Christian activist accuses Govt over security bungle

Bryan Law, one of four members of a Christian peace group arrested in 2005 at the Pine Gap spy base, has accused the Federal police of violating security laws after they provided the protesters with classified video footage of the arrest scene.

The Australian reports that the police (AFP) also disclosed the name of an ASIO agent in a string of embarrassing blunders ahead of a court case against the anti-war campaigner to be heard in Alice Springs in May.

Mr Law, who allegedly broke into the joint Australian-US Pine Gap defence facility in December 2005 to protest its involvement in the Iraq war, told reporters that the first AFP mistake occurred soon after he was charged, when his lawyers asked for footage of the arrest.

In a letter sent to the House of Representatives and the Senate last week, he outlined "the laughingly incompetent" actions of the AFP.

"They couldn't find a key surveillance tape for six months," the letter says.

"When they did find the tape, they disclosed to us the identity of an ASIO agent who interviewed (another protester) and myself at the scene of our entry into Pine Gap - information which is classified and illegal to disclose."

Section 92 of the ASIO Act prohibits the publication of the identity of its officers, employees or agents, according to Mr Law.

In another alleged breach of federal law, he said the AFP gave protesters classified images from security cameras inside Pine Gap's restricted inner compound.

In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Law called on the AFP to investigate the leak and admit their mistake.

He also demanded to know if he would be charged with possessing the classified material, despite the fact he was sent it mistakenly.

Catholic activists, Donna Mulhearn, who spent time as a human shield in Baghdad during the US-led invasion of Iraq, and Jim Dowling are also accused of joining Mr Law when he allegedly broke into the Pine Gap prohibited area and damaged fences, sensors and switches.

They have all been charged under the Defence Special Undertakings Act, which could see them jailed for up to seven years.

Activist alleges Pine Gap security bungles (The Australian, 20/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Christians Against All Terrorism (Flickr)
Christians Against All Terrorism
Pine Gap 6
Australian Story: In Harm's Way
Conversation with Donna Mulhearn (Catholic Weekly 2/11/03)
Donna Mulhearn Pilgrim and Storyteller
Catholic Worker Movement

World "sleepwalking" towards nuclear terrorism (CathNews, 9/10/06)
Trial continues for Christian activists in Pine Gap case (CathNews, 5/10/06)
$A60 billion new UK missiles "absurd": Scottish Cardinal (CathNews, 21/9/06)
Christian protesters hampered by "secrecy" (CathNews, 20/4/06)

20 Feb 2007

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