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"Disarm Now" Plowshares arrested on U.S. first strike Trident Nuclear Sub Base
anti-war / imperialism |
Thursday November 05, 2009 00:09 by Solidarity Washington state, U.S.A.
Jesuit priest Bill Bischel, one of those arrested, attended court appearances of both Pitstop Ploughshares in Dublin and Raytheon 9 in Derry.
*Photos/More Background on www.jonahhouse.org
Five People Arrested on Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor
The ³Disarm Now Trident Plowshares Action²
Bill ³Bix² Bischel, S.J., 81, of Tacoma, Washington; Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore MD; Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton, Washington; Steve Kelly, S.J., 60, of Oakland, CA.; Anne Montgomery RSCJ, 83, of New York, New York, were arrested on Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor. They entered the Base 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. They entered thru the perimeter fence, made their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility - Pacific ( SWFPAC) where they were able to cut through the first chainlink fence surrounding SWFPAC, walked to and cut the next double layered fence, which was both chain link and barbed wire, onto the grounds of SWFPAC. As they walked onto the grounds, they held a banner sayingŠŠ ³Disarm Now Plowshares : Trident: Illegal + Immoral², left a trail of blood and hammered on the roadway (Trigger Ave. and Sturgeon) that are essential to the working of the Trident weapons system, hammered on the fences around SWFPAC and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base. They were then thrown to the ground face down, handcuffed and hooded and held there for 4 hours on the wet, cold ground. They were taken, hooded, and carried out through the very holes in the fence that they had made, for questioning by Base security, FBI and NCIS. They refused to give any information except their names, and were cited as of now, for trespass and destruction of government property, given a ban and bar letter and released.
In a joint statement, the group stated that, ³The 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, ³God 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.²
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 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.) 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.
Statement of the DISARM NOW PLOWSHARES
³I will purify you from the taint of all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and make you conform to my statutes.² Ez. 36:25-27
We walk into the heart of darkness, the Naval Submarine Base Kitsap-Bangor, housing and deploying over 2,000 nuclear warheads for Trident submarines. By their very existence they are endangering the environment, threatening the indiscriminate destruction of life on earth, and depriving the hungry, homeless, and jobless of billions of dollars that could supply human needs throughout the world.
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.
We are called by Isaiah to take seriously our own responsibility to act as citizens of the nation that subjected the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the hell of nuclear bombing and its deadly consequences. The United States continues to research and develop even more inhumane weapons of mass destruction.
We are called by Ezekiel to transform our own hearts and to invite all those whose hearts are hardened by blindness, fear, and mistrust of the ³other² to allow theirs to be transformed into ³hearts of flesh:² disarmed, compassionate, and generous.
We bring carpenters' hammers to symbolically transform these weapons of death into material useful for homes and factories. On this day of remembrance, All Souls Day, we bring our own blood in solidarity with the victims of war, who are invisible to those who target them. We bring sunflower seeds to plant the hope of new life in this violated earth. We intend to beat swords into plowshares as one step up the holy mountain where all nations can unite in peace.
At the beginning of the International Decade of Disarmament, we join with the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the 2020 Vision Campaign to abolish all nuclear weapons by that year at the latest. Nuclear weapons can never be guardians, defenders, or upholders of peace. They are sheathed in stainless steel and metal coverings that conceal the evil incarnate lying within. They are filled with death-dealing agents that tear apart humans and leave survivors scarred for life. They leave no place for human care for the thousands who suffer and die in agony. Nuclear weapons are a lie. Their ³protection² is an illusion. They must be abolished.
³God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.² Isaiah 2:4
November 2, 2009
Steve Kelly, S.J. Lynne Greenwald Anne Montgomery, RSCJ
Susan Crane Bill Bichsel, S.J.
