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UPDATE: Non-violent Direct Action at Vandenberg AFB

Activists infiltrate the heart of the machine that commands the US war against Iraq: Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California.
For Immediate Release March 25, 2003

Iraq War Resisters Reach Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Sensitive High-Security Core

Between Sunday evening and Tuesday morning a nonviolent resistance team affiliated with the Vandenberg Action Coalition successfully breached security in a strategic area in California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, challenging its key role in the military attack on Iraq. The group hiked for miles over rough terrain, eluding military security patrols, camping out when necessary, and spending a total of 32 hours on the Base.

The nonviolent team infiltrated a heavily developed and blindingly flood-lit central area at night. Banners and signs were hung on a fence facing a huge military industrial facility on Washington Ave. One banner was emblazoned with the word EMPIRE, boldly crossed out with red paint, a second read DISARM GEORGE, and other signs from the group included a early American flag inscribed with “the Spirit of ’76: revolution against empire”; Christ’s words “love your enemies”; as well as messages honoring the late Philip Berrigan, founder of the Plowshares actions, and peace activist Rachel Corrie, recently killed by a military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. Signs were left expressing horror over the countless civilian casualties of the war against Iraq and a commitment to resist the US government’s imperial policies around the world.
While in the security zone, the activists also witnessed the launching of two large military jet aircraft at fairly close range. Returning early Tuesday morning the group’s mood was both somber and exhilarated, and members expressed a renewed commitment to continue organizing resistance actions against “global military terror” at Vandenberg.

Below are statements from members of the group:

A University of California graduate student:
“Our presence within VAFB confirms that possession of the most massive and high-tech forces are no guarantee of security. It is clear that policies supposedly designed to safeguard American citizens are aimed more at eliminating dissent and consolidating control than about achieving anybody’s safety in this country or any other.”

A physics student from Santa Cruz, at Cabrillo College
“It is to our enduring shame that the intellectual vigor of both past and present generations has been turned by the powers that be towards the forging and honing of ever more destructive weapons to be used in the oppression and exploitation of people worldwide. The Pentagon, in their recent Strategic Policy Review, has shown a steadfast refusal to rule out the use of nuclear weapons over any nation, even non-nuclear powers. In addition to this cataclysm-in-waiting, the US military has used and continues to use highly toxic and radioactive Depleted Uranium armor and munitions in every modern theatre, leaving behind over 300 tons of this metal scattered in Iraq during the first Gulf War. Some of us have chosen to stand directly in the way of the war machine. Our nonviolent occupation of VAFB demonstrates our commitment to constraining with morality both science and the will of nations.”

A Lutheran pastor from California:
“Crossing through the terrain of VAFB, one is struck by the paradox of the awesome beauty and the rugged harshness of its land – it is as if the sacredness of Creation responds in angered protest against the destruction inflicted around the globe at the hands of the base. As a Christian, I felt a strong presence of the Holy Spirit which sustained us in our resistance to globalized terror. Our ability to successfully penetrate the highly sensitive central base – to infiltrate VAFB’s security zone and elude its high security forces – was not only an act to disrupt the Base’s operations of the war in Iraq in a non-violent and tangible way, but also a statement that military might and armed destruction does not have the final and authoritative word on security or peace.”

A peace movement organizer and father:
“As a parent I am deeply concerned about the future which my daughter and countless children throughout global society, including Iraq, will increasingly face unless we intensify the nonviolent resistance to a corporate-military system that spreads atrocities across the planet. Those forces in the U.S. power structure who armed and funded Saddam’s worst abuses when it served their profits and power, then subjected the Iraqi people to massive lethal misery through infrastructure bombing and sanctions, should have zero credibility posing as liberators. At Vandenberg, in spite of the Strategic Command’s lethal-force threats against us, we are trying to throw sand in the strategic gears of a hypocritical high-tech savagery that is now sending civilian burn victims staggering from U.S.-bombed Iraqi villages, while planning to put an entire region of the planet under military and oil-company occupation. We are trying to begin taking at some part of the risks for peace that soldiers routinely take for war; and, as a Christian, I personally recognize that I must take such risks in obedience to the words of Jesus in the four Gospels.”

