Sunday, January 29, 2012

25 years of protesting the U.S. base in Longare near Vicenza, Italy

We went with Gino Vallesella to the entrance of the U.S. base in Longare, Italy where a weekly vigil has been ongoing since December 1986 as a result of the Pershing and Cruise missile programs.  This base was home to nuclear warheads and the missiles were stored in another location.  In 1992 the warheads were removed and the base was closed, and the community was considering what to do with the space.  However, in 1994 the U.S. moved back in to the facility..  The 173rd Airborne Infantry is housed here and in Germany.  They have conducted military maneuvers in the mountains near here.  Many of the troops that go to Iraq and Afghanistan have passed through this base.

At the vigil location we met Bruno Matteo Bonato and Ambrosi Francesco, who are regulars at the protest.  Unfortunately, the rest of the seven people who showed up for the vigil were already gone when we arrived.  One of the founding members, Francesco Scalzotto, died two years ago and there is a plaque here honoring his memory.

One of the things that is not yet being investigated is the high incidence of cancer in and around this base.  Perhaps some of the radiation from the warheads still remains, or maybe there is some other cause.  Being a small group, they don't have the political strength to insist on an investigation.

The group is called "Group presence at Longare" and they are associated  with International Fellowship of and maintain communications with one of the 9/11 Truth groups in the U.S.  More pictures ...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Italian Servas experience

Servas is a wonderful organization, with many friendly, interesting people who hosted host us in their homes and became our friends.  Our experience in Italy brought us together with people who are very knowledgeable about the history, culture, geology, and politics of the island.  Many helped us to learn more about the military bases, the contamination and cancer epidemic, and the birth defects being caused by the weapons testing.

In Sardegna, we stayed with Servas friends in Macomer, Sassari, and La Maddalena - including 3 different homes in and near Sassari.  We had a nice dinner in Sassari with all of the hosts and friends, at a unique restaurant where they serve a kind of chick pea pizza.  We also stayed with Roberta and Renzo in Milano.

For the full report and pictures, click here

Italian Non-Violent Movement 50th Anniversary

The Italian Non-Violence Movement celebrated it's 50th Anniversary in grand style. A Beattles band, Magical Mystery Orchestra, started the program Friday night. There were speakers and a movie throughout Saturday with a fantastic concert by 10 women soloists in the evening. Giancarla Codrignani, Sam Biesemans, and Gerry Condon spoke about conscience objection, war resisters, and Bradley Manning.   More pictures ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

La Maddalena

La Maddelena is a beautiful island near Sardinia, which previously had a U.S. submarine base.  After a submarine crashed into a rock near the base, causing the only known earthquake in Sardinia, questions about the source of the earthquake forced the U.S. government to admit to the accident.  With that and a 17,000 signature petition demanding the removal of the base, the U.S. vacated the January 2008 after a 35 year presence there.

Our Servas hosts Giovanna and Giovanni took us on a couple of great hikes and talked about their interactions with the marines stationed there.  Giovanna helped many marines, who at first were told not to interact with the locals, and later were allowed more freedom.

More pictures...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sardegna military zone environmental contamination

We have been in Sardegna almost two weeks and have learned a lot about the environmental problems that the extensive military bases are causing on this island.  The U.S. military base which housed nuclear submarines on La Maddelena island was closed but the contamination was not cleaned up.  The huge bases in Quirra and Teulada are used as bomb and missile testing areas and are causing a huge number of deaths and cancers among the people as well as deformed animals and contamination of the soil and sea.  There are three albums related to this issue and we are working on writing an article about the issues.

Here are links to the albums:

Teulada - contaminating paradise
Quirra - contaminating paradise
Cagliari - protesting against the bases

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sassari Servas dinner

There are many Servas hosts in Sassari and we have had the pleasure of staying with two of them as well as meeting more.  A dinner was held for those that could come and now we have many more friends here in Sardegna.  More pictures...

Walk with Anna near Alghero, Sardegna

Our Servas host, Anna, took us for a lovely walk at Parco de Porto Conte near Sassari, Sardegna.  We were on a lovely peninsula overlooking the sea.  Pictures...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ignazio and Lucia in Macomer

Ignazio and Lucia hosted us in Macomer, Sardegna.  Ignazio, a former marathon runner and safety engineer is on his way to becoming a great saxaphone player!  Lucia invited us into her kitchen to show her how to make ravioli.  We ate well and enjoyed the company of another guest, Gracia.  A good time was had by all!  More pics...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Anti Radar demonstration in Capo San Marco, Sardegna

The people of Sardegna successfully thwarted an attempt to build a new radar facility on the island, and now the military has a new site in mind, on Capo San Marco.  The people are again demonstrating against the radar, which has not proven to be safe and may be used in ways that they do not agree with.  We participated in the march.  It was attended by more than 100 people and was a relaxed, happy, friendly event.  People were VERY happy to have the international solidarity and participation by Veterans For Peace and invited Gerry to speak to the crowd, which he did.  His speech was last and very much appreciated by the audience.

The day ended with much food, beer, camaraderie, and many new friends!  More pictures...

No Radar protest in beautiful Capo San Marco, Sardinia. Helen and I were so happy to be there, representing Veterans For Peace.

Check out this beautiful video, with a righteous rap in Italian.