Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2019
Nuclear weapons are secluded behind high-level security and top-secret deniability. None of the nine nuclear-armed countries ever “confirm or deny” the locations of their particular warheads. In our last issue we deciphered enough military doubletalk to confidently if unofficially verify that 20 US nuclear bombs are still deployed at Büchel.
Still it came as a surprise this summer when the Belgian newspaper De Morgen published a leaked NATO document detailing the exact numbers and locations of the US nuclear weapons now in Europe.
Quoting the leaked NATO report, De Morgen revealed that the “… US forward-deploys approximately 150 gravity bombs, specific B61 gravity bombs, to Europe for use on both US and Allied dual-capable aircraft. These bombs are stored at six US and European bases—Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano in Italy and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in The Netherlands, and Inçirlik in Turkey.” (“Dual-capable” is a warplane that carries both nuclear weapons and others.)
De Morgen’s July 16 headline was, “Finally in black and white: There are American nuclear weapons in Belgium.” The paper’s exposé marks the first time that the officially secret deployment has been authoritatively confirmed by NATO itself. Dutch broadcaster RTL News mocked the significance of the leaked document saying, “NATO reveals The Netherlands’s worst-kept secret.”
The NATO report, titled “A new era for nuclear deterrence? Modernization, arms control, and allied nuclear forces,” was finished April 16, 2019 by the Canadian Senator Joseph Day, who is the rapporteur for the Defense and Security Committee of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly. —JL