Sicily: Stop the U.S. military radar network – M.U.O.S. (Italy)

What is the M.U.O.S.

The M.U.O.S. (Mobile User Objective System) is a modern, satellite-based telecommunications system in the U.S. military. It consists of five geostationary satellites and four ground stations, of which 3 already exist in the desert of the U.S. state of Virginia, one in the Australian desert and one on one of the isles of Hawaii, exclusively used for military purposes. The fourth will be set up in the south of Sicily, 2km from Niscenni, a small town with 20,000 inhabitants. Each of these ground stations is equipped with three parabolic antennas on the diameter of 18.4 meters, which transmit in the microwave range, and two 149 meter high helical antennas in the UHF spectrum.

According to the Supreme Command of the U.S. military MUOS will be the most effective weapon of the U.S. military. It will allow an extremely rapid exchange of information worldwide and offers the possibility to coordinate and command the whole crewed and non-crewed military juggernaut on land, sea and in the air from a distance.

Military Base

The military base in Niscemi is located in a nature reserve called Sughereta di Niscemi, a lush, natural cork oak forest. This nature reserve has already been used as a NATO base in Sigonella, one of the main bases for drones in the Mediterranean (War on Libya). technically the 100-acre grounds have been provided to the U.S. Navy by the Italian government. Thus Sicily becomes an outpost of U.S. Military strategy in the Mediterranean and adjacent regions. Currently there are already 46 antennas of low band frequency installed and active in Niscemi, associated with the NATO military base in Sigonella. The three MUOS satellite dishes are already in place, but are not yet fully assembled and active.


Since two years there is an ever-growing local opposition to the project MUOS and to the already existing 46 antennae. The reasons for that are in reaction mainly to health problems caused by the radiation as well as concerns about the consequences for the eco-system of the Sughereta and the effect on agricultural produce. The bees do not fly here, they crawl. Little by little there is a growing will to re-appropriate the area, to protect the natural wealth of the planet and to live a life free of military bases and the logic of war lead-in Sicily and anywhere.

At first is was very difficult for the few activists to do anything because the area is strongly dominated by a mafia mentality and structures. Actually, after the first mobilization, several activists were attacked by mafia; huts and tools were burned, tires slashed, they received phone threats and a tractor was stolen. Despite this hostile climate the support of the movement NO MUOS has grown in the population of Niscemi and in all of Sicily, to the point where the decision was made to blockade the entrance to the military base at times when it is possible to prevent access to the erection crane for the antennas.

In January 2013, a massive police operation with hundreds of special forces violently suppressed a demonstration of some dozens of activists and older people. Immediately thereafter, within two and half weeks the activists of NO MUOS blockaded the access to the base completely. Simultaneously, the Sicilian Parliament has revoked the permission to build the MUOS due to the public protest. The Italian government, which wants to implement the project MUOS at all costs, thus demands of Sicily a compensation of 25,000 euros for each day of delay in construction. The movement however has already declared its complete rejection of the existing military base, with or without MUOS.

At the moment, the actions and campaigns have mainly been organized by the Committee of the mothers, of a core of activists of all ages in Niscemi and by the Regional Committee. There is a permanent camp on the main access road to the military base, which is open to everybody. It is from here that, the blockade of the construction site has been practically organized. On 22 April, 7 activists entered the base. All were arrested and two of them are facing charges for the climbing of antennas. The repression against activists by the authorities is currently intensifying in an attempt to split up the movement and to create and atmosphere of tension.

Because this situation exceeds a strictly local setting, we call on all motivated people to contribute to our resistance and to create, translate and spread information about the MUOS and our movement.



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This entry was posted on Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 at 12:25 pm and is filed under Eco Struggle.