Australian protesters face jail for opposing spy base’s role in Iraq war

Australian Catholic Worker Ciaron O’Reilly speaks at the gates of Pine Gap Oct 7th 06.

Action organised by the following Dec 05 “Citizens Inspection” at Pine Gap.

By Mike Head:

A criminal trial with serious implications for fundamental legal and democratic rights opened last week in the central Australian city of Alice Springs.

The hearing before a jury in the Northern Territory Supreme Court may shed further light on the Howard government’s contribution to the war crimes committed by the US-led forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Four Christian pacifists face charges under a previously-unused law for entering the top secret US-Australian spy satellite base at Pine Gap, some 20 kilometres from Alice Springs.

The government is so sensitive to the base’s involvement in the Iraq war that Attorney-General Philip Ruddock personally authorised the prosecution under the 1952 Defence (Special Undertaking) Act.

Donna Mulhearn, 37, Jim Dowling, 50, Adele Goldie, 29, and Bryan Law, 51—members of “Christians Against All Terrorism”—could be jailed for up to seven years for entering a “prohibited area” and another seven years for taking photographs in the area without authority.

They also face Commonwealth Crimes Act charges of trespass and damage.

The 1952 Act was introduced by the conservative Menzies government, with the backing of the Labor Party, to prevent protests against British and US nuclear testing in central Australia during the Cold War.

Update: here.

Sentences: here.

And here.

6 thoughts on “Australian protesters face jail for opposing spy base’s role in Iraq war

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