New Events


no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Alternative Copy of site is available Thu May 25, 2023 14:38 | Ice-Saker-V6bKu3nz
Alternative site: Site was created using the downloads provided Regards Herb

offsite link The Saker blog is now frozen Tue Feb 28, 2023 23:55 | The Saker
Dear friends As I have previously announced, we are now “freezing” the blog.  We are also making archives of the blog available for free download in various formats (see below). 

offsite link What do you make of the Russia and China Partnership? Tue Feb 28, 2023 16:26 | The Saker
by Mr. Allen for the Saker blog Over the last few years, we hear leaders from both Russia and China pronouncing that they have formed a relationship where there are

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2023/02/27 ? Open Thread Mon Feb 27, 2023 19:00 | cafe-uploader
2023/02/27 19:00:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link The stage is set for Hybrid World War III Mon Feb 27, 2023 15:50 | The Saker
Pepe Escobar for the Saker blog A powerful feeling rhythms your skin and drums up your soul as you?re immersed in a long walk under persistent snow flurries, pinpointed by

The Saker >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link RTEs Sarah McInerney ? Fianna Fail supporter? Anthony

offsite link Joe Duffy is dishonest and untrustworthy Anthony

offsite link Robert Watt complaint: Time for decision by SIPO Anthony

offsite link RTE in breach of its own editorial principles Anthony

offsite link Waiting for SIPO Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN human rights chief calls for priority action ahead of climate summit Sat Oct 30, 2021 17:18 | Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link Could Ed Miliband Bring Down the Government? Sat Jul 13, 2024 15:00 | Will Jones
Ed Miliband is reportedly set to end new drilling in the North Sea and the cost of Net Zero is projected to run into the hundreds of billions. The scene is being set for the failures that could bring down the Government.
The post Could Ed Miliband Bring Down the Government? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link British Empire Must be Presented Like Nazi Germany, Curriculum Guidelines Insist Sat Jul 13, 2024 13:00 | Will Jones
The British Empire should be taught to school pupils like Nazi Germany, curriculum guidelines from the "leading provider of support for schools and trusts? insist.
The post British Empire Must be Presented Like Nazi Germany, Curriculum Guidelines Insist appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Labour Accused of ?Gambling With Public Safety? as it Unveils Plan to Free Prisoners After Just 40% ... Sat Jul 13, 2024 11:00 | Will Jones
Labour was accused of "gambling with public safety" as it unveiled a plan to free prisoners after just 40% of their sentence and a Minister suggested jail terms should be shorter still.
The post Labour Accused of “Gambling With Public Safety” as it Unveils Plan to Free Prisoners After Just 40% of Sentence appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Labour Set to Ban Puberty Blockers Permanently Sat Jul 13, 2024 09:00 | Will Jones
A ban on puberty blockers brought in by the Tories before the election could be made permanent as the Labour Party takes a harder stance on transgender issues.
The post Labour Set to Ban Puberty Blockers Permanently appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Miliband the Mad Monk Sat Jul 13, 2024 07:00 | Ben Pile
If Keir Starmer really intends to govern "unburdened by doctrine" why did he put a swivel-eyed climate zealot in charge of Britain's energy policy?
The post Miliband the Mad Monk appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Pine Gap 4 Head to Darwin, Head to Jail!

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday February 11, 2008 08:54author by Ciaron - Catholic Worker Report this post to the editors

They're in There For Us, We're on the Loose for Them!

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!


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

Hi folks,

I'm leaving my home in Cairns on Monday 11 February to travel to
Darwin, and the beautiful Berrimah Prison.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Bryan Law

See you whenever.

Related Link:
author by Margaret - Cairns Peace by Peacepublication date Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:17author address Cairns, Australiaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Here are a couple of You Tube videos. I posted from Pine Gap Christians Against ALL Terrorism 2006. People may be interested.

There are two speeches one by Ciaron O'Reilly and one by Bryan Law about the functions of the US spy base at Pine Gap in Central Australia.

