Seventeen people are currently occupying the Swan Island SAS training base in Victoria and have stopped operations including access to the base. Photos and updates of this action and others can be followed on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SwanIslandPeace and twitter #sipc13. For background information visit the Swan Island Peace Convergence website http://swanislandpeace.org
This series from the studios of 4EB Brisbane, with funding from the Community Broadcasting Foundation, tackles the issues of conflict and peace through the research of peace psychologists. We talk to counsellors, researchers, peace advocates and citizens about their experiences in this ten-part radio series that covers the breadth of the field from couples conflict, through group conflicts including racism, to national and global conflicts like war. We conclude the series with a vision of a peaceful world through the eyes of psychologists and peace advocates.
The series is sponsored by Psychologists for Peace, an interest group of the Australian Psychological Society, 4EBfm, 4ZZZfm and the Community Radio Network.
Episode 1 – Conflict: the good, the bad and the ugly (1/6 August 2013)
Did you know that conflict is not always a bad thing?
What has psychology got to contribute to peace and conflict? We talk to peace psychologists Dr Di Bretherton and Dr Winnifred Louis both from the University of Queensland Department of Social Psychology.
Episode 2 – Interpersonal conflict (8/13 August 2013)
How to argue without losing it.
While not all conflict is bad, a total absence of conflict is not a good sign for relationships. We hear some practical advice for couples and families in conflict, even the unspoken kind. We talk to Ingrid Sturmey, Practice Leader at Relationships Australia, Victoria.
Episode 3 – Alternatives to Violence (15/20 August 2013)
Learning to resolve our conflicts non-violently.
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is a volunteer run intervention that works in schools, prisons and communities worldwide. We talk to three participant/practitioners of the AVP: Dr Olwyn Maddock (a school psychologist based in Western Australia), Terry Pinnell (who volunteers in prisons) and Taylor Clark (a university student turned AVP trainer).
Episode 4 – Bullying (22/27 August 2013)
How to recognise a bully and what to do.
No age group is exempt from the pernicious effects of bullying. In this episode we talk to Rebecca Michalak from the University of Queensland, workplace bullying expert.
Episode 5 – Forgiveness (29 August/3 September 2013)
Grudges are bad for your health
Saying sorry may be hard to do, but forgiveness is absolutely essential to well-being. In this episode we talk to Dr Eleanor Wertheim from LaTrobe University, whose research and practice in conflict resolution has given insight into how and why we should forgive.
Episode 6 – Racism (5/10 September 2013)
Prejudice is key to resolving many conflicts
Racism is an attitude that one’s own racial group is superior to another’s and that one’s skin colour or ethnicity influences their intelligence or moral qualities. Addressing racism, and other forms of intergroup conflict, is essential to peace-building. We talk to Dr Liz Jones from Griffith University, whose research into cross-cultural relations is yielding some solutions to breaking down barriers between different ethnic groups.
Episode 7 – Gender and conflict (12/17 September 2013)
Why women are the mainstay of the peace movement
In the year 2000 the United Nations adopted Security council Resolution 1325, recognising for the first time that women’s experiences in war and peace building is usually not considered, and too often violence against women and girls in wartime is treated with impunity. We talk to Dr Nicole George University of Queensland’s Department of Political Science, and Dr Eleanor Wertheim, from La Trobe University.
Episode 8 – Conflict and the environment (19/24 September 2013)
Conflicts are increasingly over natural resources
Environmental resources are often a point of conflict between nations. But on a more philosophical level, some psychologists believe that increased contact with and appreciation of nature can contribute to increasing compassion and peace. We talk to Dr Susie Burke, from the Australian Psychological Society’s Public Interest Team and environmentalist and peace advocate, Robin Taubenfeld from Friends of the Earth.
Episode 9 – War (26 September/1 October)
Post traumatic stress disorder, violence, death, pollution.
Because the ill effects of war are so devastating, psychologists have been assisting communities not only in recovery from armed conflicts, but in finding ways to avoid war. We talked to Dr Winnifred Louis, convenor of Psychologists for Peace, Dr Eleanor Wertheim who works on conflict resolution training at the United Nations and peace advocate, Robin Taubenfeld.
