IPAN open letter to the PM and Defence Minister regarding treatment of Swan Island Peace Convergence activists
Wednesday 29th October 2014
Open letter to the Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott and the Defence Minister Mr David Johnston
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) bring together over 50 community based peace and justice organisations across Australia.
We wish to express our grave concern regarding the alleged actions of SAS personnel, towards a small group of peaceful protesters at Swan Island military base on the 2nd October.
It is our understanding the Swan Island Peace Convergence group has protested Australian involvement in foreign wars over the past 5 years with protesters treated lawfully and peacefully by the ADF and the Victorian Police Force.
We in the IPAN are concerned that the tactics used this time, which include hooding, stripping of clothing, physical and verbal violence from ADF personnel reflect the Australian government’s current policies which restrict civil liberties on the basis of the threat of terrorism to Australian citizens.
The actions of the ADF personnel are reminiscent of the treatment of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 by US troops, and indeed correlate with a number of inquiries into treatment of civilians by ADF personnel during Australian military engagement in Afghanistan.
We ask, are our young men and women in the ADF being trained to commit war crimes?
When viewed in the context of the government’s decision to send Australian forces into Iraq for the 3rd time we express our concern that the people of our country are being constrained in their democratic rights to protest this engagement as it potentially grows into a major war.
The members of IPAN request that findings of the investigation by the Department of Defence into the actions of members of the ADF at Swan Island be made public.
Annette Brownlie on behalf of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network
Medical Assn. for the Prevention of War
Lorel Thomas-Victorian Peace and Social Justice Network of Quakers.
Nick Deane- Marrickville Peace Group
Mr Norm Bullen- Just Peace Qld
Dr Chris Haw-Physicians against War
Peter Arndt Executive Officer-Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of Brisbane
Professor Alison Broinowski
Joan Jenkins-Bunbury Peace Group.
Australian Anti-Bases Coalition- Denis Doherty
Peter Murphy – Sydney Peace & Justice Coalition
Jim Green- Friends of the Earth
Beverley Polzin- Quaker
Stephen Darley-Campaign Against Foreign Military Bases (SA)
Peter D Jones, Tasmania Quaker Peace & Justice Committee (Hobart)
Philippine Australia Solidarity Assn
Philippine Caucus for Peace
Kathy Damm- Qld Quakers
Frances Kendall-Just Peace
Ruth Russell WILPF
Willy Bach- Standfast
Rosemary Morrow Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute
Bevan Ramsden- Newcastle Peace Group
John Hughes- Early Works
Rev Simon Moyle
Rev Alan Matheson AM
Michael Henry- Just Peace
Shirley Winton- Spirit of Eureka Vic
Prof Richard Tanter
Daniel Brown Rite of Strings
Annie Didcott WILPF ACT
Bob Briton-General Secretary Communist Party of Australia
David Bradbury- Frontline Films
Roger Keyes- Adelaide Quaker meeting
Ann Rees- Adelaide Quaker meeting
Dr Janet Bodycomb MAPW Vic
Ross Battison Vic
Michael Hamel-Green- MAPW
Julie Marlow- Australian Anti-bases Coalition
Hannah Middleton- Independent Activist
Anne Lane -Catholics in Coalition for Justice and Peace
The Hon Sandra Kanck
Boyette Jurcales- Ban the Bases
Father Claude Mostowik- Pax Christi
Kay Mc Padden
Irene Gale AM
Margaret Jacobs- Member of Women in Black
May Kotsakis – Philippines Australia Solidarity Association.
Berlin Guerrero – Philippine Caucus for Peace
George Kotsakis – Migrante Australia
Independent and Peaceful Australia Network
PO Box 573 Coorparoo Brisbane 4151 Ph: 0431597256