5 June 2007


At the same time as Australian delegates participating in an international conference in Lima, Peru, last week sought to weaken a proposed treaty banning the use of cluster bombs, a Parliamentary subcommittee approved the future use of the weapons by the Australian Defence Forces.

Significantly the world’s leading manufacturers of cluster bombs, China, Russia, and the United States, did not attend the Lima conference, and oppose the ban proposed by mainly poor nations.

Delegates representing some 70 countries pointed out that the victims of cluster bombs are often children who pick up unexploded munitions years after the fighting has ended.

At the same time the trial of four people who in in December 2005 attempted to conduct a citizens’ inspection of the secret US base at Pine Gap commenced in Alice Springs. The four are members of 'Christians Against All Terrorism', an organisation which promotes non-violent resistance to war, and they are facing seven years imprisonment for their non-violent political protest.

The activities conducted at Pine Gap have long been the subject of controversy and are so shrouded in secrecy that even Australian Parliamentarians, let alone members of the public, are not permitted to know the nature of those activities.

Updates about the progress of the trial can be found at Pine Gap 6 Supporters website.

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