Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and Pax Christi Northwest join to promote Humanitarian Disarmament and to honor Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen

On September 15, about 40 people attended the much-anticipated presentation by Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, a long-time human rights and humanitarian disarmament activist, author, and friend and colleague of Ground Zero members. The event was sponsored by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and Pax Christi Northwest and was one of over 2,650 events around the world as part of the 2018 Campaign Nonviolence National Week of Actions (September 15-23).

Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan recounted the history and development of the Humanitarian Disarmament movement, beginning with his work on the International Campaign to Ban Landmines in 1994. Yeshua had just returned the previous week from an inter-governmental meeting in Geneva debating international regulations on ban fully autonomous weapons–killer robots. Other Humanitarian Disarmament campaigns include the Cluster Munition Coalition, the International Network on Explosive Weapons, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

The Humanitarian Disarmament movement works for the prohibition of weapons by focusing on their impact on human beings and societies, rather than the traditional state security framework. This includes nuclear weapons, as well as cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines, depleted uranium, and the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas. Humanitarian Disarmament groups are also working to stop new weapons technology, such fully autonomous weapons currently under development, the so-called “killer robots”.

The Humanitarian Disarmament movement carries out a large proportion of its work within international coalitions, such as the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) of which Ground Zero and Washington PSR are members. Efforts for disarmament may target an entire chain of conflict: from the development of new weapons, the investments by financial institutions in the production of such weapons, through the arms trade, and the use of these weapons in conflicts. Yeshua suggested that one approach in the Puget Sound region would be to urge others to withdraw monetary support from industries, banks, and other financial institutions that earn income from the nuclear weapons industry.

Core elements of Humanitarian Disarmament include three main concepts: (1) to develop a body of law; (2) a norm or guideline in which civilians and the environment on which they depend will not be harmed; and (3) a movement.

The body of law is made up of treaties and protocols brought about by civil society which have humanitarian characteristics, are people centered, with remediation elements and monitoring and advocacy by civil society.

These conventions help to create a norm that is ‘policed’ by civil society through data gathered during monitoring and “naming and shaming”.

A necessary element of Humanitarian Disarmament is to develop a movement, with large numbers of individuals and civil society organizations. In the United States, although our military is resistant to agree to humanitarian restrictions, public pressure can help enforce a new norm that makes it more difficult for the military to use certain weapons. One example is the inhibition of the U.S. to use antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions due to pressures from outside the U.S. The norm must be constantly reinforced. Ground Zero members know that the public must be constantly reminded of the harm and risk from the development and possible use of nuclear weapons.

Yeshua’s presentation was much appreciated by those attending. Many of the concepts have been an integral part of our work. Yeshua has given us a much clearer understanding of strategy and new directions for our work for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

After the presentations, participants marched from Saint Patrick Church to Saint James Cathedral for a prayer and reflection on Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen and his contribution to nuclear disarmament.

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Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Never Again!

GZ Nonviolence E-News

August 9, 2018

Dear Friends of a nuclear weapons-free world,Today, August 9th, marks the 73rd anniversary of the day the United States dropped an an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki, Japan. This was the second bomb used by the US, against a primarily civilian population, before the Japanese government could fully grasp what had happened at Hiroshima just three days before.

History books in the US tell us that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary to end the war, and few ever question this narrative. Yet the truth is far from the accepted American mythology. The high priests of Los Alamos had worked long and hard, spending a massive $2 billion (in 1940 dollars), and produced three bombs for their military masters. There was no way anyone would stop the momentum of such a sacred project.

The scientists were doing what scientists do, and most were anxious to conduct the ultimate experiment on a real city. The military was gung-ho to drop the bomb. As Gary Kohls tells it, “The US military and political leadership – as did many ordinary Americans – had a tremendous appetite for revenge because of the Pearl Harbor “surprise” attack. Mercy wasn’t in the mindset of the US military, the war-weary populace or even of average American Christians and their churches.”

