Report on In<ter>dependence Day at the NSA

4 July 2002

Max Obuszewski


Please note that about thirty Maryland-D.C. activists joined the annual protest at the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland on a very sultry day.   We stood on asphalt in the record-breaking heat with banners and "Star Wars" balloons.  Tied to the balloons were streamers denouncing the war, calling for the NSA to be abolished, urging that space be kept for peace, etc.   After we vigiled and leafleted near the entrance to the base, the balloons were tied to a security fence.  Below is our leaflet.

Two banners--"The NSA is a Crime" & "Close the NSA"--were mounted on a bridge over Route 295, a highway that connects Baltimore and Washington. Unlike all of the flags and "United We Stand" banners on other bridges hanging since 9-11, our banners were removed within an hour.  So much for freedom of speech near the NSA.

As per tradition, we brought a broken umbrella to be presented to Lt. Gen. William Hayden, the director.  The umbrella and balloons are just as effective as so-called "missile defense" and so much cheaper.  The head of the security detail promised to place the "umbrella" in the pipeline to
Gen. Hayden's office.  We had written to the director requesting a meeting, but we have yet to receive a response.  This letter is available upon request.

Noticing all of the litter in the area where we were protesting, we decided to clean up the mess before departing.  The litter, like "depleted uranium," was an insult to our environmental conciousness.

We agreed that we would return to the NSA in October as part of the effort of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space to call for an International Day of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space.  KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE WEEK will be held October 4-11, 2002.

July 4, 2002  In<ter>dependence Day at the National Security Agency

We peace and justice advocates have been gathering at Fort Meade's National Security Agency every 4th of July since 1996.  We are here to unmask the covert and overt role of the agency, far removed from public scrutiny, and bring to light its illegal and harmful past and present practices. The secret endeavors lead to a path of killing, destruction and domination.

Justice is the only means of security. It is an ethical imperative that money wasted on spying and warmaking be diverted to satisfy the basic needs of all people of the world.  We are interdependent as one human family.

Despite our many concerns, we are here to condemn the NSA's involvement with Star Wars and the Space Command Vision for 2020, which calls for domination of the heavens. NSA listening stations will be used in "Ballistic Missile Defense," which is draining the treasury of billions of dollars. Total estimated spending for Star Wars, so far, is about $200 billion. The Pentagon budget for 2003 will be about $393 billion, with close to $8 billion for Star Wars, a system that will never work.

So today, we carry "Star Wars" balloons, as examples of a more cost-conscious and just as effective form of missile defense.  To those of us living in Baltimore, a city in desperate need of funding for social services, we recognize that money for war should be diverted towards the needs of the people, especially the poor.

Many are discouraged by an endless "war on terrorism," as more money goes for bombs at the expense of human needs and the environment. In the process of warmaking, the government is shredding the Bill of Rights, as civil liberties are becoming a forgotten ideal. Most recently, the Bush belligerents adopted a "strike first" policy and a provocative new nuclear weapons doctrine, which will surely lead to nuclear proliferation and more terrorism.

Few citizens, however, are daring to Speak Truth to Power.

Nevertheless, we must confront the endless arms race, hypocrisy, threats, and superpower terror. We must preempt a Bush government that grows more out of control by the day by resisting at the National Security Agency and other government sites engaged in imperialistic adventures.

We will continue with our efforts to challenge the NSA, which we find unacceptable and undemocratic.  Its operations, hidden under the cloak of secrecy, cannot provide real security.  The Bush administration and its willing partner, the National Security Agency, offer perpetual war, insecurity, and instability. Our way, a nonviolent affirmation of equal justice for all on the planet, offers the only realistic chance for humans and nations to live together on this Earth.  Consider joining us.

For further information contact:
Baltimore Emergency Response Network: 410-377-7987 or
Atlantic Life Community:  410-233-6238


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