Keep Space for Peace Week Action Reports/Photos
Stop Militarisation of Space
From Global Network board member Sung-Hee Choi in South Korea:
Keep Space for Peace Week is not forgotten in Jeju Island. The Korean words in the banner read: "No Naval Base on Jeju" and "People's welfare and peace." The signs held by Paco Booyah and me read "No Syria Attack, End the Occupation in Afghanistan" and "No ROK-US-Japan" war exercise. Oct 7 was the 12th remembrance year of the US invasion to Afghanistan. The US-ROK-Japan are holding war exercise in the southern water of Korea. The original date was from Oct 8 to 10 (the date was to be postponed because of weather) while the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington was mooring in the Busan port from Oct 4 to 7.
Photo by Cho Sung-Bong, director of the Jeju documentary, "Gureombi, the Wind is Blowing" in the Busan film festival.
2 October 2013
Women for Peace organized a vigil in front of the Swedish Parliament Building with banners that read "Drones kill". Global Network board member Agneta Norberg is featured in the picture above.
In the evening they organized a panel discussion on space issues with Swedish parliamentarians.
5 October 2012
Demonstrate against Missile Defence
RAF Fylingdales, England
A small group of us enjoyed the sun at Fylingdales Early Warning Station on the North York Moors on Saturday, as part of the Keep Space for Peace Week.
8 October 2012
Protest at Menwith Hill, England
From the CAAB web site:
It got colder and colder at NSA Menwith Hill last night as about 25 people gathered at the gates of the base to protest at the role this base plays in Drones in particular and the US Missile Defense system. How there was no rain! We were one action of 46 actions round the world by groups and individuals world in answer to the call by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space for a week of international protest against the militarization of space – RETURN SPACE TO PEACE.
We had previously written to Christopher Gilmore (US Commander in control and occupation of the base) asking him if he would come and join us so that we could give him a letter setting out our concerns. Christopher Gilmore declined our invitation so Geoff Dickson (RAF Liaison officer at NSA Menwith Hill) agreed to joined us to receive a letter for us.
Even though this was a small demonstration in the scheme of things, there were people from Canada, the US, Italy, Pendle in Lancashire, Leeds, Colne, Otley, Bradford, Pickering, Bedale and Harrogate!
We were privileged to have Brian Terrell from the US speaking at
the demonstration. Brian recently spent 6 months in prison for an action he and
others did at Whiteman Air Force base where Drones are operated from. He talked
about the effects of Drones, particularly on the young pilots who sit at screens
thousands of miles away and ‘take out’ targeted people sanctioned by Barack
Obama and other faceless people and who are deemed to be terrorists. He said
that this immoral and illegal military system is replacing conventional aircraft
and it is getting out of control as there is no accountability or credible legal
oversight about the use of Drones. He spoke movingly about his time in prison
and why he takes the action he has taken over many years. We are so grateful to
We were disappointed that the Ministry of Defence police were again somewhat aggressive in their policing and attitude to those who crossed the illegal and contentious ‘yellow line’ which they say denotes the boundary of NSA Menwith Hill and which North Yorkshire Police say is ‘only an indication of the boundary’. We will, once again be pursuing this with North Yorkshire police as the MDP police on behalf of NYP.
The demonstration ended just before 8 pm when we stood in the dark, calm night for two minutes silence to remember all the thousand of people who have been killed or injured by Drones. We especially thought about the civilian people caught up in this frightening, illegal and immoral relatively new military weapon.
Thank you so much for every one who came. To Brian Terrell, Martin Schweiger who spoke on behalf of CAAB, Brigid-Mary for pursuing the ‘right to protest’, Christine Dean who managed the CAAB stall and especially to the ‘hot, delicious soup and rolls’ team – provided by Laila and Rob Packer (not forgetting Fia!). It was extremely welcome!
GN Board Member Tamara Lorincz (from Halifax, Nova Scotia) writes:
10-19 October 2013
Maine Drone Peace Walk
Peace walk led by Jun-san Yasuda from Limestone to Augusta, Maine called Preserve our Privacy: No Drone Spying in Maine.
12 October 2013
Phones to Drones
On Friday October 11, they held a vigil outside Schriever AFB,
the home of the Space Warfare Center and think tank for current and future high
tech war planning and execution.
This is part 1 of "From Drones to Phones high tech warriors break the law" in which Loring Wirbel explains the budgets and technology involved.
This is part 2 in which Bill Sulzman speaks of the moral implications of the militarization of space and our society. Also both Bill and Loring answer questions and offer more information.