Seventy three years later, the work to make people aware of the truth continues. Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was one of countless groups around the world that faithfully remembered the anniversary of the atomic bombings this year. It was part of our effort to tell the stories and make people aware of the truth about nuclear weapons and the very real threat they pose to humanity.

PEACE FLEET

We held the fourteenth annual Peace Fleet, a water-based nonviolent protest against the glorification of weapons of war at the Seattle Seafair festival. Activists in sailboats, motor boats and kayaks met the US Navy fleet in Elliott Bay, while other activists held a simultaneous nonviolent protest at Pier 66 overlooking Elliott Bay.

We were there for the unrepresented and forgotten victims of these weapons of war and to call attention to the crimes of our nation, and 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, paid for by our tax dollars.

This was the eighteenth year for the Peace Fleet, which began on August 2, 2000 when the Trident submarine, USS Alabama, arrived in downtown Seattle for Seafair, complete with up to 192 nuclear warheads.

INTERFAITH PEACE WALK

Monks from the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple on Bainbridge Island led their annual interfaith peace walk, beginning in Eugene, Oregon, and arriving at Ground Zero Center for the weekend of remembrance of the atomic bombings. The theme of this year’s walk was “No More War – A World Without Nuclear Weapons.” Participants stopped in cities along the way, listening, and sharing the voices of the victims of warfare. This was the fourteenth year of the August Peace Walk.

WEEKEND OF REMEMBRANCE

After welcoming the Interfaith Peace Walk, vessels from the Peace Fleet and other vessels, including kayaks, sailed past the Bangor Trident submarine base on Hood Canal in the annual Boats by Bangor nonviolent demonstration.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern gave a presentation titled “Miracle and Myth: We Have Not Yet Blown Up Our Planet = Miracle.  Our Luck Will Hold Indefinitely = Myth”. McGovern explained that, “It is a myth that attacking Japanese cities with atomic bombs was needed to end WWII (though that’s what we were told). Six of the United States’ seven five-star officers who received their final star in World War II — Generals MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Arnold and Admirals Leahy, King, and Nimitz — rejected the idea that nuclear bombs were needed to end the war. Sadly, though, there is little evidence that they pressed their case with then-President Truman before the fact. So why did Truman do it? How much had to do with the fact that he and Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes were incorrigible bigots? Does white supremacy still play a role today?” Click here to watch the video of Ray’s talk (with thanks to Ed Mays of Pirate TV Seattle).

Bill Moyer, co-founder of the Backbone Campaign, presentation, gave a presentation titled “Love Wins – Grand Strategy in a Battle of Paradigms,” weaving principles from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and Col. John Boyd’s “Grand Strategy Briefings” into lessons learned from 14 years of artful activism. Moyer explored the protection of things that are beyond price, against forces that seek to commodify everything and everyone. He brought in key concepts from Backbone’s Theory of Change with case studies that lay the foundation for growing a robust, vibrant, and sustainable social change that transcends “mere resistance to the profanities of corporatism, to deliver victories for our communities and future generations.”

In addition to speakers, nonviolence training, and action preparations, we are grateful for the musical entertainment provided by The Irthlingz Duo. Sharon Abreu and Michael Hurwicz bring a deep social conscience and creative talents to their music. In 2017, they released “Songs to Save the Salish Sea” to raise awareness about the local communities’ efforts to prevent coal, oil and gas projects in the Salish Sea. Also in 2017, they provided music for the BlueGreen Alliance “Clean and Fair Economy Summit” in Olympia, Washington, and the “War and the Environment” conference in Washington, D.C.

Activists held an overnight vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate beginning on the evening of August 5th and continuing into the morning of August 6th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Approximately sixty activists showed up for the morning vigil, and twelve participated in a nonviolent direct action in which participants blockaded the base at the peak of the morning shift change by carrying a banner onto the roadway of the main entrance gate. The banner read, “Trident is the Auschwitz of Puget Sound – Archbishop Hunthausen.” The activists stopped traffic entering the base for ten minutes before being removed from the roadway by Washington State Patrol Officers, cited for being in the roadway illegally, and released on the scene. Click here to read the news release on the gate action.