November 2, 2009
Captain Mark Olsen
Commander US Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor
120 South Dewey St
Bremerton, WA 98314
YOU have been involved in the housing, deployment and threatened use of immoral and illegal nuclear weapons on Naval Base Kitsap/Bangor. These weapons and their delivery systems include Trident submarines, Trident II D-5 missiles, and W-88 and W-76 nuclear warheads. These weapons, and their delivery systems, threaten the destruction of other nations and people and as such constitute violation of International Law and of Ruling of the International Tribunal of Justice of 1996.
You are hereby notified that effective upon receipt of this letter that the disarmament of all nuclear weapons at Naval Base Kitsap/Bangor is to begin immediately and continue until all nuclear weapons are disarmed and removed.
You are further informed that delay or failure to begin disarmament will lead to the prosecution before the International Tribunal of Justice of all naval and civilian personnel responsible for the delay.
This barment letter is issued for the protection and security of people, animals, and all creation of our world.
Any compelling reason for naval or civilian exemption from prosecution by the International Tribunal can be entered with the secretariat of the International Tribunal.
(Address; International Tribunal, International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands)
Steve Kelly, S.J. Lynne Greenwald Anne Montgomery, RSCJ
Susan Crane Bill Bichsel, S.J.
Disarm Now Plowshares Bios
Steve Kelly, S.J. During his religious formation in our inner cities, in Sudan, Africa, as well as refugee work in Central America following ordination, he encountered the messiah, Jesus incarnate in the poor. At the same time, the relevance of Jesus as a real shepherd inserting himself between the danger of wolf or thief and the flock in his care inspired this Jesuit to try to imitate Jesus. His current collaboration with Catholic Workers and the Pacific Life Community confirms the analysis that the nukes represent, just in their making, a contemporary larceny from the poor, while the wolf, the imminent danger of their use, demands the embodiment of Isaiah 2:4. Will that hammering wake us, those professing faith in a loving God, from our idolatrous slumbers?
Lynne Greenwald is the mother of three children and has worked professionally as a Registered Nurse, Family Therapist and Social Worker for nearly 40 years. She has also been actively involved in the Nonviolent Peace Movement since the mid-1970s. Lynne moved to Kitsap County in Washington State 26 years ago to join Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and to become a neighbor to families involved with the Trident Base and other facilities in this predominately military community. ³While the existence of Trident is obvious, the truth of Trident's nuclear threats and illegality remains hidden. My action of conversion today is one committed out of love for all life.³
Anne Montgomery is an eighty-three year old Religious of the Sacred Heart and former teacher in high schools and programs for dropouts and learning disabled children. As a member of the Gulf Peace Team in 1991 and of Christian Peacemaker Teams from 1995 to 2009 she served in Iraq and Palestine. Since 1980 she has been active in the Plowshares movement and other forms of civil resistance to U.S. militarism, especially nuclear weapons. Since 2005 she has also participated in Witness Against Torture and the Free Gaza boat trip to open the port of Gaza. She acts now to support all efforts to convert weapons of death into resources for human life, especially for the most neglected and oppressed of the threatened earth.
Susan Crane is the mother of two sons, and has taught at a school for marginalized youth in California. More recently she has lived at Jonah House, a nonviolent community in Baltimore, which speaks out against all warmaking, and specifically nuclear weapons. Aware that we take better care of nuclear weapons than of our nation's children, and that we spend more than half of every federal tax dollar on warmaking rather than human needs, she acts to transform these weapons of mass destruction to life- giving materials.
Bill Bichsel, a Tacoma native, entered the Jesuit Order in 1946 and after studies and teaching was ordained a Jesuit in 1959. He has served in parishes, taught in high schools, and was Dean of Students at Gonzaga from 1963-1966. In 1969 he returned to Tacoma where he served at St. Leo's Parish for over 7 years and then co-founded the Tacoma Catholic Worker (Guadalupe House) which offers hospitality and transitional housing to the homeless. The Guadalupe Community lives in the nonviolent tradition of Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker foundress. Bichsel still resides and serves at the Tacoma Catholic Worker-one mile from where he was born and raised. He has served jail and prison terms many times for his resistance to the violence of the Trident nuclear weapon system and the violence of the S.O.A. training at Ft. Benning, GA. He believes that unless we, the American people, actively work to abolish nuclear weapons we as a people will continue to threaten destruction to the global
community and continue to deprive the poor of the world of resources necessary for life.
