PLC Six Arraignment Follow-up (Betsy’s Detention Hearing)

As previously reported, the “PLC Six” were arraigned in a Tacoma Federal Courtroom on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 before United States Magistrate Judge David W. Christel.

The six resisters had crossed the marked property line onto Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington state on March 7, 2017 and were charged with trespassing.

Photo by Fumi Tosu

After their arraignment on June 7, Betsy Lamb of Bend, OR, was taken directly to the SEATAC Seattle-Tacoma federal jail/prison for standing firm in her statement to the judge that between now and the Sept. 6 trial for the PLC Six, she would make every effort to not undertake any action that might violate the law — but not without adding that she would do so only “as her conscience and faith permitted”.  Judge Christel refused to accept this caveat she had written in as a provision, and she refused to sign the statement without it.

Despite Lamb’s assurances that she had always appeared in Court at the appointed time and would do so on Sept. 6th, Judge Christel ordered that she be remanded into custody, noting that she had violated her probation terms. He rejected her offer to wear an ankle monitor and report regularly to a probation officer until Sept. 6th.

She was jailed, pending a detention hearing Monday, June 12th, where she made the following statement:

Lamb was only a few weeks away from the end of her 1-year probationary period for the August 2016 “die-in” at Trigger Gate (in which she participated along with seven other nuclear resisters who sprinkled ashes around each other over the “Blue Line” to commemorate the mass civilian deaths at Hiroshima) when she chose to participate in the March 2017 PLC action at Bangor Gate; despite the risks, she had said her conscience wouldn’t allow her to do otherwise. Judge Christel had been the one that imposed the probation order along with the 100 hours of community service for each of the “Bangor Eight.”

Many supporters stood up to salute Lamb for facing down the system’s enforced legality of indiscriminate mass murder weaponry (and its punishment of nonviolent resisters) as she was led away from the courtroom. The judge and prosecution appeared to take note of the number of supporters who filled the back benches of the courtroom.

STATEMENT OF BETSY LAMB AT HER DETENTION HEARING in Tacoma, Monday, June 12th:

The situation in this country that precipitated and led to the violation in question and my present incarceration remains unchanged.

Even so, as a nonviolent resister, I believe that if an action that I take has consequences, I should accept those consequences.

I believe that my willingness to be incarcerated these past days has adequately demonstrated my commitment to be faithful to God and my conscience.

I want this court to know that I understand and take seriously the conditions of release on the proposed Appearance Bond, and that it is my intention to observe those conditions.

The fire in my heart [Jer. 20:9] for the welfare and well-being of all God’s people and for a nuclear-free world will be channeled in lawful directions.

Being released to go home will allow me to follow up on some medical issues and to prepare for the trial with my co-defendants on September 6th.

At this time I feel I am prepared to sign the signature bond offered me, and would appreciate the opportunity to do so.

Thank you.

After referencing her co-defendant, she referred to the presence of some of them as well as her spouse and the numerous other supporters present.

After obtaining her signature and assuring that she had not added any conditions to those prescribed, the judge decided she could be trusted to show up for trial with the others on September 6th.

An interesting “PS” from Betsy:  When I passed through the door into the “reception” area of the SEATAC prison, apparently informed in advance of our “cause,” corrections staff greeted me with a resounding and prolonged, “NO NUKES!  NO NUKES!  NO NUKES!…”  They seemed to have known well and appreciated the previous presence of our Plowshares friends!

Trial date for the PLC Six is set for September 6, 2017, at the Tacoma federal courthouse, details TBA.

Standing Firm at PLC Six Arraignment

The “PLC Six” were arraigned in a Tacoma Federal Courtroom on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 before United States Magistrate Judge David W. Christel.

Alex (Alexandra) Addesso, Los Angeles Catholic Worker, Los Angeles, CA; Karan Founds-Benton, Los Angeles Catholic Worker, Los Angeles, CA; Steve Kelly, SJ Oakland, CA; Betsy Lamb, Bend, Oregon; Mary Helene Mele, Bellingham, WA; Charley Smith, Eugene Catholic Worker, Eugene OR are charged with “trespassing” on a U.S. military installation.

The six resisters crossed the marked property line onto Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale, Washington on March 7, 2017 at the conclusion of the Pacific Life Community’s (PLC) annual gathering.   They read sections of the Nuremberg Principles out loud before being arrested by military police. They were charged with trespassing and received ban and bar letters before being released.

At the arraignment Betsy Lamb of Portland, OR was taken directly to the Tacoma jail for standing firm in her statement to the judge that between now and the Sept. 6 trial for the PLC Six” – she would make every effort to not undertake any action at a military base that might violate the law – but that if her conscience and faith so dictated, she might be compelled to do so. She stated that she would agree to the conditions of release “as my conscience allows.” Judge Christel refused to accept this caveat she had written in as a provision, and she refused to sign the statement without it.

