34-hour Italian radar Ploughshares action

IssueDecember 2015 - January 2016
News by David Polden

On 11 November, Italian pacifist Turi Vaccaro carried out a Ploughshares action at a 400-acre US military base near Niscemi in Sicily.

He climbed to the top of one of the three huge radar dishes in the base that are part of the US navy’s MUOS satellite communications system. Once there, 40 metres in the air, he used a hammer to disarm the dish’s electrical systems, causing, it’s claimed, over £500,000 (nearly €800,000) worth of damage.

Local people in the ‘No MUOS’ campaign are concerned at the effect of electromagnetic radiation from the MUOS dishes on human health, local ecosystems and agriculture, as well as their effect on tourism, and on the right to peace and security. The MUOS dishes were meant to have been at Sigonella airbase 40 miles away, but were moved because their radiation might have set off detonators in bombs on the base.

It is possible to win

Turi wrote on the dish in two-foot-high lettering: ‘No Muo$ swords into ploughs’. The peace symbol had a cross at the bottom of it to signify his Christian commitment.

Turi also displayed a shirt reading: ‘No NATO, No Muos.’ In all he remained on top of the dish for 34 hours. When he came down, he was arrested and processed in a local court. He was then released with an order to remain in the Sicilian province of Caltanissetta.

Topics: Anti-war action