Sunday, June 03, 2007

Pine Gap 4 on Trial

From the newswire: Pine Gap Trial begins
MAY 30, 2007 - The "Pine Gap 4" were arrested after breaking into Pine Gap US Spy base to do a ‘Citizens Inspection’ in December 2005 - to highlight the secret base's role in the war in Iraq. They now face a possible seven years in prison after the Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, consented to charges under the cold-war Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952. Under the previously unused law, the Attorney-General can declare any area a prohibited zone. Anyone in breach of the law faces a maximum of seven years in jail.

While much of its operation is secret, Pine Gap is known to be involved in numerous military satellite operations including the sattelite targetting used for U.S. bombings in Iraq and Adfghanistan.

The group say Pine Gap does not actually belong to the Commonwealth - in fact Traditional custodian (Arrente man Patrick Hayes) had given the group permission to be on the land time of the "inspection". Donna Mulhearn, one of the accused, said the charges are clearly political and reflect the Government's persecution of citizens who challenge their agenda of war. "This case shows that the level of control they are seeking is excessive, and we must curb the actions of Governments in attempting to control," she said in 2006.

Three of the group pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court in Alice Springs this week as the trial began with an application for the defendants to be placed under house arrest. But this was quickly thrown out of court. Judge Thomas upheld the constitutional rights of the Pine Gap Four by rejecting the "extreme" bail conditions the Crown had requested.

Christians Against All Terrorism (CAAT) say they cannot distinguish between the terrorist acts of a suicide bomber in Baghdad, or of a jet bomber in Fallujah. In both cases innocents are murdered and maimed for a political objective. The defendants will be representing themselves in court, as they feel this is the best way to connect with members of the jury. "We want them to understand why we did what we did," said Bryan Law. "We are in the hands of the jury." PINE GAP 6 Website

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BACKGROUND - Perth Indymedia Features: Peace Activists Arrested at Pine Gap | Alice Springs storms Pine Gap | Peace Activists Arrested at Pine Gap Spy Base | SEARCH...

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