(en) Nanooose hoax in BC

ACT for Disarmament (act@web.net)
Sun, 21 Sep 1997 08:21:10 -0400 (EDT)


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To: NanooseNet@Island.Net From: Irene Abbey <iabbey@alternatives.com> Subject: Media: "HOAX FLABBERGASTS NANOOSE"

Victoria Times Colonist: Friday, September 19, 1997 Page A3 _______________________________________________________________ "Testing Range Flap: HOAX FLABBERGASTS NANOOSE"

By Patrick Murphy Times Colonist staff

An elaborate hoax, purporting to come from the Nanoose Bay weapons testing base, claims the base boss is sending out pamphlets to neighbours telling them what to do if there is a nuclear accident.

A previously unknown disarmament group issued the official-looking Canadian Forces press release and sample pamphlet. Military spokesmen were flabbergasted with the announcement sent to media outlets and immediately denounced it as a hoax.

"It's an interesting document, but it is totally bogus," said Cmdr. Gord Buckingham, commander of the Nanoose Base. Navy public afrfairs issued a denial Thursday after being questioned about the pamphlet. They said the documents had been handed over to the provost marshal.

Buckingham is quoted in the hoax press release accompanying the safety-warning pamphlet, which was distributed by an ad hoc group called Defending Nuclear Disarmament British Columbia.

In a press release from the DND-BC two hours later, it announced it had launched its first salvo against American nuclear ships' use of Nanoose Bay. There was a recording at its Vancouver telephone number.

A spokesperson identified as Jeneral Kaos said thousands of the pamphlets were distributed in Nanaimo, Parksville and Vancouver, although attempts to find someone who had one were unsuccessful.

In an elaborate cut-and-paste job which looks like official Nanoose base letterhead, Buckingham is quoted as saying there is a one-in-1,000 chance of a nuclear accident at the base and the pamphlet will advise residents in the danger zone what to do in the event.

The pamphlet also says Nanaimo has no plan to deal with such an accident and local hospitals have no stockpiles of medicines essential to treat radiation poisoning.

Buckingham said the base does not send out such pamphlets and has had nuclear-powered vessels from the U.S. and Britain using the base for 30 years without incident.

"I don't feel [a pamphlet] is necessary," he said. "They have an excellent safety record."

Norman Abbey of the Nanoose Conversion Campaign, which has been trying for years to close the weapons testing range, denied it sent out the pamphlet but said the ad hoc disarmament group appreached the campaign to do so.

He said he agrees with the contents of the pamphlet, which he called satire. However, it is not the style of his group.

"All the information is accurate and it came from the Nanoose Conversion reports," he said. "We were approached to participate. We rejected the idea and we do not endorse the pamphlet."

The telephone and fax numbers of the base appeared on the copies as the originating caller.

A number of icons are included on the bottom of the pamphlet, including one of Uncle Sam.

An area of risk is circled around a mushroom cloud centred on Nanoose and a broken submarine with a target in the middle tops the section on nuclear submarine accidents.

It lists accurate telephone numbers for Buckingham, Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, Premier Clark, the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Provincial Emergency Program.

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