Quotable

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones
-Albert Einstein (contemplating nuclear devastation)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Puget Sound has KILOTONS of nuclear weapons!

By Martha Baskin*

The advertisement catches you by surprise. Plastered on the side of Seattle’s King County Metro bus, it hurls you momentarily back to a time when nuclear weapons were an imminent threat to our survival. Or did that era ever end? The ad—sponsored by local Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action—reads: “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.” Behind this text is a map, depicting the proximity of Seattle to Naval Base Kitsap, located on the eastern shore of Hood Canal, one of the four main basins in Washington state’s Puget Sound. The base is home port for 8 of the U.S. Navy’s 14 Trident ballistic missile submarines as well as an underground nuclear weapons storage complex. Together they’re believed to store more than 1,300 nuclear warheads, according to Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

Ground Zero's bus ad in motion on a Seattle Metro Transit bus


Arguably the biggest single concentration of nuclear warheads in the world


King County Metro was initially hesitant to run the ad, until Kristensen confirmed its accuracy. The combined explosive power contained in the base is equivalent to more than 14,000 Hiroshima bombs, he says. But the most surprising thing to him about the underground nuclear weapons storage complex—known as the Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWF-PAC), and completed in 2012—is the extent to which a $294 million bunker has largely escaped public debate, except for a few industry-related articles.

The small non-profit behind the ad shares a land border with the naval base. It launched when Robert Aldridge, an engineer for Lockheed Martin in California—the arms manufacturer has a facility at the base to ensure that Trident D5 ballistic missiles are ready for deployment on the subs—quit his job directing missile design when he saw they could be used in a preemptive first strike against the Soviet Union.

According to Ground Zero’s Glen Milner, Aldridge then contacted two peace activists—Catholic theologian Jim Douglass and his wife Shelley—and the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was formed. For a time Ground Zero was successful in engaging the public. When the first Trident warship arrived in Hood Canal in 1982, several thousand protesters gathered on shore and a small flotilla of boats went out to meet it. The U.S. Coast Guard kept them at bay by severing outboard gas lines and threatening to use firehoses. When nuclear warheads began to arrive at Naval Base Kitsap on rail cars from the Pantex assembly plant in north Texas, momentum in the anti-nuclear movement began to build. The rail cars were initially white, says Milner. As a result, the “white trains” became a focal point, not only for anti-nuclear weapons protesters in Washington, but around the country. The trains were met by protesters on their way to Bangor. After that, the Department of Energy stopped shipping warheads by train and began moving them via unmarked trucks and trailers.


In Seattle’s Backyard


The enormous amount of nuclear weaponry in Seattle’s backyard is no secret to industry analysts, military contractors, and public officials. But the general public is less informed, say those who initiated the Ground Zero’s bus campaign. They describe the goals of the advertisements as two-fold: to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the naval base, and to re-ignite public debate about nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal. “This is a wake up call,” says Ground Zero’s Leonard Eiger. “Why do these nuclear weapons exist 70 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Why do we continue to not only deploy them, but why are we maintaining them and planning for a new fleet that could run over $100 billion? What are the economic, political, and social costs?” The Washington Military Alliance—a group formally established in 2014 by Governor Jay Inslee, which advocates for military investment in the state—claims that Naval Base Kitsap is a driving economic force in the region. The U.S. Navy has presented a plan to spend more than a trillion dollars during the next 30 years upgrading and maintaining the entire triad of U.S. based nuclear weapons, according to Martin Fleck of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a group that advocates for nuclear disarmament. This includes over $100 billion to replace the base’s nuclear submarines. The plan was approved by Obama in 2010.

“We and our allies,” says Fleck, “are arguing for sanity with nuclear weapons given that we have enough already to end the world several times over. Why on earth would we invest another trillion dollars in them at this late date?” Nuclear weapons contractors in the United States brought in $334 billion in government contracts between 2012 and 2014, according to research conducted by Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Adam Smith, (D-WA), has questioned the nuclear spending currently being proposed. Smith joined 159 other members of the House of Representatives to support an amendment to the House Defense Appropriations bill which would have slashed funding for a nuclear cruise missile. Both Lockheed Martin and Boeing Corporation weighed in to oppose the amendment, and it was defeated along partisan lines. But the vote, says PSR’s Fleck, proved that Congress is far from united over the government’s massive WMD spending plan. Smith later penned an op-ed for Foreign Policy magazine, titled “America Already Has More Than Enough Nuclear Missiles.”

Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists disputes whether a new nuclear arms race is underway, but admits there’s been a resurgence in the adversarial relationship between the United States and Russia. As a result, “nuclear weapons are gradually becoming more explicit. For now, this is fueling modernization of arsenals and adjustments of operations and strategies.” Nine nations, including China and North Korea, are engaged in building or modernizing their nuclear arsenal. In the face of this, those behind Ground Zero’s bus advertisement say it’s time to “demilitarize diplomacy.”

“It’s time to step back from building another generation of nuclear weapons,” says Eiger. “The doctrine came out of the Cold War but it still exists. It’s a dangerous road to travel.”

*Martha Baskin is a Seattle-based journalist and environmental reporter. She was one of the founding reporters for Pacifica's Free Speech Radio News and has been a contributor to the National Radio Project's Making Contact.. This article was originally published at Crosscut.com on July1 26, 2016. Original article source URL: http://crosscut.com/2016/07/reminder-puget-sound-nuclear-weapons-naval-base-bangor-kitsap-ground-zero/

Monday, November 28, 2016

Praying and Fasting for Standing Rock in Seattle

Dear Friends,

Brother Senji Kanaeda (of the Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Miyohoji Buddhist Temple) will fast and pray for the water and earth protectors of Standing Rock. All are welcome to join Senji during this time of fasting and prayer.

Where: Victor Steinbruck (Indian) Park, 2001 Western Ave Seattle
When: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 1st, Friday, December 2nd, and Saturday, December 3rd.

Note: If there is a problem with this location, he will move to Seattle Center near the John T. Williams memorial totem pole.

Senji will also fast and pray in Suquamish near the casino on Dec 5 and 6 from 9am to 4pm each day.

The Rohachi (prayers and fasting) is a Zen practice that begins December 1st and runs through December 7th. The final day is December 8th, which is the Buddha's enlightenment. In fasting, one concentrates the mind on the present moment, and our intentions have greater clarity.

The Nipponzan Myohoji order Rohachi practice of fasting and prayers has been focused on abolishing of Nuclear weapons, nuclear plants and ending disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima. Founder monk Nichidatsu Fujii requested in the early 1960s that monks and nuns support the Indigenous American and Afro-American peoples.

Again, all are welcome to join Senji. You are not required to fast - that is a matter of personal discernment). You may simply come and sit with him in peace and in solidarity with Standing Rock.

Note: If there are any changes (location, etc.), I will provide that information in this post.

In Peace and Solidarity with Standing Rock and with our Mother Earth,

Leonard

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August Greetings from Ground Zero Center

Greetings Friends of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action,
 
It's Summer time at Ground Zero Center, and the resistance is easy. OK, so it's not that easy, but sometimes it seems that way as we become so immersed in the spirit and practice of nonviolence that it flows like a river, albeit a slow meandering one.  
The historic deal with Iran is held in the balance even as very powerful interests seek to crush it before it has a chance. Fortunately the UN Security Council voted unanimously for it, and most of the world is behind it. That being said, there are some - and you know who - that just don't like it. John Oliver gave a brilliant analysis of the situation.
 
Under our agreement, Iran will not be able to produce even the minute amount of  material necessary to strap onto a suicide hamster, which could then be placed in a mailbox. To a man, Republicans stridently complain, and maintain that there must be a ‘better deal’ out there!  A ‘better deal’ than what?  Of the 90 pertinent pages of the deal, they have read exactly – none".  Lindsey Graham deserves some points for honesty. After complaining about the Iran deal on an interview program, Graham was asked if he’d read the deal, and admitted he had not. John Boehner too, skipped straight to complaining and nay saying without reading a single word. Thery're like a four-year-old who claims he doesn’t like broccoli. He hasn’t tasted it, he just knows he isn’t going to like it.  Maybe we should call it The US-IRAN Broccoli Deal?
 
So now you know! Ironically, Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Israel is not. And who, in the Middle East, already has nuclear weapons??? The future of the Middle East and that of non-proliferation efforts lie in the balance.
 
Meanwhile, we continue to work toward a vision of a nonviolent world without nuclear weapons. The Peace Fleet once again sailed into Seattle's Elliott Bay for the annual parade of warships during Seafair. This year Peace Fleet made a fine showing with 13 Peace Fleet sailors in six kayaks, a 32-foot sailboat, and a 16-foot open boat. About 25 Peace Fleet supporters met on Piers 62/63. Thanks to Veterans for Peace for their strong presence for peace on the shore. The Interfaith Peace Walk is currently on the road, having started this year's walk in Salem Oregon, home of the largest presence of Marshall Islanders outside of the Marshall Islands. And of course GZ people are working hard to create a warm welcome to all for our annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki weekend of remembrance and action. So what can we all do this August to help move humanity toward a nuclear weapons free future? Read on and see; there is, quite literally, something for everyone!
 
