Annual Ground Zero Membership Meeting on Saturday, November 14, 2015

The annual Ground Zero membership meeting is when we decide the future of Ground Zero.  It is a time for reflection and renewal, and for new proposals for peace and justice.

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action is part of a larger peace community in the Pacific Northwest that transcends geographic boundaries, gender, race and time.  We invite all to come and share your ideas for a peaceful and larger world community and to help continue our resistance to the Trident nuclear weapons system.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

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Twelve arrests at Trident nuclear submarine base marking the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings

Fourteen peace activists risked arrest at a West Coast nuclear weapons base early Monday morning in a nonviolent protest against the continued deployment and modernization of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

The Trident submarine base at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, Washington, contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons in the US arsenal. Each of the 8 Trident submarines at Bangor carries as many as 24 Trident II(D-5) missiles, each loaded with up to 8 independently targetable thermonuclear warheads. Each warhead has an explosive yield up to 32 times the yield of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

The activists were among a larger group with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent action holding a peaceful protest at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Trigger Avenue entrance gate as employees entered the base for the Monday morning shift. The vigil commemorated the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Activists with banner

Activists with banner blocking incoming traffic on Trigger Avenue. Photo Credit: Glen Milner

Seven protestors entered the roadway and blocked traffic entering the base. The banners read “We can all live without Trident” and “Abolish Nuclear Weapons.” The two incoming traffic lanes were blocked for approximately 48 minutes until Kitsap Sheriff’s Deputies and Washington State Patrol officers arrived and removed the protestors from the roadway. Meanwhile, Navy personnel diverted incoming traffic around the banners via the outbound lanes.

Cited for being in the roadway illegally were Mack Johnson, Silverdale, WA: Doug Milholland, Port Townsend, WA; Brenda McMillan, Port Townsend, WA; and Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA.

Activists after crossing onto the Naval base

Activists after crossing onto the Naval base, awaiting arrest. Photo Credit: Glen Milner

Eight others walked onto the base, blocking the roadway, and staged a die-in. While three activists dropped down on the roadway, the others poured ashes around them representing the ashes of those incinerated in the atomic bombings. Naval security personnel arrested them, cited them for trespassing, and released them a short time later.

Two of those who entered the base attempted to deliver a letter to the commanding officer urging him to use every power available to him to call for an immediate halt to the updating and expansion of the Trident fleet under his command. The two were among those arrested.

In the letter addressed to Captain Thomas Zwolfer, Commanding Officer, Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, the activists said, “With the implementation of each and every step toward the refurbishing and upgrading of our nuclear arsenal, we continue to disregard prudence and morality; and with every deployment of a Trident submarine in international waters, we continue to violate international and humanitarian law that specifically prohibits the use and threat of use of any nuclear weapon (International Court of Justice decision, 1996). If we want to regain international respect we need to conform to what we expect of other nations: stop building and deploying these illegal and immoral weapons.”

Arrested and charged by the Navy were Mary Gleysteen, Kingston, WA; Anne Hall, Lopez Island, WA; Ann Kittredge, Quilcene, WA; Betsy Lamb, Bend, OR; Peggy Love, East Wenatchee, WA; Emilie Marlinghaus, Bend, OR; Elizabeth Murray, Poulsbo, WA; and Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA.

The W-76 thermonuclear warhead deployed on the Trident II D-5 submarine launched ballistic missile has been undergoing a “Life Extension Program” in which the warheads are thoroughly refurbished and upgraded. The entire Trident fleet is slated for replacement, and the cost to build 12 OHIO Class Replacement submarines is estimated at approximately $100 billion (by the Congressional Budget Office).

“Trident has been deployed at near-Cold War levels since the fall of the Berlin Wall as a major symbol of global power projection. This, together with the continuing Trident modernization efforts, has led to the resurgence of Russia’s ballistic missile submarine force. A new Cold War is developing that, in a completely different and less stable global context than the previous Cold War, poses a new and even greater threat of nuclear war. Trident is at the heart of this new Cold War and must be addressed now, before production begins on New Trident. It is critical that the U.S. and Russian leaders change postures and come together to begin the necessary dialogue to lead the way to a nuclear weapons free world. 70 years is long enough; future generations are counting on it.”

Leonard Eiger, coordinator for Ground Zero Center’s NO To NEW TRIDENT campaign

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70TH Anniversary of US Bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki

Many still believe that the atomic bombings were necessary to end the war with Japan; they accept President Truman’s assertion that the nuclear bombings saved the lives of a half-million US troops. In fact, the consensus among historians is that the A-bombings were NOT necessary to bring an end to the war.

In President Eisenhower’s autobiography Mandate for Change, he recalls his reaction to U.S. Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, upon hearing of the successful atomic bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. Eisenhower told Stimson that he believed “that Japan was already defeated, and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary.” Eisenhower couldn’t have been any clearer in his response: dropping the bomb was “no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.”

Nearly twenty years later Eisenhower’s views on the use of the bomb remained unchanged. In a 1963 interview with Newsweek he unequivocally stated that prior to the atomic blast at Hiroshima “the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” According to Eisenhower, and contrary to Truman, the bombs were not dropped to ward off a ground invasion. The bombs were not dropped to save American lives.

So why the bombs? Why the complete and utter annihilation of two Japanese cities with denselypacked civilian populations? A primary reason was, in the words of Stimson, “to persuade Russia to play ball” — that is, to impress and intimidate Russia with the apocalyptic power of nuclear weapons and the US willingness to use them – even against civilians. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were among the first victims of the Cold War.

A widely-held belief is that “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD) guarantees nuclear security and ensures that no nuclear power would ever engage in a nationally suicidal nuclear attack. But that deterrence relies on the assumption that those with their fingers on the nuclear trigger will always be rational. And what about accidents? Eric Schlosser, author of “Command and Control,” documents in his book dozens of nuclear weapons accidents and mishaps, concluding that we are alive today more as a result of luck than policy.

This spring, the Peace & Planet Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World (what a concept!) brought thousands of activists from around the world and nearly 8 million petition signatures to New York and the United Nations demanding the start of immediate negotiations to abolish nuclear weapons – with a timeline. These actions were reinforced by more than 100 actions in 50 nations.

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE IF WE COME TOGETHER. NUCLEAR WEAPONS ABOLITION IS POSSIBLE. * BREAKING SILENCES ** TAKING ACTION ** TOGETHER WE CAN PREVAIL

Please join us in commemorating the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action. Find details at www.gzcenter.org. Together we can build on the international movement for a nuclear weapons-free world.

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Peace activists to meet the U.S. Navy Fleet arrival at Seafair on July 29, 2015 in Elliott Bay

For the fourteenth year, peace activists will address the public display of warships and warplanes in our community.

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Why would we demonstrate for peace at a Seattle maritime festival?  Because the celebration of warships in our harbor helps bring about the normalcy of modern war.

The fleet arrival at Seafair is a public relations and recruiting event for the U.S. Navy.  Previous years have brought Trident nuclear submarines complete with nuclear warheads and Navy warships used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles in the first and second Wars on Iraq and the War on Afghanistan.  The fleet is displayed for four days in downtown Seattle at tremendous cost to taxpayers while crucial social services in education, health care, and transportation are being cut for lack of funds.

“War has become just another ‘issue’ in modern society, like pollution or other problems.  We measure the cost of war in dollars and lives and decide whether it is ‘worth it.’  War should never be seen as a normal means to solve problems.  War is the problem and the weapons of war in downtown Seattle should not be glorified or honored in any way.”

Peace Fleet sailor Glen Milner

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