Episode 10 – What will bring peace? (3/5 October)
Psychologists and peace advocates visions for a peaceful future
We can all identify what is bad in war and conflict, but what is the alternative vision? We talk to peace advocates and psychologists in this final episode of the series. With interviews: Dr Di Bretherton (UQ), Annette Brownlie and Robin Taubenfeld (peace advocates).
Playing on the Community Radio Network national satellite service Thursdays from 09:04 to 09:32 EST, and repeating Tuesdays from 18:04 to 18:32 EST. For further information contact the CBAA office on 02 9310
Now Online for Podcast: http://cpod.org.au/page.php?id=456
We can do change….Did you hear about the Aussie who struck an attack helicopter with a garden mattock so that it couldn’t kill more people? Have you heard about his friend who helped him in this action? Do you know about the ongoing US military activity in Australia and that people just like you are working to put a stop to US led wars and Aussie involvement in them?
Graeme Dunstan (the friend who helped) has amassed $164,000 in fines for “damaging” the helicopter. Others arrested opposing the Talisman Saber US-led war games in Queensland this year are still to face court.
We Can Do Change’ Community Peace Event will feature music from David Rovics – and Brisbane’s own revolutionary songwriters Andy Paine and Kimbeaux Dawson, comedy from Corey White… art, spoken word, good food drinks, chai and politics! Proceeds will go to support Talisman Saber arresteess…
Date: Thursday, 12thSep,
Time: 7pm doors open 6:30pm,
Place: Visions Gallery, Absoe Warehouse, Level 2
51Mollison Street, West End.
Suggested donation: $10 **fundraiser for Talisman Saber arrestees
food, drink and chai available
If you are not in Brisbane, listen to David’s songs and join us from wherever you are in action to close the bases – stop military exercises and – end the wars!
More info: With the United States preparing for a war on Syria it is a timely reminder to us all that peace is what is needed on the planet. A Community Peace Event is taking place in West End, headlined by American singer/songwriter and long time campaigner for peace, David Rovics. The event also features local musicians Kimbeaux Dawson and Andy Paine, with spoken word and poetry between acts.
Andy Paine was one of four people arrested in Rockhampton last month and is now facing charges alongside Jim Dowling, Robin Taubenfeld, and David Spriggs. Also arrested recently for trying to disrupt the Talisman Saber war games were Graeme Dunstan and Brisbane activist, Greg Rolles. These people were brave enough to stand up against the ongoing expansion of the US military presence in our region.
‘We Can Do Change’ is inspired by these people and people all over the world who are saying enough is enough. This event is a way of supporting our local peace activists by raising funds for their ongoing legal costs. A $10 entry charge is suggested.
PEACE CONVERGENCE – COURT REPORT: TRIALS IN ROCKHAMPTON
19TH AUG: ROCKY TIGER PLOUGHSHARES GRAEME DUNSTAN – FOUND GUILTY. SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS SUSPENDED. 3 YEARS GOOD BEHAVIOUR. $162,000 REPARATIONS FINE. Rev Simon Moyle and former human shield Donna Mulhearn attended the court as witnesses for Graeme.
5TH SEPT: GRAEME DUNSTAN – MAGISTRATES COURT FOR FURTHER PLOUGHSHARES MATTERS
29TH AUG: BRISBANE ACTIVIST GREG ROLLES COURT APPEARANCE FOR PEACE PILGRIM ACTION – ADJOURNED TO A LATER DATE TBA
10TH OCT: BRISBANE ACTIVISTS JIM DOWLING, ROBIN TAUBENFELD, DAVID SPRIGG AND ANDY PAINE FOR BARRACKS ACTION
‘You can’t prepare for and prevent a war at the same time.’ ~Albert Einstein
Talisman Saber is a US led military exercise that takes place every two years in Australia, primarily on the central coast of Queensland at Shoalwater Bay. Talisman Saber 2013 took place from 15 July to 5 August 2013.
These biennial exercises are some of the world’s largest military exercises. 2013 involved 28,000 US and Australian troops (19,000 US and 9,000 Aussie) engaged in land, sea and air warfare practice.
Talisman Saber involves live firing, the use of explosives, the practising of urban warfare, the use of high power sonar and active sonobuoys, amphibious assaults, parachuting and land force manoeuvres. US troops involved in these exercises deploy to or from real war situations, forward deployed units, or other military operations.
