International Day of Protest

Report from: NSA, Fort Meade

From: Jonah House
disarmnow@erols.com


INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST TO STOP THE MILITARIZATION OF SPACE
October 13, 2001

A caravan of cars traveled to the National Security Agency in Prince George County, Maryland to join with thousands of people in 19 countries at 118 sites for demonstrations; all communicated the same message: "NO WEAPONS AND NO NUCLEAR POWER IN SPACE"  The demonstration in Maryland was sponsored by WILPF, BERN, Jonah House, the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, and civil liberties advocates. Our press release and announcement of intent drew to the site police cars, SWAT teams, NSA personnel, police dogs, and patrol wagons from every direction including the official NSA photographer. Not one press person responded.

We were immediately surrounded by police as we parked our vehicles and then directed by said police to an area they had cordoned off for our demonstration. We explained that we had chosen our site, that we had planned the demonstration and that we would probably reject their offer. We proceeded in single file to the NSA site, situating ourselves in a long line in front of the Agency with puppets and banners. The messages included:

THE STARS ARE FOR LIGHT AND LOVE, NOT FOR DARKNESS AND WAR; WE LOVE ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS; BREAK THE CHAINS OF WAR - CHOOSE NONVIOLENCE...

For an hour we vigiled there and then formed a circle and proclaimed aloud the letter that had been written to Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, head of the NSA, requesting a meeting with him. Then we read the names of all the 118 sites where peacemakers gathered in one spirit with us. We ended with a reflective reading on grief and grieving which named many of the people and situations for which we are grieving.

The response from passing traffic was a scattered positive and negative - not bad for being in a \the militarized atmosphere of Ft. George Meade.

On October 12, 4 peace advocates - Sr. Carol Gilbert, Sr. Ardeth Platte, Max Obuszewski and Ellen Barfield - were arrested after they entered into the NSA high alert security area to attempt a meeting with St. Gen Hayden.

They were handcuffed, transported to Ft. Meade headquarters, processed and ticketed with 3 charges: trespass, conspiracy and destruction of property. They will be notified of a court appearance.

"UNITED WE STAND AGAINST WAR"


FOUR PEACE ACTIVISTS ARRESTED AFTER BREACHING SECURITY AT NSA

From: Baltimore Emergency Response Network

CONTACT: Max Obuszewski
325 E. 25th Street, Baltimore,
MD 21218

mobuszewski@afsc.org

As part of the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST TO STOP THE MILITARIZATION OF SPACE, organized by the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space in Gainesville, Florida,  Ellen Barfield, Max Obuszewski, Sister Carol Gilbert, O.P. and Sister Ardeth Platte, O.P. walked through an open gate at the National Security Agency at 7 AM, despite the fact the area was on highest alert.

They carried a letter addressed to Lt. General Michael V. Hayden, head of the National Security Agency, demanding a meeting.  However, a security breach alert was sounded, and at least nine vehicles, soldiers with drawn weapons and attacl dogs soon arrived. The NSA officials would not permit a meeting with Gen. Hayden, so Ardeth and Carol poured their own blood on the asphalt to represent all victims of the NSA's work.  Max held a sign "Unmask the Body of Secrets ... No Star Wars ... Nonviolence Now ... International Day of Protest - Oct. 12-13, 2001", while Ellen's banner read "No War On Afghanistan, Iraq, Whomever; No Spying, No Star Wars, Work for Peace, Please!"

Each demonstrator was arrested and charged with trespass [six months/$2500 fine], destruction of government property [one year] and conspiracy [five years].  No trial date was assigned, but the protesters were eventually released on personal recognizance at about 12 noon on Friday, October 12, 2001.

The four activists acted the morning after George W. Bush indicated all police departments and government agencies were placed on the highest security alert.  Real security, though, will not come from military weaponry or warmaking.  True security comes from treating all people equally and from sharing the world's resources.

Max Obuszewski, raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, attended Erie Cathedral Preparatory School for Boys, the same high school as Tom Ridge, the head of the Office of Homeland Security. He and the others hope Gov. Ridge will heed their call for real security:

NO THEATRE MISSILE DEFENSE!
NO NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE!
NO STAR WARS RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT!
KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE!
NO WAR!
FUND HUMAN NEEDS!

The NSA cloak of secrecy, its covert actions, confrontations, undisclosed annual budgets and interceptor sites throughout the world will not enhance security.

The statement the four carried unto the base read:

OUR REJECTION OF "STAR WARS" AND TODAY'S WARS

We enter the National Security Agency property on this International Day of Protest, October 12, 2001, walking toward the Tordella Supercomputer Facility as a sacred pilgimage to

  • mark and break open this site of darkness and secrecy

  • delay and stop business as usual

  • unmask and reveal the covert and overt role of the Agency that is far removed from public scrutiny
  • bring to light its illegal and harmful past and present practices and its projected plans of participation in the U.S. Space Command's Vision for 2020

We come to appeal to all of you present at the NSA to turn away from the Ballistic and Theater Missile Defense/Offense work, your Surveillance Measures, Echelon, Eavesdropping, Spying, Photo Missions, Intelligence Gathering through Listening Devices, Postal Interceptions, Intercepts from Water, Land, Air, and Space, Cryptanalysis & Traffic Analysis, Propaganda, Deception and Excessive Budgets.  All of these secret endeavors lead to a path of killing, destruction, power-seeking, domination and death-dealing.

The world expects more of the United States and wants something better.

We mourn for the victims of violence and their families in this country and in all other parts of the world.  We deplore terrorism in any form in any place on planet Earth or threats of terrorism and war from land, water, air or space.  We are non-violent persons and realize that it is only by non-violence and just relationships that the cycle of violence will be broken.

We believe in transformation of satellites and computer use and the activities of 38,000 employees and this Agency, itself, to be used for life, in behalf of people with basic human needs in the United States and the rest of the world.

The work of the NSA, NRO, CIA, DEA, FBI, U.S. Space Command, etc.  (the whole military industrial complex with its Department of War and profiteering Corporation contracts) perpetuates the havoc that is presently being wrought upon this nation.

We plead for the use of intelligence in the work for justice and for peace and may it be granted and returned to you and to all future generations.

Submitted by:
Ellen Barfield,
Sr. Carol Gilbert, O.P.
Max Obuszewski,
Sr. Ardeth Platte, O.P.

October 12, 2001 at the National Security Agency in Maryland

The activists will attend the October 13 protest at the NSA at 10:30 AM. Their letter to Gen. Hayden is available on request. The list of sites at which people will be acting on October 13 against Star Wars is also available on request.

The Baltimore Emergency Response Network and Baltimore's Jonah House have been organizing demonstrations at the National Security Agency since 1996.

See James Bamford's book BODY OF SECRETS, which details the spy agency's response to these nonviolent protests.



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