Fact Sheet: Trident Submarine & Missile System
Trident submarines serve as the sea based nuclear launch system of the Air, Land, and Sea Nuclear Triad supported by the US government. The U.S. currently has 14 nuclear-powered Trident ballistic-missile (SSBN) submarines. Trident submarines are 560 feet in length, or nearly two football fields. Each submarine can carry 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) designated Trident D5 and each missile can carry up to eight 100 kiloton nuclear warheads (about 30 times the explosive force as the Hiroshima bomb).
The Trident D5 missile stands 44.6 feet high and originally had a range of 4,230 nautical miles with a full load of warheads, and up to 6000+ nautical miles with a reduced load of warheads. Upgrades and Life Extension Programs may have changed some specifications. Warheads are either Mark-4/W76 or Mark-5/W88.
100: Number of kilotons on ONE Trident W76 warhead
455: Number of kilotons on ONE Trident W88 warhead
345,600: Total number of kilotons deployed on Trident fleet
14: Number of kilotons on atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima
150,000: Number of people killed by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima
1,028 minimum; 4,885 maximum: Number of potential ³Hiroshimas² each Trident is capable of destroying
$66,000,000: Price of ONE Trident II D5 missile
14: Number of nuclear- armed submarines the Navy wants to deploy through 2042
$60,000,000: Cost of health insurance for 60,000 children
$10,000,000,000: Annual cost of providing sanitary water to 2.4 billion people worldwide who now lack it
$59,000,000,000: Cost of building housing for 6000,000 homeless families in the US
$170,200,000,000 (low estimate): Total cost of the ENTIRE Trident program through year 2042
Naval Submarine Base Kitsap-Bangor is located 20 miles west of Seattle on the deep waters of Hood Canal in Washington State. It is the home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2,000 nuclear warheads. This is approximately 24% of the entire U.S. arsenal. The Bangor Base presently houses more nuclear warheads than the countries of England, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea combined.
There are eight Tridents based at the Bangor Base; six operate out of Kings Bay, GA. The Trident submarines at Bangor are likely to be used first in any nuclear attack, either as an isolated tactical assault on a specific site, bunker, or weapons location, or in a larger strategic nuclear attack. The D5 missile is capable of traveling over 1,370 miles in less than 13 minutes, allowing for a US nuclear strike anywhere on planet earth within 15 minutes.
by William J. Bichsel, S.J.
On November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, by the grace of God I choose to enter the Trident Submarine Base at Bangor Washington. I wish to walk to the idolatrous place of nuclear weapon bunkers where lethal force is authorized to guard the hiding places of the most lethal forces in the world. I wish to walk in solidarity with the poor of our world who live with lethal force constantly directed against them. My vulnerability to this lethal force is minimal compared to the lifetime vulnerability of the condemned of our world. My compelling reason for entering the Trident Submarine Base is to be present at this Auschwitz place in order to witness in faith to the transforming power of Jesus' non-violence and Resurrection which can turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh and compassion. At this place of global death and hopelessness I wish to witness in faith to the life giving and transforming power of this presence which can expel the demon of violence from the hearts and minds of people
possessed by the need for nuclear weapons. I believe the life giving power of the Resurrection can flow over the nuclear death machine and stop its destructive force. Compassion can then grow in hearts and minds of people who have been liberated from the prison of fear and violence.
