3 May 2007

We Can Be Heroes: Rise Up to End War

"Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few."
- Perce Blyth Shelley
Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for our guest today, Bryan Law, author of Rise Up to End War:
My name is Bryan Law, I'm 53 years old. I'm a husband, a father, and a nonviolent social justice activist. I drive a taxi in Cairns for money.
Bryan was arrested in December 2005, at a peaceful protest in which he and others deliberately tresspassed on the USA's secretive spy base in Australia, Pine Gap. He is now seeking support for the legal action he faces.

Here's an excerpt from his Opening Address to the Jury:
I was compelled to take some action out of necessity to avoid or ameliorate the imminant dire consequences (loss of life/others and property) arising out of the extraordinary emergency created by Australian participation in the war in Iraq. Under all the circumstances, the best action I could organise to take was the Citizen's inspection of Pine Gap on 9 December 2005. I say that it's a rational and reasonable way to achieve withdrawal and disarmament - as part of a coherent and effective peace movement which is hard at work all around the world right now.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury - this is your chance to think deeply and speak clearly. If you agree that the atrocities that were committed and are still being committed in Iraq represent the kind of heinous and demonic war crimes that I see them as, and that under those circumstances our response to it is a reasonable and proportionate response calculated to end the emergency, you must vote Not Guilty. You'll not only acquit us from serious criminal charges, but you'll send a message around the world about what's right and just in the year of Our Lord 2007.

It's right and just that citizens of good conscience take whatever action is available to them to bring this stupid, bloody and criminal war to a speedy end.
Perhaps unwisely, Bryan decided to publicise his case at Tim Blair's blog. Predictably, Blair ridiculed his pacifism, and Bryan's blog was soon swamped with the usual hyena pack of wingnut accolytes. Among those piling on for the sheer male-bonding "fun" of it was fellow cabbie Adrian Whatsisface, who doesn't seem to understand the difference between non-violent tresspassing and violent protest.

I urge all readers to go visit Bryan and offer him some words of support, if not some good legal advice.

By way of legal precedent, there was a recent UK court case involving two heroic grandmothers who trespassed on a US spy base facility. The judge in the case is now demanding that the UK and US governments reveal operational details of the US spy base, which is on British soil. It could set a very significant precedent for US bases around the globe. Go visit www.grandmothersforpeace.org for more. But please go say hello to Bryan first.