Four Talisman Saber protesters arrested after barracks blockade

WP_20130719_008from The Morning Bulletin

Four peace activists were arrested on July 19 blockading the Caroona Street gate of Western Street Barracks, Rockhampton (Queensland, Australia).

Their intention was to disrupt the Talisman Saber war rehearsals by putting their bodies on the road in front of military supply vehicles, activist Graeme Dunstan said.

He said those arrested are Andy Paine, Jim Dowling, David Sprigg  and Robin Taubenfeld, all of Brisbane.

The peace activists planned this morning block the gates of the Rockhampton barracks as a response to the Talisman Saber military training exercises.

The Talisman Saber exercises, which involve 18,000 American and 9,000 Australian troops, are a key part of the Australian -US alliance.

The protesters laid down on the road, stopping traffic from moving in and out of the barracks and holding up the military training.

Activist Andy Paine says that the activists are attempting to disrupt the war games, to be active and public in our pursuit of peace.

1075280_10151765609062429_1287465629_n“Our governments are spending billions of dollars preparing for the next war in this continual cycle, and the American government continues to abuse human rights and crush those who dare to speak up.  Those who believe in peace need to confront the violence of the war machine.”

He said while American troops train in Australia for war, former soldier and whistleblower Bradley Manning, is in court facing life in prison for leaking documents that showed American atrocities in Iraq.

Mr Paine said the American government also continues to pursue Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency employee who leaked details of American intelligence activities that include the PRISM program, which enables the NSA to spy on the internet activity of anybody in the world.

He said in Guantanamo Bay, the infamous American offshore military prison, detainees have been on hunger strike for over 160 days.

Mr Paine said over 100 detainees have been on hunger strike, with 45 being medically force-fed. Many of the inmates have been held there for over 10 years without  being charged with any crime.  86 of the 166 prisoners have been cleared for release but are still detained.

The Australian government has been silent about these issues, as it was silent about the torture of Australian citizens David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib inGuantanamo Bay, both of whom were wrongfully imprisoned there.

Mr Paine said the Talisman Saber exercises are a symbol of Australia’s unwavering support for America’s military endeavours.

Activist Graham Dunstan faces court on August 19 for his role in the disarming of an attack helicopter during Talisman Saber 2011.