Bombing in Australia
This year, the US jettisoned four bombs on the Great Barrier Reef, when they had difficulty dropping them on their intended target, Townshend Island. While this drew media attention and international condemnation, these four bombs are just the tip of the iceberg as far as bomb drops and live firing involved in Talisman Saber and other US military training in Australia.
Supporting US Wars
Talisman Saber is one facet of an expanding US military presence in our region, and Australia’s support for it. Australia already houses Pine Gap (US satellite base), allows US bombing flyovers, stations US troops in Darwin, hosts nuclear powered and nuclear weapons capable war ships and opens both its civilian and military infrastructure to the US.
With changing economic and political priorities, the US is repositioning its global force and Australia is playing a vital role in both acting as launching pad for US military activity, as an ally in the field, and as the face of the US nuclear umbrella in the Asia-Pacific region.
Talisman Saber threatens our security by further entrenching Australia in US global military expansion.
Talisman Saber war rehearsals must be stopped and Australia must refuse to collude with US global military expansion. The Peace Convergence encourages people to support our peace arrestees and take peace action in their own region or where ever war games and militarism are taking place.
Support Graeme Dunstan directly: http://www.gofundme.com/PeacePilgrim
Support Peace Convergence: C/- Brisbane Anti-Bases
General support: BankMECU
Account Name: Brisbane Anti-Bases General
Account Number: 23154672
Legal support: BankMECU
Account Name: Brisbane Anti-Bases Legal
Account Number: 23154671
War on Trial as Ploughshares receives Suspended Sentence
Media Release 22 August 2013
Graeme Dunstan (71) of the Rockhampton Tiger Ploughshares was found guilty of wilful damage to a Tiger Attack helicopter and given a two year suspended sentence on a three year good behaviour bond. This included $2000 reconnaissance and 162K in reparations however payment was not expected given Mr Dunstan’s financial circumstances.
Judge Samios stated that the costs were not insignificant and he would have to take this into account when sentencing Mr Dunstan. The Tiger helicopter was $45 million and rendered inoperable for a period of 4 months. Mr Dunstan responded that four months out of action was a blessing to the world.
The Prosecution made submissions of a custodial sentence because of Mr Dunstan’s lack of remorse but also as a personal and general deterrent: to send a message to like-minded members of the community that deliberate acts of vandalism to government property would not be tolerated.
Mr Dunstan responded, “It was an act of civil disobedience and I am not ashamed.”
“The Tiger Helicopter is, in the Australian Army’s own words “an attack helicopter.” (http://www.army.gov.au/Our-work/Equipment-and-clothing/Aviation/ARH-Tiger) “Ploughshares actions are acts of disarmament, transforming machines that kill in to objects that cannot kill.”
Judge Samios whilst imposing a custodial sentence suspended it immediately.
Jury deliberations went into the next day after a unanimous decision was unable to be reached with two of the ten jurors unconvinced of Mr Dunstan’s guilt. A guilty verdict was announced when court reconvened this morning.
Mr Dunstan has claimed victory stating, “We were successful in putting war on the trial.”
The jury had been shown footage released by Bradley Manning of a US helicopter killing civilians in Iraq. A closed military court has just demoted Mr Manning and sentenced him to 35 years and dishonourable discharge for releasing the footage – now known as the “Collateral Murder” footage, which clearly exposes war crimes committed by the US military. Despite the severity of the military court sentencing, Mr Manning has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his actions. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-27/bradley-manning-nominated-for-nobel-peace-prize/3855944)
The jury viewed the footage, and heard related testimony from Australian peace activist Donna Mulhearn who had traveled to Iraq as a “Human Shield” in 2003. Reverend Simon Moyle also gave testimony about both Christian pacifism and the Ploughshare movement and his personal experiences in Afghanistan.
Background: Mr Dunstan assisted the now deceased Bryan Law who rode a large red tricycle across the Rockhampton airport tarmac and disabled an Australian Army Tiger Attack Reconnaissance Helicopter in a creative act of disarmament. Mr Law used a garden mattock to deliver a blow to the military helicopter. The action was inspired by the biblical prophecy of ‘Beating Swords into Ploughshares’ meaning taking action to convert killing machines such as the Tiger helicopter into ploughshares or agricultural tools that promote life.
Photos available on request and on: https://peaceconvergence.wordpress.com
Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688
Collateral Murder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0Downloadable