This site is an archived version of Indymedia prior to 5th November 2012. The current site is at

Nagasaki Day - "Jabiluka Ploughshares Disable Uranium Mining Equipment - 10 Years on!"


by Ciaron O'Reilly

Walking through the streets of Dublin, Ireland, after the Paul Kelly's gig last night, I thought I should write this reflection.

It was strange to be in a packed Dublin gig of sentimental swaying Aussies 12,000 miles from home, having been raised in a family home of Irish sentimentality in Brisbane, Australia. My father left County Offaly as a teenager to score work in London in '46 and then on to Australia on assisted passage in '49, intending to spend a couple of years and have a look around. He did not return to his home village Clara for 26 years, made possible by the windfall of a success in the Football Pools with his fellow Everton Park posties in '75. It was the first time he met his youngest sister born after his departure and now pregnant with her first child.

My dad never really integrated into mainstream Australia - bursting into song in public places, treating Brsbane as one big Irish village welcoming strangers as friends he hadn't met and getting us kids to sleep by telling us bedtime stories of his mystical faraway village. His rebel songs put us firmly on the side of the Indians while we watched Westerns on Saturday afternoon tv, made us sympathetic to the aborigines which we caught the occasional glimpse of as we trundled to school through the Fortitude Valley red light district and suspicious of cops. My father had his nose broken by the cops in the '50's ("I was talkin', when I shoulda been listenin!"), my older brother had his nose broken in the '70's (a case of mistaken identitiy as Consorting Squad Detective John Frederich Johnson who had bashed me months earlier in a previous street march thought he was me in a mismatch rematch!). I was relieved to get out of the '90's with my schnozel still intact. I had sensed a pattern forming!

The street and society I grew up in felt sterile and foreign to the spiritulaity and home I was fashioned in - devoid of spirituality, welcome and mysticism. The virgin bushland, part of the Ennogera Army Barracks at the end of the street, where we played was sensory overload - the reptiles, the loud strange bush noises, the heat. What was unfolding in Derry and Belfast in my teenage years was much more significant in our home than what was going down in Saigon and Long Tan where the soldier boys from over the back fence were headed. Today the soldier boys, from over the back, deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. Years before they killed and died at Gallipoli, from where the Barracks gets its name.

What Paul Kelly does in lyric and song is to wring the spirituality and pathos from this strange land and the culturally displaced lives lived in it. Among other snippets, we hear of children pretending to be asleep so to earwig on parents intimate conversations, long bus trips to mend broken marriages, revenge fantasies on being dumped and Aussies who have stayed abroad too long. Kelly's people came from County Clare in the 1850's renaming the place they farmed in Victoria after their abandoned County.


Ten years ago today, we headed up a bush track created by Energy Resources Australia (ERA) into the Jabiluka Mine lease, located in the sparsely populated Northen Territory (NT of Austraia. to disable uranium mining equipment.

Like today, it was the anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki. We had been partly inspired by the life and conversion of Fr. George Zabelka the Catholic chaplain to the bomb crew that had pulverised Nagasaki on Augist 9th. 1945, this the oldest Catholic centre in Aisa. The predominantly Catholic bomb crew had used the Nagasaki Catholic cathedral as their ground zero target.

Fr. George Zabelka's slow awakening to his complicty in this historic crime, his growing awareness of its roots in the Constantine shift when the church abandoned is pacifism in the 3rd. century and his two year walk of repentance from the Trident nuclear base at Bangor, Washington, USA to Bethlehem inspired us. Our walk into Jabiluka was a contnuation of his walk in the light and the truth. It was a walk into risk responding to the cries of past, present and future victims of uranium mining.

We were careful to follow the ERA track as we had no guide to avoid trespassing on sacred aboriginal sites. It was the same track that weeks earlier, along with scores of protestors, we had blockaded the early morning shift change at the mine. That early morning blockade was high risk as some enraged miners tried to run us down with their trucks. On arrival the Northern Territory cops came in swinging and throwing blockaders off the track into the bush. The scenes are covered well in the unauthorised documentary "Minds and Energy". I remember striding furiously down the track with the windscreen wiper in hand of a miner's truck which tried to run us down. My fury is covered well in the same film as I unleash a speech about the little known (by the then movement and public) Depleted Uranium munition that had been used extensively in Iraq '91. One million rounds unleashed from U.S. A10 Warthogs and 11,000 7lb D.U. shells from U.S. tanks in those short two
months. D.U. had left battlefields in Iraq poisoned for years to come, these rounds and shells continue to kill Iraqis ans U.S. military veterans to this day. Since then, D.U. has been used extensively by the U.S. military in Serbia and Afghanistan. The cutting edge of the Australian anti-uranium movement was largely ignorant of this munition at Jabiluka in '98 - 7 years after its initial use.

