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Bryan Law


Christians Against ALL Terrorism


298 Fearnley St


MANUNDA Q 4870


 


Joel Fitzgibbon


Minister for Defence


Suite M141


Parliament House


Canberra ACT 2600


 


CONGRATULATIONS


 


Congratulations on the election of your party to government, and on your appointment to Cabinet as Minister for Defence.  I note the appointments of Greg Combet and Michael Kelly as Parliamentary Secretaries, which I believe illustrates the importance your government is placing on defence matters. Congratulations once again.


 


CITIZENS INSPECTION OF PINE GAP


 


On 9 October 2007 I e-mailed you as Shadow Minister for Defence in relation to the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility.  You acknowledged my e-mail and undertook to discuss these issues with our group after the Federal election.


 


I appreciate your expression of respect for our position in relation to Peace and Pine Gap. 


 


Put simply, Christians Against ALL Terrorism believes that Pine Gap plays such a role within US war-fighting doctrine and practice today that it has been used, is being used, and will continue to be used in the commission of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.


 


A specific instance of the behaviour we allege is the probable use of intelligence collected and processed through Pine Gap to provide target coordinates for a series of what are known as “decapitation strikes” at the very beginning of the war in Iraq in March 2003 and succeeding months.  The intelligence provided GPS coordinates of use for particular types of satellite phones believed to be in possession of Iraqi political and military leadership.  Missiles were launched on those coordinates and duly exploded - causing exclusively civilian casualties.  All these smart “decapitation” missions failed in their military objective.  Such carelessness with civilian lives and property amounts to a war crime.  Pine Gap enabled it.


 


Our knowledge of Pine Gap comes from privately conducted research of material on the public record, including Report 26 of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Treaties, and through ongoing discussions with Professors Richard Tanter and Des Ball and other eminent Australian academics who research into ELINT bases and their role in contemporary intelligence/warfighting.  Donna Mulhearn has been an eye-witness to the war in Iraq and its consequences.  Some of Richard Tanter’s material on Pine Gap can be found here: http://gc.nautilus.org/Nautilus/australia/australian-defence-facilities/pine-gap/


 


While we believe, along with Des Ball, that these bases can be legitimately useful for arms control and verification, we firmly believe those functions can and should be carried out under international control - and any illegitimate uses by the USA or Australia curtailed.


 


Chiefly we believe that the US doctrine of pre-emptive war (aimed at nation states and non-nation groups alike) is immoral, illegal and futile - and amounts to a crime against peace.  We are already seeing local, regional and global arms races, accelerating militarisation, and terrorism spreading around the world.  This doctrine relies upon the US strategic and tactical advantages achieved by space reconnaissance and real-time communication and coordination – tasks in which Pine Gap plays a vital role.


 


The Missile Defence Shield being researched and developed at Pine Gap is another engine of the renewed nuclear/space arms races we’re seeing between the US and China, and the US and Russia.  In 2007 Russia suspended its compliance with arms limitations treaties in Europe because of the developing missile defence shield.  The Cold War is back.


 


The function and ownership of Pine Gap must be transformed.  Christians Against ALL Terrorism is committed to doing what it can.  We use the methods of Christian and Gandhian nonviolence.


 


PREVIOUS DEFENCE MINISTERS


 


In late 2005 and early 2006 I enjoyed a brief correspondence about these matters with Senator Robert Hill who was then Minister for Defence.  It was not a very fruitful correspondence.  Minister Hill chose not to answer our concerns, or to provide us with any reasonable opportunity to test and clarify our understanding of Pine Gap and its function in contemporary war-fighting.  He chose instead to threaten legal sanctions against us.


 


Four CAAT activists conducted the first Citizens Inspection of Pine Gap in the early hours of 9 December 2007.  The correspondence with Senator Hill became prosecution exhibit P2 in our subsequent trial.


 


Senator Hill was not the first Defence Minister to threaten nonviolent protestors with prosecution under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952 (DSU ).  in April 2006, with the consent of Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, he was the first to make it come true.  Those charges are still being resolved, with the next episode listed for February 20-22 2008 in the Court of Criminal Appeal at Darwin. 


 


I believe your Department is still interested in the matter, and is seeking leave to be heard if necessary at the Appeal.  I believe your Department’s interest lies in the operation of s8 of the DSU.


