Resisting arms dealer Thales in Brisbane

Friday 25th March 2022

Thales rocket used by Indonesian military against West Papuans

Last Easter, a group of people from ‘Wage Peace’ went to the Thales factory/warehouse at Pinkenba. Jim Dowling was charged with “unauthorised high risk activity” for climbing on a roof and holding a banner near their large THALES sign.

Thales boasts that it is the 8th largest arms dealer in the world. They have received over a billion dollars from the Australian government since 2018.

They manufacture here in Australia Bushmaster Armoured (and armed) vehicles which they also export to Indonesia. It is known that these vehicles have been use in the killing of West Papuans.
They also manufacture bombs and bullets at their plant at Benalla.

Thanks to the Dowling family, Ciaron O’Reilly and Andy Paine for their resistance against the weapons manufacturer Thales based here in Brisbane (Meanjin). Jim Dowling had this to say outside Brisbane magistrates Court on 24 Mar 2022 :

Transcript of Interview with Jim Dowling, Ciaron O’Reilly and Franz by Andy Paine (apologies for errors in transcript … you can listen to interview on FB or on Soundcloud’s – 4PR Voice of the People.

Andy 

Welcome to ‘wage peace’ live on Facebook. We are here at the Brisbane Magistrates Court, a group of supporters and Jim Dowling here who is facing court today, for last year, disrupting Thales war machine facility here in Brisbane, up on the roof there and brought attention to what’s being done by this company in our neighboring Pacific and around the world. Jim, how are you feeling today?

Jim Dowling 

Yeah, pretty good to be standing up against the answer. It’s the thing to do. Right stuff or do stuff always merchant to death making a fortune out of war, and it’s pushing it.

Andy 

So can you tell us what happened last year? What’s brought you here?

Well, there’s a campaign against the arms trade in Brisbane last year. Quite a big campaign, they had an arms convention at the Southbank Convention Center. And before that, leading up to that we had lots of protests and different arms dealers members, the government’s giving $300 billion over 10 years to the art industry in Australia. To build it up to become one of the top 10 dealers in the world. That’s a noble goal (sarcasm). I will come out of the top 10. So we went to some of these places. We are two Thales at Pinkenba. They’vegot a factory there where they service ‘Bushmasters’. Bushmasters are armed personnel carriers which they sold a 100 to the Australian Government. They’s I’ve also sold a large number to Indonesia,  that they’ve been using them to kill West Papuans.

Jim Dowling 

So we were particularly focusing on the Indonesian connection. And there’s we’ve got pictures of rockets, which they also make, which have been used to bomb the West Papuans. So we’ve got evidence of this; Thales rockets collected by West Papuans.

And so last year, group of us went out there to their little factory and held banners and placards and I climbed on the roof and held a banner next to their to the sign saying ‘Making a killing in West Papua’ Thales.  So for that I was charged with this law called unregulated high risk activity, even though there’s absolutely no risk is very low, and there’s a fence all around the top of the roof. And anyhow, they bought in this floor to stop people have sailing off bridges and jumping and parachutes of buildings and stuff. By now they’re using against protesters, just because they can.

Jim Dowling 

So anyhow, we’re here today to continue the resistance to the arm trade, to say no to merchants of deaths. And further resisting this silly challenge. Yeah, resisting these murderous arms dealers.

Andy 

So not the first time here at the magistrate’s court resisting war, is it?

Jim Dowling 

Now there are quite a few times. Yeah, since the early 80s. Yeah.

Andy 

And what to you is the importance of doing these kinds of actions to resist war?

Jim Dowling 

Well, when I was in the WatchHouse recently, a copper said to me: “You’ll never change the world, mate”. And I used that as an opportunity quote famous quote, “I’m just making damn sure the world’s not going to change m, mate”.

 So you know, if we give up all hope, and we don’t resist violence and death making then you know, there’s not much, much of a life. We’ve got a quote on our wall and it says, Martin Luther King Jr. Says, “The day we remain silent about the things that matter, is the day we slowly die.”

So that’s why I’m here today to speak up, and to speak out about death making to do my little act of resistance in the hope that it will have an effect and every lttle act has some effect. If you’re being part of the system and not doing anything that has an effect. Not such a great effect. And if you’re resisting it having an effect as well. So I’m just doing my own resist, as we all are here today.

Andy 

All right. Anything else you want to say to the people of internet?

Jim Dowling 

Well, yeah, I got something. When Julian Assange was arrested, he’s been in custody for over 10 years in one way or another … if you ever watched the footage of him being dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy. We can him clearly say, “you can resist , you can resist! and I’d like to say that you can resist

Andy 

All right. Thanks, Jim. We will keep everybody on Facebook updated on how the trial guys I think I spotted Ciaron O’Reilly, he might have say a few words.

