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(en) *Press Report* 8/6 Citizens Inspection Team

From mw21@mindspring.com (Matthew Williams)
Date Sat, 8 Aug 1998 10:22:48 +0300 (IDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

                US Navy Base Refuses Citizens' Inspection Team

Groton, Connecticut--Ten people were arrested yesterday while attempting to
conduct a nonviolent citizens' weapons inspection at the US Navy Sub Base
here, issuing a call for nuclear disarmament and an end to economic
sanctions on Iraq, on Hiroshima Day, the eighth anniversary of sanctions.
They were charged with criminal trespass and ordered to appear before a
federal magistrate at a later date.

The Citizens Weapons Inspection Team, organized by the Fellowship of
Reconciliation, contacted Base Commander Robert Nestleroad in advance and
informed him of their intentions to investigate if there were weapons of
mass destruction present on the base.  On August 3rd, they surveyed the
base from an aerial overview and confirmed the location of three rows of
seven bunkers suspected of containing nuclear weapons.  The US Navy Sub
Base in Groton homeports Seawolf and other attack submarines that are
capable of firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles and deployed ships to the
Persian Gulf during the last crisis over inspection teams in Iraq.

Seventy-five people from New York and New England gathered at the base
entrance to pray, sing, and hear speeches calling for disarmament and
de-linking the economic sanctions on Iraq from its weapons inspections.
Then, the inspection team approached the guard booth, and were met by a
base representative who deferred them to the Public Affairs office.  The
inspection team informed the base that citizens have a right and a duty
under the Nuremberg Principles to oppose war crimes that may be carried out
in their name.  They warned that the base was out of compliance with
international law, particularly the advisory opinion of the International
Court of Justice in July 1996, which ruled that the threat or use of
nuclear weapons was generally illegal, and affirmed the obligation of the
nuclear states under the Nonproliferation Treaty to conclude negotiations
leading to nuclear disarmament.

When the conversation with base officials stalled, the team attempted to
carry out their inspection without the Navy's assistance.  The inspectors
slowly walked with linked hands toward the line of soldiers blocking their
way, who gracefully backpedaled several hundred feet, before stopping and
pulling the inspectors off the road to arrest them.

The members of the citizens' inspection team were: Richard Deats, Clayton
Ramey, and Vincent Romano of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Nyack, New
York; Sam Hine and Peter Weeks of the Woodcrest Bruderhof in Rifton, New
York; Bruce Martin, director of the American Friends Service Committee in
Hartford, Connecticut; Frances Crowe of Northampton, Massachusetts; Ginny
Schneider of Florence, Massachusetts; Hattie Nestel of Athol,
Massachusetts; and Cal Robertson of Groton Long Point, Connecticut.

Forwarded by Matt Williams, member of the Campaign for the Iraqi People,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

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