 


PROPOSAL


 


I propose we leave that Appeal to run its course, learn from the trial, and commence a new activity whereby we can improve productive outcomes for all concerned. 


 


We can do that in a way which emphasises the consultative, respectful and inclusive manner in which the Rudd Labor government does business.


 


I propose the following parallel process.


 


1/           Christians Against ALL Terrorism continues to build its capacity to carry out further acts of nonviolent civil disobedience.  On each occasion we’ll conduct a process of community consultation and private preparation which will determine the exact form, but peak actions will aim at a real-world intervention into what we allege are the criminal and deadly operations of the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility.  I imagine they will range anywhere from a continuation of our December ’05 Citizens Inspection of the technical area to an act of actual disarmament of relevant equipment.  Ciaron O’Reilly and his friends used a mattock at Shannon Airport.  http://warontrial.com/


 


Right now Christians Against ALL Terrorism intends returning to the technical area of the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility for a peak action on ANZAC Day, 25 April 2008.  You’re invited!


 


2/           We are also asking for your permission and assistance to inspect Pine Gap and more accurately evaluate its role in peace and security issues.


 


It’s an axiom of nonviolence that while a constructive opportunity remains untried, it takes precedence over any disruptive actions.  Attempts to communicate with previous Ministers for Defence were unsuccessful.  You and your government may have a different response.  We’d therefore suspend disruptive actions if you are able to offer positive engagement.  Professors Tanter and Ball would likely make themselves available to assist us in digesting any material you make available and we’d like them to help us with inspecting and asking questions.


 


From your speech to Parliament on 20 September 2007, I see that you want a method of bringing all of these issues forward in public debate, increasing the knowledge and autonomy of the Australian people, while not alienating our powerful allies (masters?).  I hope you share my high opinion of the capacity of the Australian people to make appropriate and wise decisions when called upon to do so.


 


We are able to assist you in this process.  Please give us your permission to inspect Pine gap and arrange a Departmental briefing that addresses the concerns we’ve raised.  In turn we’ll distribute quality information to interested publics and facilitate informed debate.  We could transform Pine Gap together.  What could be better than that?


 


NONVIOLENCE


 


During our trial in the NT Supreme Court in June 2007, Prosecuting Counsel Hilton Dembo continually characterised  my correspondence with Minister Hill as issuing a threat of the “either you do this or I’ll do that” kind.  Michael Maurice QC, acting for the Commonwealth, including the Secretary of Defence, made the same assertion.  It’s a misconception I’d like to explain.


 


I want to be clear that our group has only one purpose and method – the achievement of a just and peaceful society through the practice of spiritual nonviolence.  We believe that humanity is able to build a society of justice and enlightenment and end the scourge of war.  We acknowledge the great US practitioner of nonviolence, Dr Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr King’s “Letter from Birmingham Prison” http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/popular_requests/frequentdocs/birmingham.pdf and his anti- war speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html set out the central issues of our practice of Christian nonviolence.  Dorothy day and the Catholic Workers inspire us.


 


Based on what we now know (and we know much more now than we did in December 2005), Pine Gap is a vital component of an active, unjust warfighting machine.  It is a vital facility and its role and importance are expanding. 


 


Christians Against ALL Terrorism have chosen it to illustrate everything that Australian citizens are capable of in the struggle for peace and justice.  We have made our mind up.  We are going to transform Pine Gap into an instrument of peace. 


 


If we can get it, we’d like your assistance.  We’re prepared to make limited concessions to encourage that assistance.  Beyond that we are always willing to listen to reason. 


 


Eventually you or one of your successor Ministers WILL move to de-classify and expose the actual nature of Pine Gap to the Australian people.  Likewise the Australian people and government will ensure that we play a positive role in developing the mechanisms and methods of building and maintaining world peace.  Our task is to facilitate these transitions sooner rather than later by whatever nonviolent means are available to us.  Interventionary NVDA is a powerful tool.  Christians Against ALL Terrorism will continue to use it as required.


 


CONCLUSION


 


While some aspects of the gap between us may seem wide, there are already areas where we agree.  You told Parliament in September that you’d like to see more understanding developed among the Australian public about Pine Gap and the security of Australia.  So would we.  There are undoubtedly ways in which this can be done whilst preserving such operational secrets as are truly necessary.   


 


If you’re interested in positive engagement and further disclosures of information, we are happy to explore that path before further interventionary action.  