"The U.S. intelligence gathering apparatus now includes
civilians throughout the world as potential enemies. Everyone is considered a
possible obstacle to having the most efficient "kill chain" possible."
13 October 2013
Mayor Kang Speaks at CND Conference
Jeju Island is a beautiful subtropical island, 60 miles south of the Korean Peninsula, it is home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and biosphere reserves.
On the southern shoreline at a small fishing village called Gangjeong, the South Korean government (with strong 'encouragement' from the US) is building a huge navy base. The base is destroying a wonderful conservation area, made of soft coral and harbouring many rare endangered species, and the homes and livelihoods of two thousand subsistence farmers and divers.
The area called Gureombi is a site sacred to the villagers - a living, breathing landscape of tide pools, lava rock formations and stunning volcanic coastline irrigated with crystal clear springs, the precious mineral kidneys of the island. Unfortunately, the Jeju base is also one of the centerpieces of Obama’s militaristic Pivot to Asia. Within a thousand miles—45 minutes by jet bomber, or 120 seconds as the missile flies–of Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Taiwan, Vladivostok, it menaces all the major cities of East Asia.
94% of the villagers are adamantly opposed to the construction. 140 National organizations, and 110 international organizations have called for its cessation. The Korean Parliament has demanded an investigation. The leaders of all the major religions in Korea have called for dialogue. The 5 opposition parties have challenged the legality of the construction, yet it has gone ahead, violating, subverting or ignoring every democratic process, every local, regional, national, international statute, charter and law.
In attempts to save their village from the military base, 700 protestors have been arrested—including the largest mass arrest of Catholic Nuns in Korean History. Prominent intellectuals, civic and religious leaders, members of parliament, Buddhist nuns, and the Mayor of the village have all been “dragged like animals and beaten unconscious”, arrested, fined, sued, harassed by police, marines, and hired thugs; and received death threats. They have also been branded as Communists, opening them up to potential prosecution for Sedition under the draconian national security laws.
Mr. Kang Dong-Kyun, a tangerine farmer, was elected Mayor of Gangjeong on August 20, 2007. Since being elected, Mayor Kang has thoroughly devoted himself to save the village from building of naval base, at the risk of his own health, his own family’s livelihood and his own freedom. That is why he is a beloved and respected figure by most villagers. On August 28, 2011 he signed the Mayors for Peace membership registration-form while in police custody.
Mayor Kang's speech at the CND Conference:
I am Dong-Kyun Kang, the Mayor of a small village called Gangjeong in Jeju. I am so grateful for this opportunity to speak to you. It’s very meaningful. So far, I’ve heard many stories from around the world which make very scared and worried for our descendents.
Given that fresh spring water is such a precious and scarce resource on Jeju island, the 450 year old village of Gangjeong situated in the southern part of the island was always the envy of other villages as its possession of an abundant spring water supply which always flowed freely ensured it was always ranked first among Jeju’s villages.
During the construction of the naval base, many international activists have visited Gangjeong and others in the process have been denied entry and deported. Other peace activists have been prevented from leaving the country. I’m keenly aware and saddened that many have suffered from many forms of repression and for their sacrifice I feel so grateful and promise to stand with you in solidarity.
You’ve now seen that in recent history there have been two major events in Korea – in 1948 and 1950. As you are aware there was the major upheaval of the 1950 Korean War which broke out in June 25- a tumultuous national tragedy. One could be forgiven for thinking that this was a family feud that led to the country being divided but the reality was that the war was the result of an ideological battle between the major powers at the time and Korea was its victim. This continues until the present time.
The April 3, 1948 Jeju uprising led to the brutal suppression of the population by state security forces which resulted in the massacre of the islanders of Jeju and behind the slaughter was the US government, the self proclaimed keeper of the peace! A conservative estimate puts the number who died from the mass killings at over 30,000 out of a population of 280,000 people at that time.
Fortunately, in 2005 President Roh apologized on behalf of the state to the people of Jeju and acknowledged for the very first time the states brutal suppression and massacre of the people of Jeju. He went on to declare Jeju as an ‘island of world peace’.
Peace can only be sustained through peaceful means. Peace obtained through force and violent means is not sustainable and in time will be forced to surrender to a larger force or power. However, I believe that dialogue and mutual understanding between people who work together in mutual respect to build a sustainable future is the key to a sustainable peace.