Despite Lamb’s assurances that she had always appeared in Court at the appointed time and would do so on Sept. 6th, Judge Christel ordered that she be remanded into custody, noting that she had violated her probation terms. He rejected her offer to wear an ankle monitor and report regularly to a probation officer until Sept. 6th.

She is jailed until her detention hearing Monday, June 12th at 11:30 AM (at the Tacoma Federal Courthouse, Courtroom C). A judge will decide then if she can be trusted to show up for trial with the others on Sept 6.

Lamb was only a few weeks away from the end of her 1-year probationary period for the August 2016 “die-in” at Trigger Gate (in which she participated along with seven other nuclear resisters who sprinkled ashes around each other over the “Blue Line” to commemorate the mass civilian deaths at Hiroshima) when she chose to participate in the March 2017 PLC action at Bangor Gate; despite the risks, she had said her conscience wouldn’t allow her to do otherwise. Judge Christel had been the one that imposed the probation order along with the 100 hours of community service for each of the “Bangor Eight.”

Many supporters stood up to salute Lamb for facing down the system’s enforced legality of indiscriminate mass murder weaponry (and its punishment of nonviolent resisters) as she was led away from the courtroom. The judge and prosecution appeared to take note of the number of supporters who filled the back benches of the courtroom.

Hopefully Lamb will see a good show of support when she appears before the judge again on Monday morning. She was to be incarcerated at the Sea Tac detention facility and will have it rough the next four nights (at minimum).

Trial date for the PLC Six is set for September 6, 2017. Details will be posted at the gzcenter.org Upcoming Events calendar.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Sue Ablao, Mary Gleysteen and Elizabeth Murray for contributing their reports from the arraignment.

14 cited at anti-nuclear weapons demonstration

55 people were present on May 13, at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base.  14 demonstrators attempted to block the main highway entrance into the base and were cited by the Washington State Patrol.

At around 3:30 pm on Saturday, six demonstrators entered the highway carrying a large banner stating, “THE EARTH IS OUR MOTHER—TREAT HER WITH RESPECT”, and briefly blocked traffic at the Main Gate at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.  They were removed from the highway by the Washington State Patrol.

After a short period of time, eight other demonstrators entered the highway with a full-size replica of a Trident D-5 missile and were removed by the Washington State Patrol.

During the event, some demonstrators were threatened by the Washington State Patrol with arrest and a weekend in jail with an arraignment in court on Monday.  In the end, all 14 demonstrators were cited for violating RCW 46.61.250, Pedestrians on roadways, and released within an hour.

Those cited by the Washington State Patrol:  Margarita Munoz, Kim Loftness, and Paul Kikuchi of Seattle; Elizabeth Murray of Poulsbo; Ed Digilio of Shoreline; Ramon Nacanaynay of Lynnwood; Lisa Johnson and Mack Johnson of Silverdale; Chris Rogers and Tom Rogers of Keyport; Cliff Kirchmer of Fircrest; James Brecht of Tacoma; Michael Siptroth of Belfair; and Susan Crane of Redwood City, California.

Mother’s Day in the United States was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe as a day dedicated to peace.  Howe saw the effects on both sides of the Civil War and realized destruction from warfare goes beyond the killing of soldiers in battle.

The Trident submarine base at 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 SSBN submarines based at Bangor or stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) at the Bangor base.

Trident SSBN submarines at Bangor are 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. Each of the eight submarines deployed at Bangor is capable of producing a destructive force equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs.

At the demonstration on Saturday, Susan Crane, a longtime antinuclear peace activist, spoke of Daniel Berrigan and his warning–that a nuclear war will be legal; that the courts and judges will approve.  But our faith and conviction reminds us of the command: no killing, and no war.

Susan Crane stated, “We are here to act for the next generations, and we are here for active nonviolent solutions and actions.  And we are not alone.  There are many signs of resistance, signs of hope around the world.  Every nonviolent action, no matter how small, creates hope.  And together, these small instances of hope are precursors, a taste, a glimpse, of a nonviolent world.”

Ground Zero member Tom Rogers stated, “our kids deserve to grow up in a world without nuclear weapons.  It is a failure of our generation that they must live in fear of nuclear annihilation and bear the cost of a massive modernization of our nuclear weapons complex.”

The Seattle Peace Chorus Action Ensemble provided demonstrators a strong voice and music for the day.  Members of Veterans for Peace, the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order, and other peace groups in the area provided additional support for the event.

Throughout the day, Ground Zero members were mindful of the recent passing of friend and colleague Mira Leslie.  A small redwood tree was planted near the Gendai Hoto in honor of Mira.