 


We would be interested in meeting with you to further explore these issues.  We’ll all be together in Darwin in February 2008.  Otherwise Brisbane is the centre of gravity of our core membership, and we could gather there at your convenience in the lead-up to ANZAC Day at Pine Gap.  We’ll be gathering in Alice Springs a week before ANZAC Day, and you might like to speak to that gathering about Pine Gap and world peace, and your intentions towards both.


 


Yours sincerely


 


 


Bryan Law


Christians Against ALL Terrorism


 

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Training

 

Gathering

 

Convergence

 

 

Hello folks,

                                I had a great weekend in Perth recently with Brendan McKeague, Jarrod McKenna and the good folk and friends of Peace tree community.  I got to review the Pace e Bene nonviolence training program “Engage”, and yarned with various nonviolence types, including an activist group in formation.

 

I’ve also had a half dozen responses from Christian and Gandhian activists around Australia about training, direct action, Alice Springs, and Talisman-Sabre.

 

I’ve been thinking along several threads about the next two years.

 

I continue to propose working towards a peak nonviolence program during the 2009 Talisman-Sabre war games.

 

The immediate goal of such a program would be to successfully intervene into the war games, causing disruption, frustration, delay and cost to the military machinery and its supporting institutions.  We can build on the experience of those activists who entered the Military Training Area in June 07 to optimise the tactical effect of such actions.

 

Corollary goals will be the further development of capacity for interventionary NVDA in Australia, and mutual aid between activist groups within Australia and abroad.

 

Into that mix I’d put the continuing development of CAAT’s Pine Gap campaign.

 

1/            My initial thinking is to aim for a National Nonviolence Gathering at Alice Springs during the ANZAC Day long weekend 25-27 April 2008.

 

In my vision the gathering attracts many (50?) nonviolence  activists who’ve already arrived at interventionary NVDA, or who are seriously considering it as a next step.

 

The Gathering can review the experience and circumstances of action groups around Australia, and look for available opportunities to improve our methods and mutual aid.  We can do some strategic and tactical analyses of current national circumstances.  Talisman-Sabre will still be a year away, and can be usefully planned for.  There’ll be plenty of space for personal preparation in a community of nonviolence.

 

On the weekend before the gathering I’d like to do basic nonviolence training with local activists, and invite the keenest and best into the gathering.

 

In the week after the gathering  (28 April – 2 May) I’d like to see several small autonomous affinity groups (up to 20 activists) intervene into Pine Gap.  I’m certainly intending taking further action that way myself.

 

I see much value in such a Gathering.

 

2/            Part of my reason for going to Perth was to explore with Brendan and Jarrod any role that Pace e Bene might play in providing training for interventionary action.

 

They both thought there was scope for “engage”ment, and wondered aloud whether the next major international figure doing an Australian tour, in 2009, ought be organised so as to support/encourage a Peace Convergence (Talisman sabre).  They’ll raise the matter with the Pace e Bene Board in Australia.

 

We also thought about the kind of workshop that would be most useful for experienced activists preparing for intervention.

 

The other way in which to use the Pace e Bene resource is to conduct “Engage” workshops in local areas for beginning activists as well as for those considering interventionary action.  Engage is a 10 week course of 2.5 hr modules.  The Resource Book is OK.  We’ll organise one in Cairns.

 

 

3/            Since beginning discussions a few practical issues have been raised about resources, time and distance, how effective will the process be at developing capacity, whether the actions will have any practical effect, and how they will benefit local groups.

 

These are all good questions!

 

I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll contribute some thinking based on my experience of Christians Against ALL Terrorism and Pine Gap.

 

 

A/           For me the Citizens Inspection of Pine Gap was meant to demonstrate the potential effectiveness of small autonomous affinity groups in making peace/transforming the military machine.

 

One key of our effectiveness has been the nature of liaison and advance notice to relevant authorities.  (Which I should say is different to the kind of liaison advocated by the Melbourne Rainforest Action Group in the 80’s and promoted then as a model.  Disclosure is restricted, and some secrecy accepted).  These techniques can be taught/discussed.

 

Another key has been the Christian influence, and in particular the focus on the Sermon on the Mount.  This influence has won us many friends outside the established communities of nonviolence.  I understand this technique can be taught as well.

