Dennis Apel leads a protest at Vandenberg Air Force Base
PHIL KLEIN / NEWS-PRESS FILE
David Krieger, president
of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, will speak at a
public forum during Keep Space for Peace this weekend.
A protest at Vandenberg Air Force Base and a public forum on the
complex's role in missile defense and space are the focus of a
conference this week.
The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space is
hosting the 22nd annual Keep Space for Peace event Friday through
The Global Network includes 150 peace and religious groups
worldwide working to "oppose the development of a new arms race
in space," according to organizers.
The theme for this year's gathering focuses on what organizers
call Vandenberg's role in the "U.S. Global Domination:
Implications of U.S. Pivot into the Asia-Pacific."
"Vandenberg plays a key role in Pentagon military satellite
launching, testing nuclear missiles, and most recently as a
deployment site for so-called 'missile defense' interceptors,"
said Bruce Gagnon, a network coordinator. "Increasingly, the U.S.
military is aiming at the Asia-Pacific region as the Obama
administration-announced 'pivot' of 60 percent of Pentagon forces
moves to encircle China."
The conference kicks off with a protest at Vandenberg at 4 p.m.
"For years there have been peace protests outside Vandenberg with
many people arrested for their non-violent witness," Mr. Gagnon
said in a statement. "Global Network members are coming from all
over the world to honor and encourage these dedicated local
citizens. We will share our deep concerns about current U.S.
plans to 'control and dominate space' and the Pentagon's pivot
into the Asia-Pacific."
In the past, such gatherings at Vandenberg's main gate have
included the arrests of numerous attendees for trespassing onto
the classified military base's secured property. The base sets
aside a small grassy area near the main gate on State Route 1 for
protesters or vigils and the plot is near a green line painted
into the asphalt on the roadway.
Once people involved in a gathering pass across that green line,
they are warned about trespassing and eventually detained by
military security police if they do not leave.
Last week Vandenberg security forces detained two activists,
Guadalupe Catholic Worker Dennis Apel, and Steven Keller. Mr.
Apel recently lost a Supreme Court case involving his previous
convictions for trespassing at Vandenberg and his argument about
use of a public roadway easement for such activism. Mr. Apel will
attend on Friday and is a speaker at the public forum for the
The public forum will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Trinity
Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara.
Dave Webb, national chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament in the United Kingdom, said he will attend to support
groups concerned about "the role of Vandenberg in aggressive,
destabilizing and dangerous military projects such as 'missile
defense.' Far from being defensive, these systems are part of a
strategy involving the possible use of nuclear weapons without
having to worry about retaliation."
Speakers for the gathering will include David Krieger of the
Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation; Christine Hong
of the Korea Policy Institute and UC Santa Cruz; Andrew
Lichterman of Western States Legal Foundation; and Mary Beth
Sullivan, a social worker and peace activist.
Earlier in the day, at La Casa de Maria Retreat House in Santa
Maria, Norwegian journalist Bard Wormdal will speak about his
book, "The Satellite War." In the afternoon, Canadian peace
activist Tamara Lorincz will discuss "conversion and
demilitarization," followed by a talk by Japanese activist Masaki
Toda on the U.S. use of X-Band radar and its impact on the Kyoto
For more details and cost on the conference, go to: www.space4peace.org/actions/gnconf_2014.htm.