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US Nukes not Secure in Europe

"Most European military sites equipped with US nuclear weapons fail to meet Pentagon security requirements, according to a US Air Force study." reports Reuters:

Hans Kristensen, director of the [Federation of American Scientists'] Nuclear Information Project, said the security problems occurred at installations operated by the national militaries of Germany, Belgium, Holland and Italy, all NATO members. About 200 to 350 nuclear weapons are believed to be stored at the sites.

"What's really going on here is that the United States has changed its standards (since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States), but NATO has not followed and it's at the national bases we're seeing this problem," Kristensen said on Monday.

"In a way, it's the United States knocking on NATO's door and saying: 'C'mon, guys, you need to upgrade, too.'"

Though, rather than calling for such security upgrades of military sites, many German politicians call for the removal of US nuclear weapons from German soil. Our reader Zyme writes this guest post:

While arguable many of the transatlantic remains of the Cold War have vanished over the course of the last decade, one has remained: American Nuclear Weapons in Germany. Now this one has come under fire, too. German opposition parties demand the removal of nuclear weapons from German soil. [...] There is not just discomfort among the parties traditionally critical towards American influence, like the Green and the Left Party. Also among the supporters of a removal of such weaponry is the progressive and libertarian FDP. Its endorsement is a surprise, as the FDP is a traditionally pro-American and pro-NATO party. FDP-Boss Westerwelle is quoted "This nuclear weaponry in Germany is a holdover of the Cold War and needs to go". According to him, security issues are just another reason to remove these weapons, writes Der Spiegel (in German).

Furthermore the initiative seems to be gaining "sympathizers" among the moderately left-wing SPD, which is part of the governing 'Grand Coalition' in Berlin. This party has been trapped by a struggle for interior leadership now for months and its stance has become rather unpredictable lately.

Strongly against this proposal as the only established political power argues the other part of the 'Grand Coalition', the conservatives from CDU and CSU. In their point of view, withdrawing Germany from the so-called "nuclear participation" would enable future nuclear powers to take Germany hostage.

Related posts in the Atlantic Review:

United States Apparently Removes Nuclear Weapons from German Base Ramstein

Contemplating Germany with Nukes

A World Free of Nuclear Weapons?

Air Force Incompetence: Oops, What Are These Nukes Doing Here?


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joe on :

I like the idea of removing nuclear weapons from Europe. If this is a step closer in disarming NATO... then the germans should go forth and do great things for peace and security of mankind

Joe Noory on :

Oh yeah, I forgot. NATO's purpose is to become something more like Rotary International than a mutual defense pact. After all, we can't have enough people doing exactly the same things the Red Cross, UNICEF, and Oxfam do! Look if you want to disarm a defense organization, what you're looking for is the dissolution of all the militaries in the western alliance. If you really want something like that, say it. Advocate to your own government their withdrawal from NATO, and the liquidation of your contries Armed Forces. NATO is a defense organization for the stabilization of security, and it requires troops, equipment, including nukes for detereence to do that. It isn't a chess club. Being unable to defend yourself doesn't "create peace". It invites opportunistic hostility in the same way that throwing a steak at a lion will not turn the lion into a vegetarian.

Don S on :

I think this is a good thing, Joe. One doesn't dismantle a brick wall all at onces, but one brick at a time. I wish to dismantle NATO (or at least the non-contributory part of NATO) but that can't be done all at once either. One nuke at a time....

Joe Noory on :


Joe Noory on :

