Report on Fort Greely demonstration

10 September

from : Stacey Fritz
No Nukes North

September 6, 2001
PO Box 101093   Anchorage AK  99510-1093
Phone - (907) 278-3661    Fax - (907) 278-9300
e-mail:         website:



CODE - Citizens Opposed to Defense Experimentation - will be holding a press conference TODAY , Thursday, September 6 at 12 noon to discuss their plans for a town meeting in Delta Junction on Friday and a demonstration at Ft. Greely on Saturday. The press conference will be held at AkPIRG, 507 E Street, Suite 213, Anchorage.

The Delta Junction town meeting will take place at 6:30 PM at Rica's Roadhouse, mile 275 on the Richardson Highway on Friday, September 7th.

The CODE demonstration will occur at Ft. Greely's main gate from 1-3 PM on Saturday, September 8.

Current CODE Members: Alaska Impact, Alaska Action Center, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), Alaska Injured Workers' Alliance (AIWA), Green Party of Alaska - South-central Bioregion, Cook Inlet Keeper, Kodiak Rocket Launch Information Group, Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AkPIRG), No Nukes North, Greenpeace.

Demonstration Report

Saturday's demonstration at Fort Greely was wonderful.  Even the local paper managed an article on it that didn't totally mess up the story, and they had a huge beautiful picture of Lynn Defilippo on Sunday's front page.  They definitely had their numbers a little off - we counted around 59 demonstrators against NMD and around 30 (including kids) supporters.  Photography isn't my forte but you can get a general idea by visiting this link:

Copied (directly) below is the Fairbanks Daily News Miner article on the "convergance" and today they ran this AP story that is copied further below.  Now they are back to saying no test launches from Greely (Lehner is quoted in this one, it was Kadish who announced they might a few weeks ago...)

Actually, the Fairbanks paper's website seems to be experiencing difficulties and is (as of 2 pm here) still displaying yesterday's headlines, so Lynn is still front-web-page-news if you'd like to check it out soon at

Thank you all so much for the encouragement and inspiration - more soon


Stacey Fritz

September 09, 2001
Missile defense activists converge on Delta
Sides find some common ground
For the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

There were no battle lines drawn as groups both for and opposed to National Missile Defense converged on Fort Greely near Delta Junction early Saturday afternoon.

Instead, supporters and opponents of a missile test bed at the shuttered Army base swapped points of view on the controversial Department of Defense project. Surprisingly, the two groups found common ground. The sticking points were often how to accomplish common goals of peace and economic prosperity.

Anti-NMD adherents faced Deltans concerned about jobs; Deltans faced protesters who see the NMD project as both a waste of money and a threat to global peace.

About 50 people carpooled from Fairbanks to Delta for a peaceful protest of missile defense organized by Stacey Fritz, coordinator of No Nukes North. About 40 Deltans greeted the protesters there. The exchange provided more illumination than sparks.

"We really realize it is a critical jobs issue," said Philip Marshall of Fairbanks, who came to protest the long-term allotment of tax dollars for a what he calls a problem-ridden technology.

Rena Case, a Deltan in favor of the project, said she believed there are some flaws to be ironed out with the missile shield. But Case said some sort viable defense for Alaska is critical.

"There's got to be an answer," Case said.

"Let's hope we don't find out the hard way," added Jan Lokken of Fairbanks.

Some in the crowd quickly agreed to disagree, and shared ideas in the shadow of the Fort Greely entrance sign.

Suzanne Rich of Fairbanks suggested the Delta economy could be boosted by a wind generator that provides an alternative energy source.

"I'm sure Delta needs money and that's why it likes missile defense," she said.

But Deltans indicated their endorsement of the plan is about more than money--it is about national security and patriotism.

Fourteen-year-old Luke Bowdre said the project is about keeping America safe.

"I want us to keep the American flag over our nation," Bowdre said. "Right now, the only way to do that is to have missiles that would stop nuclear warheads."

People like Holly Beck and Anna Stitt see national missile defense as a precursor to an arms buildup.

"Nuclear war scares me," Beck said, calling for a new peace movement to restore the country's peaceful image.

One of the most divisive points was how the United States should deal with North Korea. Deltans like Nat Good and Nancy Kennedy, and Kaelin Mahnke of Juneau, argue Alaska, especially, needs a strong defense against an attack from the Far East. Lynn DeFilippo of No Nukes North said she believes such fears are not rational, since North Korea is not a nuclear threat.

Many of the discussions centered on how the United States will spend its money--billions on missile defense instead of on environmental cleanup, education, social programs, etc.

"My main deal for being here is the NMD system is not the best way to protect Alaska and to stimulate the economy," said Jay Strange of Fairbanks.

His position didn't sway Stormie Mitchell of Delta.

"He's entitled to his own opinion," Mitchell said. "We've agreed to disagree."

