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Search author name words: Letitia

In Wellington/New Zealand for Waihopai Ploughshares Trial!

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Dé hAoine Márta 05, 2010 03:21author by Ciaron O'Reillyauthor address Wellington Aotearoa/New Zealand Report this post to the editors

Clocking up 50 on way to Ploughshares Trial & Archibald Prize!

*On a surrealistic aside Jim Dowling is presently careering down the Pacific Highway in the recycled vegie oil fueled Catholic Worker van full of Dowling kidz - carrying Damien LeGoullon's entry into this year's Archibald Prize (Australian portrait competition). They'll be swinging by the appropriate Sydney gallery before heading to a wedding. See Damien's work attached to this email - the final portrait has a B52 Bomber and runway in the background!

Portrait
http://thechristianradical.blogspot.com/2010/03/clockin....html

Dear Friends,

I've made a last minute decision to answer a call from the Waihopai Ploughshare defendants and this Thursday March 4th will head to Wellingotn/New Zealand to support them at their trial They face charges of $800,000 criminal damage to the warfighting Waihopai spy base. They have offered us a gift of hope with their nonviolent resistance to the endless 'war on terror".

I turn 50 on Sunday March 7th. and the trial starts Monday March 8th....so hold the drinks at the Boundary. I'll be back in Brisbane on St Patrick's Day so see you at the Irish Club! I turned 40 in Darwin Jail after the Jabiluka Ploughshares action and turned 45 on the first day of our first Pit Stop ploughshares trial in Dublin - so 50 with the Waihopai resisters seems like a good place to be! Hopefully it will kick off another 50 years of solidarity and resistance for moi. We will need it as this present war (longer than WW2) has the capacity to go 50 years like the Cold War - much to the delight of the war profiteers and those who wish to keep us in a permanent state of fear.

*FOLLOW THE TRIAL ON BRYAN LAW'S BLOG WHICH WILL BE REGULARLY UPDATED - CHECK IT OUT
http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org/?p=32

*WAIHOPAI PLOUGHSHARES WEBSITE -FOR ACTION BACKGROUND & WHAT'S HAPPENING AROUND THE TRIAL
www.ploughshares.org.nz

*WHAT IS THE WAIHOPAI SPY BASE?

Waihopai is located on the north of the south island of New Zealand. Waihopai is a major secret U.S. spy base partially staffed by U.S. military personnel.
Waihopai is NZ's biggest contribution to U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Waihopai intercepts and records international phone calls and e-mail. Waihopai is part of a five nation network of global surveillance known as "Echelon".
Waihopai is not effectively accountable to New Zealand parliament or people. It is exempt from key provisions of the Privacy Act and Crimes Act.
Waihopai intercepts huge volumes of electronic data and sends it to Washington for analysis by the U.S. military.
Waihopai has cost the New Zealand taxpayer $800 million to build and operate over the last 20 years.
Waihopai is shrouded in secrecy and key information about the base - such as who exactly is being spied on and what happens to the informatio - is classified.

THE WAIHOPAI PLOUGHSARES - WHO BURST THE BUBBLE!

Profiles on the Defendants
http://ploughshares.org.nz/profiles/

In April 2008 three Christian pacifists Sam Land, Peter Murnane and Adi Leeson, entered the Waihopai spy base and deflated a pressurised dome covering one of the satellite dishes.

This followed in the tradition of previous "non-violent direct actions" by the Ploughshares movement in which military planes, ships, hardware and bases were symbolically disarmed. In the last 20 years Ploughshares activists have undertaken 120 of these actions. One of these, in 1991, involved New Zealander Moana Cole who disarmed a B52 Bomber by hitting it with a hammer. She was imprisoned in the U.S.A. for a year.

The idea behind these actions comes from the book of Isaiah which refers to beating swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks.

Sam, Peter and Adi used sickles to deflate the dome, symbolically disarming the spy base. Their aim was to draw attention to New Zealand's involvement in the U.S. war in Iraq through the presence of this base in their country. While waiting to be arrested, they prayed and set up a shrine in rememberance of victims of U.S. torture, assassination and genocide.

