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)

Friday, October 25, 2013

(Photographic) Memories of 2013 PLC Trial


Here are some memories of the gatherings surrounding the Federal trial of the March 2013 Pacific Life Community nuclear resisters.  It was a time of coming together in community as witnesses and to lift up those who give of themselves for the greater good.

In Peace,


P.S. - To watch the Full Screen version, click the image below, and then click on "Full Screen" at the upper left corner of the page.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Federal Trial for the 2013 PLC Resisters: The Wrap Up

Greetings Pacific Life Community members and friends,

Seven members of the Pacific Life Community stood trial in US District Court today. They were charged with trespassing, stemming from their arrests during the March 4, 2013 nonviolent direct action at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

William “Bix” Bicshel, SJ; Susan Crane; Ed Ehmke, Betsy Lamb; Denny Moore; Mary Jane Parrine and Jerry Zawada, OFM appeared before Chief Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler in United States District Court, Western District of Washington in Tacoma.

The resisters had gathered together in community earlier in the day to celebrate the Eucharist as they prepared for the day ahead.

The defendants argued that although a defense based on international law has not been approved by federal courts in the United States, the Supremacy Clause requires that the court allow defendants to present such a defense.

The judge disagreed, and ruled that the defendants could not present any affirmative defense against the charge of trespassing to which they had all pleaded not guilty. She stated that the only issue before her was whether the defendants had violated the statute.
At Jean's House before walking to the courthouse
At Jean's House before walking to the courthouse
Bix attempted to introduce Raymond L. McGovern as witness to testify on behalf of the defendants as to the pervasive inability of individuals to seek redress of grievances and the importance of 1st amendment. The judge denied the request. Ray, a veteran 27-year CIA Analyst and advisor to seven presidents, had just returned from Russia where he had presented Edward Snowden with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. Ray helped create Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Ray spoke eloquently the night before at the Festival of Hope (where he quoted Dr. King's Letter From Birmingham Jail) about the need for us to shine a bright light on Trident.

Ray spoke eloquently the night before at the Festival of Hope (where he quoted Dr. King's Letter From Birmingham Jail) about the need for us to shine a bright light on Trident.

After the prosecution made its case, Judge Theiler allowed each defendant to make a statement to the court, reminding them that intention would have no bearing on her decision.

Jerry Zawada's testimony began with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr - "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Jerry stated that his actions on the day of the action were consistent with the life he has lived. His goal is simply to eliminate nuclear weapons. He stated that "all my co-defendants are of one mind and heart as in relation to nuclear weapons." Jerry also cited UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon at the 2010 Non Proliferation Treaty conference in New York. Moon said, "please do whatever you can with your governments to abolish nuclear weapons."
Prayer service in front of the courthouse before the trial
Prayer service in front of the courthouse before the trial
Mary Jane Parrine described how in her work as a caregiver and in chaplaincy she sees so much misery due to misappropriated funding that includes nuclear weapons. She described resistance movements and their successes - including HIV care, women's suffrage, civil rights. She said that "if I am guilty of anything I am guilty of coming to this work so late in life... We cannot stop talking about what we have seen and heard."

Betsy Lamb said that on March 4th she spent a great deal of time in prayer, and intended to deliver a letter to the base commander and have a conversation about nuclear weapons. She said that if international law supersedes federal law then it most definitely does so in this case. "As long as the judge limits the scope of what she will consider in this case, nothing will change. As long as the people go to work every day keeping the subs running smoothly, nothing will change."

Ed Ehmke described how in 2003 after a horrific attack on Iraq in which many innocent people died, he went to a demonstration in San Francisco. A newscaster put a microphone in his face and asked, "What do people of religion have to do with this?" Ed stated that "this gets to the heart of what we are talking about today. Fundamental to all of this is that these weapons are immoral by any standards." Ed referred to Fr. Richard McSorley who referred to nuclear weapons as the "taproot of violence in our society today."

Bill "Bix" Bichsel began by saying "thanks for allowing our friends to sit in the gallery here, I wish they were our jury. [There was such an overflow of supporters at the trial that the judge allowed people to sit in the jury section.] Bix continued that "we were there [at Bangor] to uphold article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter. Nuclear weapons are a sign of ultimate hopelessness and ultimate death... they rule us. I speaking of the inability to be heard about issues such as the one before us today Bix said that what is happening to Manning and Snowden "is an inversion of what we are as human beings." Bix expressed his grave concerns about the ability to seek redress of grievances. He stated how the normative channels of change have failed us, so that we have to take other steps, other methods.
(Left to right), Front row: Jerry, Denny; Back row: Bix, Susan, Betsy, Mary Jane & Ed
(Left to right), Front row: Jerry, Denny; Back row: Bix, Susan, Betsy, Mary Jane & Ed
Denny Moore made an impassioned plea for Mother Earth and for us to come together in our common humanity. He reiterated how we all want peace, and we have different ways of approaching it. We need to come together in respectful dialogue if we are to solve these problems. And - Time is short.