Spiegel seems to have willfully ignored Time Magazine’s [url=,8599,1816035,00.html?imw=Y] spin[/url]: [i]The U.S. keeps an estimated 350 thermonuclear bombs in six NATO countries. In four of those — Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands — [b]the weapons are stored at the host nation's air bases[/b], where they are guarded by specially trained U.S. military personnel. But according to an internal U.S. Air Force report, the sites are falling short of Department of Defense requirements, with fencing and security systems in need of repair, thin rotations that often lead to staffing shortages, and responsibilities falling to inadequately trained foreign security personnel. [/i] In spite of that fact, the title, of course, and the fact that the picture accompanying the article is of conventional weapons, the piece only alludes to a failure on the part of the US military, when in fact the report was about the shabby state of base security. To repeat: [i][b]the weapons are stored at the host nation's air bases[/b][/i] Those nations parade a kind of deep, thoughtful concern, what with their desire to defend their reputation as being efficient, thoughtful, concerned, and not prone to error, ever… something impossible in any human system of organization. Nonetheless, guess who has the [i]huevos[/i] to step up and take it on the chin. Time didn’t need to seek anyone out, wake them up, or bird-dog them in any way, but still managed to get a quote from General Roger A. Brady posted of the base’s website: [i] I have concerns because of our mission, and I have concerns because it's human beings doing it. [/i] While NATO handles this “grave matter” this way: [i] In Brussels, a NATO official said there is no alliance-wide policy on weapons security: "Security arrangements for U.S. nuclear weapons are made bilaterally between the U.S. and the host country. Any improvements that would be deemed necessary should be discussed between those two governments and not in a NATO context." [/i] So Time did little to get this story, and Spiegel even less, but there you have it. Time: [i] A Belgian Defense Ministry spokesman, Commander Olivier Séverin, denied that security was lax at the Kleine Brogel Air Base in northeastern Belgium, where the FAS estimates the U.S. keeps 20 bombs. "We have professionalized the guards in all our installations," he said. "These are not conscripts but professional soldiers. [/i] Reuters: [i] In addition to problems in structural security, the Air Force review said security manpower in some places was provided by conscripts with as little as nine months of active duty experience and that unionized security personnel presented challenges at other locations. [/i] SPON quotes BZ quoting Gysi, of all people:[i]Der Fraktionschef der Linken, Gregor Gysi, sagte der Zeitung: "Wenn die Bundesregierung ein Kreuz hätte, würde sie unverzüglich von den USA den Abzug der Atomwaffen - möglichst unter deren Verschrottung - verlangen." Damit wären Deutschland und Europa sicherer. Die Mängel bei der Lagerung der Atombomben zeigten: "Mit Atomwaffen gibt es keine Sicherheit."[/i] Which should give him pause about European military capacity if they can’t man the fence. Instead it turns into a rehash of [i]Atomkraft/Atomwaffen Nein Danke![/i] dusted off a narrative from 1977 which he surely must have known about by being the one East German who actually watched “[url=]Der Schwarze Kanal[/url]” all [url=]those years[/url].

Joe Noory on :

[i]The U.S. Air Force Blue Ribbon Review of Nuclear Weapons Policies and Procedures found fencing, security systems, lighting and support buildings in need of repair at several sites inspected by panel members, the February 8, 2008, report said. The document was obtained by the Federation of American Scientists and posted on the group's Web site at[/i] Your post fails to note that we don't know this because of the Federation of American Scientists, but because the US Air Force released their report on the subject. Obviously those nasty Americans are hiding something, just like they did at abu Greib! I wonder if Dick Cheney and his cabal of "New York money types" is responsible for this one too?

Detlef on :

Not to excuse poor security here in Europe but apparently the US military isn´t that great on nuke [url=]security[/url] either. [i]Perhaps you expected the crowd at Minot Air Force Base to get its act together, after it lost track of six nuclear warheads last fall. Think again. The 5th Bomb Wing at Minot has "failed its much-anticipated defense nuclear surety inspection," Air Force Times' Michael Hoffman reports. Security personnel couldn't even be bothered to stop playing video games on their cell phones. [/i] So perhaps a more appropriate title for that Reuters article might have been "All NATO militaries including the US have problems with guarding nukes"?

joe on :

Don, At least you can see the logic. Joe, NATO is what it is - not much of anything. It now has an almost complete EU character to it. That character is to talk a lot, sign lots of papers, the ignore the talks and papers and do little else in the way of heavy lifting. Do you really think I would ask my sons to go off to war for Europe. If you do, then you and David must be drinking from the same bottle.

Joe Noory on :

Well, to begin with, it wouldn't be you asking your sons to go to war, and I doubt that if there was a larger strategic risk, that we wouldn't actually turn our backs on the Europeans. But that's for other reasons altogether and has nothing to do with your sons. The cold war was war, and we did do an awful damn lot to secure their space and keep it bloodless in Europe (but not in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, etal). I concider that from a historical perspective, that it could be isolated and minimized over such a long period of time in a dynamic space was a monumental achievement. In fact keeping the jihad busy elsewehere and not on their patch is fighting for their security and interests. But if you want NATO to be dissolved, it should be dissolved, not turned into another OECD or Sportverein.

David on :

"Do you really think I would ask my sons to go off to war for Europe. If you do, then you and David must be drinking from the same bottle." Joe, my sons think for themselves. What makes me angry is that their sons and daughters will be paying for an immoral and unnecessary debacle long after you and I are gone. BTW, congratulations to Germany for the huge win this evening. Congrats to Turkey as a well for a very exciting match.

Anonymous on :


Anonymous on :,5538,32816,00.html These are some photos showing the fans. Nonetheless I must say that we played horribly this match, I wasn´t in mood for long celebrations. We went to the cathedral for an hour or so where all the people met to celebrate our win over the orient ;)

Joern Kersten on :

Related news: The U.S. have removed their nukes from Great Britain.

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