Strange and others didn't find many arguments with calls to spend government funding wisely.

When Ester retiree Bill Fuller strolled by with a sign that read: "It's our money. Don't let the politicians waste it," Mahnke, who came out in support of NMD, nodded his head. "I agree with that sign."

Others found themselves agreeing where they had not expected. It was, Rich said, a refreshing forum for ideas.

"People are talking to each other instead of just drawing lines," Rich said. "We're just ordinary people talking."

Soren Wuerth of Alaska Action Center stressed National Missile Defense is an issue that transcends Delta Junction, the region, Alaska and even the United States. As the demonstration drew to a close, Wuerth urged everyone to keep an open mind.

"We have to learn as much as possible from the local folks, as well as from people in the U.S. government," Wuerth said. "Everyone has a stake in it.

"The world is going to be looking at Delta," he said.

WASHINGTON (AP) - It hardly seems the stuff of geopolitical significance: In forested flatlands about 100 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska, contractors are taking down 135 acres of fire-scorched spruce and birch trees on a closed military post.

When they are done, they also will improve a few roads near Fort Greely and dig wells.
Next spring, given congressional approval, the Bush administration intends to dig some deep holes there, then fill them with five interceptor missile silos.

At some point during the work - precisely when is open to debate - the United States likely will come into conflict with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia. It is one of the fundamental arms control treaties of the Cold War. The administration says it will either withdraw from the treaty to avoid violating it, or it will reach a modified accord with Russia allowing the work to go forward.

Even during the Clinton administration, Fort Greely was a flashpoint for ABM treaty issues. Clinton considered using the fort as the home for 100 interceptors that would serve as the nation's sole missile defense.

The Bush administration has changed that. It is opting to test several missile defense technologies, including the ground-based interceptor program backed by the Clinton administration.

To do so, the military envisions a missile range spanning most of the north Pacific Ocean. Sites at Fort Greely, Kodiak Island, and Shemya, Alaska, would augment the existing test range that runs between Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Ballistic target missiles would be launched from one part of the range, either from a ground-based site or from an airplane. New radars would track the missile as it arcs toward space, shedding boosters and possibly dropping decoys. Around 200 miles above the Earth, the targets would tip over and fall back toward the surface. One or several experimental missile defenses - ground-based or naval interceptors, airborne lasers, or possibly orbital weapons - would try to shoot it down.

The ABM treaty has provisions against testing many of those defenses. Even using certain ship radars, or several radars in tandem, to track missiles during flight tests could create problems with compliance, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz acknowledged in congressional testimony in July.

The giant range is necessary to give the programs adequate testing, said Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the Pentagon agency running missile defense.

He said there is only one trajectory for missiles flying between Kwajalien and California; with the multiple launch sites, there would be several.

Building the range will cost $800 million, much of that for a new, high-resolution radar in Hawaii, Lehner said. Fort Greely would be an interceptor missile base. Crews there would practice loading and unloading interceptor missiles from silos. Others would run an operations center and conduct launch drills, but no plans are in place for missiles to take off from Greely, Lehner said.

Those five silos, however, would be operational, and nothing would prevent the missiles inside from being used in an emergency, officials said.

Should the interceptor program go forward, Greely likely would be the site for the real thing. The 135 acres being cleared at Greely would provide enough space for 100 silos, Lehner said.

Greely was shut down in the 1995 base closure round. Its virtue as a base was its arctic conditions. The Army tested equipment performance in temperatures that regularly dip below minus 50 degrees Farenheit. Now, much of its 750,000 acres serves as a bombing range for military aircraft.

When the base closed, nearby Delta Junction, a community of about 3,000, lost about half of its job base. The town's economic development director is happy to see the military return.

"They will have an awful lot of construction people, and they will have a lot of rocket scientists working out there and living in the community," Pete Hallgren said.

For all the activity planned for Greely, Delta residents do not expect to see missiles overhead anytime soon. During tests, interceptors ordered launched from Greely would take off from Kodiak Island, Alaska, hundreds of miles to the southwest.

On the island is the Kodiak Launch Complex, opened by the state in 1998 as a commercial space venture. Because Kodiak, unlike Fort Greely, is already cleared for rocket launches, the military would simply rent the launch facilities and build two interceptor silos, and fire between two and four interceptor shots a year, Lehner said. Kodiak might later be used to launch target missiles for airborne laser and naval interceptor tests, but the site is not suited for deployment of any ABM systems, he said.

A number of island residents have protested the planned launches, saying they want the complex used solely for civilian purposes.

A coalition of environmental and arms control groups sued the Defense Department last week to force a fresh round of environmental studies for the test range.

The Pentagon argues that studies performed under the Clinton administration are adequate. An additional study for the Kodiak operations has been ordered. 

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