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, April 18, 2011

Anabel Dwyer on the Bangor Second Explosives Handling Wharf

Here is a comment submitted on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor from Anabel Dwyer, Esq, a Michigan attorney and Board Member of The Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP), the US branch of the International Association of Lawyers’ Against Nuclear Weapons (IALANA). She has studied, lectured, taught and written widely on public international law in particular human rights and humanitarian law (the laws of war) and nuclear weapons.

Among her many professional accomplishments, Anabel was a member of the IALANA Legal Team for the World Court Project during the 1995 International Court of Justice (ICJ) Oral Hearings on Legality of Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons. (The World Court concluded that nuclear weapons were illegal under international law.)

Most recently Anabel assisted the Disarm Now Plowshares throughout their journey through the Federal (in)justice system.

Comment on the DEIS for the Trident Naval Base Kitsap Bangor Explosive Handling Wharf
By Anabel Dwyer, Board Member, Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement(DEIS) regarding the proposed Trident Naval Base Kitsap Bangor Explosive Handling Wharf (EHW)is wholly inadequate because it does not consider the environmental impact of accidental or purposeful detonation of the Trident nuclear and conventional explosives for which the wharf is designed.

According to the DEIS the purpose and need to construct a new Explosive Handling Wharf (EHW) at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor (NBK Bangor) is “to support future Trident programs requirements for the eight Trident submarines currently home-ported at NBK Bangor and the Trident(D5) Strategic Weapons System.”

Yet in its stated commitment to core values the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP),author of the DEIS and private contract coordinator, vows to “do what is right and honest and always tell the truth.”

The question that needs asking is not only whether the Navy needs a new EHW but what is right and honest and who is telling the truth.

As we speak, the Disarm Now Plowshares, two Fathers, two Grandmothers and a Sister, all elderly, are incarcerated in the SeaTac Federal Penitentiary. Their crime was to enter the NBK Bangor Base to peaceably put up a banner stating the truth, “Disarm Now: Trident Illegal and Immoral.”

The SSP and the Navy base their pursuit of a new EHW on the presumed legality of the “life extension” program for the eight Trident submarines home-ported at the Kitsap Bangor Naval Base to provide a “credible deterrent” until at least the year 2042.

But let’s be honest and truthful. We all know or should know that the vast and indiscriminate heat, blast and radiation of any Trident nuclear weapon cannot be controlled in space or time.

A credible deterrent is an active, ever-present, real and fundamentally unlawful threat to unleash these weapons by accident or design.

The Trident is a grotesque weapon of mass destruction that inherently violates the Navy’s law of armed conflict which prohibits any weapon such as the Trident that is incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets.

We all have a legal obligation to “pursue in good-faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.”

Because of the continuing very serious contamination problems at the Hanford Nuclear site, citizens of the state of Washington certainly understand that the corporations that profit from building new facilities or extending the “lives” of these weapons should be held liable up front for all accidents and harms from the Trident nuclear weapons system.

There is clearly no reason for a new wharf because preparation to use or threaten to use the Trident system is fundamentally unlawful. The reality of the grave threat posed by the presence of these weapons in and from the Naval Base Kitsap Bangor can no longer be denied. For practical and environmental reasons too we need to get on with good-faith complete nuclear disarmament.

Signed: April 18, 2011 (submitted Arpril 19, 2011)
Anabel Dwyer, J.D.

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