Activists blockade west coast nuclear base in plea to de-escalate nuclear crisis with North Korea

Activists blockaded the West Coast nuclear submarine base that would likely carry out a nuclear strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) should President Donald Trump give the order.

Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US. More than 1,300 nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on the eight ballistic missile submarines based at Bangor or stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) at the Bangor base.

Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action held a vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor base on August 14th, several days after the 72nd anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Participants briefly blockaded the base during the morning shift change by carrying banners onto the roadway at the main entrance gate.

(left to right) Nuclear resisters Susan DeLaney, Philip Davis and Charles (Charley) Smith

All were removed from the road by Washington State Patrol Officers, cited for being in the roadway illegally, and released on the scene.

Those cited were Philip Davis, Bremerton, WA; Susan DeLaney, Bothell, WA; Ryan DeWitt, Olympia, WA; Sarah Hobbs, Portland, OR; Mack Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Ben Moore, Bainbridge Island, WA; and Charles (Charley) Smith, Eugene Catholic Worker, Eugene, OR.

One of the banners implored the Trump administration to stop its incendiary rhetoric toward North Korea. It read, “No Nuclear Strike On N. Korea!”

(from left to right) Sarah Hobbs, Ben Moore and Ryan DeWitt

Ground Zero spokesperson Leonard Eiger said, “No one knows where this escalating rhetoric of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will end. To take either leader at his word, a nuclear holocaust is an acceptable event. There is no acceptable military solution to this nuclear standoff. Diplomacy is the only way out of this mess.”

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977. The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.

Click here to see photos of the action, as well as events that took place on the Sunday prior to the action. You are welcome to download and use photos (taken by Leonard Eiger, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action).

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David Swanson to be keynote speaker at GZ Hiroshima/Nagasaki Weekend

Noted peace activist David Swanson, director of WorldBeyondWar.org and author of numerous books including “War Is a Lie,” will be keynote speaker at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action’s (www.gzcenter.org) Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration event Aug. 11-14th and will address the gathering by video on Sunday, August 13th. More about David Swanson here: davidswanson.org/about

Swanson’s speech will highlight a weekend of nuclear resistance events at the Poulsbo, WA peace house, which sits on 3.8 acres and shares a border fence with the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, West Coast home port to the Trident nuclear weapon system.

The public is invited. All events are free.

On August 12th – for the second consecutive year – the Ground Zero Center will sponsor the “Boats by Bangor” action, a ship and kayak flotilla action on the Hood Canal in which activists sail/paddle directly in front of the Trident submarine base in a demonstration of resistance against Trident and nuclear weapons.

Last year “Boats by Bangor” featured the presence of “The Golden Rule,” the peace ship whose nuclear resistance mission is sponsored by Veterans for Peace (more information at http://www.vfpgoldenruleproject.org/). For information on participating in “Boats by Bangor” contact Rodney Brunelle at rodney.brunelle@gmail.com.

Click here for more information including a detailed schedule of events.

Please check out the following resources at World Beyond War:
Sign the Declaration of Peace.Find events all over the world that you can take part in.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Support World Beyond War’s work by clicking here.

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Preventing Nuclear “fire and fury” on Nagasaki Anniversary!

Editor’s Note: This post is the GZNonviolenceE-Newsletter sent out earlier this morning. If you would like to receive the E-Newsletters, please click here.

Dear Friends of a world free of nuclear weapons,

I wouldn’t normally send another GZNonviolenceE-Newsletter so soon, but these are anything but normal times! “Crisis” is not too strong a word to describe the situation!

Yesterday, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, President Trump explicitly threatened to attack the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) with nuclear weapons! Here’s the exact quote:

“They [North Korea] will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He [Kim Jong-un] has been very threatening … and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen.”

Trump’s extremely provocative statement was in response to news earlier in the day that North Korea can now arm its long-range missiles with nuclear warheads.

