ACTIVISTS CHALLENGE US NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN GERMANY
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
An international group of five peace activists entered the Büchel Air Base in Büchel, Germany, after nightfall on Monday, 17 July 2017, and for the first time in a 21-year campaign of protest against the deployment of US B61 thermonuclear bombs there, climbed on top of one large bunker containing the nuclear weapons. After cutting through two exterior fences and two more fences surrounding the large earth-covered bunkers, the five spent more than one hour unnoticed sitting on the bunker. No notice of the group was taken until after two of them climbed down to write “DISARM” on the bunker’s metal front door, setting off an alarm. Surrounded by vehicles and guards searching on foot with flashlights, the five eventually alerted guards to their presence by singing, causing the guards to look up. The internationals were eventually taken into custody more than two hours after entering the base.
The five, Steve Baggarly, 52, of Virginia; Susan Crane, 73, of California; John LaForge, 61, and Bonnie Urfer, 65, both of Wisconsin; and Gerd Buentzly, 67, of Germany, said in a statement titled All Nuclear Weapons are Illegal and Immoral: “We are nonviolent and have entered Büchel Air Base to condemn the nuclear weapons deployed here. We ask Germany to either disarm the weapons or send them back to the United States for disarming,” it said in part.
An hour after being detained, the five were released without being charged.
At least 20 US B61 thermonuclear bombs are deployed at Büchel Air Base.
The action came at the conclusion of an “international week” at the base, part of a 20-week-long effort—”Twenty Weeks for Twenty Bombs,” organized by the campaign council of a 50-group coalition, “Büchel is Everywhere, Nuclear Weapons Free Now!” Three other protest actions took place over two days. More than 60 people from around the globe—Russia, China, Mexico, Germany, Britain, the United States, The Netherlands and Belgium—participated in the week’s actions.
Activists from the United States came to Büchel to highlight the plans for modernization of the B61. Ralph Hutchison, from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where a new thermonuclear core for the B61-Modification 12 will be manufactured, said, “It is important that we show this is a global movement. The resistance to nuclear weapons is not limited to one country. The new B61 will cost more than $12 Billion to produce, and when it is finished, Büchel will have new nuclear bombs.”
“The idea that nuclear weapons provide security is a fiction believed by millions,” said John LaForge, of Nukewatch in Wisconsin, which organized the 11-person delegation from the US. “Tonight we showed that the image of a secure nuclear weapons facility is also a fiction,” he said.
“Everyone’s children and everyone’s grandchildren have a right to a nuclear weapons-free world. All of creation calls us to life, to disarmament, to a world of justice—for the poor, the Earth, and the children,” read the statement, released in both German and English.
Susan Crane, veteran Plowshares activist from Redwood City Catholic Worker, said, “The Commander of the Base, Oberstleutnant Gregor Schlemmer, came to meet us at 3:00 a.m. and told us what we did was very dangerous and we might have been shot. We believe the greater danger comes from the nuclear bombs that are deployed at the Base.”
Büchel is Everywhere, Nuclear Weapons Free Now! continues until August 9, 2017 and will close with a commemoration of the US atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan.
All Nuclear Weapons are Illegal and Immoral
The United States has 8500 nuclear weapons including the 20 B61 thermonuclear gravity bombs here at Büchel Air Base under NATO. The United States is always ready to destroy all life on the planet with nuclear weapons. Büchel Air Base is part of this readiness.
One hundred and twenty-two countries at the United Nations recently approved a legally binding treaty outlawing the development, testing, production, manufacturing, possession, stockpiling, transference, use or the threat of the use, of nuclear weapons People around the world want nuclear disarmament, including every child.
We are five citizens of the world, four from the United States —Susan Crane, Bonnie Urfer, Steve Baggarly, and John LaForge—and one from Germany—Gerd Buentzly.
We are nonviolent and have entered Büchel Air Base to condemn the nuclear weapons deployed here. We ask Germany to either disarm the weapons or send them back to the United States for disarming.
Everyone’s children and everyone’s grandchildren have a right to a nuclear weapons-free world. All of creation calls us to life, to disarmament, to a world of justice—for the poor, the Earth, and the children.
Alle Atomwaffen sind illegal und unmoralisch
Die Vereinigten Staaten haben 8,500 Atomwaffen, einschlieBlich, im Rahmen der NATO die 20 Atombomben hier in Buechel. Die Vereinigten Staaten sind immer noch in der Lage, alles Leben auf der Erde mit Atomwaffen auszuloeschen. Buchel ist ein Teil dieser Bereitschaft.
122 Laender haben bei den Vereinten Nationen vor kurzem einen gesetzlich bindenden Vertrag unterschrieben, der die Entwicklung, Erprobung, Produktion und Bearbeitung von Atomwaffen, ebenso, wie ihren Besitz, die Lagerung, Weitergabe, Anwendung oder die Drohung damit verbietet. Die Menschen in der ganzen Welt wollen die atomare Abruestung und die Kinder und Enkelkinder aller Menschen haben ein Recht auf Leben.
Wir sind fuenf Menschen dieser Welt – vier aus den USA — Susan Crane, Bonnie Urfer, Steven Crane, und John LaForge — und eine Person aus Deutschland — Gerd Buentzly.
Wir sind gewaltfrei und in Luftwaffenstuetzpunkt Buechel eingedrungen, um die hier stationierten Atomwaffen anzuprangern. Wir verlangen von Deutschland diese Waffen entweder unschaedlich zu machen oder sie in die USA zurueckzuschicken.
Alle unsere Kinder und Enkelkinder haben ein Recht auf eine atomwaffenfreie Welt. Die Schoepfung ruft uns auf zum Leben, zur Abruestung, fuer eine gerechte Welt: fur die Armen, die Erde und die Kinder.
— Steve Baggarly, Gerd Buentzly, Susan Crane, John LaForge and Bonnie Urfer. — 17 July 2017