Actions, Verdicts, Lessons
I first met Sam Land when he came to Alice Springs in October 2006, where he joined in one part of the trial process of the Pine Gap 4. Here’s a story about the trial from our legal advisor – solicitor and Barrister Russell goldflam.
The “Citizens’ Inspection” of Pine Gap was carried out in December 2005. It contained elements of property damage that stopped short of “ploughshares” actions.
The Pine Gap 4 cut through fences to gain entry, allegations were made about the “illegal” activities supported by Pine Gap, and we were pleased to disrupt the normal activities of the base by sending it into “lock=down” – but the focus of the action was disclosure/information for public discourse, not disabling weapons systems.
Giving evidence at the Waihopai ploughshares trial in Wellington in March 2010, Sam described the 2006 Pine Gap experience as a key element in forming his own determination to carry out a ploughshares action (which physically disables a weapons system in active use, in witness to the prophecy of Isaiah). He also met Ciaron O’reilly there, a powerful advocate of ploughshares actions.
Sam’s decision to move further into physically disabling weapons systems led him to deflating the dome at Waihopai Spy Base around ANZAC Day 2008, with his friends and colleagues Adi Leason and Peter Murnane.
It is also the reason that Sam, Adi, and Peter were acquitted of all charges, whereas the Pine Gap 4 were convicted of wilful damage charges under the Commonwealth Crimes Act. (The Pine Gap 4 had some convictions quashed on appeal and replaced by acquittals, but they were under a different piece of legislation which has been subsequently amended by Parliament).