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Armed Forces Day Rally at Vandenberg AFB (5/17/03)

"Based upon further reflection, we're going to try to be there and start moving into action as soon as we possibly can when the attack is actually launched," said Peter Lumsdaine of the Vandenberg Action Coalition.
Help obstruct the attack on the Iraqi people and resist the global war machine at Vandenberg Air Force Base, worldwide operational command center for surveillance, targeting and weapons guidance in Iraq as well as Colombia, the Philippines, SW Asia, Mexico and numerous other targeted countries ...


* Armed Forces Day Rally *
Vandenberg AFB May 17, 2003
and May 17 - 24 backcountry action

with Medea Benjamin, Roy Bourgeois, Kathy Kelly,
Tensie Hernandez, Bud Boothe, Guari Delgado, and hopefully you.


EMERGENCY RESPONSE ACTION In Addition to May 17th Rally


If the government launches a new attack on Iraq - and on May 17, 2003 - concerned people will converge on Vandenberg's breathtakingly beautiful coast, for a nonviolent security zone occupation to challenge, confront, and disrupt its global surveillance, weapons targeting and guidance satellite launch complex (also used to guide nuclear missiles and Star Wars weapons).

As Vandenberg's surveillance & targeting satellites guide the bombers, gunships and military strike forces of corporate war - from Iraq and SW Asia to Colombia and the Philippines, we have the power to rise up and block the machinery of global violence. Join us!

Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on Hwy. 1, six miles N. of Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, California

More Info: (831) 457-9914 Vandenberg Action Coalition, Military Globalization Project: turningpoint@MGPnofate


Vandenberg 2002/2003 actions and resistance campaign
endorsed by:

Voices in the Wilderness,
Global Exchange,
School of the Americas Watch,
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space,
Tri Valley Cares,
Salinas Action League (831-754-5554)
and others
 
 


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Story From May 2002 edition of The Alarm Newspaper

Local Activists Gather at Vandenberg Air Force Base
By VINCENT A.LOMBARDO
The Alarm! Newspaper contributor

The third Saturday of May is celebrated as Armed Forces Day to commemorate the creation of the US Department of Defense. On May 18 this year, close to one-hundred people took the opportunity to voice their concerns about nuclear weapons and the corporatization of the military budget. The activists gathered at the gates of Vandenberg Air Force Base on California’s central coast. Two people were taken into custody after entering the base to deliver a message to its colonel. “We are here to say that we do not want bombs in space, we don’t want the Space Command, we don’t want space militarized… There’s enough weapons on
the planet to kill everyone several times over, so please stop,” declared MacGregor Eddy of Salinas, as she prepared to hop over the 30 inch orange plastic barrier that separated her from the confines of the base. “The message is peace,” added Santa Cruz activist Liz Rondell. “There is war happening all over the world and it’s time to stand up and [be a] witness for peace.” With those words, the two
infiltrated the base perimeter and were quickly surrounded by military police. After a few warnings bellowed from a loud speaker, military officers rounded up the two women and hauled them off to the brig.

Located some 200 miles south of Santa Cruz, on more than 98,000 acres of open land, Vandenberg is the third largest Air Force Base in the continental United States. For more
than thirteen thousand years, this land sat undeveloped and cared for by the Chumash Indian tribe, who were driven out of their traditional ocean-front villages and onto reservations by the Spanish conquistadores. In 1941, at the height of World War II, the United States Army took control of the land and used the site to train tank-gunners and other military personnel. Camp Cooke, as it was originally called, also took in more than 8,000 POW’s during the war, with 16 branch camps under its jurisdiction. The base was renamed Vandenberg in 1958, a year after the US Air Force was designated caretaker and transformed it into the nation’s first space and ballistic missile test facility. At present, Vandenberg is operated by the US Air Force Space Command’s 30th Space Wing.

Established in 1985 and currently operating under a budget of $66.8 million, the U.S. Space Command of the Department of Defense coordinates the Army, Navy and the Air Force for
space warfare—under military jargon, to perform missions of “space control,” “force application,” and “computer attack network.” The Space Command’s 1996 document Vision for 2020 reads on page four, “During the early portion of
the 21st century, space power will also evolve into a separate and equal medium of warfare. Likewise, space forces will emerge to protect military and commercial national interests and investments.”

Vandenberg is also the only site in the world where the Pentagon tests intercontinental ballistic missiles and
long-range nuclear missiles. The missiles are often aimed at Kwajalein Atoll, the planet’s largest corral atoll,
where six or seven thousand indigenous people have been forced off their land by the US Space Command. “It is
not just a paranoid speculation,” said Founding Member of the Vandenberg Action Coalition Peter Lumsdaine, “it is actually a circumstantially and directly documented fact of US strategic doctrine and policy that we have always reserved the right to strike first with nuclear weapons.”

