Saturday, 11 July 2009

Blessed are the peacemakers - 2

More info on the peace protests. Thank you for distributing this Jessica.

Jessica Morrison and fellow Peace Convergence activists leant moral support outside the Rockhampton Watchhouse to two of their colleagues who were arrested after blocking an access road to the Shoalwater Bay training area. - Chris Ison

From: Jessica Morrison []

Sent: Friday, 10 July 2009 5:08 PM

To: Jessica

Subject: Shoalwater Bay update from Jess

Hi Friends - Hope you are all well.

I've been in sunny QLD for four days now, and have been busy organising for resisting the Talisman Sabre Military Training Exercises.

The US and Australian militaries blowing $200 million dollars in training for interoperability when we continue to be involved in wars of aggression that kills thousands of innocent civilians is a horrendous undertaking - and I'm hoping we can make a dint in the war machine while we're here.

I've been working with the Peace Convergence, with lots of events coming up this weekend - see They will be posting updates (and already has stories of several things going down so far). There have been four arrests already - two up here, one in Cairns and veteran peace activist Jo Vallentine in Perth!

I have mostly been busy organising logistics for the overall Peace Convergence, and our personal action. I have also been handing out fliers to military personnel encouraging them to resist war themselves; and marched in the biggest and most vibrant NAIDOC march I've ever seen! I also managed to get my mug in the paper - for just supporting another action!!

I have formed into an affinity group with Simon Moyle, Margaret Pestorious and Jarrod McKenna, and June Norman. We are calling ourselves the Bonhoeffer 5 after the peace theologian that our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd proports to honor. Jarrod has created a facebook group, which you'd be welcome to join.

http://www.facebook .com/group. php?gid=95652832 956#/group. php?gid=95652832 956&ref=mf

For those asking, why Bonhoeffer?

I'll make sure you are e-mailed updates as events unfold.

The big story for us here this week is Jim and Cairon's action yesterday and subsequent bail refusal:

Cairon O'Reilly and Jim Dowling in Jail for resisting TS09

Early yesterday morning a small group of Christian peace activists set up a blockade on one of the access roads to the Shoalwater Bay war games, the so called Green Gate.

They strung a banner across the road. It read: "In the name of God stop the wars +" Two knelt before it holding placards: "War is terror is war" and "End the war in Afghanistan". The support crew stood by bearing witness with video cameras.

As Divine Providence would have it, they did not have to wait long. A convoy of 5 semitrailers carrying Yankee Humvees and Jeeps, two and three a piece, came along.

The blockade remained in place for two hours before the Rockhampton police came and directed the protesters to move. Ciaron O'Reilly and Jim Dowling chose to be arrested.

Later in Rockhampton Court they were taken before a magistrate who offered unrestricted bail but Ciaorn and Jim refused to take bail choosing rather to stay in prison for the duration of the Talisman Sabre war games.

Footage of the action was played on WIN regional Tv news tonight. ABC Radio carried it briefly.

Good on Ciaron and Jim! Their incarceration will be a running sore of a story during the rest of the war and peace games.

O'Reilly stated, "Talisman Sabre is a $250 million exercise in futility. Talisman Sabre is not a game or an exercise, it is a fantasy - a war theatre with no civilians! Most of those being killed by American, Australian andPakistan militaries are innocent civilians, most fatalities have been women and children. The Af/Pak war is presently escalating and expanding. These Talisman Sabre exercises are significant preparations for more killing.

The Australian involvement in the war on Afghanistan is now eight years old. Ten Australian troops, hundreds of British and U.S. soldiers and thousands of Afghani civilians have been killed, millions of Afghanis and Pakistanis have been made homeless or forced to flee into exile.

I don't have much e-mail access, but look forward to e-mailing when I can



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