Overview of Citizens' Weapons Inspection actions
In 1996 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) confirmed that the legal status of nuclear weapons is governed by international humanitarian law. This means that any possibility of their lawful threat or use has been reduced to vanishing point.
Although the ICJ declared nuclear weapons generally illegal, their conclusions need to be applied to specific nuclear weapon systems. It is therefore incumbent on Governments deploying nuclear weapons to subject the systems they deploy to stringent legal scrutiny to ensure that they meet the exacting standards of humanitarian law, and to make the results publicly available.
This has not happened. Any enquiries have been blocked. We must therefore assume, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that the weapons deployed by the nuclear states are very unlikely to survive serious legal scrutiny. Concerned citizens in several countries have therefore conducted their own Citizens' Inspections at what they consider to be nuclear sites of crime to ascertain whether illegal nuclear weapons are deployed there. Since Citizens' Inspections are based on international law and are intended to meet a global threat, the UK inspections are part of an international programme of crime prevention. All inspections are carried out safely and pose no threat of physical violence.
A catalogue of Citizens' Inspections and related events follows.
8 July 1996
The ICJ published its Advisory Opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.
8 December 1996
Judge Wolf in Stuttgart acquitted seven peace activists who were arrested for civil resistance at EUCOM, a NATO base in Germany. The judge agreed with the defendants' claim that the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe violates the ICJ opinion.
10 December 1996
An overwhelming majority in the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) welcomed the ICJ Advisory Opinion and called for the start of multilateral negotiations for a Convention banning nuclear weapons. Most NATO states voted against the resolution and have continued to do so in subsequent years.
13 March 1997
The European Parliament adopted a resolution welcoming the ICJ Advisory Opinion, and called upon its member states to start negotiations to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
18 April 1997
After sending a letter outlining their intentions, and the reasons for their action, 100 Citizen Inspectors visited Buechel Air Force base in Germany where free-fall B61 nuclear bombs are deployed by the US Air Force. The inspectors, including a retired nuclear weapons base commander, were refused permission to enter. A small group entered through a drainage system and inspected the base for 20 minutes before being apprehended. Owing to the confusion this caused, 18 more inspectors were able to make their way into the base.
8 July 1997
On the first anniversary of the ICJ opinion an international delegation of the 'Nuclear Weapons Abolition Days' (NWAD) network delivered a notarised 'Citizens Summons' to NATO leaders meeting in Madrid demanding that NATO leaders comply with their legal obligations and warning them that, in the absence of this, they would initiate action of their own, including Citizens' Inspections This summons was presented on behalf of all nuclear resisters and endorsed by a wide variety of NGOs.
The summons was presented on behalf of all nuclear resisters and was endorsed by several NGOs.
6 August 1997
The main gate of NATO HQ in Brussels was closed for a 'War Crimes Inspection. Four inspectors entered and asked for a list of NATO's nuclear targets. This was refused by Mr. Merril, who was a director of the private office of NATO's Secretary General.
9 August 1997
Citizens inspected nuclear weapon related sites in Belgium (Kleine Brogel B61-11 nuclear weapon depot), England (Menwith Hill, Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment), France (Cherbourg submarine yard), Germany (Buechel B61-11 depot), Netherlands (Volkel B61-11 depot), Scotland (Faslane Trident base) and USA (Los Alamos laboratory, ELF, (Valley Forge, Livermore).
100 people served a Notice to Quit on Faslane nuclear submarine base demanding that all nuclear weapons be removed in accordance with international law. One "Honorary Marshal of the World Court" began to carry out an inspection by canoe before being arrested. She concluded that Faslane police and security personnel are not well-informed about their international law obligations. All requests to see a senior official were denied. The following day the same "Honorary Marshall" attempted to carry out an inspection by swimming. She was apprehended and questioned but her request to see a senior official was again refused.
27 October 1997
NATO Secretary Solana wrote to NWAD that NATO was considering the ICJ opinion seriously, but had not yet come to a clear decision on the impact of the court's ruling.
