Bryan Law arrested after ploughsharing a brand new, Oz army Tiger attack helicopter at Rockhampton air base, 21 July 2011. Photo courtesy Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

Media Release 24 July 2011

Australian Peace Activist Faces over 10 Years Jail
for Ploughsharing an Attack Helicopter

Bryan Law, the man who damaged a new Australian Army Tiger Helicopter with a garden mattock last Thursday at Rockhampton Airfield, faces 10 years imprisonment for his act of conscience.

Bryan Law, 57, retired taxi driver of Cairns, who is now in Rockhampton hospital for treatment of a diabetic ulcer on his foot, has been bailed to appear in Rockhampton court on 5 August.

He faces five charges, including two counts of wilful damage, one count of trespass, possession of tainted property, a garden mattock and bolt-cutters, and breach of bail conditions. He attacked the $36mill Tiger ARH chopper as part of the protests against the Talisman Sabre, US-led war preparation at nearby Shoalwater Bay.

"In a new and symbolic way I was fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Isaiah : 'They will beat their swords into ploughshares; their spears into pruning hooks'," said Mr Law yesterday.

"My actions are in the tradition of other Christian peace activists who have carried out direct disarmament actions, damaging US bombers, supply planes and nuclear warheads and the like since 1981."

"I used a mattock, a tool for preparing the soil for growing food, to damage the carbon fibre door of the helicopter to evoke imagery of garden transformation and food production," he said.

"Ordinary people are sick of this war and what we are seeing now is people willing to act directly against the military because our politicians do not have the will or moral capacity to do it themselves," he said.

The attempted disarming of the Tiger attack helicopter came as the climax of a three-week period of concerted peace protests across Australia during which 17 different people have been arrested for anti war protests in 24 arrests while blockading and disrupting military activity.

At Swan Island near Geelong, blockades of ADF training facilities occurred daily for 4 consecutive days as ordinary Australians social workers, university lecturers, nurses, parents - undertook a series of creative protests. There were 12 arrests.

In Brisbane two men were arrested stopping military traffic at the Enoggera Army Barracks.

In Rockhampton 3 people were arrested while blocking military roads inside the Shoalwater Training Area during the Talisman Sabre Exercises. Another 4 blockaded roads leading from the Rockhampton barracks in order to hinder the war preparation.

Sydney and Brisbane and Rockhampton also saw other non-disruptive creative peace building events.

These nonviolent protests occur in the context of opinion polling which shows that between 60-70% Australians oppose Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and want to bring Australian troops home.

"End the lies! End the wars! End the US Alliance" was the theme of Peace Convergence 2011.

Further information
Bryan Law, 0403 049 566
Graeme Dunstan Convener, 2011 Peace Convergence (arrested and charged as Mr Law's associate/accomplice) 0407 951 688
Margaret Pestorius, media comment and coordination and background information 0403 214 422

Bryan Law detained after ploughsharing a brand new, Oz army Tiger attack helicopter at Rockhampton air base, 21 July 2011. Photo courtesy Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

Media Release 22 June 2011

Peace activists to resist Talisman Saber war games

Peace activists have responded to today's government announcement of the 2011 Talisman Saber war games with a Call to Action by peacemakers; a call for peace activists to converge on Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Byfield for protest during the war games.

"It will be a of activists from all around Australia to come resist the war games and the baleful influence of the US Alliance," he says.

"Let Peace Convergence be a time to be visible for peace," Mr Dunstan says in his Call to Action.

"Let it be time of courage and talking truth to power."

"Let it be a time for artful public rallies, non violent direct actions against military trafficking outside the Shoalwater Test Facility and, for the brave, within - site invasions and on the ground disruptions of the war games."

End the lies! End the wars! End the US Alliance!

More information
A Call to Action for Peace in a Time of Permanent War
Graeme Dunstan, 0407 951 688

Media Release 20 June 2011

Sewing for Peace

A sewing circle will assemble at the Yeppoon Community Development Centre this Saturday morning, and for the following three Saturdays, to make up a host of beautiful flags for next month's Peace Convergence.

The flags will be on parade at the Yeppoon Peace Parade and Concert on Sunday 17 July.

After Peace Convergence the flags will remain as a community asset and be used to dress future Village Festival events.

"Sewing circles are a community building delight," says Graeme Dunstan, convenor of the Peace Convergence 2011. "A dazzle of colour, the whirring of machines, and the natter of happy women being creative and productive together."

"Peace flag making and peace flag bearing are artful ways to become visible for peace in this time of endless war," he said.

"More sewers wanted! The more sewers, the more flags. Bring a machine if you have one. Contact Leanne Smith 4939 4805."

