Mom says: ABOLISH NUKES NOW!

CLICK HERE to see the full day’s schedule.  Click here for directions to GZ.  Hope to see many of you local folks there on Saturday! 

Questions: Contact Anne Hall, annehall@familyhealing.com, 206-545-3462, or Sue Ablao, gznonviolencenews@yahoo.com, 360-930-8697.

Faith and Disarmament

On June 12, 1981, Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen gave a prophetic speech to the Pacific Northwest Synod of the Lutheran Church of America.  Taking up our cross with Christ in the nuclear age, he proclaimed, means unilateral disarmament. Furthermore, he suggested that “our paralyzed political process” needs a catalyst and that catalyst is tax resistance.
Hunthausen’s statement was received enthusiastically by religious leaders and followers of nonviolence across the country.  His words remain urgent and relevant to us today, as we continue to struggle with the question of how to build peace in this nuclear empire.

Faith and Disarmament

I am grateful for having been invited to speak to you on disarmament because it forces me to a kind of personal  disarmament. This is a subject I have thought about and prayed over for many years. I can recall vividly hearing the news of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. I was deeply shocked. I could not then put into words the shock I felt from the news that a city of hundreds of thousands of people had been devastated by a single bomb. Hiroshima challenged my faith as a Christian in a way I am only now beginning to understand. That awful event and its successor at Nagasaki sank into my soul, as they have in fact sunk into the souls of all of us, whether we recognize it or not. Continue reading

NUCLEAR ABOLITIONISTS TO FACE TRIAL AT THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE BOMB

Fellow Abolitionists,

Please read this news release and the following special message from the LANL Six regarding their upcoming trial at the birthplace of the bomb. Click here to learn more and get trial updates.

In Peace,

Leonard

***************

On February 8, a jury in Los Alamos, New Mexico, will hear the case against six people charged with trespass during a demonstration against expansion of the nuclear weapons production complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The August 6, 2010 demonstration involved over 120 people, led by Think Outside the Bomb youth at the conclusion of their ten-day Disarmament Summer encampment in nearby Chimayo. They observed the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, with a spirited march through the town and up to the gate of the plutonium processing facility.

Eight people joined a sit-in at the gatehouse for half an hour until they were taken into custody by Los Alamos police. They were cited and released the same day. Two later pled no contest, and were sentenced to fines and probation. Continue reading

From War Culture to Peace Culture: Steven Leeper Interview

Friends,

Steven Leeper, Chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, spent the week with us during the Disarm Now Plowshares trial – observing, supporting and testifying, and sharing his experience and knowledge with others.  Mike McCormick interviewed Steve on Saturday, December 11th, on KEXP Radio, Seattle.  Steve gave a rich explanation of the purposes and functions of Mayors for Peace and the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, provided perspective on the trial, and spoke directly about the world “nuclear weapons crisis.”

Billions For Life, Not Billions For Death!!!

Friends,

Soon the New Year will be upon us and we’ll have to make New Year’s resolutions.  On the heels of the Disarm Now Plowshares trial, don’t you think a good resolution would be to bring out hundreds of people to block the Bangor gate?

Well, here’s your chance.  Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday vigil and nonviolent action on Saturday, January 15, 2011, and YOU are invited.  It will be a great day of nonviolence training, preparation culminating with a vigil and nonviolent action at the Bangor gate in the afternoon.  We will also vigil and leaflet in the morning at the Target store at Silverdale Mall.

The Seattle Raging Grannies have been busy planning for the event, and have come up with the perfect theme:  BILLIONS FOR LIFE, NOT BILLIONS FOR DEATH.

The day will include nonviolence training, preparation and a vigil and nonviolent action at the Bangor gate.  Plan to join us on the 15th as we continue to resist Trident.  Bring your nonviolent spirit and something to share for the potluck lunch.
 
If you haven’t joined us before, come on out and find out what it’s all about.  Click here to watch a slideshow of last year’s MLK day event.

Click here to see the full day’s schedule.  Click here to download the flyer, suitable for posting and handing out anywhere you can think of.

Questions?  Contact Jackie Hudson or Sue Ablao at 360-930-8697 or gznonviolencenews@yahoo.com.

To Life,

Leonard

Questions… (And New START)!

Friends,

Ever since the news media got wind of the jury’s verdict in the Disarm Now Plowshares trial there has been an onslaught of questions about the trial: What were the reasons for their Plowshares action?  Will they appeal?  Why did they choose to defend themselves?  What happens next?  What does this mean for the nuclear weapons abolition movement? Continue reading

An Invitation From Lynne

Dear Friends,

Last week was amazing and inspiring, leaving me humble in the face of a growing community. During our Disarm Now Plowshares trial, many participated in a variety of way – being in the courtroom, writing letters, preparing food, organizing vigils and programs, donations, hospitality and transportation, covering jobs leaving us free for court, prayers and good thoughts…. Now more than ever I am convinced that this is the community I want to remain a part of, and with whom to continue working towards the creation of a world without violence. This community embodies the world we previously dreamt and have had glimpses. Best of all, are the words from those who have already “stepped out of their comfort zone” to speak and to act for the end of nuclear weapons, and to continue connecting this work with any acts to address a variety of violence and injustices.

