Help Stop New US Nuclear Bombs Planned for Europe
By Marion Küpker and John LaForge
Spring Nukewatch Quarterly 2019
Please join the campaign “Büchel is Everywhere: Nuclear Weapons-free Now!” to bring existing US nuclear weapons back home, and halt production of the new B61-12 nuclear bomb, scheduled to be built in the US by 2020 then deployed in five European countries: Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany.
For a third year in a row, Nukewatch invites peace, anti-nuclear, environmental, and student activists to participate in the International Week, July 8 to 16, 2019, at the peace camp near the main gate of the Büchel Air Base in Germany.
20 Weeks of Action for 20 Bombs
In 2016, 2017, and 2018, twenty weeks of nonviolent actions took place with participants from over 50 organizations. Twenty weeks represent the 20 B61 H-bombs deployed at Büchel. The peace camp includes networking, training, and nonviolent civil resistance.
Again this year, groups and individuals will conduct all kinds of nonviolent actions (blockades, trespasses, vigils, etc.) at the base to pressure the government and to remind lawmakers of their various promises to permanently eliminate the US nuclear weapons.
International Week is part of 20 weeks of action stretching from March 26th to August 9th (Nagasaki memorial day). This year marks the third gathering of European activists with anti-nuclear resisters from the United States—where construction of the new bomb is taking place. In 2018, 10 campaigners from the US joined with dozens from Holland, Belgium and France, and the International Youth Group from Mutlangen, Germany. On July 17, 2017, US delegates personally delivered a copy of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to the commander of the air base.
Political, Military & Corporate Background
According to AirForce-technology.com, the US bombs can be air-launched by warplanes such as the B-2s, F-15s, F-16s, and Germany’s Tornado PA-200 fighter jets.
German Tornado pilots are trained and obligated to take off with these US bombs and, under orders from a US president, to attack populations with them. This unlawful and terrifying war plan is part of a “nuclear sharing” agreement between the US and Germany, and includes a first-strike option that the US and NATO insist is necessary. (See NATO: Alliance for Global Intervention) NATO calls its weapons proliferation “power and burden sharing,” and it currently involves nuclear war exercises next to the East-European Russian border—one was code-named “Anaconda”—involving tens of thousands of soldiers and extensive maneuvering of heavy military equipment.
Like the current B61, the new precision guided B61-12 is a weapon of mass destruction, which experts have called illegal under German, US and international law.
Three US nuclear weapon’s National Laboratories—Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico, and Lawrence Livermore in California—have worked to design the new B61-12. Component parts are being made at the Y12 complex in Tennessee, the Kansas City Plant in Missouri (formally the “Kansas City National Security Campus”), and at Sandia. Final bomb assembly takes place at the Pantex weapons assembly site in Texas. Major contractors are Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Honeywell, and Bechtel. Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists has reported that 400 new B61-12s are planned and each weapon will cost at least $25 million.
Public Opinion & the Ban Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
The planned replacement of the B61s is moving ahead despite the German parliament’s overwhelming approval March 26, 2010, of a cross-party resolution calling on the government to pursue their permanent removal. The new B61s also fly in the face of huge majority public support of a denuclearized Germany, and of the newly adopted UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Germany has a strong nationwide campaign of 60 groups and organizations (“Büchel is everywhere—Nuclear Weapons-free Now!”) focused on nuclear abolition, and embracing civil resistance at the scene of the crime. Nukewatch is the first non-German organization to join the campaign. Besides lobbying work, nonviolent direct action increases awareness and political pressure, keeps the B61 issue in the public eye, and challenges “nuclear sharing” courts.
Because of public criticism, (a 2016 poll shows that about 90% of the German public is against the US nukes) the united Campaign Council now includes major international organizations, and its work led to the political decision to decriminalize participation in nonviolent blockades at Büchel.
Finally, in 2017 the global nuclear weapons ban treaty was signed at the United Nations by 70 countries, and 21 countries have ratified the Treaty. Fifty ratifications are needed for it to become international law, a goal that may be reached this year. German political decision makers refused to take part in the negotiations for the treaty ban and have refused to sign it—following the bad example of the United States, most NATO members, and all other nuclear-armed states.
In 2017, during Germany’s nationwide election campaign, Social Democrat Party leader Martin Schulz promised he would demand removal of the US weapons if he became chancellor—and Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel publicly endorsed Schulz’s promise at a Washington, DC press conference. Also, Germany’s Left Party called for a parliamentary decision to remove the B61s, and the Green Party has the permanent removal of the bombs as part of its platform. These parties need to be pressured to take further actions to send the bombs home. Politicians know that when Germany steps out, it will affect future decisions of the four other “nuclear sharing” countries (Belgium, Holland, Italy and Turkey). A “domino effect” is possible, so the best time to stop the B61-12 program is now—before it goes into production.
Agreed Action Framework:
We will not use or threaten to use physical violence against any person, especially in situations where violence is being used against us. We will not treat others in a condescending way. We will treat others (police, soldiers, counter-demonstrators, and everyone) with respect, even as we criticize the actions they take. The complete Agreed Action Framework can be found on the German campaign’s homepage: <www.buechel-atombombenfrei.de>
Camp housing in this beautiful volcanic region of Germany, near the Mosel River Valley includes tent camping or rental cabin rooms. Make arrangements early for indoor space, and for other special accommodations you might need.
The camp has limited internet access.
If you are interested in participating and want more details, please contact:
The German coordinators of the camp have loads of additional information at their website:
All of these efforts are in need of financial support. If you aren’t able to join the delegation, please help support the scholarship fund by sending a donation to Nukewatch right away: 740A Round Lake Rd., Luck, WI 54853