Catholic Worker Ciaron O'Reilly speaks at the gates of Pine Gap Oct
7th 06. Action organised by the following Dec 05
"Citizens Inspection" at Pine Ga[' Reilly]

Bryan Law's speech at the Gates of Pine Gap US Spy Base outlines the history and purposes of PG. [] Ends with the
"Transformation of the Sign" telling the truth about PG.

Australian citizens line up and make the request of authorities to
inspect Pine Gap US Spy Base as part of attempted citizens inspection of the base. The action resulted in the 5 arrests of those who insisted on inspecting.

yours in peace


author by redjadepublication date Mon Feb 11, 2008 17:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As part of the strategy of lulling the world public to sleep regarding the Iraq War is to use 'Contractors' (aka Corporate Mercenaries) to do the fighting instead of US Military and other countries' troops in the now dwindled 'Coalition of the Willing.'

So the car bombs and genocide is down (because Maktada al Sadr has called a temporary ceasefire since the end of last summer) and therefore US Troops are dying less (bribed by the US to stop shooting at them - timed for the US primaries)

But meanwhile no one (but Juan Cole, of course) notices that the Mercs dying - up 17%!

Juan Cole writes....
US civilian contractor deaths were up 17% in 2007, which is, according to experts, an "incredible" statistic. Makes a person suspicious that the fall in US military deaths was a little artificial and that contractors were sometimes sent in, instead, and that their deaths do not garner the same attention as those of US troops.
more at

al Sadr's declared 6 month ceasefire is almost over, by the way

author by Ciaronpublication date Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bryan Law was taken into custody on Monday on his arrival in Darwin. He is presently in Berrimah Prison, Darwin.

Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie & Donna Mulhearn are still on the loose.

Related Link:
author by Jefferson Lee - Australia-East Timor Association publication date Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:37author address Darwin, Australiaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Donna Mulhearn, Adele Goldie and Jim Dowling from the 'Pine Gap Four' were taken into custody this morning Tuesday 13/2/08 at 11am Darwin time (12.30pm e.s.t.) in a private house in the suburb of Ludmilla in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

They arrived on flights from Sydney and Brisbane overnight. Police admitted they were under surveillance and tracked their address through car registration numbers. On Monday the fourth member of the group Bryan Law had been taken into custody and sent to Berrima Gaol for refusing to pay fines imposed by an Alice Springs court late in 2007 following the occupation of the US war facility outside Alice Springs known as Pine Gap.

The three arrested this Tuesday were informed that the police were issuing warrants - Their choice was immediate payment of fines or transference via police vehicle to the Darwin Central lock-up and then processing to Berrimah Gaol. in the Darwin suburbs. The three informed the police they would not pay the fines on principle and were immediately taken into custody. Supporters maintained a two hour vigil outside the Central Lock Up between 11am and one pm (Darwin time) today. (Unfortunately the local media were flat out covering the 'Sorry Day' event and the medical treatment of Timor Leste President Jose Ramos Horta in Darwin Hospital). Overnight there was mention in the 'Northern Territory News' newspaper of the prior arrest (Monday 12/2/08) of Bryan Law. A brief interview with Donna Mulhearn also appeared on ABC Radio.

The Pine Gap Four were last seen departing the police station at 1pm local time here and will be in Berrimah Gaol for the next 5-6 days Even if they "work off" the fines imposed on them in the Alice Springs court in late 2007, they still face the prospect of the Federal Crown Prosecutor pursuing them in the Darwin Supreme Court - which is listed for hearing on Wednesday 20/2/08. The Federal Crown prosecutor laid original charges against the four under a never before used national security law framed in the 1950s in the context of World War Two and the Cold War. The appeal for a heavier sentence appears vindictive and persecutive because of the success of the non-violent anti war action against Pine Gap where "trespass" by the "Christians Against All Terrorism" group closed the base for a number of hours during the change of shift.