Inspired by Sr. Anne Montgomery’s closing statement, these are my closing words in court, and the end of our presentation Friday, December 10: ‎”I would like to believe that – if I had lived in that time and place – I would have had the courage to do the same thing to expose the reality of what was behind the fences of Auschwitz and other camps, where many were murdered, including my children’s relatives.”

And now – the challenge is to keep the momentum moving forward. I’m including some articles and summaries of last week. Please continue to check our blog for updates, reflections and how to support this trial and work. Regardless of the outcome, and the inability to speak truth in a courtroom, we have succeeded in planting seeds, of making Trident visible. Nonviolence is the pathway to this change, and we join the many people already acting in a variety of ways to stop nuclear madness. This is how social change happens.

Sincerely,

Lynne Greenwald
Disarm Now Plowshares

https://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/12/12/1461909/nuclear-weapons-are-unsafe-and.html

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/11-0

http://gzcenter.org/

Disarm Now Plowshares Activists Arraigned

Tacoma, Washington – October 8, 2010

 

Joan Staples blesses the 5 going into court. Photographer Leonard Eiger

– The five plowshares activists who entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons storage depot in Washington State in November 2009 had their initial day in court.

 

Over eleven months since they entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons storage depot at Bangor, Washington to symbolically disarm the nuclear weapons stored there, the five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants faced arraignment on October 8, 2010 in U.S. District Court, Tacoma, Washington before Magistrate Judge Karen L. Strombom.

Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, Steve Kelly, SJ, Lynne Greenwald, Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, and Susan Crane were all present to enter their pleas before Judge Strombom.

The government brought many serious charges against each of the Disarm Now defendants for their peaceful November 2, 2009 Plowshares action.  They include Conspiracy, Trespass, Destruction of Property on a Naval Installation and Depredation of Government Property.

The major consequences for the various individual charges range between 5 and 10 years in prison, and from $50, 000 to $250,000 in fines, as well as up to 3 years of supervised release, and/or up to 5 years probation.

Additionally, the judge made it clear that should the defendants be convicted on multiple charges, the court could order them to serve consecutive sentences, thereby greatly increasing the number of years they might spend in prison.

All defendants entered pleas of “not guilty”, to which each defendant added a personal statement.

Greenwald called “for the end of all wars, and an end to the threat of nuclear war.”  Crane made “a plea for the abolition of nuclear weapons, for the children of future generations.”

Bichsel made his plea “for those who are dying now because of nuclear weapons because of funding going for weapons of mass destruction instead of health care, education, housing, employment and nutrition.  I plea for those dying because of the uranium mining cycle connected to nuclear weapons.”

Crane tried twice to enter a “Motion To Immediately Dismiss Charges and Memo in Support”.  The judge said that she would not hear it, and could not rule on it in these proceedings.  After the arraignment, Crane filed the motion for dismissal, and two others, with the clerk of court.

In their motion for dismissal the co-defendants conclude that, “Because this case involves unjust and illegal weapons of mass destruction, the use of which is a war crime under US and international law, and defendants actions were taken to protect a greater good and much higher law than the laws they are accused of violating, this case should be dismissed immediately.”

They cite numerous laws to show that the Use of Nuclear Weapons is a War Crime under US Law, and state that “Any threat or use [of nuclear weapons] is categorically prohibited and constitutes a war crime, crime against humanity or genocide as defined consistently by the U.S. Criminal Code,” citing the statute for war crimes, 18 USC 2441.

They also reference Article 23 of the Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907, which applies because nuclear weapons are incapable of distinguishing between civilians and combatants and cause unnecessary suffering.

The Nuremberg Principles, 59 Stat 1544, clearly state that war crimes are committed by anyone who “participates in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of planning preparation, initiation or waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurance.”

Their last reference used to substantiate that the use of nuclear weapons is a crime under U.S. law is 18 USC 1091, which states that “the use of nuclear weapons can also be considered genocide because the weapons destroy, in whole or substantial part, groups of people, in indiscriminate fashion, killing military and civilian alike.

The five Disarm Now co-defendants firmly believe that there is sufficient legal doctrine substantiating their invocation of the necessity defense, and that the “Defendants’ actions are just and not at all illegal,” and therefore the case should be immediately dismissed.

During the arraignment all of the Disarm Now defendants stated that they look forward to the opportunity to discuss the illegality of our nation’s production, maintenance and preparations for the use of nuclear weapons during their upcoming trial.

Before the arraignment approximately 80 Disarm Now supporters gathered in front of the Tacoma courthouse to stand vigil, hand out leaflets about Disarm Now and participate in an interfaith service to bless the Disarm Now co-defendants.

The judge set a trial date for December 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM in the United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma.  A pre-trial conference date is set for November 22, 2010.