Raymond Hunthausen, retired archbishop of Seattle, died on July 22nd at age 96. Frank Fromherz, author of the the soon to be released book, “A Disarming Spirit: The Life of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen,” said of Hunthausen:

It was in the early 1980s that Archbishop Hunthausen denounced the Trident nuclear submarine fleet harbored in his archdiocese, famously calling it ‘the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.’ His opposition inspired Catholics worldwide, but gained him powerful opponents in the U.S. government during the era of President Reagan’s military buildup. Catholic peace activist Jim Douglass, a native of British Columbia, introduced Archbishop Hunthausen to the practice of contemplative nonviolent direct action.”

Douglass once described his longtime friend as ‘a holy prophet of nonviolence in the nuclear age.’ In what would become a truly historic address on June 12, 1981 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Hunthausen spoke these prophetic words: ‘Our security as people of faith lies not in demonic weapons, which threaten all life on earth. Our security is in a loving, caring God. We must dismantle our weapons of terror and place our reliance on God.’”

As journalist Terry Messman describes it, “In the immediate aftermath of the archbishop’s uncompromising call to resistance, many Catholic bishops, Protestant ministers and Jewish rabbis were moved to speak out against nuclear weapons. And the peace movement found new hope. At last, someone with the power to make his voice heard had the courage to call the Trident nuclear submarine what it truly was: an oceangoing Holocaust, an underwater death camp loaded with weapons of mass incineration that could ignite a firestorm and slaughter millions. Most importantly, Hunthausen didn’t merely call for a lukewarm set of reforms. He called for immediate nuclear disarmament and massive civil disobedience because of his conviction that nuclear weapons are criminal and immoral.”

Messman also described how, “Ground Zero’s adherence to nonviolence and its sincere and friendly attempts to communicate with base workers influenced many naval base employees to resign for reasons of conscience. This led to the highly visible resignation of the chaplain of the Trident base, Father Dave Becker, who decided he could no longer attempt to be ‘the chaplain of the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.'”

The US government has been calling for the complete denuclearization of North Korea, while it continues to modernize and upgrade its own nuclear weapons and delivery systems, among them the Trident system. The Navy continues moving forward with development of 12 new Trident (aka: Columbia Class) ballistic missile submarines. It has declared, along with some other nuclear weapon states, that it will never sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), also known as the Ban Treaty.

The continuing preparation and threat of use of nuclear weapons is not only in contravention of international law, it is immoral and an affront to every religious tradition. As Father Richard McSorley once said, “The taproot of violence in our society today is our intent to use nuclear weapons. Once we have agreed to that, all other evil is minor in comparison. until we squarely face the question of our consent to use nuclear weapons, any hope of large scale improvement in public morality is doomed to failure.”

And so we will continue to resist and bear witness against nuclear weapons until the day that not a single one is left ready to incinerate masses of our fellow human beings.

We say Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Never Again!

On behalf of Ground Zero Center,

Leonard Eiger

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Activists honor Catholic archbishop, who was a prophetic voice for peace, on anniversary of atomic bombing

Editor’s Note: This is today’s news release on the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

August 6, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Leonard Eiger, (425) 445-2190, outreach@gzcenter.org

Silverdale, Washington: 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.

Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action held a vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate beginning on the evening of August 5th and continuing into the morning of August 6th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Approximately sixty activists were present at the morning vigil, and twelve participated in a nonviolent direct action in which participants blockaded the base at the peak of the morning shift change by carrying a banner onto the roadway of the main entrance gate.

The banner read, “Trident is the Auschwitz of Puget Sound – Archbishop Hunthausen.”

The activists stopped traffic entering the base for ten minutes before being removed from the roadway by Washington State Patrol Officers, cited for being in the roadway illegally, and released on the scene.

The twelve activists cited are Phil Davis, Bremerton, WA; Susan Delaney, Bothell, WA; Lisa Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Mack Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Ann Kittredge, Quilcene, WA; James Knight, Altadena, CA; Brenda McMillan, Port Townsend, WA; Elizabeth Murray, Poulsbo, WA; George Rodkey, Tacoma, WA; Ryan Scott Rosenboom, Bothell, WA; Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA; and Jade Takushi.

