Vigiling at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor

Vigil at naval base gateResponding to Comments from
People in Cars, Newspaper Articles and the Curious

Susan Crane

A couple of times a week  we’ve been standing in front of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, holding signs, as people come and go at shift-change time.  We’ve been joined by local activists as well as Malcolm, a member of Veterans for Peace.

Some coming off the base wave to us or return peace signs while others yell at us to “go home,” and some give a thumbs down or half a peace sign, which I figure is better than none.  Some from the base have stopped to talk with us.  “We need our firearms.”  “Where would we be without war?” “We don’t want to be taken over by Nazis, or communists, or El Qaida.”    “These nuclear weapons keep us safe”  Some have simply asked us why we are there.

And then there have been the responses to articles in the newpapers–most recently there have been 90 responses, most quite hostile, to an article that my son, Chet Collins, wrote for the Ukiah Daily Journal.

Continue reading

Why Should I Care About Nuclear Weapons?

Haven’t we all asked ourselves “Why Should I Care About Nuclear Weapons?”  Join us as we talk about the effects of these weapons on our economy, our environment, our health, our security and on the human family. Continue reading

Nuclear Weapons? Plowshares Actions? Do They Matter?

Nuclear Weapons? Plowshares Actions? Do They Matter?

ChrissChrissy Nesbitt speaks about nuclear weapons.y Nesbitt graduated from Princeton University and is now teaching at Sisters Academy in Baltimore, MD.

Four years ago, while I was a member of Notre Dame AmeriCorps in Baltimore, I heard two Plowshares activists speak about their action for nuclear disarmament.

Here were two women who had cut through a fence, poured blood on nuclear missile silos, hammered on them, and prayed for their abolition.  Their action sounded foolhardy to me; rash; imprudent; even–thinking of the blood–scary and perhaps not completely nonviolent. Continue reading

Anticipating Court, Jail and a Loving Community

by Lynne Greenwald

As I prepare to enter a “not guilty” plea on January 6, 2010 for charges from the November 2, 2009 Disarm Now Plowshares, I remain strongly committed to the need to disarm the Trident subs, and all nuclear weapons. I also stand ready to face the court in an attempt to declare the illegality and immorality of these weapons. And I stand here today as a mother, daughter and sister fully aware of a variety of needs, hopes and dreams that I may not be available to share with my family.

My daughter, Alissa, is pregnant and she and her husband, Brad, are happily expecting their first baby this coming June. My other daughter, Christy, lives in San Francisco, searching for meaningful work and a good life. Noah is about to take off on a quest to understand who he is and how to live peacefully. I’m fortunate to have wonderful adult children who continue to support their mother’s actions.

My parents and sister, Karen, live in Erie, Pennsylvania – my birthplace and 3000 miles away. I traveled West to “find myself” and to live and work for peace in a nonviolent community in 1980.  I have a small family and my parents are in their 80’s now. My sister just found out she has cancer. Testing continues to determine a better diagnosis and necessary treatment. She has lived with my parents for several years and has no other family.

These words are being shared now as I face the experiences of life and death for loved ones, and as I anticipate probable jail time.  What were abstract thoughts for the past year have become reality today. Of course the court could deliver a not guilty verdict and recognize that this action of entering the storage area (SWFPAC) for the highest concentration of nuclear weapons in the U.S., was a necessary step in exposing the Trident threats to destroy lives, and all life.

I will be in court January 6 and face the consequences along with my 4 partners in upholding peace, truth and love – Bix, Susan, Anne and Steve. I will ache and cry for my family in whatever joy and suffering they encounter. I pray for a healthy future for all children, for cures for cancer and all that brings about pain and suffering, for nuclear disarmament and the end of war.

And because we are a community seeking a better world, I am asking for your gifts of prayer and thoughts, for my family and all those who are victims of horrible wars throughout this world, and for military men and women who lose their lives or are severely injured and traumatized. My life, as a “peace activist” is no different than these others, except I chose to cut through the fences at the Trident Base in Kitsap County to expose a hidden truth. I chose to celebrate life by entering the base with my hammer, pruning shears and sunflower seeds to begin disarmament.

Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity (or Coming to Our “Right Mind”)

Dear Friends,

At the recent Festival of Hope Steve Kelly gave a wonderful travelogue in which he lightheartedly addressed the audience as members of the jury, and proceeded to describe the events that unfolded in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009 as the Disarm Now Plowshares five made their journey into the heart of darkness.  As Steve held up Exhibit A, a hand-drawn map of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, and pointed to the various points of interest along their journey, I was reminded of Thomas Merton’s A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolf Eichmann.

