Poulsbo, Washington, Saturday, May 7, 2011 – “Disarm, Disarm! The Sword of murder is not the balance of justice” rang out as nuclear resisters symbolically closed the United States’ largest operational nuclear weapons base. Eighty-three people gathered at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action on Saturday to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend, honoring nurturing women and resisting the Trident nuclear weapons at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Kitsap County, Washington.
Following a reading of Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation, Ground Zero Center peacekeepers entered the roadway to safely block traffic just before seven nuclear resisters symbolically closed the base by crossing the roadway and standing with a long banner that reading “THE EARTH IS OUR MOTHER — TREAT HER WITH RESPECT.”
Each D-5 missile, deployed on Trident nuclear submarines at Bangor, carries up to 8 warheads, each with an explosive yield of up to 475 kilotons. Each D-5 missile costs approximately $60 million. With at least 1000 nuclear warheads at Bangor, according to Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists, it is the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons.
Participants held a vigil at the Silverdale Mall. Standing along Silverdale Way NW, they held banners and signs with a clear message: “Abolish Nuclear Weapons.” Sr. Megan Rice, SHCJ, from Las Vegas, Nevada, held a sign that read “Trident Illegal and Immoral: Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone” and offered newsletters to motorists stopped at the intersection; she ran out of materials by the end of the vigil.
Dr. David Hall, former president of Washington Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, presented the costs and threats posed by the Trident nuclear weapons system which, by its very design, is a first strike weapon.After nonviolence training participants walked from Ground Zero Center, led by drummers from the Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Miyohoji Temple, to the Bangor Main Gate where they vigiled once again.
Following a rousing reading of Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation Ground Zero Center Peacekeepers entered the roadway to safely block traffic just before seven nuclear resisters symbolically closed the base by crossing the roadway and standing with a long banner that reading “THE EARTH IS OUR MOTHER — TREAT HER WITH RESPECT.”
Washington State Patrol officers arrested the resisters, charging them with “walking in a roadway where prohibited.” Each one was processed on the scene, given a citation carrying a $56 fine, and released.
Those arrested were Mary Gleysteen, Kingston, WA; Rev. Anne Hall, Seattle, WA; David Hall, M.D., Seattle, WA; Bernard Meyer, Olympia, WA; Shirley Morrison, Seattle, WA; Dorli Rainey, Seattle, WA; and Alice Zillah, Olympia, WA.
Some of the arrestees wore signs with the names, registration numbers and prisons, honoring the five Disarm Now Plowshares activists – Bix Bichsel, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly and Anne Montgomery – who are in prison for their 2009 Plowshares action.
Participants heard from peace activist Glen Milner who recently won a significant victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in his Freedom of Information Act case “Milner v. Department of Navy.”
They also received an update on the recently declared Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone and its work that includes supporting the campaign to stop the Navy from building a Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the construction cost of the planned ballistic missile submarine to replace the current Trident fleet at $99 billion.
For over thirty-three years Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.
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