Still Unrepentant After All These Years

Friends,

Bix sat down with “The News Chick” – that’s what they call KIRO Radio’s Linda Thomas – for an interview the other day.  As usual Bix spoke truth, and she allowed him to pour it out.  At the end of the interview Linda asked Bix if he had any regrets or remorse for what he did (at Bangor), and whether he would do it again.  Bix replied, “You might say I’m unrepentant.”  Yes, one might say that about Bix!!!

Perhaps those who truly need to repent are the ones dutifully dismantling and re-assembling the W-76 nuclear warheads that, after being refurbished, will be returned to the Bangor base where they will be attached to their missiles and deployed on the Trident submarines.  Perhaps those who cruise silently beneath the sea, prepared to dutifully “press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction…” (to quote Thomas Merton) need repentance.  And perhaps it is those who dutifully work in laboratories further developing and refining the technologies that prepare for the end of the world in dire need of repentance. Continue reading

Summary of the Disarm Now Plowshares Trial. This can not be! Not now! Now What?

By Anabel Dwyer

Anabel Dwyer speaks to those gathered at the Disarm Now Plowshares trial events

Anabel Dwyer speaks about the Disarm Now Trial

Pray! Mourn! Organize!
“Woo???!!!”
This we still refuse to learn:
Our legal system “protects”
with useless fences
non-existent, classified “property”
belonging to US
“missioned” for genocide
from a Sister, two Fathers and
two Grandmas
who walk with and in love and beauty.

Disarm Now Plowshares and their banner “Trident: Illegal and Immoral” say it all. Stunning whistleblowers:  Sr. Anne Montgomery, 84;  Fr. William Bischel, 81;  Susan S. Crane, 65; Lynne Greenwald, 60 and Fr. Steven Kelly, 60, pointed out, with boundless kindly courage, the grotesque Trident plans and preparations for nuclear extermination that clearly violate peremptory rules and principles of humanitarian law, U.S war crimes (18 USC 2441) and Genocide (18 USC 1091) statutes and military law.

At trial, the Disarm Now Plowshares were not permitted to corroborate their legal and moral convictions and knowledge which formed the basis for their action.  Instead the court directed the jury to convict them for conspiracy, trespass, destruction and depredation of property knowing that this malicious and misplaced prosecution was fraudulently based on intentional misrepresentation of the purpose and function of the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base. Continue reading

Jury Reaches Verdict in Disarm Now Plowshares Trial

From left: Bix, Susan, Steve, Anne and Lynne

Tacoma, Washington, Monday, December 13, 2010: The federal criminal trial of five veteran peace activists that began December 7 ended today after the jury found them guilty on all counts. The five defendants, called the Disarm Now Plowshares, challenged the legality and morality of the US storage and use of thermonuclear missiles by Trident nuclear submarines at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base outside Bremerton Washington.

Continue reading

Disarm Now Plowshares trial day 3: The defense makes its case

Tacoma, Washington, Wednesday, December 9, 2010: In a packed courtroom the trial of the Disarm Now Plowshares went into its third day with the prosecution resting and the defense making its case. Continue reading

Just a Thought on This Night Before Court

One Family Celebrating Life

I can’t help but search for a pleasant image after viewing the hooded, handcuffed friends inside SWFPAC last November. We seem so vulnerable, but I felt so much at peace.  It was the right thing to do. The frightening thing is the fact that there is so much potential to destroy all life and that such weapons are sheltered on the Bangor Trident Base.  It was good to pray there, carrying the belief that Love and Truth will prevail. And so for my children and grandchild, and all the children of this world, today and in the future, I pray on forbidden ground. 

 – Lynne Greenwald

Five New Government Photos

One of five newly released government photographs of Disarm Now Plowshares.
One picture tells so many stories: banners, bolt cutters, and nuclear bunkers; machine guns and hooded nonviolent activists.

