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, May 28, 2012

"Ending gluttonous spending on an obese nuclear arsenal"

Seattle Times editorial columnist Lance Dickie wrote a column in the May 25th print edition titled "An antidote to the nuclear menace.  In it he makes a case for "ending gluttonous spending on" what he calls "an obese nuclear arsenal." 

Click here to read the online version of Lance's column.

Here are a number of Letters to the Editor in response to Lance's column (that may or may not be published by The Times).


Lance Dickie's article on May 24th(Nuclear Arsenal) references Global Zero which states that "the only way to eliminate the nuclear threat is to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, secure all nuclear materials and eliminate all nuclear weapons."

We at No Nukes NW state that closing nuclear power plants must be part of the discussion when talking about nuclear weapons as they wouldn't exist without nuclear power plants. Billions of dollars can be saved by using alternative energies which are not the high target of terrorists, would clean up our planet, and remove the possibility of more Fukushima's.  Solar panels and wind farms are no threat to anyone but the 1% who own nukes.

Now let's talk! As Matt Brown states, "there is no rational argument for maintaining our arsenals". There is no rationale for pretending that nuclear power is cheap and clean either. Let's keep these conversations truthful so that the people of the US can understand what is really going on in our backyards. Nuclear weapons do not keep us safe, nor is nuclear power safe, clean or efficient; nuclear energy and weapons can wipe us off the planet. Safety is in No Nukes. Period.

Miriam German
No Nukes NW


Dear Editor:

Thanks to Lance Dickey for highlighting the enormously wasteful costs of nuclear weaponry, which we the USA still deploy at Cold War levels just 20 air miles from Seattle from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, homeport for the most lethal weapons of mass destruction system on the planet.

You will even get people whose livelihoods depend on the billions of dollars this base brings to Kitsap County and Washington State to agree that we need better ways to support our families than to project massive terror as America's message to the rest of the world.

One single Trident submarine warhead decimates a 10-mile diameter area and would kill any city it hits. Each Trident submarine warship can now carry under current treaties 96 of these hydrogen bombs. It's no way to be a neighbor, even in a world so fractured as ours.

And to extend the life of these horrific weapons costs us our economic security at the same time it invites others to develop nuclear weapons. We now have the technologies to detect very small nuclear explosions anywhere in the world, so we can verify a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and pursue the elimination of these monstrous offspring of twentieth century war traumas.

David C Hall MD
Lopez Island, WA

(also published by The Seattle Times, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/northwestvoices/2018311837_nuclearlet.html)


Lance Dickie’s “Antidote to nuclear menace” (Times 5/25/12) offers a welcome call for Congress to cut “budgets and taming deficit, ending gluttonous spending of obese nuclear arsenal.” 

One place to start cutting "obese" nuclear weapons might be the Kitsap-Bangor based Trident submarines and missiles that are scheduled to begin replacement beginning in 2029.   Eight new subs are estimated at a cost of $6 to $8 billion dollars each (just to build). 

A proposed additional wharf to serve them,  currently in the works, will cost $717 million. It could be a ‘wharf to nowhere’. 

For thirty-five years, the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, also Kitsap based, has been educating, training in nonviolence, and working to end both the cost and (global) threat of nuclear subs and missiles based in Puget Sound.

Tom Shea
Snoqualmie, WA


Friday’s (May 25) column by Lance Dickie is thought-provoking.

Many, including conservatives like Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, have called for a total abolition of nuclear weapons. They point out that the major powers cannot use them against each other because that would be mutual suicide. They know better than the rest of us how close we have come to Armageddon. John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan came close to achieving an abolition agreement with their counterparts.

Now there are people like Gen. James Cartwright who think we need these weapons as a deterrent, but not so many of them. There are certainly many better uses for our dollars than feeding these terrible weapons.

Let’s reduce them now! What better way to reduce our national debt?

— Norm Keegel, Bainbridge Island

(also published by The Seattle Times, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/northwestvoices/2018311837_nuclearlet.html)


Thanks to Lance Dickie for giving us so much to think about (in "An antidote to the nuclear menace", The Times, May 25th).  Nuclear weapons, and what to do about them, is not an easy discussion to initiate.  Yet, initiate we must; and action we must take.  The longer they exist the greater the probability of their use, either accidentally or intentionally. 