As primarily anti-war focussed activists, we had been a(n initially celebrated) minority at the large blockade camp 10 miles from the lease. Most of those who mustered for direct nonviolent resistance were young white environmentalists outraged that a second uranium mine in opening in a pristine wilderness World Heritage listed National Park. There were also small numbers of indigeneous people willing to confront the mine. The small Mirrar tribe had been browbeaten in the late '70's by the federal government and the Uncle Toms of the Northern Land Council to relent and let the huge open cut Ranger Mine go forward. They were taking a courageous stand against further desecration of their ancestral homeland by the new Jabiluka mine. Their elder was arrested and incarcerated in Darwin for her resistance.

Previously, the Hawke Labor Gvernment of the '80's had failed with its cynical attempt to brand Jabiluka as "North Ranger" to facilitate its opening under its Labor's "three mine policy". In '77 the Labor Party ran an election campaign on banning all uranium mining in Australia. On gaining office under the leadership of Bob Hawke in '83 they sold out immediately. Initial work on Roxby Downs/South Australia, the largest uranium deposit in the world, continued before the A.L.P. convened to change its policy. The three mine policy adopted was their attempted compromise with the huge anti-uranium movement of the late '70's and '80's.

Many courageous people put themselves on the line at Jabiluka in '98. Eco warriors had stopped trucks moving equipment into the site by locking onto their undercarriages. Others explored "black wallaby" night actions breaking into the site and locking on to equipment. Many were arrested and roughed up whille blockading and trespassing. They were hit with multiple hyped up charges - locking on became "car theft" according to the NT cops. There was a broken leg, a broken collar bone and various concussions. One black wallaby affinity group were placed in a police van, the cops then retreated from the vehicle while the miners conducted a controlled explosion. I wonder if those folks still have Jabiluka ringing in their ears today? Others who were locked on had their hats removed and water poured out by the cops so they would slowly burn and dehydrate.

By Nagasaki Day, the blockade camp was depressed and defeated not by the cops and the state but by the NGO bureaucrats and aspiring movement politicians. With a Federal election looming, the orders came from Labor Party apparatchiks to deflate the blockade, sideline the issue to - they believed - increase their election chances. The direction was for the nonviolent direct actionists to stand down and make the long journey home. They had served their cannon fodder role to attract initial media attention for the hi drama/low risk taking movement bureaucrats. A deal was made between the blockade leadership and the cops, the old chestnut of white sycophancy wheeled to enforce it and paralyse the resistance.

The deal was the police would be given prior knowledge of all protests, there would be no incursions into the mine site, climaxing on the eve of that year's federal election with the police faciltating movement buraucrats entry into the Jabiru police station to order 100 people to cease noncoperation, admit they all really weren't "John Howard", give their names and accept bail. Their submision was much to the relief of the prison staff in Darwin, where I was by then located, who were anxious about this prospective influx into their system and where they were going to put them! A handful of us had already been a moving and a shaking in the NT jails system drawing attention to the terrible conditions and managing a few reforms.

Anyways, the deal facilitated an easy entry for the Jabiluka Ploughshares into the mine site on the night of the Nagasaki '98 anniversary. The security was lax, they must have felt their task subcontracted out. Convinced that the movement was policing itself, they seemed to be on a long coffee break that night. We cut through the cyclone fence and made our way to a huge excavator, we lifted the lid and cut the internal cables, we spraypainted "Nagasaki", "Horoshima", "Chernobyl" and a town in Iraq that had been poisoned by uranium. We climbed on top of the huge excavator, broke the glass of the driver's cabin reached through and hammerd away on the ignition. Uranium mining excavator disabled, we sat in prayer in this beautiful bush night.

