Posted by: smoyle | November 30, 2010

Julie Moyle’s sentencing statement

I take my responsibilities as a citizen very seriously, and breaking the law is not something I chose to do lightly. I consider myself to be an average, everyday woman. I am a Mum to three children, married to a Baptist Church minister, a Midwife at the Royal Women’s Hospital, and a Christian.  I am not an attention-seeker, public speaker or trouble-maker.

 

I believe that the tremendous violence taking place in Afghanistan is wrong, both in the light of my Christian beliefs and of our basic humanity.  I have been active in voicing my concerns to our government by signing petitions, writing letters, and marching against the Afghanistan war for years now.  But after 9 years, the war continues.

 

In 2009, my family went to the Defence Force’s ‘Family Fun Day’ promoting joint Australia/US military exercises.  Holding my daughters hands, I was stunned watching how excited parents were to show their children the tanks, missile launchers and other weapons.  As we walked past parents dressing their kids in bullet proof vests and camouflaged helmets we heard the Australian Army Band play “What a wonderful world”.  And it struck me that something is very wrong about this.

 

As parents, my husband and I are doing our best to raise our children to love everyone, treat everyone with respect, and teach them that violence cannot solve conflicts. .. But at what age do these values change?  We believe that peaceful means are the only way to a peaceful future.

 

In my first year of nursing, I was at a shopping centre when a man had a heart attack in front of hundreds of people and collapsed.  Not one person tried to help him. Even security said to stay back.  I was faced with the choice of doing nothing (like everyone else) and continue on with my day-to-day life or try to do something.  I chose to step in and attempt to resuscitate him.

 

Again, I am faced with the same decision. This war does not have to affect me.  I could easily choose to continue my day-to-day life.  But, I feel that would be the wrong decision.  I feel I need to take responsibility, step in, and to try and stop the violence we’re responsible for.

 

So, for the love of my family and for Afghani and Australian families, I stand before you today.  With one hand I hold a great respect for the law, the other I respect the sanctity of life and face the question, which one is greater?  I say it falls into our hands, as everyday people to save life and step in.

 

Thank-you for your time.

Posted by: smoyle | November 30, 2010

Dave Fagg’s sentencing statement

Dave has posted about his appearance here – read it for the context of this statement.

 

Your Honour knows from your records that in 2002, I was taken to court for refusing to vote in the 2001 Federal Election. I did so because of my belief that our political system tends to marginalise the powerless, and as a Christian I felt I needed to stand against it. I still think our political system is deeply flawed, but I now believe that I need to participate in it to reform it. So this year I voted in 2 elections…though their ambiguous results have hardly inspired me.

But that is what my actions at Queenscliff were basically about. I acted as a Christian citizen of a democracy. My trust in Jesus Christ inspires me to participate in our democracy for the sake of peace and justice. I can do this through voting, but I also take part in my community’s activities, and through my paid job as a youth worker. Political involvement means more than the ballot.

And when our government insists on fighting an unwinnable, immoral and unjust war, then we need to act. When our Prime Minister commits to another decade in Afghanistan, even though the war’s original reasons have been lost in the crippling need to appear resolute, then we need to voice our opposition forcefully. We have shown that such opposition can be done peacefully, and non-violently.

This war won’t root out terrorism: the war against terrorism needs to be fought with the weapons of peace or not fought at all. Using the violence of armies to extinguish the violence of small groups will only result in the proliferation of terrorism. We are already seeing that as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Most Australians implicitly realise that the Afghanistan war will not solve terrorism. And a majority of us want our nation to withdraw. As a citizen, I want to participate in the democratic process to persuade my government that their actions are wrong. Drawing attention to the secretive Swan Island military base is part of that persuasion.

Your Honour, my Christian beliefs inspire me to advocate for a just peace. I was often told as a child that that Australia is founded on Judeo-Christian values. I sincerely hope that it is, and those values would include those of Jesus Christ, who advocated loving our enemies and refusing to take revenge.

Jesus continued in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets, who called the leaders of their day to justice and mercy. And that is what I call our leaders to today – to forgo revenge, to love mercy and do justice by withdrawing our soldiers from Afghanistan.

Posted by: smoyle | November 30, 2010

Jessica Morrison’s sentencing statement

Speech for sentencing: Geelong Magistrates Court.

Dave Fagg, 29th November 2010

 

 

Your Honour knows from your records that in 2002, I was taken to court for refusing to vote in the 2001 Federal Election. I did so because of my belief that our political system tends to marginalise the powerless, and as a Christian I felt I needed to stand against it. I still think our political system is deeply flawed, but I now believe that I need to participate in it to reform it. So this year I voted in 2 elections…though their ambiguous results have hardly inspired me.

