Putting Nuclear Missiles on Trial: Oct 16-17th, Santa Barbara, CA

From the civil resistance of the Vandenberg 15 and the work of Veterans For Peace,
a new campaign to de-alert and stand down (eliminate) the Minuteman lll missile is happening.

Call President Obama today at 202-456-1111 and ask him to de-alert and stand down the minuteman lll.

Come to our trial of The Vandenberg 15 in Santa Barbara, CA with events starting on Oct.16, a public forum: “Putting Nuclear Weapons on Trial” in the Santa Barbara library and the trial beginning on Oct. 17, 2012.

More information by emailing jajaja1234@aol.com.

Edit:
Here is the latest:

Minuteman III Missiles:
Dangerous, Deadly and Time to Decommission

The US nuclear arsenal includes 450 land-based Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) armed with thermonuclear warheads. These ICBMs are deployed in hardened silos in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. They are easily detected and targeted. The missiles cannot prevent a nuclear attack on the United States – there is no way to preemptively eliminate all of an adversary’s nuclear weapons. A launch would ensure retaliation by a nuclear adversary.

These missiles are on high alert every moment of every day. The decision to launch would be made by the President in 13 minutes or less if he believed there was an impending attack. The Washington Post recently called this “13 minutes to doomsday.” Thirteen minutes with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment would bring the world as we know it to an end.

An immediate step that could be taken would be to de-alert the missiles so that 24 to 72 hours would be needed to launch. This would increase our security by eliminating the possibility of accidental or unauthorized launch. A more significant step would be to make the decision to retire and eliminate all land-based ICBMs. They are expensive to maintain and do not address 21st century threats.

In a major unilateral nuclear attack without retaliation from the other side, the smoke from burning cities would block sunlight sufficiently to destabilize the environment, reduce warming sunlight to the lowest levels in at least 1000 years, shorten growing seasons and decrease sustainable agriculture, lower food production and create nuclear famine worldwide. Simply put, even a one-sided attack without retaliation would be tantamount to suicide. Nuclear weapons have no application without inflicting harm on oneself.

It is time we fully understand that any nuclear war that attacked another side’s cities would have consequences for the well-being of everyone on the planet, regardless of wealth, political affiliation, race, etc. The United States and the world would be far more secure by eliminating nuclear weapons, beginning with the Minuteman lll Intercontinental Ballistic missiles.

Please call or send a message to the White House today (call the White House at 202-456-1111) and ask President Obama to de-alert and decommission the US land-based missile force. It is unneeded, provocative, and could be launched to a false warning. US citizens and people throughout the world will be safer and more secure without them.

This is the next video please watch and pass it along. First call the White House so you can affirm you havecalled. You will feel good for having done so (like I do) and this is a team effort. Truly I need you to do this. Thanks. Paz, John

Putting Nuclear Weapons on Trial with David and Carolee Krieger

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have
guided missiles and misguided men.” MLK

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the
whole staircase.” MLK

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The watching state and its nuclear drones


The ‘eye of providence’, the all seeing eye of god has changed from a religious symbol into an automated digital routine available only to the unseen activities of state security agencies and whoever else may get hold of it. The eye of providence can be seen on one side of the seal of the United States in a vignette, on the other side is a picture of an eagle with in its claws a palm leaf and a bunch of arrows, above its head a group of stars within a nimbus of a great explosion. The seal is also depicted on a one dollar bill. It is as if this emblematic symbolism is now materialising with the advent of ‘social network surveillance’ of the internet and the global remote controlled spying systems, complimented by unmanned aerial vehicles that can both see and destroy what is classified as ‘the enemy’.

Further reading at Tjebbe van Tijen’s.

Jury for Tacoma Trident Peace Activists Still Out


Thanks to Disarm Now Plowshares for sharing this article from the Huffington Post

By Bill Quigley, Dec. 10, 2010

The federal criminal trial of five veteran peace activists facing several charges was recessed until Monday after their jury announced late Friday they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on one of the counts. The Tacoma Washington trial has been going on since Tuesday. The five defendants, called the Disarm Now Plowshares, challenged the legality and morality of the US storage and use of thermonuclear missiles by Trident nuclear submarines at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base outside Bremerton Washington.

The peace activists argued three points: the missiles are weapons of mass destruction; the weapons are both illegal and immoral; and that all citizens have the right to try to stop international war crimes being committed by these weapons of mass destruction. “It is not a crime to reveal a crime,” they argued. Supporters from around the world packed the main courtroom every day of the trial. Numerous others followed the trial in an overflow court room.

The five were charged with trespass, felony damage to federal property, felony injury to property and felony conspiracy to damage property. Each faces possible sentences of up to ten years in prison.

