Monday, June 7, 2010

Positive Turnout at Saturday Vandenberg Air Force Base Protest

People from across California and Arizona gathered outside the front gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base on Saturday to observe Nuclear Abolition Day and to stand against ongoing tests of nuclear missiles and missile defense components.  At the corner of a busy highway, the demonstrators were visible to hundreds of passing cars.  Members of the NAPF were pleasantly surprised to witness the 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative gestures coming from drivers over the two hour period of the protest.

David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, spoke about the need for those working at the base to resist taking part in the Minuteman III missile tests because the tests are in violation of international law.  In 1996, the International Court of Justice ruled that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be generally illegal.  Minuteman tests constitute a threat of use.  David also read three of his poems from his book Today Is Not a Good Day for War.  The poems focused on the theme of "silence."  He encouraged those in attendance at the protest to continue to speak out against the tests at Vandenberg, as well as militarism and nuclearism in general.

Andrew Lichterman of the Western States Legal Foundation drove five hours to Vandenberg from Oakland to participate in Nuclear Abolition Day.  He spoke about a wide range of topics, but focused specifically on the many dangerous military projects going on at Vandenberg, including preperations for the Prompt Global Strike program, which will allow the US military to send massive conventional warheads to target anywhere on the planet within one hour.  He also talked about the urgent need to redirect funding from the military to real human needs, including education.

Just 24 hours after the protest, the US military launched a Ground-Based Interceptor (part of the US missile defense system) from Vandenberg.  The military has also scheduled the launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on June 16, targeting the Ronald Reagan Test Site in the Marshall Islands.


  1. Thanks, David, for showing up and speaking out for freedom from nuclear weapons and peace in our world. I am proud to be a member of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
    What was different about this protest than the last one where peace activists were arrested and are being prosecuted? I was worried about what might happen to you. Glad to hear all went well!

  2. What was different was that in this protest we stayed in the area designated by Vandenberg for protest. In that area, protesters are not subject to arrest. If you leave that area and walk toward the entrance to the base, however, you are subject to arrest. They have painted a green line in the crosswalk at the entrance to Vandenberg, which I was told is the line of entry onto Vandenberg property. If you cross that line, you are subject to arrest. It would actually be dangerous to cross in the crosswalk and stay on the outside of this green line. At any rate, no one crossed the line on Saturday and there were no arrests. A large majority of the cars driving by that gave any signal of interest in the protest, gave a thumbs up. Across the street from our protest, there were two women, who must have been in another protest area. They waved small American flags, as if to show that protesting missile launches was somehow unpatriotic. (From David Krieger)


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