On this day in peacemaking history twelve years ago an international Citizens' Weapons Inspection Team from Vancouver, British Columbia, organized by the Canadian peace group End the Arms Race, and accompanied by members of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Poulsbo, Washington attempted to enter Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, then known as Submarine Base Bangor, to document the presence of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles.
The Canadian team was led by Canadian Member of Parliament Libby Davies (NDP - Vancouver East) and was composed of nine Canadian community and religious leaders and peace activists. Ther group wrote to the base commander a few days prior to the inspection to request access to the base, announcing their intention to conduct:
Rear-Admiral William Center initially invited the team to tour the base, including one of the Trident submarines, but within hours rescinded the invitation. What was this guy thinking?!?!?! At any rate, the group travelled south-of-the-border, finally arriving at Bangor for the February 26 inspection.
a tour of the base and access to all documentation that confirms whether or not weapons of mass destruction or the delivery vehicles of any such weapons are present on the base. We also request access to inspect any nuclear weapons or their delivery vehicles that may be present at Naval Submarine Base Bangor.
The group hoped, among other things, to "illustrate the paradoxical behavior by nuclear weapons states ... threatening military force to ensure that a Third World Country has no weapons of mass destruction." Upon arrival at the gate they were met by the base public relations representative, who reiterated the Navy's refusal to admit the inspection team, and when questioned about the presence of nuclear weapons at Bangor, would neither confirm nor deny their presence.
Vancouver East Member of Parliament Libby Davies (NDP) at the Bangor gate
The inspection team did conduct a flyover - something one could do in the pre 9/11 world - to survey the base. They had a birds eye view of the entire facility, and observed the extensive nuclear weapons storage bunkers in the section of the base known as Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific (SWFPAC) as well as nearby Trident nuclear submarines.
In their post-inspection, public report they noted that Bangor does, indeed, harbor weapons of mass destruction based upon their review of public documents, observations of submarine and truck movements in and out of the base by local activists, and the observation on February 26th from a chartered plane by inspection team members of Trident submarines berthed near the nuclear weapons storage bunkers.
Before the Canadian team left town, they posted this notice on the fence outside the Bangor gate:
That certainly cleared up the rather nebulous statement by the Navy's public relations representative. And it's just 20 miles (as the gull flies) from Seattle!
THIS FACILITY CONTAINS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
So what are you waiting for. Go out and join your local Citizens' Weapons Inspection Team, or start one of your own. It's fun, and who knows what you might find behind those seemingly benign fences. The peope have the right to know!
Thanks to The Nuclear Resister for information and quotes used in this post (source: http://www.serve.com/nukeresister/nr112/bangor.html).