While it is true that North Korea has nuclear weapons (and says it is prepared to use them in response to any attacks by other nations), and that it can at least reach its neighbors with them, there is NO military solution to this situation.

Trump outrageous and inflammatory statement has brought tensions with North Korea to a new (and extremely dangerous) high. The consequences of any military action against North Korea would be catastrophic, and Trump’s words threaten not only North Korea, but potentially millions of people in South Korea, Japan and other nations in the region.

Amid the escalating war of words between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is reportedly visiting Seattle and the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base 20 miles west of Seattle on the Kitsap Peninsula today and tomorrow.

The August 7th Department of Defense (DoD) news release said Mattis would be visiting Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor within the week to be briefed by Submarine Group 9 leaders, and taking a tour of the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Kentucky.

The Bangor submarine base, just 20 miles from Seattle, has the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.  If Washington state were a sovereign nation, it would be the third-largest nuclear-weapons state in the world.

Ground Zero member Glen Milner spoke of the upcoming visit by the Secretary of Defense and stated, “Hopefully, this is not as ominous as it sounds.  But it should remind citizens of the Pacific Northwest that our area will be in the forefront of any nuclear exchange, whether it involves North Korea, China, or Russia.”

At this moment it is likely that at least two of the eight Trident submarines home-ported at Bangor are on patrol in the Western Pacific region, ready to launch their thermonuclear-armed missiles on the direct order of President Trump.

The USS Kentucky, the Trident submarine that Defense Secretary Mattis will tour at Bangor, is estimated to carry about 108 nuclear warheads.  The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force.  One submarine deployed at Bangor is equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs.

Mattis’ visit to the Bangor Trident base underscores the importance that the US Government places on nuclear weapons and particularly on what it calls its “strategic nuclear deterrent,” of which Trident is the most important “leg” of the nuclear triad (submarines, bombers and land-based missiles).

“Deterrence” is a relic of the Cold War; a doctrine that no longer applies in a post-Cold War world. And yet, the US continues to justify a more than $trillion nuclear weapons buildup (over 30 years) using this doctrine to justify it. And Trident will ultimately carry roughly 70-percent of the U.S.’ nuclear warheads under the U.S.-Russia New START treaty signed in 2010,

No one knows where this escalating rhetoric of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will end. To take either leader at his word, a nuclear holocaust is an acceptable event.

The current situation is analogous to two unstable people standing with lighted matches on opposite sides of a swimming pool filled with gasoline. Without a change in course it is only a matter of time.

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action condemns Trump’s statement, and we call on our members of Congress to respond immediately to de-escalate this crisis before the unthinkable occurs.

Please contact your members of Congress today and call on them to demand that President Trump immediately stop threatening North Korea and authorize the State Department to utilize all diplomatic tools at its disposal to reduce tensions with the North and resolve the nuclear crisis.

Click here to find contact information for your members of Congress.

If you live on the Kitsap Peninsula, Representative Derek Kilmer will hold a Town Hall Meeting this evening from 5:30 to 7:00 at North Kitsap High School Auditorium, 1881 NE Postmark St, Poulsbo, WA  98370. He will hold a second Town Hall Meeting tomorrow (Thursday, August 10th) from 5:30 to 7:00 at Mason High School, 200 E Campus Dr, Belfair, WA 98528.

Please also support the effort to restrict the president’s authority to launch a nuclear first strike. Although we never want to see nuclear weapons used again, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act would, at least, prohibit a president from launching a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war by Congress. It’s a step in the right direction.

When you are done, please share this E-Newsletter with your network and, if you are in the Puget Sound region, join us this coming weekend to not only commemorate the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but to also speak out and take action to abolish these horrific devices of nuclear extinction that threaten all of humanity. Click here for information on this weekend’s events. 

Future generations rely on our actions! We must not let them down.

Let us keep working together to ensure that the horrific “fire and fury” that was unleashed on hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings 72 years ago will never be seen again. No More Hiroshimas! No More Nagasakis!

