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Catholic Workers Head to British GCHQ at Cheltenham on eve of 10th Anniversary of the Wars

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Friday September 02, 2011 12:34author by CW - Catholic Workers Report this post to the editors

Catholic Workers Head to British GCHQ at Cheltenham on eve of 10th Anniversary of the Wars

"At the gates of GCHQ"
"At the gates of GCHQ"

Following a mass conducted by the Catholic Worker at the Greenbelt Music festival
http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/ held at Cheltenham racecourse, Catholic Workers from Giuseppe Conlon House and the CW Farmhouse headed to vigil at nearby GCHQ (British Government Communications Headquarters)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Communications_...rters

The readings of the day were read...
Jerimah 20:7-9 & Matthew 16:21-27

...and following prayers shared..

- We gather on the eve of the 10th. anniversary of what George Bush Jr. declared to be a "war without end". We are reminded of Peter Ustinov's words ""War is the terrorism of the rich, Terrorism is the war of the poor!" We call to mind the dead, orphaned and bereaved of these 10 long years of war.

- We are reminded that "Truth is the first casualty of war!". We come to Cheltenham the home of GCHQ where lies were spun to justify the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. We repent the slaughter that followed.

- We give thanks for the prophetic nonviolent resistance to the wars that has emerged from within the military and state departments. In the shadow of GCHQ we recall the courage of Katharine Gun who resisted at GCHQ the lies that preceded slaughter.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Gun

- We give thanks for the courage and nonviolent resistance of Ben Griffin (British SAS) and Joe Glenton (British Army) and all those in civil society who took risks and put their bodies on the line to resist these wars on the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

- We pray for our brothers and sisters who remain in jeopardy in chains and before the courts - Bradley Manning (U.S. Army) Michael Lyons (British Navy) Julian Assange (WikiLeaks)

- In these 10 long years of war our hearts have become hardened our compassion fatigued our outraged deadened. We pray for healing. Our ears to be opened to the cries of the poor, our eyes to be opened to what shit is going down, our mouths to be opened to speak truth to power and our faith to be strengthened to walk the nonviolent way of the cross to confront the masters of war.

GCHQ is connected to the Echelon warmaking system and we are in turn connected to an international network of nonviolent resisters.

On the morning of the 30 April 2008 three Catholic Workers entered the Waihopai Spy Base part of the Echelon system connected to GCHQ, they used a sickle to deflate one of the two 30 metre domes covering satellite interception dishes.On March 17th 2010. Catholic Workers Sam Land, Fr. Peter Murnane and Adi Leeson were found not guilty of all charges relating to this ploughshares action. This past week the New Zealand government, under directions of their U.S. masters, have struck back in the N.Z. HIgh Court
http://ploughshares.org.nz/

Like Julian, Bradley, Michael these three remain in jeopardy for us and we remain on the streets for them. We will be speaking out and acting up over the coming month, around the 10th. anniversary of these wars.

"Jesus Loves WikiLeaks"
"Jesus Loves WikiLeaks"

author by Peace Movement Aotearoapublication date Fri Sep 02, 2011 13:51Report this post to the editors

For those of you following the Waihopai Ploughshares situation here in Aotearoa New Zealand, the High Court released a decision on Wednesday, 31 August 2011, awarding $ (NZ)1.2 million damages and court costs in favour of the government.

Below is a brief chronology of the events leading to this decision.

On 30 April 2008, the Waihopai Ploughshares - Adrian Leason, Fr Peter Murnane and Sam Land - entered the grounds of the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) / US National Security Agency spy base at Waihopai and punctured the dome covering one of the two antenna in protest of the role of the base - part of the US government's global spy network - in the 'war on terror'. Their statement is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/plshares.htm

The Waihopai Ploughshares were charged with burglary and intentional damage, and their trial started on 8 March 2010. Their defence was based on 'claim of right' (widely misreported by the media here as a necessity defence) and on 17 March 2010, the trial jury acquitted the three defendants. An overview of the trial with links to more information is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/plupdate.htm

On 7 April 2010, the Attorney-General announced that the government would not appeal the verdict, but was considering suing Waihopai Ploughshares for (at that time) $1.1 million.

In October 2010, the Attorney-General lodged a civil claim, on behalf of the GSCB, for $1.2 million - see for example, '$1.2m Crown seeking includes beer, pies' at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&ob...79078

On 3 November 2010, the government announced that it would be limiting the 'claim of right' defence so that it could not be used in similar circumstances in future.

On 8 August 2011, there was an all-day hearing in the High Court as to whether the government would be awarded summary judgement of $1.2 million damages for the costs of repair of the spy base dome (and food and drink for the workers who repaired it) or whether the matter would proceed to trial - the decision hinged around whether or not the judge considered the three defendants had a chance of successfully arguing a case against the awarding of damages to the government. A brief overview of the defence case, which was based in part on the defences of necessity and self-defence / defence of another and in part on ex turpi causa, is available at http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=217666044947439

Associate Judge David Gendall reserved his decision at the time, and it was released last Wednesday, 31 August 2011. His judgement was that the defence did not have a case, and that summary judgement of $1.2 million damages was therefore awarded in the government's favour, as well as court costs. The media release from Adrian Leason in response is available at http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=228892570491453

While Waihopai Ploughshares will be appealing the decision, if it stands (which it might) it will be a major setback in terms of defences available for future non-violent direct action against military or signals intelligence establishments. Which of course was a point the Crown lawyer made repeatedly during the hearing on 8 August, ie, if summary judgement wasn't immediately awarded in favour of the government, then who knows what anarchy would ensue ...

If you are interested in reading the High Court decision, please email Peace Movement Aotearoa pma@xtra.co.nz and we'll send it to you.

This chronology is available at http://www.facebook.com/notes/peace-movement-aotearoa/w...49074

Related Link: http://ploughshares.org.nz/
 
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