18 January 1998
Citizens Inspected the ELF low frequency transmitter in Wisconsin, USA. This facility is primed to activate Trident submarines for attack. An inspection report was filed with the ICJ.
2 February 1998
The Universal Weapons Inspection Team (UNWIT) wrote to the Atomic Weapons Establishment in advance of their visit. 12 women went to the gate but were refused access. They measured driveways and gates in a bid to map the base.
26 February 1998
An international Citizens' Inspection team, including Canadian MP Libby Davies, was initially told they would be allowed into the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington State. When this was overruled by the US Navy Pacific Command the team flew over the base in a private plane and identified 24 bunkers and 3 submarines.
1 March 1998
Members of a Citizen's Inspection Team (CIT) were arrested at the main gate of Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson Arizona as they attempted to inspect it for suspected weapons of mass or indiscriminate destruction. They wrote to the base commander requesting full and unconditional access to the site and requested an escort to aid us in our inspection. This was refused.
5 March 1998
7 Citizen Inspectors, carrying UN Flags, were arrested on a fact-finding mission at Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons laboratory, California USA. The event featured Dr. Theodore Taylor, a prominent nuclear physicist who was a top nuclear weapons designer in the 1950's but who later had a profound change of heart and now advocates the abolition of nuclear weapons.
18 March 1998
Belgian Members of Parliament Hugo Van Dienderen and Ludo Sannen attempted to inspect the Belgian NATO base at Kleine Brogel. Access was refused.
26 March 1998
Los Alamos Citizen Verification Team visited Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico which is the centre of the US nuclear weapons complex. In a letter previously sent to the lab the team requested that LANL provide documents describing the activities and plans of its nuclear weapons program, access to facilities which take part in the research and production of WMD, and interviews with upper management. All requests were denied by LANL. The team used each location on the site to describe to the media how LANL is breaking international law, defying UN resolutions, and immorally threatening human security. No arrests were made as the team did not try to force its way through any of the gates.
During this period other inspectors concluded that nuclear weapons were being manufactured, stockpiled or deployed in the USA at the Livermore and Los Alamos nuclear research facilities, and at Bath Iron Works.
4 April 1998
A Citizens' Team attempted to inspect the Egozi nuclear missile base in Israel. One member of the team measured high radiation levels near the site.
26 April 1998
Citizens inspected the Albemarle Secure Vehicle Compound in Northumbria where it is believed that British nuclear warhead convoys to the Trident base at Faslane stop overnight. The inspectors ascertained that, as the site was protected by razor wire, high tensile steel, bunkers and floodlights, there is evidence that nuclear weapons could be using the location. Letters explaining the reasons for the inspection had been sent to the Commanders in charge of Nuclear Convoys, the Trident base at Faslane, Wittering, NATO joint command Northwood, Albemarle Barracks and the Minister of Defence.
8 and 10 July 1998
During a week long NWAD international camp in Brussels, Belgium, two inspections took place. On the second anniversary of the ICJ opinion a NWAD delegation, accompanied by two Members of the European Parliament and a Belgian MP, met NATO officials. They refused to give the delegation the information about NATO nuclear weapons that they required, and so the meeting was followed by attempts by three inspection teams to enter the HQ. Two days later, nine more inspectors gained access to the HQ and questioned employees about their knowledge of the Nuremberg Principles before being apprehended.
11-12 July 1998
NWAD members hung posters reading "Wanted for War Crimes" above pictures of all 16 NATO Defence Ministers outside their meeting in Brussels. All 16 Ministers were given a copy of the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention, an official UN document.
3 August 1998
A North American team, lead by a Canadian MP, was refused permission to inspect the Electric Boat Corporation at Groton, Connecticut where nuclear submarines are constructed. A sign was put on the fences reading: "Warning - this site produces weapons of mass destruction".
26 August 1998
Citizens' Complaints were given to the Superintendent in charge of Strathclyde police. The Trident base is in their area. Activists spent an hour explaining to him that criminal activity was happening at Faslane. He agreed to pass this information, and the complaint, on to the Procurator Fiscal. The Procurator Fiscal ignored this for several months. After several reminders he sent only an unsatisfactory reply.