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Civil Resistance Continues in the High-Security Areas of Vandenberg Air Force Base

LOMPOC, CA.- With the civilian death toll mounting in Iraq, protestors at Central California’s highly strategic Vandenberg Air Force Base enter the fifth day of a nonviolent security zone occupation. “We want to keep the pressure on as long as possible,” said organizers with the Vandenberg Action Coalition. “Vandenberg Air Force Base is complicit in the international crimes carried out by the US military in Iraq and around the world. The longer we can disrupt their operations, the more difficult it will be for them to succeed in their mission of state-sponsored terror and destruction.”

At least five nonviolent resistance teams have hiked into the base through rugged and brushy hills to carry out disruptive security breaches this weekend. Activists dodged intensive military patrols leaving banners around radar domes and satellite command centers that play a key strategic role in guiding the assault on Iraq. The highly classified strategic mission of the base means that the breaching of security perimeters by unauthorized people, specifically the unarmed nonviolent members of the Vandenberg Action Coalition, triggers disruptive alerts, partial lockdowns and security responses that interfere with the smooth and full functioning of the strategic targeting/command facility.

In addition to its unique function of intercontinental flight testing for U.S. first-strike nuclear missiles, Vandenberg Air Force Base is the worldwide operations hub and headquarters for the Pentagon’s military/intelligence network of global surveillance, reconnaissance, targeting, weapons guidance, and secret communication satellite systems. As hundreds of U.S. bombers target Iraq, Vandenberg’s military technology plays a pivotal role on the assault on Baghdad’s neighborhoods and Iraq’s rural villages.

Expressing solidarity with the people of Iraq and dissent from the Bush administration’s policy of pre-emptive military strike, activists have caused Vandenberg to call up reserve personnel and run extra patrols. However, the protestors have been overwhelmingly successful. On Saturday night, activists hung a banner on Vandenberg’s main water tower inside the main gate. Visible from California Highway 101, the banner loudly proclaimed “NOT IN OUR NAME.” Other banners were hung near the perimeter of the South Base. Meanwhile, teams successfully re-inhabited the Northern Base near strategic radar tracking facilities, tagging the road and signs with circle A’s (Anarchy signs) and other symbols of freedom and resistance. On Sunday, more protestors entered and penetrated deep into Vandenberg’s sensitive center. As of Monday night, protestors remain inside base territory.
Three members if the Vandenberg Action Coalition were arrested at the Main Gate Saturday, as score of people gathered for a solemn vigil against the war. Cited with trespassing and given letters banning them from Base property for 3 years, the activists pledged to continue their resistance. On Monday, Sanderson Beck of Ojai, CA., one of those arrested Saturday, returned to Vandenberg’s front gate. Crossing the line at 4:00 pm, Beck was arrested by Vandenberg security personnel for the second time in three days. “I just couldn’t remain silent. I had to do something to speak out again,” Beck said shortly before crossing onto Base territory. “We need to manifest a continuous pattern of resistance until this war stops.” Beck, who now faces stiffer penalties, plans to defend himself on the grounds of international law and the Nuremberg Precedent. He explains that the Bush Administration is carrying out War Crimes, Crimes Against the Peace, and Crimes of Aggression against Iraq and the International community.

The Action Alert for resistance at Vandenberg Air Force Base remains in effect and, as protests in San Francisco and other US cities continue, the Vandenberg Action Coalition plans to keep the pressure on. “As long as there are people willing to risk arrest in order to disrupt this immoral war, Vandenberg will have to remain under alert,” said Jacob Pace, a member of the Vandenberg resistance network. “The base is a strategic location for Bush’s war machine, and we have no intention of letting it carry out its activities without resistance.” Even if action slows next week, organizers are already mobilizing more people for the annual action at Vandenberg on Armed Forces day, May 17, 2003. Once again, the Base’s 98,000 acres of backcountry will be the target as activist aim to disrupt business as usual in Vandenberg Air Force Base.

For more information contact:
Vandenberg Peace Camp
805-688-7610
831-345-1548 (cell)
(Jake- media liaison)
After Monday call above numbers or contact Jake at 831-423-1626 ext. 301
_www.MGPnofate.org



 
 


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