Susan Crane elaborated on the application of international law to nuclear weapons. "If we want to protect human dignity, human rights and human values, we need to consider the discipline of international law, which is the principal weapon of civilization against barbarism. International law and the recognized body of human rights is what stands between us and barbarism." Susan stated that "by deploying and stockpiling nuclear weapons, nuclear nations assert the right to commit indiscriminate slaughter and devastation of the environment."

Following the defendants' statements, the judge found all seven defendants guilty of the charge of trespassing, and moved right into sentencing.

The prosecution asked, based on each defendant's previous history with the court, for sentences ranging from 24 hours of prison confinement, up to two years of probation in addition to 90 days of electronic home confinement.

Judge Theiler did not order jail time for anyone. Instead, she imposed a fine of $500 for Bix, Jerry and Susan, along with two years of probation. Betsy, Denny, Ed and Mary Jane were fined $250 and given one year of probation. All were ordered to not enter any military base without permission of the base commander for the term of probation.

Some of the defendants told the judge that they would not pay the fine as they have no income, nor would they comply with probation. The judge washed her hands of the issue and deferred it to the probation department.

After dealing with the court paperwork, our courageous resisters travelled downstairs to report to the Probation Office.

The defendants had met for a five-day retreat before the trial, facilitated and supported by Fr. Steve Kelly. They prayed together, discussed the issues, and enjoyed good food, companionship and story-telling. They were supported and nurtured by Steve's loving care in the spirit of community.

And with that, the Pacific Life Community 2013 court saga comes to an end.

What will be in store for the 2014 PLC? Join us in Las Vegas from March 7th to March 10th as we gather in community, continuing to break the silence and speak truth to power.  Come join the ACTION!!!

In Faithful Resistance,


NOTE: You can access trial documents at the Pacific Life Community Blog (near the top of the right column).

Blogger's End Note: It was my humble intention here to help you connect with yesterday's events. I wrote from memory and my cryptic notes. In retrospect, my effort can not come close to conveying the individual (and collective) strength, passion and articulation that came through in the courtroom yesterday. The five resisters spoke truth to power, and each one from his and her own heart and mind; and, for the most part, extemporaneously. The spirit was, indeed, present, and filled the courtroom.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Ghosts of Jeju coming to Seattle


Jeju Island is known as the "Island of World Peace," a name that does not begin to tell the story of the Island's extensive history of conflict, occupation, repression and genocide. The most horrific episode in this history occurred in 1948 when the South Korean military and national police hunted down and slaughtered approximately 30,000 people. The U.S., which was the occupying power at the time, was directly responsible for what is now known as the April 3 massacre.

Why did the government do such a horrific thing? 1948 was a tumultuous time of establishing two governments in Korea. The people of Jeju Island rose up to protest the long-term division of the nation by boycotting the elections that were occurring in Seoul. For this they were branded as Communists, and the terror began.

For decades following the massacre, public discussion of the April 3 massacre was ruthlessly repressed. Following democratization, the slow and painful process of fact finding and truth telling began, and continues today. In 2003, South Korean President Noh Moo Hyun travelled to Jeju Island and officially apologized.


Now, over 60 years after the April 3 massacre the people of Jeju Island are once again protesting. This time they are protesting the U.S. Missile Defense System and a provocative new naval base being built on their island. Why??? If you look at a map of Jeju
Artwork by Koh Gilchun
Island, you can see that it lies about 500 kilometers from the Chinese mainland. This military base is intended to project force towards China and to provide a forward operating installation in the event of a military conflict between the U.S. and China.

For years, South Korean activists have been protesting the plans for the new naval base on Jeju Island. During that time the response by the South Korean police and military has become more heavy-handed and brutal. Col. Anne Wright (former United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department) reported at one point that "police broke arms of activists who had locked arms inside PCV pipes, beat up activists and threw them from kayaks."


The ghosts of Jeju cry out for recognition and righting of the wrongs perpetrated long ago.  Yet, the hubris of the National Security State (that was responsible for the original crimes) continues to create yet a new generation of crimes.  The difference is that today's crimes could lead to disaster not only for the people of Jeju Island, but for the entire region.  The "Island of World Peace" could literally be reduced to a pile of ash and rubble in a major conflict.


Independent filmmaker Regis Tremblay has produced a powerful documentary about the struggle of the people of Jeju Island to stop the military madness that threatens to destroy their island. What is so powerful about this film is how it links the current struggle to the earlier atrocities in a compelling context.  Here is the what the filmmaker has to say:

A shocking documentary about the struggle of the people of Jeju Island, S. Korea. Set in the context of the American presence in Korea after World War II, the film reveals horrible atrocities at the hands of the U.S. Military Government of Korea. 

Using previously secret and classified photos, film and documents, this will be the first English-language documentary about the struggle of the brave people of Gangjeong Village who are opposing the military advance of the United States, just as their parents and relatives did in 1947. As then, they are being arrested, jailed, fined, and hospitalized for resisting the construction of a massive naval base that will accommodate America’s “pivot to Asia,” and will destroy their 400 year old village and their UNESCO protected environment. 