Related Link: http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org/?p=32
author by Refusing to Redeploypublication date Aoine Márta 05, 2010 03:26Report this post to the editors

British Lance Corporal Joe Glenton to be sentenced for refusing to redeploy to Afghanistan.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/03/446973.html

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/03/446973.html
author by Bryanpublication date Luan Márta 08, 2010 01:38author address Wellington, Aotearoa/New ZealandReport this post to the editors

Maori Welcome for Ploughshare Defendants and Support

http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org/?p=133#more-133

author by J.Keyspublication date Luan Márta 08, 2010 20:21Report this post to the editors

A big shout out on behalf of the Irish Anti War movement to our brothers and sisters down under!
Good on yer cobbers ;o)

author by Ciaronpublication date Luan Márta 08, 2010 23:19author address Wellington New ZealandReport this post to the editors

Approx. 150 folks accompanied the Waihopai Ploughshare defendants Sam Land, Fr. Peter Murnane and Adi Leason to court in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday March 8th.
A vigil and live music was conducted ouotside the court room as 60 supporters flooded the public gallery.

The preceeding weekend saw a shrine set up in a park opposite the U.S. Embassy, a Maori welcome, mass celebrated, Taize meditation in the evenings.

Bryan Law will be reporting from court and updating the following blog over the course of the trial. You may wish to make this site one of your favourites for the course of the trial.

http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org/

Related Link: http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org/
author by V for vendettapublication date Máirt Márta 09, 2010 15:57Report this post to the editors

Thanks for all your great work over the years in our country and others against the actions of these imperialist warmongering psychopaths and their war profiteering. Happy birthday, best wishes and much appreciation from (I suspect) many Irish people who had the privilege of meeting with, listening to and protesting with you over the years. Take care Ciaron - V

author by Day 2publication date Céad Márta 10, 2010 00:17Report this post to the editors

Photographs and Report - Day 2 of the Waihopai Ploughshares Trial

http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org/?p=184

author by Letitia - Catholic Workerpublication date Déar Márta 11, 2010 12:18Report this post to the editors

Day Four – Waihopai ploughshares trial

The day began with Adi Leason under continued cross examination from the Crown. The prosecutor set about seeking admission from Adi that the action was not about stopping the satellite dishes from working thus slowing the pace of the war in Iraq but merely symbolic. Otherwise, why hadn’t the three defendants slashed the second dome?

Adi replied that it was both a real effort to interfere in the war efforts of the base and also it was a highly symbolic action. It was both and, not either or.
The Crown continued to probe around this issue for some time but Adi made the point emphatically that both foci were in his lenses as he proceeded with the action.

The Crown then sought to ascertain who the leader of the group was. “Someone must have had the idea first”, he said, “Who was it?”
“Isaiah” said Adi, sending the Court into laughter. As the laughter subsided, the judge noted dryly that Isaiah was not on trial, then added ‘Perhaps he should be!” It was a lovely light moment.

The crown really failed to hear or understand Adi’s case, and went on to suggest the damage done to the base was an act of violence. Mr Marshall suggested that it was ‘little violence’ as compared to ‘big violence. ‘

Adi had been saying the principles of non-violence required the use of the minimum amount of damage to be done to property. At this point he said it wasn’t about big violence v little violence at all – it was about nonviolence.

To illustrate this he produced a small piece of pounamu – greenstone, unique to New Zealand’s soil – and told the recent story of this particular piece of stone. He said the stone had been given to his family by a Maori woman who stood god mother to one of his children. It was part of what had been a much larger piece given to the people of Parihaka in the 1880s by Ngai Tahu, a tribe from the South Island of New Zealand, who were helping them after devastating violent action by Crown forces taking the Parihaka land.

Adi then told the Parihaka story – a story of Crown forces moving into the settlement of several thousand Maori in November 1881 and forcibly taking the land, arresting the leaders and their followers and imprisoning them all in southern prisons for several years. Many died of the cold and hunger. The point he made was that the resistance to the violence of the Crown at that time was completely non-violent. Not one fist was thrown, not one gun fired, not one act of violence occurred to prevent the government troops arresting the people. It was Gandhian non-violence 50 years before Gandhi.
After Adi finished his testimony, Fr Peter Murnane took the stand the give his testimony.