Raymond Hunthausen, retired archbishop of Seattle, died on July 22nd at age 96. Frank Fromherz, author of the the soon to be released book, “A Disarming Spirit: The Life of Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen,” said of Hunthausen:

“It was in the early 1980s that Archbishop Hunthausen denounced the Trident nuclear submarine fleet harbored in his archdiocese, famously calling it ‘the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.’ His opposition inspired Catholics worldwide, but gained him powerful opponents in the U.S. government during the era of President Reagan’s military buildup. Catholic peace activist Jim Douglass, a native of British Columbia, introduced Archbishop Hunthausen to the practice of contemplative nonviolent direct action.”

“Douglass once described his longtime friend as ‘a holy prophet of nonviolence in the nuclear age.’ In what would become a truly historic address on June 12, 1981 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Hunthausen spoke these prophetic words: ‘Our security as people of faith lies not in demonic weapons, which threaten all life on earth. Our security is in a loving, caring God. We must dismantle our weapons of terror and place our reliance on God.’”

Eight of the US Navy’s fourteen Trident ballistic missile submarines are based at the Bangor Trident base, which is just 20 miles west of Seattle. It is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US. The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force (the bomb dropped on Hirosima was between 13 and 18 kilotons). The Trident bases at Bangor and Kings Bay, Georgia, when combined, represent just over half of all warheads deployed by the United States.

While the US has been calling for the complete denuclearization of North Korea, it continues to modernize and upgrade its nuclear weapons and delivery systems, among them the Trident system. It has declared, along with some other nuclear weapon states, that it will never sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), also known as the Ban Treaty.

Monday morning’s action was the culmination of a weekend commemorating the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. Activities included keynote presentations by former CIA officer and peace activist Ray McGovern, and Backbone Campaign executive director Bill Moyer. Activists at Ground Zero Center also welcomed participants of the Interfaith Peace Walk and held a waterborne protest, “Boats by Bangor,” on Hood Canal by the Bangor base waterfront where Trident submarines are prepared for their patrols.

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 offer 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.

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Nuclear Resisters sing their way to court!

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Tom Rogers and Mary Gleysteen for reporting on yesterday’s court hearings. Their commentaries are woven together for this report. Thanks, also, to the resisters who engaged in the Mothers Day weekend nonviolent direct action last May, as well as those who were able to show up to support them at yesterday’s hearings. Click here to read the news release from the Mothers Day action.

Ten nuclear resisters, who blocked the entrance to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the United States, appeared in court to plead their cases for peace and nuclear abolition.

The resisters were in court on July 26, 2018 as a result of their nonviolent direct action last Mothers Day weekend when they symbolically closed Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, the West coast home port for the U.S. Navy’s Trident ballistic missile submarines, by blocking the entrance gate to the base.

The ten activists and about the same number of supporters met at Givens Park, a few blocks from the Kitsap County District Courthouse in Port Orchard, for a picnic lunch and pretrial socializing and song. Then they marched and sang their way to the courthouse where they sang on the courthouse steps, and handed out leaflets. The music definitely lightened the mood at the courthouse.

(l to r) mitigators Michael Siptroth, Doug Millholland, Mack Johnson (supporter) and Tom Rogers. photos by Mary Gleysteen

The resisters chose to appear in court to mitigate their charges; in other words, to speak to their actions and put them on the public record, and to have their fines reduced or eliminated.

The mitigation hearings were in Judge Jeffrey Jahns’ courtroom at Kitsap District Court. Judge Jahns started off by explaining that he had been a prosecuting attorney in the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office for 14 years prior to being appointed to the bench in 2009. He was involved in trials of Ground Zero members during that time and offered any of the mitigants a continuance with a different judge if this was an issue. No one took him up on the offer.

