On Stopping a Cyanide Freight Train
A Peacebus.com Prospectus for 2007
written for the Nimbin Good Times
30 December 2006


Twenty tonne containers of sodium cyanide on the rail heading south from Gladstone, 18 July 2006. Tens of thousands of tonnes of secret cyanide is rail freighted each year down the trunk lines from Gladstone to Brisbane, Brisbane to Sydney, Sydney across the Blue Mountains to supply gold mines in western NSW, WA and NT.

The year 2006 brought stress to the cyanide criminals of this land and Peacebus.com is planning to add to it during the next spin of Mother Earth around Father Sun.

Last year in the companionship with the good folk from the Nimbin Environment Centre, Peacebus.com bore witness to the hazards of the bulk transport of cyanide for the gold mining industry with protest actions in Nimbin, Kyogle and Casino.

In companionship with the Queensland Activist Road Trip, it bore witness to the mass water poisoning crimes of the Orica corporation (biggest cyanide maker in Australia, third biggest in the world) at the gates of their cyanide plant in Gladstone Queensland.

In November and in association with the G20 protests in Melbourne 17-18 November 2006, over a hundred Lake Cowal defenders occupied the head office of Orica.

Peacebus.com missed that one but at a distance I rejoiced at the evidence that the tide running against cyanide criminals is much much bigger than the waves made by this old man and his aging dog and van.

Tell me dear readers, if you were getting these kind of signals, would you put your money into new gold mine projects in Oz at this time?

Probably not and your intuition would be confirmed by reading the business news and observing this paradox: record gold prices and Barrick Gold, the Canadian based transnational with its toxic claws in the earth at Lake Cowal, openly touting for new projects, but no takers.

This is how the world changes; not with a bang but a cringe of investors.

The next step in the campaign to ban cyanide gold mining forever, I reckon, is the blockade of cyanide transports.

This year Peacebus.com intends to be party to the stopping of at least one cyanide freight train and the rail line through the Richmond Valley is the target area.

For sure, stopping a cyanide freight will put the willies up the gold miners and their corporate courtiers in Macquarie Street.

Such a protest action will not only add pressure to the demand that they reveal the amount of secret cyanide approved for transport on the rail, it will show how hopelessly inadequate their emergency response will be in the event of a spill and signal their vulnerability to future blockades of this kind.

This is the truth: the cyanide, in excess of 100,000 tonnes a year, is bound to poison water, if not from a spill along its route from Gladstone to the far flung gold mines in NSW, NT and WA, then inevitably when it gets to a mine site.

Water is the issue of our times and gold miners are the most profligate of water poisoners.

All along the watch line, there are concerned citizens wanting to be heard and eco-activists wanting to strike on this issue. In Nambour, a major centre for green activism in south Queensland, the rail goes through the heart of the town; in the Blue Mountains it goes through the catchment of most of Sydney's water; in Sydney itself the cyanide containers go by road from Chullora through Bankstown and Auburn to Parramatta.

And in the Rainbow Region the cyanide freights go through Kyogle and Casino and the headwaters of the Richmond River.

So exposed and so ripe for blockading!

The PR mills of the gold miners will continue to crank and churn. Let 'em. A cyanide freight blockade, just one, will be the writing on the wall: the cyanide era is over!

Just how, where and when this will be accomplished, I do not know at this time. 'Twould be good to accomplish it before the NSW state elections in March and make visible the corporate corruption of the Carr-Macquarie Bank-Iemma government.

But no hurry really, just quiet determination and the confidence that comes from knowing that where there is a will, there will be a way.

Stopping a cyanide transport will also be a shot across the bows for the uranium industry, already secretive and cautious about its transports and now planning to move more and more tonnes of radioactivity through our towns and waterways.

What prescience I have suggests that taking local responsibility for restricting and preventing the transports of toxic cargoes through water sheds is a whole new strategy and direction for eco-activism. And we Rainbow Region folk will be its pioneers.