5-6 September 1998
With clear evidence about the presence of 10 US B-61 tactical nuclear weapons at Kleine Brogel, people were invited to join in a nuclear Treasure Hunt. The first prize was a return ticket from Brussels to the White House in Washington. 11 Treasure hunters were arrested for distributing leaflets containing a classified map of the base. One was charged for gathering military intelligence, while the others were arrested for 'a breach of peace'. Several aircraft hangars were inspected from the outside. However, this action provoked a meeting between officials and Citizen Inspectors at the Belgian Ministry of Defence in Brussels. As a result the Defence Department undertook to organise a consultation with international lawyers about the implications of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice.
20 September 1998
At Barrow-in-Furness, UK, just before the roll-out of HMS Vengeance, Britain's latest nuclear weapons submarine, A Citizens' Inspection team tried to gain access to the Shipyard. When refused permission they read out a Citizens' Complaint pointing out the workers' responsibilities under international law.
22 September 1998
Citizen Inspectors went to the Dimona nuclear facility in Israel. After telling the police the reason for their visit they were forbidden to demonstrate without a permit so they linked arms and sat down. Ten people were arrested but later released.
1 October 1998
Citizens in Belgium, Britain, the Netherlands and the US inspected ten nuclear weapon related sites, to mark the anniversary of the end of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal in 1946. In Belgium 46 inspectors are arrested, amongst whom were several famous artists, authors, actors and also 8 MP's from both government and opposition parties.
Inspectors attempted to enter the Rolls Royce plant at Rainsway Derby, where parts for Trident submarines are made. On 26 April, 11 of them appeared before the Stipendiary Magistrate in Derby who refused to accept their defence of lawful excuse.
20 November 1998
Pol D'Huyvetter, member of NWAD, started a vigil and fast in front of the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brussels. The aim was to encourage Belgium to support Canada and Germany in asking for a policy of No First Use of Nuclear weapons by NATO. This demand reflects public opinion which strongly supports Belgium taking the lead in negotiating a Treaty banning Nuclear Weapons. Pol was joined by MPs and other notables until the fast ended on 4 December after the government promised to engage in regular assessments of progress towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Following several successful Citizens Inspections at Kleine Brogel earlier this year, three Members of the Flemish Parliament have announced their plan to table a resolution at the Flemish Parliament calling for Flanders to be a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.
21 February 1999
120 inspectors entered the NATO base at Kleine Brogel in Belgium. 113 were arrested and released after questioning. Two MP's were attacked and wounded by military personnel with dogs. Since December 1996 over 200 people have inspected the Belgian NATO base, without being brought to Court by the authorities.
2 April 1999
A delegation of Inspectors was refused entry at Volkel Air Base and therefore decided to inspect the base without permission. Five were arrested. The next day a group started to tunnel into the base towards the underground storage of the B61 free-fall Nuclear Weapons but were arrested.
5 April 1999
A Citizens' Complaint was given to the officer in charge of the Ministry of Defence Police at Lakenheath. He was asked to convey this to the Base Commander. Lakenheath is the only nuclear weapons base remaining in England. It is strongly suspected that B61 free-fall nuclear bombs are stationed there. Citizen inspectors were refused permission to look for evidence of the bombs. When no response to the Citizens' Complaint was forthcoming, a letter was written to the Ministry of Defence asking them to follow the matter up. There was no satisfactory reply.
23 April 1999
A re-affirmation of the A-Days Citizens Summons was presented by Peace Action in Washington at the NATO summit in front of international journalists. There was a scroll for each Head of State which repeated the Madrid demands of 1996 and added that the Alliance was now compounding its unlawful activity by involving 3 more states in its illegal nuclear deterrence policy. Four weeks before, a letter had been sent to NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels asking them to raise the issue of the legal validity of NATO's policy of nuclear deterrence. There was no reply.
