Gala fundraising party for the Golden Rule peace boat!

After a successful voyage to Canada, the Golden Rule peace boat will return to Seattle on Wednesday, Sept. 14, for her final encore performance before sailing to California and beyond.

On Wednesday during the day there will be an opportunity for friends and supporters to go out sailing on Lake Union, from the public dock on the southwest corner of Lake Union. To reserve a spot, call Helen Jaccard at 206-992-6364.

The Golden Rule and kayaks with OHIO Class (Trident) submarine visible in background at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Delta Pier on August 9th

The Golden Rule and kayaks with OHIO Class (Trident) submarine visible in background at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Delta Pier on August 9th

Then at 5 pm on Wednesday evening we will hold a gala farewell party at the nearby Center for Wooden Boats (1010 Valley Street, Seattle). This is a benefit to recoup some of the many expenses of keeping a boat in the water. There will be a $25 charge at the door.

We will be entertained by members of the Seattle Labor Chorus, along with singer/songwriter Mike Stern, who wrote the Ballad of the Golden Rule. Food and drink will also be provided.

The soiree will end at 8:00PM.

So please do join us next Wednesday if you can. Bring your friends and neighbors too. They will learn about the Golden Rule’s history as the boat that inspired Greenpeace when she tried to stop atmospheric nuclear testing in 1958. We will show a slide show of her recent adventures too.

A grand time will be had by all, and we will put a little wind in Goldie’s sails.

Click here to view or download the event flyer.

If you can’t come to the party, you can still support the mission by sending a check to VFP Golden Rule Project, PO Box 87, Samoa, CA, 95564 or through the web site, vfpgoldenruleproject.org.

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Abolish Nuclear Weapons? Follow the Golden Rule

By Leonard Eiger

On July 16, 1945 the United States government detonated the first atomic device in the test named Trinity. Less than one month after the Trinity test, the United States dropped two atomic bombs – on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – that killed over 100,000 people in less time than it took to type a few of these words. As many as 220,000 were dead from the effects of radiation by the end of 1945. Even today, 64 years later, survivors and subsequent generations suffer the effects of radiation.

On August 24, 1949, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test at the Semipalatinsk test site in modern-day Kazakhstan. So too, in the land around Semipalatinsk, have generations of people been horribly affected by radiation exposure resulting from some 450 nuclear tests conducted there.review smartphone android

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Semipalatinsk Test Site

So began a long journey (and nuclear arms race) that has led humanity down the perilous road of preparation for its own destruction. Scientists have continued to seek the power of gods, creating ever more destructive nuclear devices over the years, and military planners have continued asking for more of these awful weapons in every shape and form (and method of delivery).

The nuclear-armed nations have conducted a total of 2054 nuclear tests at dozens of test sites around the world, most of them located on lands occupied by indigenous peoples (in what has been called “nuclear colonialism”). Many tests were conducted above ground, resulting in radioactive fallout contaminating surrounding areas and affecting the people living there. Many underground tests also vented radioactive material into the air.

Yet even as governments pushed forward with their nuclear weapons programs, people pushed back against nuclear weapons and nuclear testing, even in the early days of the Cold War.

In 1958 a crew of anti nuclear weapons activists set sail on a boat named the Golden Rule; their destination was the U.S nuclear test zone in the Marshall Islands; their goal was to stop the government’s atmospheric nuclear testing. Although the Golden Rule‘s crew was arrested, tried and jailed, its example of nonviolent direct action inspired many who followed, and helped pave the way for the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

In Kazakhstan a mass civil society movement that began in 1989, led by poet Olzhas Suleimenov and current President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, ultimately led to the closure and decommissioning of the Semipalatinsk test site. President Nazarbayev signed the decree closing Semipalatinsk on August 29, 1991.

The Golden Rule sails again, this time as an emissary of Veterans for Peace, sailing for an end to war and nuclear weapons. I was on board the Golden Rule on August 9, 2016, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, when she led a peace flotilla sailing past Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on Washington State’s Hood Canal. Bangor is the West Coast home port of eight of the the U.S. Navy’s fourteen OHIO Class (Trident) ballistic missile submarines. A collaboration with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, the flotilla’s purpose was a water-based nonviolent protest and witness for peace and an end to the threat of nuclear war.

Located just 20 miles west of Seattle, Bangor represents the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. 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 Bangor.

