August Resisters Have Their Day In Court

by Mack Johnson

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL MITIGATION HEARING AFTER ANTINUCLEAR ACTION BY GROUND ZERO ACTIVISTS

On November 7, 2017, Kitsap District Court was the setting for the latest in a series of mitigation hearings by members of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.

Seven activists had entered the roadway during a vigil against nuclear war and promoting the end of the trident nuclear weapons system: Charley Smith of Eugene, OR; Sarah Hobbs of Portland, OR; Phil Davis of Bremerton, WA; Benjamin Moore of Bainbridge Island, WA; Susan Delaney of Bothell, WA; Ryan DeWitt of Olympia, WA; and Mack Johnson of Silverdale, WA. The last four people chose a mitigation hearing to explain the circumstances and reasoning behind their action.

(l to r) Benjamin Moore, Mack Johnson, Susan Delaney, and Ryan DeWitt

Judge Kevin Kelly presided; he had observed previous mitigation hearings and listened attentively. Defendants gave powerful prepared statements attesting to their acts of conscience. Susan presented evidence of dozens of military nuclear-weapons accidents during the Cold War; Ben spoke of Thoreau’s call to resist unjust laws; Ryan highlighted the contrast between the few nuclear states’ drive to maintain nuclear stockpiles and the desire of the overwhelming majority of nations and billions of individuals for a world free of nuclear weapons. Mack followed with evidence that nuclear weapons violate several treaties the USA has signed (and enforces selectively around the world!) and a few facts about the immense power of these bombs that should make their use unthinkable. Judge Kelly acknowledged the mitigants’ commitment and sincerity, found that they had committed the
infraction, and lowered the fines of all four from $68.00 to $25.00, the lowest amount he could legally assign. There have now been several years of mitigation hearings by GZ activists, with all resulting in reduced fines and one outright dismissal of charges in October 2016.

It was a very positive and moving experience for the participants, their supporters, and even the courtroom staff. The court clerk stated afterwards that she had been clerk during GZ’s first white-train trial in 1985, and that she had been moved to tears then when she read that jury’s verdict (not guilty).

Ground Zero members expect to continue their efforts to inform the public about nuclear weapons through direct action and mitigation in the future.

Click here to read about and see photos of the August nonviolent direct action that was the subject of these mitigation hearings.

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Ground Zero Annual Meeting

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action will hold our Annual Meeting on Saturday, November 4th. This is the time we reflect on the past year and make plans for the next year. It is also an opportunity for anyone to get involved in our work, and there is plenty of good work to be done in the coming year.

All are welcome! Join us for a potluck at noon, followed by the meeting.

Please consider what you can contribute in time and creative spirit.

There are four main events for 2018 (which need help in planning and implementing):

  • MLK Day (January)
  • Earth Day (April)
  • Mothers Day (May)
  • Hiroshima/Nagasaki (August)

There are also many areas needing creative energy throughout the year, including:

  • Leafleting
  • Media
  • Communications and Outreach
  • Legal issues and Research
  • Maintaining House and Grounds
  • Website and Facebook
  • Writing for Newsletter and Website
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WWFOR Workshop on Climate Crisis and Nuclear Weapons

“Will We Survive the Climate Crisis and Nuclear Weapons?”

Sat. Nov. 4Western Washington FOR Fall Retreat in Lacey

WWFOR invites everyone to our ANNUAL FALL RETREAT. On Saturday November 4 we will focus on two extremely serious issues that threaten humanity’s survival:  the climate crisis and nuclear weapons.

Enjoy actual face-to-face time with our friends and fellow activists from around the region! Please pre-register now for this great, practical event: “Will We Survive the Climate Crisis and Nuclear Weapons?”

9 am to 5 pm, at Main Lodge, Gwinwood Conference Center, in Lacey, near Olympia. Light refreshments and social time start at 9:00 am. We’ll begin in earnest at 10:00 am sharp and continue until 5:00 pm. Please bring your our own brownbag lunch. Suggested donation $15.

Our morning panel will share in-sights and affirm the urgency of taking strong, strategically smart actions now.  Our afternoon workshops will pro-vide opportunities to connect and explore various ways to meaningfully work on solutions.

Click here for the event flyer with information about 2017’s theme, pre-registering, finding the location, etc. 

For information contact Glen Anderson, (360) 491-9093, glenanderson@integra.net

Thanks to planning committee members Bourtai Hargrove, Marilyn Dungan, Larry Kerschner and Glen Anderson.

Information about 2017’s Fall Retreat Theme

We have created a way of life over the past few hundred years that spews car-bon dioxide, methane and other chemicals into the atmosphere and the waters of the planet.

We have created nuclear weapons and nuclear power with unsolved issues be-ginning with the extraction of uranium from the earth leaving radioactive waste, to the development, production, and increasingly likely use of nuclear weapons.

In considering the truth about the dire inter-relationship between these human created problems, we must not fall into the trap of despair.

However, we must recognize the urgency and the need to act with bold and immediate remedies.

Neither issue will be solved easily but the first step is to gather together to be informed, to discuss possible options and to make plans to create a better future for our children and our children’s children.

You already know the basic information about the climate crisis and nuclear weapons, so instead of repeating that, WWFOR’s 2017 Fall Retreat will dig deeper.

Our morning panel will share in-sights and affirm the urgency of taking strong, strategically smart actions now.  Our afternoon workshops will provide opportunities to connect and explore various ways to meaningfully work on solutions.

Click here for the PDF flyer with everything you need to know about the event and how to register.

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Command and Control at Meaningful Movies Gig Harbor

Join Meaningful Movies Gig Harbor for a screening of Command and Control! This film chronicles the long-hidden story of a deadly accident at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas in 1980. Based on the critically-acclaimed book by Eric Schlosser, the chilling new documentary exposes the terrifying truth about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal and shows what can happen when the weapons built to protect us threaten to destroy us.

Hosted by Meaningful Movies Gig Harbor

Location: Agnus Dei Lutheran Church, 10511 Peacock Hill Ave NW Gig Harbor,WA

Click here for Meaningful Movies Gig Harbor website, where you can watch the trailer for Command and Control.

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Nobel Peace Prize awarded to nuclear weapons abolitionists

Editor’s Note: This is the press release sent out by Ground Zero Center in response to Friday’s announcement of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize recognizes the central role of civil society in abolishing nuclear weapons.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). ICAN is comprised of hundreds of partner organizations in 100 countries, of which, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington is one.

Leonard Eiger, Ground Zero Communications Coordinator, said:

“At a time when the potential for nuclear war is as high as it was during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, this award recognizes the huge and critical role of the global movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), parliamentarians and citizens has never been more important.”

Civil society has played a central role over many years in drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and most recently in the negotiations at the United Nations (UN) that brought about the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

122 nations voted to approve the Treaty, and so far over 50 nations have signed on. None of the nuclear-armed nations support the Treaty, and they continue to rely on nuclear weapons as instruments of foreign policy.

The current inflammatory rhetoric on both sides of the US-North Korean conflict, coupled with President Trump’s efforts to undermine the Iran nuclear weapons deal, are in direct conflict with efforts for peaceful conflict resolution among nations.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons represents the best of what the global community is capable through the UN, and it provides a clear path to abolishing the greatest threat to humanity.

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action applauds the decision of the Nobel Committee to support the efforts of those who work within a framework of mutual cooperation and consensus to negotiate mutual security assurances among nations.

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