Abolition is no naive dream; it is fundamental to humanity's survival.  It has been documented that even a limited nuclear exchange would cause global famine, and the effects of radiation are well known. 

Meanwhile, the continued pursuit of nuclear weapons (by our own nation) is sucking vast amounts of financial and human capital, bankrupting us economically and morally. 

Lance sums things up: "The arsenal - the overkill - that remains from the Cold War is an economic and security menace."  It is high time to face this menace and seriously move toward "Global Zero!"

Leonard Eiger
North Bend, WA

Saturday, May 19, 2012

White Elephant invades Hood Canal

It's official!!!  The Navy has finally finished going through the motions (known as "window dressing" in the old school) to push through a major boondoggle known as the Second Explosives Handling Wharf.  And just in time no less; the Navy needs to get started on this project so it does not lose any of the funding - Can you say TAXPAYER DOLLARS??? - that Congress so generously set aside (ah, the smell of a mess-o-bacon being cooked up).

The Second Wharf is quite simply an unneccesary project.  As retired Navy Captain Tom Rogers put it:
"If our national leaders make good on their stated intention to substantially reduce the numbers of [nuclear] weapons, then 5 years from now when the wharf is finished, it will be a useless white elephant.”
If you think the Navy's Second Explosives Handling Wharf should not be built click here to sign our petition at Change.org.

(Petition URL: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-u-s-senate-defund-the-bangor-wharf-to-nowhere)


Second explosives handling wharf gets final approval
BANGOR — The Navy issued a Record of Decision Friday for a second explosives handling wharf at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. It's the final step in the environmental process before construction of the $715 million facility can begin.

A public notice states the Navy weighed the purpose and need of the facility, environmental consequences and public comments, and selected its preferred alternative — a combined-trestle, large-pile wharf. It says it will fully support future requirements of Trident submarines homeported at the base and the Trident II (D5) strategic weapons system.

A $331 million contact was awarded on May 10 to a Virginia joint venture for the over-water work, including a covered slip, a warping wharf and trestled roads. Not part of that contract but included in the project is the hardening of about 15 structures and demolishing five to comply with requirements to protect buildings near explosives handling operations, three new buildings and environmental mitigation.

The Navy says the second wharf is needed because the existing one is undergoing a pile-replacement program and requires a lot of maintenance that limits its ability to support the base's eight Trident ballistic-missile submarines.

An electronic copy of the Record of Decision can be viewed at www.nbkeis.com/EHW.

Article source URL: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/may/18/second-explosives-handling-wharf-gets-final/#ixzz1vIHHGFoL

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Wharf to Nowhere refuses to go away

Ah, the proverbial PORK is squealing all the way to Bangor.  Can you smell the bacon frying?  A former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is calling for significant cuts to our nation's deployed nuclear weapons.  Meanwhile members of Congress play Give Me That Pork all over the nuclear weapons front; even right here in Puget Sound! 

Representative Norm Dicks (Dem., Bangor) is bringing home bacon in a big way to build the Wharf to Nowhere, otherwise known as the Second Explosives Handling Wharf at the Bangor Trident submarine base.  This is one major boondoggle that will squander money desparately needed for education, healthcare and other things that actually help people.

Here's the most recent article (in The Seattle Times) about it, along with a Letter to the Editor with an interesting response.  What do you think???


Spending on nuclear weapons continues despite calls to cut stockpile

Updated at 12:30 p.m. with comments from Norm Dicks's spokesman:

WASHINGTON -- The United States is mulling a drastic reduction of its nuclear arsenal -- but Congress continues to push spending on the weapons.

An influential retired general on Wednesday added his name to a growing call to dramatically reduce the nation's nuclear stockpile. Gen. James E. Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a report commissioned by Global Zero, an international disarmament movement, calling for slashing the number of deployed nuclear warheads by two thirds to 450.

The recommendation comes as the Obama administration is reportedly considering even bigger cuts that would take the U.S. nuclear arsenal to pre-Cold War levels.