Local activists in Darwin are calling for the release from gaol of the "Pine Gap - Berrimah Four", the withdrawal of outstanding fines and the withdrawal by the Crown Prosecutor's Office of any appeal attempts to increase penalties. Peace activists who have been contacting the new ALP Attorney General have urged the government to cancel the antiquated laws under which the peace activists were arrested under.

This statment is issed by eye-witness to their arrest Jefferson Lee from the Australia-East Timor Association who is supporting their immediate release.

Related Link:
author by a cropper, an editor, a midnight photoshopper - {doubter division, CEE technical squad}publication date Wed Feb 13, 2008 16:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Adele, Donna, Jim Outta Custody in Darwin
Adele, Donna, Jim Outta Custody in Darwin

Adele Goldie, Jim Dowling & Donna Mulhearn in Custody
Adele Goldie, Jim Dowling & Donna Mulhearn in Custody

Adele, Jim & Donna on the Way to Berrimah Prison, Darwin
Adele, Jim & Donna on the Way to Berrimah Prison, Darwin

Jefferson in Solidarity Outside Darwin Cop Shop
Jefferson in Solidarity Outside Darwin Cop Shop

Headline says it all!
Headline says it all!

author by Jefferson Lee - Australia-East Timor Associationpublication date Sat Feb 16, 2008 04:02author address Darwin, Australiaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

In December 2005, four Australian activists ("Christians Against All Terrorism") were arrested while carrying out a citizen's inspection of the U.S. Pine Gap war base, near Alice Springs. In short, a simple "trespass" action which, even then, they had permission from the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land - whereas the builders of this so-called "Space Research Facility" in 1967 never had permission nor sort it. They are the real "trespassers".

Donna Mulhearn, one of the four, who had previously visited Iraq as a human shield, said afterwards : "How on earth can a hotch-potch group of unfunded, untrained, unarmed (and in my case unfit!) Christian pacifists break into one of America and Australia's most significant military bases, and in relative ease, causing the base to be shut down for several hours? In a nutshell: it was a miracle! For heaven's sake we even told them we were coming!"

In mid-2007 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 - an antiquated "Cold War" law which required the personal signature of former Liberal Party A/G Ruddock to even activate). The Prosecution demanded jail time at that trial, claiming their actions "struck at the heart of the national security and national interest". On the contrary, the Judge, recognizing the peaceful nature of their actions, and influenced by the gut reaction of the four empaneled jurors who reflected the anti-war sentiment in the Australian community, only handed down a fine. Even then, the ridiculous fine of $10,000 for a hole in the wire fence was also imposed. The Crown Prosecutor case revealed that Parliament has been denied the right of any scrutiny over what the American Defence Department actually does inside Pine Gap and added to this by failing to call the American Head of the Base (always an American) to give evidence on the role of the base in prosecuting the Iraq War.

The Commonwealth Crown Prosecutor's Office, not content with having already wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on six taxpayer funded Q.C.'s from Sydney in the Alice Springs case, are now appealing the so-called leniency of the sentence before the Darwin Supreme Court - over three days from Wednesday 20th February 2008. This is to silence public disquiet over our involvement by default in the Iraq War in ways that neither the Australian Parliament nor its citizens have any "right to know". How secretive ! How vindictive against the "whistle-blowers"! How undemocratic !

Why not put the big money legal fees and judicial costs about to be spent in Darwin Supreme Court towards ending the war in Iraq where 75% of Australians disagree with the Howard-Bush "surge" position of open-ended killing or fixing up the other social problems that are rampant in the Northern Territory? Reliable sources say over one million civilians have already died since former PM Howard committed Australian support for the Iraq War adventure in 2002-2003. Australia's complicity in these deaths is exacerbated by our permitting the US to control and run Pine Gap which is integral to missile guidance, etc, which (deliberately?) targets civilians as "collatoral damage" in long distant bombing operations with "smart" and not so "smart" bombs.

Bryan Law says the appeal is "an opportunity to advocate for judicial recognition in Australia of the nature and special circumstances of civil disobedience crimes, and the kind of sentencing regime which ought to be applied to same in a civilized democracy."

