BACKCOUNTRY AT VANDENBERG
Missile defense test target of infiltrators
In the days leading up to the failed July 7 test of the ballistic missile defense system, several small groups of people infiltrated the security zone at Vandenberg Air Force Base, to disrupt the launch of the target missile. Three support people were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday, July 5 and 6, as they prepared for others to follow. The nonviolent direct actions led to a heightened security status at the expansive base on the central California coast.
On Friday, July 7, nine others were arrested, several of them within the explosion safety arc and launch security exclusion zone only three hours before the missile's belated launch. Seven of the 12 arrested were members of the environmental group Greenpeace. The other five and a half dozen more who eluded arrest on Friday were from the reconstituted Vandenberg Action Coalition.
All twelve were cited for trespass, issued three-year ban and bar letters, and released pending arraignment in federal court on August 17.
At the Kwajalein Atoll, the Pacific Ocean target of Vandenberg test shots, Greenpeace also attempted to disrupt the launch of the missile interceptor. American James Roof and Meike Huelsman of Germany were arrested after they unfurled a "Stop Star Wars" banner in the area of the launch site.
Future tests on Kwajalein may face more local resistance. Traditional landowners on the atoll have filed suit against the government of the Marshall Islands challenging the legality of the Land Use Agreement permitting the U.S. missile range to operate. They want more money for the land use, or threaten to seek eviction of the domineering tenant.
In addition to these arrests, there were demonstrations opposing the missile defense test around the world. For more information about the campaign against U.S. plans to initiate a new arms race in space, and an upcoming international day of demonstrations on October 7, contact the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, P.O. Box 90083, Gainesville, FL 32607; (352)337-9274; email@example.com or on the web: www.globenet.free-online.co.uk
For more information about the Vandenberg actions, contact the Vandenberg Action Coalition via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or call Hannah at the Resource Center for Nonviolence (831)423-1626.