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Shut Down Creech

Monday, April 26, 2010

The launch was a go

Just in case you were thinking things could not be more diabolical than the UAV's ("drones"), think again after reading his AFP-despatch:

A US Air Force unmanned spacecraft has blasted off from Florida, amid a veil of secrecy about its military mission.

The robotic space plane, or X-37B, lifted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas V rocket at 7:52pm local time on Thursday (0952 AEST on Friday), according video released by the military.

"The launch is a go," Air Force Major Angie Blair told AFP.

Resembling a miniature space shuttle, the plane is 8.9 meters long and has a wing-span of 4.5 meters.

The reusable space vehicle has been years in the making and the military has offered only vague explanations as to its purpose or role in the American military's arsenal.

The vehicle is designed to "provide an 'on-orbit laboratory' test environment to prove new technology and components before those technologies are committed to operational satellite programs," the Air Force said in a recent release.

Officials said the X-37B would eventually return for a landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but did not say how long the inaugural mission would last.

"In all honesty, we don't know when it's coming back," Gary Payton, deputy undersecretary for Air Force space programs, told reporters in a conference call this week.

Payton said the plane could stay in space for up to nine months.

Flight controllers plan to monitor the vehicle's guidance, navigation and control systems, but the Air Force has declined to discuss what the plane is carrying in its payload or what experiments are scheduled.

Pentagon officials have sidestepped questions about possible military missions for the spacecraft, as well as the precise budget for its development - estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.

The results of the test flight will inform "development programs that will provide capabilities for our warfighters in the future," Payton said.

The space plane - manufactured by Boeing - began as a project of NASA in 1999, and was eventually handed over to the US Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.

The Air Force has plans for a second X-37B, scheduled to launch in 2011.

Further reading.

Meanwhile, in Japan....

The New York Times mentions 90.000 people demonstrating against the US base on Okinawa. So quite likely there were more.
On the picture a demonstrator carrying a painful truth: War is over.
Not if you want it, the Cold War in which this base was supposed to perform its role has been over for more than twenty years now. Time to break up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another UK record

Having been arrested seventeen times for trespassing and other actions against nuclear weapons installations is a lot. For the UK it is a record.
Meet Marcus Armstrong.

A UK world record!

A report from Peace News:

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, are aircraft either controlled by “pilots” from the ground or, increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission. While there are dozens of different types of drones, they basically fall into two categories: those that are used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes; and those that are armed with missiles and bombs.

The use of drones has grown quickly in recent years because unlike piloted aircraft they can stay aloft for many hours (Zephyr, a British drone under development, has just broken the world record by flying for over 82 hours nonstop); they are much cheaper than military aircraft; and they are flown remotely so there is no danger to the flight crew.

While the British and US Reaper and Predator drones are physically in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are controlled remotely via satellite from Nellis and Creech USAF base outside Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ground crews launch drones from the conflict zone, then operation is handed over to controllers at video screens in specially-designed trailers in the Nevada desert. One person “flies” the drone; another operates and monitors the cameras and sensors; while a third person is in contact with the “customers”, ground troops and commanders in the war zone.

While armed drones were first used in the Balkans war, their use has dramatically escalated in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the CIA’s undeclared war in Pakistan.

Further reading.

See also here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Drones advertised in DC

An estimated 17,000 Capitol South metro passengers are confronted daily with Northrop Grumman Global Hawks and X-47 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles, which boast a 4500-pound weapons bay, E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes, Viper Strike-armed Fire Scout unmanned helicopters and E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar Systems (STARS), all designed "for an unsafe world." According to the centrist Brookings Institute, 90% of drone casualties in "targeted" strikes in Pakistan have been innocent civilians. Yet ads for these systems, which carry price tags ranging hundreds of millions of dollars when factoring in development costs, are on full display.

Perhaps most startling of all the Capitol South billboards is the ominous scene of a bombed out apartment building above the slogan "By the time you find the threat, we've already taken it out of the picture." Northrop Grumman fails to fill us in on what happened to the people living in those apartments.

