Bombspotting: Eyes of Mass Inspection

Feature story - 16 April, 2005
We all know that weapons of mass destruction are bad. Especially when "evil" people have them. But what about when they're right in your own back yard - does that make Belgium "evil"? Or Italy? Or the UK? Sick of this hypocrisy, armies of Bombspotters have descended on Belgium to conduct their own "citizen inspections". At least these weapons of mass destruction can easily be found, in no less than six European countries.

Greenpeace rockets heading for Nato offices in Belgium.

Greenpeace rockets heading for NATO offices in Belgium.

Greenpeace activists attempt a citizens' inspection of NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Our activists joined with regular Bombspotting activists to inspectthree military facilities in Belgium, with the aim of pressuring NATOmember states to renounce their nuclear weapons arsenal.  Theinspections took place at Kleine Brogel Air base which houses nuclearweapons, NATO's Brussels Headquarters and its SHAPE militaryheadquarters in Mons/Bergen.

Unlike UN Weapons Inspectors, who seem to take a subtle approach toweapons-inspection attire, our activists dressed as 'walking missiles',with "NUCLEAR FREE NATO" emblazoned across them.

Six European countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Italyand UK) currently have an estimated 480 American air-launched nuclearbombs based on their territories.   Isn't this a bithypocritical?  Our nuclear campaigner Nicky Davies thinksso.  "At a time when NATO members are urging countries like Iranto abandon their nuclear ambitions, we have the hypocritical situationin which non-nuclear NATO states play host to US weapons," she said. 

There seems to be growing political and public unease amongst a numberof European countries towards hosting US nuclear weapons, with Belgiumamong them. These citizen weapons inspections have grown out of thisfrustration at the continued secrecy of nuclear weapon states.Interestingly, the Bombspotters are actually upholding InternationalLaw, which declares the "threat and use" of all nuclear weapons to beillegal.

"We are calling on NATO to disarm and become anuclear-free alliance asa first step towards the global abolition of nuclear weapons," saidNicky, from among the walking bombs.

More information

So, you want to be a bombspotter?  'BombspottingXL' is organised annually by peace and environmentalorganisations demanding a nuclear free NATO. Check out http://www.bombspotting.be

Listen in!

Live Bombspotting radio...

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(the old-fashioned kind) - Radio Panik Brussels (105.4), Radio OSR Soignies-Mons (101.6)

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Latest Update ... 500 Bombspotters arrested!

500 bomspotters were arrested by police after a thousand activists gathered in Belgium to carry out a citizens nuclear weapons inspection.



A massive police presence greeted inspectors from Greenpeace and Bombspotting at NATO- HQ.



But the Bombspotters won't give up that easily:"We are part of a growing network of people who will continue toconduct these inspections," said our campaigner Nicky Davies.



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