(Note: The new photos have been placed toward the middle of the slideshow.)

Government Photos of Disarm Now Plowshares

Click each picture to advance to the next one, or select a photo to view from the thumbnails below.

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

Disarm Now Plowshares Anniversary – “Discovering Life Through Resistance”

Dear Friends,

While the nation seemed transfixed in election day madness four dedicated peacemakers, who just one year before on the Feast of All Souls had travelled deep into the belly of the Beast, vigiled in celebration and thanksgiving on the anniversary of their Plowshares action.

Four members of the Disarm Now Plowshares five stood in vigil at the main gate to the Trident nuclear submarine base, Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington State on Tuesday, November 2, 2010.  Bill “Bix” Bichsel, S.J., Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, and Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, held banners as they stood by the side of the road, waving and flashing peace signs to those driving in and out of the base.  Drivers’ responses varied from supportive waves or peace signs to an occasional rude gesture; the vast majority were supportive. 

Crane’s and Montgomery’s banner read, “DISARM NOW PLOWSHARES, TRIDENT: ILLEGAL & IMMORAL.”  The banner held by Bichsel and Greenwald read, “LARGEST STOCKPILE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE U.S. AT NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BANGOR, DISARM NOW PLOWSHARES.”    

After the previous day of record rainfall around the Puget Sound region, the sun shone in glorious splendor as the Plowshares activists celebrated the first anniversary of their Plowshares action.  When I arrived at the gate I saw them standing on the other side of the roadway; each of their faces also shone bright with the deep, spiritual, conviction that led them to engage in their Plowshares action one year ago, and now gives them strength to challenge Trident in court.

Bill “Bix” Bichsel, S.J., Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, S.J., Anne Montgomery RSCJ, entered Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, with the intention of calling attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system.  During the action they held a banner saying…“Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident: Illegal + Immoral”,  left a trail of blood, hammered on the roadway and fences around Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific (SWFPAC) and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base.  They entered SWFPAC where they were detained, and after extensive questioning by base security, FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), were cited for trespass and destruction of government property, given ban and bar letters and released.

Ten months after their action a Federal grand jury handed down indictments for all five. The charges 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.

One might well ask, “who should be on trial – those who cut some fences to expose the illegal and immoral nuclear weapons that lay hidden behind them or the government that continues to build up its nuclear weapons infrastructure and maintain its nuclear “posture” in preparation for nuclear holocaust?”

After vigiling the participants circled for prayer and thanksgiving.  Before leaving the main gate Crane and Bichsel attempted to share leaflets explaining the Disarm Now Plowshares action with members of the Marine security detail that was standing ready near the entrance gate guard-house, up the road from where we had been vigiling.  After waiting a few minutes for a response (the Marines did not budge) we packed up and headed back to Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (just up the road from the main gate) where we all shared a simple meal and fellowship.

In the closing circle at the gate Tom Shea read a prophetic passage from James Douglass’ book, “Lightening East to West”, published thirty years ago:

Given the presence already at Bangor of Polaris/Poseidon nuclear warheads, and the coming in 1981 of Trident, the base fence seems humble: seven feet in height with three strands of barbed wire at the top.  I reminds us again, with the government’s show of deer, fox, and pheasants roaming around the base, that official crimes have a psychological preparation.  The care at not alarming citizens is evident also in the public relations security force visible around Bangor, where Pan American has the contract for base perimeter security.  In the course of our civil disobedience actions, we became friends with these Pan Am guards and learned the nature of the real security system.  While the Pan Am guards patrol with their pick-up trucks on the roads just inside Bangor’s perimeter fence, there is a second civilian security force stationed farther in the base, and finally, at the center of Bangor lost to sight behind dense trees and higher fences, a third security force of Marines.  The Marines are assigned to nuclear weapons areas.  They drill with rifles and machine guns under standing orders “to use deadly force” (a phrase dropped by the base commander in a meeting with resisters).

