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.

Honoring Mother’s Day at GZ – “FOR THE KIDS”

Save the date  – Saturday, May 13th – to join us at Ground Zero Center as we honor the original intention of Mother’s Day (for Peace) beginning at 9:00 AM!

Join us as we imagine (and work for) a world without nuclear weapons for our children (and all the children of the world).

We have a full day of activities scheduled for our protest. Highlights include keynote speaker and Plowshares activist Susan Crane. Additionally, The Seattle Peace Chorus Action Ensemble will perform during our direct action at the Bangor Base gate.  The day’s schedule is as follows:

9:00 am – Arrival and light breakfast at Ground Zero Center
10:00 am – Introduction to Ground Zero and Mother’s Day action
10:15 am – Keynote speaker Susan Crane
11:30 am – Nonviolence training and letter writing to elected officials. Those willing to risk arrest at the gate meet to plan for action
12:15 pm – Potluck lunch
1:00 pm – Direct action rehearsal
1:30 pm – Opening circle and procession to Bangor base gate
2:00 pm – Direct action at gate. Performance by SPC Action Ensemble
3:30 pm – Closing circle back at GZ Center
4:00 pm – Tree planting ceremony in memory of Mira Leslie

We hope to see you at Ground Zero May 13! If you have any questions about the event please email us at info@gzcenter.org.

If you don’t get our newsletters and would like to subscribe, send your email request to gznonviolencenews@gmail.com.

April Ground Zero Newsletter, and much more…

Greetings Friends of Ground Zero Center,

As I sit here contemplating the seemingly endless cycle of global violence and the reactive, shortsighted reactions that continue this madness I find myself working hard to stay centered, and I am all the more grateful for the huge community of people who are working on many levels for a nonviolent world at peace with justice for all. We know that war is NOT the answer, and yet the rush to violent “solutions” and war has become the norm. Concepts like diplomacy become meaningless in such a context. We are continuously fed the false narratives that have evolved from our national mythologies, leading us like lemmings to follow in lockstep. The triple evils of Militarism, Racism and Economic Exploitation (that Dr. King warned us about) have helped build the false (and shaky) foundation of the American Empire that is leading not only our own nation, but the rest of the world along with it, toward the brink of disaster.

As we continue to pour all of our energy and capital into fighting the enemies of our own creation, the very real and existential dangers we face – principally global warming/climate change and nuclear war – continue to grow. Those who have the power to face these challenges are abrogating their responsibilities to their own nations, as well as to the rest of humanity. They are, as one infamous leader did in ancient Rome, “fiddling” while the fire burns. In the U.S. President Trump has called for a massive $54 billion military spending boost while gutting domestic programs, along with agencies and programs essential to creating alternatives to war.

Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda has said that “The real struggle of the 21st century will not be between civilizations, nor between religions. It will be between violence and nonviolence. It will be between barbarity and civilization in the truest sense of the word.” So we continue to rise up in speech and action, as civil society, speaking truth to power, calling on those with the power to find their conscience and their common humanity.

At Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, we continue to stay centered and focused on nonviolence and an end to the scourge of nuclear weapons. Join us (and those with whom we work), as you are able, as we continue in our work for a better world.

Ground Zero Newsletter is Ready to Read!  

Click here to read the online April 2017 Ground Zero Newsletter. Thanks to our editor and all who contributed to this quarterly publication that keeps us all connected.

Putting Trident On Trial April 12th

The “Trident Three” trial is still scheduled for 1:30 PM on Wednesday, April 12th at the Tacoma Union Station Courthouse (1717 Pacific Avenue Tacoma). We will hold a vigil in front of the courthouse beginning at 12:00 PM, and a media conference at 12:30. Please check the GZ Events Calendar for more details.

Jump-Starting Earth Day on April 21st

Every day should be Earth Day, and Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and allies are organizing a big (pre) Earth Day event on Friday April 21, 2017 in Seattle. We will gather at Westlake Park at 11:00 am where prayer, drumming, singing, and a variety of speakers from different movements will engage us. From Westlake Park we will march to the Federal Building where we will continue the rally while a delegation meets with Senators Cantwell and Murray and/or their staffs to call for their leadership in the abolition of nuclear weapons. Click here for more information and to download the flyer to share with others.

GZ Mothers Day Event Update

Please plan to join us the day before Mothers Day to celebrate the original intention of Mothers Day for Peace on Saturday, May 13th. The event planners have the full day’s schedule up at the GZ Events Calendar.

