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)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Peace Fleet meets the War Fleet on August 1st

Peace activists to meet the U.S. Navy Fleet arrival at Seafair on August 1, 2012 in Elliott Bay
Contact:     Glen Milner (206) 365-7865
                  Mary Gleysteen (360) 265-1589
                  Day of the event (206) 979-8319

Local activists will stage a water-based nonviolent protest against the glorification of weapons of war at the Seattle Seafair festival.  Peace activists will meet the U.S. Navy fleet in Elliott Bay.

Other peace activists will meet on land near Pier 66 and on Pier 62/63 on the Seattle waterfront at the same time for a nonviolent demonstration against weapons of war.  Demonstrators on land will meet with members of the 2012 Pacific NorthwestInterfaith Peace Walk, who began their walk for peace in Portland on July 22.

What:  Peace activists will meet the U.S. Navy fleet arrival at Seafair.  This is the eleventh year for this demonstration. 

When:  Wednesday, August 1, noon, Peace Fleet in Elliott Bay.  Demonstration on land near Pier 66 at 1 PM.

Where:  Elliott Bay, near Pier 66.  Demonstration on land near Pier 66.

For the fourth year, the Coast Guard has established a special “safety” or no-protest zone around Pier 66 during the fleet arrival.  The zone serves no other purpose than to keep peace vessels away from the pass and review area for the arrival of Navy vessels on the waterfront.  Last year, the roof top of Pier 66 was declared a “private event” and only invited guests were allowed into the area.  This year the Coast Guard has proposed rulemaking for a new regulation with broader definitions for security zones for the fleet arrival.

Why would we demonstrate for peace at a Seattle maritime festival?

Because the celebration of warships in our harbor helps bring about the normalcy of modern war.

The fleet arrival at Seafair is a public relations and recruiting event for the U.S. Navy.  Previous years have brought Trident nuclear submarines complete with nuclear warheads and Navy warships used to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles in the first and second Wars on Iraq and the War on Afghanistan.  The fleet is displayed for four days in downtown Seattle at tremendous cost to taxpayers while crucial social services in education, health care, and transportation are being cut for lack of funds.

Peace Fleet Flagship, 2010

Fact Sheet--Peace activists to meet U.S. Navy Fleet at Seafair on August 1, 2012

Since 2000, anti-war demonstrators have met the Navy fleet arrival in Elliott Bay only to face “security” restrictions by the Coast Guard, Navy and the Port of Seattle.

The new proposed rule is a continuation of attempts that began in 2008 by the Coast Guard to limit demonstrations at the Seafair fleet arrival in Elliott Bay.  The new proposed rule also ignores much public discussion under the previous rule-making procedures and is an attempt to gradually reduce areas for demonstrators in Elliott Bay.  The Coast Guard’s summary of recent rulemaking is at http://www.d13publicaffairs.com/go/doc/21/1099339. 

The Coast Guard proposes to establish a new regulation, 33 CFR 165.1333, which states that “no person or vessel may enter or remain in the security zones… without permission of the COTP.”  This essentially establishes a 500-yard exclusionary zone in which vessel operators must gain permission from the Captain of the Port in order to “enter or remain” in the moving security zones.  The proposed rule is at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR%252BPR%252BN%252BO%252BSR%252BPS;rpp=25;po=0;D=USCG-2011-1126.

Previous rule-making and the previous final rule restricting vessels during the fleet arrival is at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR%252BPR%252BN%252BO%252BSR%252BPS;rpp=25;po=0;D=USCG-2010-0062.

On March 2, 2012, Jeffrey Blumberg of the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, U.S. Department of Homeland Security completed an investigation of the Coast Guard’s rulemaking procedure in the Puget Sound region.  The finding, in response to Complaint No. 10-08-USCG-0124, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, stated:

As a result of our investigation, we recommended that the USCG work more closely with interested community groups prior to the implementation of exclusion zones, and that appropriate First Amendment concerns be carefully weighed before the creation of exclusion zone rules.  The Coast Guard has concurred with these recommendations.

 However, the Coast Guard never informed individuals in the Puget Sound region and only posted the latest proposed rule in the Federal Register.

There has never been a known or anticipated threat for the Seafair fleet arrival.  The latest available threat assessment, the Port of Seattle Police Seafair 2009 Operations Plan under Terrorist Threats and Activity, stated, “There are no specific threats of violence and no information relating to Seafair that would indicate an increased threat level.”  

A violation of safety zones at Seafair could bring an arrest and a charge resulting in up to six years in jail and/or a $250,000 fine.  The Coast Guard, in addition to establishing the rule, is the same agency that enforces the rule, charges, and rules against any perceived violators in a Coast Guard hearing conducted by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer.

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