So what's Congress doing? Well, last week, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee pushed through a $5 billion measure to build a missile-defense site on the East Coast. Never mind that the Pentagon has said the site is unneeded.

Reps.. Adam Smith of Tacoma, the Armed Services panel's top Democrat, and Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens, both voted against the proposal.

Meanwhile, last week's subcommittee draft of the 2013 defense spending bill included $280 million as the second installment payment for a second munitions wharf at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor. The Navy has argued that the 30-year-old existing wharf is inadequate to handle upgrade work on the base's Trident nuclear submarines.

The project has been championed by Rep. Norm Dicks of Bremerton, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on defense. But opponents are trying to halt the $715 million wharf, saying that it's unwarranted in a diminished nuclear world.

On Wednesday, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the $280 million as part of the military construction budget.

George Behan, Dicks's chief of staff, said in an email that the Trident fleet will remain based at Bangor and and Kings Bay, Ga., "under amost any scenario," making the second wharf prudent.

"If there are reductions in the nuclear arsenal they would more likely come from the land-based side, and any wholesale effort such as Global Zero would likely take many years to achieve results," Behan said.



Letter to the Editor, in response to Kyong Song's May 16th post

By Tom Rogers, Captain, U.S. Navy, Retired, Poulsbo, Washington, Submited to The Seattle Times on May 16, 2012

“Regarding the second explosive handling wharf, the key sentence is: “The Navy has argued that the 30-year-old existing wharf is inadequate to handle upgrade work on the base's Trident nuclear submarines.”  The existing wharf is totally adequate to perform routine handling of the Trident missiles and has been for 30 years.

The upgrade work the Navy refers to is the Trident 2 D5 Life Extension Program, an obscenely expensive $40 billion program that involves removing every warhead and missile from every Trident SSBN, shipping components elsewhere for upgrade and modernization, and returning the components to Bangor and Kings Bay, GA for reloading into the missile tubes.  I saw a Navy press release recently that reported the 135th consecutive successful test launch of a Trident missile.  One wonders why we need to fund a $40 billion upgrade program.

The new wharf planned at Bangor, at a cost of $715 million, is a 6.5 acre over-water structure on pilings in the Hood Canal.  The environmental damage to an already distressed marine area has been grossly understated in the Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement.

Finally, the Navy’s contention that it needs the new wharf is based on performing upgrades to all the missiles and warheads currently allowed under the New START Treaty with Russia.  If our national leaders make good on their stated intention to substantially reduce the numbers of weapons, then 5 years from now when the wharf is finished, it will be a useless white elephant.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Moms Against Bombs says "Give PEACE a Chance"

(from left: Bert Sacks, Carlo Voli, Elaine Hickman and Tom Rogers)
On May 12, 2012 activists blocked entry to the main gate at the Navy’s West coast Trident nuclear submarine base in an act of civil resistance to nuclear weapons.

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action (Ground Zero) held a peaceful vigil and nonviolent direct action at the main gate to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale, Washington.  They protested the U.S. government’s continued deployment and upgrading of the Trident nuclear weapons system.  
Peacekeepers safely stopping traffic for banner carriers

On Saturday afternoon the group maintained a peaceful vigil on the roadside outside the base entrance.  Four protestors walked onto the roadway and unfurled a banner stretching across all entrance lanes.  The banner read, “Give PEACE a chance. No, seriously.”

All four protestors complied with Washington State Patrol officers when ordered to leave the roadway.  Elaine Hickman, Seattle; Tom Rogers, Poulsbo; Bert Sacks, Seattle; and Carlo Voli; Edmonds, were cited for “Pedestrian in Roadway Illegally” (a traffic offense) and released at the scene.

Earlier in the day participants learned about nuclear weapons effects (with an emphasis on the Trident system) and U.S. nuclear weapons policy. They also participated in nonviolence training as is customary before every GZ vigil and action.

Throughout the Saturday protest trained peacekeepers from Ground Zero ensured the safety of all participants, communicating with State Patrol and base security personnel as needed.