The next planned demonstration will be the annual Ground Zero Peace Fleet demonstration on August 2, 2017 in Elliott Bay.

The next planned demonstration at Bangor will be on August 12, 2017, a Boats by Bangor event in Hood Canal.  The next planned direct action will be on August 14, 2017 at Bangor in commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

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.

See photos and raw video at https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjLnSR8uJSzyjRtJmZlhJd_M1-ki   Please download and allow time to see four videos.

GZ endorses IPPNW statement on Korea crisis

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (Ground Zero) is deeply concerned about the Korea crisis. The tense situation that continues to evolve has been likened to a “Cuban Missile Crisis in slow motion.” There is no military solution to the standoff with theDemocratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK); diplomacy is the only reasonable approach.

In addition to the immediate dangers involved, this situation points to much greater issues that must be addressed in order to prevent proliferation and reduce the risks posed to humanity by nuclear weapons.

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)has issued a statement on the Korea crisis on April 28, 2017 (see full text below). Ground Zero endorses the IPPNW statement, and calls on the US Government to not only seek a permanent, peaceful resolution to the Korea crisis, but also fully support the upcoming second round of United Nations negotiations of a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.

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IPPNW statement on Korea crisis

APRIL 28, 2017

The persistent tensions on the Korean peninsula are rapidly escalating into a crisis fueled by mutual fears, provocations, and the volatile temperaments of two unpredictable, nuclear-armed heads of state. The current US administration seems determined to “resolve” the situation through shows of force and military threats. The government of Kim Jong-un is accelerating its efforts to test and build nuclear weapons and missiles, while promising “massive” retaliation should the US follow through on those threats.

Tens of millions of people on both sides of the demilitarized zone are literally caught in the middle of an evolving conflict that could erupt into war—potentially nuclear war—with a single misstep or ill-considered decision on either side. Not only are the lives of millions of North and South Koreans at stake; an armed conflict would inevitably draw in neighboring countries—especially China, Russia, and Japan.

This is exactly how a regional nuclear war could start and escalate into a global catastrophe. The targeting of even a tiny fraction of the combined nuclear arsenals of the DPRK, US, Russia and China on cities in the Korean peninsula or elsewhere would result in a global nuclear famine putting billions of people worldwide at risk of starvation. The consequences of such a war have been described in recent years at three international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, which reaffirmed the long-held conclusion that nuclear weapons must never be used again under any circumstances, and that the only way to ensure our survival is to prohibit and eliminate the weapons themselves.

If immediate steps are not taken to defuse the current crisis and resume diplomatic approaches to the security issues on the Korean peninsula, the world may well run out of time to prevent a nuclear disaster, despite having had more than 70 years to eliminate the most urgent threat to our common survival. No other option should be on the table.

The alternative to nuclear war is a good-faith effort by the US, the DPRK, and other regional powers to replace military threats and actions with diplomatic initiatives that take the security interests of all parties into account. All nuclear weapons-related activities in the region and everywhere else in the world—including nuclear tests, missile tests and tests of missile defense systems, provocative military exercises, and verbal nuclear threats—should be halted immediately. A formal end to the Korean War, which was halted in 1953 with the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement, must be a goal of regional diplomacy

The current crisis in the Korean Peninsula is the latest example that a world divided into nuclear “haves” and “have nots” is untenable. The possession and threat of use of nuclear weapons by a handful of states promotes, rather than discourages, conflict and the spread of nuclear weapons. Proliferation is a symptom that requires a global solution.

Last March, the international community took a huge step forward toward ending the nuclear crisis when more than 130 countries, in partnership with international organizations and civil society, began negotiating a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons as a basis for their total elimination under international law. These negotiations have inspired a new sense of hope that effective leadership toward a world without nuclear weapons is possible, and that a clear path toward that goal can be defined by year’s end. Every government should support and participate constructively in those negotiations.

Source URL for IPPNW Statement on the Korea crisis: https://peaceandhealthblog.com/2017/04/28/korea-crisis/

Reaching Out in Peace to Russia

The mainstream U.S. media bristles with hostility toward Russia – fueling a New McCarthyism – but the press finds no space for grassroots American gestures of peace, writes former U.S. intelligence analyst and current Ground Zero Center Member in Residence Elizabeth Murray. A central point of this article is the importance of people to people exchanges in building peaceful relations among nations. This article was originally published in Consortiumnews.com on May 2, 2017.

By Elizabeth Murray

On a sunny afternoon in June 2016, a group of swimsuit-clad men and women raced into the warm waters of the Crimean Black Sea and swam exuberantly toward the horizon, surfacing occasionally to exchange smiles and laughs. They stroked and kicked farther out into the surf before turning around and heading back in toward the Yalta coastline. A few of the swimmers lingered in the inviting waters, conversing haltingly or gesturing to bridge the language barrier that seemed, in the end, to be overcome by sheer good will. This was the first annual Russian-American “Swim for Peace.”

