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Greenpeace Vessel Sailing Towards Star Wars Test

GREENPEACE VESSEL SAILING TOWARDS STAR WARS TEST SITE

PHOTOS AND VIDEO AVAILABLE

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, July 6, 2000 (10:00 a.m PST)

Escalating its protest against the Pentagon’s “Star Wars” missile program, the international anti-nuclear organisation Greenpeace is sending its vessel MV Arctic Sunrise into waters off the launch site at Vandenberg Air Force base where a test launch is scheduled for the evening of Friday 7 July (US time).

The vessel is headed towards waters designated as a hazard zone by the Air Forces for the purposes of the missile test. The Air Force issued a request on Tuesday that ships stay clear of these kind of zones before the test proceeds.

Late yesterday Greenpeace USA Executive Director Ellen McPeake sent an urgent letter to President Clinton urging him to cancel this test and the entire Star Wars program before it does any more damage to existing arms control agreements and sparks a new and dangerous nuclear arms race.

“Mr. President, you have the finger on the Star Wars button. We urge you take it off and make the world a safer place,” the letter read.

Aboard the 164 foot Dutch-registered Arctic Sunrise are 23 people, including activists from New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands, United States, Russia, France, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Argentina, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Turkey.

“The Star Wars program is wrong and must be scrapped,” said Greenpeace spokesperson John Sprange aboard the Arctic Sunrise. “We want President Clinton to stop this test which puts the United States and the rest of the world at grave risk.”

Outside Vandenberg’s Air Force Base’s front gate, Greenpeace continues to maintain an around the clock vigil, with disarmament experts on hand to provide background information to the public and the media. Greenpeace has also launched a special website, www.stopstarwars.org, which offers people around the world a chance to send letters directly to President Clinton voicing their opposition to the Star Wars program.

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Toni Hessell, the New Zealander on board the Arctic Sunrise, is available for interviews by calling ++1-202-251- 6297.

Photos are available in the U.S. by calling: 202-256-0676

Photo enquiries Europe ++31-653 819121

Video enquires in the United States: 202-319-2496 or 202- 2516296

Video enquires in Europe: ++31-653504721

On site media co-ordinator: 805-598-2527 or 805-598-2517

By calling these numbers it is also possible to arrange interviews from the Arctic Sunrise.


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Tricia Allen Campaign and Communications Director Greenpeace New Zealand tricia.allen@nz.greenpeace.org phone ++ 64 9 630 6317 / +64 25 790817 fax ++ 64 9 630 7121 http://www.greenpeace.org
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