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On US Loose Nukes, CTBTO Says Watch For Proliferation, Galapagos

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 28 -- When Lassina Zerbo of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization gave a press conference at the UN on April 28, he said he had just been in Ecuador reaching an agreement for a CTBTO monitoring station on the Galapagos Islands.

  Inner City Press asked Zerbo to say more about the CTBTO press release's statement that this monitoring "can also contribute to research of the atmosphere, storm systems and climate change." Zerbo cited volcanoes and "hydro-acoustic" monitoring.

  Afterward, the CTBTO sent Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access more information about climate change, including this same hydro-acoustic monitor of calving of icebergs.

  Inner City Press also asked Zerbo about a report by CBS' "60 Minutes" the night before, showing decaying US missiles and specifying how nuclear weapons were loaded on a plane by mistake and left on a tarmac, unguarded, for 36 hours.

  Zerbo to his credit didn't dodge the question, instead saying that beyond stopping proliferation there should be efforts to protect nuclear material from the possibility of proliferation. Presumably that means nukes shouldn't be left on the tarmac.

  Strangely, while the first question was automatically given by Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq to Pamela Falk of CBS, she did not ask about the nuclear report critical of the US by CBS' 60 Minutes. Instead she asked, as she had at noon, about North Korea, on the eve of a press event which she had tried to limit only to members of the UN Correspondents Association, and only those that she personally approved.

  The Free UN Coalition for Access successfully pushed back at that, particularly because some UNCA Executive Board members have been involved in censorship, and will continue to. And it will continue to put questions to the CTBTO. Watch this site.


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