Shaming the corrupt and
building sustainable resistance

written for theNimbin Good Times, 6 April 2006


The Barrick Gold mine at Lake Cowal is now in full production and shipping cyanide. But the NSW government is being secretive about which communities and waterways they have put at risk by approving the carting of the 80,000 tonnes of deadly sodium cyanide from Gladstone to Lake Cowal over the next 13 years.

Nor is the NSW government (otherwise known as the Carr-Macquarie Bank-Iemma government) overtly celebrating the wonderful job opportunities that have been created by Barrick Gold's $300 million investment at Lake Cowal.

Could it be that these Macquarie Street corporate courtiers are being furtive because they are ashamed? Or is it just another manifestation of their political arrogance? Is it another sign of their overweening confidence in their ability to lie and deceive without reckoning; to buy and spin media whatever; to "Keep 'em (us, that is) in the dark and feed 'em bullshit" ad infinitum?

Because a sense of shame suggests something redeemable in this otherwise bleak and corrupt to the core Labor government, we of Cyanide Watch choose to think the former. Better to think positive, we say, and persevere with the good best we can.

Furthermore the secrecy suggests that our agitating at the margins is having more impact than the spin-doctors for the cyanide criminals would dare admit.

This we know: it takes a lot of money and worry to maintain a lie, but just one candle illuminates the dark. Folk are aghast when they learn the magnitude of cyanide crimes; and none but a few see glamour in a North American corporation making huge profits out of permanently poisoning ground water and permanently scarring the Australian landscape with huge pits.

Time is on our side, we reckon. Cyanide gold mining and 6090 tonnes of cyanide a year on the road is an accident waiting to happen. We know how to wait and for us waiting is not idleness; rather it is preparation.

The campaign to prevent and shut down the Timbarra gold mine took 8 years of campaigning, 8 years of activism, which went through many changes of tactics, scenarios and personnel. Perseverance in the long haul is what brought down the Timbarra gold miners and it will bring down Barrick Gold too.

A broad based, far-flung, small but persistent opposition is what will bring these cyanide criminals to justice. Death by a thousand cuts, may Barrick bleed money till it dies!

So the Peacebuses are not rushing to Lake Cowal or chasing cyanide trucks at this time. Our focus has been on preparing our rigs, our support base and ourselves. Building sustainable resistance, we call it.

John Peace and has been back in the Nimbin hills again working with Gary Gray of Cyber Shack on a hi tech fit-out - solar panels, new laptop and satellite web cam capability. He also supported Lisa organise a Lake Cowal fundraiser in Blue Knob Hall on 1 April. and its captain, Graeme Dunstan, have been in the Blue Mountains and in the southwest of Sydney preparing flags and fitting a new PA. He has also been preparing himself with spiritual practice; meditating with the dawn, yoga-ing under trees, reading Rumi in the morning sun, making art and cultivating the garden of the heart.

In particular he has been hanging out with the Friends of the Earth crew at Katoomba where Natalie Lowrey, FoE's national coordinator and organiser of the Rain Corroboree at Lake Cowal this Easter, is resident there; her house a cross roads of koori - green activism.

Given access to an arts space called AKEMI in Medlow Bath, Graeme spent 10 days sewing up Cyanide Watch flags and painting a "Cyanide Spills/Cyanide Kills!" banner.

With the help of Blue Mountain friends he also produced a batch of flags and donated bamboo poles for use of FoE activists there. In design they were similar to the much admired Nimbin koori-green ones, with the same use of the Aboriginal sovereignty symbol but instead of a green profile of the Nimbin Rocks underneath, it had a blue profile of the Three Sisters the iconic rock formation at Katoomba.

His Blue Mountain hosts were delighted with the gift and more so when they saw them arrayed in Hyde Park Sydney for the National Day of Action on Water, which FoE coordinated on 22 March. For a photos and a report of the Sydney action go to

The Peacebuses .com &.net are ever a colourful presence; a highly visible protest action wherever they are, stationary or mobile.

Sometimes the art is challenged. See the story about defending the flags at the counter celebration of PM Howard's 10 years of power in Sydney last 3 March at

But more often the colour lifts spirits. Wherever we roll, we win respect, attract the curious and are befriended by the green at heart.

We activate activism by setting a good example, as honourable elders everywhere ought.

For peace. For justice. For the Earth!

Graeme Dunstan
30 March 2006

PS The Rain Corroboree at Lake Cowal this Easter (14-17 April) will be a big one for Lake Cowal/Cyanide Watch activists. For info see If you care, be there.


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