Clearly the right to civil liberties in Australia, the right to non-violent civil disobedience without undue, harsh, or vindictive punishment and even free speech are all open to challenge in this case. The new Attorney General risks the tainting of his office with the Howard Government "war" tag by allowing this appeal to go ahead. He will forever be seen as having performed Ruddock's "dirty work" if this case proceeds to the appeal level.

As I write the four offenders are all in Berimah prison serving "time" in lieu of payment of fines imposed by the Alice Springs Court. Now they face another court for the same offence. Sack the Crown Prosecutor now please, if that's the only way to preserve your sense of decency and the credentials of the Labor Party as a party of peace - not war.


Jefferson Lee,
former member of the Council for Civil Liberties,
Special Projects Officer Australia-East Timor Association
former teacher in Politics, International Relations, Journalism at UNSW, Deakin and UWS Universities, respectively.

author by DAWC Memberpublication date Sat Feb 16, 2008 13:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A dark day in the "decent peace-loving people VS the warmongers who have weaved themselves into the very fabric of our society" struggle.
My heart genuinely goes out to these folks. At the end of the day, did they kill someone, rape someone, hurt anyone in any way? Of course not. Thugs can walk free and be bound over to keep the peace. But show up the Military and go straight to jail.
Kind of says it all folks. Justice for the long as they tow the line.
Makes me despair or our home-grown heros - the Raytheon 9. While we're still confident that we can put forward a good case, you never can tell whats going on in the background and what elements within the govrnment will be secretly saying to the solicitors, the judges and even the jury. I only hope that honesty and truth win over, but I won't hold my breath.

Respect to the Pine Gap 4 for paying the price for their decenct and humanity. We will be thinking fondly of you :o)

author by Margaretpublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:25author address Australiaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Donna and Adele have been released from prison.
Here are two links with Donna's first reflections on the experience


Related Link:
author by Donna - Pine Gap 4publication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 09:00author address Darwin, Northern Territory, Australiaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Dear friends,

Greetings from wet, stormy Darwin where we are all set for the beginning of our appeal tomorrow (Wednesday).

We have a public meeting in Darwin tonight where we hope to enjoy mutually encouraging discourse with local supporters.

We have had good local media coverage up here, particularly in the NT News newspaper (quite an achievement considering we did not catch a crocodile!) and on the ABC. I did an interview on the local ABC Radio breakfast show this morning, in which the presenter allowed me to broach a number of subjects including my time in prison, non-violent action, my spirituality, Pine Gap and our court case.

Other newspapers/organisa tions have run stories on their websites, a selection below:

http://news. protesters- jailed-over- pine-gap- breakin/20080213 -1s1j.html stories/2008/ 02/18/2165915. htm

http://www.greenlef 2008/740/ 38300

http://www.cathnews .com/news/ 802/86.php

http://www.westende stories.php? s_id=839

http://webdiary. ?q=node/2263

There is also info and updates on several IndyMedia sites around the world, the best one is the Irish site at the link below. Scroll to the bottom to read the most recent reports and pics of Jim, Adele and Donna going into custody.

http://www.indymedi 86180

you can contribute to the discussion board there, or the other the UK and Sydney sites, below

http://www.indymedi 80/en/2008/ 02/391083. html

http://sydney. indymedia. solidarity- text-pine- gap-4-heading- darwin-heading- jail

Feel free add your comments….

Adele was released on Monday; she is fine and keen to share about her experience and the conditions in Berrima prison soon.

We will see Bryan and Jim in court tomorrow; they will attend in custody and sit in the dock.

We’re all in good spirits and excited about the next leg of the journey.

Thanks for traveling with us, and for all your wonderful support.

