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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/2/10


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Message Bruce K. Gagnon
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The front gate signs at Vandenberg AFB in California covered up by the military during a previous peaceful protest

Is this how Obama thanks those who are taking his call for the abolition of nuclear weapons seriously? He has them roughed up and arrested for standing with signs outside Vandenberg AFB in California while his Pentagon fires "missile defense" tests in the sky above the Pacific Ocean?

For years people have been protesting outside Vandenberg AFB when the base launches missiles. Now and then the military police would grab one of the organizers and arrest them but often nothing was done at all. But on January 31, just as another $150 million "missile defense" test was launched from the base, the Obama led Pentagon had virtually everyone who was at the protest, legally standing outside the base, arrested. In one case the military police threw Judy Evered onto the ground where two security guards held her with one soldier's knee in her back. Her subsequent booking was interrupted because she had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance for a shoulder injury she sustained after she was already in custody. Evered, a member of WILPF, is in her 80's.

This was a particularly important "missile defense" test because the Pentagon promoted it as a practice to simulate "a nuclear attack by Iran". Of course Iran has no nuclear weapons today nor does it have any launch vehicles capable of reaching the continental U.S. But truth and facts don't matter when you are out to create a new enemy in the minds of the American people. Fiction becomes reality, war is peace. Brainwashing it is called.

In the first test of its kind involving Vandenberg, an ICBM launched from the Marshall Islands (known as the Ronald Reagan Test Range) was aimed at southern California. The Ground-Based Interceptor launched from Vandenberg, about 60 miles northwest of Santa Barbara, lifted off at around 3:45 pm, but did not succeed in shooting down the target missile (supposedly from Iran) which was launched six minutes earlier from the Reagan Test Range.

"They completely dismantled the demonstration," said protest organizer MacGregor Eddy who is a WILPF and Global Network member. She went onto reiterate that the base was told well in advance of the demonstration which was initially scheduled for January 21, as was the interceptor test, both of which were grounded due to large southern California storms at the time.

Since November, the new base commander has decided to require I.D.s from demonstrators. There is no way that a base commander, on his own, is going to start demanding ID's from legal public protesters and make such a decision to completely disrupt and arrest eight out of the eleven people at a peaceful vigil. These orders have come from higher up and in the end the president of the U.S. has to be held responsible for escalating this provocative attack on peaceful protest outside a U.S. military base.

Obama talks big about wanting disarmament but then he qualifies this by saying that it might not happen "in his lifetime." Then he moves, two years in a row, to increase military spending and continues the Bush administration policy of surrounding Russia and China with "missile defense" systems that are actually part of the U.S. first-strike program. The U.S. "missile defense" systems would pick-off any retaliatory missiles fired by Russia or China after the U.S. had launched the initial attack. The U.S. Space Command has actually been computer war-gaming such a first-strike attack on China for the past several years.

In a statement prior to the January 31 missile launch Western States Legal Foundation Director Jacqueline Cabasso said, "Further, U.S. development of missile defenses endangers prospects for deeper U.S. and Russian nuclear arms reductions and threatens to scuttle agreement on a follow-on to the START treaty. To add insult to injury, every U.S. test launch from the Marshall Islands causes tremendous environmental damage to surrounding land and water areas and compounds the historical injustice to the indigenous Marshallese people."

Obama can't have it both ways. He can't go around talking nice about nuclear disarmament and then continue taking active steps to develop and test new generations of advanced war fighting systems and expect that Russia and China will just sit back and watch without reacting. And if Obama was serious about real nuclear disarmament he would not allow his Pentagon operatives to harass, rough up, and arrest activists who are legally opposing wasteful and destabilizing missile tests. You don't treat your political allies in such a manner.

Once again we see the clear evidence that Obama is the quintessential magician. He says one thing but if we closely watch his other hand we see the revelation of his real agenda, which is nothing more than a continuation of the Bush war making program, but this time with a friendly smile and a well-turned phrase.

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Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.


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