 

But that is what my actions at Queenscliff were basically about. I acted as a Christian citizen of a democracy. My trust in Jesus Christ inspires me to participate in our democracy for the sake of peace and justice. I can do this through voting, but I also take part in my community’s activities, and through my paid job as a youth worker. Political involvement means more than the ballot.

 

And when our government insists on fighting an unwinnable, immoral and unjust war, then we need to act. When our Prime Minister commits to another decade in Afghanistan, even though the war’s original reasons have been lost in the crippling need to appear resolute, then we need to voice our opposition forcefully. We have shown that such opposition can be done peacefully, and non-violently.

 

This war won’t root out terrorism: the war against terrorism needs to be fought with the weapons of peace or not fought at all. Using the violence of armies to extinguish the violence of small groups will only result in the proliferation of terrorism. We are already seeing that as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Most Australians implicitly realise that the Afghanistan war will not solve terrorism. And a majority of us want our nation to withdraw. As a citizen, I want to participate in the democratic process to persuade my government that their actions are wrong. Drawing attention to the secretive Swan Island military base is part of that persuasion.

 

Your Honour, my Christian beliefs inspire me to advocate for a just peace. I was often told as a child that that Australia is founded on Judeo-Christian values. I sincerely hope that it is, and those values would include those of Jesus Christ, who advocated loving our enemies and refusing to take revenge.

 

Jesus continued in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets, who called the leaders of their day to justice and mercy. And that is what I call our leaders to today – to forgo revenge, to love mercy and do justice by withdrawing our soldiers from Afghanistan.

Posted by: smoyle | November 30, 2010

Ellen McNaught’s sentencing statement

My name is Ellen and I am 29 yo. I am employed as manager in a community Mental health service, I spend time volunteering with young people, people seeking asylum, growing veges and being part of a Christian community in Brunswick.

 

I seek to live out a life that uses justice, compassion and empowerment as my guide and reference points– the result of the influence of both feminist and Christian ideology.

 

With such reference points, I approach the war in Afghanistan,. Is it just? is it fueled by compassion, does it enable people to access their sense of worth or power?

 

On June 16 I was at the entrance of the Swann Island Military training facility.

My physical presence and act of non-violent resistance was a way to say that I oppose all forms of Australia’s involvement in war making. I fully accept that such actions have consequences to bear.

 

At the beginning of the war, we were told it was a moral imperative – we need to Liberate women from the Taliban. It would be my hope that protecting the lives and rights of women all around the world be a priority. Yet as time goes on, evidence suggests that the situation of women in Afghanistan was and continues to be used as a PR campaign justifying war making – a smokescreen for issues of power, warlords and pipelines

 

As we approach 10 years of war making, we are being told by the governments of counties sending troops to Afghanistan that situation for women is improving. We are told by the women in Afghanistan that conditions are worse and their desire is for the withdrawal of collation forces so that they are able to tackle one problem at a time without the added bonus of a warzone. It is the voices of the women that I am choosing to listen to.

 

History clearly demonstrates that war does not liberate women. Women disproportionally suffer the effects of war. War means increase in incidents of rape, and people trafficking, loss of basic survival needs and needless deaths, just to name the obvious effects. War erodes the rights and dignity of women. There are many ways women grow strong, are empowered and stand tall, war is simply not one of them.

 

Thankfully, history also shows us that non-violent resistance can be and has been a revolution, a powerful influencer, and a healer in the lives of countless women and men alike. The way of the suffragettes, The Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina, the save our sons movement during Vietnam war, the women in black in Israel.

 

It is in this strong history, in this unshakable narrative that I stand fully and confidently.

Posted by: smoyle | November 30, 2010

Shane Anderson’s sentencing statement

In my statement I want to explain the motives that have led me to these actions.  I work in administration within local government, I am a volunteer fire fighter who has served in the Alpine fires of 2007 and more recently in the aftermath of Black Saturday.  For the last five years I have worked at a drop in centre serving marginalised people in Dandenong and have opened my house up to provide a place for people to stay and for some, attempt to get back on their feet.  More importantly than all of that, I am a father of two beautiful children.  My son Isaiah, 8 and daughter Naomi, who is 5.

I have a wonderful opportunity to watch my two beautiful children grow up.  To go from those wonderful helpless infants that I was blessed with 5 and 8 years ago, and be with them through their journey of growing into adults, discovering along the way their unique and wonderful individual identities.

We have taken this opportunity from mothers and fathers in Afghanistan.  Parents who are left with only a memory and wonder each year, what would my child have been like now, what would he of she have enjoyed playing, who would their friends have been, who would they have married, where would they have taken their place in society.  Parents are now left without children.  Children have been left without fathers and mothers.  Families have been torn apart.

