It sounds like a story from the James Bond movies. Underneath the icecap of Greenland a secret military base is hiding, powered by a nuclear reactor. Up to 300 nuclear missiles are tucked away in tunnels of hundreds of kilometres long; maintained, serviced and defended by thousands of soldiers living out of sight.
The only difference is, this is not a film but a true plan of the United States – out of sight and knowledge of Denmark, the country to which the semi-autonomous Greenland belongs. Under the cover of the fake research project Iceworm the US Army built one of the coolest secrets of the Cold War, the weapons race against Russia that dominated the world between the end of WW2 and the beginning of the 1990s. On 26 September 2019 the Dirty Secrets underneath the Greenland Icecap reached Belgium, when I chatted about this with host Lieven Vandenhaute on VRT Radio 1 (Nieuwe feiten)
Camp Century was the prime location of it all and between 1960 and 1966 hundreds of US servicemen dug out a base 50 metres underneath the surface that would deter or attack Russia at any given point.
But, the US military scientists miscalculated the moving of the ice and left the base abandoned, certain that permanent snowfall and freezing temperatures would leave the remnants, the nuclear waste from the reactor and tons of chemical stuff out of sight … forever.
Decades later global warming and the subsequent melting of the Greenland icecap is about to expose all of the 30 military locations the US left on the island and contaminate nature, the sea and maybe even the people. It might even be one of the reason why Donald Trump wanted to buy Greenland from Denmark in the first place, not to have to clean up this mess.
Thule Air Base
While Copenhagen has denied to sell Greenland and continues to fly its military jets every now and then to its outpost, the US military is still allowed to use its Thule Air Base on the vast island, servicing 3,000 military flights annually. Denmark has coughed up money to start cleaning the mess, the United States – so far – is leaving its mess without much care. |
Featured photo: Danish F-16 fighter jets visits Greenland every now and then to mark the defence responsibility Copenhagen has for its semi-autonomous territory