Is Anyone Paying Attention?

a reflection by Sr. Anne Montgomery, RSCJ

Is anyone paying attention?

A few realities this holiday season of shopping, feasting, football, but also of the jobless, homeless, hungry of the world; of melting glaciers, disappearing species, drought and flood.

20 miles west of Seattle,  between the Olympic Mountains and the waters of Puget Sound, lies Naval Submarine Base Kitsap Bangor.  At its heart, beneath rows of concrete bunkers, Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) houses more than 1,000 nuclear warheads, approximately 24% of the entire U.S. arsenal, more than the total of England, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea combined. Continue reading

Advent: a time for disarmed hearts and disarmed weapons!

A reflection by Susan Crane

I went to church this morning at St. Leo parish here in Tacoma Washington.  Today is the first Sunday in  Advent, the time when Christians prepare for the peace of the nonviolent Jesus to come into their hearts and into the world.

The first reading for today is from the prophet Isaiah who has a vision of people getting their instruction from God and hammering their swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks, and not training for war any more. Is 2:1-5

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I read this passage from Isaiah is that God wants to instruct us and lead us in the light. So I ask myself, “Where am I getting my instruction?” From the culture or from God? The culture tells us to be good consumers, to buy more and more. The culture tells us that we need to be afraid of others, and that the solution to our fear is to have more weapons. The culture tells us that the truth is dangerous, that the truth needs to be hidden. We don’t want to look at the truth: the reality of the wars our country is engaged in and the results of the weapons that are used. The documents from Wikileaks posts are discredited before we even see the content of the documents. And we don’t seem to grasp that the wars and the weapons are making us poorer by the minute. Continue reading

Calendar Announcement

The trial of the Disarm Now Plowshares activists who entered a U.S. Navy Trident nuclear submarine base and nuclear weapons storage depot begins on December 7, 2009 at 9:00 AM at the Tacoma Courthouse, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, SJ, and Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, all face charges of Conspiracy, Trespass, Destruction of Property on a Naval Installation and Depredation of Government Property for their November 2, 2009 Plowshares action. They entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons storage depot at Bangor, Washington to symbolically disarm the nuclear weapons stored there, and expose the illegality of the government’s continued preparations for nuclear war. As co-defendant Susan Crane described their intention during a pre-trial hearing, “On Nov. 2, 2009, we remembered the words of the prophet Isaiah, who had a vision of beating swords into plowshares”…convert weapons of war into something useful for human life. It is our firm understanding that these Trident nuclear weapons are illegal under national and international law, as well as the teachings of our faith, and general humanitarian law and conscience.” Continue reading

11/27/10 — Talking Stick TV interview, Disarm Now Plowshares 5

You can also download this interview in audio (MP3) format by clicking here.

Denying Motions = Denying Justice!

Friends,

The Disarm Now Plowshares were in court again; this time for the pre-trial conference in which a most important issue – the motions to dismiss their case – was argued.

All five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants – Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, SJ, and Anne Montgomery, RSCJ – were present for the proceedings in Judge Benjamin Settle’s courtroom at the U.S. District Court, Tacoma, Washington on November 22, 2010.

Susan Crane began the defendant’s testimony; the following are some of her key points.

“Our action on Nov. 2, the testimony of Ramsey Clark, the motions we filed, make clear that we are concerned about the trident nuclear warheads…”

“The trident nuclear weapons system is illegal and immoral. It’s a system preparing for the mass murder of innocent civilians that will affect generations to come.”

“As loving human beings, we have a responsibility, right and duty to use nonviolent actions to prevent the trident nuclear weapons system from operating.” Continue reading

Disarm Now Plowshares – on the State of the World…

Friends,

The Disarm Now Plowshares five were honored at the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility Annual Meeting on November 14, 2010. Between the formal proceedings each of the Disarm Now five was asked to comment on the “state of the world”.  Here is a video with those reflections.  Many thanks to Todd Boyle for providing this brief, but powerful connection to each of these dedicated peacemakers.

