Sunday 26 April 2009

The House of Rudd's Secrets

Just as the Rudd Government announces a $100 billion speeding spree on the military, a recently produced Al Jazeera documentary takes a look at the covert spy base near Alice Springs.
The doco gives an excellent overview about the kind of non-violent direct action that CairnsBlog columnist and Cairns community activist Bryan Law promotes to highlight important issues and impact change. It reviews the events surrounding the the illegal entry by four peace activists who conducted a 2005 citizens’ inspection of the US-run Pine Gap defence facility near Alice Springs, a top-secret military compound in central Northern Territory.

Pine Gap is perhaps the single biggest contribution that Australia makes to our war-fighting machine. The second being the 'interoperability' and treaty network we have with the USA, which allows Australian forces to be integrated with US forces anywhere in the world. And for the record, the third biggest is the support for training and exercises of US troops in Australia.

The Government has just passed new security legislation, closing loopholes that allowed Bryan Law and others to effectively escapes jail term after them entry into Pine Gap. The new law, that re-zones the Alice Springs facility as a protected area, 'necessary for Australia's defence', simply attempts to stifle public debate over the facility

Protesters will now face lengthy jail terms if they breach the base's perimeter fence.

Bryan Law had his conviction overturned last year, after appeal, however the four protesters say that the new laws should have been discussed in an open forum.

"What we have here at Pine Gap is a foreign base on Australian soil undertaking activity that our members of Parliament aren't allowed to know about," Law says.

Donna Mulhearn, who joined Law and tow others in the action, says that this should be open for discussion, not closed down, and the fact that has gone through in secret is "extremely disturbing."

"The Federal Government is following US interests by strengthening trespass penalties and people should be concerned about the new laws. That ordinary protesters who want to voice their opinions about Pine Gap, which is something they have right to do, should be facing seven years in prison under this draconian legislation, it is something we should be all concerned about," Mulhearn told the ABC.

Shoalwater Bay will be the scene of the next Non-Violent Direct Action in July, during Operation Talisman-Sabre.

The 20 minute doco - in two parts - show the four untrained activists breaking into Australia's 'most secure' base, in December 2005. Calling themselves 'Christians against all terrorism' they broke in, and alleged that the facility is a spy base pinpointing targets in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We felt morally obliged to stop what we saw as Australia's secret cooperation in the war," Bryan Law says.

Bryan is a veteran protester - not serial, as the Cairns Post likes to slander - to uses non-violent civil disobedience to highlight injustice that affect the community. He campaigned hard against Queensland's Labor government demolishing the historic Cairns Yacht Club building, and will face court next week for defacing Cairns MP Desley Boyle's election signs. Bryan has previously written for CairnsBlog about the colourful history of local politics in Cairns.

"Who knows? We may organise a further test of democracy and security at Pine Gap for 2010, Bryan says.
Does Desley Boyle really want to get into a legal battle with Bryan Law? See what happened when Philip Ruddock had a go.


Bryan Outlaw said...
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Bryan Outlaw said...

His "protest" at Pine Gap accomplished exactly nothing for anyone.

The continued anti-Americanism ignores one salient fact. Without an American defence alliance (which has the Americans carrying all the water), we would never be able to afford the "social paradise" that gives Bryan Law the guaranteed income he lives on, without performing any meaningful work for society.


Anonymous said...
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Crash said...

Anti-Americanisms? Where? what? That's the defence used when ever America's actions are otherwise indefensible. Having opinions, speaking out for people and voicing a concern for human rights is anti-American is it? Well don't tell them that - they wrote a whole constitution on the subject.

Silly bloody comment - jesus.

Cairns Resident said...

It is the likes of Bryan Law and his colleagues who keep the US alliance to the forefront, questioning the blind sycophancy of John Howard which led us to an illegal war in Iraq and questioning our current confusing involvement in Afghanistan. Sure, we need to be "friends" with the US, but don't friends tell each other when they are wrong? Why then are we the servile little lap dog of the USA?