VFP UK and Ireland members attend international protest against US bases at Ramstein, Germany.
On the last weekend of June, Veterans For Peace gave solidarity to the German ‘Stopp Ramstein’ campaign (conference and demonstration), now in its 5th year.
Ramstein US airbase is the largest outside of the continental USA and is central to conducting UAV ‘drone’ strikes in the Middle East.
An estimated 5,000 protesters attended on Saturday, including delegates from the US, Italy, France, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK who reported on the worldwide problems of US and NATO bases.
Dr John Lannon (Peace and Neutrality Alliance) from Limerick spoke about ‘Shannonwatch’ and the daily use of Shannon civil airport by United States military transports. He mentioned the two VFP members from the USA who have had their passports taken by the Irish court for their protest at Shannon airport in March.
Dr Dave Webb chair of CND GB from Leeds informed the conference about USAF bases in England and UK bases overseas, supported with materiel from VFPUK.
Pat Elder; World Beyond War from Maryland US, highlighted the environmental damage caused by US bases (more below).
Prominent German speakers included Oskar Lafontaine SPD elder statesman; Prof. Hubert Weiger president of the federation of environment and nature protection Germany and Emeritus Prof. Reiner Mausfeld Uni Kiel, Social Psychologist
This major theme from the German speakers was the environmental damage caused by US bases worldwide. Groundwater pollution is rife all around the Kaiserslautern military complex. Pat Elder mentioned that since 2014 poisonous extinguishing foams (PFCs) were used on Ramstein Air Base and other US airforce bases in the region. These are now contaminating lakes, rivers and the ground water in the region. In one river the contamination was 500 times higher than the safety limit of the European Union. These contaminations are linked to cancer and birth defects.
For more information about the Ramstein base please see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramstein_Air_Base
Compiled by VFP member Ged