“Moms Against Bombs” was the theme of the day planned to honor the original intention of Mother’s Day for Peace.  During the roadside vigil women took turns reading Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation of 1870.

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.  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.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

"No plans for Bangor to lose or gain Trident submarines, the Navy says"

The Navy is moving forward on its plans for a Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor!  The final Environmental Impact Statement has been filed, the 30-day wait period is up, and a contract has been awarded for construction.

Here's an interesting statement from the follwoing article in the Kitsap Sun. It says a great deal about the Navy's plans for the future of Trident.

There are no plans for Bangor to lose or gain Trident submarines, the Navy says.
That statement is pretty clear; the Navy is confident that Trident is here to stay, and that future plans for a new ballistic missile submarine will include a full complement of twelve of those "boomers."


Navy selects builders for second explosives handling wharf

By Ed Friedrich

Originally published 11:08 a.m., May 10, 2012
Updated 06:52 p.m., May 10, 2012

BANGOR — BANGOR — The Department of Defense awarded a Virginia joint venture a $331 million contract to build a second explosives handling wharf at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, one of the largest Navy contracts in Kitsap County history.

The partnership, formed specifically for this project, comprises Skanska USA Civil, American Bridge and Nova Group.

The group will construct a covered slip long enough for a 560-foot-long submarine, a warping wharf where another can wait, trestled roads on which trucks can haul missiles to and from subs, power utility booms, hardened guard gun positions, a waterfront support building and two traveling overhead crane systems. The facility will cover 6.3 acres of Hood Canal and require up to 1,250 piles.

The proposal, one of five submitted, came in well below the Navy's estimate of $450 to $550 million, according to Navy spokeswoman Leslie Yuenger. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $715 million, which includes hardening about 15 existing structures and demolishing five to comply with requirements to protect buildings near explosives handling operations. Three new buildings will replace four old ones. It also includes environmental mitigation, program management and contingency.

The existing 30-year-old wharf needs frequent maintenance and is undergoing a 12-year pile-replacement program that limits its availability to 200 days a year. That's not enough to support the base's eight Trident ballistic-missile submarines, which can each carry 24 missiles, the Navy says. An upgrade will only increase it to 300 days because of annual maintenance, primarily on cranes. The Navy needs 400 days.

The existing wharf was built to accommodate C4 missiles. They've been swapped out for bigger, more complex D5 missiles, which require more time for handling. There are no plans for Bangor to lose or gain Trident submarines, the Navy says.

Construction will begin this summer, after permits are approved, and is expected to be completed by January 2016.

The final environmental-impact statement appeared in the Federal Register on March 30. It was followed by a 30-day waiting period. After that comes a Record of Decision, which the Navy expects to issue on May 18, Yuenger said.

The Army Corps of Engineers hasn't approved a permit. It's reviewing comments and responses, and awaiting a final environmental mitigation plan, said spokeswoman Patricia Graesser. She couldn't say how long that will take.

It's not unusual for a construction contract to be awarded before permits are approved, she said.

"A lot of the times when permit applicants are wanting to meet a specific time line, they may go ahead and issue actions on their own before a permit decision has been made," she said. "They do that at their own risk, but it's not uncommon."

Other permits outstanding are the Coastal Consistency Determination and Marine Mammal Protection Act authorization.

The Navy announced in January it will require a project labor agreement (PLA) for the project, its first ever. A PLA is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement negotiated between a project's owner and a labor organization. It sets the basic terms and work conditions for the project. The Navy has agreed to use workers from Olympic Peninsula Building and Construction Trades Council and Northwest Regional Council of the National Construction Alliance II.

PLAs typically require that employees hired for the project be referred through union halls, that nonunion workers pay union dues while on the project and that the contractor follow union rules on pensions, work conditions and resolving disputes.

Skanska spokeswman Jay Weisberger said Thursday the contract hasn't been signed, so he couldn't talk about the project.


(Original article at: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/may/10/virgina-company-selected-to-build-explosives/)

Mothers calling to Disarm! Disarm!

