Media Release 18 July 2011
Today, the day live fire began at the Talisman Sabre war games at Shoalwater Bay, two peace activists invaded the test facility intent on hindering and disrupting the military operations. Calling themselves the Jaegerstaetter Amigos Ride Again (after Franz Jaeggerstaetter, the recently beatified Austrian Catholic villager who spoke up against the Nazis, refusing military service, and was beheaded), they are: Margaret Pestorius, (46) mother, Cairns based social worker and social change worker for the past 20 years; and Andy Paine (24), musician and peace activist from Mudgee NSW.
Margaret and Andy are known to have entered the southern end the Test Facility at the near the Samuel Hill Base.
They have their mobile phones off except when sending SMS and Facebook messages and photos, to inform their supporters of their progress.
Here below the statements made before entering the Shoalwater Test Facility.
My Catholic faith guides and nurtures my understanding of nonviolence. I see Jesus as a nonviolent Messiah - call us to a physical world of respect,nonviolence rooted in God's love and creation.
I want to acknowledge that the Land I will be walking on belongs to the Dharumbal people. I want to honour and respect continuing connections and responsibilities that the Dharumbal have in that country.
I am entering ShoalWater Exercise Area to disrupt the war preparation that is happening there. I will find opporunities to disrupt and hinder the operations of the war making there as becomes possible.
These exercises prepare soldiers to kill, and hurt people in the name of their own 'survival' and 'loyalty' to each other.
This killing creates cycles of violence that take generations to resolve socially and emotionally. There is plenty of evidence now that conflicts between nations and peoples are much better solved with established mechanisms of nonviolence.
The problem with using effective nonviolent strategies, is that it doesn't make money for the huge armament companies that feed off war. Those companies feed off war at the expense of the young soldiers who are killed - 28 Australians now; and over 1000 USers in Afghanistan alone.
Iraq saw 3000 dead young men and women from the US. And now we are seeing 18 suicides per day by returned Iraq veterans.
In terms of civilian dead in Afghanistan - it has been reported that the last 6 months has seen MORE civilians killed than any previous 6 months in the war. These a men women and children - just like those I live with and work with: Children who laugh and play and love like my child.
I abhor a system that glorifies and spends 60 million AUD a day on militarism. The Australian government continues to increase the percentage of our tax dollars spent on the military.
The US is broke. They can't pay for their internal infrastructure or for health and education. Even their US Mayors are calling to "Bring the War Dollars Home."
We must end the war in Afghanistan. We must radically change the nature of the US alliance. Our country is not theirs to militarise. Our country has a proud history of indepedence and sovreignty.
I do not want my children to grow up in a State that is at permanent war.
Graeme Dunstan, Convenor, Peace Convergence 201, 0407 951 688
Photo attached: Margaret Pestroius refused entry to the Rockhampton Mayor and Mayoress' Talisman Sabre Gala Dinner 9 July
Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z0g05J9dsE YouTube of Andy Paine singing at the gates of the Talisman Sabre Family Open Day at the Rockhampton Showgrounds 9 July