Millions upon millions of people throughout our world live with lethal force being directed against them. Our brothers and sisters and children live in war ravaged places where violence reigns and starvation, disease, absence of medical resources, absence of shelter eventually bring death. One hour from our shores in Haiti, where one in twelve children do not reach the age of five, parents give children mud cakes made of earth, oil, sugar and salt to diminish the effects of hunger pains. From the Sudan to Sub Saharan Africa, mothers watch as their infants and children become emaciated with swollen stomachs and lifeless eyes then die. All of these lethal forces are authorized.
In the U.S., except for the poor, we have been protected and insulated from the death sentences under which half of the earth's population lives. The drive for security has numbed our citizens to accept nuclear weapons as the ultimate protector of the American way of life. In effect this choice means the acceptance of the use of nuclear weapons if the United States considers itself threatened. The people of the United States accept the deaths of millions of people if a preempted strike is ordered. Thus the use of lethal force is authorized.
Across our nation there are vast numbers of U.S. citizens who face lethal forces directed against them which are not as immediate or instantaneously murderous as the lethal forces directed against the 3rd world poor. In our capitalistic system there are many who will not receive the health care, education, employment, appropriate housing and nutrition needed to live full human lives in this culture. These forces attack the body, soul and spirit of our citizens which eventually bring death of the spirit and then the body. This is especially true of one segment of our population - the mentally-ill, who live on the streets, under bridges, in door ways, jungle camps or in jails and prisons. They belong nowhere. They die. These lethal forces are also authorized.
The continued possession of nuclear weapons by the United States means that resources that could be used to divert the lethal forces that are now killing the poor of our world will continue to be used to fuel the killing machine.
Father Richard McSorley, S.J. has maintained that ³the tap root of violence in our society is the acceptance of nuclear weapons.² We must bend our efforts to make known the Non Proliferation Treaty Review which will take place on May 2, 2010 at the United Nations. By our presence we must insist that the NPT Review Committee in the very near future organize a nuclear weapon global conference of these treaty nations which will set a firm date for nuclear weapon abolition.
Some thoughts about going onto Naval Base Kitsap/Bangor
by Susan Crane
All Soul's Day, Nov. 2, 2009
Today in the US more and more people are coming to food pantries, needing food for their families. The numbers of home foreclosures increase, leaving families homeless; unemployment increases; and many, even those with health insurance, can't get their basic health needs met. Class size increases as teachers are laid off and dropout rates increase. Many returning vets must struggle for benefits. States are near bankruptcy, and our infrastructure is falling apart. And day by day climate change threatens us all.
As a nation, we know all this. We experience it personally, and hear it on the nightly news. But what we don't hear is that there may be solutions to these problems. We need to look at where, as a nation, we are allocating our resources: where do our federal tax dollars go? Where do our brightest and best scientists find work? Where do our idealistic and dedicated youth end up? We know that over half of every federal tax dollar is used for warmaking. And we know that the American people never have a chance to vote on a bond issue for the next fighter plane or nuclear weapon. Every dollar that is used for warmaking, killing or planning to kill other people, is a dollar that is not used for human needs, or healing the earth.
Here in Washington state, I was thinking about the Trident submarines which have nuclear warheads on them, and are constantly roaming the oceans. There are 8 subs homeported here at Naval Base Kitsap/Bangor. And each of these subs carries 24 Trident II D-5 missiles, and each of the missiles carries multiple nuclear warheads. Some of the warheads are 32 times the explosive heat and blast of the bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The Trident subs are stealthy, and at sea their location is secret. They can launch nuclear weapons to anywhere in the world in 15 minutes, which is a constant threat to people in other nations. Here in the US we don't live under a threat like that.
My faith tradition teaches me that we are to love our enemies, to love one another. Planning to kill others is not an act of loveŠIndiscriminate killing of whole cites of people, animals and plants is not an act of love.
