Wednesday, June 13, 2007

WHY I AM GOING TO THE U.S/AUSTRALIAN WAR GAMES

I am not going to protest against our Soldiers
I am not going in hatred for the U.S.
I am not going to raise my fist in anger at the Military
Their courage to die for others, I applaud.

I am going to oppose Violence and War
I am going to raise Nonviolence and Peace
Because ½ million Iraqi’s and 3000 Americans have been killed while I stood by,
I will no longer stand by.

For too long have I been passive
For too long has my silence spoken for me
My silence to war and silence to Empire granting permission for death
For we all are responsible for Wars
Violence lives in us all, we are trained in Violence
It lives In our relationships, in our schools, on our TV, even our superhero’s use violence for ‘good’

No single person can embody violence
These are not someone else’s problems
I cannot blame others for this
I am complicit in war, my taxes have served death
Transformation of this world begins and ends with each of us
For me it can’t get more clearer than when He said “love your enemies”
And, what about “who is your neighbour”?

I’ve heard $55 million ‘foreign policy’ dollars a day is spent on War
Is that right?
What about $55 million for Peace?
Hospitals, schools, clinics, housing, FOR LOVE?

Our message will be simple,
We should not be practicing and preparing for war
We should be practicing and living for peace

The task is huge,
To transform hate into love, and war into peace

I join the War Abolitionists who are here to say…
“I imagine a future of No More War”
Don’t think it can happen? What about Faith?
War is not the way to Peace,
Peace is the way

Our Wedding Date!

So, Kaylene and I want to thank all who came to our Engagement Party and made it such a fanstatic, enjoyable, beautiful night! You are all beautiful people.


For your diaries. The date of our Wedding will be 9th November - this year!! Amazing hey! We're well into planning it already and can't wait to share this very important day with you. Sharing also means, we may ring you for some help in some way or another! Hope thats alright hey!


Oh, and a lovely photo of the day we got engaged!


Friday, June 08, 2007

TRIP TO QLD - PEACE CONVERGENCE

So A few of you know that some of us are heading to QLD...but what for? Here's some thing you may not have heard is happening.

This is taken from our Media Release (Justice and Peace Initiatives INC.)

AUSTRALIAN-US War Games: Talisman Sabre 2007

This year Australia will host the largest ever joint military exercise – Operation Talisman Sabre. Nearly 14,000 US personnel and over 12,000 Australian military will participate, marking Australia’s continued and unwavering support of US led bombing campaigns such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For two weeks (19 June – 2 July) the US and Australian military will pound our fragile coastline round the clock with live naval, landbased and aerial bombings. The war games will take place in locations throughout QLD and the NT as well as the Coral Sea.

During Talisman Sabre, the US and Australian military are going to attack a piece of pristine coast at Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton. US nuclear powered warships – possibly carrying nuclear weapons and most likely carrying Depleted Uranium munitions will sail inside the endangered Great Barrier Reef Marine National Park.

Iraqis killed since start of invasion : 655,000

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1892888,00.html

US soldiers killed since start of invasion : 3545

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_casualties.htm

Australia’s Military Spending Per Day : $55 million


PEACE CONVERGENCE

5 Members from a local group, Justice and Peace Initiatives, based in Doveton will be traveling to Shoalwater Bay to participate in a Peace Convergence (http://www.peaceconvergence.com/).


The Peace Convergence will be a nonviolent gathering on 18-24th June to :

1. Nonviolently oppose the war games and the environmental destruction it will cause

2.To voice our call for an end to the war in Iraq and Australian involvement with illegal and unjust US-led wars

Australia must stop preparing for war and start practicing for peace.

PINE GAP - Solidarity Actions

So, since I'm not an everyday blogger - a lot has happened. Recently I've participated in 2 Non-violent Solidarity actions for the Pine Gap 4 who are on trial for placing the spotlight on Pine Gap as an instrument of war, terror and murder - and with the attempt to transform it into an instrument of peace - to help in the fight against the Arms Trade by a neutral body such as the UN.

Pine Gap Vigil in Burke St Mall
Tuesday 29th May

A deeply moving experience was the public reading of names of those who've died (US and Iraqi's) in the current Invasion in front of Myer. This became an experience more powerful for us than those walking past. To read the names of mothers, babies, children, executed brothers, uncles and coalition soldiers of 18-19yo dying was incredibly humbling. In the words of Simon Moyle (www.smoyle.blogspot.com)...

