Washington State: The Nuclear State

Jinsung Kim, a student at the University of Washington, produced this video focusing on Washington State’s nuclear weapons legacy as a class project.

It begins with Dr. John Findlay, UW Dept. of HIstory professor discussing the history and impact of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and then moves on to the Trident ballistic missile submarines based at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Kitsap County.  Interviews with Fr. Steve Kelly (of the Disarm Now Plowshares action) and Senji Kanaeda (a Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Monk) provide perspectives on Trident and nuclear weapons issues.  There is also footage of the Pacific Life Community vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Main Gate of the Bangor submarine base on March 4, 2013.

Please note that there is at least one error in the video: Lynne Greenwald was unable to give an interview not because she was in prison – she was not in prison at the time the video was being made – but because of her work schedule.

Bix Reflects on COMMUNITY

Friends,

Here is video from the November 10, 2011 prayer sendoff for Bix before he re-entered prison for his ongoing resistance to war-making and nuclear weapons. In this clip, Bix reflects on the rich blessings and strengths of COMMUNITY.

Peace,

Leonard

Anti-nuclear weapons activist returns to prison

By Marilyn Bechtel, Originally published August 24, 2012 at Peoples World, http://peoplesworld.org/anti-nuclear-weapons-activist-returns-to-prison/

Photo: Marilyn Bechtel/PW

DUBLIN, Calif. – With prayer and song, dozens of supporters saw anti-nuclear weapons campaigner Susan Crane back to prison Aug. 22, as she prepared to serve an additional 60-day sentence at the federal women’s prison here. The new sentence came on top of 15 months she had already served after participating in a 2009 Disarm Now Plowshares nonviolent direct action at a Washington state naval facility where nuclear-armed Trident submarines are based.Crane, a 68-year-old retired teacher and member of the Catholic Worker movement, was joined by supporters in a four-day, 40-mile peace walk to the prison gates from a Lockheed-Martin facility that makes the nuclear warhead-carrying Trident II D-5 missile the Trident submarines carry. Continue reading

Susan’s Probation Hearing: A Question of Conscience

Today in Judge Benjamin Settle’s courtroom in Tacoma, Washington Susan Crane continued to drive home the illegality and immorality of nuclear weapons. She started by saying that the Plowshares group went to the US Naval Base to speak the truth about the need to disarm the illegal and immoral nuclear warheads. In court they tried to speak the truth about the nuclear weapons, but the court would not allow their defense. Continue reading

Helen Young interviewed about the Elder “Commandos” of Disarm Now Plowshares

Friends,

Robbin Shannon recently interviewed Helen Young on Fordham Conversations at WFUV.org, 90.7 FM about the Disarm Now Plowshares.  Helen is Emmy Award winning writer, producer and film maker, currently working on a documentary called “The Bangor 5.”

Listen to the audio interview at WFUV.org.  The interview with Helen begins just after 4 minutes, 30 seconds into the program.

The interview is a great way to familiarize yourself with work of the Disarm Now Plowshares.  Here’s the description from the WFUV Website:

Five Senior Citizens’ Break into a Military Base

A discussion with Emmy Award winning filmmaker Helen Young who’s producing a documentary called “The Bangor 5.” It follows the case of five unlikely commandos, all over the age of 60, who executed a bold break-in at a military bases near Seattle that stockpiled nuclear weapons.

Peace,

Leonard

Fr. Kabat says to “De-Fence” is better than “Defense”

Dear Friends,

Our dear colleague in holy mischief, Fr. Carl Kabat, continues following God’s Foolish One down the path of nonviolence while continuing to throw wrenches into the gears of the empire’s machinery of death.  Here is a update on Fr. Carl’s early morning antics this Interdependence Day.  Following the update you can read Fr. Carl’s witness statement on today’s action at the new (and I’m sure greatly improved) Kansas City nuclear weapons plant (that produces approximately 85% of the non-nuclear components for our nations nuclear weapons). Continue reading

A reflection on coming out of prison: on Contradictions and Responsibility

A reflection upon coming out of prison: Contradictions: including Individual and collective responsibility.

Susan Crane, May 2012
Peggy Coleman, Susan Crane, Chet Collins and Larry Purcell

Peggy Coleman, Susan Crane, Chet Collins and Larry Purcell in the FCI Dublin visiting room.

After the Disarm Now Plowshares action, trial and sentencing, I was in prison with a fifteen month sentence: an eye-blink in comparison to the sentences of most of the women I was with in FDC SeaTac and FCI Dublin.   FCI Dublin is a federal woman’s prison in California that is behind two fences and rolls and rolls of razor wire. There are about 1000 women there; 85% were foreign nationals, mostly Hispanic, who would be deported by ICE when their sentences were over.  I have no regrets about going onto the US Naval Base in Washington, where the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads are stored, and where 8 of the trident submarines that deploy the nuclear warheads, are homeported.