Dear Friends,

Yesterday was a great day to be outdoors (not a cloud to be seen), and people gathered at the Main entrance gate to the Bangor Trident submarine base to demonstrate our resistance to the most horrific weapon (system) of mass destruction ever devised - TRIDENT! Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action held its annual Mothers Day Weekend action - this year's theme was Moms Against Bombs.

There were participants from around the Sound (and way beyond), and the Tacoma Catholic Worker was well represented. Pax Christi Tahoma's message was a lesson in getting one's message across clearly and succinctly: Pray - Study - Act!!!

This day was about action, and four resisters entered the roadway, unfurling a banner with their message.

(from left): Bert Sacks, Carlo Voli, Elaine Hickman and Tom Rogers
Of course, no Ground Zero Center action honoring nurturing women would be complete with a reading of Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation.
Lynn from Catholic Worker in Austin, Texas reading her part in the group reading.
When all was said AND done some of us gathered back at the GZ Center house and took a group photo greeting for Steve Kelly, who is winding down the last days of his sentence for the 2009 Disarm Now Plowshares action. By the way - the Bureau of Punishment's Inmate Locator now shows Steve's release date as June 21, 2012.

All in all, a great way (I think) to prepare for Mother's Day. Best wishes to all nurturing women on this Mother's Day. May we all (women and men) rise up together to shout out (and live out) Julia Ward Howe's adomition to:

"Disarm! Disarm!"

In Thanks and in Peace,


P.S. - Hope to have a full slide show and video up soon at both www.psnukefree.org and www.gzcenter.org

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Moms Against Bombs: Arise then!!!

Dear Friends,

It's just about lunchtime here at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.  It's a beautiful, sunny day at GZ Center as we move through the day of our annual Mother's Day weekend event.  After the morning that included nonviolence training a group headed to the Kitsap Mall for a brief vigil.  After lunch we will continue preparing for this afternoon's vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base. 

A group of women will read Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation during this afternoon's vigil and action.  I've printed it here; a powerful reminder of the original intention of Mother's Day (For Peace)!  More to come...



An exercise in nonviolence on this bright, sunny morning at GZ Center!


Mother's Day Proclamation, By Julia Ward Howe

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bangor Second Explosives Handling Wharf: MORE Questions (Than Answers)

Thanks to the folks at Crosscut.com for this April 30, 2012 article.


Kitsap sub plans raise security questions

The Navy wants a wharf expansion at Bangor to upgrade nuclear missiles. But why?

The Cold War is long over. The question is: How over is it?

To Tom Rogers of Poulsbo, retired U.S. Navy captain and former attack sub skipper, the end of the Cold War 21 years ago means the Navy doesn't need a second $715 million wharf at its Bangor base to handle its nuclear missiles for its submarines.

The Navy disagrees, saying the second wharf is needed to handle the huge workload of upgrading its subs' Trident II D5 missiles with nuclear warheads.

"What sort of signal does this send to Russia and China. It's the Cold War all over again. ... I think the life extension program (of the Trident II D5 missiles) is the key," Rogers said.

That "life extension program" is a massive overhaul of the electronics in those ballistic missiles to keep them in service until 2042.

The United States has 14 submarines to fire missiles with nuclear warheads — eight stationed at Bangor and six stationed on the East Coast. Bangor currently has one wharf capable of handling that upgrade work 200 days a year; other maintenance occupies the dock the rest of the year. After some wharf upgrades due to be finished by 2024, that missile overhauling capacity is expected to hit 300 days a year. The Navy contends a capacity of 400 days of overhaul work a year is needed meaning a second wharf is needed. However, the Navy's environmental impact study acknowledged that two wharfs would provide 500 to 600 days of operations a year — more than the needed 400 days.

The Kitsap-based anti-nuclear-proliferatoin Ground Zero Center — to which Rogers belongs — contends future nuclear disarmament negates the need for a second explosive handling wharf.

Here are some numbers to set the scene:

The new START treaty between the United States and Russia — which went into effect in 2011 — limits the two nations to 1,550 warheads by 2018, with the caveat that a bomber carrying multiple warheads counts as only one warhead under START. These warheads are found on bombers, subs, and land.

Each U.S. sub has 24 missile launchers, with the new START treaty trimming that to 20 launchers apiece. Fourteen subs would translate to 280 missiles — each with several warheads.