Merton wrote of how Eichmann, who was directly responsible for the extermination of at least 3 million Jews during World War II and was later tried for his crimes against humanity, was determined to be sane by the psychiatrist who examined him.  Yes, Eichmann was, as any of his performance reviews would have shown, a model employee who, as Merton describes, went about his administrative duties most conscientiously.  Of course, those duties just happened to be “the supervision of mass murder.”  As Merton describes him, Continue reading

Missioning Letter for Fr. Bill Bichsel

Fr, Bix in front of the Federal CourthouseMissioning Letter

October 23, 2009

William J. Bichsel S.J.
Bellarmine Jesuit Community
2300 S. Washington St.
Tacoma WA 98405

Dear Bix,

A provincial writes a lot of letters missioning Jesuits to do the work of God. This is one of the hardest I’ve written, but also one that seems clearly blessed and confirmed by God.

I have told you that I see your role in our province as a prophet – called by God to proclaim a message of peace. Prophets are never appreciated by everyone. Their message is often painful and difficult to hear. Certainly that has been your experience. You have suffered scorn, indignities, and even prison for the message you have proclaimed. Now you find what God is calling you toward may result in more of the same.

We had thought that perhaps your days of protest were over, and that you might be able to live the remainder of your life with some rest from civil disobedience. But in Nagasaki you once again heard God calling you into action. I know you have listened hard to that call, praying and discerning for over a year to make sure it truly was from God. Now there is no doubt.

And so I mission you to hear and respond to what is in that deepest part of your heart. On November 2nd, the Feast of All Souls, you will return to the Trident Submarine Base at Bangor, Washington, to take part in what will happen there. Go with my blessing and my prayers, Bill. And know that you carry with you the prayers and blessing of the Oregon Province.

I will also pray that your life as a prophet and a witness to peace will be an inspiration to younger Jesuits who may be hearing God’s still distant, disturbing call to prophecy against the violence and war.

May God bless your desires, and give you the courage, the strength and the abundant grace to fulfill them.

Patrick J. Lee S.J.

January 6 courtdate for Disarm Now Plowshares arraignment

Security at Nuclear Bunkers Breached, but no mention of nuclear weapons in charging documents.

“On 02Nov09, at approximately 0630 hours, the following individuals were detained at gunpoint by US Marine Security Forces in the Main Limited Area (MLA), Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC), aboard Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor, WA. Continue reading

Lynne Greenwald Still on the Street after Detention Hearing

December 9, 2009   In Federal District Court, in Tacoma Washington,  Lynne Greenwald was in front of Judge Creatura for a Detention Hearing arising from crossing the blue line and walking onto the base during an Hiroshima/Nagasaki demonstration.

The US Attorney was not requesting that Lynne be detained, but wanted a condition of her release to be that she not go back to Naval Base Bangor.  Additionally, the US Attorney, Barbara Sievers, said that Lynne did not have to sign the agreement, and that the question of compliance could be taken up at a different time.

US Attorney Sievers said that Lynne is not a flight risk, but that the security of the Naval Base believe that she is a threat.  Talking about the November 2, 2009 action, US Attorney Sievers said that Lynne penetrated security, despite roving patrols and dogs.   To further pursue this topic, Sievers put on an Navy Criminal Investigation Services  witness, Craig Stewart Spenser.

Spenser said that since Lynne had a Ban and Bar letter, she was not authorized to be on the base. But on November 2, she was found inside a secure area on the base.  It’s a secret level of security, where no one is allowed access without a need to be there.  Personnel are authorized to shoot on site, Spenser testified, to secure and defend the “assets” that are there. Nuclear weapons were never mentioned or acknowledged  by US Attorney Sievers of Craig Spenser.

Lynne stated that she has learned to stand up for what is right, and that she has taken a vow of nonviolence, and has gone onto the base to call attention to the illegal status of the nuclear weapons that are stored there.

Festival of Hope – A Time to Reflect

Below is a brief slideshow of the recent Festival of Hope held at St. Leo’s in Tacoma, where the public was invited to meet with and hear from Journey of Repentance and Disarm Now Plowshares members, and share ideas and reflections, as well as gain a better understanding of the nuclear weapons right here in our back yard (Puget Sound).

$680 billion military budget

$680 billion military budget an affront to God, the poor

Nov. 12, 2009

By Art Laffin

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President Obama signed into law Oct. 28 the $680 billion 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, the largest military spending bill of its kind. The bill includes $130 billion in funding for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and only modifies the military commissions system at Guantánamo Bay, rather than abolish it. Continue reading

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