There have been more than 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 west of 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 24 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) and costs approximately $60 million.  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

Contact:  Leonard Eiger, 425-445-2190, subversivepeacemaking@comcast.net

Who Should Be On Trial Today???

Friends,

Today, September 14th, 2010, fourteen people (including four priests) went on trial for walking onto Creech Air Force Base through the open main gate on April 10, 2009, Holy Thursday.  

They were seeking to engage in dialogue with the Air Force service members controlling the Predators and Reapers used in Central Asia. In a gesture of good will, they offered to break bread and share Passover pizza with Air Force personnel.”

Creech Air Force Base is one of the unholy places from which the U.S. military controls – from thousands of miles away – the drones (aka: unmanned aerial vehicles) that have killed untold innocent women, children and men in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan (and perhaps elsewhere for all we know).  The use of drones is increasing dramatically, and for the U.S. military it is the wave of the future.

Well, this is not (neither is endless war) the “wave of the future” for the fourteen people who engaged in nonviolent, civil resistance against this new and improved (and horrible) tool of warfare.  The resisters only tools (in the spirit of nonviolence) – a letter, roses and pizza. 

Today the Creech 14 faced trial in Nevada state court.  They went to Creech to speak for justice for those with no voice, and now they face the mock justice of a nation so steeped in militarism that it cannot (or will not) tolerate anyone who steps outside the confines of its militaristic ways.

One of the Creech 14 is also a member of Disarm Now Plowshares.  Fr. Steve Kelly will  face arraignment with his fellow Disarm Now defendants on September 24th for their November 2, 2009 Plowshares action at the Bangor submarine base and nuclear weapons storage facility. 

Interestingly enough, after hearing all the testimony in today’s trial – which included former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Bill Quigley who is a Loyola University law professor and legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and retired Army Col. and former U.S. diplomat Ann Wright – the judge delayed his decision until 8:30 a.m. Jan. 27, 2011.  It seems that those who spoke for the defense gave the judge some significant points to ponder. 

So today we hold up our brothers and sisters of the Creech 14, stand with them in solidarity, and pray with and for them:

  • Fr. John Dear, S.J. (New Mexico)
  • Dennis DuVall (Arizona)
  • Renee Espeland (Des Moines, Iowa Catholic Worker Community)
  • Judy Homanich (Binghamton, New York)
  • Kathy Kelly (Chicago Illinois, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize)
  • Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. (California)
  • Mariah Klusmire (Trinity House Catholic Worker, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Brad Lyttle (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Elizabeth Pappalardo (Crystal Lake, Illinois)
  • Sister Megan Rice, SHCJ (Nevada Desert Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Brian Terrell (Strangers & Guests Catholic Worker, Maloy, Iowa)
  • Eve Tetaz (Washington, D.C.)
  • Fr. Louis Vitale, O.F.M. (Oakland, California)
  • Jerry Zawada, O.F.M. (Tucson, Arizona)

And let us pray that one day it will be the architects of war who will go on trial rather than the carpenters of peace.

Peace,

Leonard

Read today’s post-trial article, Judge delays decision in ‘Creech 14’ drone trial, in the Las Vegas Sun.  Read John Dear’s article on today’s trial at the National Catholic Reporter Online.  Keep up with the Creech 14 at Nevada Desert Experience.  More also at Voices for Creative Nonviolence and http://sacredpeacewalk.blogspot.com/

Disarm Now Plowshares activist arrested at Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex

Fr. Bill Bichsel at Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Fr. Bill Bichsel, along with 12 others,  went through the fence at Y-12 National Security Complex, where essential components of nuclear warheads are made, including warheads used on Trident submarines.

Fr. Bill Bichsel walked for several minutes onto the grass at the National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. For this, he, and the other 12,  were held overnight, brought to court for a detention hearing, charged with federal trespass, and released under strict conditions.
The US Attorney announced at the detention hearing that they faced a fine of not more than $100,000, one year in federal prison, one year of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100.
Compare that to last November, when Fr. Bix and four others brought hammers and walked onto the US Naval Base in Bangor, Washington. The Naval Base Kitsap/Bangor is home to the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the US. Fr. Bix, one of the Disarm Now Plowshares activists, walked for four hours through the night, and at dawn cut through two high security fences to enter the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific where the nuclear warheads are stored. The plowshares activists were right next to the nuclear bunkers when they were arrested.What is made at Y-12?
Fr. Bix was held for several hours, and released. There were no conditions on his release, and the misdemeanor charges  were dropped. Captain Mark Olson, Commander of the Naval Base Kitsap/Bangor, must have been very embarrassed that Bix and the others were able to get into the high security area, and indeed was so embarrassed that no charges have been brought (this eight months later)!
Thank you, Bix, for your faithfulness.  Thank you for upholding the command to love one another. Thank you for continuing to uphold international law.  We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves – thank you for being a good neighbor to all of us.
Susan Crane
Bill Bichsel, SJ at Y-12 with Jim and Shelley Douglass and Buddhists

Utsumi Shoenin, Bill Bichsel, Sr. Denise, Shelley and Jim Douglass

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