“The USAF 703rd Munitions Support Squadron (703rd MUNSS) is in charge of maintaining and securing the weapons. As of 2008, 22 B61 nuclear bombs are believed to be in storage at Volkel, to be used by the Dutch 311 and 312 F-16 squadrons at the base.” [jb]
Early Tues., August 8, ten anti-war & climate activists including six from the United States, were detained by police after they occupied the runway at Volkel airbase demanding the withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear bombs stationed there, and an end to nuclear weapons-related CO2 emissions.
At the time of this report the activists remained in police custody but were expected to be released.
After gaining entry to the base and rushing to the runway, the protesters glued to the pavement copies of Articles I and II of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The 1970 NPT forbids any transfer of nuclear weapons from one state party to another, making so-called “nuclear sharing” of U.S. hydrogen bombs unlawful in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Turkey.
The six U.S. citizens detained are part of a delegation of ten that came to join an international peace camp (https://noelhuis.nl/peace-camp-volkel-2023/) and demonstrations calling for the permanent withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear weapons and a halt to massive carbon pollution caused by the military.
Taken into custody were Ellen Grady of Ithaca, New York, Susan Crane, of Redwood City, Calif., Jackie Allan from Hartford, Conn., Mark Colville, of New Haven, Conn., Eric Martin from Los Angeles, Calif., and Theo Kayser from St. Louis, Missouri. In addition, Dr. Johannes Oehler from Germany, and Margriet Bos, Frieda Gas, and Nikki Apeldoorn all from Netherlands, were detained.
While the runway occupation took place, a separate group blockaded the main gate to the Volkel base.
On Monday August 7, about 60 climate and peace activists blockaded the five major gates of Volkel Air Base for 78 minutes, 1 minute for every year since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by U.S. nuclear bombs in 1945. The gate was partially blocked using giant-size mock “books” on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the Nonproliferation Treaty.
The “go-in” action came as nuclear sharing is increasingly being condemned by civil society. At the opening of a UN conference in Vienna August 2, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said, “We condemn all such deployments…. Such deployments must be brought to an immediate end.” The New York City-based Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP) submitted a formal paper to the United Nations July 25th, 2023, declaring, “The incompatibility of nuclear sharing with the NPT is based on a straightforward application of NPT Articles I and II.” ###
*Featured Image: Anti-nuclear and climate activists occupied the runway of the nuclear NATO air base Volkel in the Netherlands, 85 miles south of Amsterdam.