by MacGregor Eddy
Fr. Louie Vitale and MacGregor Eddy (myself) were arrested at 1:20 a.m. July 27, protesting the launch of a nuclear weapon delivery system from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The missile was destroyed by Vandenberg Air Force Base over the Pacific Ocean because of a malfunction (anomaly).
Jim Haber and Mary Lou Anderson of the Nevada Desert Experience as well as World War II veteran Bud Boothe and legal observer Kelly Gray attended the midnight protest of the ICBM launch from Vandenberg Space Command near Lompoc, California. The nuclear-capable, solid fuel, high speed test missile was set to land in Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean.
Fr. Louie and I were cited and released to go on trial in federal court later. The U.S. and U.N. treat North Korea as a danger when the DRPK launches a few, liquid fuel, short to medium range missiles. The U.S., U.N. and NATO use the North Korean missile tests as an excuse to build up military in the Pacific area. The building of a Naval base on Jeju Island, South Korea is part of this build up. The Aegis destroyers set use the proposed Jeju base (under the mutual defense agreement all South Korean bases are open to U.S. vessels).
We were inspired by the actions of the people of Gangjeong to go onto the base and attempt to stop the launch by citing international law and the need for world peace. We read the statement by David Krieger of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation which states that these test missile launches create international tension and decrease security.
We made the decision to go onto the base and try to stop the launch when we thought of Brother Song Kang-Ho climbing onto a huge barge to try to persuade the construction crew not to destroy the beautiful coral reef of Jeju Island, the Island of peace. We thought of Mr. Go Kwan-Il lying under a 200 ton crane to stop it from destroying the shore of the island of peace for a base of war. Just because something seems impossible (stopping the launch) does not mean we cannot try to do it if it is the right thing to do. We talked it over and were inspired by the people of Gangjeong to try to stop the launch using nonviolence and reason and law.
personal note : I am not as brave as the people of Gangjeong, so I was nervous of the huge Air Force Base at night. Fr. Louie was not afraid at all. His calm and clarity are amazing.
|Louis Vitale (in blue jacket) before the arrest.|
Fr. Louie felt at home in Lompoc because the federal prison where he lived for the last six months is right there on the same federal land as Vandenberg Air Force Base. He served six months for protesting the teaching of torture and repression at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.
When we were arrested we asked the Military Police to then arrest the commander of Vandenberg Air Force Base for violation of an international treaty which under the U.S. constitution is the highest law of the land. All U.S. military swear to defend the Constitution. (They do not swear to uphold current foreign policy ) They stated “no comment”.
Louie and I were cited and released for trial in federal court at a later date. Fr. Louie already has a court date on September 15, so it might be on that date in Santa Barbara. The base commander was not arrested or cited. We appeal to the court of public opinion to evaluate the actions of both parties.
The U.S. is in serious financial difficulties and last night’s launch wasted millions of dollars. The money was wasted regardless of the success or failure of the test launch.