Each of the mitigants was given ample time to deliver testimony about why they had blocked the road at the Bangor Submarine Base last Mothers Day. All were beautiful heartfelt and compelling statements. Larry Kerschner’s testimony summarized International law regarding nuclear weapons in a very well researched statement. Margarita Munoz sang her testimony. The judge was very attentive and respectful of each mitigant, commenting on many of the statements. Fines ranged from zero to ten dollars depending on the number of previous offenses. Even Larry Kerschner, who might still face Federal charges stemming from his arrest at Bangor last August, had his fine cancelled.

The Judge closed the hearings by thanking all of the mitigants for their commitment. He said that ethically he couldn’t tell us to “keep up the good work, but well, you know”.

Some of the mitigant’s written statements follow, and are unedited. Should we receive any other written statements, we will add them to this post.

Statement of Larry Kerschner

Larry Kerschner (8Z0555181): Statement to the Court concerning the Mother’s Day action of blocking the roadway into the Bangor Submarine Base on on May 12, 2018:

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. Nuclear weapons also go far beyond the threat of war to the threat of the destruction of all of humanity.

I, as an individual, can really do little to make the changes that are needed in our country. However, as the survival of my children and my grandchildren and the rest of the human race is at stake, I have no other option except to raise my voice in any way I can. If that requires me to commit acts of civil resistance so be it. I accept that there will be consequences of my actions. I, however, believe that these actions are also required of me by international and domestic law.

US citizens, under decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal, which Article VI of the US Constitution, makes the Supreme Law of the United States, have a legal duty and obligation to prevent the commission of and to remove themselves from any participation in or collusion with the illegal nuclear policies of the United States, to avoid criminal responsibility under international law. General common law defense allows individuals, who are aware of the fact that crimes are ongoing, to undertake reasonable actions to stop that crime and to bring it to the criminal activity to the attention of the proper authorities.

Every American citizen has the right and the duty to insist upon a lawful foreign policy. A resolution concerning the relationship between citizens and the State was introduced by the United States in the UN General Assembly and unanimously approved. In post-Nuremberg settings, a government that flagrantly violates international law is engaged in criminal activity, and as far as related law is concerned, its policies are not entitled to respect or compliance by the citizens.

In People v. Jarka, No.002170 in the Circuit Court of Lake County, Waukegan, Illinois, Judge Alphonse F. Witt instructed the jury that the threat of use of or the use of nuclear weapons violates international law. He said “The use of or threat of use of nuclear weapons is a war crime or an attempted war crime because such use would violate international law by causing unnecessary suffering, failing to distinguish between combatants and noncombatants and poisoning its targets by radiation”.

US domestic law has expressly incorporated international law by means of article VI of the US Constitution with respect to treaties, as well as by the decision of the US Supreme Court in Paquete v. Habana, 175 US 677 (1900) with respect to customary international law. Since customary international law is a part of both federal and state common law, federal or state criminal statutes must be construed in a manner that would be consistent with the requirements of international law.

Article 6(a) of the 1945 Charter of the International Military Tribunal established to prosecute and punish Nazi war criminals defined the term “crime against peace” to mean “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing”.

Every President of the United States has taken an oath required by article 2, section 1, clause 7 of the US Constitution to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” which expressly includes international treaties and agreements by virtue of article 6. Similarly article 2, section 3 of the US Constitution requires the President to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”.

The US Government has a 30-year program to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal and production facilities. The plan is to build a new generation of US nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities to last the nation well into the second half of the 21st century. This plan, which has received almost no attention by the mass media, includes redesigned nuclear warheads, as well as new nuclear bombers, submarines, land-based missiles, weapons labs and production plants at a cost of over $1 trillion. This plan also includes developing “tactical” nuclear weapons which will be much more likely to be used because they are “small”. This plan is clear evidence of a continuing criminal conspiracy at the highest levels of the US Government.

Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter prohibits both the threat of and the use of force except in cases of legitimate self-defense under article 51. It is clear that the actual use of nuclear weapons would grossly violate the international laws of humanitarian armed conflict under any conceivable circumstances. How can the US threaten the use of nuclear weapons without violating international law? The Nuremberg Principles absolutely proscribe crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. How can the US Government lawfully establish a threat to commit such heinous offenses?