The time in prison was full of contradictions and bookended by two passages: a quote from George Bernard Shaw about prisons, and a story from the gospel of Matthew about the judgement of the nations. Both bring up the question of how we as individuals and as a collective are responsible for what is happening in the culture we live in.  Continue reading

Disarm Now Plowshares loses appeal (government loses moral values)

Hot off the presses from Courthouse News Service is news of today’s appelate court ruling on the Disarm Now Plowshares appeal of their conviction for the 2009 Plowshares action at the Bangor Trident submarine base. As usual, U.S. “law” (protecting government property) trumps the Hague Convention, Nuremberg Principles, the laws of war, every precept of international humanitarian law and pretty much every treaty to which the U.S. is a party. Why??? Because we say so!!!  Continue reading

“At The Root of All War Is Fear”

Dear Friends,

In the midst of the continuing machinations of the seemingly endless cycle of killing (that we call WAR) I find myself turning inward to find that quiet, contemplative space, particularly as I navigate the season of Lent.  As I do so I know that there are countless people (who call themselves Christian) who are so swept up as cogs in the endless war machine that they don’t even pause to consider the blood on our hands and its implications (as Christians).

Early this morning I pulled my copy of Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation off the shelf, dusted it off, and flipped to the dog-eared page of a favorite chapter.

Merton had (in his time) found that still, quiet place in which he could see
himself and the world with a remarkable clarity, and he articulated the human
condition with profound (and raw) sincerity. Here is the reflection from the
chapter titled, The Root of War Is Fear:

At the root of all war is fear: not so much the fear men have of one another as the fear they have of everything. It is not merely that they do not trust one another; they do not even trust themselves. If they are not sure when someone else may turn around and kill them, they are still less sure when they may turn around and kill themselves. They cannot trust anything, because they have ceased to believe in God.

It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also and above all our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves.

Merton understood those things that we are unable to face; fear, guilt, and every
other possible human shortcoming. He further understood that it is very much a
part of the human condition to ease those burdens on ourselves by passing them
on to others. He saw this being raised to a form of high art during the height of
the Cold War in the 1960’s when, as a society, the United States turned
Communism into the greatest enemy anyone could possibly imagine, and built up
the most fantastic machinery of war with which to fight it (and annihilate
ourselves in the process).

It is ironic that so many of those who claim Christianity as their own are the very
ones who helped build up the very weapons (during the Cold War) that could
cause the ultimate genocide, the very destruction of life on Earth. And, during
much of the past eight years the United States has, by the creation of a vast state
of fear and distrust, prosecuted an endless war on terror that has led to endless
human suffering, economic distress and (ironically) an increased risk of
terrorism both towards the U.S. and its allies.

And then there is Thomas Merton, the gentle monk who left behind a depth of
contemplative wisdom that, if we are honest enough to look within, could help us
(particularly those who claim Christianity in one form or another) out of the mess
we have created and down the road to peace. As Merton reminds us,

What is the use of postmarking our mail with exhortations to “pray for peace” and then spending billions of dollars on atomic submarines, thermonuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles? This, I would think, would certainly be what the New Testament calls “mocking God” — and mocking Him far more effectively than the atheists do.

Later in this chapter, Merton elaborates on praying for peace:

When I pray for peace, I pray not only that the enemies of my country may cease to want war, but above all that my own country will cease to do the things that make war inevitable. In other words, when I pray for peace I am not just praying that the Russians will give up without a struggle and let us have our own way. I am praying that both we and the Russians may somehow be restored to sanity and learn how to work out our problems, as best we can, together, instead of preparing for global suicide.

Merton wrote these words during the Cold War, but they seem to apply just as
well to the post Cold War world as the United States keeps doing “the things that
make war inevitable.” What will it take for us to change course and turn away
from war, seeking real peace? Perhaps Merton’s final thoughts in this chapter
provide some clarity:

So instead of loving what you think is peace, love other men and love God above all. And instead of hating the people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed — but hate these things in yourself, not in the other.

May each of us find that still place in contemplation where we can see both within
and without, and may peace begin within each of us.

Leonard

Meet the Bangor 5

The following article was written by Helen Young, Documentary filmmaker and Emmy award winning writer and producer.  It was originally published in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-young/bangor-5_b_1346108.html?ref=impact&ir=Impact).  I know, I know; we all know them as Disarm Now Plowshares.  But dontcha think “Bangor 5” does have a catchy ring to it???  Helen is working hard to finish the documentary on Disarm Now Plowshares and get it distributed. Continue reading

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