The Golden Rule on August 9th, with a Trident submarine visible at the Delta Pier.

The Golden Rule on August 9th, with a Trident submarine visible at the Delta Pier (beyond the yellow buoy).

As we sailed past the base and the Trident submarine (with some missile hatches open) being serviced at the pier, I thought about the Navy’s ongoing testing of the Trident missiles. Although the tests do not involve nuclear detonations, they do involve launching missiles (loaded with dummy warheads) from submerged submarines to a test site in the Marshall Islands. This is essentially a test to ensure that the missiles will function as intended in a nuclear war.

I also found myself thinking ahead to August 29th, which is not only the historic day on which the Semipalatinsk test site was closed, but also the United Nations International Day Against Nuclear Tests. It was under Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s initiative that the UN proclaimed the annual August 29th commemoration.

Kazakhstan is preparing to host a major international commemoration and conference in Astana on August 29th, co-organised by Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. The conference will gather leading parliamentarians, prominent politicians, diplomats and disarmament experts, as well as religious leaders and civil society representatives from around the world to discuss further steps needed to make meaningful advances towards global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.

The conference is being held at a time when the nuclear-armed nations are rapidly modernizing their arsenals, while North Korea continues to pursue its own arsenal. The U.S. alone 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 increase the probability of nuclear war.

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.”

President Nursultan Nazarbayev at a memorial to the victims of nuclear testing in the town of Semey, formerly Semipalatinsk.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev at a memorial to the victims of nuclear testing in the town of Semey, formerly Semipalatinsk.

As for Kazakhstan, President Nazarbayev long ago moved beyond rhetoric and showed real courage, not only when he closed Semipalatinsk, but also when he returned all of the nuclear weapons Kazakhstan inherited subsequent to its independence to Russia; Kazakhstan was, at that time, the fourth largest nuclear state in the world.

President Nazarbayev continues to demonstrate both courage and vision on the eve of this historic conference that will take place in a nation whose people have suffered greatly from the nuclear madness that has threatened the world since that first test in 1945.

The Astana conference, Building a Nuclear Weapon-Free World, is expected to call for new actions, such as a UN Security Council resolution prohibiting all nuclear tests, the establishment of nuclear weapons free zones in North East Asia and the Middle East, agreement by nuclear-armed States to no first use, and the commencement of United Nations-led negotiations in 2017 to prohibit nuclear weapons globally.

As we prepare for this historic conference, an exerpt from the preface to Epicenter Of Peace, written by President Nazarbayev, seems appropriate: “As a weapon it cannot be easily directed and aimed as the target is yourself, the life and culture of modern humanity. You cannot look into the human dimension of the military atom because there is nothing there but pure evil. Nuclear weaponry cannot be trusted because in the name of freedom it offers not friendship but slavery. What benefit can be gained from the nuclear trust? When will humanity truly move beyond the last stages of the Cold War and regain faith in itself?”

Perhaps when we learn to follow the Golden Rule.

 

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Boats By Bangor

On Nagasaki Day, Tuesday, Aug. 9, the historic sailboat the Golden rule will sail near the Bangor Trident Submarine Base on Hood Canal, accompanied by a “peace flotilla” of boats and kayaks.  This will be the culmination of Ground Zero Center’s Hiroshima/Nagasaki weekend of remembrance and action.

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Golden Rule Pacific Northwest tour organizers say that this event will certainly be a major highlight 4-1/2 month voyage to 30-some ports in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

For more information and details on how you can participate with your own seaworthy vessel, please email info@gzcenter.org.

Here is the tentative schedule for this event:

TUESDAY, AUG. 9 (exact times dependent on tides)
9:00 Breakfast
10:00 Carpool to King Spit
10:30 AM -3:30 PM BOATS BY BANGOR
3:30 Barbecue on beach
5:30 Return to Ground Zero, depart

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The Golden Rule at Ground Zero: A Meditation Interrupted

Essay by Gerry Condon*

I am sitting in the middle of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action on the Hood Canal near Poulsbo, Washington. It is a large and beautiful piece of property, partly forested. There is a beautiful, ample house, with a sprawling lawn and garden space, protected by tall pine and cedar trees. At the far end of the lawn is a large stone marker engraved with a Buddhist prayer for peace. As I scan this idyllic scene, small bunny rabbits come into focus on the lawn. Enjoying this space all by myself for a few hours restores a sense of inner peace.IMG_2052-min

But any utopian fantasies are interrupted regularly by the sound of high powered rifles from the nearby rifle range. While breaking my peaceful spell, the rifle shots also remind me where I am. It is one thing that some people are spending time practicing their killing skills at the rifle range. On the other side of the fence, however, is a much more disturbing reality – the largest concentration of nuclear weapons in the United States.