On behalf of Ground Zero Center,

Leonard Eiger

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Rally, March & Hearings for Mothers Day Nuclear Resisters July 25th

Join us on July 25, 2017 for a rally and march to support the activists who were arrested for blocking the gate to Bangor Naval Base on May 13, 2017.

Their mitigation hearings take place at the Kitsap District Court 614 Division Street Port Orchard, WA 98366. The rally begins at noon in the park at Givens Community Center, 1026 Sydney Road Port Orchard 98366. We will march a short distance from there to the Kitsap District Court, arriving there by 1:00 pm. Hearings begin at 1:30 pm. All are welcome to witness the court proceedings. Your supportive presence and participation helps to bring attention to the ferocity of weaponry that can never be used, yet costs billions of dollars to produce and maintain, at the expense of health care, social services, education of our youth . . .

Please watch this beautiful and powerful music video (with music written by Margarita Muñoz, one of the participants in the May 13th nonviolent direct action. Click on this link for “Just Beneath Our Clouds of Grey” music video http://seattlepeacechorus.org/about/ae/just-beneath-our-clouds-of-grey/

Directions to rally: From the “Givens Community Center (1026 Sydney Road) drive north 1/2 block to Kendall, turn left, drive two short blocks to Austin. Parking available at the corner of Kendall / Austin next to the playground.

Proposed walking route to Kitsap County Courthouse: From Kendall / Austin, we will walk north on Austin two blocks to Taylor, turn left, walk one block to Cline, turn right, walk two blocks to Division, turn right and we will arrive to the front of the Kitsap County Courthouse across from the Kitsap County Administration Building.

What… Rally and March to support activists arrested on May 13, 2017
for blocking the gate to Bangor Naval Base

When… July 25, 2017

Time… 12:00 p.m. (rally)
12:30 p.m. (march)
1:00 p.m. (arrive at courthouse)

Where… Rally: Givens Community Center Park (1026 Sydney Road)
March: To Kitsap District Court (614 Division Street Port Orchard, WA 98366)

Questions: Email outreach@gzcenter.org

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CONGRESS WANTS $1 TRILLION FOR NUKES. What will be left for our children?

On July 17, and continuing for eleven weeks, 26 King County Metro buses will display the following paid advertisement: CONGRESS WANTS $1 TRILLION FOR NUKES. What will be left for our children?  The ad includes a photo of a Trident nuclear submarine in Hood Canal and the eyes of a child.

 

The statement in the ad refers to the planned expenditure of $1 trillion for the next 30 years for upgrading the nation’s nuclear facilities and modernizing nuclear weapons.  The nuclear weapons modernization plan was initially planned and evolved under the Obama administration.  President Trump has given his support to this plan and stated in December 2016 that the “United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability…”

The bus ads are an effort by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, a grass roots organization in Poulsbo, Washington, to reawaken public awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons in the Puget Sound region. The Bangor submarine base, just 20 miles from Seattle, has the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.  If Washington state were a sovereign nation, it would be the third-largest nuclear-weapons state in the world.

Ground Zero member, Rodney Brunelle, said of the bus ad campaign, “We hope to generate a measure of citizen interest, and to begin a public discussion of nuclear weapons in the Puget Sound region. The submarine base at Bangor has the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.  The discussion needs to begin here.”

Photo courtesy of intersection.com

The issues

* The U.S. is currently spending more on nuclear weapons programs than during the height of the Cold War.

* The U.S. currently plans to spend an estimated $1 trillion dollars over 30 years for rebuilding the nation’s nuclear facilities and modernizing nuclear weapons.

* The New York Times reported that the U. S., Russia and China are aggressively pursuing a new generation of smaller and less destructive nuclear weapons. The buildups threaten to revive a Cold War-era arms race and unsettle the balance of power among nations.

