Tomorrow morning, Monday, October 17th, the Vandenberg 15 were scheduled to stand trial in Federal court at 1415 State Street, Santa Barbara, Calif.
The fifteen nuclear resisters were arrested on February 25th for protesting the test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Video: http://youtu.be/sGYVee9yW9Y
The defendants will hold a press conference outside of the United States Bankruptcy Court (1415 State Street, Santa Barbara) at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow, October 17. They will discuss their views on the government’s action and what comes next in the movement to stop the testing of thermonuclear warhead delivery vehicles and eliminate land-based missiles.
While the fifteen resister's intention in going to court was to put the U.S. Government's nuclear weapons policies on trial.
As David Krieger, one of the Vandenberg 15, has stated, "Current US nuclear weapons policy is illegal, immoral and runs a high risk of resulting in nuclear catastrophe. We cannot wait until there is a nuclear war before we act to rid the world of these weapons of mass annihilation. The US should be the leader in this effort, rather than an obstacle to its realization. It is up to the court of public opinion to assure that the US asserts this leadership. The time to act is now." (Read Putting U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies on Trial in the Court of Public Opinion)
"We were protesting a rehearsal of a holocaust," said defendant Daniel Ellsberg. "Every minuteman missile is a portable Auschwitz." Video of Ellsberg: http://youtu.be/E-s0_JI8Dp4
Defendant John Amidon said, "We have 450 land-based Minuteman III nuclear missiles on high alert. Despite hundreds of near-disasters due to human and mechanical mistakes over the years, these nuclear-armed missiles could be sent by a U.S. president in 13 minutes or less. Thirteen minutes, with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment, would bring the world as we know it to an end. Minuteman III missiles would not, and nothing can, prevent retaliation. Even without retaliation, their unilateral use would ruin the earth's atmosphere -- all over the earth. The missiles' only function is to kill others in a process that kills us too."
The 450 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with thermonuclear warheads and deployed in hardened silos are an archaic, first strike, Cold War weapons system. It is time to retire these dinosaurs and re-evaluate (and change) our nation's nuclear weapons policies. The Vandenberg 15 hope to make this case at very least in the court of public opinion.
More to come following tomorrow's press conference!