Talisman Saber Peace activist charges dropped

All charges related to Talisman Saber peace protests have been dropped. Four Brisbane peace activists appeared in the Rockhampton court today for charges related to blocking the entrance to the Rockhampton army barracks during the Talisman Saber military exercises in July 2013.

Jim Dowling, David Sprigg, Andy Paine, and Robin Taubenfeld were arrested on July 19 for lying on the road outside the barracks holding photographs of victims of the US led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The group held a vigil with these images outside the court before proceeding to their hearing, at which time they were notified that it would not proceed.

Andy Paine said, “the dropping of the charges exposes the illegitimacy of police attempts to shut down peaceful protest. Those of us who are concerned about the never-ending pursuit of war need to be public in our opposition and take this result as encouragement.”
Talisman Saber 2013 was one of the world’s largest ever military exercises, involving 18,000 American and 9,000 Australian troops engaged in land, sea and air warfare training. The Talisman Saber exercises take place in Australia every two years, primarily focusing on the Shoalwater Bay region. Rockhampton barracks and airport serve as a base for the combined training.

“Australia’s unwavering support for US military endeavours is bringing suffering, not liberation, to countless people – civilians and military personnel - whose faces we never see – while increasing, not diminishing, threats to Australia’s own peace and security,” activist Andy Paine said.

“In a time of never-ending war, it is our responsibility to do what we can to thwart the war machine, call for peace, and give voice to those invisible victims.”

“The two major wars these exercises have supported for more than a decade, have both been unmitigated disasters, undertaken largely without the support of the Australian people. We feel nonviolent resistance to war making, is the best contribution we can make to promoting peace in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Mr. Paine stated.

“More war making has definitely proven to be the worst contribution our country could have made.”

The four activists continue to call for a stopping of the biennial Talisman Saber exercises, a closure of all US bases and facilities in Australia - and end to war.

For more information or comment contact: Andy Paine 0413 205 154