Greenpeace activists protesting in front of the US and Spanish naval base in Rota where there is a heavy presence of military vessels and preparations being made for the Gulf..
The Rota naval base is a joint operation between the US and
Spain and a major stop for US chartered cargo ships on route to the
Gulf. In addition to ships coming and going, the base has an
airstrip where military supply planes are regularly landing and
taking off, even late into the night.
Despite the overwhelming opposition to the war by Spanish
people, the government is supporting the US led war on Iraq both
politically in the UN Security Council and on the ground with base
Several activists were out this morning to let not only the
government of Spain, but the participants that this war know that
it is illegal, immoral and wrong. Our inflatable boats kept 100
metres away from the ship to not impede its progress, but police
boats immediately surrounded our inflatables and a police
helicopter was just metres above.
"The helicopter was so close I could see the pilot's name
badge," said Timo, one of the activists driving an inflatable. The
helicopter was flying just four metres above us, sometimes less,
making it very wet, very hard to see and very hard to hear, the
sound was deafening. The police in the helicopter kept telling us
to move away from the ship, but since we were not doing anything
illegal, we continued our peaceful protest."
The activists followed the Dallas for almost two kilometres
where it pick up speed and we were not able to keep up.
The Dallas is more of a small war ship than a patrol vessel. It
is 115 metres with a maximum speed of 29 knots and a crew of about
170. The ship is armed with harpoon missiles, 76 and 20 mm guns,
torpedoes and a helicopter. Why not paint it grey and be done with
The Rainbow Warrior has been anchored off the naval base since
Wednesday morning. Our presence has obviously flustered authorities
who know there is almost no support from the Spanish people for
A recent article in the US military publication Stars and
Stripes stated: "The U.S. Navy and its Spanish counterparts are
keeping an eye on the 179-foot schooner Rainbow Warrior, waiting to
see what the group will do next in its push against a war on
"Spanish and American security forces at the nearby Navy base in
Rota are standing by in case the group attempts a blockade of ships
at the pier. Lt. Corey Barker, a base spokesman for the U.S. Navy,
said U.S. security patrolmen are ready in case the Spanish harbor
patrol forces need help moving ships in and out of the pier."
With 20mm canons on peaceful protestors, they are doing more
than just keeping an eye on us.
and show your opposition to the war by writing
to the members of the UN Security Council and ask them to say
no to war.