Bryan Law Captured in Shoalwater Exercise Area…..and then there were 5!

By Bryan Law

Last Sunday morning, when I’d usually be just leaving Mass with the closing words “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” resonating in my ears, I found myself instead on a dusty road at the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area. In front of me, stopped on the road, was an armoured column of US Marines, looking fierce with all their machine guns and cannons and carbines.

I had stopped the armoured column by the sophisticated, high technology method of waving a blue plastic tarpaulin at them from beside the road as I emerged from the bush – a peace-crazed trespasser on the giant war-games called Exercise Talisman Sabre, outside Rockhampton in central Queensland. The Marine who spotted me from the turret of an APC, hopped on the radio and said something along the lines of “Holy Jiminy Batman, there’s an intruder on our war!”, and the column ground to a halt. Goodoh! Thinks me, this is what I came to do. For the how and why of that, let’s go back a step.

On Thursday 16 July 2009 I walked into the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area with two friends, Culley Palmer, 21 and Jim Dowling, 51. We’d formed our little band over 10 days of organising and taking symbolic actions around the Peace Convergence, and we’d been part of the Martin Luther King House of Christian Nonviolence at Yeppoon. Our mission is to save Australia and the world from the spiritual death of militarism. 

Full reflection by Bryan continued on this link…….


  1. Jack Cohen-Joppa

    Thanks Bryan and all!
    Latest issue of the Nuclear Resister is out, and leaves your story hanging on July 17…

    • harvey

      When I was at school they used to tell me that the 1914-1918 world war was described by those who witnessed it as ‘The Great War, the war to end all wars’. It seemed that the lessons learnt back then were soon forgotten. If anything warfair became more industrialised and so even greater financial gain could be made by the war profiteerers at the suffering and misery of anyone who got in the way.
      Maybe because of this it seems that the US and UK have been at continuous wars ever since. Bastards!
      So I want to send my support for your brave efforts and attempts to educate people, that surely, it’s about time we knew better and tried different ways to resolve conflicts and sort out our differences.
      Anyway – that’s enough spiel from me. Keep posting reports and more importantly – KEEP AT IT !!
      Harvey (England)

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  • The Af/Pak War and the USA & Australia Militaries

      While Australia services the escalting U.S. Af/Pak War in northern Pakistan and southern Afghanistan, a training exercise is taking place in July in central Queensland/Australia between the two militaries.

      Australia has a long history servicing U.S. aggression in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The Catholic Worker has a long history in nonviolently resisting such wars and preparations for war. Catholic Workers are heading to the Talisman Sabre exercises to 'fight fire with water' and nonviolently bring and end to Talsiman Sabre and the Af/Pak War.

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