On May 14, the US and Russia announced an agreement to cut existing nuclear stockpiles by almost three quarters over the next 10 years. Dave “Woody” Wood, who traveled from
Santa Cruz with his mother and son to attend Saturday’s protest, calls the agreement “a great first step.” But Wood said he was skeptical since the plan allows the weapons to essentially be on-call. “If we could take about 95% of [the weapons] off, that would be a really great second step,” he said.

Sabiha Basrai, a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo said she was at the demonstration because her school
receives a lot of funding from corporations like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon. “Those companies also highly recruit from our campus and we’re very much a part of the war machine in that way,” she said.

But not everyone was there to voice opposition. Seven people, who said they live near the military installation,
were positioned on the opposite side of the base entrance. Adorned in red, white, & blue, they held hand-made signs bearing the words “We Support Our Military,” and similar slogans. “We’re here because the protesters are here,” one man explained. “It’s Armed Forces Day, they should be giving thanks to our military, they shouldn’t be protesting against them.”

According to Lumsdaine, however, the demonstrators did not intend to denounce the soldiers in the armed forces. “We are gathering to call ourselves and our nation to task for the level of violence and the level of injustice that this government and the high command are choosing to inflict,” he ex-plained.

A pair of deputies from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office and a handful of CHP officers assisted the dozens of military officers on duty. The deputies distributed flyers to the assembled demonstrators, emblazoned with the letterhead of the Defense Department. The handbill was a memo issued by Air Force Colonel Robert M Worley II, declaring the base closed to non-military personnel. Attached was information explaining the effects of pepper spray and instructions on arrest procedures.

Meanwhile, in the adjacent field of Vandenberg Middle School, a crowd of demonstrators gathered into a circle. Mary Rider, the director of the Seamless Garment Network in North Carolina, pointed out that the United States government spends approximately $600,000 per minute on its military. “Think what that money could do if we used it to start peace academies, to feed the hungry, to house the homeless around the world, [provide] healthcare, food
and basic human necessities for everyone,” she said.

Meg Lumsdaine, a Lutheran minister, read from a card sent to her by a friend whose son is stationed in Afghanistan, “I spoke by phone, Thursday, to my son in Bagram. I told him of your plans next week. His reply was, Mom, if you had seen what I’ve seen, and done what I’ve had to do over here, you wouldm do anything you could for peace. You tell her to do whatever she needs to do if she thinks it can help give us peace.”

Eddy and Rondell were released within an hour. Both are restricted from entering the base for the next three years.

For more information contact: Vandenberg Action Coalition,
MPGturningpoint (at) aol.com or Vandenberg Air Force
Base www.vandenberg.af.mil/.
 

Background Audio Reports 2001

Background Info Audio Report from May 2001 here: santacruz.indymedia.org/front.php3

And here:
santacruz.indymedia.org/front.php3
 

Interview From May 2002 edition of Alarm Newspaper

Excerpt from April interview with Peter
Lumsdaine
By ARMANDO ALCARAZ
The Alarm!Newspaper Collective

Peter Lumsdaine is a founder and coordinator of the
Vandenberg Action Coalition. In 1992. Lumsdane took
part in a Ploughshare Action, destroying a NAVSTAR
satellite, a satellite equipped for space-to-earth military
surveillance and precursor of the civilian Global Position-ing System (GPS), an action that created millions of dollars
in damages. He spent 18 months in prison.

A: What is the mission of the Vandenberg Action
Coalition and what are you trying to accomplish
with the protests?
P: Just like the WTO was identifi ed by people all
over as the place where all of these different threads
of oppressive economic power—the clear-cuts, the
strip mines, the sweatshops—came together at this
pivotal meeting, on the brink of a new century in Se-attle.
Under that same perspective, we are trying to
raise the awareness of what Vandenberg does, how
crucial it is to many different confl icts and oppres-sive
situations of the world.
From indigenous land rights to the military
enforcement of economic and corporate globaliza-tion
through counterinsurgency wars, up to these
regional bombing campaigns and the continuing
threat of global nuclear confl ict, all cross paths at
Vandenberg.
What we are really looking at now, and what I
am very much focused on, is working to establish
a long term vision and an organizing plan to really
build this into a signifi cant lasting statewide regional
campaign, somewhat similar to the campaign that
has developed in recent years around the School of
the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. One of the
things that I say to people is that Vandenberg really
is and it really needs to be seen as the high tech 21st
century School of the Americas of the West Coast.