The design concept, a peace dove carrying a twig of Byfield Fern, comes courtesy of local artist Clare Botfield of Byfield.

The Peace Flags Sewing project is supported by Shoalwater Wilderness Awareness Group and the Keppel Coast Arts Council.

Further information
Leanne Smith, Keppel Coast Arts Council, 4939 4805
Graemne Dunstan, Peace Convergence, 0407 951 688

Media Release 8 June 2011

Citizen Inspection Team
on the scent of war profiteers in Rockhampton

A Citizen's Inspection Team will be demanding entry to the premises of Serco Sodexo,

from noon Thursday 9 June 2011
at Building 23, Western Street Barracks, Rockhampton, Qld

Serco and Sodexo are global corporations which in return for tax payer dollars provide management services for army barracks, refugee detention centres, prisons and the like.

Serco Sodexo Defence Services holds the service contract for the Talisman Sabre war games and it is the newest member of Capricorn Tourism and Economic Development Ltd.

"Bullies, pirates and war profiteers masquerading as good corporate citizens," says Graeme Dunstan. Peace Convergence Convener.

"In regard to refugees, Serco stands accused of brutality and neglect of the human rights of detainees. The riots on Christmas Island, and the suicide of a 20 year old detainee at Scherger Air Base have been blamed on the brutality of Serco guards," said Mr Dunstan.

"In 2006 Serco Sodexo became notorious in Canberra for coercing workers to sign workplace contracts that dramatically reduced award conditions."

"Contrary to what Capricorn Tourism and Economic Development Ltd CEO, Mary Carroll, would have local citizens believe, corporations like Serco Sodexo are not good for business in this town or any other town. Furthermore they are morally corrupt and their presence is an offense to every decent citizen."

Part of the neoliberal wave of privatisations which have increased service costs to tax payers and at the same time reduced the quality of the services, when Serco wins government contracts it displaces Australian companies and sends its profits off shore.

"The bitter truth is that to make profits Serco Sodexo subcontracts, pays bottom dollar and gouges local workers and suppliers."

Photo Opportunity will be supporting the Citizen Inspection Team and unveiling its newly completed Peace Convergence mural: "War brings neither peace nor climate justice. Cut military spending!"

Further information
Graeme Dunstan, 0407 951 688
Bryan Law, Citizens Inspection Team, 0403 0495 66

Group shot of Peace Convergence folk at Yeppoon in 2009

Media Release 23 May 2011 captain Convenes
Peace Convergence 2011 captain, Graeme Dunstan, has taken up the convening of the 2011 Peace Convergence and he is now in residence in Rockhampton organising citizen resistance to the Talisman Sabre war games (18-29 July).

Talisman Sabre is the biggest military exercise in the land, a national event and as such the most visible manifestation of the US Alliance.

"I am here to make the occasion a national event for the advocacy of peace," said Graeme.

"I aim to draw out and give form, color and vibrancy to the popular resistance of the times to war and the preparation for war. I want to bring forth the peacemakers, make them visible and vocal. "

"I want to undo the US Alliance and challenge complacency and cant."

"I want that, when lying, war backing politicians witness the depth of our dissent, the breadth of our community, and the goodwill and good faith that carries us on, it will be some rare moment of truth for them, a dawning disillusion, and that the wind will go out them like a punctured football."

Graeme 68 is a long time peace activist, radicalised while an engineering student at the University of NSW in the sixties, one of the "Roll over the Bastards!" under President Lyndon Baines Johnson's car in 1966.

He also has had a long career as a community artist and events creator. He is widely regarded a community cultural development guru, a pioneer in the field.

Graeme now lives in a van with artful signage on its side, flags and lantern making tools under his bunk, and speaker horns and bamboo flag poles of the roof racks. A rolling protest support vehicle, Graeme calls his rig and maintains a blog about his travels and adventures on a website of the same name.

A founder of the mass lantern events at the Woodford Festival, he is a traveling man of flags and lanterns. Most recently Graeme organised a Anzac eve Peace Lantern Vigil at the Australia War Memorial in Canberra.

He contributed colour and enchantment to the Peace Convergences of 2007 and 2009. And he aims to do likewise for PC2011.

Based at Franz Jaegerstaetter House, 22 Buckle Street, Park Lane, an organising base named in memory of the Christian war resistance matyr Franz Jaegerstaetter, Graeme will be organising flag and lantern making workshops as community engagement projects in the lead up the Peace Convergence.

Program evolving.

Further information
Graeme Dunstan 0407 951 688

Franz Jaegerstaetter House, 22 Buckle Street, Park Avenue, Rockhampton. A gracious working class house, it was looking forlorn but now a focus for culture making and resistance organising.


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