25 April 1999
51 non-violent activists were arrested near Kleine Brogel in Belgium where US B61 free-fall nuclear bombs are stored. The protest, which included several Members of Parliament, coincided with the NATO Summit in Washington DC. There was a 'funeral of democracy' following the prohibition of a bike tour around the base. On the same day there were demonstrations and inspections at US nuclear weapon bases in Aviano, Italy, and Araxos, Greece.
27-29 May 1999
The For Mother Earth peace walk from the International Court of Justice in The Hague to NATO headquarters in Brussels ended with the total of 272 arrests of Citizen Inspectors. At one point the police used water-canons, while other inspectors were at first prevented from attending a reception hosted at the European Parliament by Magda Aelvoet, President of the Green Group. On 4 June 1999 7 people from 5 nations were arrested when they attempted to inspect the NATO nuclear base at Kleine Brogel but charges of trespass were dropped.
27 July 1999
A Belgian criminal court declared itself incompetent in a case against three Belgian MP's who had inspected the NATO nuclear base of Kleine Brogel. The court decided that the "crime" involved was political and therefore had to be tried before a jury according to the constitution.
The prosecutor dropped the case because of the unpredictable result of a jury trial.
In spite of a large display of police power a new Citizens Summons was delivered to each of the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting at the NATO HQ in Brussels. There had been rumours that the 150 US free-fall nuclear bombs based in European NATO countries would be withdrawn. However, the summons pointed out that this was not enough. To comply with international law, the whole of NATO's massive nuclear arsenal had to be dealt with.
A small group of Citizen Inspectors attempted to enter NATO HQ with a list of pressing Questions for NATO Defence Ministers. 50 of them were arrested but not charged.
2 December 1999
At the beginning of the NATO ministerial meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels a delegation of the international peace movement handed a summons to all defence-ministers condemning the Alliance's illegal nuclear policy. The planned non-violent peace-vigil was immediately broken up by the Brussels police force.
3 March 2000
Citizen Inspectors handed in a revised Citizens' Complaint for the new base commander at Lakenheath. As before, it was taken in by the police. There was no response.
24 April 2000
At the start of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York over 300 Citizen Inspectors from several countries were arrested as they entered NATO base at Kleine Brogel to search for evidence of 10 US B-61 nuclear weapons. NATO continues to oppose any disclosure of their existence to MPs, the press and the public. The sharing of the US nuclear weapons with other NATO allies is in breach of Article I and II of the NPT. The Nuclear Resisters were joined by Belgian MPs and famous authors, while actors organised a theatrical demonstration.
On the same day there was a "Go in-Sit out" demonstration of 300 people at the US-EUCOM (European Command) near Stuttgart. 13 citizens entered the base, while 50 took part at a blockade. The EUCOM is responsible for all 150 US nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.
7 August 1999
4 citizen inspectors entered the Buechel Air Force Base in Germany. The inspection was widely supported, also by the famous German author Martin Walser and psycho-anlayst Hans-Peter Richter.
1 October 2000
The Aldermaston Women's Peace Camp carried out an action at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston. Inspectors photographed entrances and main areas of the base.
Forum Voor Vredesactie and Voor Moeder Aarde (For Mother Earth) invited photographers to join their citizens' war crimes inspection at Kleine-Brogel, Belgium to obtain photographic evidence of the presence of the NATO B-61 nuclear weapons there. 20 groups of inspectors entered the base. These included parliamentarians, celebrities, and anti-nuclear activists from several European countries. Inspectors were able to photograph F-16 jets, the hardened concrete vaults used to store the nuclear weapons, and several radio antennae inside a heavily guarded compound. The police confiscated all cameras that were taken into the base. In total, 80 arrests were made for "trespassing on a military base" and "photographing a military base".
On the same day Citizens' Inspections took place at nuclear weapon sites at Volkel, Netherlands, the U.S. Navy ELF facility in Wisconsin, and the Rickenbaker US Air Force Base.