On trial are: Sr. Anne Montgomery, 83, a Sacred Heart sister from New York; Fr. Bill Bischel, 81, a Jesuit priest from Tacoma Washington; Susan Crane, 67, a member of the Jonah House community in Baltimore, Maryland; Lynne Greenwald, 60, a nurse from Bremerton Washington; and Fr. Steve Kelly, 60, a Jesuit priest from Oakland California. Bill Bischel and Lynne Greenwald are active members of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, a community resisting Trident nuclear weapons since 1977.

The five admitted from the start that they cut through the chain link fence surrounding the Navy base during the night of All Souls, November 2, 2009. They then walked undetected for hours nearly four miles inside the base to their target, the Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific. This top security area is where activists say hundreds of nuclear missiles are stored in bunkers. There they cut through two more barbed wire fences and went inside. They put up two big banners which said “Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident Illegal and Immoral,” scattered sunflower seeds, and prayed until they were arrested at dawn. Once arrested, the five were cuffed and hooded with sand bags because the marine in charge testified “when we secure prisoners anywhere in Iraq or Afghanistan we hood them…so we did it to them.”

Eight Trident nuclear submarines have their home port at the Kitsap-Bangor base. Each Trident submarine has 24 nuclear missiles on it. Each one of the missiles has multiple warheads in it and each warhead has many times the destructive power of the weapon used on Hiroshima. One fully loaded Trident submarine carries 192 warheads, each designed to explode with the power of 475 kilotons of TNT force. If detonated at ground level each would blow out a crater nearly half a mile wide and several hundred feet deep. In addition to the missiles on the submarines, the base has an extensive bunker area where more missiles are stored. That storage area is the Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific. That is where the activists made their stand for disarmament.

The trial brought peace activists from around the world to challenge the US use of the Trident nuclear weapons. Angie Zelter, internationally known author and activist from the UK, testified about the resistance to Trident weapons in Europe. Stephen Leeper, Chair of the Peace Culture Foundation in Hiroshima, told the jury “the world is facing a critical moment” because of the existence and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Though prohibited from testifying about the details of the death, destruction, and genetic damage to civilians from the US nuclear attack on Hiroshima, he testified defendants “have a tremendous amount of support in Hiroshima.” Retired US Navy Captain Thomas Rogers, 31 years in the Navy, including several years as Commander of a nuclear submarine, told the court he thought the US possession of nuclear weapons after the Cold War was illegal and immoral. When asked how these weapons would impact civilians, he responded “it is really hard to detonate a 475 kiloton nuclear device without killing civilians.” Dr. David Hall of Physicians for Social Responsibility testified about the humanitarian core beliefs of the defendants. And Professor and author Michael Honey told the jury about the importance of nonviolent direct action in bringing about social change.

Prosecutors said the government would neither admit nor deny the existence of nuclear weapons at the base and argued that “whether or not there are nuclear weapons there or not is irrelevant.” Prosecutors successfully objected to and excluded most of the defense evidence about the horrific effects of nuclear weapons, the illegality of nuclear weapons under US treaty agreements and humanitarian law, and the right of citizens to try to stop war crimes by their government.

The peace activists, who represented themselves with lawyers as stand by counsel, tried to present evidence about nuclear weapons despite repeated objections. At one point, Sr. Anne Montgomery challenged the prosecutors and the court “Why are we so afraid to discuss the fact that there are nuclear weapons?”
The government testified that it took about five hours to patch the holes in the fences and most of the day to replace the alarm system around the nuclear weapons storage area.

The twelve person jury reported it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on all counts and the judge sent them home for the weekend.

The extensive peace community gathered at the courthouse supported the defendants and rejoiced that the jury was taking the defendants and the charges seriously. Supporters promised to continue to protest against the Trident and its weapons of mass destruction. They echoed the words of one of prospective jurors who was excluded from the trial because, when asked whether he would follow the instructions of the judge in this case, said “I totally respect the rule of law, but some laws are meant to be broken, that is how things change.”
Jury deliberations will resume Monday.

For more information on the trial and the peace activists please see the site for Disarm Now Plowshares http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/ or Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action .

Note: for photos made by the government, taken after the action was over and the participants had been arrested, see here.

After 65 years, retire the bomb!


by John Dear SJ on Jul. 27, 2010
In: National Catholic Reporter

The year has turned again, and friends and I are busy completing plans for our annual Hiroshima Day events in Santa Fe and Los Alamos. Our theme this time around: “Sixty Five Years Is Enough! Retire the Bomb! We Want a Nuclear Free World!”

