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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 15th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 36

Scheduled Minuteman launch prompts protest

BY RYAN MILLER

The battle continues: Vandenberg Air Force Base announces the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, and protesters announce their efforts to end such events.

An unarmed Minuteman III is scheduled to launch in the early hours of Nov. 14, between 1:44 and 7:44 a.m. Its flight from North Vandenberg will, according to a press release from the base, citing Air Force Global Strike Command, “validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system.”

“It’s a pleasure to work with our military, government civilian, and contractor mission partners,” Col. Brent McArthur, 30th Space Wing vice commander, said in the release.

McArthur is the launch decision authority. The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, will use the data collected from this mission for continuing force development evaluation.

Protesters aimed to gather at noon on Nov. 13 at the corner of State and Anapamu streets in Santa Barbara, saying they want to bring attention to the launch and oppose Minuteman III missile testing—and the United States’ land-based missiles as a whole.

David Krieger, president of the Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, planned to attend the protest.

“A provocative nuclear-capable missile test is not the message that President Obama should be sending the world just one week after his re-election,” Krieger said in a release to the media. “Such tests encourage other countries to develop and test their own missiles and nuclear weapons. The tests are also extremely dangerous and disruptive to the Marshall Islanders, who have suffered enough from U.S. nuclear testing and strive to live in peace on their Pacific islands.”

The Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands represents the other end of the launches originating from Vandenberg.

Protesters worry that nuclear-equipped missiles elsewhere in the United States essentially welcome an attack and “could lead to accidental nuclear war.”