If any reader has ideas and/or the desire to help on this campaign, please contact me by email, by phone 0407 951 688 (expect both to be tapped), by note, by secret meeting or by secret hand shake.

Or just do it!


Peacebus.com journeys for justice (intergenerational justice in the case of cyanide gold mining), bears witness for peace and a sustaining Earth, occupies public place, speaks up and speaks out. Best we can.

Beside Cyanide Watch, during 2007 other campaigns will engage its flags and banners and its witness.

Sovereignty Day this year will be celebrated on 26 January at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and, in association, Benny Zable is promoting a "Shame on Howard Day" at the Parliament as well. Peacebus.com will be there flying the colours and with dreams of seeing Terry Hicks honoured as the People's Australian of the Year outside the Parliament in parallel with Howard's official presentation.

Easter will see another convergence at Lake Cowal and Peacebus.com will be there to support Uncle Chappie Williams in his ongoing defense of what he calls "the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri". The more we celebrate the sacred at Lake Cowal, the more we invoke the ancestor spirits, the more Earthed, powerful and sustainable will our resistance to cyanide criminals become.

May may well see Peacebus.com flying flags at the Nimbin Mardi Grass. Are you ready for this, Michael Balderstone?

Also in May/June and in response to Operation Talisman Sabre 07, the huge joint US-Oz military exercise at Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton, a peace convergence is being promoted by Byron based documentary maker and local culture hero, David Bradbury. Peacebus.com aims to be there.

"Twelve thousand Australian soldiers and nearly l4,000 US troops and sailors will take place in bombarding our shores and fragile landscape, storming our beaches, gunning down 'terrorists' in the newly built urban guerrilla warfare training centre, testing their latest laser guided missiles and 'smart' bombs in some of the most pristine wilderness I've ever seen on this planet - and in 30 years of making films, I've seen a lot of this planet, " he writes.

On the first Sunday in July, Peacebus.com will be celebrating Independence from America Day once more In Byron Bay. The seventh annual, it will be another SpeakOut and carnival of liberation, all colour and rhythm. See pics of the last one.

The campaign to prevent the new coal mine at Anvil Hill in the Upper Hunter can be expected to take off during 2007. Backed by a strong local resident action group, the NSW Greens, Greenpeace and Rising Tide, the Newcastle based band of eco-activists, the most dynamic on the east coast, i reckon.

This campaign is where climate change activism will touch the Earth in NSW. Epoch ending, epoch making and Peacebus.com intends to be there as a witness. Watch this one

In November as in previous years Peacebus.com will return to Ballarat, Victoria, to prepare its contribution to the annual commemorations of the Eureka rebellion on the first Sunday in December. It will be the ninth year of Peacebus.com's engagement in making the commemoration vivid and meaningful.

Culture is about story and cultural change is about telling new stories and recalling old ones appropriate to the demands of the times. The remembrance of the Eureka rebellion, the fight to defend rights and liberties that gave birth to the fair go ethos, is a core national building story, I reckon.

In 2004 for the 150th anniversary, Terry Hicks, a great grandson of a Stockader, got national media attention when he was the leading light of the Eureka Dawn Lantern Walk.

David his son languishes yet in Guantamano Bay stripped of all rights and liberties and abandoned by his Government. This shame is a running sore for PM Howard for it makes plain all that is ugly and mean about the man, and all that is ugly and tyrannous about the US alliance to which he has subordinated Australian national interests.

I pray that David Hicks will be released by next December and, beside his father, walk with us in remembrance of the blood sacrifice of the Eureka rebellion. When the rights and liberties of the least of us are defended, the rights and liberties of all of us are protected.

May it be so,

Graeme Dunstan
30 December 2007

Peacebus.com at Sandy beach, near Woolgoolga NSW, 7 September 2006

Click here for the Cyanide Watch home page

Click here for the Cyanide Watch media releases

Click here for an index of other Cyanide Watch actions

Click here for past productions of Peacebus.com

Click here for the Home page of Peacebus.com

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