And yet, the indomitable spirit of the villagers and their supporters, who have not lost hope in spite of overwhelming odds, will inspire and motivate everyone who believes there is a better way to live together on this planet.

This is a story that must be told, must be heard... and its lessons applied to stop the madness that threatens the world with destruction.  There are no military solutions to our problems, and the naval base on Jeju Island is ground zero in the struggle to seek a new way.


Learn more about the documentary at the filmmaker's Website, where you can also watch the trailer.  If you live around Puget Sound you will be able to see The Ghosts of Jeju and hear from the filmmaker this November.  Here are the current offerings.  Additional screenings will be posted on this blog's "EVENTS" page as they are confirmed.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Seattle University 
Wyckoff Auditorium, Bannan Engineering Building East Entrance 
901 12th Avenue, Seattle
Click here for a campus map.
Sponsored by Seattle University's Asian Studies Program and Korean Student Union
This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013, 7:00 to 9:30 PM at Friday Night at the Meaningful Movies

Keystone Congregational United Church of Christ 5019 Keystone Place N., Seattle
(…Please come at 6:30 and visit with your neighbors!)
And Co-Sponsored by VETERANS FOR PEACE
Light snacks.
Download the Flyer HERE.
For more information on Veterans For Peace, go to: http://www.vfp92.org/
(Event is FREE and open to the public! ...but Donations are kindly accepted).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

PLC Nuclear Resisters on Trial in Tacoma on October 21st

Greetings Nuclear Abolitionists Everywhere,

Please join in supporting the Pacific Life Community members who will soon stand trial before a Federal magistrate judge for their resistance to nuclear weapons.

Seven members of the Pacific Life Community who were arrested at the Bangor Trident base in Washington State will stand trial in Federal Court in Tacoma Washington on October 21st.

William "Bix" Bicshel, SJ; Susan Crane; Ed Ehmke, Betsy Lamb; Denny Moore; Mary Jane Parrine and Jerry Zawada, OFM will appear before Chief Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler Chambers on Monday, October 21 at 1:30PM, Courtroom C, United States District Court, Western District of Washington.

The seven who will stand trial on October 21st were among fourteen protesters who walked onto the entrance roadway to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on March 4, 2013 symbolically closing the base and converting it to peaceful uses.  They carried banners and signs calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

All fourteen resisters crossed the blue line onto the base and knelt in prayer. Naval security personnel arrested the protesters and drove them to a base facility for processing. They were cited under Section 1382 of Title 18 prohibiting trespassing on military bases, and released a short time later.  

Each resister carried a letter addressed to the Bangor base commander stating that the "Trident II D-5 missiles with their W76 or W88 [thermocnuclear] warheads are illegal under international law and hence are also illegal per the Constitution of the United States."  Naval personnel declined to accept the letters.

We invite you to support these courageous peacemakers as you are able.  If you are in the Puget Sound area on the 20th and 21st please join us at Sunday's Festival of Hope, and on Monday as witnesses to the trial. We also invite your statements of support if you cannot attend.  Send email a brief statement to Leonard Eiger by October 17th at subversivepeacemaking@gmail.com. I will print them to share at the Festival of Hope.

October 21st Schedule of Activities:
  • Gather at Tacoma Catholic Worker before noon; the defendants and supporters will leave from here to walk (approximately 15 minutes) to courthouse.
  • Leave for courthouse at NOON.
  • Vigil in front of courthouse from 12:15 to 1:00PM.
  • Prayer service at 12:45
  • Trial begins at 1:30
OCTOBER 20th: Join us for a Festival of Hope the night before the trial, Sunday, October 20th at St. Leo's Church from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. We will have music and guest speakers. Ray McGovern, former CIA officer during the George H. Bush administration and prominent whistleblower about the Iraq War, will be the main speaker. Ray has just returned from Russia where he and 3 other prominent whistleblowers presented the Integrity in Intelligence Award to Edward Snowden. Dr. David Price, an anthropologist at St. Martin’s University, will join Ray on the program, speaking on the “Militarization of Society”. 

Jeans House is located at 1414 Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98405. We will begin our walk from the alley between G St. and Tacoma St (between Guadalupe House and Jean's House).

St. Leo Church is located at 710 South 13th St., Tacoma, WA 98405. Click here for directions.

The Tacoma historic Union Station Courthouse is located at 1717 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402. There is limited on-street parking, and paid parking behind the courthouse.  It is well served by public transportation. 

Updates will be posted at the Puget Sound Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and Pacific Life Community Blog. You can also learn more about last March's action at Bangor at the PLC Blog.

Feel free to address questions on these upcoming activities to me atsubversivepeacemaking@gmail.com.  I'll do my best to get you a quick answer.

And please do share this information widely.

In Resistance and Peace,


Leonard Eiger
NO To NEW TRIDENT Campaign (Coordinator) www.notnt.org  
Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone  (Coordinator) www.psnukefree.org 
Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (Media & Outreach) www.gzcenter.org