Air Force OSI Officers Accost Plowshares Nuns, Video Crew at Unitarian Church

By Loring Wirbel

9 May 2003

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations followed a Benet Hill Monastery van as it passed by Schriever Air Force Base Thursday afternoon.  The van was carrying the three Plowshares Nuns - Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert, and Jackie Hudson - and an independent video crew working on a film about their anti-nuclear action at Colorado's N-8 missile silo.

The officers followed the van all the way to the Unitarian Church in downtown Colorado Springs where the sisters were making an evening presentation.  At first, they wanted to confiscate the van, until learning that Benet Hill had given their permission for its use in "touring" Springs-area military bases that afternoon.  Then, the officers wanted to wait for the video crew to arrive to "analyze" the video. The crew gave permission for the officers to view the film, but made clear they would not surrender anything except shots of Schriever deemed to be sensitive.

At this point, Bill Sulzman of Citizens for Peace in Space called the Colorado Springs Gazette and other local media.  Donna Johnson of CPIS asked if all public roads surrounding Schriever were now deemed to be closed property.  The officers tried to defend their actions, and distributed to several people a brochure about a new program called EagleEyes (similar to the Justice Department's TIPS), in which citizens surrounding Air Force bases are asked to report any vehicles not known to be regular vehicles that go to the base.  The officers said this program is now being used throughout the country, though obviously, they have to respond to more citizen reports at a rural base like Schriever, than at an urban (and ironically, much more sensitive) base like the Buckley AFB intelligence base in Aurora, Colo.

The officers backed down and left, we got pictures of them, the Gazette is likely to run a story, and the sisters ended up giving a fine presentation.  But the incident tonight gives a stark example of the type of total surveillance state we are becoming in the US.


( Other reports on 3 ploughshares nuns here )

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