News

VIDEO: Protesters say war sucks social and economic capital

Talisman Sabre protesters outside Rockhampton Court House late last year.
Talisman Sabre protesters outside Rockhampton Court House late last year. Sharyn Oneill Rokscourt

TOMORROW one of the world's largest warships, the USS George Washington, docks in Brisbane ahead of the 2015 Exercise Talisman Sabre at Shoalwater Bay.

The nuclear-powered warship and its 6000 sailors will join with Australian, New Zealand and Japanese troops for the joint training exercises from July 4.

Along with the troops come the protesters, on a mission to slow down and disrupt the international war exercises.

Activist Greg Rolles, a former soldier and the holder of a Master's Degree in International Relations, flies in the face of the stereotype peace protester.

Mr Rolles says he is not opposed to a trained military, but to the US Alliance and the wars the alliance has dragged Australia into.

"Wars like Afghanistan and Iraq have come at a huge personal and financial cost into the billions of dollars," Mr Rolles said.

"In 2003 we were involved in a huge scale support of Iraq that killed 1.3 million civilians and left the place in tatters.

"My first concern is the victims of war, the Australian soldiers and innocent people being killed… we need to step back for a moment and think what the best response is.

"It's an issue that isn't talked about much in Australia, but it sucks so much of our social and economic capital."

Mr Rolles joined the Australian Army in 2000. He was in basic training and preparing to move into electronic warfare on September 11, 2001.

"I started to question when it was morally right to kill someone," he said.

"Individually, a lot of officer cadets would talk to me about why we were killing all these people, but in a group everyone towed the line."

He left the army in 2003 and says the transition to peace activist was "an evolution".

Mr Rolles believes the best response to the current threat from Islamic State is to encourage an arms embargo and to stop buying oil from ISIS.

"The Syrian government is buying oil from ISIS and that's what funds a lot of their operations… they control the oil fields," he said.

"The Pro Shiite militia in Western Iraq, the Al Nusra Front operating in Syria or the Free Syrian Army have all been accused of human rights abuses as bad as ISIS, but they don't advertise it on video and social media.

"ISIS is looking for a response from the West, for military engagement.

"Lots of powers are flooding arms into the region, but there's no talk between US, Russia and Europe about how many weapons are being sold and who is selling them.

"That's one way you could use the United Nations... Germany has proposed an arms embargo.

"As it is, complex factions are fighting each other with cheap weapons.

"What else do you do when people are bombing your family? These people are desperate."

Mr Rolles and his friends operate under the principles of non-violence, though not necessarily the law.

He says it would be great if people contacted their local members to protest, but activists are planning to trespass on Shoalwater Bay.

"I understand why people are reluctant to engage with us, but I think we need to talk a bit deeper about the actual cost and what these war exercises are all about.

"Community, communication and peace-building is how we build a just, secure peace."

Topics:  shoalwater bay military training, talisman sabre 2015




Queensland has one of hottest August nights on record

You probably didn't need any blankets last night.

Minimum temperatures across the state in double digits

WARNING: Watch out for this convincing scam

Scam email

Email scam targets Telstra customers

Woman airlifted after CQ highway smash

Capricorn Highway smash

Fire crews and QAS are still on their way.

Latest deals and offers

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Angie and Yvie ready to toast The Bachelor on Gogglebox

Angie and Yvie in a scene from the TV series Gogglebox.

ALL the regulars return in TV show about people watching TV.

Morgan Freeman asks: are we alone? Why do humans exist?

Morgan Freeman in Through the Wormhole. Photo: Discovery Science

Question all you thought you knew, on Foxtel.

Five new things to see and do at this year's Muster

There's already plenty of fun to be had at the XXXX bar.

Here are five new things to see and do at this year's Gympie Muster

Cheap Fraser Coast island drops its price

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.