A citizen has the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances being committed by the President and the Executive branch of the federal government. In this case, these grievances consist of the latter’s ongoing violation of the basic rules of international law, US domestic law (both civil and criminal) and the President’s recognized obligations under the terms of the US Constitution. These crimes against international law would include but not be limited to crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. Under the Separation of Power Doctrine, this Court must compel the President and other members of the Executive Branch to cease and desist from the continuing criminal activity related to US nuclear weapons policies.

This not a civil disobedience case but a case of civil resistance. In civil resistance cases, individuals are attempting to prevent the ongoing commission of crimes under well-recognized principles of international and domestic law. To resist reasonably a violation of international law is a matter of legal right, possibly even legal duty if knowledge and capacity for action exists.

I respectfully ask the Court to dismiss the charges against us on the grounds that they are preempted by the international laws and treaties cited herein which are the Supreme Law of the United States under the Supremacy Clause and to publicly define the current nuclear weapons policies of the US Government as an ongoing conspiracy to violate international law and the United States Constitution.

Statement (in the form of a song) by Margarita Muñoz

It’s Dependent on You and Me
Submitted by Margarita Muñoz

Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…or right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

For the sake of our destiny
For the health of our Earth and sea
Never doubt that a few
Can foresee what to do
It’s dependent on you and me.

For the sake of humanity
Since we know freedom isn’t free
Let us uphold what is just
Rise and do what we must
It’s dependent on you and me.

I practice my right…my right to assemble
When I witness the threat of our nuclear deal
My duty, my focus, my charge for concern
To upend the lethal grip that we wield.

Let’s promote a new legacy
Where the Earth’s treated ethically
We must limit the bombs
Learn to settle our qualms
It’s dependent on you and me.

For the sake of our progeny
And our claim to democracy
Be aware of the ploy
These bombs are meant to destroy
They represent a hypocrisy.

I practice my right…my right to assemble
When I witness the threat of our nuclear plan
My duty, my focus, my charge for concern
To upend the legal gap of this land.

Never doubt that a few
Can foresee what to do
It’s dependent on you and me 

Statement of Ramon Nacanaynay

July 26, 2018

To the Court, the Law Officers and other civil servants involved in our nonviolent action, Thank You for your service;

It all began after I spent four years in the Air Force from 1986-90, used my G.I. Bill to become a nursing assistant then an Early Learning Teacher. In 2007 a visiting priest at the All Saints Catholic Church in Puyallup announced an anti-war march and rally in Tacoma. The following week he had to apologize for making that announcement because someone in the congregation felt “unwelcome”. “What?”, I thought to myself. Upon hearing that I was determined to attend the event. The squandering of our resources is illogical, illegal and immoral.

Now I am a member of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolence which sponsors nonviolent action protests on nuclear weapons at the Kitsap-Bangor Submarine Base yearly. One on the Hiroshima-Nagasaki (Bombing) Anniversary Day in August, one on Martin Luther King Jr. Day week and one on Mothers’ Day week.

I am a member of Pax Christi USA, a 501 c-3, nonprofit, Catholic organization. It is the Catholic Peace movement which teaches that nonviolent action has a price, one that I am willing to pay.

I am a member of Veterans For Peace, a 501 c-3, nonprofit veterans organization. It educates the public on the costs of war. It is international and has representation in the U.N. Veterans, including my brother, who is also a veteran, claims the name of the organization implies veterans and veteran organizations are “for” war. The truth is far from that, ALL veterans are for peace. I have a brother who is retired Air Force, a brother Naval Reserve, my father is retired Navy and I served four years in the 1722 CCS in Mc Chord AFB. Since then, I’ve been a Nursing Assistant, Early Head Start teacher and a Pre-K teacher. So I have seen the squandering of our resources. It is illogical, illegal and immoral. When I see a young person being recruited into the military I feel sorry for their immaturity. When I see an active duty military service person I get “flashbacks”. When I see a veteran who is disabled or a veteran working towards an end to violent and oppressive solutions I think, “There but for the Grace of God, goes I.”

