Thursday, August 14, 2014

Do You Want A Toxic Missile "Defense" Site in Maine?

Photo from our drive home from the "public meeting"
I don't want a toxic missile "defense" site anywhere, including my state, where the Appalachian Trail reaches its northern limit in the western mountains, and waterways abound. Rangeley is in my backyard, so my husband and I went to what turned out to be a fake public meeting about a proposed missile site which was held at the Univ. of Maine in nearby Farmington this evening.

(I would have liked to be in Ferguson, Missouri -- but instead watched the I Am Mike Brown livestream. Huge peaceful crowds, mad honking in support, and when police begin driving through crowds running their sirens the whole crowd turns toward them, raising both hands to protest racist police brutality.)

Now the Pentagon, at my expense and yours, brings around a lame presentation with scores of highly paid men, some government employees but even more Pentagon contractors. As you enter the room you are pounced on by salesmen who try to steer you through a series of stations with exciting videos of missiles flying through the air and charts of how well the interceptor missiles perform in perfectly flat deserts.

There is a lot of emphasis on "you getting your questions answered."

Mark and I were sharing flyers that offered six basic objections to a missile site in Rangeley (thanks Bruce Gagnon):

1)  Ground-based mid-course missile defense systems have not proven themselves to work effectively thus deployment is way premature assuming one could make a case they were even needed.

2)  Huge waste of tax payer dollars. To which I added:

3)  Missile defense systems are destabilizing and fuel new arms race – particularly with Russia & China.

4)  Pentagon often says these systems are needed to protect against Iran & North Korea but neither have nuclear weapons delivery systems capable of reaching continental US (Iran does not even have a nuclear weapon).  In reality these systems are aimed at Russia & China.

5)  Missile defense systems are key elements in US first-strike attack planning – they are the ‘shield’ to be used after a US first-strike attack is launched.  The US Space Command has been war gaming such attacks for years.

6) The environmental degradation to the mountains east of Rangeley, and the impacts on wildlife, are totally unacceptable. The idea of driving 55-foot long interceptor missiles from Bangor to the Rangeley area on country roads is ludicrous.

We shared them with the press that was there, and together gave an interview to WCSH Channel 6 t.v. out of Portland.

Because we had done our own research, we weren't really there to gather information from the military on its own project. That would have been like relying on a car salesman to get all you needed to know before buying a car.

For example, though the missiles supposedly are to defend the U.S. from threats from Iran and North Korea, none of the guys in dress uniforms could tell my husband how far it is from Rangeley to Iran.

The event had the feel of a recruiting opportunity, but all the young people were missing (UMF is still on summer break).

If you wanted to leave comments they had a court reporter hired to record you and then transcribe them. You could also write them out on paper.

One of the sales guys steered me toward talking to Sen. Angus King's regional representative, who said he could express no opinions but was there to listen and bring my comments back. After I spoke he gave me his card and asked me to "articulate my views" in an email, which he would forward.

I went downstairs toward the sound of laughter to see if I could hand out some more flyers. Found some custodians who were glad to talk about the missiles and each wanted a flyer. One said she remembered the big public hearing a couple of years ago about the environmental impact of low-flying Mass. Air National Guard planes training over our area. You won that one, she noted.

I'm pretty sure that's why the missile boys hired a PR firm to create an event called a public meeting but designed instead as a trade show. The meeting part meant "us meeting you and telling you what we want you to know."

Almost no one we spoke to on the street in Farmington later knew anything about the proposed missile site. Everyone seemed glad to get a flyer.

If you want to send a message explaining why missile sites are bad for the environment, bad for the national soul, and bad for the prospects for world peace, you can submit a comment to the "Missile Defense Agency" at

Ridgely Fuller of CODEPINK sharing a flyer for Maine's Peace Walk coming up Oct 11.

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