7th July 2000

By Sheila Baker
San Luis Obispo

Friday's vigil at Vandenberg was an incredible experience shared by such a few amount of people that many, including the press, were alarmed. Backcountry action proved to be exciting with many thinking that the direct actioneers from Santa Cruz, San Jose, LA and Greenpeace would actually stop the launch. However, as usual, the Universal Spirit had its way. Both launches from Kwajalein Islands and Vandenberg were plagued with problems

The few that did attend represented fantastic peace groups. The amazingly baeautiful Jackie Cabasso of WSLF and Pamela Meidell of Atomic Mirror were there. Dave Kreiger came to distribute his important pamplet on General Butler's statement. The American Friends Service Committee were represented as were the strong Guadalupe Catholic Workers who provided support for the backcountry folks. Tri Valley CARES showed!!

Greenpeace was so impressive with their blow-up missile, their media center, their constant presence throughout the whole ordeal and their brave little ship that made it to the hazard area. Greenpeace also had backcountry actioneers in the Kwajalein Islands!!

Marie, Kathy and I did our all-nighter in front of the gates, dealing with five sprinkler drenchings and very nervous base police. I represented our small WILPF San Luis Obispo, Ca group.

I think, for me, the most exciting presence during the whole ordeal was that of the California Green Party Senatorial candidate, Medea Benjamin. She came not to campaign, but to lend support to activists fighting a very serious crises.

Bud Booth and Dottie Booth of Santa Barbara Greens lent their house as base camp for the direct actioneers, as well as their presence during the launch. They also helped organize the protest against the nuclear navy ship which docked only a few days before in the SB harbor. An amazing couple!!

Literally all in our group showed visible signs of distress at the launch. Medea shared that her knees were knocking and Pamela Meidell exclaimed that she never wanted to see another launch again (i.e., let's stop the next one!!). The sight was disturbing to all who realized that we witnessed a test nuclear missile launch, with dummy warheads (actual nukes not present, but will be in actual war launch).

If you did not attend either July 1 or the actual launch, I will guess that we were with you in spirit. Many, many thanks to Cleveland WILPF for their support demonstration, the increidble Menwith Women of England, the Colorado Springs action folks and others for their support. We will be with you on Monday, Colorado, in spirit.

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