Greenpeace activists arrested for protest on Kwajalein Atoll
By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Science Writer
Two Greenpeace activists were arrested at Kwajalein Atoll yesterday while protesting the Bush administration's proposal for a national missile-defense program.
The two were part of a group of protesters that arrived at the U.S. Army missile-testing range on the Marshall Islands atoll aboard inflatable boats launched from the environmental group's flagship, the MV Rainbow Warrior.
Kwajalein Atoll is used to launch interceptor missiles at rockets fired from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. The work is part of the Department of Defense's missile-defense research program.
Similar research has been conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua'i. Range public affairs officer Vida Mossman said no active missile-defense research is being conducted at the Kaua'i facility.
Greenpeace said in a press release that two protesters carrying a "Just Say No" banner were arrested at a radar site used in the missile tests. Another banner said "Stop Star Wars."
One of those arrested, Mike Townsley of Greenpeace International, accused the Bush administration of using coercion to seek international support for its missile shield research. Several top administration officials are heading to Asia, the Pacific and Europe to sell the program.
"Just as Greenpeace campaigned against nuclear testing in the Pacific years ago, Greenpeace is campaigning against the testing of the Star Wars system now a system which threatens to ignite a new nuclear arms race and greatly increase the risk of conflict globally," he said.