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).
I’ve got a new red tricycle to tool around on in Cairns (on account of how the nasty old Queensland government has suspended my drivers license – because I’m refusing to obey a court order that I should give $400 cash money to the ALP). I love my new red tricycle!
I’m keen to participate in nonviolent interventions that are nationally significant, so I’ve been thinking about two major actions in planning for 2011.
1/Transform ANZAC Day by adding a new event and liturgy. A lantern lit vigil at the Cenotaph from sunset on 24 April – in memory of ALL the victims of war. We pack up and leave when the RSL starts arriving for their dawn service.
2/Frustrate and stop the joint Aus/US wargames talisman sabre 2011 in June (32,000 troops, a nuclear aircraft carrier battle group, a well-resourced team of PR professionals, to practice invading foreign countries.
Here you can find a detailed explanation about several bits of the puzzle, and how they might fit together.
On ANZAC Day weekend 23-26 April 2010, at the Australian Quaker Centre at Silver Wattle, Bungendore near Canberra, 17 Christians and 2 Buddhists gathered from the east coast of Australia to respond to the growing militarisation of both Anzac Day and Australian society and to consider ways of putting an end to war.