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, August 27, 2012

Judge reduces fines for Trident nuclear resisters

A Kitsap County District Court Judge ruled in favor of four nuclear resisters in a recent ruling.

Elaine Hickman, Tom Rogers, Bert Sacks and Carlo Voli blocked entry to the main gate at the Navy’sWest coast Trident nuclear submarine base in an act of civil resistance to nuclear weapons on May 12, 2012.

The activists were part of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action's peaceful vigil at the main gate to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale, Washington in which about 50 people protested the U.S. government’s continued deployment and upgrading of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

The four protesters walked onto the roadway and unfurled a banner, which read, “Give PEACE a chance. No, seriously.” They were cited for “Pedestrian in Roadway Where Prohibited” (a traffic offense) and released at the scene.

Each of the four appeared before Judge Riehl at their July 31st mitigation hearing to explain their motivations for participating in their act of civil resistance.

Hickman, who had her thyroid removed after living downwind from the Hanford Nuclear site, warned of the dangers of nuclear weapons both in their potential use and in their production and disposal.

Rogers is a retired U.S. Navy Captain, who commanded an attack submarine and was responsible for nuclear weapons. Rogers said he felt it was his duty as a citizen to oppose their use and the threat of use as a violation of the 1996 International Court of Justice ruling.

(from left) Bert Sacks, Carlo Voli, Elaine Hickman & Tom Rogers
Voli also cited international law and protested, as a hard-working citizen, the use of 59% of his taxes without his consent for defense and war spending, including upkeep of our unnecessary nuclear capability. 

Sacks, a long-time member of Ground Zero, presented several documents to the court to support his premise that the government knowingly uses war tactics that cause deaths to civilians.

Judge Riehl accepted all the defendants' testimony and deferred his decision until after reviewing the documents presented by the defendants.

The defendants received Judge Riehl's mitigation ruling, signed on August 23rd.  The ruling reduces the defendant's fines based on their intention(s), and reads:

On May 12, 2012, each of the above Defendants was cited by law enforcement of the above civil infractions with a penalty of $56.00.  Each Defendant requested a mitigation hearing, thereby admitting they committed the infraction but requested the Court to mitigate the cost of the civil penalty based on the reasons they committed the infraction.

Unlike most defendants who commit this infraction, the Defendants in these cases did so with intent of bringing attention to their goals of eliminating nuclear weapons.  The Court has reviewed all of the material submitted by the defendants as well as considering their presentations at the court hearings.  Consistent with the previous decision of this Court, (the Court) is satisfied that the appropriate civil penalty , in each of these cases, is $25.00.
Dated 8/23/12    Judge James Riehl

Tom Rogers responded to the Judge's ruling by saying that "It is a formal acknowledgment from the court of the propriety and legitimacy of our civil disobedience in using the court to bring attention to our goal of eliminating nuclear weapons." 

Another group of resisters who blocked entry to the Bangor Main Gate on August 6th are currently awaiting confirmation of their November hearing date(s).  Of the 16 people cited, most have chosen mitigation, although one or more will contest the charge.  Details will be available at this blog as soon as hearing date(s) is/are confirmed.


Link to Judge Riehl's Mitigation Ruling: https://docs.google.com/open?id=1DDEQlur2wlOIA-PdACEIR2J5ySxKQIaml3tk5JYQU8wPzg91rC3xdny8Zyv7

Saturday, August 11, 2012

HIroshima/Nagasaki Events Video, Photos and More


People have been posting videos of Ground Zero Center's Hiroshima/Nagasaki weekend's events.  I'm also finally going through my photos, and expect to have some photos coming in and being posted from others as well.  I'll start adding the links to this post, and will keep doing so until they're all up. 



Keynote presentation by Shelley and Jim Douglass, GZ co-founders, on August 4th, by Mike McCormick, Talking Stick TV.  You can also watch it below:

Photo Slide Show of most of the Weekend's events, including the action at Bangor.

Interview with Michael Hill of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, by Mike McCormick, Talking Stick TV, on August 4th.

Lynne Greenwald speaking at Ground Zero Center for Non-violence, by Gordon Sturrock.

Cindy Sheehan at Ground Zero Center for Non-violence, August 5, 2012, by Gordon Sturrock.

Interview with Lynne Greenwald of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and one of the Disarm Now Plowshares 5, by Mike McCormick, Talking Stick TV.

Longtime Seattle Activist Dorli Rainey speaking at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action on August 4th, by Mike McCormick, Talking Stick TV.

Interview with Leonard Eiger during the nonviolent direct action on August 6th.   

Link to the leaflet "Can We Talk?" handed out at the Trigger Avenue Gate on August 6th.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Big finish for Ground Zero Center's Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemoration weekend

Peace activists stopped traffic briefly while other activists leafleted at the Navy’s West Coast Trident submarine base.

