Saturday 9 February 2008

Doing time with Bradley John Murdoch

Bryan Law self proclaimed free thinker and free speaker, shares exclusively with CairnsBlog readers about standing up to a secret sensitive Federal Government.

Since 2005, Bryan has been experimenting with nonviolent civil disobedience in the form a small non-violent affinity group called Christians Against ALL Terrorism, who's purpose is to spark a campaign which transforms the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility from an instrument of US/Oz terror into an instrument of arms control and peace.

Bryan has previously scribed for CairnsBlog about the colourful history of local politics in Cairns. We're baking him a Banana Cake with a file and a mobile phone on the inside.

I’m leaving Cairns tomorrow [Monday 11 February] to travel to Darwin, and the beautiful Berrimah Prison.

Bradley John Murdoch is in there, and 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 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.

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’ve found out a lot more about what Pine Gap is and does. It is a gleaming high tech machine being used for some of the darkest and most insane military activity/terror on our planet. Read this US document to get a picture of what Pine gap contributes to. 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
Pine Gap makes a much more vital contribution to US warfighting than any amount of combat troops.

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.

This project appears to be self-funding, with donations meeting all our 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 saying it’s OK to prosecute these bastards using the heavy legislation. I’ve got one.

We’ve begun a new cycle of engagement with the Rudd Labor government. Here’s a letter to ALP Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon. 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.

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. 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 a fabulous place to punish any activists who misjudge the nature and extent of a state’s right to deal forcibly with the citizens.

See you whenever.

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