Tiger Ploughshare Trial Continues: Former Human Shield to support

Media Release 20 August 2013

 Day Two of Rockhampton Tiger Ploughshare Trial Supported by Former Human Shield

 Peace Pilgrim Graeme Dunstan will appear in the Rockhampton court today (Tuesday August 20) for the second day of the Tiger Ploughshare Trial.  Graeme Dunstan (71), of Peacebus.com, is defending himself against charges of wilful damage to Commonwealth property, for his role in supporting the Tiger Ploughshare action which took place during joint US –Australia military exercise, Talisman Saber 2011.

In June 2011, Bryan Law rode a large red tricycle across the Rockhampton airport tarmac and disabled an Australian Army “Tiger” Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter in a creative act of disarmament, with a blow from a garden mattock. His intention was to enact the biblical prophecy of “Beating Swords in to Ploughshares” meaning taking action to convert killing machines such as the Tiger helicopter – into ploughshares – tools for farming and growing life.

Mr Dunstan’s hearing started on Monday, with jury selection, which was followed by the testimony of three witnesses from the prosecution case.

Tuesday former human shield from the Iraq war, Donna Mulhearn, will join the defendant in Rockhampton.

9am Procession from ‘Havachat’ 20 East St to Rockhampton District Court

10 am Peace Vigil outside Rockhampton District Court 

The prosecution will continue their case on day two of the Tiger Ploughshare Trial.

Former human shield activist Donna Mulhearn will arrive in Rockhampton (Tuesday) to support Mr Dunstan and his friends in the trial.  Ms Mulhearn went to Iraq in February 2003 in an attempt to afford some protection to the civilian population due to her foreign status. Ms Mulhearn has since been numerous times to Iraq, where she has met with families who continue to be impacted by the US invasion.

Mr Dunstan is representing himself in court which is expected to go for two or three days.

Further information

Simon Moyle: 0402 857 915 or Treena Lenthall 0447 851 858

Website:  https://peaceconvergence.wordpress.com/ploughshares-trial/

FBevent:  http://www.facebook.com/events/169657596540366/191435557695903/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity

Action footage:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-0Du_F1P1w

Downloadable flyer:  http://tiny.cc/vy4v1wWP_20130819_001

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Peace action on trial in Australia & the US: Brisbane peace activists face Rockhampton court

Peace Convergence Media Release Tuesday August 20, 2013

 Image

 As the Tiger Ploughshares Trial continues, four Brisbane peace activists will appear in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court this morning (Tues Aug 20) for charges involved in protesting the 2013 Talisman Saber military exercise which took place July 15- August 5.  Jim Dowling, David Sprigg, Andy Paine, and  Robin Taubenfeld were arrested outside the Rockhampton Army Barracks while attempting to stop traffic involved in the military training.

The Talisman Saber exercises, which this year involved 18,000 American and 9,000 Australian troops, are a key show of force of the US alliance – working towards seamless interoperability of US and Australian troops and demonstrating cutting edge military capability in a region which the US hopes to contain. 

Talisman Saber involves live firing, the use of explosives, the use of nuclear-powered and nuclear-weapons capable military vehicles, the practicing 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.

Several of the activists were arrested wearing shirts that read “Free Bradley Manning”, and they linked their protest of US military training with the trial of the former US soldier and whistle blower. As the activists face court, this week Bradley Manning will be sentenced, facing a maximum of 90 years in prison.

Activist Andy Paine said “While the US is imprisoning Bradley Manning for the crime of telling the truth, the Australian government is welcoming the American military to our shores and furthering its support for the US alliance.

“The courage of Bradley Manning should be an inspiration to people around the world who believe in peace and justice.  When the truth is being repressed, our response should be to speak out openly and fearlessly in every way we can.”

In a separate case, Northern NSW peace activist Graeme Dunstan is facing trial for willful damage of an Australian Army Tiger Attack helicopter on the tarmac of Rockhampton airport during Talisman Sabre 2011. His co-accused, Bryan Law, who actually struck the blow with a garden mattock, died last Easter.  Their action is in the tradition of ploughshares actions, where these actions are viewed as an intervention towards disarmament.   The willful damage charge has up to ten years jail attached.  The hearing began Monday with the selection of the jury and the submitting of prosecution evidence.

Contacts and interviews:

Andy Paine re Brisbane arrests:  0413 205 154

Graeme Dunstan Helicopter trial: Simon Moyle: 0402 857 915

Rockhampton Tiger Ploughshare trial begins Monday 19 August with widespread support for the accused

Peace activists will be gathering in Rockhampton to support Graeme Dunstan when he appears for the beginning of the Tiger Ploughshare trial

 10 am Monday 19 August in the Rockhampton District Court 

Solidarity rallies will also be held by peace activists in Brisbane and Melbourne. The trial is expected to take three days.

