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)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ground Zero mentioned in Kerry’s confirmation hearing

In his appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 24th Secretary of State hopeful John Kerry was asked about his support for former Republican Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense (“Kerry: An Outsider Finally Gets In”, Time.com, January 25, 2013).

The Time Magazine article stated that “[Senator Bob] Corker [of Tennessee] voiced concerns about Hagelʼs membership in a group called Ground Zero, which strives to eliminate all nuclear weapons from the earth.” 

Ground Zero, also known as Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, is a small grass-roots organization in Poulsbo, Washington.  Ground Zero is dedicated to the study and practice of nonviolence, and works for the abolition of nuclear weapons through educational outreach and nonviolent direct action.
Hagel is actually a signatory to Global Zero, an international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Hagel supported the May 2012 Global Zero report that called for deep reductions in the number of U.S. nuclear weapons beyond already planned cuts.
Ground Zero is currently engaged in legal proceedings in Federal Court to stop the construction of an additional Explosives Handling Wharf designed to handle thermonuclear ballistic missiles deployed on Trident (OHIO Class) submarines based at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale, Washington.

Ground Zero is also questioning the need to build twelve new ballistic missile submarines to replace the current Trident fleet.  The Trident nuclear weapons system was originally designed as a “strategic deterrent” to the Soviet Union’s nuclear capability at the height of the Cold War.  The Navy has not demonstrated any new rationale for this $100 billion project.

Contact: Leonard Eiger, 425-445-2190
              Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
              16159 Clear Creek Road NW Poulsbo, WA 98370


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nuclear Weapons: They're to Die For!!!

Die-in at nuclear sub base honors Martin Luther King Jr.

Activists from a local peace group blocked the main gate and staged a die-in at the Navy’s West Coast Trident nuclear submarine base for more than a half hour in an act of civil resistance to nuclear weapons.

Nearly fifty people participated in Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action’s annual celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday, January 19, 2013. Under the theme “We Are One,” the day focused on Dr. King’s commitment to nonviolence and his opposition to war and nuclear weapons.

The day’s activities included a viewing of a video about King’s 1967 sermon in opposition to the Vietnam war. That followed with a discussion of the sermon’s relevance in the context of today’s unending wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and the effects on the poor and disenfranchised in the US, as well as the entire world.

Participants also participated in nonviolence training, education about the Trident nuclear weapons system and the Bangor submarine base, and preparations for the vigil and nonviolent direct action planned for the afternoon at Bangor.

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons in the US arsenal (and possibly the entire world). Each of the 8 Trident submarines at Bangor carries up to 24 Trident II (D-5) missiles, each capable of being armed with as many as 8 independently targetable thermonuclear warheads. Each nuclear warhead has an explosive force of between 100 and 475 kilotons (up to 30 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb).

In the afternoon while the group maintained a peaceful vigil on the roadside outside the base entrance eleven protesters entered the roadway directly in front of the entrance gate. They carried a banner, which they stretched across the inbound traffic lanes. It quoted from Martin Luther King Jr.: “When scientific power outruns spiritual power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.” An additional banner that was brought out a few minutes later read, “Abolish Nuclear Weapons.”

Peacekeepers from Ground Zero ensured the safety of all participants throughout the vigil and nonviolent direct action, and communicated with base security personnel as needed. Traffic into the main gate was re-routed for approximately a half hour until a Washington State Patrol officer arrived and ordered the protestors to leave the roadway. The protestors then dropped the banners and staged a die-in on the roadway. As one participant explained, “By doing a die-in, we can illustrate the horrific result of a nuclear weapon.”

Eight of the die-in participants crossed onto the base before dropping to the ground. Naval security personnel, who had been observing during the vigil and action, immediately moved in to arrest them. They were taken to a building on the base where they were questioned, processed and released after being issued citations for trespassing. All will receive summons to appear in Federal court.

Those cited for trespassing were Mary Gleysteen, Kingston, WA; Lynne Greenwald, Tacoma, WA; Rodney Herold, Seattle, WA; Thomas Hodges, Seattle, WA; Constance Mears of Poulsbo, WA; Taylor Niemy, Bremerton, WA; Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA; and Carlo Voli, Edmonds, WA.

The other three protesters - Gabriel LaValle, Lynnwood, WA; Tom Shea, Snoqualmie, WA; and Alice Zillah, Olympia, WA – remained outside of the base boundary. All three left the roadway and were not cited.

While the blockade and die-in were in progress, others vigiled along the roadside. One participant was overheard referring to one of King’s speeches where he said that “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind” in a direct reference to the need to work together to abolish nuclear weapons from the Earth.

The following is a slide show of Saturday's vigil and nonviolent direct action.

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 is currently engaged in legal actions in Federal court to halt the Navy’s construction of a Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor. 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 over thirty-three years Ground Zero has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.


Related News Story: Eight cited during ‘Die-in’ at nuclear sub base, North Kitsap Herald, January 21, 2013  http://www.northkitsapherald.com/news/187779651.html

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Martin Luther King Peace Walk this month

Just this past December monks from the Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple helped lead a Walk for a Nuclear Free Future along California's Central Coast.

Brothers Senji Kanaeda and Gilberto Perez travelled to the Central Coast to be in solidarity with others, including another monk, a nun and residents of the Central Coast. 

They spent 12 days fasting and walking along the coast near the troubled San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant.

As Jane Swanson, a spokeswoman for the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace explained it, “Each step is a prayer for the victims of nuclear contamination around the world, for the safety of all who live and work near nuclear facilities and for a future on Mother Earth that is free of nuclear threat."

Senji and Gilberto dedicate themselves to nonviolence, peace and a nuclear-free future through daily prayer and frequent peace walks.

They will be leading another peace walk soon in Washington State leading up to the weekend celebrating the birth of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Martin Luther King Day Peace Walk for Equality for All and No Militarism will begin with a gathering in Olympia on January 13th and arrive at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action on January 19th.

On that day Ground Zero will hold an all day event at the Center House honoring Dr. King.  The theme is "We Are One." Click here for more information and the full day's schedule.

You are welcome to join the walk for a few hours, a full day or more.

Click here to see the detailed walk schedule.

For more information on the walk call either Senji Kanaeda at 206-780-6739 or Gilberto Perez at 206-419-7262.