France, China, Great Britain, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea have or are believed to have nuclear bombs. China is believed to have the fourth largest stockpile behind the United States, Russia, and Great Britain with about 240 warheads. Warhead totals of all eight nations are a mix of active bombs, those scheduled for dismantling, and those inactive for other reasons.

Rogers argued that if Russia and the United States shrink their stockpiles more after 2018, that will decrease the need for 400 days of wharf operations a year between now and 2042. Therefore, there is no guarantee that a $715 million second wharf will be needed, he contended. Right now, construction of the second wharf is expected to begin this summer and to be finished by 2016.

The Seattle Times reported that the Navy is expected to start replacing its current Trident II submarine fleet with a new class in 2029 with a fleet of 10 to 12 ballistic missile subs, again potentially reducing the number of missiles.

In a written statement, the Navy said the money has already been appropriated, meaning the project has a congressional OK. The project's costs will be split among four years of appropriations. Rogers still hopes to convince Congress to stop the project.

At the moment, Bangor is in the state's 1st Congressional District, which is currently not represented because Jay Inslee resigned to run for governor. Next January, redistricting will put it in the 6th District, which has long been represented by Norm Dicks, who isn't seeking re-election. The project is expected to employ 100 to 260 construction workers.

Rogers also voiced environmental concerns about the project, especially with the pounding of hundreds of pilings for the second wharf and upgrading the first wharf.

The environmental impact study report said the driving of the pilings -— especially the noise, stirring up of dirt and air emissions — would likely affect underwater vegetation, salmon and other fish, Stellar sea lions, marbled murrelets, orcas, and other life in and along Hood Canal.

The EIS report said:

Construction and operation of the (second wharf) would contribute to regional cumulative impacts to marine resources such as shallow-water habitat, including loss of eelgrass, macroalgae and habitat for juvenile salmon and other fish and invertebrate species. The project would also contribute to cumulative impacts on the marine environment. However, through the implementation of proposed actions in the Mitigation Action Plan, the project's contributions to cumulative impacts would be insignificant.

The mitigation plans include noise dampening measures, monitoring marine life to stop work when they get too close to the construction work, and replanting underwater vegetation.

Meanwhile, the Ground Zero Center plans to hold a day full of activities — including some about about the second wharf — at its Kitsap County site and at Bangor's front gate on May 12.

About the Author

John Stang is a longtime Inland Northwest newspaper reporter who recently earned a Masters of Communications in Digital Media degree at the University of Washington. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.


Article Source: http://crosscut.com/2012/04/30/military/22265/xxx-Stang-on-Kitsap-nuclear/

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Protest at Seattle Korean Consulate to Save Jeju Island

Twenty-five peace activists held a peaceful protest at the Seattle South Korean Consulate on Monday, April 30th to voice their concern over the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island, off the southern tip of the Korean peninsula.

Located strategically in the Korea Strait, Jeju Island’s potential to become a military target in the event of an armed conflict in this tense region would increase greatly with the addition of a naval base.  Many observers of the region believe that the Jeju Island naval base will serve as a port of call for the U.S. military’s sea-based component of its ballistic missile defense system.

Since plans for the naval base were announced five years ago, 94 percent of Gangjeong residents have voted against the base and used every possible democratic means to block its construction in their village.  Gangjeong is surrounded by three UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites and nine UNESCO Geo-Parks on an island that is designated a Global Biosphere Reserve.

While most of the activists protested on the sidewalk in front of the building housing the Consulate, others went up to the Consulate offices and asked to meet with the Consul General.  After some negotiation the Consul General agreed to meet with three representatives of the protesters.

Consul General Young Wan Song presented the group with a sheet with talking points on the Jeju Island naval base. Song stressed that the base has no connections to the U.S. military and that “there are no plans to use the base for U.S. missile defense…” He also stated that “the base construction site was selected through legitimate process”, and that “the project will have no effect on the environment.” (Note: Sansung is the lead contractor for the project).