Labor lost the election, we went to Darwin's Berrimah Jail, then to court, then to jail again, we were slandered by movement bureaucrats One woman spent a chunk of her PhD slamming us without bothering to interview with us - the low quality of research standards in Australian academe I guess! Time moved on for those who had gathered at Jabiluka some gave up the struggle, some continue, some folks took their lives, others took office to administer today's Australian Labor Government's uranium mining and export policy that looks something like an internatonal car boot sale with the ethics of a smack dealer "if we don't sell it someone else will!"

Over 30 years ago ('77), my brother and I headed down to Brisbane's Hamilton Wharves to blockade a uranium shipment. The consequences of that night, besides the short term aches and pains, were the suspension of civil liberties in the state of Queensland for several years resulting of 3,000+ arrests for exercising free speech, multiple house raids, harrasment, frameups, blacklisting and consequent immigration and a police force so corrupt they were discovered running a child pornography cottage industry from their Juvenile Aid Department. This child porn/ cop connection brought them undone, it was a bridge to far. It initiated a chain of events that exposed "The Joke", launching the "Fitzgerald Inquiry into Police Corruption" which saw the Police Commisioner was sentenced to 14 years and five government ministers also jailed.

Relevant to note where that uranium shipment was bound from Brisbane wharves that '77 night. It was bound to Iran where the U.S. was supporting an aggresive nuclear energy program under their despotic Shah. Ironic that we now stand on the precipice of a nuclear strike on Iran on the basis of Iran's nuclear program we once noruished with Australian uranium. Governments, despots, Shahs and clients don't last forever - nuclear material pretty much does! Do your best to keep it in the ground.

Don't get fooled again!
Swords into Plowshares!

As Paul Kelly and an old comrade from the Joh daze (it built character) aboiginal elder Kev Carmody remind us

"From Little Things Big Things Grow!";_ylt=A1f4cfN3X51I._cA...rd=r1


CORRECTION-Although D.U. deployed in Afghanistan, no compelling

Hi Ciaron,

Thanks for the recap & links. One minor point - re:

> Since then, D.U. has been used extensively by the U.S. military in Serbia and Afghanistan.

There is no compelling evidence of DU use in Afghanistan by the U.S. - the Taliban had no armor, and altho DU ammo was in theatre and A-10s were deployed, the Pentagon says 'to the best of their knowledge' that DU rounds were not fired.

I've looked into the DU issue in depth, because the A-10s train out of Tucson and fly overhead nearly every day, and Raytheon in Tucson makes missiles and bombs erroneously alleged to have DU warheads.

I can go into this more if you are interested, but in short, the work of the Uranium Medical Research Center in Afghanistan has not been replicated; the lab that did the analysis has had its conclusions refuted in another DU civil case in the UK (David Nibby's); and in marked contrast to public statements by UMRC researcher Tedd Weyman, UMRC's peer-reviewed publications are quite equivocal on the claim for US uranium weapons being the source for their handful of overly contaminated forensic samples. Curiously, it is Weyman's claim that "NON-depleted uranium" is what they found, not DU. He hypothesizes (just as Chris Busby (Green Audit; does about enriched uranium allegedly found in a few 2006 Lebanon samples) that U.S. bomb makers deliberately mixed DU and enriched U into an isotopic ratio approximating natural U, in an effort to hide its use from critics. Frankly, I find such a proposition preposterous. See my analysis at

Jack,"Nuclear Resister" Magazine

LINK-Anti-DNA Printing Resistance in Darwin Jail 2000

LINK-Anti-DNA Printing Resistance in Darwin Jail 2000

3 Catholic Sisters Arrestedat Peterson Air Force Base on Nagasak

The Co Springs Gazette
Aug 9, 2008

3 peace demonstrators Detained at Peterson

Police will decide on filing trespass charges

Remembering Hiroshima/Nagasaki at STRATCom, Offcut A.F.B. Omaha,

The annual Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 6-9 vigil at the main gate of Offutt AFB, the home of STRATCom, brought representatives from four
different Catholic Worker communities; Des Moines, Omaha, Chicago, and Yankton. At any given time, during the first three days between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. of vigil, we managed to keep at least three people vigiling with as many as eight during peak times.

This year's observances also included three evening programs, including a Wednesday August 6th showing of the movie "The Day after
Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb" at the McFoster Natural Kind Café, a Thursday August 7th mass and potluck supper at
the Omaha Catholic Worker House, and the showing of a Power Point slide show "The Story of STRATCom at Offutt, Its New Mission and Our
Resistance to It" by Frank Cordaro in the basement of St John's Church at Creighton University.

