The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network bring together over 50 community peace and justice organisations across Australia.
The treatment by members of the ADF, reported to be SAS troops, of a small group of peaceful protesters at Swan Island military base on the 7th October is unacceptable to the members of our network.
It is our understanding the Swan Island Peace Convergence group has protested Australian involvement in foreign wars over the past 3 years, with protestors treated 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 are indicative of the Australian government’s current policies aimed at restricting 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 Grahib prison in 2004 by US troops. When viewed in the context of the government’s decision to send Australian forces into Iraq for the thrid time we express our concern that again the people of our country are being constrained in their democratic rights to protest as this engagement potentially grows into a major war.