* The U.S. Navy states that SSBN submarines on patrol provide the U.S. with its “most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability.”  However, SSBNs in port and nuclear warheads stored at SWFPAC are likely a first target in a nuclear war.  The latest Google imagery shows three SSBN submarines on the Hood Canal waterfront.

* An accident involving nuclear weapons occurred on November 2003 when a ladder penetrated a nuclear nosecone during a routine missile offloading at the Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor.  All missile-handling operations at SWFPAC were stopped for nine weeks until Bangor could be recertified for handling nuclear weapons.  Three top commanders were fired but the public was never informed until information was leaked to the media in March 2004.

* Public responses from governmental officials to the 2003 missile accident were generally in the form of surprise and disappointment.

* Due to ongoing modernization and maintenance programs for warheads at Bangor, nuclear warheads are routinely shipped in unmarked trucks between the Department of Energy Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas and the Bangor base.  Unlike the Navy at Bangor, the DOE actively promotes emergency preparedness.

* The award-winning documentary, Command and Control, and the critically-acclaimed book, Command and Control, by Eric Schlosser, address a dangerous nuclear weapons accident in Arkansas in 1980, and raise important issues for this region.

The bus ad

The bus ads measure 30 inches tall and 144 inches in length and are posted on the sides of 26 King County Metro buses that run through downtown Seattle.  An interactive map of the bus routes may be viewed at http://mapping.titan360.com/atlas.aspx?mapId=49878   The bus ads will run on buses traveling as far south as Federal Way and as far north as Edmonds.

Two bus companies in the Puget Sound area refused to run the ad.  

On June 22, Sound Transit in Seattle told Ground Zero: “Sound Transit’s advertising policy prohibits advertisements that Sound Transit reasonably believes promotes or implies a position on any proposed or existing laws or advocacy on disputed or controversial issues.

Community Transit in Snohomish County also refused to run the ad.  On June 23, Community Transit declared that the ad was a political advertisement which is defined under Community Transit policy as “advertisements that contain political speech referring to a particular ballot question, initiative, petition, referendum, law, candidate, political party or social issue or expresses or advocates opinions or positions upon any of the foregoing. This prohibition includes any advertisement referring to or depicting a candidate for public office in any context.”

Nuclear weapons and resistance

In the 1970s and 1980s, thousands demonstrated against nuclear weapons at the Bangor base and hundreds were arrested.  Seattle Archbishop Hunthausen had proclaimed the Bangor submarine base the “Auschwitz of Puget Sound” and in 1982 began to withhold half of his federal taxes in protest of “our nation’s continuing involvement in the race for nuclear arms supremacy.”

More than 1,300 nuclear warheads are deployed 20 miles west of Seattle on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines based at Bangor and nuclear warheads stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC).

One Trident SSBN submarine at Bangor is estimated to carry about 108 nuclear warheads.  The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force.  One submarine deployed at Bangor is equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs.

On May 27, 2016, President Obama spoke in Hiroshima and called for an end to nuclear weapons.   He said that the nuclear powers “…must have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them.”  Obama added, “We must change our mindset about war itself.”

On December 22, 16 President Trump endorsed a growing arms race and posted to Twitter, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” 

___________________________________________________

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977.  The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington.  The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action offers the opportunity to explore the roots of violence and injustice in our world and to experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.

Upcoming Ground Zero events:

* The annual Interfaith Peace Walk led by Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple starts in Corvalis, Oregon on July 30 and ends at the Bangor submarine base on August 14.

* Ground Zero Peace Fleet in Elliott Bay to meet the Navy fleet on August 2.

* From Hiroshima to Hope event at Green Lake on August 6 commemorating the victims of the Hiroshima bombing 72 years ago.

* Boats by Bangor on August 12, will be a flotilla of small boats in the waters of Hood Canal out past the perimeter of Naval Base Kitsap Bangor.

* The Annual Ground Zero Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration on August 12 through August 14 at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action with a vigil and nonviolent civil resistance at the entrance to Bangor.

Please check our website at www.gzcenter.org for updates.

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