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VAFB authorizes 'deadly force' against trespassing protesters

Vandenberg Air Force Base authorizes 'deadly force' against trespassing

The Associated Press
March 15, 2003

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) - Security forces at Vandenberg Air
Force Base may use "deadly force" against protesters if they infiltrate the
military complex if a war starts, officials said.

Some anti-war activists plan to trespass onto base grounds in hopes of
disturbing Vandenberg's mission and to vandalize sensitive equipment they
contend helps guide the war effort.

Vandenberg officials revealed Friday that military security police may shoot
to kill, if necessary, to protect base residents and machinery.

The directive has always been in existence, but a base spokeswoman said it
is more critical now that people understand its severity.

"This is not fun and games anymore," said Maj. Stacee Bako. "We're living in
post 9/11. We don't know what's going to happen with the war effort in Iraq.
These folks have got to realize their actions. ... They're illegal

Military police will use their "judgment, experience and training" to
determine if lethal force is necessary, she said.

"Deadly force can be used when lesser means of force aren't feasible or have
failed, and to protect (Department of Defense) assets designated as vital to
the national security," she explained.

The deadly force policy will not deter protesters, said Peter Lumsdaine of
the Vandenberg Action Coalition, one of the organizers of the planned

"I think it does underline that people in the nonviolent resistance movement
are willing to take some risks," Lumsdaine said.

A Guadalupe man jumped onto the base's entrance sign Friday and sprayed it
with 4 ounces of his own blood in a symbolic gesture of his anti-war stance.
Dennis Apel, 52, later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of trespassing
and vandalism. He will be sentenced next month in a Santa Barbara federal
court and faces a possible jail sentence or fine.

"We wanted them to see some blood," said Apel, a member of Guadalupe
Catholic Worker, a social reform movement. "We wanted them to in some way
visually experience the consequences of what they're doing."

Vandenberg has been on heightened alert since the 2001 terrorist attacks,
with barricades near sensitive equipment and tighter access to the
classified installation.

Bako said the security measures, including the deadly force decree, are
necessary because of the threat of biological weapons.

"It's impossible for us to determine what their intent is," she said. "Are
they protesters? Are there terrorists in that group and (do) they plan on
killing everyone on base? They all have to be dealt with as very specific
threats, whether they're vandalizing a sign, crossing the green (no
trespassing) line or infiltrating the backcountry."

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Deadly force is the right choice

The people who are threatening to invade Vandenberg are no better than the terrorists that flew planes into the WTC. Deadly force is the right solution for dealing with terrorists.


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