GZ 40th Birthday Party and Reunion

The 40th anniversary of the founding of Ground Zero is a good time for activists from all eras and each of GZ’s decades to get together to share experiences, review aspirations for GZ, reflect on accomplishments, and have some fun.

Everyone is invited! We expect folks from the Pacific Life Communities, Live Without Trident, Armistice, Agape, peace walkers, fence climbers, tracks vigilers, USS Ohio blockaders, Wednesday overnighters,pagoda builders, leafleters, potluckers, plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers, Bangor workers and fellow travelers. It’s a chance to reflect on what drew us to GZ, to catch up with friends, and to create an oral history.


Bring photos, archives and artifacts. We will make time to visit the fence or gate. We all run into friends from time to time who have GZ connections, but don’t get the newsletter and haven’t been back in years. Please share this invitation with all your Ground Zero associates far and wide. Contact your affinity group, dig out your GZ tee shirts and buttons and plan to show up! The potluck starts at noon, but come early to explore the grounds and stay for dinner and music. Campers are welcome at GZ.

SCHEDULE
12:00 potluck lunch
1:00 panels:
1:00 to 2:30 Conceptualizing BGZ & Founding with first five years
2:45 to 4:15 Coming of the Ohio and Trains
4:30 to 6:00 Limbo: Reimaging, Reinvigorating, Restart; New Buiding to Present; and What Does This All Mean?
6:00 Potluck
7:00 Song

Click here to view, download and print the event flyer.

If you are coming from a distance and need a place to stay contact Mona Lee(mona_lee@centurylink.net)

For transportation from the Edmonds/Kingston ferry contact Mary Gleysteen (marygleysteen@gmail.com) by July 23.

If you have ideas for panel discussions or other activities, please contact Sallie Shawl (awestruckbigtime@gmail.com) and be sure to put GZ reunion in the subject field.

See you July 30th!

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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

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Ground Zero featured on Speak Up, Speak Out!

Ginny Wolff, of Speak Up, Speak Out! on KSVR – FM, interviewed Ground Zero’s Leonard Eiger last week about the work of Ground Zero Center for Non-Violent Action since 1977 to protest the Trident submarines based at the Bangor Naval Base in Silverdale, Washington. They discussed the history of Ground Zero, the bigger picture of U.S. foreign policy regarding the use of nuclear weapons, ongoing international tension, and the agreement between Congress and the Obama administration to spend a trillion dollars over 30 years to rebuild the entire U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Click here to listen to this Speak Up, Speak Out! interview.

The interview ends with a simple message listeners can deliver to President Obama. After listening, you can click here to send your message to President Obama. You can find additional important action alerts by clicking here.

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Thanks to KSVR and Speak Up, Speak Out! for covering important issues you won’t hear in the mainstream/corporate media.

 

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Resisters’ “Charges dismissed in the interest of justice”

In an extraordinary decision yesterday, Friday, September 30, 2016 a Kitsap County Court Judge dismissed charges against two nuclear resisters.

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson appeared before Judge Marilyn Paja in Kitsap County District Court on charges of being in the roadway illegally stemming from their nonviolent direct action on August 8th during a vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson blocking the roadway on August 8th

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson blocking the roadway on August 8th

During the vigil, Ablao and Johnson carried a banner onto the roadway, blocking traffic entering the base. The banner was identical to the bus ad currently running on Seattle Metro Transit buses that reads, “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.” The banner included a map with a line drawn from Bangor to Seattle.

Both were subsequently removed from the roadway by Washington State Patrol officers and issued citations for being in the roadway illegally before being released.

Both Ablao and Johnson appeared in court to mitigate their charges.

At the courthouse; Sue Ablao (l) and Mack Johsnon (r).

At the courthouse on September 30th.

In her statement to the court, Ablao said (in part):

Our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren deserve better. They deserve a life. They deserve a nuclear free world. And that is why I stepped in the road to say, never again, no business as usual, at this base.