A: What is the history of resistance at Vanden-berg?
P: Vandenberg has a fairly deep and wide history
of organizing efforts in California that go back for 20
years now, in fact it is pretty much the twentieth an-niversary
of nonviolent direct action at Vandenberg
Airforce Base. There was a large wave of arrests
that occured in the 1980’s. There were a couple of
Ploughshares disarmament actions either at Van-denberg
or related to Vandenberg’s military satellite
technology in the last of the 80’s and early 90’s. But
in the last couple of years we have kinda revived this
direct action campaign at Vandenberg. There have
been around 65 arrests that have occurred among
folks in the Vandenberg Action Coalition and other
25 or 30 among Greenpeace groups. We are now
close to 100 arrests there.

A: Why choose Vandenberg Airforce Base to do
nonviolent direct actions?
P: Vandenberg is right at the center of op-erational
control systems for fi ghting regional wars
and counterinsurgency campaigns throughout the
world, primarily in what is called the Third World.
Then you also have to look at the fact that Vanden-berg
itself is built on Indigenous Chumash land and
the opposite end of the zone is Kwajalein Atoll, the
largest coral attol of the planet and where thousands
of indigenous people have been forcibly relocated
out of their homeland and fi shing grounds to create
a target zone for Vandenberg missiles and a launch
zone for its Star Wars space weapons experiments.
And then, the site itself, somewhat like Vieques in
Puerto Rico is very susceptible to nonviolent direct
action, to people having a dramatic impact. It is very
vulnerable to nonviolent disruption because they
have to keep people out to do their business, and
it is very very diffi cult. They have said themselves
it is extremely disruptive for people to hike into off
limits security zones and it is very hard to seal the
bases’ boundaries because there are 55 miles of entry
points.
So in terms of that convergence of issues, in terms
of that pivotal role of the base and in terms of the
incredible opportunity for people to experience that
land to re-inhabit that land and to really get in the
way in a very concrete way a nonviolent way of
this war global mechanism that is being carried out
there, it is an amazing opportunity. And an amazing
responsibility I think, for people that live in this part
of the continent.

A: How was the organization of the Vandenberg
Action Coalition’s campaign affected by 9/11?
P: I think that people within the Vandenberg Ac-tion
Coalition have tried to grapple like everybody
else with the implications of 9/11 and the present
situation that we are in. There is no doubt that the
organizing has been slowed down or set back in a
major way. What is important is that the recognition
of how crucial that base is, the history of nonviolent
resistance, the history of the last couple of years and
of the last couple of decades, and the potential and
need for the future, those are the factors that are re-ally
going to drive the campaign forward.
Now, whether it will swing back this spring to the
level we had in the spring before 9/11, when there
were 300 people, and 36 people got arrested, and the
base was signifi cantly hampered in many operations
because of the back country affi nity group actions,
if we will swing back, I don’t know, but I think that
there are a lot of people with a very strong vision
and will to build this on a sustained basis. We are
trying to bring it back as fast as we can. I think
that the nature of the actions needs to continue, I
think that these twin dimensions of commitment to
nonviolence and commitment to nonviolent civil re-sistance
will have to remain as the guiding principles
of the work.
I don’t know what the consequences will be. The
sentences might go up, the security reaction may dif-fer
now. I think that if people are willing to risk their
lives—whether they are US soldiers, or fi refi ghters
for that matter, or rebel movements, whoever it is
throughout history (and in the case of soldiers or
rebel movements are willing to risk their lives in
armed confl ict)—then how can we, who are trying
to represent peace and nonviolence, possibly have
anything signifi cant to say to society and to say to
those people, if we are not willing to shoulder some
comparable risks in nonviolent action and nonvio-lent
resistance? I think it is not easy—I get as scared
and nervous as the next person—but I think we just
have to go forward.
 

Background audio

More Audio of May 2001 action here: www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php
 

Dumb

Whatever happens to you when you trespass on a military base to disrupt its operations - you deserve.
 

Treason!

Your plan to attempt to disrupt the defense of our country is treason. I guess you know the penalty for treason during wartime.
 

Upon further reflection...

Dear Mr. Lumsdaine:

Since you intend to disrupt the defense of my country, which is protecting me and my family from harm, I hope that you and your family are the first to die in the next terrorist attack.
 

Interesting read

You guys are truly psycho!

"for a nonviolent security zone occupation to challenge, confront, and disrupt its global surveillance, weapons targeting and guidance satellite launch complex "

Sounds like espionage to me.

I have a better idea, why don't you go and become human shields, that would be good!
 

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