Here in the northwest where the Trident subs are homeported, the land is beautiful; the trees are aromatic; the water is healing. And I hope that we come to our senses and experience this land we live in, and realize that we-and people all over the earth-are brothers and sisters. There is no ³us² and ³them². As individuals and as a nation; we all have good in us; we all have a shadow side. We can all work together if we choose to.
With hope for peace and disarmament, the five us, Steve Kelly, S.J, Lynne Greenwald, Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, Bill Bichsel, S.J. and myself, go to Naval Base Kitsap/Bangor on All Soul's Day. We remember the 150 million people killed by warmaking and related consequences of war in the last 100 years. It is in solidarity with all who live in lethal force zones that we enter the lethal force zone on the naval base.
We bring our own blood to pour on the missiles, nuclear weapons, trident subs, or perhaps on the railroad tracks that carry the weapons. We pour our blood to remind us all of the consequences of warmaking. We bring hammers to enflesh the words of Isaiah to hammer swords into plowshares. We bring sunflower seeds to sow to begin to convert the base, and we bring disarmed hearts in hope of a disarmed world. I go onto the base with the support of all at Jonah House, in Baltimore, carrying their prayers in my hip pocket.
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Audio Visual Interviews with Disarm Now Plowshares
News Release - Arraignment for Disarm Now Plowshares Activists January 6th
On Thursday, December 31, Plowshares activists received a cover letter
and Order for Dismissal from Jenny A. Durkan, United States Attorney,
and Barbara J. Sievers, Assistant United States Attorney. The letter
was addressed to Magistrate Judge Karen L. Strombom, in the US
District Court in Tacoma Washington.
The cover letter stated: “Attached hereto is an Order for Dismissal
in the above-entitled case. Our office is working with the relevant
law enforcement agencies to determine whether felony charges should be
filed as to the underlying conduct in this case. As a result, we do
not intend to proceed as to these misdemeanor charges at this time. “
Consequently, there will be no arraignment on January 6th at the US
District Court for Bill Bichsel, S.J., Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald,
Steve Kelly, S.J., and Anne Montgomery, RSCJ.
The Plowshares Five are perplexed about where the decisions are coming
from and what the politics are behind the decisions.
“On Nov 2, 2009, we were able to walk into a high security area where
the nuclear weapons were stored, we were detained with hoods over our
heads for hours, and then, later in the day, we were released without
giving addresses or signing citations,” Susan Crane reflected, “and
now the misdemeanor charges against us are suddenly dropped!”
US Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor has the largest stockpile of illegal
nuclear weapons in the country. This stockpile holds nuclear warheads
for the Trident D-5 missiles.
Fr. Bill Bichsel reflected, “We understand our civil resistance
action to be the upholding of international and domestic law. We
would be complicit in our country’s illegal course of action if we did
not show our willingness to uphold the law. The Trident subs, with
their illegal nuclear warheads, roam the seas, and are a constant
threat to those the US considers “enemy.”
Meanwhile, support for their Plowshares action, international law and
the abolition of nuclear weapons grows. Over 300 people, and 30
organizations have joined Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, West Wing
“President” Martin Sheen, and Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J.
Gumbleton in signing the Disarm Now Plowshares support statement.
And in Japan, Mr. Sekiguchi, the Director of NBC Nagasaki T.V. has
said that the information about the Disarm Now Plowshares is being
translated in Japanese, and that the support for the Plowshares action
in Japan is growing.
The Disarm Now Plowshares activists will continue to vigil at the gate
of Naval Base Kitsap, and invite everyone to join them at the Martin
Luther King celebration at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent
Action, in Poulsbo, Washington, on Saturday, January 16, 2010.
For continued updates go to:
5 1/2 min Video: 80+ year old Jesuit anarchist Bill Bischiel talks about Bangor nuke base break-in
Disarm Now Plowshares Indicted by Grand Jury
Arraignment in Washington state Oct. 8th.
Bishop Tutu's Letter of Support for "Disarm Now Plowshares"
Background and Updates on "Disarm Now Plowshares"