From Peace Movement Aotearoa national e-list.
17 March 2010
Adrian Leason, Father Peter Murnane and Sam Land - the three men who
were charged with intentional damage and unlawful entry at Waihopai
spy base - have today expressed their thanks to the jury, the judge,
and the prosecution and defence lawyers.
At the conclusion of the trial, Father Peter, Sam and Adrian said
they feel privileged to have helped uncover the true nature of the
spy base. "Our actions in disabling the spy base and stopping the
flow of information helped save lives in Iraq", added Adrian.
"What has been humbling for us to realise is how our witness has
impacted on so many people around the world and at home", said Sam.
"We did not try to avoid the consequences of our actions, because we
respect the rule of law although we do believe we are ultimately
accountable to a higher authority. We damaged property at the spy
base in order to save victims of war and torture. It's all about
Jesus' command for us to treat all people as our brothers and
sisters", said Father Peter.
The jury heard that the Waihopai Echelon spy base is New Zealand's
largest contribution to the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq.
The ongoing war has resulted in horrific war crimes, including more
than one million dead Iraqi civilians, torture, and permanent
poisoning of parts of Iraq by the use of depleted uranium munitions.
The jury also heard evidence from a former British Echelon
intelligence analyst, Katherine Gunn. She blew the whistle on secret
Echelon spying operations when she was instructed by the US National
Security Agency to spy on United Nations Security Council members
leading up to the US invasion in 2003.
"Evidence presented in the court confirmed that the ongoing war in
Iraq is illegal, and causing massive human suffering", said Adrian.
"As an outcome of this trial, we hope that New Zealanders will insist
on an enquiry into the activities of the spy base and its links to
US-led illegal wars".
Father Peter, Sam and Adrian expressed gratitude for all the support
they have received from family, friends and the New Zealand public.
Commenting at the conclusion of the trial, Graham Bidois Cameron,
Waihopai Ploughshares media spokesperson, said this Ploughshares
action is part of an ongoing tradition: "The practice of non-violent
resistance and direct action in the cause of peace has a long history
in this country - the peaceful resistance to the invasion of
Parihaka, and non-violent direct action against nuclear armed
warships entering our harbours being just two examples", he said.
"The actions of Waihopai Ploughshares also need to be understood in
relation to an international movement for disarmament and peace",
said lawyer Moana Cole, herself a Ploughshares activist. "Adrian, Sam
and Father Peter are part of rich history of activism in support of
those without a voice and the movement is certainly growing".
Contact: Graham Bidois Cameron, tel 021 642 414, email
A formatted copy of this release is available
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