Some will try to say that we are in Afghanistan to make a better place for those parents, for those children, that somehow we are building a future for them.  Have we made their life better by bombing their villages and towns, or by killing many thousands of civilians?  Have we made their lives better by bringing their nation under foreign occupying forces that talk of staying for decades?  Have we made their lives better by replacing the Taliban with Warlords and Drug Lords?  Is record opium production in recent years an indication of this improvement?  Or should we take the increasing waves of refugees flooding across the borders to be indicative of some improvement?  It is my belief that the unheard voices of average families in Afghanistan just like yours and mine are crying out for us to end the occupation of their nation.  The history of Afghanistan in the last 100 years should prove that foreign military intervention can bring nothing but death and destruction to this people.

The best thing that we can do both for the people of Afghanistan and for our own troops is to bring them home.  I personally will continue to seek opportunity to voice my opposition to this war and support the voice of others in any way that I can.

Posted by: smoyle | November 30, 2010

Swan Island 9 – charges dismissed!

After pleading guilty to obstructing a road and hindering police in their duty, the Swan Island 9 have had their charges dismissed by a Magistrate in the Geelong Courts (using the discretionary powers in Section 19b of the Crimes Act). The statements of the 9 on the day will be posted soon so that people can see why the magistrate was moved to make such a decision.

Posted by: smoyle | June 25, 2010

CCTV footage (Swan Island)

Here’s the video of Jess and Simon at Swan Island that we obtained through the police evidence brief. They’ve obviously cut quite a lot of the footage out because we just end up next to the dish and then move away again.

Posted by: smoyle | June 21, 2010

Jacob Bolton’s sentencing statement (Swan Island)

Jake’s sentencing statement – complete with nerves, internal dialogue, and ad libbing! (this is a pretty accurate recollection I reckon!)

hello your honour,

[cant remember where in the bible it said it but this is what i went with, also it occurred to me afterward that even though i had no statement to make that i had prepared after the case on the drive home in the car i recalled the part of the bible which jesus encourages people not to defend themselves but allow god to on their behalf, i cant remember the scripture and where its listed but i think its in matthew and even though im not specifically saying that that is what had happened i feel that Jesus was in that court room with us]

[also i cant remember which parts of the bible that these abbreviated parts are] your honour as the prophet paul wrote in his many writings in the bible, ‘abide yourself and honour your governments legal system for God has placed the men whom run it there, pray for them.’ although your honour, paul later adds ‘break the laws that do not agree with those of Gods.’

as a result of both of these teachings your honour i come to understand the 2 great commandments are ‘love your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. and love your neighbour as you love yourself.’

I feel it is my response to not support an action that kills my neighbour, and as i result i draw the conclusion that the war in afghanistan is unjust!

i do have a great respect for the law but i feel oblidged to not stand by and continue to do very little, so i wish to quote from Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. [this is where i choked and lost my train of thought] [for a moment of silence the court stood still, almost hanging off my next sentence] excuse me your honour im very nervous [the court laughed, and i regained my composure]…”A man who breaks an unjust law to insight the consciousness of the law and knowingly and willingly excepts the full penalty for breaking that law does infact have the greatest respect for the law” and with that your honour i offer myself to your judgement.

Posted by: smoyle | June 21, 2010

Simon Reeves’ sentencing statement (Swan Island)

Today I have pleaded guilty to breaking the Commonwealth Law.  I stand here humbly and willingly to accept the full consequences of my actions; as well I do so both proudly and without remorse.  I believe that the tremendous violence taking place in Afghanistan by our military and the Taliban is wrong.  Wrong both in the light of my Christian beliefs and wrong in the light of our basic humanity.  And I need to take responsibility, I need to do ‘something’ to try and stop the violence we’re responsible for, continuing any longer.

I am a social worker and try and seek peace and justice on a daily basis through my personal life, work life and participating in my local neighbourhood.  In my neighbourhood (Vic’s 9th most disadvantaged postcode) I work as a volunteer with young people, homeless people, families, refugees  and others whom all have experienced much violence in their lives.

I also work part time as a peace ambassador for PeBA coordinating education on peace and nonviolence around the country.  I am also a university lecture and teach youth and community work at Tabor College.  My wife and I live a simple life with low wages in order to be able to share the care of our 1yr old son and contribute to our local neighbourhood.

I would see myself as quite an ordinary guy with a wife, a son and a job.   I am not a ‘hippy’ or professional troublemaker.  In fact swimming and standing in the cold in the wee hours of the morning is less than fun, as is speaking out against war, facing the accusations, criticisms, resisting the military and being arrested by the police.  I have been brought up to respect the law and to do otherwise requires me to draw upon all the courage and prayers I can get my hands on.  I have also been brought up to know how to treat another person and how not to treat another person.  To know what is right and what is wrong.  What I know is wrong is military facilities such as Swan Island that are designed to train people in violence.  What I know is wrong is sending sons, daughters, fathers and mothers to Afghanistan to kill other sons, daughters, fathers and mothers.