16 October 2000
Nevada Desert Experience notified the commander of Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, USA, that they intended a Citizen's Weapons Inspection and inviting the base to show the inspectors the 400 nuclear weapons deployed there. The only response was a letter declining the invitation "for safety and security reasons". Undeterred, the inspectors held a vigil outside the main gate which included passing out flyers to interested motorists and pedestrians. The flyers were basically quotes from former Generals who have begun to decry the nuclearism they once defended. The base was videotaped and photographed the vigillers, but there were no arrests. However, it can be claimed that, by not allowing access to the base, Nellis had failed the inspection.
21 August 2001
In March 2001 A World Court Project UK Supporter received, via his Member of Parliament, a letter from a Government Minister in the Ministry of Defence a letter about depleted uranium. In this he stated that nuclear weapons are designed as indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction. This implies an admission of illegality. World Court Project UK wrote to the Prime Minister about this asking for confirmation of this inference. The reply from the MoD said that the quotation had been taken out of context and did not amount to a Government statement on the matter.
11th November 2001
Four Trident Ploughshares activists were arrested on Remembrance Sunday after cutting their way through the fence at AWE Aldermaston to carry out a citizens' inspection of the site. Charged with criminal damage they argued that their action was justified as a last resort in responding to the threat posed by the illegal Trident nuclear weapon system. The four were ordered to pay £92.50 for the damage caused and £100 for court costs. These fines were transferred to their local courts.
5th October 2002
1117 inspectors activists from across Belgium and elsewhere in Europe were arrested during the "Bomspotting" mass tresspass of Kleine Brogel airbase. Several hundred of these people were arrested outside of the base due to restrictions that were placed on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression in the area around the base.
6th October 2002
At 7:30 am Sunday, October 6, remembering the anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan, three women entered Minuteman III missile silo # N-8 in northern Colorado. Acting out Isaiah's prophesy, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares," Dominican sisters Carol Gilbert, Jackie Hudson and Ardeth Platte hammered on the concrete silo lid and the tracks that carry the lid to its firing position. Their disarmament action included
cutting cables, spreading their own blood in the sign of the cross on the silo and the tracks, and cutting through the surrounding fence in three places.
The women were inside the silo area for an hour, able to also complete a liturgy on top of the silo before they were ringed with humvees and military and police personnel with weapons leveled.
7th October 2002
160 people gathered at the main gate of the Lakenheath airforce base, England. During the demonstration nine people became citizen inspectors and entered the base. Activists were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, which they readily admitted to, having cut the fence and get in. They were passed into the custody of Suffolk police, but apparently without enough evidence to charge them at the time.
[Lakenheath Action Group]
31st October 2002
Gloucester Weapons Inspectors visited RAF Fairford, which would be used in any attack on Iraq. After being refused entry to base by the secrurity staff on the main gate, they put their request for entry in song form...
11th November 2002
Over two hundred people including representatives from community, students and US military veterans formed a citizen inspection team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. A letter was sent to the head of the laboratory demanding immediate and unrestricted access to all sites at the laboratory including underground facilities, buildings, equipment, records and means of transport. Representatives from California Peace Action, Tri-Valley CAREs, Western States Legal Foundation and Veterans for Peace displayed evidence of the Lab's involvement in clandestine activities related to the research and development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and biological weapons. During the action a line of armed security met the inspection team and halted people trying to enter.
15th November 2002
Two activists from Trident Ploughshares managed to inspect a British Trident nuclear submarine, while it was undergoing refit in Devonport, England. They remained undetected inside the submarine for 30 minutes before setting off a fire alarm to alert workers to their presence. They were arrested for criminal damage, and subsequently made to pay £146 each for damage that they had done to fence of the base, in order to gain access to the submarine.
14th December 2002
A 500 strong demonstration marched on RAF Fairford, and demanded entry to the base for the purpose of conducting an inspection for weapons of mass destruction. The Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors led the march through the Village of Fairford. On their previous visit to the base, on Halloween, their final words were 'we'll be back'. During the action 20 demonstrators managed to cut the fence and get in. No arrests were made. This demonstration was called by Bristol-Stop-The-War in response to the arrival of U.S Stealth Bombers at RAF Fairford in November. Although the Bombers have returned to the U.S, it is believed they will soon return for the purpose of conducting carpet-bombing of Iraqi cities.