Click on the link or scroll down to watch: Plowshares Five “Disarm Now” interviews from toddboyle on Vimeo.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Peace,

Leonard

Former US Attorney General Testifies for Plowshares Activists

Tacoma, Washington – November 16, 2010 – At a motions hearing in the U.S. Federal District Court former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark testified on behalf of five plowshares activists who are going on trial Dec. 7.

Judge Benjamin Settle allowed testimony from Ramsey Clark, who responded to questions from Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants.  When asked by Anne Montgomery if the plowshares activists were justified to enter the restricted area of the U.S. Naval Base, Clark said that they “had a duty to prevent harm, they were justified, and even required to prevent harm.”  Clark was speaking in the context of the Plowshares activists entering the base, in which nuclear weapons are stored, to expose the illegality of the government’s actions in preparing for nuclear war.

Ramsey Clark & Anne Montgomery

Continue reading

11/14/10 — PSR dinner interview, Disarm Now Plowshares 5

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Ramsey Clark to speak on behalf of Disarm Now!

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark will give a public presentation at the Carwein Auditorium, University of Washington Tacoma campus on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 6:30 PM. He will speak about international law and civilian responsibility in the context of nuclear disarmament.

The U.S. continues to pursue an aggressive policy that perpetuates the development, production and potential use of nuclear weapons, wasting billions of taxpayer dollars that need to be spent on human needs.  At the heart of this issue are citizens’ responsibility to resist our government’s illegal actions, and the government’s criminalization of such dissent.

Clark will also testify on behalf of the Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants during their motions hearing on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 1:30 PM. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Tacoma Courthouse.

Clark was U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1967 to 1969, and supervised drafting and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

The former Attorney General has provided legal defense for Plowshares activist Philip Berrigan, as well as Camilo Mejia, Leonard Peltier and Lori Berenson.

Supporters of Disarm Now Plowshares will gather in front of the Tacoma courthouse from 12:30 to 1:00 for music and reflection prior to the 1:30 PM motions hearing on Tuesday.

Continue reading

Bangor: What are all those fences for???

Dear Friends,

The Disarm Now Plowshares five symbolically (through their act of cutting chain-link fences) and sequentially opened the Bangor nuclear submarine base and nuclear weapons storage depot to the world so that we may all see what lies within.

Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific are at the heart of our nations reliance on nuclear weapons.  The April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) made it clear that between development and deployment of a new generation of ballistic missile submarines, and warhead “life extension” work for the W76 warhead deployed on the Trident D5 missile, Trident will continue to be the nation’s star nuclear player.

One may well wonder what ever happened to President Obama’s commitment to  a world free of nuclear weapons, and his promise to “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy” (Prague speech, April 5,2009).  While his rhetoric has mostly been upbeat, the 2010 NPR is not.  Although it is a marked improvement over the 2001 NPR released by the Bush administration, it continues decades-old policies on deployment, modernization, disarmament, and use doctrine.

So the government continues to maintain (and improve) the vast numbers of nuclear warheads stored in Bangor’s bunkers and prepare the submarines that patrol the seas, ready to launch their deadly arsenal on command, without any signs of cutting back.  It is not only madness, but under our nations (and international) laws it is illegal.

The public is essentially kept in the dark about nuclear weapons, and in one study only 59 of U.S. respondents knew that our own nation possesses nuclear weapons (whoah!).  Ignorance is not bliss; we ignore the existence of nuclear weapons at our own peril.  Avoiding the issue will not make the weapons go away; quite the contrary – it allows our government to more easily pursue its aggressive nuclear agenda.

Today I present you with direct evidence of the nefarious activities hidden from view behind the chain link and barbed wire fences surrounding Bangor.  Thanks to someone with aerial access and a phenomenal camera system we can see what the Disarm Now Plowshares five saw (albeit from a different perspective) and more.  See what is beyond the fence in the You Tube video [11/16/10 note: shortly after the Bangor aerial footage (from YouTube) was posted here, it mysteriously disappeared, and so you will have to imagine it here in this empty space.]:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Once we view what is behind the fences at Bangor we can no longer pretend that it does not exist; we must make a choice – ignore it or take a stand against the nuclear monster that threatens to consume the world.  It is up to us to pressure our reluctant government to take real steps towards a nuclear weapons-free world.

Peace,

Leonard

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