As a Christian and follower of the nonviolent Jesus I believe that God is a God of Peace who calls us to love our enemies and not kill them.  A God who says do not repay anyone evil for evil, do not take revenge but instead if your enemies are hungry feed them, if they are thirsty give them something to drink.  Forgive them.  These are not just nice personal religious things to believe in.  They carry with them much practical wisdom and the answers for how we can live together peacefully on this earth.

One last thing thing I’ve been taught is that when you see something that is wrong you cannot stand by and let it go on you must act!  You see a child in a house on fire.  You don’t just stand there, you do something.  There are so many fires burning right now in Afghanistan in this unnecessary, political and economically motivated war.

In doing something we’ve protested, held vigils, written letters, held public meetings and contributed to defense policy.  But after 9 years, the Government continues to commit violence and wage war on another soil.  Thus, I am left in a hard place.  One hand my respect for the law, on the other my respect for the sanctity of life.  I face the question, which one is greater?  Obviously, by the fact I am standing here, you know I have found my answer.  It falls into our hands to do ‘something’, to go for swims, to stand in front of gates and switch this war off ourselves.

War is wrong.  But there is good news.  There are other ways to peace without violence.  And we know deep down, that it is possible.  If we don’t know this then we have already lost anything worth fighting for.

I would like to finish with a quote to help us all as we ponder on what to do with our civil duties in society.  This is from Lord Hoffman who said in his judgement of R and Jones in September 2006 in the UK House of Lords:

“My Lords, civil disobedience on conscientious grounds has a long and honorable history in this country. People who break the law to affirm their belief in the injustice of a law or government action are sometimes vindicated by history. The suffragettes are an example which comes immediately to mind. It is the mark of a civilised community that it can accommodate protests and demonstrations of this kind. But there are conventions which are generally accepted by the law-breakers on one side and the law-enforcers on the other. The protesters behave with a sense of proportion and do not cause excessive damage or inconvenience. And they vouch the sincerity of their beliefs by accepting the penalties imposed by the law. The police and prosecutors, on the other hand, behave with restraint and the magistrates impose sentences which take the conscientious motives of the protesters into account.”

I am hopefully that we too here in Australia can also respect and accommodate protests and demonstrations of the nonviolent kind as we all work together towards a good society.

I would like to thank you Sir for the opportunity provided for all of us to speak here in your courtroom today.  I would also like to thank you for the work you do for justice and the creation of a more peaceful world.

Posted by: smoyle | June 21, 2010

Jess Morrison’s sentencing statement (Swan Island)

Your Honor,

I am a social worker by profession.  This work has exposed me to the stories of suffering. In particular I met with people whose lives have been damaged deeply by the scourges of war.  These stories have given me passion to work for a world that is just, fair, and peaceful, and in many ways put me on the path to where I stand this morning.  I now teach Social Work at Victoria University in Melbourne.

I am also a foster carer, and I regularly share the care of many of the children in my neighbourhood of Collingwood.

I take my responsibilities as a citizen very seriously, and breaking the law is not something I do lightly.

I am a devout Christian.  For many years I have prayed for forgiveness for my sins of omission and commission.  For the things I have done, and the things I have failed to do.

Nine years after the war began, Afghanistan has been deemed by UNICEF the worst country to be born.  As a privileged woman of the western world, when my Government is making decisions that lead to the suffering of others, I feel an obligation to act.
We all know the phrase all that is required for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing.

I do not want to be asking my God, or future generations forgiveness for omitting to do anything in my power to stop the war in Afghanistan.

I am aware that our Government has, for whatever reasons that we may debate, chosen to continue to be involved in Afghanistan.  I am aware therefore that the law stands behind those politics.  However I believe they are wrong.  I believe their actions are leading to the suffering of many people.

We went to Swan Island, as it is used to train SAS troops – one of Australia’s most significant contributions to the Afghan war.  Swan Island is said to be more secret than Pine Gap in central Australia – so while there are clearly communications   What happens at Swan Island

So, I am pleading guilty to breaking the law.  And I believe what I did was right. So help me God.

Malalai Joya:
We can no longer bear the killing of our pregnant mothers, the killing of our teenagers and young children, the killing of so many Afghan men and women. We can no longer bear these “accidents” and these “apologies” for the deaths of the innocent.
We salute the anti-war movements in the NATO countries. Here, we will struggle to our last breath to stop this war that is tearing apart our beloved Afghanistan.

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