Donna and Pine Gap colleagues

Related Link:
author by DAWC Memberpublication date Tue Feb 19, 2008 20:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Donna
And greetings back from frosty Derry (minus four to be exact)!
It was great to hear about you and Adele being released.
Hopefully this will be a taste of things to come and soon you will all be back home and getting on with your lives. Lord knows you all deserve it.
Good luck with the appeal and remember all your friends this side of the planet are rooting for you!

author by Danpublication date Wed Feb 20, 2008 06:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Our thoughts are with you guys. As usual the have the wrong people in the dock. Let's hope justice prevails.

author by !publication date Thu Feb 21, 2008 03:58author address darwin, australiaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Dear friends

After day one of the Pine Gap 4 appeal in the Northern Territory Court of Appeal in Darwin, I’ll repeat what I’ve been quietly declaring all day: “I think we’re winning…”

After saying that, I’m mindful of the fact that our legal team is still presenting its case and the Prosecution hasn’t had a chance to speak yet, but that’s a minor detail!

But realistically, by lunchtime tomorrow I might have a totally different opinion.

I have to confess I was never really expecting to have our convictions overturned at this appeal, but when I admitted such to our very own QC, Ron Merkel, this morning, his response was “why not? The objective is to win!”

He then put me and my doubt to shame by proceeding to present five hours of dazzling legal argument, whilst barely taking a breath!

We won the first legal argument: an application by the Commonwealth and its agencies (ie Dept of Defence, Federal Police, ASIO [Ed. Note ASIO = Australian Security Intelligence organisation]etc) to be party to the appeal and have its lawyers at the table.

Ron argued that any third party intervention would be “meddling” in a dispute between the crown and the accused.

“It’s an important matter of principle. The rules of intervention are quite clear,” he told the court.

“The Crown and Commonwealth will put identical submissions; it would be a bi-lateral attack on the accused.”

After one hour of debate the panel of three judges returned a ruling against the Commonwealth intervention.

Round One to Ron Merkel.

The band of Commonwealth lawyers (5) packed up their bags and retreated. It was a good omen.

Then the real action of the appeal began: Ron began to lay out his arguments of the appeal which are quite technical and complex. They relate to definitions used in the Defence Special Undertakings Act 1952 (under which we are charged) about what is a “prohibited area”, and matters of procedural unfairness at the trial.

He reminded the judges that protestors at Pine Gap would normally be charged with trespass and dealt with in the Magistrates Court, and of the significance that no one had ever been charged under the 1952 DSU legislation.

“The issues the act raises at the time of the offence in 2005 are not the issues parliament had in mind back in 1952,” he said.

“Pine Gap was not in the contemplation of Parliament in 1952.

“The legislation has extraordinary power to make any area a prohibited area and trespassers punished with seven years in jail.

“The act produces such as odd outcome in 2005, 42 years after it was passed.”
I will spare further details of the next five hours of legal argument, the judges asked many technical questions and everyone did their best to follow. But Ron’s conclusion was clear: because of the errors made by the original judge our conviction should be quashed and no new trial ordered.

And he left this question hanging:

“One may query why this particular course has been taken against these defendants.”

One may indeed.

We had good local support at a vigil outside the courthouse before the appeal began and in the courtroom. Also an excellent report on ABC TV tonight.

Ron did not finish presenting his arguments today, he continues at 10am tomorrow.

More news tomorrow,

Related Link:
author by Bryan Law - Christians Against ALL Terrorismpublication date Tue Feb 26, 2008 04:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In short form the Pine Gap 4 won their cross appeal against the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act, and our convictions were quashed and replaced by acquittals. We remain convicted of the Damage charges under the Crimes Act, but have already all served out the time - and so the first Citizens Inspection of Pine Gap is complete.

The Commonwealth brought out its big gun legislation to punish our daggy little affinity group.

And our daggy little affinity group handed them serial legal defeats and made sure they'll never use this legislation again.

I'm going back to Pine Gap for the second Citizen's Inspection on ANZAC Day April 25 2008.

author by DAWC Memberpublication date Wed Feb 27, 2008 02:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Bryan
Thats fantastic news!
Congratulations to you all on winning your struggle against the odds.
You took on the system and effectively beat it.
You folks are an inspiration to the rest of us.

Fair play to yous all!!!!!

Number of comments per page
© 2001-2024 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy