Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Big Story from No MUOS Campaign in Sicily

No MUOS activist armed with his hammer before climbing the US military satellite dish



Dave Webb, Josi McIntire and I arrived in Sicily just after noon yesterday.  We landed at the Comiso airport that during the 1980’s was a US military base and a deployment site for more than 100 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles when Ronald Reagan made the move in October 1983 to position these nuclear-capable weapons in England and in Sicily.  He also deployed the Pershing II nuclear missile in Mutlangen, Germany all aimed at the former Soviet Union.  (The Pershing II was built in Orlando, Florida where I was living at the time and I organized a statewide demonstration there in October of that year as part of an international day of protest against these provocative deployments.)

Currently the Comiso base is an airport but you can see the remains of the nuclear bunkers just across the street from the main airport terminal.

After being picked up at the airport by our hosts they took us to nearby city of Ragusa near the southern coast where the owners of a lovely Bed & Breakfast have offered their place for the three of us to stay during our time here.

In the late afternoon just as the sun set two of the men from the local No MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) committee in Ragusa took us for a walk down the hill into the ancient part of the town called Ibla that was built in the 1400’s, devastated by an earthquake in the late 1600’s, and was rebuilt by the Spanish who occupied these lands at the time.  These days we heard speculators from the US, Germany, England and China are buying up many of these very old homes.

At 8:00 pm we were taken to the home of one of the local activists in Ragusa who hosted a dinner for 14 people and the several courses revealed the great hospitality of these wonderful new Sicilian friends. 

During the coming days here we will be shown the sites, treated to more such dinners, and we will speak twice in different towns.  We’ll also visit the military space communications relay base on Saturday being constructed by the US.  The No MUOS campaign has been fighting against this expansion of an existing US space communications base and they have successfully got a Sicilian regional court to temporarily stop construction of the base.  The US government though has demanded that the Italian government ignore its own judicial process in order to force the finalization of the MUOS installation.  In response to pressure from Washington a five-person committee was formed by the Italian government to make the final decision about the base expansion taking the case away from the Supreme Court which was supposed to rule on whether the US base expansion had followed all legal steps.

So organizing and protests will continue and things are expected to heat up in the coming month as the five-person appointed committee is set to meet in Palermo this December.  I’ll write in more detail on all of this in the coming days.

Update:  As we were taken on a drive today to visit the historic town of Modica our host received a call saying that one of the key No MUOS activists had climbed onto one of the US military satellite dishes and took a hammer to it.  Above you can see photos of him on the dish.  No word yet as to what will happen to him.

2 Comments:

Blogger Patsy Messier said...

I had no idea this is a current event. Please keep us updated and thanks again Bruce and friends.

11/11/15, 8:52 AM  
Blogger Zinn Reader said...

Thanks, Bruce. Keep this kind of crucial information coming - we all need to become aware of such activities so that we can share this information with others, including our "elected" officials.



11/11/15, 11:10 PM  

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