THINGS TO DO THIS AUGUST
 
*Join an event/action near you. If you are in the Puget Sound Region join Ground Zero Center from August 7th through the 10th for our annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki weekend of remembrance and action. Click here for the full schedule and more. If your are not from these parts find an event going on near you by clicking here. You can still join the Pacific Northwest Interfaith Peace Walk, even for a day. Click here to find the latest detailed schedule and contact information for the walk. More actions by other organizations further on in this email.
 
 
*Pass out leaflets with some very interesting facts on the bombings of HIroshima and Nagasaki. The leaflet was prepared by Ground Zero Leafleteers, and also invites people to join us for our annual event. Click here to download the leaflet
 
*Write a Letter to the Editor. Click here for some ideas from Physicians for Social Responsibility. Click here for submission guidelines for a host of newspapers around the country.
 
*Send a message to President Obama to keep his promise! It was President Obama who created the expectation that our country would lead a global effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons.  In his Prague speech in April, 20009 he committed the U.S. to this goal: “I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”
 
*Join the International Fast commemorating the atomic bombings. Click here for all the details and contacts for more information.
 
*Join in the 70th anniversary "Thunderclap!"  PSR has partnered with Nuclear Threat Initiative and other sister organizations in a massive social media campaign to raise awareness about nuclear weapons. Check it out if your a TWITTER user.
 
OTHER EVENTS AROUND THE SOUND
 
"Little Boy (folded)" at Seattle Asian Art Museum. On Wednesday, August 5th In honor of the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility is facilitating the exhibition of a powerful sculpture on the front steps of the Seattle Asian Art Museum. It will be on display all day on Wednesday, August 5th, 9:00AM to 6:00PM, and the artist (whose grandfather was a Nagasaki survivor) will be on hand to speak with visitors. Please read the press release to fully understand this exhibit. There is a Facebook page for the event.    https://www.facebook.com/events/813325002119564/
Hiroshima to Hope lantern ceremony at Seattle's Green Lake, August 6, starting at 6:00PM. Many from Ground Zero and the Peace Walk will participate. Click here to learn more at their website. Click here for their Facebook page.
 
Bike Around the Bomb on Sunday, August 9th at 2:00 PM at the International Fountain, Seattle Center, Seattle. Join Global Zero on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan as we cycle what would be the edge of a “small” nuclear blast in Seattle and call on President Obama to keep his promise to “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” The event will be one of many corresponding events around the world, serving as a powerful reminder that nuclear weapons were designed to wipe cities like ours off the map. Click here to RSVP for the event.
 
The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action Facebook page is the place to be to keep up with everything we're up to and lots more. We also have a Facebook page dedicated to the NO To NEW TRIDENT campaign, and the campaign has its own website as well at NOTNT.ORG. And for now, until the Ground Zero website is rebuilt you can get all the details on events at the Puget Sound Nuclear Free Zone blog's "Local Events Calendar." Send your questions or suggestions to either info@gzcenter.org or gznonviolencenews@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
 
Toward the "peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,"
 
Leonard (for everyone at Ground Zero Center)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This Day in History - Transform Now Plowshares

On July 28, 2012, Sr. Megan Rice, SHCJ, 84yrs, Michael Walli, 64yrs, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59yrs hiked a ridge and cut through four fences to reach the new U.S. storehouse for Highly Enriched Uranium, which is needed for the production of thermonuclear weapons. These weapons, used to threaten other nations, are in violation of the U.S. Principles of Nuremberg (U.S. Law), in which citizens are directed to resist illegal acts by their government. The refurbishing of the weapons is in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in which the U.S. pledges complete nuclear disarmament.