Retired U.S. Deputy National Intelligence Officer Elizabeth Murray,
with a Russian Veteran, Ishuk, at a ‘Swim for Peace’ event in the Black Sea of Crimea

The event brought together members of a U.S. peace delegation sponsored by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) and Soviet-era Russian World War II veterans. Both groups had gathered around a conference table on the previous day; the Americans heard the WWII vets speak fondly of the period when Russia (the then-Soviet Union) and the U.S. were united as allies against fascism; both sides shared the conviction that a peaceful, productive relationship between both countries could and should exist again.

Before the meeting concluded, the Americans invited the Russian vets to join them in the waters of the Black Sea for a “Swim for Peace.” But when the U.S. side first proposed the idea, it wasn’t clear whether the solemn and dignified Soviet-era officers — some of whom seemed unapproachable in their stiff military uniforms complete with medals, ribbons and other war regalia — would take the invitation to heart.

Nevertheless, on the following afternoon, the war vets turned out in their swimming trunks, enthusiastically plunging into the waves with their U.S. counterparts in a demonstration of true “swimsuit diplomacy.” They were soon joined by other citizens of Yalta — including one of the town’s officials — all of whom seemed to revel in the spirit of goodwill that permeated the event.

Meanwhile, cameras rolled, and the “Swim for Peace” aired on Russian television. However, in the days following the event, there was no pickup of the event seen in U.S. or Western media.

Harsh Sanctions

Despite the existence of punitive U.S. and European Union sanctions on Crimea that have crippled the local tourism industry and harmed local businesses – for example, the Crimean resort town of Yalta normally bustles with European cruise ships in summer, but there were none to be seen last year because of U.S.-imposed travel sanctions – Yalta showed warm hospitality to the American guests: When the swimmers reached shore, they were ushered to an outdoor reception featuring platters of fresh fruit all grown locally in the Crimea including raspberries, strawberries and other delicacies — and glasses were raised to peaceful U.S.-Russia ties with wine made from locally cultivated grapes.

Russian war veteran, Medved, in his military uniform

The “Swim for Peace” at Yalta — although a small, localized event — built bridges of friendship and peace between Americans and Russians at a time of heightened tensions that were sparked by the 2014 U.S.-sponsored coup in Ukraine; shaken by the instability engendered by the violent events that transpired in Kiev, Crimeans voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to reunite with Russia (Crimea had been part of Russia until 1957, when then-Soviet Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev “gifted” the peninsula to Ukraine.)

Despite the U.S. government’s sanctions regimen that has harmed many productive Russian-American exchange programs at the cultural, social, political and diplomatic levels, ordinary Russian people have clearly and strongly expressed the desire to live in peaceful coexistence with the United States — a sentiment that was expressed to the U.S. delegation not only in the Crimea, but in other regions of Russia, as documented by CCI delegation member and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright.

In gamely joining U.S. citizens in a “Swim for Peace,” the citizens of Yalta demonstrated a level of goodwill and friendship that could be the basis for developing a strong grassroots movement for peace between Russian and U.S. citizens.

Russian war veteran, Medved, at the “Swim for Peace,” shaking hands.

It is my sincere hope that the “Swim for Peace” becomes an annual tradition between Russians and Americans — not only in Yalta, but in other Russian and U.S. seaside towns that are willing to welcome delegations of Russians and Americans who believe in the possibility of peace between our two peoples and nations. Small gestures of goodwill can yield lasting results.

On April 22, 2017, the city of Yalta unveiled a bust of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the city’s Franklin Roosevelt Street to mark the late U.S. President’s historic role in forging postwar peace at the 1945 Yalta conference. Local officials said they hoped the gesture would “help to improve relations between Russia and the United States.”

That Yalta — which suffers disproportionately from the impact of U.S. sanctions against Russia — has chosen to honor a former U.S. president at a time of stress and tension between Russia and the United States — and which engaged a visiting U.S. delegation in a “Swim for Peace” — should give U.S. citizens pause in the U.S. media’s unrelenting hostility toward Russia.

Has the monument honoring FDR at Yalta and the “Swim for Peace” been reported in U.S. mainstream media? If not, why not? Would a U.S. city ever consider making a similar reciprocal gesture to Russian citizens or a Russian leader?

If Americans could learn about goodwill gestures by Russian people who believe in the possibility of peaceful coexistence, they might be less likely to allow their government to launch a war that could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

[Photos from http://www.ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/2016/07/for-russians-with-love/]

Elizabeth Murray served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government – 20 of those years as an editor and media analyst in the Open Source Center (OSC). She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).