ABC is deeply shocked to learn of Bryan Law’s death

Chief Reporter

Press Release ABC - 3 April 2013

ABC members & supporters,

ABC is deeply shocked to learn of Bryan Laws’ death.

He was a significant person to us for two reasons.

1/ He was one of the Australian Christian peace activists to enter and occupy the top secret US warfighting spy base at Pine Gap, near Alice Springs, in December 2005. See Peace Researcher 33, November 2006, “Aussie Activists Occupy Top Secret Pine Gap US Spy Base: First To Ever Face Draconian Charges” They were fined (the State wanted them imprisoned) but were then acquitted on all charges on appeal to the Supreme Court. See PR 36, August 2008, “Pine Gap ‘Invaders’ Acquitted: Huge Defeat For Covert State”

2/ Bryan didn’t confine his anti-bases activism to Australia. In March 2010 he was one of the Australian contingent who came to Wellington to actively participate in the support for the Waihopai Domebusters during their trial (and they were acquitted too). This is from PR 40. July 2010 “”Vindicated! Waihopai Domebusters Acquitted Of All Charges”

“Media Wilfully Ignored Trial"

The trial was fascinating, a landmark case. What a pity that the media didn’t report it. They turned up in large numbers on Day One and came back on Day Eight, for the closing addresses and the jury’s verdict. Hence they heard none of the defence evidence, as Day One was taken up by the prosecution case, basically a repeat of the September 2008 depositions hearing in the Blenheim District Court… So the bewildered outrage that followed the stunningly fast acquittal really was based on ignorance – the media weren’t there for the bulk of the trial, which was the defence case. If it had been a gory murder case, they would have been there in numbers for every lurid second. There was one honourable exception and he was one of us – Bryan Law, from Australia, was given media accreditation to report the case for the Scoop Website and thus Scoop was the only outlet to report the whole trial (not before Bryan was threatened with being charged with contempt of court for commenting on the case on a blog site; Scoop came to the rescue and accredited him as one of their reporters. The media bench was so conspicuously empty most of the time that Judge Harrop invited people, including kids, from the overflowing public gallery to sit at it).

“Bryan Law is a veteran Australian peace and anti-bases activist who has featured in Peace Researcher before…. Bryan was a stand out speaker at the public meeting that ABC organised in Wellington during the trial. He was only one of several Aussie activists to make a special trip to Wellington to show practical solidarity… It was the first time that ABC had been able to meet these guys, although we’d had dealings with them for years, and it was great to have them this side of the Tasman for an actionpacked week, both inside the court and on the streets of Wellington…”

The attached photo of Bryan (by John Darroch) was taken during the 2010 Domebusters’ trial and shows him speaking at the Ploughshares’ shrine, outside the US Embassy in Thorndon.

ABC offers its deepest condolences to Bryan’s family, friends and colleagues, on either side of the Tasman.

Murray Horton



R.I.P. Bryan Law has passed away, while awaiting ploughshares trial for disarmament of attack helicopter

It is great sadness and shock to hear that Australian anti-war activist Bryan Law has passed away in Rockhamtpon. 

Bryan was 58 and had relocated from his home in Cairns to prepare for both Talisman Sabre 2013 U.S./Australian military exercises and his & Graeme Dunstan's August "Rocky Ploughshares" trial in Rockhampton following the disarmament of a Tiger Attack helicopter during the Talisman Sabre 2011 military exercises.

Video of the Rocky Ploughshares action for which Bryan and Graeme Dunstan were charged

Sympathy and prayer go out to Bryan's wife Margaret and son Joseph.

Cairns obituary

I first heard Bryan before I saw him. I was 17 years old and had been badly beaten up by Queensland police at a banned street march in Brisbane and placed in a cell in the Brisbane watchhouse All demonstrations were banned for several years 1977-82 by an authoritarian Joh Bjelke Petersen led Queensland state government in response to the anti-uranium mining movement. The ban was enforced by a corrupt off-the-leash Queensland police force that has now been long exposed.

I was unable to afford the huge bail placed on me and 9 other folks decided to refuse bail from Saturday afternoon to Monday morning before we appeared before a magistrate. We could not see each other in the other cells but we could yell out to each other. At one point on the Saturday evening I remember this deep droll voice starting to complain about cigarette burns on the carpet in his cell and how his cell television was playing up. Of course carpet and television didn't exist ..... but Bryan was so convincing, he had me sold!

There were thousands who refused to "go along to get along" with the Queensland Bjelke Petersen government and police force during that 1977-82 crackdown. Of the thousands arrested, bashed, raided, framed, harassed, blacklisted during that period, some of us remained "beat up but upbeat" turning towards, exploring and sustaining nonviolent resistance against war and war preparations. As we turned towards the U.S. traditions of the Catholic Worker and Berrigans, Bryan turned to a deep exploration of Gandhi.

Our paths crossed over the next 30+ years and it was always a delight to hear Bryan reflect, speak and act. Bryan's laid back Australian demeanour contrasted with my Irish outrage, He was Australia at its best when confronted by injustice - direct, unfazed, courageous.

We were back in the new Brisbane watchhouse together in 1988 for nonviolent resistance to nuclear warship visits - USS New Jersey & HMS Ark Royal.

In response to Australian military involvement in the wars on Iraq & Afghanistan Bryan, Adele Goldie, Jim Dowling and Donna Mulhearn made for the hi tech Australian heart of the beast breaking into Pine Gap.

Vid - Bryan speaking outside Pine Gap

We are a lot poorer as an active anti-war remnant in this dark time without Bryan.

Sympathy and solidarity to Bryan's wife Margaret, son Joseph and co-defendant Graeme

This poem "Some" by Fr Dan Berrigan SJ speaks to Bryan's long fidelity to the nonviolent struggle for peace and justice

Ciaron O'Reilly


"The poor tell us who we are,

The prophets tell us who we could be,

So we hide the poor,

And kill the prophets."