Activists with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent action held a peaceful early morning vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate as Navy and civilian employees entered the base. The vigil commemorated the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Trident submarine base at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, Washington, contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons. Each of the 8 Trident submarines at Bangor carry as many as 24 Trident II(D-5) missiles, each capable of carrying up to 8 independently targetable warheads. Each nuclear warhead has an explosive yield up to 32 times the yield of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Peace activists lined the roadside with anti-nuke signs, banners and a full-scale inflatable Trident II D-5 ballistic missile. Around 7:00 am Peacekeepers from Ground Zero entered the road to safely stop incoming traffic. Three activists entered the roadway carrying a banner with the message “Abolish Nuclear Weapons.” Washington State Patrol officers escorted the protestors to the median for processing.
Resisters (from left to right): Betsy Lamb, George Rodkey & Ann Havill
(photo by Leonard Eiger)
Almost immediately, another group of activists entered the roadway with a banner bearing the message “Give Peace a Chance. No, Seriously.” As they were being removed from the roadway two more groups carried banners calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons onto the roadway in the same sequence and were subsequently removed. Traffic entering the base was stopped continuously until all protestors were cleared from the roadway.

A total of 16 persons engaged in the blockade. All were issued citations at the scene for “Walking on roadway where prohibited” and released. Those cited were Tom Rogers, Poulsbo, WA; Cindy Sheehan, Vacaville, CA; Marion Ward, Vancouver, WA; Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA; Mal Chaddock, Portland, OR; Ann Havill, Bend, OR; Betsy Lamb, Bend, OR; Bernie Meyer, Olympia, WA; Leonard Eiger, North Bend, WA; Constance Mears, Poulsbo, WA; Gordon Sturrock, Eugene, OR; Brenda McMillan, Port Townsend, WA; Mack Johnson, Silverdale, WA; Gilberto Z Perez, Bainbridge Island, WA; George W Rodkey, Tacoma, WA and Elizabeth Murray, Bellingham, WA.
Anne & David Hall Leafleting (photo by Berd Whitlock)
During the vigil and action at Main Gate, another group from Ground Zero leafleted outside the Bangor Trigger Gate. The leaflets were titled “CAN WE TALK?” They explained that the peace activists were present to raise awareness of the danger of nuclear weapons, and invited recipients to join in a sincere dialogue on nuclear weapons. Activists handed approximately 200 of the leaflets to people entering and leaving the base.

Each leaflet had an origami crane attached

(photo by Berd Whitlock)
The activities at both gates were part of one coordinated action.  Blocking traffic at the Main Gate diverted traffic to Trigger Gate, which is more conducive to leafleting, and allowed a greater opportunity to communicate a message.

Monday’s vigil, nonviolent direct action and leafleting were the culmination of a weekend of events at Ground Zero Center. Participants commemorated the anniversaries of the atomic bombings and celebrated 35 years of Ground Zero’s resistance to the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from Ground Zero co-founders Jim and Shelley Douglass, persistent peace activist Cindy Sheehan, and the (pepper sprayed) face of Seattle Occupy Dorli Rainey.

The weekend included nonviolence training, letter writing to elected officials, action planning, a vigil at the Kitsap Mall and a screening of the documentary “In My Lifetime.” The film, a presentation of the Nuclear World Project, is intended to help people develop an understanding of the realities of nuclear weapons.

Additional events were associated with the Ground Zero weekend.

Ground Zero's Glen Milner organized this year’s Peace Fleet, a flotilla of boats that sailed into Seattle’s Elliott Bay on August 1st to meet the U.S. Navy fleet in a protest against militarism.

Activists representing Physicians for Social Responsibility, Washington Chapter, arrived at Ground Zero on Saturday during the Bike to the Bomb bicycle ride. Bike to the Bomb protests the use of nuclear weapons against the people of Japan, and spotlights the massive nuclear arsenal stored and deployed at Bangor.

Participants in the 2012 Pacific Northwest Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear Free Future, which began in Portland, Oregon on July 22nd, also arrived at Ground Zero on Saturday to participate in the weekend’s activities. The walk is organized by Buddhist monks from Bainbridge Island, and carries a message of hope for peace and a nuclear free world.
14 of the 16 who blocked the roadway today. (photo by Berd Whitlock)
Ground Zero holds three scheduled vigils and actions each year in resistance to Trident and in protest of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The group has been working to stop the Navy’s plan to build a $715 million Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor, and recently filed a lawsuit in Federal court to stop the project. Ground Zero is also working to de-fund the Navy’s plans for a next generation ballistic missile submarine, estimated to cost $99 billion to build.

For nearly thirty-five years Ground Zero has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.


Click here to view, download or print the leaflet, "Can We Talk?,  that participants handed out on August 6th at the Trigger Gate.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

NUCLEAR WEAPONS: The Most Inconvenient Truth - Livestreaming Now!

The annual weekend at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action weekend commemoration of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima a Nagasaki is under way.  We are also celebrating the 35th anniversay of Ground Zero's resistance to Trident.  This weekend's events are being livestreamed (Right Now!).  Catch them here.  Check out our Events Page for this weekend's schedule of events.

Note: Sorry about the brief advertisement you must endure before watching uninterrupted.  That's show biz!

Live video for mobile from Ustream