Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Air Force Cancels Nuclear Missile Launch after Pressure from NAPF Action Alert Network

For the second time in less than six months, the US Air Force has scheduled a test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on a highly inappropriate date. Last year, they scheduled a test of the US' land-based thermonuclear warhead delivery vehicle on September 21. That's just any old day on the calendar, just like most of the other 364 days, right? Wrong. It's the International Day of Peace, recognized by the UN General Assembly as a day for "commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all
nations and peoples."

After thousands of NAPF Action Alert members pointed out the absurdity of testing a missile that delivers thermonuclear weapons on "a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence, [which is] an invitation to all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities for the duration of the Day," the Air Force canceled the test. For technical reasons, of course.

Then late last week, they announced that they would be testing a Minuteman on March 1. Just another day on the calendar, right? Wrong again. March 1 is the anniversary of the biggest thermonuclear weapon test ever conducted by the United States. The Castle Bravo test had an explosive yield of 15 megatons, which is 1,000 times the power of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. The Bravo test caused widespread damage to numerous atolls in the Marshall Islands that is still felt to this day. The Marshall Islands also happened to be the target of this Minuteman missile test.

Last night, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation sent out a press release highlighting this fact. This morning, we sent an action alert to our members asking them to demand the cancellation of the test. Lo and behold, just before lunchtime today, the Air Force canceled the March 1 test. For technical reasons, of course.

Maybe they'll schedule the next launch for August 6 - there's no reason why that date would remind people of what nuclear weapons actually do.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sense of Urgency Leads to Civil Disobedience at Vandenberg

David Krieger, Fr. Louis Vitale and
Daniel Ellsberg. Photo by Jim Haber.
In the early hours of Saturday, February 25, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation President David Krieger was arrested with 14 others protesting the test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. The Minuteman is the United States' land-based missile, 450 of which sit in silos around the Midwest on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired at a moment's notice. Saturday's launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base targeted the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

I had the chance to ask David a few questions about his arrest now that he has had a couple of days to reflect on it.

RW: What made you decide after 30 years of working as President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation to get arrested protesting this missile launch?
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