The location of Korea positioned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and particularly the strategic location of Jeju Island is key to understanding its strategic importance to the world’s major powers. However, behind the construction of the naval base in Jeju is the US government. Will Jeju genuinely remain an island of peace or an island of military bases heightening tensions between the world’s major powers? This is a central question that needs addressing.
The naval base project is a national security project. I think one defines genuine national policy as seeking to put the interests of its citizens and their happiness and genuine well being first and foremost. Likewise national security is not only about the state’s administration and its military but should seek to ensure genuine human security for all its citizens. Genuine national policy and national security should seek to secure the confidence and trust of all its citizens which in turn forms the true pillar and foundation for its policies. Working together hand in hand with the people should be the central tenet of its policies.
Aside from the naval base construction creating the strong possibility of a situation of crisis for Korea and Jeju into the future, the village community of Gangjeong is being destroyed with its people being evicted. With the construction of the naval base the navy claims that the national security of the state is its primary objective followed by the economic development of the region and its third objective – the navy and residents coexisting in mutual cooperation and to the benefit of all. However, the construction of the naval base rather than enhancing and bolstering national security will have the opposite effect of increasing already existing tensions between global powers in the region resulting in Jeju being caught in the crosshairs of conflict in the future. How therefore can the building of a naval base bolster regional economic development in such a tense and dangerous environment?
The state in implementing its policies should first consult the people who will likely be impacted the most and endeavor to seek the consent of its citizens through due process which is the most important consideration and an important building block of any democratic society. Even with the project underway listening courteously to and reflecting on the opinions of the other is surely important in trying to achieve real cooperation. The need for transparency in implementing state projects is paramount. However, the naval base has been enforced from the beginning without any consultation on the decision making process and devoid of any semblance of transparency leaving the Gangjeong villagers in the dark about what was going on. Those villagers opposed to the base are in the process of having their lands expropriated without any dialogue or due process of consultation. The villagers are completely perplexed and dismayed by the conflict that has arisen in their village with the naval base decision having separated families and divided parents with siblings becoming enemies and yesterday’s friends becoming today’s enemies resulting in the collapse of the community.
Fully aware of the stark implications of proceeding with plans to build the base the central government and navy planned and designed the base together with the backing of the US government. As a means of promoting the base and quashing any form of dissent, protestors have been treated with great hostility and denounced as leftists and North Korean sympathizers by the military. The brutal enforcement of the base with complete disrespect and arrogance has resulted in the military losing whatever respect it may once have had.
Together with the mobilization of the police and state power is the major issue of the lack of due legal process and the arrests of over 700 activists, charges having been filed against 400 activists with 25 cases of activists having been imprisoned to date. There has to be a fair way to resolve such conflicts but the legal system and court process has failed to provide this.
With the full power of the police state brought to bear on villagers and activists alike it is undeniable that people will get hurt as they are literally being dragged away like animals battered and bruised. However the courageous and brave efforts of so many over the course of a 7 year long struggle are not in vain but are the source of a precious groundwork that is the basis for a bright future for Gangjeong and Korea alike. These continuing efforts will continue to bear fruit long into the future.
The majestic natural environment of Jeju is commonly referred to as beauty inherited from the gods and is home to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and three UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites. In 2012 The New Wonders Foundation voted Jeju Island as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. In September 2012 the World Conservation Congress opened in Jeju where it was hoped that it would promote the international consensus of Jeju as a ‘World Environmental Capital City’. However, this ideal is being undermined by the destruction of the environment caused by the building of the naval base which is a grave threat to genuine national security.
Some concluding remarks.
The 7 year long struggle has left many exhausted and bruised after enduring much pain and suffering along the way. There have been moments of despair but the determination to struggle and defend our village and home and pass it on to future generations has been the enduring legacy and mainstay of the struggle and has been a sacred calling. A new hope springs from the end of despair. This new hope comes from people seeking their true human fulfillment as beings living in harmony with nature, living together in peace.
Instead of Jeju being designated an island of military installations we will work to ensure that it will be known as an island of peace, an island of natural beauty and conservation. Also, together with all the villagers of Gangjeong and the people of Jeju we truly desire that global citizens and true lovers of nature and world peace will have the freedom to gather in this beautiful place without the impediment of a ghastly and ugly military base which aggravates existing tensions between global powers. Therefore, what I truly wish is for everyone around the world to sing the peace song of Gangjeong and to keep it in their hearts. Ladies and Gentlemen, Please join together in solidarity and help us.
Please help us!
No Naval Base!
Thanks so much for your attention.
14 October 2013
Jeju Island's Struggle against Militarisation
Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, England
Dave Webb Introduces Mayor Kang