The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs in Tacoma, April 30th

There will be a special screening of the new (and not yet released) documentary “The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs” on Sunday April 30th at 4pm at the Father William Bichsel SJ Hall (aka: The Bix), St. Leo Church, 710 S. 13th St., Tacoma. Filmmaker Helen Young will be present for the screening and post-screening conversation, as will some of the activists featured in the documentary. Please join us for this sneak peek of this much anticipated film.

Nuclear Insights: Survivor Stories and Action to Prevent Nuclear War on April 11th

All are invited to a special event, Nuclear Insights: Survivor Stories and Action to Prevent Nuclear War, on April 11th at University of Washington.This event will feature: Yukiyo Kawano, a third generation hibakusha (nuclear bomb survivor) and local artist; Fumi Groves, President of the local Hiroshima Club, incarcerated at a Japanese internment camp, and whose family members died in Hiroshima; Jim Thomas, a life-long peace activist who has traveled to Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and interviews from Hiroshima survivors. Yukiyo Kawano’s life-size soft sculpture of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Little Boy, will also be on display. Sponsored by the University of Washington Global Zero Chapter, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, From Hiroshima to Hope, and Earthcare not Warfare.

Where: The University of Washington, The HUB, Room 145
When: Tuesday, April 11th, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Contact: (206) 462-9238 or lilly@wpsr.org
Food will be provided at the event.
RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/4qnfOWQcDZDAqpct2
Here’s the link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/273506446437182/

Tax Day Action in Seattle (April 18th)

Join Veterans For Peace (Seattle Chapter 92) on its annual Tax Day Action on April 18th from 11:30 to 1:30 PM at the Federal Building, 915 2nd Ave, Seattle to raise awareness of how our Government spends our tax dollars and the outrageous amount that goes to the military. This action is also part of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending, which is a world wide effort to expose the enormous amount of money the U.S. and other nations spend on their military. Click here for the event page.

Take Action on Nuclear Weapons!

As citizens, there are many ways for us to get involved in reducing, and ultimately eliminating, the threat of nuclear war. We can start by writing to our governmental officials. Click here to take action on any of the more than two dozen current action alerts from many organizations. We also invite you to make personal contact with your members of Congress and/or their staffers. Right now is the perfect time to call your members of Congress as they are coming home for the Spring recess through April 23rd. Click here to find the contact information for The White House, and your members of Congress.

Closing Thoughts…

The first round of negotiations toward a treaty banning nuclear weapons is over and, to quote Ray Acheson of Reaching Critical Will, it was “transformative… not just in terms of banning nuclear weapons, but in terms of international relations and the United Nations more broadly. More than 130 states came together in the absence of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, also known as the “P5”. Even with the opposition of the P5, those present came together in a cooperative spirit, collaborating with civil society to build the elements that can lead to a successful outcome. The President of the conference will prepare a draft text for the treaty before the resumption of negotiations at the UN starting June 15th. This is a most ambitious and important effort, and it is an example of people coming together in our common humanity to build the world envisioned in the founding of the United Nations.

Dr. King reminded us that we have a “choice… nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.” He also urged us to move to action. Above all he reminded us that those in positions of great power must have: compassion to anchor that power, morality to balance their might, and sight to guide their strength. May we continue to work together, as did those at the UN negotiations, toward the goals we seek and to speak truth to power with unified voice, and may the spirit of nonviolence and peace prevail.

For all of us at Ground Zero Center,

Leonard

US Nukes at the “Top of the Pack” (and that’s not good)

Greetings friends of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action,

Nuclear weapons have certainly figured prominently in the news lately, and almost none of it has been good news.

Insisting the U.S. has fallen behind in terms of nuclear weapons, President Trump recently told Reuters that he wants to strengthen the US nuclear arsenal to ensure it’s at “the top of the pack.” His mouthpiece, Sean Spicer, said that the US will not “yield its supremacy” in nuclear capabilities. As President-elect, Trump said that he didn’t mind an arms race because it would only benefit the US. Besides the ongoing and dangerous rhetoric, what is crystal clear is that the US is, and has been for many years (even after the end of the Cold War), working to maintain nuclear dominance and hegemony.

The most recent disclosure and damning piece of evidence for this is the recent article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (The Bulletin) that blew the lid off what the US government has euphemistically called it’s “Life Extension Program” for the W76 thermonuclear warhead deployed on the Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile.The article, “How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze,” authored by Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, and Theodore A. Postol, shows how the US military, under the guise of what it calls a “life-extension program” – allegedly intended to increase safety and reliability of nuclear warheads – has vastly increased the ability of warheads to detonate closer to their intended targets. Essentially, Trident is now three times deadlier than ever before.