 

B/           Our action has been successful because we got all the way into the high-security compound of Pine Gap.  We caused the base to go into lock-down, embarrassed the authorities, probably alarmed the US authorities, and brought about the conditions for “back-fire” to operate.  (We’ve yet to suffer prison or adversity, but it’s coming).

 

The various agencies of the Commonwealth government (AFP, DPP, ASIO, DOD, A-G) have taken every opportunity to make themselves look both vindictive and incompetent.  Their recent decision to appeal against our sentence will likely also fail, but not before we get another bite of the cherry.

 

I believe that a challenge of our times is to design and carry out more of this kind of successful interventionary NVDA.

 

C/           My best experience of the action so far was during the trial when a group of 30 or so from four states (and one Territory) formed in Alice Springs to run a support program for three weeks which involved a procession, two community meals, media work, trial support, and a public stall every week day.  In addition they ran a public meeting, a community event, and a direct action each week.

 

The best part was that people grew happier and stronger together through those three weeks.

 

We organised with small groups having authority for delegated tasks.  The four accused set overall policy and direction.  There were fewer meetings, and the only time everyone got together was over a meal or at an event.  It was a participatory community in which every member was valued, affirmed and trusted.  There was distributed authority.  It was not a simple democracy.

 

D/           Three of our original group came out of Talisman Sabre 05.  Two of our trial support group went on to interventionary action at Talisman Sabre 07.  The actions are connected.

 

The best tool for all our primary goals has been personal networking between established nonviolence activists.  The six who assembled in Alice Springs in December 2005 came from the east coast of Australia (Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne) primarily through contact with Jim Dowling and his long association with Catholic Worker activism.

 

We’ve tried to develop and broaden those networks as we’ve proceeded, and we now have strong links into various communities in Alice Springs, along with some more activists in Adelaide and Perth.

 

We’ve never issued a general invitation to all comers.  We call for people with a demonstrated commitment to principled nonviolence and empathy.  I think we should add forgiveness.

 

I believe the experiences we’ve shared of powerful witness deepen our personal and group capacity for creative nonviolence.  The experience of trust rewarded is particularly powerful.

 

E/            Talisman Sabre is a different kettle of fish where the number and type of participant is concerned.

 

It will never be possible to turn the whole Peace Convergence into an exclusively nonviolence event.

 

It IS possible to organise a distinctive Christian and Gandhian nonviolence presence to carry out a previously announced program of intervention.  This can be done with cooperation and a clear understanding among ourselves and with other parties.  I’m interested in this.

 

We could also add an education/training component that’s presently lacking in the Convergence I saw.  Talisman Sabre is an opportunity to distribute knowledge and reach out for new contacts.  I’m interested in this.

 

We could do a strategic and tactical analysis of Talisman-Sabre possibilities at the Gathering.

 

 

CONCLUSION

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Hi gang,

We had expected the trial to start by now, but mechanical difficulties with the Judge's flight from Darwin (Alice Springs is a circuit Court) delayed everything for 24 hours.

We had a day of pre-trial issues, and fine tuned our supporters' group (20 good hearted people) into the political equivalent of a Ferrari - zooming along faster than the DPP can conceive.

In Court the prosecution suffered an embarrassing loss in what amounted to a ridiculaous application that we accused be placed under house arrest (or as the Judge described it, home detention) for the duration of the trial.

We also discovered that Michael Maurice QC was in the audience with a brief from the Commonwealth government to protect the interests of various Commonwealth agencies, principally the Secretary of Defence, and the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.  Dr Stephen O'Donaghue was in the audience similarly representing the Director-General of Security (ASIO).

I was feeling particularly clear and centred as we prepare to get under way.  We empanel the jury, and start to hear the prosecution case tomorrow.  Their first witness is Mike Burgess, the Deputy Chief of Facility at Pine Gap.  He's the most senior Australian official at the base.

We are the focus of some national attention, with many solidarity actions around the country, and growing media interest.  Listen to Late Night Live with Philip Adams tomorrow evening (Wed 30 May).

Below is a story by Donna Mulhearn, which includes some analysis from Crikey.

In the long run we shall prevail.

Cheers
Bryan

_____________________________________________

Dear friends

 

Tuesday: Today the trial proceedings finally began (after a colourful procession to court with banners and singing) with some house-keeping, including an attempt by the Crown Prosecutor, Mr Hilton Dembo, to place us under house arrest!