Long time peace activist, Graeme Dunstan of Peacebus.com, is charged with wilful damage of Commonwealth Property, namely an Australian Army  “Tiger” Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter which was disabled by a blow from a garden mattock during the 2011 Talisman Saber Military Exercises.

WIN Tv news footage of the event show Bryan Law, dressed in a black suit and a Bob Katter hat, riding a tricycle across the Rockhampton Airport tarmac and striking the blow.  Mr Law died last Easter.

Graeme Dunstan has confessed to being Mr Law’s driver and assistant and is a charged as a co offender.

But Mr Dunstan is pleading not guilty to the charge and is defending himself with the assistance of Brisbane based nurse, Sean O’Reilly, as a “friend in court”. Sean is the brother of Ciaron O’Reilly, a Brisbane born activist, famous for his Ploughshare actions in the US and Ireland.

“Ploughshare” is a reference to the Biblical prophecy of Isaiah (2:4) about a coming time when “nation will not rise up against nation, spears would be beaten into pruning hooks, swords into ploughshares and we would study war no more”.

There have been more than 80 such actions since 1980, with three common elements:

1. being absolutely nonviolent towards people;

2. to remain and take responsibility for the action; and

3. to make some attempt to disarm a weapon and begin its transformation into something useful.

The Tiger is similar in design and identical in function to the Apache helicopter used by the US Army to gun down innocents in the Collateral Murder footage leaked by Bradley Manning and Julian Assange and which has had in excess of 14 million viewers on YouTube.

Dunstan will be arguing that the strike was an act of conscience aimed a raising public awareness to the true nature of the war in Afghanistan where the attack helicopters were to be deployed.

“Disarmament is often seen as an impossible dream; desirable, certainly, but utterly unrealistic,” said Mr Dunstan.

“It is precisely this societal torpor that the Tiger Ploughshare action sought to address.”

Further information

Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688

https://peaceconvergence.wordpress.com/ploughshares-trial/

FaceBook event http://www.facebook.com/events/169657596540366/191435557695903/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity

Downloadable flyer:  http://tiny.cc/vy4v1w

Brisbane Solidarity Vigil

https://www.facebook.com/events/564209746975659/

Just Peace and friends of Graeme invite all Brisbane peace loving peeps to this vigil for peace.

Graeme Dunstan will be in Rockhampton District Court court this day facing trial for his part in the disarming of a helicopter during Talisman Sabre 2011 (for more info – or to get yourself to Rockhampton to support Graeme – see https://www.facebook.com/events/169657596540366/).

We also remember Bradley Manning who is awaiting sentencing.

We’ll have leaflets and banners, but feel free to bring your own personalised placard

(BTW we’ll be on the George St & Elizabeth St corner of the park)

Melbourne Baptist Pastor to defend Ploughshare accused

The Reverend Simon Moyle of the GraceTree Community in Melbourne will be coming to Rockhampton to support and defend Graeme Dunstan in the Tiger Ploughshare trial which will begin the Rockhampton District Court on Monday 19 August

Mr Dunstan is charged with a wilful damage of an Australian Army Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter on the tarmac of Rockhampton airport during Talisman Sabre 2011. His co accused, Bryan Law, who actually struck the blow with the garden mattock, died last Easter.

The Reverend Moyle describes Mr Dunstan as “a spiritual companion” and says Dunstan’s willingness to risk jail and suffering in order to arouse the conscience of the Australian community on war demonstrates integrity of the highest order, not to mention exemplary citizenship.

“Civil disobedience is generally not well understood in this country,” observes the Rev Moyle.  “But it is one of the highest duties of any person when their government is acting immorally or unjustly.”

Ploughshares actions take their inspiration from the Biblical books of Micah and Isaiah, which speak of a day when “swords will be beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks”.

There have been more than 80 such actions since 1980, with three common elements:

1. being absolutely nonviolent towards people;

2. to remain and take responsibility for the action; and

3. to make some attempt to disarm a weapon and begin its transformation into something useful.

Disarmament is often seen as an impossible dream; desirable, certainly, but utterly unrealistic. It is precisely this societal torpor that Ploughshares actions seek to address.

Ploughshares actions are an indictment on the imagination and moral commitment of contemporary society just to the extent that they are seen as outrageous, destructive, or utopian.

While most of us ask, “Why would we reduce or even give up our ability to kill?”

People like Graeme Dunstan and Bryan Law gift us with a confluence of flesh, steel and carbon fibre, and ask, “Why not?”

“In a time of perpetual war, it is high time we took that question seriously,” said the Rev. Moyle.

See full statement here.

Further information

https://peaceconvergence.wordpress.com/ploughshares-trial/

FaceBook event http://www.facebook.com/events/169657596540366/?fref=ts

Simon Moyle smoyle@gmail.com 0402 857 915

Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688

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