Plowshares breach nuclear weapon stronghold
at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor, Washington State
Base on high alert and closed for 6 hours
Disarm Now Plowshares, November 2, 2009
Bill “Bix” Bichsel, S.J., of Tacoma, Washington; Susan Crane, of Baltimore MD; Lynne Greenwald, of Bremerton Washington; Steve Kelly, S.J., of Oakland , CA.; Anne Montgomery RSCJ, of New York, New York, were arrested on Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor at the largest nuclear weapon storage area in the US.
They entered the base in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, to call attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the first strike Trident weapons system. They entered through the perimeter fence, and walked through the base for four hours. During that time they made their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific (SWFPAC) where they cut through the first chain link fence surrounding SWFPAC. They then walked to and cut the next double layered fence, both chain link and barbed wire, and entered the grounds of SWFPAC. This bunker area holds the largest nuclear weapon stockpile in the United States.
As they walked they held a banner saying…… “Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident: Illegal and Immoral”. The Plowshares activists knew that they were in a shoot to kill zone, but they also remembered the many people who live in shoot to kill zones all the time because of US occupation of their country.
The unarmed activists were then held on the ground face down, handcuffed and hooded for over three hours. They were carried out, still hooded, through the very holes in the fence that they had made, and questioned by FBI and NCIS for several hours.
Although they gave only their names, they were given Ban and Bar letters and citations for trespass and destruction of government property. There was no court date on the citations, and although the plowshares activists didn’t sign the citations, they were released after being questioned for over five hours.
In a joint statement, the group stated that “The manufacture and deployment of Trident II missiles, weapons of mass destruction, is immoral and criminal under International Law and, therefore, under United States law. As U.S. citizens we are responsible under the Nuremberg Principles for this threat of first-strike terrorism hanging over the community of nations, rich and poor. Moreover, such planning, preparation, and deployment is a blasphemy against the Creator of life, imaged in each human being.”
There have been approximately 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore.”
The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads. In November 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 20 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal. The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined.
The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more accurate Trident D-5 missile system. Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455 kiloton W-88 warheads (each warhead is about 30 times the explosive force as the Hiroshima bomb.) The D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead. The Trident fleet at Bangor deploys both the 455 kiloton W-88 warhead and the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.
Since the Plowshares action, many local people have expressed concern about the safety of the nuclear weapons held on the base. The Plowshares activists agree: these weapons are never safe. They are a danger to all creation by their very existence.