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Another Kick In The Teeth For Arms Control

Today’s Scheduled Us Missile Test – “Another Kick In The Teeth For Arms Control”

AMSTERDAM, March 15th, 2002 - Greenpeace today called the eighth scheduled Star Wars test “another kick in the teeth for arms control” at the end of a week that started with the leak of the Bush administration’s highly controversial new nuclear weapons policy.

The next $100 million Missile Defence test commonly known as Star Wars, is scheduled to happen early tonight with a target missile being launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, that will hopefully be intercepted by another missile from the Ronald Reagan National Test Facility, Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

“The US will apparently stop at nothing to display their utter contempt for the international arms control and disarmament regime. This latest Star Wars test will be viewed by the international community as another kick in the teeth for arms control in a week that started with the leak that revealed their intent to nuke anyone who so much as looks at them the wrong way,” said Greenpeace International disarmament campaigner William Peden.

The test occurs halfway through the Greenpeace expedition to remote communities on the north-west coast of Greenland as part of the campaign against US plans to use the Thule radar site there as part of the Star Wars system. The US needs consent from Denmark and the UK to use radar and tracking facilities on their territories. The Danish and UK Governments have adopted a wait- and-see stance on the issue, saying they will decide on the matter only after they have received a formal request from the US to adapt facilities at Thule in Greenland and Fylingdales in the UK. In the several communities Greenpeace has visited so far, the reception has been warm and opposition to Greenland’s involvement in Star Wars has been widespread.

“The deeply damaging impacts of Star Wars on arms control is felt every day. Rather than continuing to relentlessly pursue what is nothing more than a multi-billion dollar pipe dream that will do nothing to protect against the real threats facing the world today, the US should wake up to the real world and cancel the Star Wars programme,” Peden added.

The eighth test of the ground-based part of the Star Wars system takes place in the same week that it was revealed that the US plans to create at least three new nuclear weapons that would be better suited for striking targets in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Libya and “in the event of surprising military developments”. The test also falls at the end of the latest round of heated and unfruitful US/Russian talks to try to settle their differences over US Star Wars plans and the future of the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime.


Editors notes:

The Greenland dog sled tour started on Tuesday March 5th and will last until March 22nd. The expedition involves five people, sixteen dogs, and two sleds who over three weeks will ski several hundred kilometres across treacherous glaciers in temperatures as low as minus forty degrees Celsius.. For further information on the tour and updates from the team on their adventures to date visit { HYPERLINK http://www.greenpeace.org.uk }http://www.greenpeace.org.uk

Nine Greenpeace activists have already been sentenced and released after they delayed the sixth test from Vandenberg Air Force Base for forty minutes. A further eight defendants, including two freelance journalists, are still awaiting sentencing for their part in this protest. Sentencing will occur in Los Angeles on April 15.


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