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Nonviolent Direct Action at Vandenberg AFB

by Vandenberg Action Coaliton Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2003 at 8:48 AM
peace_vandenberg@hotmail.com 831-345-1548

Nonviolent civil disobedience actions taking place at Vandenberg Air Force Base this week!

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2003

Nonviolent Resisters Breach Security at Strategic California Air Base Involved in Iraq War

LOMPOC- As the increasingly bloody "shock and awe" assault on Iraq continues, with U.S. bombs raining down on civilian casualties from Central Baghdad to remote rural villages, acts of non-violent civil disobedience have been carried out by small groups of concerned people from throughout California. In coastal Santa Barbara county, action has been taken to non-violently breach the security and disrupt business as usual at a sprawling California Air Force Base. A critical electronic command post of the Iraq war, Vandenberg AFB occupies sacred coastal land of the Indigenous Chumash people.

Throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday at least five nonviolent resistance teams hiked into the base through rugged and brushy hills to carry out disruptive security breaches. Activists dodged intensive military patrols leaving banners around strategic radar domes and satellite command centers that play a key strategic role in guiding the assault on Iraq. Meanwhile three members if the Vandenberg Action Coalition were arrested at the main Gate Saturday, as a score of people gathered for a solemn vigil against the war.

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 in the assault on Baghdad’s neighborhoods and Iraq’s rural villages.

Air Force personal issued provocative statements to activists last week, threatening to use lethal force if unarmed people tamper with major pieces of military machinery. However, despite extraordinary intensive security measures by rifle toting strategic command patrols combing Vandenberg’s hills and canyons with military hummers, ATV’s, horses, helicopters and fixed-wing surveillance aircraft, the nonviolent resistance teams have managed to get through, leaving behind banners showing their presence in the security zones and slip out.

Renewing their pledge to nonviolence the Vandenberg Action Coalition promises more to come. Organizers explain that they are willing to take legal and physical risk to "get in the way of the war machine that backed Saddam Hussein for years, imposes human rights atrocities through client regimes throughout the world, devastating the Iraqi people with Infrastructure bombing and brutal sanctions in the 90’s, and is now raining fire and jagged steel on cities and villages."

The Coalition’s statement, issued today, states "the nonviolent resistance to military terror must continue. Our country was founded on civil resistance against economic and military empire and we in the Vandenberg Action Coalition – including military veterans, clergy members, students, workers, parents and grandparents - will do what we can to carry forward the legacy of Sam Adams, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr., who before he was assassinate called the U.S. government the greatest purveyor of violence in the world."

One participant a 34 year-old mother and director of non-profits in Santa Cruz said "I am moved to do this today, because I see our rights as citizens being eroded while more and more people are becoming apathetic or simply fearful about speaking up. We need to realize how much is at stake here. We cannot wait while our president and the interest of a moneyed elite derail our democracy and export terror around the globe. This is not what I want my tax dollars to pay for while school are being closed in my county."

As Iraqi, Palestinians, Columbians, and indigenous people around the world struggle against the space-age military technology of the U.S. war machine, activists here at home have placed their security at risk in a brave display of opposition to our government and solidarity with the victims of U.S. bombing.



A student at the University of California, " I am here because I think that it is important to take resistance a step further. Stopping this war requires more that simply shouting in the street. The action at Vandenberg displays out commitment to peace by directly interfering with the United States war machine."

A California Farmer participating in the action said, "I am just doing my part to fight terrorism that happened to be coordinated from my own backyard at Vandenberg Air Force Base. It is the least we can do as Americans, to exercise our remaining civil liberties and use out privilege to resist this illegal invasion of Iraq and the immoral slaughter of it’s people."

The action has been endorsed by the Vandenberg Action Coalition, Voices in the Wilderness, Global Exchange, and School of the Americas Watch.

For more information contact

Vandenberg Peace Camp

805-688-7610

831-345-1548 (cell)

(Jake and Liza media liaisons)

After Monday call above number or contact Jake at 831-423-1626 ext. 301

www.MGPnofate.org

peace_vandenberg@hotmail.com

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