Ablao also quoted from a recent Op-Ed in the Seattle Times by David Hall and Leonard Eiger of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action:

The use of nuclear weapons is illegal under international law and humanitarian law – unusable because there is no way to limit escalation, are exorbitantly expensive, and are a massive diversion of human talent and resources away from resources, diplomacy, foreign assistance, innovation and public health.

After listening to each defendant’s testimony, Judge Paja dismissed the infractions for both Ablao and Johnson “in the interest of justice.”  She also thanked them both for their service and action.

And we also thank our fellow resisters for their service and (nonviolent direct) action. Through our continuing and concerted actions may we hasten the day when there will be a totally different, peaceful and sustainable “business” at what is now the Bangor Trident ballistic submarine base.

Click here to read Sue Ablao’s full statement to the court.

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Next president has a nuclear option: Scrap the program

Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece was originally published in the Seattle Times online edition on September 27, 2016, and in the print edition on September 28, 2016.

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The USS Ohio sailing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Trident nuclear submarine has been converted to a guided missile submarine. It was first launched in 1979, and was the original nuclear submarine in the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed at what is now Naval Base Kitsap. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

The USS Ohio sailing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Trident nuclear submarine has been converted to a guided missile submarine. It was first launched in 1979, and was the original nuclear submarine in the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed at what is now Naval Base Kitsap. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

HAVE you seen the Seattle bus ads? They read: “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.”

In light of recent media attention on who should have their finger on the nuclear button, this statement seems to beg the question: With so many nuclear weapons, what would happen should the president order their use?

“Mutual-assured destruction” is still central to U.S. nuclear deterrence policy. U.S. and Russian nuclear-armed missiles remain on hair-trigger alert 24/7,threatening to end civilization.

One hydrogen bomb deployed from Naval Base Kitsap on Hood Canal could wipe out a large city like Seattle and make the land uninhabitable for centuries. Look up the presentation “One city, one bomb” to understand the devastating potential of modern nuclear weapons.

The United States is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons against another, and we have led the nuclear arms race from its beginning in 1945. Now Congress and the Obama administration have adopted a trillion-dollar plan to rebuild the entire nuclear-weapons complex,including replacement of the Trident submarine fleet on Hood Canal, over the next 30 years. Trident submarines are considered the deadliest weapon ever built.

When our leaders warn that “all options are on the table,” they are threatening to use nuclear weapons. This has happened dozens of times since WW II, including during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Once the current international prohibition against using nuclear weapons is breached, the door is open for every nuclear-capable nation to use nuclear weapons. Climate scientists have modeled a “small” nuclear war between India and Pakistan assuming 50 Hiroshima-sized bombs from each side targeting cities. Smoke and soot would be lofted by superheated air into the upper atmosphere, lowering temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere enough to reduce agricultural production for a decade. That’s how 2 billion food-insecure people in South Asia and China could starve to death.

This is our policy: to threaten these consequences. But decision-makers are not calculating the scale of devastation built into a single nuclear warhead, much less the thousands they plan to maintain throughout this century. Because the U.S. is building up its nuclear capability, other nuclear nations are building up theirs.

Think the Cuban missile crisis to understand Russian fears of the proximity of U.S. nuclear weapons. The Cuban missile crisis, often described as the closest humankind has come to incinerating itself, was caused by nuclear weapons in proximity to U.S. shores. And the recent coup in Turkey could have put 50nuclear warheads in potentially unstable hands.

Washington state sits at the center of U.S. nuclear policy for our deployed nuclear weapons at Naval Base Kitsapand for the largest Superfund site in our hemisphere at the Hanford nuclear reservation. Plutonium production for U.S. nuclear weapons left millions of gallons of highly corrosive and radiologically lethal sludge that we may never be able to safely dispose.

We are looking for leaders who understand that nuclear weapons are immoral and must never be used. Nuclear weapons threaten genocide on a scale that decision-makers refuse to talk about. The use of nuclear weapons are illegal under the laws of war and humanitarian law — unusable because there is no secure way to limit escalation, exorbitantly expensive and are a massive diversion of human talent and resources away from diplomacy, foreign assistance, innovation and public health.

U.S. priorities in the world are clearly written into our national budget.For the sake of future generations, we ask, “What will be the priorities of the next administration?

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