[Gloucester Weapons Inspectors]
10th January 2003
Five "weapons inspectors" from Cambridge University were arrested after entering RAF Feltwell in a bid to uncover US weapons programmes for war against Iraq. The team of five, organised by Cambridge Students Against the War, entered the base freely but were arrested after spending around 45 minutes gathering information on the site's operations.
18th January 2003
80 weapons inspectors were arrested at the Dutch Airforce base of Volkel, used to store US nuclear weapons. Many of the inspectors managed to gain access to the base because a lock on one of the gates to the base had been switch some days before with one for which the inspectors had a key.
An international delegation from For Mother Earth submitted a report of the inspection to the UN Security Council.
[More news, and report]
25th January 2003
Over 200 protestors marched on RAF St Athans to demand access to search for Weapons of Mass Destruction and show their opposition to war. 'The International Citizens Weapons Inspectorate' consisted of students from over 30 countries around the world including the USA, UK, China, Columbia, Pakistan, Iraq and Israel. They were denied access to the base but handed in a letter to the Base Commander.
[International Citizens Weapons Inspectorate]
26th January 2003
Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors and Greenham Women conducted another inspection at RAF Fairford. Around 2000 people attended a parade from Fairford to the base, many wearing white inspection suits along with a giant model B-2 Stealth bomber. Once again some theatre and entertainment from Rinky Dink. Direct action by a large group managed to get around 50 people onto the base, some entering buildings and climbing on roofs. Most were just escorted off the base. However 5 arrests were made. Three for those who had been observed cutting the fencing and 2 for public order offences.
[Gloucester Weapons Inspectors]
10th February 2003
A citizens inspection was held at the Lockheed Martin plant in Owego, New York. This plant specializes in "Systems Integration" and works on weapons systems for A10 Warthog planes that have been used to fire depleted uranium ammunition in the gulf war, Kosovo, Afghanistan and was recently tested in Vieques - Puerto Rico. The plant also builds Blackhawk helicopters. During the citizens inspection, some people made a workshop about the effect of Depleted Uranium on the environment (food chain, health, soldiers, civilians, etc..)
3rd February 2003
RAF Lakenheath was closed in an act of peaceful protest against war. Six peace activists from Cambridge blockaded the back entrance to the base; they were all arrested and taken to Mildenhall police station. The six succeeded in severely restricting access to the base for almost an hour. Earlier that morning, protesters arrived to discover that the mere threat of a blockade of the main gate had convinced the Ministry of Defence Police to close the front gate, effectively shutting down the base from the morning onwards.
At the same time, 6 'weapons inspectors' entered the base, to search for American-controlled weapons of mass destruction. This continues the recent series of Citizens' Inspections, which have taken place across the UK and much of Europe.
22nd February 2003
Canadian group, Rooting Out Evil, sent a team of weapons inspectors to the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Laboratory in Washington DC. The team included Alan Simpson, a Member of the British House of Commons (and head of Labour Against the War); Libby Davies, MP for Vancouver East; Professor Mel Watkins of Science for Peace; Steve Staples of the Polaris Institute; David Langille of the Centre for Social Justice; Deborah Bourque, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers; Ed Hammond of the Sunshine Project; and Peter Shorret from the Council for Responsible Genetics.
They were refused entry to the base.
[Rooting Out Evil | Full Story]
2nd March 2003
Civilian Weapons Inspectors led a protest march of approximately 120 peace activists at the U.S. Air Force base at Christchurch Airpot (Harewood).
6th March 2003
Warwickshire Weapons Inspectors, after having been foiled at an earlier inspection attempt, returned to play "Block-A-Base" at their local army base D.M.Kineton.