Read the whole story.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Meanwhile, in Germany

Easter Peace marches celebrated their fiftieth anniversary this year. It brought tens of thousands of people on the streets. The antiwar protests in Germany however have a slight touch of officialness about them, something like many May Day demonstrations. In Frankfurt/Main at the Römerplatz the anarchists were visibly represented - a picture with an unofficial edge.

Meanwhile, in Great Britain

The Faslane Nuclear Depot, Scotland, was blocked both on Easter Sunday and on April 6th, the first working day after the Easter holidays. The press message to go with the latter action:

We enjoyed taking part in Saturday’s symbolic blockade at the North Gate, but we recognise the need to send a more serious message, and have returned today to exercise our civic responsibility under International Law, to do what we can to stop the work of preparing and maintaining these horrific weapons of mass destruction. At this time of year we reassert our message of Easter, that love is more powerful than hate, and life is more powerful than death.

Six people were arrested, one for spraying a slogan, another for taking down the sign "Faslane Nuclear Depot" and four others for blocking the gateway locked to each other.

On Easter Sunday a camp was set up on Parliament Square, Westminster, London, to  protest the ongoing wars. (Photo).

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Sunday photos

No trespassing

Yet there is some trespassing going on

The flag we might have received back

...but it's all or nothing

People in civilian clothes across the line are from the Department of Energy.

Johnnie Bobb speaking
Far left corner: detention facility

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just Added: Two (SIMULTANEOUS) Vigils for Peace

Post note: here you see David, who was held in the pen after crossing the line at the NV Test Site on Monday...
All are invited to witness for PEACE and an end to institutional violence in the Nevada Desert.

This special "Easter Desert Witness" comprises two separate groups in separate locations (18 miles apart) working together for environmental justice and an end to terrorism. Please choose which vigil you will attend, and check out NDE's nonviolent guidelines and the covenant of nonviolence prior to joining either prayer-action.
(that's here: http://www.nevadadesertexperience.org/programs/nonviolence.htm)

BOTH ARE ON EASTER MONDAY (April 5th) at 6:30 am to reach out to workers entering the two desecrated sites of our lovely desert.

Site One: Creech Air Force Base--The USA's official desert warfare training ground.
Site Two: Nevada Test Site--America's premier nuclear weapons proving ground.

Some of us will see you at Creech, others will see you at the NTS!

Twenty-one persons detained at the end of the Sacred Peace Walk

Nine men and twelve women crossed the line at the enttrance of the Nevada Test Site, and were immediately directed to a detention "facility" near the entrance.
Banners were confiscated, except the US flag, which was rejected since the other banners were withheld.

Johnnie Bobb spoke to the policemen and the civilians representing the Department of Energy at the entrance about the not-honouring of the treaty according to which the test site is Western Shoshone Land. Making it a nuclear test site is genocide of his people extended, he said.

We will have full coverage and pictures of walk and vigils shortly.

At the line

Easter Sunday - wailing

We decided that this place, the Nevada Test Site, is a good place for wailing:

Martin Luther King, April 4th

In international conflicts the truth is hard to come by, because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins.

But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth.

There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing, as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we're always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony. But we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems.

I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted.

Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government.

The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

And don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, "You're too arrogant! And if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I'll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name. Be still and know that I'm God."

Choice quotes of Martin Luther King, Jr., on the occasion of the 42d anniverasry of his assassination, which coincides with Easter 2010, the conclusion of the Sacred Peace Walk.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Photos of Saturday


Explaining the symbolism of the Western Shoshone flag to us all...

Miss Pace...

Sunset on the way home...

Meanwhile, in France

In Mont de Marsan, in Les Landes-area, around sixty activists undertook a citizen's inspection of the air base, part of the Special Munitions Depots, where the French nuclear bombs are being kept. Thirteen people suceeded in entering the base. All were arrested and interrogated by the gendarmerie, and released. Some arrests were performed violently.

In Brest some demonstrators were present in front of the Navy Prefecture, seat of the Navy Nuclear Force while the night before, as every first Friday of the month, the group "Sober and Vigilant" kept watch in front of the Operational Command of Nuclear Forces in Paris.

Meanwhile, in Belgium - 2

Around a thousand people braved the cold rain in Kleine Brogel, Belgium, to demand the closure of the nuclear missile site in the name of international law, and have it turned into a nature area. Hundreds of them actually succeeded in entering the ground, despite a heavy presence of military guards and police. All of these were arrested and were still being interrogated at the time of writing. More later...

Meanwhile, in Portugal - 1

A walk is organized between the cities of Viseu and Coimbra, a walk for a simplified life, a pilgrimige for atonement with nature and for peace.
The walk is going on between March 21st and April 12th.

Meanwhile, in Volkel (NL)

This afternoon about one hundred people turned up for the inspection of the nuclear missile site in Volkel, the Netherlands.
Around fifty people managed to get across the fence and enterd the ground of the basis. Thirty of them were arrested. A more detailed story later...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Help save a life today, it said

Avenger: Next generation of Predator family, with a jet engine and more capabilities. It has not been deployed. More than 380 Predator-series aircraft have been built.

Cozy, is not it?
Strange, how they always use these terms associated with life in connection with machines spreading death.
Father of the bomb.
Next generation nuclear missiles.
The Predator Family. Coming to a home near you.

On the day we accessed this story about the private market-operators who are after your tax money to make new members of the Predator family, the website ran an advertisement "Help save a life today".
Absurd incompatiblities as normality in daily death.

Day 5: Saturday schedule

9:00 AM: Walk from Cactus Springs to Peace Camp across from Mercury (14 miles, on west side of Hwy 95 at Mercury exit (just N. of NYE Co. Mile Post 5).

Late-Afternoon Arrival at Peace Camp across from the Mercury Exit.

Welcoming Ritual with Johnnie Bobb of the Western Shoshone National Council

Good Friday photos

And the Stages of the Cross:

Meanwhile, in DC...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 4 Schedule (Good Friday)

8:30 AM: Walk from Goddess Temple back to Indian Springs, or
9:30 AM: shuttle from Temple

Day of rest (as far as walking goes) or after lunch, make up walking so people are ready to step off together on Saturday morning from Cactus Springs.

Some additional forms of Civil Resistance to the Unmanned Aerial Systems at Creech may follow the 10 am rally and Good Friday Service

In the afternoon, if some walkers utilized the shuttles previously, you can return to your last stopping point and walk some more.

NOTE: Lunch, Discussion Groups, Dinner and Chanting are all at the Indian Springs Community Center.

10 AM: Good Friday, at Creech Air Force Base, Indian Springs including the NO MORE WAR VICTIMS Stations of the Cross Re-enactment

12:30 PM: Lunch and Discussion time at Indian Springs Comm. Cen.

7:00 PM: Kirtan and other devotional chanting led by Priestess and Poet T. Thorn Coyle with drummer and anthropologist Joshua Levin at Indian Springs Comm. Cen.

Day 3: to the Temple of the Goddess Sekhmet, Holy Thursday

Today the Sacred Peace Walk went in better weather to Indian Springs, past the Creech Airforce Base, where several predators were being flown over for practice.

At a well near the Temple of Sekhmet, we celebrated the Footwashing of Holy Thursday.


8:00 AM: Walk from Hwy 156, Mile Post 106 to Indian Springs Motel (14 miles) or to Cactus Springs, Temple of Goddess Spirituality Mile Post 123 (17 miles).


Holy Thursday Foot Washing facilitated by Br. David Buer ofm

(after setting up camp for the night, before dinner and evening program).

7:00 PM: Gather,
7:30: Ritual of Peace, Forgiveness and Healing:
at Cactus Springs, Temple of Goddess Spirituality

Ritual leaders include Sekhmet Temple High Priestess Candace Ross, Poet and Priestess T. Thorn Coyle, Alchemical Fire Mistress Abigail Spinner McBride, and Jewish Wiccan Catholic Worker Jim Haber.

Gonna take Us All, Jon Fromer (RIP

To keep the spirit!


We are all Bradley Manning!