Friday, April 25, 2008

More Notes from Court [compiled by Margaret]

The case was run all together from the prosecutor's side because he [Mr Shaun Janes] had arranged an agreed set of facts. Each defendant had prepared an individual case, however and requested that they present separately. The “formal admission” – or ‘agreed set of facts’ which had been signed by each defendant was tabled at the beginning of the court session.

The Magistrate reminded the defendants that there was no compulsion to give evidence under oath but they could if they wanted and that would open them to ‘cross examination’.

Simon Moyle was called first and began with a statement about their actions on the day in questions:
He said: "We were: meticulously nonviolent, there was no self interest, we did not enter the restricted area until we were within 150 m from the tarmac. We ascertained where bombings had taken place to ensure safety, we approached with arms outstretched to show a non threatening stance, we drew attention to ourselves, we were at all times obstructive and constructive. Training for war means more war, Training for peace means more peace – that’s why we had frisbees to throw – we were practising for peace.

Simon said that the actions fitted the context of his life. “I have always sought to obstruct violence where I come across it. I feel compelled to intervene in violence and I want to be consistent in those interventions.”

Simon Reeves also took an affirmation – refusing to swear on the Bible in the court context.

He said “I believed I was fulfilling my commitment to be a responsible citizen and to love my neighbour as my self and to ‘love your enemy’”. Simon Reeves developed a framework for his actions centering around the prevention of a greater harm [see his statement on the blogspot Samuelhill4] – “my act was a lessor harm in defence of other lives”. He said “Operation Talisman Sabre” involved harm that was great and significant. He characterised this harm as a “Social Harm”.

This harm was derived from “the intention of the operations to teach skills, knowledge and tactics for combat that directly do harm to others.” Simon identified three harms:
harms resulting to others from the learning of the skills and knowledge related to violence
harms relating to the soldiers themselves from the process of learning violence
environmental harms impacting on the Land on which the exercises were held.

Simon said that we “should oppose evil when evil comes along.” And that while the “tools used in the exercise may be used with good intentions, actually those tools are used to do extraordinary harm to other people in other nations through their use in ‘mid to high intensity combat.’”

Also he pointed out that involvement in combat results in harm directly to the soldiers – “Over 4000 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq;” he said. “When we practice or train for violence the more violent we become. Violence is anti life. 10% of soldiers evacuated from Iraq to hospitals in Europe have mental problems.” He said.

Also the war games are creating an environmental harm. We live in a complex web. Harm to the environment is harm to self and others.

Simon Reeves argued that the issue was the enactment of greater versus a lessor harm. He said that the Samuel Hill 4 had committed a lessor harm by far in their attempt to prevent a greater harm.

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