The US government has been working on this program (and this “super-fuze”) for years, and now 100% of the warheads on Trident submarines are capable of destroying “hard targets.” No matter how the government tries to portray Trident as a second-strike (defensive) weapon system, the addition of the super-fuze clearly makes it capable of being used (and in an extremely effective manner from a strategic standpoint) as a first-strike weapon (as the article makes clear) against the entire Russian ICBM force.

We can only imagine (and not in a good way) what Russian leadership (both civilian and military) are thinking about this development, and what steps they are taking to counter it. Yes, it is a definite Cold War Redux, and the US is pushing it hard. And it is extremely destabilizing and dangerous!

And to add insult to injury, our government is boycotting the historic United Nations conference to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons, which began on Monday, March 27th.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told reporters on the opening day of the UN negotiations that the world’s powers were skipping these negotiations so they could instead remain committed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). HOGWASH!!! The US, along with the other nuclear powers (and their nuclear umbrella vassal states) have clearly disrespected Article VI of the NPT and have abrogated their duty to “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

Isaiah Wall, across from the United Nations, New York (photo by Leonard Eiger)

Directly across from the United Nations stands the Isaiah Wall with its prophetic message to the nations for all to see. Isaiah’s message stands in dramatic (and ironic) counterpoint to the imperial hubris laid bear by Ambassador Haley and other diplomats who spoke on behalf of the nuclear weapons states and their vassals as they boycotted the UN negotiations.

Ambassador Patricia O’Brien of Ireland stated the importance of this landmark meeting eloquently when she said that it “is a pivotal point in our international relations, a time to take stock and honor the testimony of the past, to decide what sort of present we wish to live in and what sort of legacy we wish to leave for future generations.” She noted, “We are not just writing a new and complementary treaty here, we are taking the opportunity to write a new history and in so doing to create a new, more stable, more secure and more equal future for all.”

Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, is publishing a daily report on the negotiations. Click here to learn more and subscribe. I also invite you to contact your members of Congress and ask if they support the UN ban negotiations. If they do not, please educate them and urge them to do so. Click here to learn more about the negotiations at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

Here in the home of the largest deployed concentration of nuclear weapons in the US, we continue to resist, to educate and to work for an end to the nuclear madness. Here’s a recap of what is happening in our little corner of the world.

Mira Leslie – Presente 

Our dear friend and colleague Mira Leslie died on March 10th, 2016. Mira knew she was on limited time after being diagnosed with brain cancer, and chose to continue being out in the world working to make it a better place. Just days before her death Mira participated in the Pacific Life Community gathering and the monthly Ground Zero Stewardship Council meeting, building the fire and working on the grounds, providing, as always, energy and support for the work at hand.  All are welcome to join the celebration of Mira’s life on Sat May 6, 1-4pm, at the Hillman City Collaboratory, 5623 Rainier Ave S, Seattle. Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action will also remember Mira with a tree planting at its Saturday, May 13th Mothers Day event.Click here to read an obituary and find more details on the upcoming celebration of Mira’s life.

Trident Three On Trial April 12th

The “Trident Three,” arrested by the Navy for “trespassing” during the 2016 Mother’s Day weekend vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor Trident base, will appear for trial in the US District Court, Western District of Washington, Tacoma Courthouse on Wednesday, April 12th at 1:30 PM. Navy prosecutors are pressing charges for the three defendants, Larry Kirschner, Bernie Meyer and Gilberto Perez. There will be a vigil and press conference in front of the Tacoma Courthouse just prior to trial, around noon (exact time to be announced). Check the GZ Upcoming Events Calendar beforehand for updates and times for vigil and press conference.

The Trident Three also will present a discussion about their arrest on Mother’s Day 2016 and on the implications of the current U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy at St. Leo’s Church, 710 South 13th St. Tacoma, WA 98405, in the Father William Bichsel SJ Hall, on Thursday April 6, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. Click here for more information and to read statements by these three resisters.

Save Our Planet: Celebrating Earth Day April 21st

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and allies are organizing a (pre) Earth Day Action on Friday April 21, 2017 in Seattle. We will gather at Westlake Park at 11:00 am where prayer, drumming, singing, and speakers will engage us. From Westlake Park we will march to the Federal Building where we will continue the rally while a delegation meets with Senators Cantwell and Murray and/or their staffs to call for their leadership in the abolition of nuclear weapons. Click here for more information.