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action is located, by design, right next to the Bangor Trident Submarine Base, one of only two such bases operated by the U.S. Navy (the other is at Kings Bay, Georgia). Nearby is Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC), where missiles are stored and maintained.

One Trident ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) 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 about 1,400 Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs. 8 of the Navy’s 14 Trident submarines are based here.

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At the far end of this peaceful lawn with the grazing bunnies and the Buddhist prayer memorial, I can see a cyclone fence topped with barbed wire. On the other side of that fence is enough nuclear firepower to destroy all life on earth. That thought is just too much for me to comprehend. The booming rifle shots have jolted me back to the real world.

Don’t get me wrong. This peaceful space called “Ground Zero” is also the real world. It is all about taking responsibility for the future of our world. It is about breaking through denial, bearing moral witness, educating the community about alternatives to violence, and putting our lives on the line. Ground Zero activists are regularly arrested at the gates of the Bangor base. They are dedicated to nonviolent resistance to nuclear weapons and war.

This is also the mission of the historic Golden Rule peace boat, now a national project of Veterans For Peace. We are sailing for a nuclear-free world, and a peaceful, sustainable future. The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action is one of main sponsors of the Golden Rule’s 4-1/2 month voyage throughout the Pacific Northwest. We are making stops at over 30 ports in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. We are networking with peace and climate justice activists, while educating the public about the continuing threat of nuclear war.

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 Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

On Tuesday, August 9, Nagasaki Day, the Golden Rule and Ground Zero will lead a “peace flotilla,” to sail on Hood Canal near the perimeter of the Bangor Trident Submarine Base. We will point out to the world that these weapons of truly mass destruction are here, and that they are holding the entire world hostage to nuclear terror. This obscene cache of nuclear weapons poses an existential threat to all life on earth. It is therefore immoral and must be resisted by all people of conscience. As Veterans For Peace says in its mission statement, war itself must be abolished.

I am again gazing at this beautiful green space of contemplation and resistance. Why is it that such idyllic spots are so often occupied by those who are preparing for war? What will it take to put an end to militarism once and for all? Activists working together, as are Veterans For Peace and the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action. When many peoples and many struggles come together as one, we will begin to achieve real peace and real justice.

Until then, we can do unto others as we would have them to unto us. Follow the Golden Rule.Watch The Channel (2016) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

*Gerry Condon is Vice President, Board of Directors of Veterans for Peace; and has been promoting the continuing voyages and mission of the Golden Rule.

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Welcome the Golden Rule to Poulsbo!

Tuesday June 28, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00pm

Kitsap Regional Library, Poulsbo Branch, 700 NE Lincoln Rd, Poulsbo, WA 98370

In 1958 a crew of Quaker peace activists attempted to sail the Golden Rule to the Marshall Islands to interfere with US nuclear bomb testing.  This bold nonviolent direct action inspired a worldwide movement leading to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

After five years of restoration by Veterans For Peace and many friends, the Golden Rule is once again sailing for a nuclear-free world and a peaceful, sustainable future!

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Come hear the story of the Golden Rule, how she was rescued from a watery grave in Humboldt Bay in Northern California and lovingly restored by Veterans For Peace, Quakers and others, her voyage to San Diego in 2015 and her voyage around the Pacific Northwest this year.

Hank and Claire, folksingers in the Pete Seeger tradition will provide music, and Retired Navy Captain (and former nuclear submarine commander) Tom Rogers will  introduce the program on behalf of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.

Click here to view or download a printable poster/flier for the event.

NOTE: The Golden Rule will arrive at the Port of Poulsbo Marina on June 27th, and will be available to tour and take people sailing on both June 27th and 28th.

Event sponsored by: Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

For more information, call  206-499-1220 or 206-992-6364

The Golden Rule will be visiting much of the Pacific Northwest throughout the Summer. Click here to learn more about The Golden Rule project. The Golden Rule is also on Facebook.

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