Vandenberg protester bucks Supreme Court, gets arrested

March 6, 2014
Dennis Appel

Dennis Appel

One week after the Supreme Court ruled that antiwar activist Dennis Apel could not protest along a stretch of Highway 1 that is located on the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Appel returned to the spot Wednesday and was arrested along with a fellow protester. [Lompoc Record]

Appel, a Santa Maria resident, has been arrested more than 15 times at Vandenberg Air Force base in the last 20 years. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the Vandenberg commanders can arrest for Appel for protesting anywhere on base property, even if it is along a highway the public can access. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion that the court would not even consider Appel’s 1st Amendment argument.

On Wednesday afternoon, Appel stood beside Highway 1 at Vandenberg and read a statement condemning the ruling and arguing that the government is waging a campaign to silence him.

“This ruling is dangerous, dangerous for our freedom of speech. It is dangerous for our obligation to hold our government accountable, and it is another step in the erosion of the constitutionally guaranteed rights which were put in place to secure our liberty,” Appel said.

Military officers then arrested him. Steve Kelly, a Bay Area priest also was arrested.



Thank you Dennis Appel for your commitment to keep space free for peace, to shine a light on the weaponization of space by the US Military Industrial Congressional Complex. I truly appreciate your sacrifice.


Wow… do you still wear tie-died t-shirts and bandannas, too?

Sorry, I just got a really strong “aged hippy” vibe. Far out, man.

FYI: Space has been militarized by several nations; most specifically China. I wish I could tell you what we (DEFSMAC) knew back in the day… I can only imagine what they have now. It’s just a chess game.

Would you rather give your tax dollars to the Green Industrial Congressional Complex? I assure you, it is far more corrupt with far less benefits to far fewer people. But it makes us feel good, right man? Dig it.


Stupid is…as stupid does.

miles archer

SLO Johnny:

“A waste of the taxpayers money…”.

~ I agree, what a waste of time and money because of two American citizens exercising their freedom of speech.

“This guy is just a self aggrandizing fool with delusions of grandeur”.

~ Even if this were remotely true…why do you care? Even a “fool” has the right to his/her freedom of speech, right?

Or does it only apply to those you agree with?


At least they gave him the courtesy to read his statement before arresting him. He got his dog & pony show, so mission accomplished.


really great photos from a local photographer


A waste of the taxpayers money so these two loons can go on a ego trip. Think of all the usefull things that could be done with the money that is being wasted on this idiocy. There are many places where protesters can make their point. This guy is just a self aggrandizing fool with delusions of grandeur.


True, but why give any recognition to his little show by arresting him unless he was causing a traffic hazard or otherwise creating problems. Like the Westboro Baptist Church with their anti-gay/military demonstrations, ignoring him would likely be the best way to end the nonsense.


SLO_Johnny, are you talking about the base commander and the Air Force idiocy of weaponizing space? If so, I’d say you’ve got your head on straight.


Russ, no one argues that weapons and violence are foolish; however, only a fool maintains the notion that without them we are safer. Locks and Fences, brother.

I admired both Ghadhi and Rev. King… how did their pacifist, non-violent choice work out for them? While providing excellent examples, in the end we lost some great men. All because SOMEONE was armed/violent… and THAT is the point. Someone ALWAYS keeps their weapons and violence.

It does not mean we have to like them, but prudence does keep us safe. Do you lock your house? Or lock up your bike when parking it outside? Do we have fences around “our” property? I.E. we cannot trust everyone. I wish we could, but we simply cannot for it would be foolish. Locks and Fences… and Trust.

That said, please keep up your protests and support of protesters – we have that right (currently), so use it and thank you for using it.