GZ Celebrates Mothers Day (the day before) May 13th

Save the date  – Saturday, May 13th – to join us at Ground Zero Center as we honor the original intention of Mother’s Day (for Peace). The Seattle Peace Chorus will be performing. Planners are preparing a meaningful day. Final details will be posted soon at the GZ Upcoming Events Calendar.

Plowshares Film to be Screened in Tacoma April 30th

Documentary filmmaker Helen Young will give a special screening of her film “The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs” – note: this is the working title – on Sunday April 30th at 4pm at the Father William Bichsel SJ Hall, St. Leo Church, 710 S. 13th St., Tacoma. There will be a question and answer period following the film. Helen began this project not long after the Disarm Now Plowshares action, and through the course of filming wove other elements into it, significantly the Transform Now Plowshares. Considering current nuclear weapons issues and developments, this film could not be more timely and important.

Command and Control is Back on April 7th

If you haven’t yet seen Eric Schlossers gripping documentary on nuclear weapons, Command and Control is being shown by the Meaningful Movies in Wallingford on Friday, April 7th at 7:00PM at 5019 Keystone Place N (at Keystone Congregational Church) Seattle. Special guests Mary Hanson (of Ground Zero Center) and Lillly Adams (Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility) will be there for a discussion after the film. Click here for all the details.

Free Range Films presents “13th” on April 7th

Free Range Films is showing the award winning documentary, “13th” by Ava DuVernay on Friday, April 7 at 7:30pm at the Suquamish Church of Christ located at 18732 Division Ave. in Suquamish. This film documents how the U.S. criminal justice system has been driven by racism from the days of slavery to today’s era of mass incarceration. “13th” has garnered acclaim from film critics and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2017. Ava DuVernay’s previous work included the 2014 hit film, “Selma” which was nominated for Best Picture. Click here for more information.

Important Resource on Nuclear Weapons

Glen Anderson, of the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation, has put together another extremely useful compilation of information on nuclear weapons and how we can effectively organize for their abolition. We invite you to check it out at OlympiaFOR.

People have, for some time now, been citing the figure of $1 Trillion to “modernize” the US nuclear weapons program over the next thirty years. Judging by what we are hearing from the Trump administration, along with what the Pentagon and its corporate partners are pushing for, the total will far surpass that figure. For the past 70-plus years the US nuclear weapons program has been like the creature from “Little Shop of Horrors”, continually screaming “Feed Me!” And going forward, unless we are able to starve this monster, it will continue to devour everything in its path, until the day these horrific devices of humanity’s demise  are finally used in the final orgy of destruction and death.

As the authors of a recent article in Counterpunch put it: “The [newest round of] money for all of these [nuclear weapons] programs is just beginning to flow into hundreds of congressional districts.  As the torrent of money builds up over the next decade, the flood of sub-contracting money and jobs in hundreds of congressional districts guarantees the entire nuclear spend-up will acquire a political life of its own — and the taxpayer will be burdened with yet another unstoppable behemoth.”

As for the UN negotiations, their time has come. Even without the nuclear powers coming to the table, these important talks have the potential to impact the current lack of progress on disarmament. They can do no harm to an ineffective Non-Proliferation Treaty. If enough countries ratify a nuclear weapons ban, it will create political and moral pressure on the holdouts. Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that “it will reinforce the stigma against their [nuclear weapons] use, support commitments to nuclear risk reduction and be a disincentive for proliferation.”

Whatever the outcome of this first round of negotiations, a second round has already been scheduled. It is up to us as responsible citizens and members of civil society to bring pressure to bear on our governments (that are not already on board) to fully support the negotiations and work toward a global ban on nuclear weapons. Anything less is a death sentence for future generations. Keep the pressure on your members of Congress or parliamentarians!

May we continue to work together, in the words of Ambassador Patricia O’Brien of Ireland, “to write a new history and in so doing to create a new, more stable, more secure and more equal future for all.”

With Thanks and In Peace,

The Resistance Team at Ground Zero Center

RESISTERS TO BE ARRAIGNED SEPTEMBER 7TH

The three resisters who were arrested and charged with trespassing by the Navy during during last May’s Mother’s Day vigil will soon have their day in court. They have been notified to appear for arraignment – trial will be at a later date – at the US District Court in Tacoma, Washington. Although the Navy is not seeking jail time – the statute specifies 6 months imprisonment, a $500 fine, or both – this could change as it is likely the defendants will challenge the charge. Click here to read more about the Mother’s Day action. 
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***Please note that there is a possibility (based on some previous cases) that the government could drop the charges at the midnight hour. If you plan to join us in court on the 7th, please be sure to check our Facebook page or this calendar event listing the night before or morning of arraignment for any updates.