Catholic peacemaker receives ASIO treatment

Ciaron O'Reilly, who has been associated with the Catholic Worker peace movement for many years, has accused Australia's spy agency of heavy-handed tactics after he was pulled aside and interviewed at Brisbane Airport.

The Age reports that O'Reilly, 45, of Mitchelton on Brisbane's northside, said he was pulled into a secure office by two officers from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), immediately after disembarking in Brisbane about 8.40 pm on Friday.

He was returning home after a 30-hour flight on Malaysia Airlines from Dublin.

"It wasn't the greatest reception," Mr O'Reilly told AAP. "I was pretty tired and jet-lagged so I didn't know how to respond. I didn't know whether I was obliged to talk to them or not.

"I felt it was a kind of intimidation basically; they were asking what my plans were for the next three months, in terms of politically organising against Australian involvement in the war.

"I don't see what business that has to do with them if their main thing is security."

Mr O'Reilly, who was interviewed for about 30 minutes, was questioned on his activity during a joint military exercise at Shoalwater Bay last June.

The activist returned to Brisbane to visit family and believes his movements would be closely monitored while in Australia.

"I guess my best protection is to be as loud about it as possible," he said. "That is why I am saying this has happened to me and not to keep it a secret and not to be embarrassed about it."

Mr O'Reilly is a seasoned activist, protesting since he was a teenager. He has opposed issues including the war in Iraq, Indonesia's occupation of East Timor, uranium mining at Jabiluka and US defence training at Shoalwater Bay on the central coastal of Queensland.

He has previously served 13 months in a US prison for disabling a B-52 bomber in the United States during the 1991 Gulf war and is awaiting trial in Ireland after disabling a US military plane that was en route to Iraq at Shannon Airport in February 2003.

A spokeswoman for federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the minister would not discuss the nature of Mr O'Reilly's interview.

"ASIO has no interest in persons undertaking lawful protest activity, but the agency is responsible from protecting the Australian community from all forms of politically motivated violence, and that includes violent protest activities," she said.

Pictured: Ciaron O'Reilly visiting Brisbane Catholic school students last year.

Peace activist slams ASIO treatment (The Age/Australian Associated Press 8/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Ciaron O'Reilly (Selves and Others)
The Catholic Worker Movement
Peace On Trial
Would You Believe (RTE 24/10/02)

Ciaron O'Reilly Pulled by Australian Security Intelligence Organisation on Arrival (indymedia.ie 6/2/06)
Nun and two priests sent to prison after peaceful protests (Ekklesia 1/2/06)

8 Feb 2006