Peter is a measured speaker, quietly spoken. He has researched in detail the issues that move him, and had a huge amount of material to present to the Court. While the judge kept a strict eye, telling Peter that everything had to pertain to Peter’s mental and spiritual outlook at the time of the disarmament action, he still left plenty of room for Peter to explore relevant issues - and to reveal his passion for justice and his deep Christian faith.
After talking a little about his early years, and his vocation as a Dominican Brother, Peter started out by saying that there were four crimes that the USA was committing with assistance from Waihopai:

rendition/torture,

overthrowing legitimate governments,

waging illegal wars of aggression,

using weapons of mass destruction, especially depleted uranium.

He spent some time focusing on the process whereby the US target people for rendition. Rendition is illegal, breaking international agreements by imprisoning and torturing suspects. He spoke of more than 1000 victims, and argued that this had happened with the aid of the Echelon system, including Waihopai.

He linked this programme with the known historical practices of torture being carried out by the CIA and other agencies. He asked ‘how can civilised people torture other human beings?’ He talked at some length of the role of the School of the Americas training foreign soldiers for counter insurgency, including torture. He quoted from the CIA manual which allowed for torture under certain conditions.

He then introduced the story of Sister Diana Ortiz, an American nun, who was kidnapped and tortured in Guatemala in 1989. He told her story in graphic detail and of her efforts to get the US Government to take her case seriously. She was gang raped, burned 111 times with live cigarettes, and suspended over a pit full of dead and dying people. Eventually she was forced to use a machete on a dying woman. The aim was to make Sr Diana ‘one like us in murdering others’. She conceived and later aborted a child from the gang rape.

Eventually she found out that one of her torturers was a CIA man and that the then US Ambassador to Guatemala was the head of the CIA operation in that country. This was at a time when two people every day were being kidnapped, tortured and killed. More often than not, they were Church people active in their communities among the poor. They were usually accused of being communists.

Peter then spoke of the six Jesuits and their housekeeper and her daughter who were killed by the military in El Salvador in 1988. Since they were regarded as the intellectuals behind the Salvadorean resistance to the military, their brains were spilt out over the lawn. ‘You are the brains behind the drive for social justice and we will spill your brains on the lawn.’ And they did. Those responsible were trained in Georgia at the school for the Americas, and were part of US military strategy. Of which Waihopai is an integral part.

His final piece for the day was the role of weapons of mass destruction, namely Depleted Uranium, and the role it has played in both Gulf Wars. He spoke of the danger of the uranium being released into the atmosphere, ‘like from an aerosole can’ and how it has a life of millions of years. He described graphically how saturated Iraq is now with the fallout from DU. The result has been that leukemia rates have risen by 600% and baby deformities by 300%. The legacy of the Gulf wars will remain to haunt the people for millions of years.

Peter’s testimony will conclude tomorrow.

Letitia

Related Link: http://www.cairnspeacebypeace.org
author by Scooppublication date Aoine Márta 12, 2010 21:36Report this post to the editors

Background on Solidarity at Waihopai Ploughshares Trial in Wellington NZ

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1003/S00138.htm

author by Day 5publication date Luan Márta 15, 2010 23:15Report this post to the editors

The 6th. day of the Waihopai Poughshares trial in Wellington, New Zealad continues in closed cort with legal argument. Below is a report from Day 5 of the trial

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1003/S00153.htm

author by Day 7publication date Céad Márta 17, 2010 02:59Report this post to the editors

day 6 of the trial was taken up with legal argument in the absence of the jury. Day 7 of the trial saw mention of the Dublin acquittal of the Pit Stop Ploughshares.
Day 7 report on tis link

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1003/S00194.htm

author by Not Guiltypublication date Céad Márta 17, 2010 13:15Report this post to the editors

All 3 defendants NOT GUILTY on all charges. A great result,

Here's the url for the first part of my court reporting today:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1003/S00202.htm

Im', writing the second part now - defence and acquittal.

And heading to the Leason farm at Otaki for a party.

Will write a longer think piece about my experiences soon

Cheers
Bryan

author by Final Reportpublication date Déar Márta 18, 2010 02:50Report this post to the editors

You can find my last report here: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1003/S00206.htm#b

Bryan Law

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