"Realising how complicit we all are in this system of violence and destruction - confessing and repenting of it. So this turned out to be much more for our good than for anyone else's. And the sense I was left with is that there's such a long way to go. We barely scratched the surface - maybe read 2 or 3 hundred names - of somewhere in the ballpark of 650,000 casualties. The pain of this and the legacy of destruction cannot even begin to be touched. But we've begun."

We also had some banners, postcards and conversations to raise awareness of the importance of Pine Gap to US wars.




MEETING WITH US VICE CONSUL
1st June (my engagement party day!)

This was an amazing experience! To first of all get through the intense security and then have a conversation with the supposed 'enemy' about Pine Gap was such an eye opener. Nonviolence concerns friendships over hostility and this action was certainly holding that principle high in priority. I haven't meet with someone that 'high' up in the world of the rich and powerful and found the conversation was really constructive and much more effective than some other techniques we were considering, such as a sit-in. For a really good discussion of this meeting check out Simon Moyle's blog again and Christop's who both were there aswell!

www.smoyle.blogspot.com
www.emergentlayer.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 07, 2007

PINE GAP - US Military Base

Four Christians are currently on trial, facing 7 years for conducting a 'citizens inspection' of Pine Gap...here is some background information


Pine Gap

Pine Gap is a military spy base for the United States located 20 km outside Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Pine Gap gathers military intelligence and uses a satellite tracking system to pinpoint targets in U.S. bombing raids on Iraq and Afghanistan. It is also the command centre for the 'Missile Defence System', an integral part of the US 'Star Wars' system enabling the US to dominate and control space.

"Certainly in relation to identifying specific targets, Pine Gap is important. The Pine Gap contribution (to the Iraq war) is much more significant than any sending of Australian soldiers" Dr Michael McKinley, Strategic analyst at the ANU Canberra.

Christians Against ALL Terrorism – Pine Gap Six

Christians Against ALL Terrorism condemns terrorism in all its forms including the state terrorism behind the U.S and Australia’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. In order to be morally consistent, we cannot distinguish between the terrorist acts of a suicide bomber in Baghdad, or of a U.S jet bomber in Fallujah. In both cases innocents are murdered and maimed for a political objective.

We believe in a better way. Christ told us to love our enemies, to seek justice and taught us how to live non-violently.

The Citizen’s Inspection.

At dawn on December 9, 2005 a ‘Citizen’s Inspection’ took place causing Pine Gap to shut down for five hours. Six hundred employees were denied access into the base and the employee’s cars queued up for several kilometres outside.

Two members of Christians Against ALL Terrorism, Jim Dowling from Daybora and Adele Goldie from Brisbane had entered the Pine Gap military base undetected and photographed themselves on the roof of a building before being arrested. Two other members of the group Donna Mulhearn from Sydney and Bryan Law from Cairns went undetected for an hour before being arrested cutting through the last inner fence.

The four had walked for several hours through desert terrain. Jessica Morrison from Melbourne and Sean O’Reilly from Brisbane held a peaceful vigil outside the front gates around six that morning. During the vigil Sean O’Reilly was arrested for hindering police. Sean was found not guilty in the Alice Springs Magistrates court.

Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie, Bryan Law and Donna Mulhearn have been charged under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952. The Act has not been used previously and carries a maximum jail sentence of 7 years, with an additional two years for taking photographs within the base. The four will be appearing in the Alice Springs Supreme Court; a trial date is soon to be set.

Background to the action:

In November 2005, Australia’s Parliament passed ‘anti-terror’ legislation sending Australia further down the path of becoming a militaristic police state.

At the same time, a group of citizen’s, alert and alarmed at the terrorism of war, wrote to then Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill seeking permission to do a Citizen’s Inspection of Pine Gap for suspected terrorist activity.

The six Christian pacifists wanted to bring some moral and intellectual consistency into the debate on terrorism.

Christ taught non-violence, to love our enemies and our neighbours, forgive sinners and seek justice. Pope Paul VI said “If you want peace, work for justice”.

Senator Hill did not give permission for the inspection and threatened the group with seven years in prison. CAAT informed the Government and media of its intention to go ahead with the inspection. Despite this publicity and Pine Gap being one of the most significant U.S Spy Bases in the world, four members of CAAT managed to breach the Pine Gap security to enter the facility on December 9, 2005.