April 30, 2012 at Seattle Korean Consulate (Photo Credit: Kip Kania)

Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, who was present at the protest countered that “Republic of Korea (ROK) destroyers with missile defense systems will be guided and directed by US military satellite systems. Any visiting US Aegis destroyers will be outfitted with missile defense systems. Several ROK mainstream news articles have contained acknowledgements that US warships (aircraft carriers, submarines, and Aegis destroyers) will be ported in Gangjeong.”

Many experts believe China is the primary focus of the new base on Jeju Island.  China has recently expressed its concern about U.S. missile defense efforts.  According to a recent article about china urging the U.S. and Russia to make drastic cuts in their nuclear arsenals:

"Beijing also says that Washington should not disrupt the global strategic balance by developing missile defense systems.  This was a possible reference to Pentagon’s recent revelations of its plans to deploy elements of its global missile defense shield in Asia and the Middle East.  A similar antimissile system in Europe is one of stumbling blocks in Russia-US relations."

The protest was initiated by Jeju Island artist and peace activist Gillchun Koh, whose work was exhibited at a Seattle art gallery last month. Participants included members of Veterans for Peace and Sahngnoksoo, a Seattle-based organization of Koreans and Korean-Americans working for social change.


Watch a video (taken during the Consulate protest) by Michael Jacobsen, member of Veterans for Peace, who recently spent three months in Jeju Island.  It contains messages of support for those on Jeju Island involved in the struggle to stop the naval base.


Click here to read the talking points sheet provided by the Consul General (PDF file was scanned from the original document).

Bruce Gagnon talking with
Korean Consular official
(Photo by Charles Espey)
Here are responses to each of the Consul General's talking points by Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

1.  ROK destroyers with MD systems will be guided and directed by US military satellite systems.  Any visiting US Aegis destroyers will be outfitted with MD systems.  Several ROK mainstream news articles have contained acknowledgements that US warships (aircraft carriers, subs, and Aegis destroyers) will be ported in Gangjeong.

2.  94% of Gangjeong villagers voted no against the Navy base.  The Jeju Island assembly has asked for a halt to construction as has the island governor.  All have been ignored by the Navy and President Lee.

3.  The Navy is already dredging the sea bed to make it possible for the big US warships to enter the port.  Just offshore are UNESCO recognized endangered soft coral reefs that will be destroyed in this process.  Already the ocean is being polluted from runoff from Samsung's blasting of the rocky coastline.


Additional Reading: US missile shield branches into Asia, Middle East, RT.com, March 27, 2012

Editors Note:  You can dowload the photos at the source by clicking here.

Bruce Gagnon in Washington State: A BIG Finish

Bruce Gagnon is back home in Maine after his whirlwind one month West Coast Tour.  He spent the last week in Washington, and it was time well spent.  Audiences heard his message loud and clear that the Military Industrial Complex Corporate Crime Syndicate (as Bruce referred to it) is dragging our nation down (and the rest of the world along with it).  We can, and must, change direction, and Bruce was adamant that it is up to We The People to make it happen.  Just electing another president isn't the answer.  In fact, Bruce made it crystal clear that there are no EASY answers or quick fixes; we're going to have to get our hands really dirty to ditch the seemingly endless spiral of militarism and build a sustainable economy.
At Soul Food Books, Redmond

Bruce's last day here was a BIG FINISH!  Following his talk at University of Washington Tacoma and a ceremony there honoring Fr. Bill "Bix" Bichsel, we headed for Seattle and the protest at the South Korean Consulate to speak out against construction of the naval base on Jeju Island.  After that we headed south again for the Tacoma Catholic Worker where Bix and company had a wonderful feast waiting for us AND Susan Crane, of Disarm Now Plowshares, who had gotten out of prison on April 25th.

We're grateful for Bruce's work with the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.  Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and many other organizations partner with the Global Network in its work, and I hope that many more will jump on this bandwagon (one with a very low carbon footprint).

Bruce has a great blog called Organizing Notes.  You can read his post, Heading Home, where he summarizes his last couple days in the Seattle/Tacoma area.  It's a good read.

Here is the video of Mike McCormick's (KEXP 90.3 FM) interview with Bruce on Talking Stick TV on April 28th: