the United States well into the next century.

Protest

In the 1980s people concerned with the military use of the US bases in Australia began a series of protests at the bases. In 1989, protestors went to Nurrungar (whose function was later transferred to Pine Gap).

The defence minister at the time, Beazley, called out the army against the protestors:

In early October 1989 the Minister for Defence (Beazley) called in the troops to back-up the South Australian police officers in charge of enforcing the law against demonstrators at the Nurrungar joint defence facility. As events transpired, ADF personnel did not come into contact with the protesters who, it seems, were unaware of the presence of the troops [not true].
If the troops had been needed to help control the protesters, as must have been anticipated when they were rushed to the base, then it seems most likely that the use of force would have been involved.
Four-hundred-and-ninety-two people were arrested during the course of the five-day protest…” (Report by Senate Estimates Committee concerning the use of force against protestors @ http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rp/1997-98/98rp08.htm#GENERAL

The Case of the Pine Gap Four

The Pine Gap Four are four people who walked onto the base at Pine Gap on 9 December 2005.

It was a non-violent protest on a minor scale.

But Government Ministers Hill and Ruddock have blown it all out of proportion because the government do not want Pine Gap exposed for what it is.

The Australian government wants Pine Gap closed off from review by the Australian people.

So the Commonwealth has dragged the PG4 into a lengthy trial in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, here wasting everyone’s time and tax-payers money; not to get at justice, but to try to create precedents for hiding the facts about Pine Gap from the Australian people.

 

we-are-not-afraid-to-talk-to-opur-government-baout-the-land.JPGinside-pine-gap.jpg

The Pine Gap case has been going on since December 2005 after four people entered the base on foot.

The Pine Gap Four (PG4) are charged with intentionally damaging property, namely outer and inner man proof fences situated on the northern perimeter of the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap, belonging to the Commonwealth. The Pine Gap base is situated on the lands of the Arrente people. They are the traditional custodians of the land.

The PG4 are also charged under the Defence Special Undertaking Act 1952 [DSU Act] which prohibits entering the base and taking photos.

The jury trial in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory is entering its third week.

The players, the evidence

Judge Sally Thomas is the star of the trial. She is being courteous to the PG4 and letting them testify as to their beliefs to prevent any possible grounds for appeal. So far Judge Sally Thomas has ruled against the PG4 on every major legal issue.

The judge ruled supporting the use by the Attorney General and Minister of Defence of out-of-date cold war legislation, the DSU Act, against the PG4.

She ruled in favour of the crown when it claimed Parliamentary Privilege to prevent important information about the use of the base in war. Here is how the barrister for the commonwealth prevented the jury from hearing the evidence given by Prof Des Ball to an Australian Senate committee on treaties (to permit the CIA running the US base here at Pine Gap).

The judge stated:

HER HONOUR: Thank you. Well, I propose to make a ruling on the arguments that have been put forward on this issue of the Parliamentary Privileges Act. I have had the opportunity to read and consider the submissions of Mr Begbie on behalf of the Commonwealth, both written and oral. I have also had obviously an opportunity to hear from the defendants as to what they want to say on this issue of the Parliamentary Privileges Act.

In considering the arguments that have been put to the court, I rule that the … (the Joint Finance Committee documents) … are not admissible in accordance with s 16 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act in the proceedings before this court. The transcript of a program on SBS Dateline dated 17 May 2000 which was exhibit M11 is not admissible so far as it makes reference to a Parliamentary Committee.”

The PG4 (clearly opposed to Pine Gap) wish to call evidence from Prof Ball. This is an indication how open the PG4 defence has been. Des Ball’s evidence to the JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON TREATIES concerning Pine Gap has not yet been heard by the jury. It was Des Ball who on MONDAY, 9 AUGUST 1999 came out in favour of Pine Gap with the following words:

“The one which I have had to force myself to come out in support of is Pine Gap, simply because I regard the intelligence which is collected there as critically important and collectable in no other way. I do not see any alternative other than to have Pine Gap here. That is whether one is concerned about monitoring, proliferation of ballistic missiles, nuclear proliferation or other advanced weapon systems in our region.”

According to Prof. Ball, Pine Gap is supposed to be a prime nuclear target. During the cold war Prof Ball said it was targeted by the Soviet Union, it is not clear who he means now. However Prof. Ball is opposed to the secrecy surrounding Pine Gap, particularly the refusal by the Americans to say what they are doing in there.

Governments play on the fear of ‘foreign attack’ and it gets them votes (regardless of political colour). Otherwise why would Howard and Beazley have been known to play the national security card. Remember it was Beazley who called out the army against the protestors at Nurrungur in 1989.

The judge also ruled that the public interest is to be served by preventing the defence making the link between Pine Gap and the Iraq war. The law calls this ‘public interest immunity’.

There was no defence barrister to argue the law of parliamentary privilege with the crown. Parliamentary Privilege is not the closed book that the argument in court would have us believe. In the High Court case Sankey v Whitlam it was ruled that a trial judge alone must weigh up whether justice will served by the examination of documents held by the parliament. Cabinet papers have been scrutinised by the courts.

The judge may however allow some evidence about Pine Gap to convince the appeal court that she acted fairly toward the PG4. For example she said that “Certain statements in the transcript which are exhibit M11 made by Professor Des Ball in the course of an interview which make no reference to the Parliamentary Committee are not excluded under the provisions of the Parliamentary Privileges Act.” However the prosecution may seek to exclude them under the rules of evidence.

When the judge sums up to the jury at the end of the trial, the judge may direct the jury there is no evidence there is a link between Pine Gap and the bombing of Iraq. The judge may tell the jury that the political or moral motivations of the PG4 are irrelevant.

The judge has asked the PG4 to look closely at the Criminal Code over the Queens Birthday Weekend and to consider the argument of the prosecution that the implementation of Government policy is not for a jury to decide but for “a matter for the representatives of the Australia community elected in accordance with our constitution”

The judge said they should look closely at the prosecution argument:

“To allow a jury to deliberate on such a matter would undermine and threaten our system of Government, making it a matter for the accused rather than the elected representatives of the people to decide which laws they will obey” If the judge rules this way on Tuesday 5 June 2007 there will not be much of a legal defence left to the PG4.”

Unfortunately jurors tend to follow judge’s instructions in criminal cases.

A penalty of seven years imprisonment is provided as a maximum penalty under the DSU Act. The defence contractor, Raytheon, claim that there is $12,000 worth of damage to the fences and alarm system. Jim Dowling has evidence that this is not correct. Yet he has been told by the prosecution that this is not relevant. The judge has ruled against him questioning the amount of the damage. The court has not seemed perturbed by the useless alarm system provided by one of the worlds largest arms suppliers at great expense to the taxpayer. While the Australian Defence force loses 8 rocket launchers in Sydney, while the Australian Wheat Board gives $300 million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein the PG4 have to wear a $12,000 bill for damage to an alarm system that they did not actuate.

If the jury finds the PG4 guilty the judge will likely use the quantum of damage claimed by the unscrupulous contractor, Raytheon, against the accused. The judge may misinterpret the principled stand of the PG4 and call it lack of remorse for their actions. Thereby the judge may increase the penalty against them.

Crown Prosecutor, Hilton Dembo, is the Commonwealth’s leading man. The PG4, Donna Mulhearn, Bryan Law, Adele Goldie and Jimmy Dowling have been assigned minor roles in the court as the accused.

In the Alice Springs courtroom the local working class jury look on. We have no idea what they are thinking. A couple of women in the jury appear to be sneering at the accused. Like Lindy Chamberlain in the Alice Springs supreme court of 1980, the accused are all confessed Christians. A jury found Chamberlain guilty of the murder of her first daughter, Azaria, on October 29, 1982 and she was sentenced to life imprisonment. Her conviction was later overturned.

Back to the PG4 trial in Alice Springs June 2007. Hilton Dembo, prosecutor, has cut his teeth in the law making sentencing submissions against 51-year-old Indonesians pleading guilty to importing ecstasy and ice into Australia. This may be his chance to enter a new area of law apart from the prosecutor’s lot — the mire of drugs and social decay.

Lawyers representing the Commonwealth Government have competed with Mr Dembo to claim the prize scalps of the accused Pine Gap Four.

Yet the PG4 have already admitted entering the Pine Gap base on 9 December 2005 to inspect that integral part of the US war machine. Before they went the PG4 told the minister, the federal police, the local police, and the security officers at Pine Gap, in fact anyone who would listen that they were going to walk into Pine Gap and inspect the base.

Who owns Pine Gap?

The PG4 took the important step of asking permission from the traditional owners of the land at Pine Gap, the Arrente people. In late 2005, a tribal spokesperson, Pat Hayes gave them permission to enter the land. Of course the crown opposed this evidence being presented. Here is the argument in court:

THE ACCUSED, DOWLING: When was the Base opened at Pine Gap?

MR BURGESS (deputy chief of Pine Gap Base) —When was it opened?

DOWLING: Yes?

BURGESS —They started work at the facility in 1967.

DOWLING: Are you aware of any contract or agreement with the eastern Arrente people who were there for the previous 40,000 years before that?-

pine-gap-has-two-eyes.jpg

BURGESS –Am I aware of any agreement with them?

DOWLING: To take over that land?

BURGESS —I don’t believe there was any agreement with them.

DOWLING: Right, so the land was just taken?

BURGESS —The land was acquired by the Commonwealth.

DOWLING: So you would understand if some people would think that it was still owned by the Arrernte people if there was never a new agreement to take – – –

HER HONOUR: Mr Dowling, that is not relevant and Mr Burgess cannot give evidence about how some other people may feel.

DOWLING: My contention is that it belongs to Eastern Arrente people and we were given permission by the traditional caretaker of that land to be there that night and we’re going to produce more evidence in regard to that.

The Politicians and Public Servants

The commonwealth lawyers are not alone in the hunting down of these warriors of faith and justice. The cast of commonwealth officers involved in the case runs into hundreds, Attorney General Ruddock, former Defence Minister Hill, Australian Federal police, public servants, an ASIO agent, even a person employed in the commonwealth map shop in Alice Springs. And this is not to mention the local Northern Territory police, the local hardware shop assistant, a joy flight pilot at Alice Springs (PG4 members took a flight in an attempt to see the base from the air), the list goes on.

Arrayed against the PG4 in December 2005 was the most sophisticated alarm system joint US and Australian ‘defence’ contractor, Raytheon, had to offer. Only one problem. There are kangaroos and snakes out there in the desert at Pine Gap. There are stray cows from nearby farms. These animals constantly set off the alarm signals that are fed back by the latest telecommunications technology to Florida USA. The security guards response? They turn off the alarms when it all gets too much. They ignore them when they feel like it. Yet at 4.07 am on 9 December 2005 an alarm went off that the officer David Derricks said he did not ignore. The guard immediately looked at the video camera that locked onto the point in the outer man-proof fence when the alarm was actuated. Nothing there. He rang for assistance. A car was sent to investigate. Still nothing there. It was not for another 12 minutes that Dowling and Goldie went through the bottom of the wire fences to climb a building called the CMAP building (pictured in foreground). Click to download the report showing the Faulty Alarms at Pine Gap that misled officer David Derricks.

.pg-picture-from-high.jpg


It was on the roof of the CMAP building that Adele Goldie and Jim Dowling were apprehended by security at the base. Dowling was handcuffed and his face was shoved down into the tin roof of the building by security.

Hilton Dembo for the Crown has come up with a cunning repost to the PG4, they can say what they did, they can even say that successive Australian governments (both Liberal and Labor governments) took the law into their own hands by prosecuting illegal wars against the Iraqi people, that these governments used space research as a front for use of Pine Gap in pre-emptive strikes against a harmless people.

But the court cannot hear any evidence that demonstrates what the PG4 are saying is true. But more than that, the prosecution is permitted to repeat time and again that all their motives are unreasonable. The star judge has already ruled that the prosecutions case is true and valid. The judge has already ruled that the jury cannot hear what Professor Des Ball of the Strategic Studies Centre, ANU has to say about Pine Gap since the 1991 Gulf War started.

Even the testimony given by Prof Des Ball to the Joint Senate Committee about Pine Gap providing signals, communications and intelligence to assist US ballistic missiles bomb targets in Iraq and Afghanistan has been excluded by the judge.

How has this been allowed to happen?

Judge Sally Thomas, an officer of the Citizens Military Forces (the Australian army reserve), has queried the relevance of anything that goes to the heart of the case against the accused, witness this exchange:

When Mr Burgess (yet another lawyer acting for the commonwealth) claimed that Pine Gap was used as a joint space research defence facility – one of the accused Jim Dowling said “are you serious” – what planets were they researching? When the Judge queried why this might be relevant, Jim stated that it was because everyone had lied about the base.

Of this we can be certain. As early as 1967 the then Minister or Defence Allen Fairhall declared under the Defence Special Undertaking Act 1952 that Pine Gap is a Space Research Defence facility[1]. This untruthful declaration was finally replaced by a new equally untruthful declaration by the Labor Defence Minister Robert Ray in the early 1990s. The new declaration claimed that Pine Gap was needed for the defence of Australia.

ndvd_049.jpg

Picture shows US Military plane landing at Alice Springs to deliver and pick up materials for Pine Gap.

Statements by the defence

Contrast this with the unique perspective of Donna Mulhearn who went to Iraq to witness first-hand the bombing of Fallujah. How the missiles are guided to their target by signals intelligence that is fed through Pine Gap. Now the judge says this is mere assertion by the accused. Yet Sally Thomas has not allowed the defence to prove the truth of their claims by skilfully saying she will permit cross-examination of the crown witnesses only to the extent that it may show what was in the mind of the accused at the time of their entering Pine Gap.

Jim Dowling gave evidence about his reasons for going to Pine Gap:

So, in – after the war started in 2003, I had a computer for the first time in my life, and I would read stuff about what was happening in Iraq every night, or a lot of nights, after you put the kids to bed, you turn on the computer and overall I don’t follow sport or anything else much, haven’t got many hobbies, don’t go out much with lots of kids, and so I read lots of horror stories about what was happening over there.

And I could have a pile of papers bigger than some of our legal friends have had here of those stories, but one story stuck with me, and I’d just like to read out a bit of it if I can, and submit it as something that – has informed my belief ever since. It is an article written for The Independent newspaper in the United Kingdom by Robert Fisk who is one of the well, one of the most famous journalists in the world, I suppose.

He spent 20 or 30 years in the Middle East reporting on various wars there, etcetera. And it is dated 2 April 2003, The Independent reports on a bombing that is, I realised at the time, and still realise today that it is quite possible Pine Gap had a role in. Here we go, I’ll give it a try, and the first part of it goes like this: ‘At least 11 civilians, 9 of them children – – –

Jim Dowling could not go on. Donna Mulhearn described what happened:

…then Jim (Dowling) took the stand. He talked about phoning the anti-terror hotline in 2003 to report Pine Gap and shared how the stories coming back from Iraq about civilian deaths were affecting him. He started reading a news report about civilian deaths but broke down in tears when it mentioned that nine children were killed in a bombing.

The judge adjourned the court and every(one) left quietly to the sound of Jim sobbing.

There was not a dry eye in the place, the court attendants, the security guards, everyone was affected. It was a very powerful moment.”

Here is the rest of what Jim Dowling had to say:

‘At least 11 civilians, nine of them children were killed in Iraq – in Central Iraq yesterday according to reporters in the town who said they appeared to be victims of bombing. Razak(?) Kazeem Kajaf(?) grieves over the bodies of his children who are in the southern province of Babylon.

Kajaf lost 15 members including six children of his family, as his car was bombed by coalition helicopters while fleeing Al Haradia(?) towards Babylon. Reported from the Reuters Newsagency said that counted the bodies of 11 civilians and two Iraqi fighters in a Babylon suburb, 50 miles south of Baghdad. Nine of the dead were children. One a baby.

A hospital worker said as many as 33 civilians were killed. Terrifying film of women and children later emerged from the Reuters Newsagency Associated Press were permitted by the Iraqi authorities to take their cameras into the town. The pictures, the first by western newsagency is from the Iraq side of the battlefront showed babies cut in half and children with amputation wounds apparently caused by American shellfire and cluster bombs.

Much of the videotape was too terrible to show on television and the agencies in Baghdad editors felt able to only send only a few minutes of a 21 minute tape that included a baby – holding pieces of his baby and screaming ‘cowards, cowards’ into the camera. Two lorry loads of bodies including women in floral dresses could be seen outside the hospital.’ I’d like to submit that as evidence if I could.’

Conclusions

The American Chief of Pine Gap should be called to give evidence of the real nature of the base to challenge the various ministerial declarations that the base is merely a Space Research Defence Facility.

For that matter the minister for defence and the Attorney General should also be called to explain why they have invoked the Defence Special Undertakings Act to continue the 40 year cover-up of the function of Pine Gap. But that is never going to happen. The justice system would never allow it. The principle of the separation of powers so often touted by the Commonwealth in the case is a ruse to keep from the jury, the Australian people, people everywhere, the sorry role of Pine Gap in war.

There is truth in the adage: “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”The executive arm of government has taken control. A weak judiciary succumbs to the wishes of ministers. The US military can use Pine Gap to bomb whoever it likes, while the Australian people either don’t know or are too afraid to ask.


[1] The Pine Gap Four are charged under the DSU Act 1952 for entering the base and taking photos.

See also the following background on this story:

Activist on trial Pine Gap Four find Ground Zero Peace Convergence and Pine Gap

Where to, the anti-war movement?

US election poll on Iraq war
The day before the recent mid-term elections in the US, I asked two American graduate students studying at the University of Queensland in Brisbane what their view of that election was, would they vote, and if so, how?

I asked what their view of the Iraq war was.

One, who normally votes Republican, was from ‘up state New York’ near Syracuse on the Canadian border. The other, who votes Democrat, was from a small town in Maryland. They were both in their early 20s and were friends.

They both said that they were not going to vote in the mid-term elections – one (the democrat) because he was fed up; and the republican because he had failed to get an absentee vote registration.

Both said that they disliked George Bush.

The republican said that he preferred the more moderate John McCain who was the reason he votes republican. This was despite the fact that, coming from New York State, he would not be able to vote for McCain, who is a senator from Arizona.

I said: “McCain, he is against the war in Iraq, right?” He confirmed this. But curiously, like McCain had done during the invasion and early stages of the Iraq war, the republican student now still supports the war. His republican idol had shifted ground but he had not.

The Democrat from Maryland said that he was from a small town, he still lived at home, and his father was a policeman there. He showed me a picture of his family home, which was a replica English Victorian mansion containing 6 bedrooms on a fairly large block of land surrounded by trees. Apparently the house had been acquired through ‘a very good deal’.
I am not sure what that meant, the father being a copper and all.

The Democrat had four friends from high school who had done tours of duty in Iraq. They all voted democrat and opposed the Iraq war before they left and now all voted republican. He said that his fellow students had been ‘brainwashed’ and now supported the war. When he said this, the republican student made a face showing disapproval of the democrat student referring to them as being ‘brainwashed’.

The mind boggles at how students who were anti-war could go to Iraq, see what happens there, be involved in the fighting, and return pro-war.

So neither student voted in the election that our Australian papers have termed a watershed with statements like this:

A Democratic majority in even one chamber could block Mr Bush’s legislative agenda and turn up the pressure on the White House for a dramatic shift in strategy on Iraq.” – Article in the AUSTRALIAN (from The Times) “Rumsfeld first casualty of US elections” by Tom Baldwin and Tim Reid – November 09, 2006.

One Brisbane peace activist put it this way:

The Democrats have won Virginia; which means they take the senate. Bush is now what is called a lame duck president. This is a historic shift, reflecting the strength of the on the ground (peace) movements in the US.

Former Premier of NSW and now Macquarie Bank lobbyist, Bob Carr commented:

It was a foreign policy election, it was about Iraq … by every test, it was a referendum on Iraq … a repudiation of a high risk war… this is extraordinary, it is remarkable, this is a defeat of of adventurism …”

Bob Carr (who is pro-nuclear) then went on to say:uranium-metal-of-menace-leave-it-in-the-ground.jpg
I fear, he is likely to embark on war with Iran, his vice-president has been studying events in southern Lebanon with a view to a war-plan with Iran … giving effect with theatre nuclear weapons.

I am thrilled by the Democrats winning not only the house (of representatives) but also the senate. It will be a retreat like that of Vietnam, with helicopters on the roof of the US embassy in Baghdad.”

What of the opinions of the American students, the peace activist, and Bob Carr?

They all presuppose that the shift to the centre means a repudiation of the war by the US government. There does appear to be a shift but where is it going?

Will the US government commit more troops or bomb Iraq and Afghanistan even more? Does a Democrat win in congress mean that there are even more Zionists in government in the US?
Will the coalition of the willing accept leaving Iraq as losers or will they just declare victory after Saddam is hung and exit?

  • We should remember that the leading Democrat for the 2009 Presidential elections, Hilary Clinton, supports the war in Iraq, so did her (Democratic) party.
  • There is no analysis by commentators quoted above of the US leaving Afghanistan or its support of Israel’s wars against Palestine and Lebanon.
  • There is little or no talk of reading the US election result as a repudiation of the “War of Terror” by the US.

While America waits for a Democrat government to curtail the extremism of the Bush presidency, all we can hope for in Australia is an ALP government to replace the extremism of Howard.

Gore Vidal may be right about America: ‘a one party state with two right wings, one Republican, the other Democrat’. The same could be said of the political parties in Australia.

Would even one of the pundits above suppport the other view of America, that of a Palestinian poet-refugee in Lebanon:

Burnt my trees
Jailed my sun
Killed my children
And drank their blood
Then ground their bones at McDonnell-Douglas
Only to offer them back to me
As a present
In a flour sack
To torture me all the rest of my life
This is America!

Where to?
I think that the election result in the US means that the majority want a way out of the war without losing their national pride.

They are tired of losing the war in Iraq. Now that the cost is mounting they are looking for alternatives. However they do not want a repeat of Vietnam which in the end was a cut and run, a defeat on the ground.

Many in the US (and Australia) are still in denial of the defeat in Vietnam.

Others (like the two students mentioned in the article above) are too young to have experienced what the Vietnam war meant.

Many do not even admit that the US were defeated on the ground by a strong and resilient people, preferring to think that it was a weakness of their own resolve. They blame their defeat in Vietnam on the media and liberals, and wish to forget the Vietcong tanks storming the gates of the US embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). They long for a colonial past.

In the end, the New Left revolt of the 1960s and 70s came to little. And this may be part of the reason why many look to the centre for a way out of Iraq.

The anti-war part of the vote in the US is still a minority (about 30%). The remainder are not anti-war, they are tired of the human and material cost of the war that they are waging and want a better result.

The Left, who stand for improvement in human society, have been unable to limit the damage to the people in Iraq through the traditional method of organisation, protest.

In Vietnam, there was a strong Communist Party that could limit the damage done by the Americans.

No coordinated group such as this has emerged in Iraq.

Without this, all that the people suffering on the ground can hope for is that the Americans will tire as the road becomes more and more difficult.

We can only hope that the US congress will not seek the ultimate punishment for the failure of Bush and his right-wing cronies.

However history is not so kind to this point of view.

The Roman senate demanded the destruction of Carthage and all its people in return for the failure of Ceasar to defeat Hannibal.

Ian Curr
14 November 2006

Rally for Peace in the Middle East

Atroops-out-s23-13-sep-version-2.jpgbout 100 people attended this rally to hear speakers like Les Thomas, Ian Rintoul (Solidarity), Halim Rane (Fair Go for Palestine) and the Greens candidate in Mount Cootha, Juanita Wheeler, who polled well in the recent state elections.

Les Thomas spoke in support of his brother Jack and condemned the government for using his brother as a smokescreen for its ‘war on terror’. His brother has been found innocent of all charges of terrorism.

“This has nothing to do with national security – it’s about appearing tough on the war on terror and they are quite happy to ruin my brother’s life in pursuit of their political objectives.

“I think he’s somebody the authorities have been desperate to make an example of for a long time and having failed in their attempts to present Jack as a terrorist threat in the courts they are willing to take any measure at their disposal no matter how extreme or draconian they may be.”

On the evidence presented by authorities themselves (usually full of bias against the defendant and misinformation), Jack Thomas’s trip to Pakistan was an act of naivete by a working class melbourne man interested in Islam. The move by ASIO and the Australian Federal police is clearly a move to justify their large budget and increased staffing levels since the “war on terror” was commenced.

Les Thomas was one of about 90 in an anti-war rally of people in Brisbane’s CBD marching under the slogans shown in the poster above.

Les said the demonstration, which was addressed by speakers from Solidarity, Socialist Alliance, the Greens and Fair Go for Palestine began at Post Office Square before the protesters marched to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade office in Ann Street, highlighted the Government’s threat to civil liberties in its deception, the war on terror.

“Today we made connections between the broader war on terror and how laws are being fundamentally changed in Australia so we are seeing things like control orders, closed courts and secret hearings that we would normally hear in authoritarian regimes,” Les Thomas said.

Juanita Wheeler for the Greens argued that the size of the rally should not deter people and that the media was cyncial not to report it — she said that the people at the rally should take heart that they represented the majority of people in Australia who oppose the war in Iraq.

However a greater dynamic has to be set up by the organising groups sufficient to bring larger numbers to such rallies.

The Anti-war Coordinating Committee (a coalition of Socialist and Peace groups, some of which are mentioned above) raised $435 which covered the cost of the rally.

Discussion: Will the US/Israel force a change of government in Lebanon?

This may be high on the list of priorities for the neo-liberals in Lebanon.

On Saturday, Hizballah had a rally in Beirut of hundreds of thousands of people.

The Hizballah rally (23 September 2006) looked very big on the ABC news — however the 2005 Hizballah rallies in Beirut looked bigger. Hassan Nasrallah gave a victory speech; Hizbalah may have been forced to move up the Bekkah valley toward Syria and at the same time Israel may have a buffer zone — one of its objectives in its war on Lebanon.

Meanwhile BushTelegraph has received news of large payments being made and received by members of the Lebanese cabinet. The neo liberals under the leadership of the son of Saad Hariri (a lebanese neo liberal assasinated last year) may well be behind these payments in an attempt to manipulate a change of government. Either the payments may also be evidence of corruption in government (or both). See article below:

Like FATHER LIKE SON
NTV news 07/07/2006:

The Minster of Industry Pierre Amine Gemayel signed contract for 80,000$ with Mr. Abou Malhab (ex – childhood friend to Pierrot who lived 20 years in Sweden and having a business administration degree) in order to make a Study.

The National Accounting committee refused to pay the contract of Mr Pierrot 120,000,000 L.L Pierrot tried to convince them by reducing the price to 100,000,000 L.L. , but the committee still refuse because of many factors:
1. The “etude” should be done by the ministry employees and not by a private side; the price contracted is not logic and very high; employees of the ministry are getting salaries for doing this job and it is unnecessary to make a private contract.
2. The Contract is incomplete and doesn’t contain any details of the “Study”.
3. The National Accounting Committee called the General Director of the ministry for a meeting but he refused to come backed by a call from Pierrot asking him for not going there.Pierrot was upset because he could not do it in a legal way. So he asked Mr. Seniora to provide the money separately from “Reserve of Treasury ” 120,000,000 L.L. to pay Mr. Abou Malhab (a Lebanese living 20 years in Sweden).

Uncle Senioura accepted and signed it during the last meeting of government, NTV showed copies of documents for the public including the contract signed between Pierrot and Mr. Abou Malhab.

This is a small sample of what is happening in Lebanon’s Saad Hariri and his 14th of February [2006] band.

Is the conflict between the US and Iran just a deception by Neo Liberals?
A palestinian refused to speak at the rally on the basis of his belief that Iran and the US are in cahoots in laying waste to Iraq and that the public squabble between them is a deception.

He says that he has documents proving that Iran is refining stolen Iraqi oil for the Americans.

He argued that the slogan: “No to war on Syria and Iran” did not convey a true picture in the middle east (or the correct emphasis) and should have been taken from the rally poster.

This speaker should be invited to speak at the next Anti-War Coordinating Committee to outline his perspective.

Ian Curr
25 September 2006

Pine Gap Four reach Ground Zero

maralinga-person-on-pine-gap.jpg“This is a true story, it may not be your story, but it is a good story nonetheless” [from the film “Ten Canoes” by Rolph de Heer].
This is a story of the Pine Gap Four who went to the American base out there in the desert with the permission of the aboriginal caretaker of that land.



Journalist Richard Ackland wrote recently in the Sydney Morning Herald under the heading Goering got it so right :

voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
That is easy.
All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.
It works the same way in any country.”

From “Goering got it so right” by Richard Ackland in the Sydney Morning Herald Date: June 9 2006.

cmap-bldg-at-pine-gap.jpgPine Gap was gazetted in 1967 as a restricted area by the then Defence Minister Allen Fairhall and the Australian people were told that it was a space research station. This official cover lasted for the next 25 years.

The Pine Gap Four
In December 2005 four pacifists sought out Pat Hayes, the traditional Arrente caretaker for the Pine Gap area and asked his permission to walk on his land (at Pine Gap). No permission had ever been sought or given for Pine Gap to be used by the Australian or US military as apine-gap-has-two-eyes.jpg military base. However Pat Hayes gave the peace activists permission to enter the area.

In an attempt to prove Goering right the attorney general Ruddock charged the Pine Gap Four who had walked into Pine Gap under the DEFENCE (SPECIAL UNDERTAKINGS) ACT 1952. The charges were:

Unlawful entry – section 9(1) A person is guilty of an offence if: (a) the person is in, enters or flies over an area; and (b) the area is a prohibited area. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 7 years[2].pine-gap.jpg

Use of cameras etc
.- section 17(1) A person is guilty of an offence if: (a) the person is in or is passing over a prohibited area; and (b) the person has in his or her possession, carries or uses a camera or other photographic apparatus or material.
Maximum penalty:
Imprisonment for 2 years.

Jim Dowling, Donna Mulhearn, Adele Goldie, and Bryan Law appeared in an Alice Springs court in April 2006 and were committed for trial in the Northern Territory Supreme Court on these charges and others relating to damage of the Pine Gap fences. This was despite the failure of the prosecution to make out the basis for the criminal damage. The damages bill has been falsified by a contractor at the base, Raytheon (international arms manufacturers and dealers in Tomahawk missiles)
why-is-beazley-inside-pine-gap.jpg

The DSU charges relate to December 9th 2005 when the Pine Gap 4 walked for about three hours into Pine Gap; two of the four, Jim Dowling and Adele Goldie climbed through so called “inner and outer man proof fences” and scaled the building shown in the photographic model. This building is myteriously referred to in court as the CMAP building. Adele and Jim paraded an anti-war banner. For this peaceful act, Jim was assaulted by the guards on the roof of the CMAP building.

pg-picture-from-high.jpgAustralian Attorney General (Ruddock) and then Defence Minister (Hill) have approved and instructed the Northern Territory prosecutor to proceed against the “Pine Gap Four[3]” under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952 [the Act]. See article about the court case called “Words of Mass Deception by Maniacs of Spin

The Maralinga Connection

Restrictions on entry to secret bases are referred to in the 1987 Australian film called “Ground Zero”.

This is a film based on the Maralinga Atom Bomb tests conducted by the British Government in 1950s. Ground Zero details a governmental cover-up as seen through the eyes of commercial photographer played by Colin Friels. Tipped off to the possibility that the death of his father was tied in with radioactive contamination, Friels runs into several official brick walls as he presses his investigation. At the root of everything is a hush-hush nuclear radiation test, conducted in Australia in the mid-1950s.

In the film there is a scene where the character played by Friels was denied access to the Maralinga test site by an American soldier under legislation similar to that used against the PG4.
With the help of a slightly-addled survivor (Donald Pleasence) of those tests, Friels uncovers the truth.
The film credits disclose the names of those people who died as a result of the radiation from the nuclear tests at Maralinga. The film acknowledges the Aborigines who died as a result of the bomb tests.

Why the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952?
The legislation was designed to prevent people who may have obtained access to the secrets of places like Monte Bello, Maralinga and Emu Plains from disclosing information about the nuclear test that were being carried out there. The legislation was to prevent defence staff, locals, aborigines and saboteurs from getting unauthorized access and to prevent them from revealing anything about nuclear tests.
maralinga-deaths.jpg The following report[1] provides evidence for this:

“Occasionally, when Aborigines were sighted in restricted areas, reports of these sightings were disbelieved, or less than subtly discouraged. One officer who reported sighting Aborigines in the prohibited zone was asked if he realised ‘what sort of damage [he] would be doing by finding Aboriginals where Aboriginals could not be’ (Australia 1985, p. 319).

After the Milpuddie family (traditional owners of the land) was found in the restricted area at Maralinga, the Range Commander invoked the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952 (Cwlth) to prevent disclosure of the incident by any personnel on the scene.

This Act of parliament was enacted specifically to prevent people entering and/or flying over the Maralinga site where the Atom Bomb tests were conducted.

The effects of these British tests were later the subject of a Royal Commission conducted by Justice James (Diamond Jim) McClelland in the 1980s. McClelland said in his opening address for hearings in London for the Royal Commission:

“Secrecy about nuclear weapons is a ‘convenient alibi’ for failure of disclosure”

Submission No. 2743 to the Review of Veterans’ Entitlements from a Nurse Researcher for the Australian Ex-Services Atomic Survivors Association supports the view expressed by McClelland.

Also, what the researcher had to say in that submission is relevant to how such legislation as the DSU is used against the PG4. It reads:

“The British Nuclear Tests (experiments) were conducted under war conditions; a new act of parliament was drafted to cover the areas to be tested. The Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952 gazetted prohibited areas, indicated penalties for unlawful entry, outlined powers to arrest, jail sentences, increased penalties for failure to obey an order and sabotage.

The participants in the tests were also made to sign the “Secrets Act“, a document of non-disclosure lasting for over 30 years. These were not the standards applied in normal service times, they were those applied in war time. The service men were told not even to tell their wives.

The British Nuclear Test were a series of operations run over almost a decade. They were codenamed operations (Totem was one code name used). ‘Operation service, for the most part, comprises service outside Australia in wartime or during declared warlike operation’ the book Veterans’ Entitlement Law (states that) operational service can be “service elsewhere in Australia where the veteran actually incurred danger from enemy action”. This was clearly a threat throughout the “Cold War” and the Defence Special Undertakings Act 1952 also anticipated sabotage. Indeed there was incidence of sabotage during the tests.”

Pine Gap
Maralinga was closed in 1967 to be cleaned of radioactive materials (Operation Brumby). Needless to say this operation was unsuccessful. It may take 25,000 years for the radioactivity to disappear. During the same year (1967), Pine Gap was gazetted as a restricted area under the DSU Act 1952.
The Australian government is repeating history by charging the PG4 under the legislation used to make secret the effects of the Atomic Bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s by Australian, British, and American military. It was Prime Minister Robert Menzies who said in 1953:

“No conceivable injury to life, limb or property could emerge from the (atom bomb) test that has been made at Woomera”

In 2003, 50 years after this statement by Prime Minister Menzies, the Australian Government conducted a review into veterans’ entitlements arising from the British Atomic Tests at Maralinga.ndvd_035.jpg

Its recommendations were:

Participation by Australian defence force personnel in the British atomic tests should be declared non-warlike hazardous and the legislation should be amended to ensure that this declaration can have effect in extending VEA coverage.

The Government should move quickly to finalise the cancer and mortality study.

The activities at Pine Gap as defined in the DSU Act 1952 as “a work or undertaking which is being carried out, or is to be carried out, whether within or without Australia, for or in relation to the defence of Australia, … and in part for or in relation to the defence of some other part of the Queen’s dominions or of some other country associated with Australia in resisting or preparing to resist international aggression…”

Will it take another 50 years before a Royal Commission reveals that Australia, the United States and the British and the corporate oil interests that they serve are aggressors and occupiers in places like Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan?ndvd_049.jpg

Was Goering so right as claimed by Richard Ackland when he said: “All you (government leaders) have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger”?

Will an Australian jury prove him wrong and see through the lies of the Australian government?

Ian Curr

[1] Australian studies in law, crime and justice“A toxic legacy : British nuclear weapons testing in Australia.”

Published in: Wayward governance : illegality and its control in the public sector / P N Grabosky Canberra : Australian Institute of Criminology, 1989 ISBN 0 642 14605 5 (Australian studies in law, crime and justice series); pp. 235-253.

Anti-War Coordinating Committee Meeting

Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2006,
Time: 6:30 pm — 8:30pm
Place: AHIMSA House, 26 Horan Street,
West End (near State School)

A resolution was passed by the Anti-War Coordinating Committee to organise a rally on 23 September 2006. An organising meeting was held at the above time and place.
Invitations were issued to others interested in coordinating activities in the peace movement or wish to receive more information about the anti-war coordinating committee.

Contact: Ray 0402 236 903 or Ian 3398 5215

middle-east-map.jpg

Map of the Middle East (click to magnify)

The need for respect, comradely behaviour and democracy in decision-making was the strong message that came out of the first anti-war coordinating committee meeting that was attended by 13 people from 11 different organisations on 16 Aug 2006.

There were some people at that meeting who had been active in the Stop the War Collective (including Mark Gillespie and Joan Shears).

For there to be joint meetings of an Anti-War Coordinating Committee and the Stop the War Collective requires a democratic vote. This has not been possible because the only meeting planned is of the anti-war coordinating committee for 13 September 2006 and may not be possible then until voting rights and procedures are worked out (see below).

So far an anti-war coordinating committee has formed with a list of people who are committed only to the extent of placing their name, contact addresses, and organisation on a list and agreeing by a unanimous vote to form a committee by that name at the first meeting on 16 August 2006.

There was a decision put by a different set of people not in attendance at the first meeting (who also placed their names on the coordinating committee list) on 30 August to organise a rally at 12 noon on the 23rd September at Queens park).

In the circumstances outlined above (particularly since the coordinating committee does not have a fixed membership) the chairperson of the coordinating committee (Ian Curr) suggested to the meeting that organising a rally was premature and was not the role for an anti-war coordinating committee which had just been formed and had not settled on a name.

Nevertheless the convenors of the anti-war coordinating committee (Ray Bergmann and Ian Curr) agreed to perform tasks relating to that proposal once it was passed by a show of 6 hands for with none against (the chairperson does not vote in these circumstances).

Tom Bramble (Socialist Alternative) agreed to contact possible speakers at the rally. Ahmed Kadhem and Ray Bergmann would seek out speakers from occupied countries in the Middle East with the proviso that refugees would not be placed at risk.

Steve Martin (International Socialist Organisation) agreed to draft a leaflet for the rally. A record of donations to the anti-war coordinating committee is kept by one of the convenors (Ray Bergmann).

The anti-war coordinating committee received a generous donation from a Quaker who left with his colleague prior to any decisions being reached about the rally.

The proposers of interstate speaker would need to raise at least $500 at the rally to make the proposal to fly a speaker from Melbourne (say) viable. That is unlikely given recent experience where $300 is about the maximum collected at rallies. Can the proposers of interstate speakers (Socialist Alternative) guarantee to make up any shortfall on the day?

Tom Bramble (SA) said “he does not agree with artists playing at the demos” but “(Michael) Franti is an exception”.(Franti being an international artist who is playing in Sydney on 22 and 23 September 2006).

Whatever happened to the notion of local artists playing at rallies? On the same day local artists are playing at the Brisbane Labour History Association’s Rekindling the Flames of Discontent that same afternoon at East Brisbane Bowls Club).

Since that meeting Mark Gillespie (STWC) has said that he had discussed with Stop the War Collective members to join with the anti-war coordinating committee meeting on Wednesday 13 Sep 06 to help organise the rally. There has also been a number of emails from Tom Bramble (Socialist Alternative) that read like minutes of that meeting (no one was delegated to take minutes).

As per normal meeting procedures (see below) items for an agenda can be submitted prior to the meeting. The anti-war committee meeting cannot function with agreed rules of democracy. One part of this is to have democratic meeting procedures. Such procedures are listed below:

MEETING PROCEDURES

1. Elect a Chairperson.
One task from the outset is that there is a quorum present, being a majority of the active members of the coordinating committee.

2. Apologies for Non Attendance
Advance apologies for non-attendance at the next meeting.

3. Minutes of Previous Meeting
a. Motion – “That the minutes be confirmed.”
b. Seconder
c. Amendments or alterations to minutes as read
d. Vote by members
Business arising from minutes. It is important that the Chairman is familiar with any matter, which
may arise.

4. Correspondence
No motion is normally required, although if it is desired to approve the sending of letters/emails then the
appropriate motion is “That the correspondence be endorsed”.

6. Reports
Unless just making an announcement about a future happening, each person should conclude their
report with a motion “That the report be received (or adopted)” as appropriate.
a. Motion – as above
b. Seconder
c. Discussion on content of report
d. Vote by members

7. General Business
While it is preferable for motions and amendments to be submitted in writing to the Chairman, this is
not essential. Motions may be accepted directly from a speaker.
Note. The following is the method of obtaining a decision on a motion:

CHAIRMAN: I will now put the motion “That…………
“All those in favour ….” Those against ….”
“I believe those for/against have it (Pause in case someone disagrees and requests a show of hands) and I declare the motion/amendment carried/lost.”

If a motion is carried people may be delegated to perform any tasks required in the spirit of the motion.

8. Collection of membership dues.
Rather than the current practice of taking a collection to pay for hire of the meeting room, the membership should consider having dues (say $25/$15 that can be collected on say a 6 monthly basis.

Benefit Dinner and Concert raises over $12,000 for relief to Lebanon and Palestine

fair-go-for-palestine-benefit-26-aug-2006.jpgLast night (26 Aug 2006) in Brisbane there was a benefit dinner and concert held to raise money for relief efforts for the Lebanese and Palestinian people after the July/August 2006 war.

The function was organised by Brisbane’s Fair Go for Palestine and the local Al-Nisa Muslim Women’s Youth Group.

Sheikh Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh from the Kuraby Mosque sang Arabic songs and described how he, a Palestinian, has recently been prevented three times from visiting his homeland by Israeli military.benefit-gig.jpg

Brisbane artist Phil Monsour (pictured) sang accompanied by film depicting the Israeli military bombardment of Lebanon and Palestine and the war in Iraq.

The benefit was strongly supported by the local Muslim community. About 240 people attended in a small hall in South Brisbane.

At my table was a Lebanese man who had driven down from Toowoomba and a group of young men from South Africa who now live in Brisbane. The young men had heard about the dinner through the Kuraby Mosque. We all had an political discussion over excellent lebanese food about the recent events in the middle east.
One young man said that he thought Iran must have given a lot of money to Hizballah for rebuilding villages. Someone else later suggested that countries in the region like Iran want others to resist Israel and US agression in the region (e.g. to do the fighting for them). It has been left to a coalition of lebanese political groups (of which Hizballah is an important part) to rebuild villages, towns and Beirut.

Many others wished to attend the dinner but could not because of the size of the hall.

The function raised over $10,000 to be given to Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) for relief in Palestine and Lebanon. An auction was also held during the night to raise funds.

Speakers at the function were Halim Rane (Fair Go for Palestine), Qld Senators Andrew Bartlett (Australian Democrats) and Claire Moore (ALP). The two senators opened the benefit. At the outset, Claire Moore, eager to get started, called Andrew Bartlett to the stage. Senator Bartlett obediently took up his position on stage. His first comment into the microphone was “I do not always do what the ALP asks me

For more information or to give donations contact Nora on 0422 349 786 or namath14@yahoo.com or contact@fairgoforpalestine.org


Rally and March for Justice for Aboriginal people

dreaming-fest-13-june-2005.jpg

Sam Watson is the Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the 2007 Senate election.

He is the chairperson of regular community meetings and rallies in support of aboriginal democratic rights.

During 2006/2007 these are some of the activities conducted by the community for Justice and Democratic Rights.

****

During the 2006 Queensland State Election campaign there was a rally in Queens Park [between George Street and North Quay behind the old Treasury Building] on Friday, 1st September 2006 starting at 1 pm.

The rally was followed by a march at about 3 pm that went across Victoria Street Bridge down Melbourne Street to Manning Street and up to Jagara Hall in Musgrave Park. Jagara Hall is behind Brisbane State High School.

An organising community meeting to prepare for the rally and march (to make posters banners etc) was held at Jagara Hall on Wednesday, 30 September at 12 noon

RALLY FOR JUSTICE
No to racism and police violence
Stop black deaths in custody

Rally at Queens Park
(between George Street and North Quay)
1pm Friday, 1st September 2006
March at 3pm to Musgrave Park

Vote ŒŒŒ1 for Sam Watson
[Socialist Alliance]
for Brisbane Central
Contact Sam on 0401 227 443

 

Boycott the war machine!

mazen-spot-the-difference.jpgEconomic Sanctions against Israel

Israel has imposed military blockades on both Palestine and Lebanon. These blockades prevent aid, food, water, medicines, and electricity getting to the people most affected by Israeli attacks.

In response, various people and groups have proposed economic sanctions on Israel.

I support any proposal that will stop Israeli war crimes and get the Israeli military out of Palestine and Lebanon.

I wish to address this proposal for people’s economic sanctions against Israel. Although I do not think that sanctions ended apartheid in South Africa they did help raise consciousness in the West about what the apartheid regime was doing to black South Africans and their supporters. Yet economic apartheid still exists for the working class in South Africa.

Many Israeli goods are produced by Palestinian workers and workers from other parts of the world. At the same time as Israel steps up its war economy, many in Israel will profit from this economy as Palestinian and Lebanese people grow poorer. The poor people will require aid to rebuild their lives. How can an economic sanctions campaign against Israel be made more effective and to cripple its war economy? Will a refusal to buy Israeli goods on shelves in supermarkets directly attack the Israeli war economy?

Aren’t the British, American and European arms manufacturers helping this war economy along and making huge profits in the process. For example, in July/August 2006 giant airbuses are flying in laser guided bombs from the US through Britain to kill villagers in Lebanon. Some of these arms manufacturers and providers of weapons have subsidiaries here in Australia.

Firms like Raytheon, Boeing and Dupont are but a few. There are also financial services companies and banks that provide funds and services to the US/Israel war machine. There are powerful Israeli lobby groups in Australia which obtain large tax concessions to provide funds to the state of Israel. Mark Leibler, a prominent tax advisor to the rich, has the ear of the Australian Treasurer on these and other matters. Also there are joint US/Australian bases in Australia at places like Pine Gap and Nurrunga which provide communication and military information from satellites directly to the US/Israeli war machine. These US bases should be shut down.

Boycotts against all these firms and agencies involving the withdrawal of labour have to be organised. Workers and their unions must declare these firms and agencies “black”.