The scene of the (non) crime

July 28, 2012 – The alleged airtight security of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, promulgated over the decades by numerous U.S. government representatives from the Oval Office, the nuclear weapons laboratories, to include the Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that unauthorized access to and theft of U.S. nuclear weapons was virtually impossible suffered yet another blow when a small group of Christian pacifists belonging to the anti-nuclear Ploughshares movement (an organization involved in dozens of protests over the years at the Nevada Test Site and other components of the U.S. nuclear complex) breached the Y-12 National Security Complex  in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  On this Saturday evening, Sister Megan Rice, 82 years old, Michael Walli, 63, and Gregory Boertje-Obed, 57, cut through the barbed-wire fences at the Oak Ridge complex, which holds enough highly-enriched uranium to make thousands of nuclear warheads, and proceeded to splash human blood on the windowless uranium processing building’s walls, spray-paint peace symbols, and drape the access doors with crime-scene tape.   After being convicted in May 2013, Sister Rice and the two men spent two years in prison before a May 8, 2015 appellate court ruling held that the U.S. government had overreached in charging them with sabotage and ordered them released.  Comments:  Sister Rice follows in the footsteps of a long line of other nonviolent anti-nuclear activists, both religious and secular, who feel that the U.S. and other Nuclear Club members are violating global disarmament pledges and unwittingly threatening the world with nuclear disaster.  “It’s making countries feel compelled to have weapons.  If you have them, we have to have them.  We don’t want to end the (nuclear) industry.  We want to transition it into something that’s useful.  What could be better than making something that’s life-enhancing rather than life-destroying?” (Source:  Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, http://www.wagingpeace.org/july-this-month-in-nuclear-threat-history-2/  Original source: William J. Broad.  “Sister Megan Rice, Freed From Prison, Looks Ahead to More Anti-Nuclear Activism.”  New York Times. May 26, 2015.  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/27/science/sister-megan-rice-anti-nuclear-weapons-activist-freed )

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July Ground Zero Newsletter just released!

Hello again from Ground Zero Center,
 
The Fireworks are over, and now it's time to declare our independence from (and speak out against) every injustice, including war and nuclear weapons!
 
Besides a couple of items I forgot in the last email newsletter, our Editor in Chief, Alice Zillah, just released the mid-Summer issue of the Ground Zero Newsletter. Don't miss it - a great way to stay connected with our work. Click here to read the July 2015 issue!
 
Ground Zero resister Brenda McMillan is scheduled to appear in Kitsap County District Court on Wednesday, July 22nd for a mitigation hearing resulting from her blocking the entrance road to the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base during Ground Zero Center's Mothers Day weekend nonviolent direct action. Brenda is scheduled to appear on Wednesday, July 22nd at 1:15 PM. If you are in the area, please help us pack the courtroom to witness Brenda telling the Judge her reasons for her action. The courthouse is located at 614 Division Street in Port Orchard. Click here for a campus map with parking information. The courthouse is also served by public transportation.
 
We have a poster for the upcoming August weekend Hiroshima/Nagasaki weekend of remembrance (and action). Thanks to Ed Digilio for creating this year's poster. Click here to view or download the PDF version of the poster. Please print and post them wherever you think they will generate interest (AND participation) in the event.
 

If you've finished reading all the articles I referenced in my last email, I have some hot new ones for you. Street Spirit is a publication of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) San Francisco that reports extensively on a wide variety of important issues. The June 8th issue contains three extensive historical articles on Ground Zero, including an interview with Jim Douglass. Click here to read Life at Ground Zero of the Nuclear Arms Race. There are links for the other two articles at the end.
 
And don't forget to join one of the upcoming events on this the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Besides the events around Puget Sound, there will be many other events around the nation and around the world. Physicians for Social Responsibility has a listing of events in many cities around the country. Click here to find one near you.
 
The Tacoma Catholic Worker's "Retirement Party for Nuclear Weapons" got it right! It is high time to retire nuclear weapons after 70 years. Based on the U.S. government's current modernization efforts, it's not looking like the President, Pentagon or Congress got the news. Of course, recent headlines don't help - "New Pacific Russian Nuclear Missile Submarine Facility Could Open by October" was the recent headline in the US Naval Institute News. As I said when I posted it to the NO To NEW TRIDENT Facebook page, that headline likely has the Pentagon and Congress screaming "The Russians Are Coming!" But let's not lose perspective. One paragraph in this article reminds us of the real reason behind the Russian ballistic missile submarine resurgence:

"At the height of the Cold War, the Russian Navy based more than a dozen SSBNs at the Kamchatka Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base but that number dwindled following the collapse of the Soviet Union." Of course, the U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet never "dwindled" after the Berlin Wall fell. In fact, Trident patrols continued at near Cold War levels and still do. Is it really such a mystery why the Soviets are rebuilding their fleet?

We certainly don't need another "foolish and wasteful arms race that dominated the Cold War period," to quote Walter Pincus in a recent Washington Post article. And Trident (particularly New Trident) is front and center in this new and rapidly developing arms race. We must keep Trident, and particularly New Trident, front and center in the debate about nuclear weapons.

I've never been a fan of forced retirement, although in the case of Trident and all nuclear weapons I will make an exception. Scrap Trident for humanity's sake!
 
Peace,
 
Leonard