If what we are doing now is a waste of our precious resources, then what is an appropriate form of protest? I’ve written to legislators, collected signatures for petitions, rallied, marched, spoke to a high school, . . . What is the next step? I have yet to try a hunger strike if for some reason I cannot maintain the “cushy” lifestyle I am accustomed to. If I get sick, or hurt in an accident, I may have no choice but to seek lodgings and health care in our “lavish” prison or “detainment” systems. If I become declared “illegal” or falsely accused of something I may have to “occupy” a tiny house or a public office. Again, the squandering of our precious resources is illogical, illegal and immoral. Nevertheless, I still have Faith in our system, in you, your Honor. And in my Faith I will preach where ever I am led even if it is behind bars.

Peace and Nonviolence,

Ramon Nacanaynay

Statement of Tom Rogers

Kitsap District Court

Port Orchard, WA

July 26, 2018

Good afternoon your honor. I’m here today because I blocked access to the Bangor Submarine Base in an effort to raise public awareness to the issue of nuclear weapons.

I spent 32 years of my life serving our country as a naval officer. I commanded an attack submarine for 3 years during the Cold War. I’ve been directly responsible for nuclear weapons. I understand the destructive power released in a nuclear detonation. I have some understanding of the unimaginable humanitarian consequences of a nuclear attack. To have this understanding and fail to do anything about it is to be complicit. So this is the work that I do now. For the past 15 years I’ve worked with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action to abolish nuclear weapons.

My biggest fear today is that our children will die in a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia. There is an argument that the deterrent effect of nuclear weapons has protected us from nuclear attack for nearly 70 years. That may be true. I suppose deterrence got us through the Cold War. But deterrence assumes that nuclear attack is rational and deliberate.

Imagine a cyber attack initiated by a third party that creates the illusion of an incoming nuclear attack against the United States. Our nuclear weapons command and control is based on “launch under attack”. If a ballistic missile attack is detected and confirmed, there is incredible pressure to counterattack before our ICBM’s are destroyed in their launch tubes. The Russians have the same dilemma. I believe our president, who has the sole authority to order the launch of nuclear weapons, would do so. And if we actually launch, then the Russians must launch. It’s that simple.

The source of the cyber attack is irrelevant. If the nuclear weapons states can be induced to attack one another then our civilization is done for. The danger of having these horrible weapons of mass destruction is that they will inevitably be used.

But there is a solution. If there aren’t any nuclear weapons in the world, then an accidental nuclear war can’t happen.

My work your honor, is to help raise awareness of what could happen if we continue to base our national security strategy on nuclear annihilation. It’s up to ordinary citizens to find the moral courage to elect leaders who are willing to rid the world of these weapons.

Thank you for your attention.

Very respectfully,

Thomas F. Rogers

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Metro Bus Ad to inform citizens of Puget Sound about Nuclear Weapons stockpiled in their Back Yard

On July 9, and continuing for four weeks, up to 39 Metro downtown buses will display the following paid advertisement: Puget Sound: Home to one-third of deployed U.S. nuclear weapons… Accept Responsibility. Included in the advertisement is a map showing the proximity of Seattle to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, home port for 8 of the Navy’s 14 Trident nuclear-powered submarines, and a U.S. Navy photo of the Trident submarine, USS Nebraska, taken on June 2, 2017 near Elliott Bay.

Also beginning on July 9, three larger versions of the ad (Ultra Super King, shown below) will appear on three Metro downtown buses for four weeks. Both ads will run an additional four bonus weeks depending upon the amount of available space on the buses.

The statement in the ad refers to the percentage of the total number of deployed U.S. strategic nuclear warheads that are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines based at Bangor.

On February 5, 2018, the date the New START Treaty entered into effect, the U.S. reported approximately 1,345 deployed strategic nuclear weapons on ballistic missiles (400 on ICBMs and 945 on SLBMs.)