Currently Union Aid abroad, APHEDA, provides assistance to Palestinian and Lebanese people. These projects should be supported by workers. Coordination and cooperation with union organisations such as these is necessary to assist the people who are struggling against the Israeli military.

BOYCOTT THE US/ISRAELI WAR MACHINE

Ian Curr
12 Aug 2006

ANTI-WAR COORDINATING MEETING

6:30 pm — 8:30pm
Wednesday, 16 August 2006
Ahimsa House
(see map by clicking on AHIMSA House)
26 Horan Street
, West End Qld 4101

The meeting will be held in the library on the second floor.

There have been several meetings and white-balloons-free-palestine-free-lebanon-rally-12-aug-2006-004.jpgdemonstrations organised by various groups since the bombing and invasion of Lebanon on 13 July 2006.

Some people have been discussing the need for better coordination and organisation of these
activities.

Please come to the meeting organised below if you
wish to assist in this aim.

Boycott US/Israeli War Machine!

If you are unable to attend the meeting and wish to leave a comment please do so in the space provided below.

Contact: Ray 0402 236 903 or Ian 07 3398 5215

Rally against War on Lebanon and Palestine

Stop the war on Lebanon and Palestine
Israel out NOW!


12 noon, Saturday 12 August, 2006

Rally Queens Park,
Corner of George and
Elizabeth Sts, Brisbane

March through cityyoung-women-for-freedom-in-lebanon-and-palestine.jpg

Various speakers from Lebanese, Palestinian and community organisations, including:

Phil Monsour, Lebanese-Australian musician
Nora Amath,
Fair Go for Palestine
Greg Jenks, Anglican priest & Friends of Sabeel
Anas Abdalla, Palestinian activist
Sam Watson, Murri leader + Socialist Alliance


Supported by Queensland Palestinian Solidarity Committee, Fair Go for Palestine, Rally for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Stop the War Collective, Palestinian and Jewish Unity, Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative, Resistance.


Paul 0410 629 088; Ray 0402 236 903; Halim 0422 349 785

Email: palestinian_solidarity@yahoo.com.au

Petition for Palestine

petition-to-member-for-brisbane-arch-bevis-to-stop-israeli-attacks-on-lebanon.jpgTo the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament. This Petition of concerned citizens draws to the attention of the House the dire circumstances of the people of Palestine…
See petition in the link below:

petition-for-palestine-13th-jul-06.doc

Please fill out and get signatures from family and friends and send to:

Petitioner: F Waddington PO Box 303 Lutwyche 4030


What to do about Israel’s War Crimes?

Driving through town on Saturday morning my wife tried to express her anger and outrage at the premeditated and serial war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians and Lebanese: crimes against humanity, crimes against environment.

She owned up to feelings of wanting to do violence against the leaders of Israel, and was shocked that her anger was so deep that it could have tumbled over into to violent rage. I suspect that many of us watching the crimes being committed in Lebanon and Palestine – the last three weeks just being the culmination of decades of brutality and wanton destruction and cruelty by Israelis – are also enraged, and surprised by the depth and possibly violent aspects of our impotent rage? I guess this is not too surprising, albeit saddening, when confronted by crimes being committed by a whole nation, whose only response to any resistance to their continuing racist plunder of Palestine is murder, torture, incarceration and collective punishment.

But we have to channel this righteous emotion in other directions away from violence – for, we should not be ashamed to feel anger and outrage when witnessing such crimes, to feel less would be less human and humane. The question is what we do with our anger?

My response, when she asked me what I thought, and I’m also enraged and outraged, was to say that what I looked forward to was:

  • The leaders of Israel being charged with war crimes – using the same Nuremberg statues that were used to prosecute their ancestors’ German oppressors – and when found guilty imprisoned for the remainder of their lives.
  • That Israel should pay full cash compensation to the families of every person killed or wounded by Israel in Palestine during the last decade and more recently in Lebanon.
  • That Israel should be required to pay reparations for and contribute their own labour to the restoration of all the destroyed public and private property in Palestine and Lebanon; including terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
  • The funds for the compensation and reparations should be raised by a special tax on every Israeli family, as these are collective, national crimes.
  • Finally, as with Japan at the end of WWII, the constitution of Israel should be revised so as to prevent it ever again going to war, including the surrender of all its nuclear weapons capabilities.

This was a purely spontaneous response, as I had not previously thought about the details of how we are to bring an end to the ‘state barbarian’ that Israel have become. As, truly, this is a rogue nation steeped in the blood of its neighbour’s children.

I recognise that there are many decent women and men in Israel who have struggled for years against the horrors their country has been committing, and many of them have gone to gaol and many are vilified by their compatriots. It may be that these Israeli peace activists also see the need for the planners and perpetrators of aggression to be bought to justice, because they realise that unless the madmen who rule Israel are stopped, the whole idea of Israel – The Promised Land – will remain a corrupted nightmare.

I guess the chances of Israel’s leaders – past and present – ever being bought to justice is slim. But this does not mean that we should not call for their arraignment before an international tribunal. In the interim, there are some other things we can do.

  • Using and spreading the People’s Economic Sanctions is a way to apply economic pressure on Israel.
  • Calling on the Australian government and all other governments to use the UN General Assembly’s power – where the US, Israel and the UK are only three among 191 voting members – to pass a ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution to force the UN Security Council to act against Israel; this could include establishing a War Crimes Tribunal.
    • Making contact with your local Member of Parliament and state Senators, and telling them you want the Australian government to take an official stand condemning Israel for war crimes.
      • Writing to the national and local newspapers expressing your outrage and horror at what Israel is doing to the people of Palestine and Lebanon.
        • Write to Israeli peace groups, such as Yesh Gvul (www.yeshgvul.org) to express support and solidarity, as they are coming under increasing pressure to abandon their struggle.
          • Using talk-back shows to express your outrage and call on the Australian government to condemn Israeli crimes.

            In peace.
            Sean Foley

            HIROSHIMA DAY PEACE RALLY & MARCH (Brisbane)

            young-women-for-freedom-in-lebanon-and-palestine.jpgNO to WAR and MILITARISATION, NO to a NUCLEAR AUSTRALIA, YES to HUMAN RIGHTS in PEACE AND WAR

            Date: August 6 (Sun)
            Time: 2pm
            Location: QUEENS PARK, Cnr George and Elizabeth Streets, Brisbane

            petition-to-member-for-brisbane-arch-bevis-to-stop-israeli-attacks-on-lebanon.jpg Speakers: Andrew Dettmer – State Secretary, Aust Manufacturing Workers Union, Salam El-Merebi – Al Nisa – Aust Muslim Womens Youth Group, Dave Copeman – AIA Amnesty International Australia, Liz Shields – FOE Friends of the Earth Anti-nuclear, Daniele Viliunas – Qld Co-Ordinator MAPW Medical Assoc for Prevention of War, Kim Stewart – Peace Convergence.