If we can go to the heart of the Bangor base, in a gentle enough way, and in growing numbers, nuclear war preparations will be obstructed.  The life-force of persons in community, willing to give their lives nonviolently, is more powerful than any nuclear weapon.  Through such a life-giving process, a moral crisis can be realized which would be the beginning of a transformed consciousness and politics.

The Trident campaign as an experiment in life-force is meant to connect with the lives of all people, all threatened with nuclear death.  If we were so graced as to feel the most distant life at its center, we would know from within its pain and compassion, its loneliness and its love – the human feelings of Jesus and Hitler, as different as they were in acting those out and failing to do so.  There is no one who doesn’t feel at the deepest levels something of our living unity.  An experiment in life-force is meant to touch that level in everyone.

Trident with its thousands of Hiroshimas is the end of the world.  The Trident campaign is meant to re-discover a new world, one world, the only world remaining.  The campaign can be seen as both spirit and body: Seeking first the kingdom of a deepening, widening community… in and through tactics of nonviolent direct action.  Renouncing any fixation on the fruits of action… while trying to choose actions which in themselves carry the seeds of a moral and political crisis.  Discovering life… through resistance.

The Disarm Now Plowshares five travelled (both figuratively and literally) “to the heart of the Bangor base”, unequivocally prepared “to give their lives nonviolently” in their own Plowshares “experiment in life-force.” 

May the nonviolent heart of the Disarm Now Plowshares deeply touch (and transform) us all, and may we all “discover life… through resistance.” 

Peace,

Leonard

Jim and Shelley Douglass: How Do We Act for Peace?

Utsumi Shoenin, Bill Bichsel, Sr. Denise, Shelley and Jim Douglass at Y-12 nuclear weapon plant in Tennessee

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

Jim and Shelley Douglass were among the co-founders of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, who purchased 3.8 acres along Bangor’s Trident base in 1977.  As members of the Pacific Life Community, founded in 1975,  they began a campaign of nonviolently resisting Trident.  They were inspired by Robert Aldridge’s resignation as a missile designer for Lockheed following a crisis of conscience as he recognized the first-strike capability and accuracy of the Trident missiles. The Douglasses currently live at Mary’s House Catholic Worker in Birmingham, Alabama, offering hospitality to homeless families and acting for nonviolence and peace.
A short video and talk by Jim and Shelley, and for more information:
Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action:

 

All of us live in a world that is at constant risk of destruction.  We humans have created weapons of an unimaginable  magnitude, and we find the making of peace to be unimaginable as well.  Our current administration talks about nuclear disarmament while planning and building new weapons production facilities.  We expect other, smaller nations to forgo nuclear weapons while we continue to build them.  This situation cannot continue indefinitely.  As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our choice is not between violence and nonviolence.  Our choice is between nonviolence and non-existence.”  It is only a matter of time before someone uses a nuclear weapon, setting off a global nuclear exchange that could end life as we know it.  How are we to live in such a world?

In such a world people of conscience are called to step outside normal boundaries.  It is necessary to awaken the public and to focus our attention on the question of nuclear weapons.  Only if we are aware of the problem can we begin to think of the solution.  In such a world Christians are called to act on the most radical teachings of the Gospels:  “Love your enemies.  Do good to those who hate you.”  In such a world, to be human is to create new ways of speaking truth to those in power.  We are grateful to the Disarm Now Plowshares for their creative action at the Naval Submarine Base Bangor, which remains one of the most heavily armed sites on the planet.  By stepping inside the boundaries of SWFPAC, they have risked their freedom and their lives to remind us of our responsibilities.  Ultimately the choice – survival or destruction – rests with us.  In supporting their action we are challenged to find our own ways of acting to end nuclear weapons.  We must all take responsibility,  just as the Disarm Now Plowshares continue to do.  How will we act for peace?

Shelley & Jim Douglass

Birmingham, AL

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