7th March 2003
Members of the "Brescia Social Forum" and members of the Italian Parliament made an inspection of Ghedi nuclear weapons base in Italy, where the US stores nuclear weapons. They were received by an Italian Colonel who gave them some information about the use of the camp but he said that all other information about US weapons and nuclear weapons "are top secret".
11th March 2003
Activist Ulla Roder entered RAF Leuchars Air Base early Tuesday morning in north-east Fife and is believed to have peacefully damaged a Tornado plane.
Prior to Ulla's action, early on the morning of Monday 10th March, two other anti-war activists had breached security at RAF Leuchars in order to inspect the base ahead of its likely illegal use in an attack on Iraq. In their accountable action the two were able to inspect the base for over two hours before being discovered even though one was in a wheelchair. The activists also spray painted peace messages on three army trucks and an aircraft hanger.
17th March 2003
The United States advises the UN nuclear agency to begin pulling its inspectors out of Iraq.
18th March 2003
Citizens inspection team visits the Julius-Leber barracks in Berlin, Germany.
[More news (German)]
30th March 2003
Several dozens of "citizen inspectors" crossed the fence of the NATO base "Jaime I" in Bétera (Valencia, Spain) with the intention of performing a "civil inspection" of these military installations.
The goal of this action of civil disobedience, promoted by the "Citizen Campaign against the NATO Base", was to prove that this military base forms part of the war mechanism, and to demand its closing down and the return of the land to the Bétera village for social use.
[More news (Spanish) | More news (English)]
30th March 2003
A citizens inspection team was denied access to the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They blocked entrance to the site, which plays a vital role in the production of US nuclear weapons. The refusal of DOE to grant access triggered an immediate petition, signed by hundreds of demonstrators, to the United Nations. The petition calls for a UN authorized team of inspectors to come to Y12 to assess compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty.
"Using the philosophy of President Bush, we decided that failure to cooperate with inspectors was an admission of guilt," said Marcelle Good, spokeswoman for the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, "But more than that, we have DOE’s own documentation and numerous newspaper articles to confirm that DOE is, in fact, building nuclear weapons components at Y12 in violation of the 1969 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which obligates us to pursue complete disarmament at an early date.’"
2nd April 2003
At the height of the war on Iraq by US and UK led forces, 28 Minnesotans "crossed the line," entering the world headquarters property of Alliant TechSystems Corporation in Edina with the express purpose of conducting a "citizens weapons inspection."
The letter they carried demanded that they have access to the books and records of Alliant TechSystems Corporation (ATK) to see if they had completed any studies on the medical and environmental effects of the depleted uranium munitions they produce.
On the 17th October 2003 a public trial was held and all 28 where found not guilty.
5th and 6th April 2003
Citizens inspections actions were carried out around Britain and Europe, as part of the "Reclaim the bases" weekend, organised in opposition to the war on Iraq.
Amongst several actions such as blockades and vigils, inspections took place at Devonport and RAF Mawgan- both in the south of England, and at Oostende airport in Belgium.
[More news from the UK | More news from Oostende (Dutch)]
23rd May 2003
At 2.00 pm six inspectors inspected Buechel NATO military Air Base (South West Germany) by cutting the fence and roamed freely into the base searching US nuclear weapons. After 40 minutes the inspectors where spotted on Buechel's air strip by American soldiers present in the base who alerted the authorities and order them to halt. The inspectors refused to comply with the American soldier's orders and continued inspecting the base while being followed by two military jeeps.
The inspectors managed to interview some US soldiers who where guarding the base and where told that the nuclear weapons where stored in `sensitive areas` which where heavily protected and were also guarded by US soldiers so that inaccessibility was guaranteed.
Later on German police arrived in the base and arrested the inspectors.
[ more info ]
"Muriel Lester" affinity group attempted an inspection of Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston, England, but were refused entrance at all gates. One inspector was arrested for adding a comment about the presence of weapons of mass destruction to a sign at the main gate.
27th July 2003
All 49 MM III missile sites in Colorado and at least 3 more in Nebraska were visited by over 500 weapons inspectors. At least 12 silos got tagged with crime scene tape
and Eviction Notices. A small plane with a banner declaring that America's weapons of mass destruction had been found circled overhead.