The US Navy operates a fleet of 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, of which eight operate in the Pacific from their base at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, and six operate in the Atlantic from their base at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, in Georgia. This distribution accounts for approximately 540 deployed strategic warheads on six operational submarines at Bangor.

Hans M. Kristensen is the expert source for the statement, “Puget Sound: Home to one-third of deployed U.S. nuclear weapons.” (See cited source material here and here.) Mr. Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists where he provides the public with analysis and background information about the status of nuclear forces and the role of nuclear weapons.

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.

photo by Intersection (intersection.com)

Civic responsibility and nuclear weapons

Our proximity to the largest number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons puts us near a dangerous local and international threat. When citizens become aware of their role in the prospect of nuclear war, or the risk of a nuclear accident, the issue is no longer an abstraction. Our proximity to Bangor demands a deeper response.

Citizens in a democracy also have responsibilities–which includes choosing our leaders and staying informed about what our government is doing. The submarine base at Bangor is 20 miles from downtown Seattle, yet only a small percentage of citizens in our region know that Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor exists.

Citizens of Washington State consistently elect governmental officials who support nuclear weapons in Washington State. In the 1970s, Senator Henry Jackson convinced the Pentagon to locate the Trident submarine base on the Hood Canal, while Senator Warren Magnuson obtained funding for roads and other impacts caused by the Trident base. The only Trident submarine to be named after a person (and our Washington State Senator) is the USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN-730), homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

In 2012, Washington State established the Washington Military Alliance (WMA), strongly promoted by both Governor’s Gregoire and Inslee. The WMA, Department of Defense, and other governmental agencies work to strengthen the role of Washington State as a “…Power Projection Platform (Strategic Ports, Rail, Roads, and Airports) [with] the complementary air, land, and sea units with which to accomplish the mission.” Also see “power projection.”

Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and the Trident submarine system has evolved since the first Trident submarine arrived in August 1982. The base has upgraded to a much larger D-5 missile with a larger W88 (455 kiloton) warhead, with ongoing modernization of missile guidance and control systems. The Navy is currently planning to implement a smaller W76-2 “low-yield” or tactical nuclear weapon (approximately 6.5 kilotons) on ballistic submarine missiles at Bangor, dangerously creating a lower threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.

The issues

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

* The U.S. currently plans to spend an estimated $1.7 trillion 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 bus ad

The 39 bus ads (the actual number will depend upon the amount of available space on the buses) begin on July 9 and measure 30 inches tall by 144 inches in length and are posted on the sides of Metro buses in downtown Seattle. The three “Ultra Super King” ads, that also begin on July 9, wrap from wheel to wheel on the side of the bus and from top to bottom of the bus. Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action purchased four weeks of both bus ads. King County Metro will run the ads for an additional four bonus weeks as space is available. The smaller ads are expected to run for at least eight weeks or longer.

The photo of the submarine in the ad is from a U.S. Navy DVIDS website, at https://www.dvidshub.net/image/3446233/uss-nebraska-ssbn-739-departs-psns-imf-sea-trials. The caption for the photo states:

170602-N-TA321-501 PUGET SOUND, Wash. (June 02, 2017) The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) passes by Seattle during sea trials after completing an extended major maintenance period, to include an engineered refueling overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. (U.S. Navy photo by Culinary Specialist Seaman Joseph W. Weiser/Released)

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.”

One Trident SSBN submarine at Bangor is estimated to carry about 90 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 1,000 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.” 

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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-related events (check our Events calendar for more information):

* The annual Interfaith Peace Walk led by Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple takes place from July 25 to August 6. See http://nipponzan.org/wordpress

* Ground Zero Peace Fleet! in Elliott Bay on July 31.

* From Hiroshima to Hope event at Green Lake on August 6 commemorating the victims of the Hiroshima bombing 71 years ago. See http://fromhiroshimatohope.org

* Boats by Bangor on August 4, a flotilla of kayaks and 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 4 through 6 at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action with a vigil and nonviolent civil resistance at entrance to Bangor.

 

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