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Date: Sun, 10 Nov 2002 17:35:44 -0000
Subject: Weapons Inspection at Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment

Press Release from Berkshire Citizens Inspection Agency

Weapons Inspection at Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment

8th November 2002 - For immediate release

A team of inspectors from the Berkshire CIA (Citizens Inspection Agency) visited the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, where the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons are manufactured and maintained, to conduct an inspection of the site in an attempt to validate whether the UK government is complying with international laws on weapons of mass destruction.

As befits the CIA, the inspectors arrived in style in a white stretch limousine, and presented themselves to the Ministry of Defence Police officers guarding the main gate of the establishment to request access to the site. The police refused to let them in to the base, and representatives from the Aldermaston management declined to meet the inspectors, who then handed a letter in requesting a meeting with the Aldermaston management to discuss international inspection regimes for the UK's nuclear weapons and arrangements for allowing inspectors into the site. No United Nations weapons inspectors have ever been known to visit the UK to investigate the operations which take place at Aldermaston.

The inspectors took soil and water samples from the area surrounding the base and then, in a spirit of co-operation, allowed the Ministry of Defence Police to inspect a collection of their own weapons - water pistols, a toy tank, plastic swords, and a six foot high model Trident missile.

The inspectors are planning to visit the site for a further inspection in December.

Local inspector Peter Burt said: "We are concerned that the UK government seems to employ double standards when it comes to weapons of mass destruction. We tell Iraq that unless they allow us to investigate whether they are building weapons of mass destruction, we will bomb them. At the same time we are not prepared to allow inspectors to inquire into our own weapons of mass destruction, which are many times more powerful than anything Saddam Hussein could ever expect to acquire.

"It is particularly worrying that there are plans to rebuild the Aldermaston factory in the near future to allow a new generation of nuclear weapons to be built there - even though this major policy decision has never been discussed in Parliament or put to the public as an election issue."

For more information please contact Peter Burt on 0118 966 8328


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