Bomb Plant Construction Blocked

Photos by Joshua McElwee, Staff Writer for the National Catholic Reporter

Construction on the first of three new nuclear weapons production facilities was brought to a halt on Monday, August 16, when demonstrators occupied the Kansas City, Missouri site.

Among those arrested was Nuclear Resister co-editor Felice Cohen-Joppa.

Writing for the National Catholic Reporter, Joshua McElwee reports:

“The acts of civil disobedience came at the end of a three-day conference which drew peace activists here from around the nation. The efforts were aimed at building awareness of and resistance to the construction of the weapons plant, which will replace an existing plant here.

“The new plant, which will make non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons, is set to be the nation’s first new major nuclear weapons production facility in 32 years.

“Before their arrest the protestors walked onto a soybean field being plowed by several earth moving vehicles as part of the plant building preparation effort. The group, walking in a single file, held hands; some carried large signs. They approached and surrounded one of the vehicles, forcing the driver to stop her work, and eventually leading 20 other vehicles to halt theirs as well.

“After about a 45 minute shut down, police arrived, announcing the protesters had two minutes to leave the privately-owned grounds. The flurry of activity stopped all work at the site for over an hour.

“In a statement to the press before they began their action, the activists called the new facility a ‘crime against peace’ and a ‘crime against humanity.'”

Read the full report and view the photographs at the National Catholic Reporter online.

Read the action statement below.

See Kansas City television news coverage, and read the Kansas City Star article.

Read the report of the action from one of the arrestees, Steve Clemens, at his blog.

Read Eileen Fleming’s report at her blog.

See photos taken by Allison McGillivray.

For more information, visit

Statement carried onto the site of the new Kansas City Plant by the 14 blockaders and given to workers:


We are gathered today, August 16, 2010, at the site of the future nuclear weapons production plant in Kansas City, Missouri, to protest the continued manufacture of U.S. nuclear weapons.

We also denounce the existence of the current Kansas City facility, where 85% of the non-nuclear components for the U.S. nuclear arsenal are produced, and demand its closure and clean-up.

The current plant and the future plant threaten the health and well-being of workers, our environment and the Kansas City community. The new plant is the recipient of funding by the city government through the explicit misdirection of funds intended for the improvement of urban blight.

The 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty requires an end to all planning, preparation, production, threat, or use of nuclear weapons and adherence to the fundamental rules and principles of Humanitarian Law. Further, ratified treaties are enshrined by the U.S. Constitution as supreme laws of the land. Building the first new U.S. nuclear weapons production facility in 32 years is in obvious violation of these laws.

The cardinal rules and principles of humanitarian law require that civilians never be the object of attack and prohibit weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilians and military targets.

The International Court of Justice found that the destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time, and nuclear weapons have the potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet, and thus are illegal. In keeping with the Nuremburg Principles, we choose to act nonviolently rather than be complicit.

The intended use of the new Kansas City Plant is to improve and extend the life of nuclear weapons. Any complicity in planning, preparation, threatening to use or use of these weapons is a crime against peace, war crime and crime against humanity.

Under principles of democracy we exercise the right of every citizen of this republic and this planet to peacefully resist the nuclear threat that attacks every core concept of human rights.

We act to exercise our basic rights to life and freedom from violence and we exercise our duty to protect children and future generations.

We act to ensure that our government fulfills its promise and responsibilities to unequivocally pursue and achieve nuclear disarmament in good faith.

We call on national, state and local Kansas City government to end the use of our tax dollars to wage permanent war and demand clean-up of all chemical and radioactive contamination.