3rd August 2003
Nebraskans for Peace and other regional peace groups conducted a Citizens Weapon Inspection at U.S.
Strategic Command Headquarters. The Citizens Inspection was part of a weekend of activities, SpeakOut at StratCom 2003, intended to raise awareness of the key role played by U.S. Strategic Command in efforts by the United States to make nuclear weapons more useable in warfare.
9th August 2003
Twelve people were cited for trespass, including two who were jailed overnight, after they attempted to conduct a citizens’ inspection of the Navy’s Project E.L.F. submarine transmitter near Clam Lake Wisconsin, on the 58th anniversary of the U.S. atomic attack on the Japanese city of Nagasaki.
1st September 2003
After being refused access to Buchel Airforce base, inspectors blocked the main entrance of the base for several hours, to ensure that evidence of the presence of nuclear weapons at the base could not be disturbed.
6th October 2003
11 international and local weapons inspectors were arrested after carrying out a weapons inspection inside USAF Lakenheath, in England. All were arrested for charges relating to damage of the perimeter fence of the base.
13th October 2003
Citizens Inspectors from Nukewatch tracked the movement of a convoy carrying British Trident nuclear weapons, as it travelled through central Scotland, en route for Coulport armaments depot on Loch Long. 5 of the inspectors were arrested for blocking the route of the convoy.
17th October 2003
A six-person jury of citizens from Hennepin County declared that International Law can trump the local private property/no trespass law. At the height of the recent war against Iraq, on April 2, 2003, 28 Minnesotans “crossed the line,” entering the world headquarters property of Alliant TechSystems Corporation in Edina with the express purpose of conducting a “citizens weapons inspection.” 18 of the defendents were found not guilty by the jury, the other nine had already pled guilty to the charges.
The letter that the inspectors carried demanded that they have access to the books and records of Alliant TechSystems Corporation (ATK) to see if they had completed any studies on the medical and environmental effects of the depleted uranium munitions they produce.
The defendants contended that there is significant evidence that the depleted uranium penetrator munitions produced by ATK containing U-238, a radioactive substance with a half-life of 4.5 billion years, is a prime suspect in escalating rates of cancers and birth defects among residents of southern Iraq and US troops who served in the first Gulf War.
23rd October 2003
The Rolls Royce stall at a Cardiff University Careers Fair Has been disrupted by a citizen's weapons inspection by student acitivists.White suited weapons inspectors today performed a search of the Roll's Royce recruitment stall at Cardiff University Students Union careers fair. They targeted the company because of it's continued sale of military aeroplane parts to some of the world's most repressive regimes.
25th October 2003
Over 1000 citizens weapons inspectors took part in the "Get in SHAPE" action at the NATO military hq in Mons, Belgium. Over people 600 were arrested attempting to nonviolently enter the base to carry out an inspection into the role of SHAPE (Supreme Headquaters of the Allied Powers in Europe) in the deployment of US nuclear weapons in Europe.
21st April 2004
Four peace campaigners marked the release of Israeli nuclear whistleblower, Mordechai Vanunu, by evading security and breaking into Northwood, the command and control centre for Britain's nuclear weapons programme.
15th May 2004
In explicit disobedience of the prohibition established by the Military Penal
Code, approximatly 30 persons managed to enter the NATO rapid deployable corps
headquarter in Bétera (Valencia, Spain) in order to participate in the 2nd Civil
Inspection of this base.
23rd June 2004
Three Trident Ploughshares activists were arrested at RNAD Coulport as they carried out a citizens’ weapons inspection of the Loch Long nuclear weapons depot.
26th June 2004
Peace activists from Sweden, Germany and England protested outside the top-secret radar base Vardø in the north of Norway, against the base's involvement in the USA's nuclear weapons strategy. The group carried out a "Citizens Weapons Inspection" of the base, to investigate connections between the base and the USA's missile defence system and the militarisation of space.