is Citizen Inspection?
Citizen Inspections are a means for citizens to verify that the actions
of their governments are in compliance with current domestic laws, treaties,
and international norms. The verification process serves as a popular
check against illicit government activities and the perpetuation and normalization
of potentially dangerous policies.
Open access to information
The purpose of an inspection is to achieve open and unrestricted access
to non-classified information. All classified information essential to
national security should be adequately safeguarded in a manner which does
not impede access to non-classified information. In an open democratic
society, barriers should not be placed around non-classified information
under the guise of security. All citizens possess the fundamental right
to acquire information regarding the activities of their government. Restricting
any access to non-classified information is antithetical to the principles
of an open and free society.
Citizen inspections facilitate democracy
The inspection process pushes society beyond the mere practice of symbolic
democracy and allows citizens to become directly responsible for the oversight
of government and military institutions. Members of the public are encouraged
to actively seek all available information so that they can make fully
informed political decisions.
In order to meaningfully fulfill the verification process, citizens peaceably
and openly gain access to weapons facilities in order to gather non-classified
data regarding status and purpose of all weapons research and design programs,
military construction, weapons stockpile, and the implementation of policy.
The results of these inspections are then be made publicly available so
that the public are fully informed of the actions and intentions of their
The individual in the societal verification process
As an aspect of societal verification, the citizen inspection process
is based on the involvement of the whole community, or broad
groups of it, in contrast to the employment of highly specialized teams
of experts required for technological verification."1 Citizens involved in the inspection process need not possess any specific
technical or legal knowledge. Individuals are encouraged to seek access
to information on their own. Inspections, for the purpose of gaining access
to unclassified information, do not need to be organized or managed by
Open inspection v. managed inspection
Open inspections, scheduled and hosted by an organization, function much
the same as individual citizen inspections. While the organization might
be responsible for publicizing the inspections and generating popular
support, it is still left to the members of the public to take the initiative
and lead their own personal fact-finding missions. The organization calling
for the event may provide detailed information on how to inspect and subsequently
report their findings. The role of an organization in an open inspection
is to encourage and inspire citizens to conduct their own investigations.
1. Joseph Rotblat, J Steinberger, B M Udgaonkar, "Societal
Verification" in: A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Desirable?, Feasible?,
Boulder: Westview Press, 1993.