The Vigil ended at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 9th for the closing ceremony with sixteen people on the drive that leads into the main gate at Offutt. Link to vigil slide show

Catholic Worker and Jesuit Arrested on Nagasaki Day at Vanderber

Guadalupe (CA, U.S.A.) Catholic Worker Dennis Apeland Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. were arrested outside the main gate of Vandenberg AFB on August 9, commemorating the 63 anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. At our annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki day commemoration vigil, Dennis and Fr.Steve were arrested for violation of their "Ban and Bar" letter that they received for the May 19, 2007 witness and arrest, which prohibits their presence on or near the base for life.

Mike Wisniewski (LACW) also was given a warning to leave or face arrest for violating his "Ban and Bar", but he chose to leave the vigil area. Dennis, Fr. Steve, Mike, and Jeff Dietrich from the LACW, face another hearing on Sept. 18 for the May 19, 2007 action.

Remembering Hiroshima/Nagasaki-Pentagon, White House, D.O.E. &am

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki: at the Pentagon, at the 1.3 billion dollar guided missile destroyer USS Sterett, the Department of Energy, and the White House.

Remembering the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and aware of the threat to use nuclear weapons to control the policies of other nations, activists from the Atlantic Life Community gathered for a Faith and Resistance retreat in Washington, DC..

On August 6, 2008, we held a silent vigil at the Pentagon, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. Five people - Liz McAlister, Clare Grady, Eve Tetaz, Peter De Mott, and Bill Streit were arrested by the Pentagon police for kneeling in sackcloth and ashes on the Pentagon sidewalk. Others held banners which read: “We repent the sin of Hiroshima and Nagasaki” and “We oppose the use and threat of nuclear weapons.” Some sat in sackcloth and ashes on the grassy area. As we walked to the Pentagon, we were led by Japanese Buddhist Nun, Sr. Ichi Kawa, who also led our walks to the DOE and White House. Her presence, drumming, chanting and prayer kept us mindful and helped make us a cohesive group.

On August 7, the activists went on a tour of the guided missile destroyer, the USS Sterett which was in the Baltimore Harbor in preparation for its commissioning on August 9. During the tour, 19 people brought out banners, handed out leaflets (not many were taken) and sang as they were escorted off the ship. Everyone was detained for an hour or so as they got off the ship, but during this whole time, the action became a vigil on the dock, watched throughout by many of the Sterett's crew. The banners were visible to all; they read: “Disarm the Sterett, Love your Enemies” and “Jesus would never join the military.” Sr. Ichi and others from the retreat and the Baltimore community walked down Key Highway to the fence surrounding the pier where the Sterett was moored and drummed and chanted throughout the 2 hour witness.

On August 8th, the Atlantic Life Community walked to the DOE. Dressed in sackcloth and ashes, the community used the same banners - “We repent of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki” and “We oppose the use and threat of all nuclear weapons.” Matt Olachek changed the sign on the lawn of the Department of Energy to the Department of Extinction. The planning group chose to witness at the DOE because the research and development of nuclear weapons is directed by the DOE, and all nuclear weapons are owned by the DOE.

Saturday, August 9, the site was the White House. Two Hibakusha - one a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing and the other a survivor of the Nagasaki bombing - had come from Japan for the anniversary. They told their moving stories from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the activists and the hundreds of tourists and then joined the silent vigil in sack cloth and ashes.

The evening of August 9, a newly formed peace flotilla convened in the waters surrounding the USS Sterett during the commissioning. Each of the 9 boats displayed colorful banners with pointed messages, including the banners that were unfurled on the Sterett two days earlier, a floating peace sign and a helium filled weather balloon holding up a banner DISARM.

For more pictures and information go to

Nuns Busted at Peterson A.F.B. (Colotado Springs, U.S.A.)


The seventh annual Sisters Witness Against War vigil, at the North
Gate of Peterson Air Force Base. Sisters from the Colorado Springs
orders of Mount St. Francis and Benet Hill were joined by sisters from
other orders and 50 members of the activist community. Every year this
vigil happens the anniversaries of the dropping of the atomic bomb on
Nagasaki and Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945. Participating this year
are Sister Barbara Huber of Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sister
Mary Ann Cunningham of the Sisters of Loretto in Denver and Esther
Kisamore of Colorado Springs