Ciaron O’Reilly 

Just reflecting on that, Jim 44 years ago when I was 17, just around the corner, when we were arrested, by the Queensland Police are expressing opposition to the mining and export of uranium, and the possibilities of nuclear war. And today, of course, we’re on the verge of a war back in Europe. And so obviously, Jim is in strife today with the courts, because in solidarity of the people in West copper, and we’re both very involved with the solidarity struggle, especially in the 90s of people in East Timor  … Timor Leste. And in the early years of that, it felt very much like this, just a handful of us. And today, of course, Timor is at least free of Indonesian military occupation. And, you know, we hope that that will be the future for West Papa.

And everything seems pretty cozy and civilized here in the center of empire. But the company is operating in this environment like Thales, create chaos and fascism, and assassination and torture and death just north of here in West Papa, it’s very hard to bring that reality into the apathy and comfort of George Street, Brisbane Australia, It is great that Jim’s kept this up for the last 44 years. And there’s an old saying that ‘the future belongs to the remnant come out of slavery’. And unfortunately, a lot of people are enslaved to consumerism and the mainstream media, not you Andy, in a kind of … a kind of zombification of civil society. Standing out here, pretty countercultural sign, trying to talk to people and engaging. Some people walking off jobs that they hate  … any questions.

Andy 

I will say we spoke about land forces last year, there’s a lot of resistance in Brisbane against the weapons trade with the land forces convention on weapons convention. And that will be on again in early October. And so if you are watching this video, and think, Hey, I don’t like war and weapons makers, then you too, can be part of the resistance … come along to ‘disrupt land forces’, it’ll be another big gathering of people trying to challenge the weapons industry and the billions of dollars of profit and the billions of dollars in government subsidies that they get, and say, keep following ‘wage peace’ or ‘disrupt land forces’ and you’ll find out the info of how you can get off your screen and come down and join in or if you’re at our place around the country, I can join in with other groups around the country, of course, lots of groups resisting the war machine. And we do need everybody … if peace is going to have a chance and we need at least as many people as there are organizing for war. And the military has very deep pockets to pay people which we don’t have. So we need the committed people to show up. We’ve got  Christine over here chatting to a bystander. Anybody else here want to have a chat to live video?

Quality supporters here, Franz does have his Papuan support group shirt on. We are here in solidarity with West Papuans people because Thales weapons, kill people all over the world and are involved in all kinds of conflicts and all kinds of dodgy deals. But for us in Australia, West Papua was very important. Franz, you want to say briefly why you think West Papa is important to stand up for?

Franz 

Yeah, well, they’re our closest neighbor. And they’ve been suffering for such a long time, you know, 60 years of persecution, invasion, still fighting for their freedom. And we not only trained the Indonesian military still who are going, persecute and kill West papuans, but we also sell them weapons. We’ve been doing that for a very long time. Weapons that are used to kill West Papuans in their own home. Our our weapons are built on this soil. So it’s a very, very important issue that not many people seem to talk about and to know much about. So yeah, I’m hoping to shine a light on

Andy
It is a war in our backyard. Only 100 kilometers from Australia’s coast. And yeah, we see so much about conflicts when the media deems them newsworthy on our news conflicts in faraway places. But the ones nearby don’t get covered. Of course, not just West Papua. We’re in the Asia Pacific region. We’ve also seen Myanma taken by a military coup and so many people have forgotten about that. We’ve had a conflictsd in the Pacific, in Fiji and all around the parts of the empire of Indonesia.

And, of course, the the mining companies that use the military to enforce their environmental destruction as well, some of these mining companies based in Australia with large arms in Australia, and they’re in West Papua, Indonesia, other parts of the world: Malaysia … using the military to enforce their destruction of our planet. And that’s the other thing that we need to call out the military for, especially as we come to face climate crisis. What role does the military play in this? Which which the answer is a lot? Anyway, that’s about it for us on Facebook Live this morning, stay tuned to ‘wage peace’. And you’ll find out how Jim goes in his trial … we are expecting him at the very least to give a very good speech in court. Plenty of experience of it and he’s never wanted to back down in the face of the legal authorities and say, it’s so important to show solidarity with those people who’ve stepped out taking a risk for peace and also to be those people … people who don’t just go along with the status quo which for so many people is so destructive, say tuning out now from ‘wage peace’, but see you at the next action.

Transcript by Ian Curr

Please correct any errors in the comments section down below.

*** STOP PRESS *** 25 march 2022

“Dear friends, once again police dropped charges for resistance to the arms trade, specifically Thales.
A small group of us vigiled outside the Brisbane court for an hour with a banner reading Put the Arms dealers on Trial and other placards. Once I got upstairs the Prosecutor informed me she would be dropping charges. A shame in some ways as I was looking forward to exposing the insidious nature of the Arms industry and its Brisbane connection, especially arming the Indonesian military to oppress West Papuans.”

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