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anti-war / imperialism |
Monday February 11, 2008 08:54 by Ciaron - Catholic Worker
They're in There For Us, We're on the Loose for Them!
BACKGROUND OF THE PINE GAP ACTION
In December 05, four Australian activists ("Christians Against ALL
Terrorism") were arrested while carrying out a citizen's inspection of
the U.S. NSA warfighting base, near isolated Alice Springs, in the
Northern Territory of Australia. www.pinegap6. org
In mid-07 Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie, Bryan Law & Donna Mulhearn were found guilty at a jury trial in Alice Springs under the Defence
Undertakings Act 1952 (the first people to be prosecuted under this
act in the 50+ years of its existence!). The Prosecution demanded jail
time the Trial Judge responded with a fine. The Prosecuiton are now
appealing the "inadequate" sentencing, the state has also issued
arrest warrants for the refusal to pay the fines set by the Trial
Judge (the same fines the state are presently appealing! go figure?)
Darwin is located on the isolated northern tip of Australia (2,000
miles from the nearest city Brisbane!). Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie,
Bryan Law & Donna Mulhearn are heading to Darwin over the next few days and heading to jail!
REFECTIONS FROM BRYAN LAW...........
Bryan Law is packing his bags in Cairns and heading for Darwin the
venue of the State's appeal and warrent for his arrest. he reflects as
I'm leaving my home in Cairns on Monday 11 February to travel to
Darwin, and the beautiful Berrimah Prison. http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/graphpages/corrservs/custo...shtml
Hard case Bradley John Murdoch is in Berrimah, and he has access to
television, internet, ping pong tables and film screenings.
I wonder what I'll get?
I'm going to Berrimah to cut out the $1,000 fine I received for
conducting a citizens' inspection of the US-run Pine Gap Joint Defence facility. http://gc.nautilus.org/Nautilus/australia/australian-de...-gap/ I was one of four Christians Against ALL Terrorism who
entered the sacred, secret, central security compound of Pine Gap on 9 December 2005. If you look at the map, we got into the top right hand corner of the sticky-uppy bit. Two satellite dishes and the C/MAP building (Communications/ Multi Antennae Project) that Jim and Adele climbed up on.
The Pine Gap 4 are all gathering in Darwin this month to do our time.
I expect we'll go into custody on Wednesday 13 February. I'll be
staying until at least Friday 22 February. For the last three days of
my imprisonment I'll be attending the Court of Criminal Appeal in
Darwin, to defend myself against the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions who wants to send us all to prison for an unspecified period (months or years).
So while I can be in charge of going into prison, I can't be 100%
confident about when I'll be getting back out. When will I see my wife
and son again? That's a weird feeling.
Many Cairns residents already know that I'm a follower and advocate of spiritual nonviolence – Christian, Gandhian, Buddhist, pagan or
whatever – and of using nonviolent direct action (NVDA) as a social
change agent. Forest Protection, Skyrail, Daintree, Cairns Post,
Reconciliation, Warships and getting up Kevin Byrne's nose are things where I've been involved in NVDA that's gained community attention.
The Pine Gap action with my fellow Christians Against ALL Terrorism is by far the most successful action I've ever been part of. It's been running for two and a half years now. It's gained national media attention on six different occasions, with at least one more to go. It's revealed ASIO and the AFP at work. We've had four camps at Alice Springs, which involved and nurtured a nonviolence community each time of 6 to 36 as participation grew. We've made friends around Australia and the world. We started as six people.
We've found out a lot more about what Pine Gap is and does. It's a
gleaming high tech machine being used for some of the darkest and most insane (demonic) military activity/terror on our planet. Read this US document to get a picture of what Pine gap contributes to. http://space. au.af.mil/ stratcom/ spacemissions.htm You'll find Pine Gap's functions under "Space Force Enhancements" .
"Space assets have provided key support to coalition forces in
Afghanistan and Iraq, the most digitally intensive conflict ever, with
virtually every military platform linked by satellite. Military
satellites help choose bomb targets, guide precision munitions,
provide weather reports, warn of missile launches, let commanders talk to one another, and allow soldiers to pinpoint their position". Pine Gap makes a much more vital contribution to US warfighting than any amount of combat troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.
We've provoked a massive over-reaction by the state – which has spent millions of dollars on base security, and on our prosecution. On the base there are new buildings, more police, and "enhanced" security and alarm systems at Pine Gap (to prevent further civil disobedience actions?). Will they succeed? How far will they go? Can we charge them a fee for testing their security apparatus? Here's an article I've written about the Civil Liberties aspects of our action so far. http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org/index.php?option= com_...id= 42
Here's an article from the Sydney Morning Herald which lists our case in the context of diminishing civil liberties in Australia.
Our project appears to be self-funding, with donations meeting
expenses since 2006. We enjoyed attention from two Cabinet Ministers in the Howard government, including the wonderfully compassionate Attorney General Philip Ruddock. How many people can say they've got a personally signed certificate from Minister Ruddock authorising their prosecution? The Pine Gap 4 each have one.
We've begun a new cycle of engagement with the Rudd Labor government.Here's a letter to ALP Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org/index.php?option= com_...id= 42
Click on the "minister for defence" link at the bottom of the page.
Christians Against ALL Terrorism are going back to the sacred compound at Pine Gap on ANZAC Day 2008. There'll be solidarity actions in Australia and New Zealand.
We know we're having an effect because the state continues to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars prosecuting us in the Courts. So far their strategy is failing and our strategy is succeeding.
Blessed are the peacemakers
for they shall be called children of God
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven
Spiritually our focus has been on the Sermon on the Mount, and its
call to love our enemies. Our action provides us with a lot of
opportunity to put that call into action, with our critics and
prosecutors, as well as with each other. Irrespective of material
achievements, our actions have enriched and strengthened our lives and communities. The trial in June last year, and the community of
resistance we built around it, was a peak moment for me.
I'm looking forward to another 3 days in Court, this time with a panel
of 3 Supreme Court judges, discussing appropriate penalties for civil
disobedience, in the particular circumstances of our action. I've
never been in front of such a senior Court before. The only avenue of
appeal from here will be to the High Court, if it grants us leave. I
love my days in Court. A Court-room is such a civilised place to have
such an argument. I'll be invoking Lord Hoffman, from the British Law
Lords, and his take on civil disobedience.
On the other hand Berrimah Prison is a fabulous place to punish any
activists who misjudge the nature and extent of a state's right to
deal forcibly with the citizens. It's been 20 years since i spent any
time in a prison, and I'm not looking forward to going back.
I remember prisons as places of sensory deprivation and routine
humiliation. Filled with men and boys in trouble. But I also remember
them as places where the structural violence in the heart of our
society is clearly visible, and where a literate man can make a useful
contribution. I'm in for a period of contemplation and reflection.
See you whenever.