 

Needless to say we argued back – and we won! He also argued that we not be permitted to be anywhere within 2kms within Pine Gap, (meaning we could not attend our planned demonstrations there on the weekend). We argued back that we had a right to political protest, and we won! 

 

The only other piece of colour today in the usually serious courtroom came from the judge and crown prosecutor. The sun-tanned, silver-haired, gowned and wigged Mr Dembo who a few months ago declared: “what is civil disobedience anyway?” is starting to fit well into a caricature of a bombastic, cranky prosecutor.

 

He requested that a Australian Federal Police officer be seated next to him at the bar table when the trial begins so that he could assist with exhibits. And, he added: “to be a buffer between myself and the defendants….not that I am scared of them…”

 

Without missing a beat, the usually poker-faced judge, Justice Sally Thomas commented:< FONT>

 

“Perhaps they should be scared of you!”        

 

Meanwhile today, successful solidarity events were held all over Australia to mark the start of the trial. Thank you everyone for your support and thoughts and prayers – we are off to a great start!

 

Tomorrow we have jury selection at 10am, and after that the prosecution opens its case and the trial proper begins.

 

Here’s how the media reported today’s events:

 

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21815635-1702,00.html

 

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Pine-Gap-protesters-gather-in-Brisbane/2007/05/29/1180205216633.html

 

http://www.melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2007/05/145591.php

 

http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/node/51062

 

Have a listen to late night live with Philip Adams on Radio National on Wednesday night 

 

And this analysis from Crikey.com yesterday:

 

Greg Barns writes:

Tomorrow, in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, Pine Gap military base protesters go on trial. Nothing unusual in that -- the US Australian military facility has long been a focal point for discontent, and the Alice Springs courts regularly process defendants  charged with trespass, assault and other petty crime charges. And nearly all of these cases are dealt with a slap on the wrist for the protestors, or at worst, a fine.

But Bryan Law, Donna Mulhearn, Adele Goldie, and James Dowling, who are appearing in the Alice Springs court tomorrow, face jail terms because on 9 Decembr, 2005, they managed to gain access to Pine Gap by cutting a fence, climbing onto the roof of a building and taking photographs of the facility. 

This quartet of activists self-described as "Christian Pacificists" say they wanted to conduct a citizens' inspection of Pine Gap. They, like many Australians, are opposed to the war in Iraq, and believe that Australian participation in the Iraq war has made this country more vulnerable to a terrorist attack.

But their short and harmless foray into the Pine Gap has been taken very seriously by the Howard Government and its law enforcement agencies. No easy ride through the Alice Springs Magistrates Court for this lot. Instead, the Commonwealth has dusted off a 1952 law, passed by the Menzies government at the hight of the Cold War, and called the Defence Powers (Special Undertakings) Act 1952. Breach this Act and you can face jail terms of up to seven years.

This is the law which allowed the Menzies government to keep from public view vast tracts of South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory where nuclear tests, including the infamous Maralinga tests, were carried out. It hasn’t been used by the Commonwealth for years. In fact, according to some academic reports, this is the first time anyone has been prosecuted under this law -- a remarkable fact given it has been around for 55 years and there have been literally hundreds of Pine Gap protests.

But then, Philip Ruddock is the most aggressive attorney-general this country has seen in years. As he showed when he wa immigration minister, he’s prepared to use the full legislative arsenal at his disposal to enforce government policy, even if the law in question is obscure and of questionable validity in this day and age.

The importance of this case in the context of a civil liberties and human rights is evidenced by the fact that high-profile Melbourne barrister and former Federal Court judge Ron Merkel is heading the legal team for the activists.

Many Australians might not agree with direct action protest of the type undertaken by these four activists, but there’s a larger issue in this case. Should governments be using draconian Cold War laws on the citizenry of Australia almost 20 years after the Berlin Wall came down?

 

More news and pics soon!

 

We're excited!

 

from

pilgrim Donna

Tags: , , , ,
Current Location: Alice Springs
Current Mood: calm calm

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Well folks, it's four weeks until our trial in the Supreme Court at Alice Springs.

We're never going to be perfectly ready, but we'll be able to put up a good front and tell our story.

I've just finished a first Draft of what I want to say to the Jury at the very beginning of the trial.

I hope I'll be allowed to say it, and to subsequently call expert testimony to back it up.

Here's the Draft.  Feedback is always welcome.

Cheers
Bryan

INTRO

My name is Bryan Law, I'm 53 years old. I'm a husband, a father, and a nonviolent social justice activist. I drive a taxi in Cairns for money.

You already know what's involved in family life, and how rewarding/challenging it can be. Most of you will know a little bit about the theory and practice of nonviolence. You'll have heard of Mohandas Gandhi, and of Martin Luther King Jr as giant practitioners of an invigorated form of spiritual nonviolence in the 20th Century. Fewer of you will have read and heard about Dorothy Day as a founder of the Catholic Worker movement in contemporary USA, and around the world.

During this trial, I'll be spending some time presenting evidence about spiritual nonviolence and its relevance to our lives today - because it's central, absolutely central, to why and how I carried out the entry into Pine Gap for which I'm now on trial.

Many of you are Christians, at least nominally, and you'll be aware of the loving nonviolent Jesus in the Gospels. Love one another. Love your enemy. While I was baptised and confirmed in the Anglican church, I became apostate for a period in my late teens and twenties. My pathway back to Christian values came from India via the USA.

I began concientously to adopt the principles and practices of what I call Gandhian nonviolence in 1981, in Brisbane, while I was studying at Griffith University. For 25 years since, I've developed and refined my ability to understand and practise Gandhian nonviolence. The Citizen's Inspection of Pine Gap by Christians Against ALL Terrorism on 9 December 2005 was in many ways the culmination of all my learning and practice. That is the act for which I and my friends are on trial today.

I got my Bachelor's degree from Griffith University, in Modern Asian studies, and went on to do some post-graduate work. My field of interest in the last few years of University was strategic weapons sytems and security issues in the Asia/Pacific basin. I was aware of the existance and role of Pine Gap then. I met Professor Des Ball then. I was looking for a practical program in how to disarm.

 

I can't explain why it is so, but since I was 10 years old and US President Kennedy was assassinated, I have had an abiding interest in the politics of peace, of how to achieve international systems of peace. Since I adopted Gandhian nonviolence I can document a consistant and persistant involvement in community-based campaigns to transform the machinery of war into equipment for harmonious society.

The Biblical authority is Isaiah 2:4 : "

In secular thinking the process is called Peace Conversion, and in relation to Pine Gap it involves transforming the ownership and use of the base - using it for arms control and not for inflicting terror. It's an important point to remember that Christians Against ALL Terrorism does not call for Pine Gap to be dismantled, but to be transformed and brought under United Nations control. We say strip it of its present war-fighting and terror-waging role, and make it a force for world peace. I'd like you to remember this point as we proceed through the trial. It's important.

 

I'd also like you to understand that our actions are not isolated instances of frustration and despair welling up as some kind of futile protest action. I know that some people are driven to such actions, and that it's a common stereotype of peace activists as being a few sandwiches short of a picnic when it comes to knowledge and judgement. Elements of the media (all of the Murdoch media) portray us that way regularly. In February 2003, when hundreds of thousands of Australians demonstrated against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Prime Minister John Howard labelled us as "the mob" and dismissed our thinking out of hand.

We are better people than John Howard gives us credit for.

There's no denying that I and my friends can experience immense frustration as we see the violence in our world - we can be frustrated, but we do not despair. We act. We act with a plan. We believe in the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi - to transform hate into love, and war into peace. To act as a force for good in the world. We act as part of a global peace community that is building the resource to end war and promote effective reconciliation and social justice. I can and will demonstrate to you during this trial that nonviolence is a most powerful tool for achieving practical results.

Our Citizens' Inspection of Pine Gap in December 2005 was deliberately, rationally calculated to materially intervene into the war-fighting operation of Pine Gap, under the public gaze. It is in turn part of a wider effective campaign to limit the damage from war in Iraq in the short term, end the war in the middle east in the medium term, and bring about global disarmament along the way. We can prove how serious and talented we are by showing how our daggy little group of ordinary citizens invaded the inner compound of the most sensitive and best guarded military base in Australia. After we told them who we were, and when we'd be coming. What we'd be doing - and then doing it. Setting new standards for political honesty in Australia. The authorities didn't do so well.

 

Now I imagine that you'll hear once or twice from the prosecution that this is all irrelevant to the case in front of you, which is based solely on whether or not we defendents were at a certain place, at a certain time, without a permission slip or authority issued by the appropriate bureaucrat.

What Pine Gap does, they will say, is irrelevant to the charges, and is something which should not be aired in this Court for reasons of national security. Pine Gap should be kept secret, because the government says so. The war in Iraq, they will say, is irrelevant to the charges. This is another issue in which government privilege is said to operate. Theirs the decision to go to war, whatever its purpose or consequence. Ours to bow and scrape.

Well, I can see why they'd think that. Keep things simple. Strip our act of all its context. Shield government from accountability. There's nothing too difficult to understand here.

But

You won't be surprised

I disagree.

 

The war in Iraq, Australia's involvement with the war in Iraq, and Australia's military alliance with the USA which got us into the war in Iraq, are growing emergent catastrophes for all of us.

A direct threat to civilians in Australia is the growing likelihood of a bloody terrorist attack in this country. Probably Melbourne or Sydney, but it could be anywhere. Maybe the Gold Coast. Maybe Cairns, where I and my family live. Maybe Alice Springs.

While horrible, this threat pales into insignificance when compared with the slaughter of innocents in Iraq. Ali Allawi, a former Iraqi defence minister estimate 250,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of the invasion of Iraq and consequent breakdown in civil order. 250,000! My friend and colleague Donna Mulhearn will provide you with eye-witness testimony, as she provided eye-witness testimony to me in 2005, about the impacts and effects of this war on Iraqi civilians. Donna was in Baghdad in March 2003, and Falujah in April 2004. She is an eye-witness to US war crimes in Iraq.

The war in Iraq has created the unparallelled production, arming and training of para-militaries, guerillas, terrorists and gangsters to a severe and pervasive standard. In Iraq, throughout the middle east and around the world. My son's grandchildren may still be paying for that.

The war in Iraq is the first war being fought under the 2002 Bush Doctrine, and is indistinguishable from a war of aggression. Wars of aggression are crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity. There is eminent opinion that the invasion of Iraq was illegal in international law.

I believe that all this amounts to a dire emergency in world affairs. Therefore and also in my community. An emergency which is unfolding like a train wreck. An emergency about which effective action may still be taken. You will see from the evidence in this trial that Christians Against ALL Terrorism decided to take this kind of action. Action which we will show to be both a proportionate and a reasonable response to the emergency confronting us. This constitutes the defence of "necessity".

 

"Well, so what?" the Prosecution will say. "We live in a Parliamentary democracy. If citizens disagree with a government policy, they have legitimate methods to affect change through the ballot box. They must not become vigilantes. Christians Against ALL Terrorism are vigilantes. There is no justification or excuse for their actions".

 

Well I say their is a justification for my action, and that justification begins with the illegitimate and criminal nature of the Howard so-called government of Australia.

I'm 53 years old, and I've lived all my life in Australia.

The Parliamentary democracy I grew up in regulated the power of the executive through a a convention of Ministerial accountability - whereby a Minister might lie to the public as much as they like, but they could not lie to Parliament, and must resign if found to have exercised insufficient care in meeting their responsibilities.

That convention has disappeared under the Howard government.

I remember February 4 2003 when Prime Minister Howard told the Parliament that the Australian government "knew" (the Australian government "knows") that Saddam Hussein had biological and chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction, and was working actively to acquire nuclear weapons. A gross and deliberate lie. A knowing lie. 250,000 dead civilians. A country in ruin. That's not Parliamenatry democracy. That's criminal conspiracy.

Nor is it Parliamentary democracy when civil servants are politicised and rewarded/bullied according to how well they toe the government line. It appears that elements within ASIO and ONA were prepared to doctor intelligence so that it supported the government's political conclusion. Andrew Wilkie can tell you about that. AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty was swiftly brought to heel (by the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff) in 2004 after saying that our involvement in Iraq made us a bigger terrorist target. Which Wheat Board was it bribed Saddam Husseign with $300 mil?

The Howard government has corrupted more than one of the conventions protecting our Parliamentary democracy, and is simply unavailable for policy change using the more traditional methods of lobbying, or vote touting, or public demonstration alone. The times compel civil disobedience.

I'm not just saying this as just a matter of speculation.

Since November 2001 I and various friends formed a local peace group in Cairns, and used every available method of standard political influence. All documented on our web-site. www.cairnspeacebypeace.org In February 2003 when activists world-wide collectively acheived a massive display of public majority opposition to the coming invasion, when hundreds of thousands marched in Australia, John Howard called us a mob. He had Rupert Murdoch on his side, so I guess he felt pretty safe election-wise. (Rupert thought the war would bring the prices of oil down to $20/barrel).

We're still organising today. Letters go unanswered, lies keep coming. I'm connected to the Internet, so I can monitor the global situation. Lies get exposed, but they don't stop coming. Have you heard the one about "the surge is working"?

As citizens, you know for yourselves the condition of our democracy today.

And you must also know by now that the decision by John Howard to join the Coalition of the Killing and invade Iraq is not the legitimate decision of a legitimate government, it is the mad act of a radical usurper. John Howard's New Order in Australia is fascistic - nationalism and militarism combined, with civil liberties reduced.

 

Fortunately there are nonviolent methods within democracy which are able to correct for usurpers like these. Not only is nonviolence a tool for waging peace, it's also a tool for building and re-building democracy. It depends on how many people take it up, and how well organised they are.

In the USA we've seen the Boston Tea Party, the Civil Rights movement, and the US Peace Movement itself - which has now, after five years' determined effort, organised a change in both houses of their parliament to one which will both withdraw from Iraq when able, and defeat the neo-con presidency in 2008.

Many peace groups in the USA have used civil disobedience as part of this campaign which has achieved parliamentary change. Some acts have been purely symbolic, such as getting arrested trying to deliver a petition to the Whitehouse. Some have been strongly interventionary, such as damaging military equipment bound for Iraq. Our Citizens' Inspection of Pine Gap is at the conservative end of the interventionary spectrum.

We'll give you plenty of evidence about the open, respectful, truthful and nonviolent nature of our action during the course of this trial, as will all the prosecution witnesses. We follow Christ's direction to love our enemies. We wish more did.

 

Now, speaking just for myself, I'm happy to acknowledge and agree to many of the facts as alleged by the prosecution.

I was happy to acknowledge them in the interview I gave Northern Territory Police at Alice Springs watch-house some hours after my arrest on 9 December 2005. Indeed, I was happy to predict them at a speech I made at a public meeting at the Arid Lands Environment Centre on 6 December 2005, 3 days before our arrest. You'll hear evidence about this meeting from Federal Agent David Perry, who came from Darwin to attend our public meeting covertly and gather evidence. Indeed you'll see the evidence he gathered, and hear about the report he made to Inspector Ken Napier of the Australian Federal Police.

You may hear evidence about the presence of ASIO at Pine Gap, and their surveillance of nonviolent political dissidents in Australia.

I understand clearly that the government wishes to keep information about Pine Gap as secret as it can - from the Australian people. I understand that way back in 1967 Defence Minister Alan Fairhall declared an area around Pine Gap to be a prohibited area under Section 8 of the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act of 1952. I agree that we were warned by Defence Minister Robert Hill in 2005 that our proposed inspection could draw prosecution under that Act and Declaration. I agree that efforts to reason with Minister Hill proved fruitless, and that I and others entered what is said to be the Pine Gap prohibited area, at various times in the early hours of 9 December 2005. I agree that I cut such fences as were necessary to affect entrance into the Pine Gap terror base. I'm glad I did it. I had reasons for doing it. If I must, I'll do it again.

Where I disgree with the prosecution is that I believe I had a lawful justification for being there, which constitutes a legal excuse to the charges laid against me.

I was compelled to take some action out of necessity to avoid or ameliorate the imminant dire consequences (loss of life/others and property) arising out of the extraordinary emergency created by Australian participation in the war in Iraq. Under all the circumstances, the best action I could organise to take was the Citizen's inspection of Pine Gap on 9 December 2005. I say that it's a rational and reasonable way to achieve withdrawal and disarmament - as part of a coherent and effective peace movement which is hard at work all around the world right now.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury - this is your chance to think deeply and speak clearly. If you agree that the atrocities that were committed and are still being committed in Iraq represent the kind of heinous and demonic war crimes that I see them as, and that under those circumstances our response to it is a reasonable and proportionate response calculated to end the emergency, you must vote Not Guilty. You'll not only acquit us from serious criminal charges, but you'll send a message around the world about what's right and just in the year of Our Lord 2007.

It's right and just that citizens of good conscience take whatever action is available to them to bring this stupid, bloody and criminal war to a speedy end.

Cheers

Bryan

"They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks".

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