It has been seven years now since Pax Christi New Mexico began somberly marking the occasion. There have been vigils, lectures, retreats and, on as close to Hiroshima Day as possible, in a communal gesture of repentance, sackcloth and ashes. Many prominent leaders have joined us over the years — Kathy Kelly, Sr. Helen Prejean, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and Nobel Laureates Mariead Maguire and Jody Williams.

This year, on July 30, Bishop Gabino Zavala will join us, president of Pax Christi USA and auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles. Friday night he will address us, and on Saturday, July 31, we will gather in Los Alamos, birthplace of the bomb. From the town’s Ashley Pond, we’ll process in silence through the town, sit in sackcloth and ashes, and spend thirty minutes in contemplative prayer. It will be a time dedicated to summoning our sorrow for the mortal sin of nuclear weapons and war, a time of petitioning the God of peace. Grant us, dear God, a nuclear-free world.

Our gesture, modest though it is, will be infused with Gandhi’s creative nonviolence, plus the biblical allusion to Jonah and the Ninevehites. By the tone we set we hope to dissolve the polarizing sense of “us” versus “them.” We will take responsibility for our own complicity; we’ll acknowledge our own stake in the violence that breeds nuclear weapons. Ours is not primarily an accusatory gesture. We come to grieve, repent and pray.

At the same time we have a message to bring. Seven years now and it hasn’t much changed. What it boils down to is this: nuclear weapons are ruinous for the economy, the environment, our health. They’re pernicious for children and creation. The security they lure us with is counterfeit. Nuclear weapons corrupt our souls.

Read more here.

And the latest one of John Dear, SJ:

A gathering storm for hope
by John Dear SJ on Aug. 03, 2010

“Tonight’s theme is the momentum from a gathering storm for hope which I believe will one day bear fruit in abolishing all nuclear weapons.” That’s how Bishop Gabino Zavala, President of Pax Christi USA, launched our two-day observance last weekend of the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He went on and offered us his clear-eyed view. “April of 2009 represented a sea change from the former administration,” he said, referring to Obama’s speech in Prague. “It clearly laid out our president’s vision and commitment to nuclear disarmament,” toward “a nuclear free world.”

But then Obama’s glaring contradiction. The bishop took him to task for allocating more national treasure for nukes than his predecessor. In many documents over the past decades, the bishop reminded us, nuclear weapons have inspired official condemnation from the Catholic Church. And he urged us to take it seriously, to keep building our grassroots movement. Make your hopes for peace come true, he concluded.

Bishop Zavala’s presence felt like a breath of fresh air to those of us in New Mexico who’ve been speaking out for disarmament for years. Not every day does one hear a Catholic bishop speaking clearly and eloquently about this crucial matter — especially here, where nuclear weapons were first built and a new generation of them is in the works, thanks to Obama. Bishop Zavala’s presence heightened our hope.

It was in that spirit of hope that we ascended the narrow road along the mountain cliff up to Los Alamos the next afternoon. We assembled ourselves at Ashley Pond, the park in the center of town where, 65 years ago, “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” were built — carnival euphemisms to mask their impending horror.

There we passed out sackcloth and bags of ashes, then blessed them and the people of Los Alamos. In a spirit of prayer and repentance, more than a hundred of us then set off in silence along Trinity Road. At the appointed time we stopped and scattered the ashes and donned our sackcloth, and for 30 minutes we sat in prayer. We repented of our own role in the mortal sin of war and nuclear weapons, and we begged the God of peace to convert our nation to nonviolence and give us the gift of nuclear disarmament.

A weird sight to be sure. Over a dozen drivers that I saw revved by in a fit of aggression, hurling curses and insults and abuse. But processing back to the pond, friends shared how moved they were to take part in an action so imbued with the spirit of Jesus and Gandhi. And the tradition of the book of Jonah.

“Who are you trying to speak to?” an ABC TV reporter asked me just before we set off.

I said, of course, we call upon the employees and people of Los Alamos to stop designing, building and maintaining nuclear weapons. And we’re speaking, as well, to the people of New Mexico, and perhaps to the world, about the need to abolish these weapons. But ultimately, I said, we’re here to speak to God, to beg the God of peace for the gift of a world without war and nuclear weapons.

His eyes widened. I saw in them a fusion of wonder, amusement and surprise. “God?,” he probably wanted to ask. “What does God have to do with this?” He had, I surmise, expected the usual — a seething peace demonstration full of hysteria and anger. And here was one of penitence and sorrow, faith and hope. It was clear he was going to have some fresh thinking to do.

And all the more so because among us were representatives of the largest youth-led movement for disarmament in the country — “Think Outside the Bomb.” One doesn’t often associate young people with anti-nuclear sentiments — at least if you believe the media. But here was Jennifer, who happily told us, once we gathered back at Ashley Pond, of the group’s upcoming week-long encampment and vigils in the town. They are planning a nonviolent direct action for later this week. These young folks, as the good bishop did, renewed our hope.

Miki Taylor was also among us, a doctor who grew up and spent her life in Hiroshima. She recently moved with her husband to Santa Fe, and she thanked us for our public stand. Later she told me that, while we need to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must understand that the same dark spirit which first created these weapons remains among us. The willingness to eliminate millions in a flash still lingers in the air. That evil spirit is alive and well in our military institutions, corporations, and government, and somehow, we need to change that spirit.

To our happy surprise, Ann Wright also joined us. A former army colonel and State Department official, she famously resigned in protest in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War. Today she is one of the great leaders in the international peace movement, and travels tirelessly to promote peace and reconciliation. She was aboard one of the boats in the recent flotilla with relief supplies to Gaza when Israeli soldiers attacked, killing nine. Currently on a national speaking tour, she is also working to raise funds for a U.S. boat to Gaza.

Last year she made a pilgrimage to Hiroshima, where she tried to take in the destruction and open her heart to the pain. As for Los Alamos, the feeling is different, she said. “It feels eerie to be here.” It was her first visit to the city of the Bomb.

In that eeriness — spectacular vistas darkened by an evil purpose — Ann encouraged us. “Continue your work for disarmament and peace,” she said, “Don’t give up. While the national movement seems dead, the local movements are strong. Everywhere, small grassroots groups are organizing and holding vigils and bringing in speakers. People are doing what they can. So keep doing what you can,” she said with a smile, “Together, we can make a difference.”

Sixty-five years ago our nation killed civilians on an incalculable scale. And in somber commemoration, a hundred of us this past weekend took to Trinity Road with heads bowed in sorrow. The weekend has passed, but not the opportunity. Accordingly, I invite everyone to join in that spirit of prayer, repentance, and nonviolence, and to do what you can to promote nuclear disarmament, as well as an end to our nation’s senseless wars.

A word of caution, however — don’t do it with anger. Anger gains little; rulers shrug it off. Their constantly being embroiled in power struggles makes them adept at thwarting it. Grief is another matter altogether. Genuine grief can’t be withstood. Rulers stand helpless before it. It leaves them flustered and confounded — and in the best of scenarios, sets their own tears flowing too. It can be an opening to compassion and nonviolence.

And so I offer the following prayer, one used at previous vigils, to help us enter into grief, to help us convert our hearts, our church, and our nation. To help us cry out for God’s gift of justice, disarmament and peace. As we “storm heaven” for the gift of peace, may it generate new hope among us.

God of peace, as we remember our sisters and brothers killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we repent of the atomic bomb, of those horrific acts, of all the death and destruction that we have wrought.

As our country continues to design, build and maintain these genocidal weapons of mass destruction, we repent of our mortal sin.

As our country threatens the whole human race and the entire planet, we repent of our willingness to destroy the gift of your creation.

As we continue to hold the world hostage and commit the ultimate act of terrorism by threatening to use these nuclear weapons, we repent of nuclear terrorism and the fear, distrust and infidelity we spread.

For our silence, indifference, fear and despair, we repent. For all the violence we have personally committed, and for our own complicity with the culture of war and nuclear weapons, we repent.

Disarm our hearts, disarm our cities, disarm our military and our nation, disarm our world. Give us the gift of a world without war, poverty or nuclear weapons, a new world of peace.

And so we pledge–
In this world of hatred, indifference, fear and anxiety, to be instruments of your love;
In this world of selfishness, greed and materialism, to be instruments of your selfless service and generosity;
In this world of revenge, retaliation and resentment, to be instruments of your mercy, compassion and forgiveness;
In this world of doubt and despair, to be instruments of faith and hope;
In this world of lies and darkness, to be instruments of truth and light;
In this world of war, nuclear weapons and death, to be instruments of your peace, nonviolence and life.

Strengthen us to rebuild your global grassroots movement of nonviolence, that we will inspire more and more people to work for the abolition of war, poverty and nuclear weapons, that we might welcome your reign of nonviolence, love and peace everywhere. We ask this in the name of the nonviolent Jesus. Amen.

Fathering the drones


This is an elaboration of an introduction I wrote earlier on. It is in the spirit of Herbert Marcuse’s One dimensional man, a book that deals in its entirety about the unbearable situation of living “as if normal” whilst the human-made death of all of humanity is being prepared. The metaphors of generation etcetera fulfill a certain ideological function: it further “normalizes” living alongside mass murder. Also cf. “sitting duck” and “barrel of fish” as references to the bombing drones.

Until I started writing this piece I did not know about a “mother of the bomb”.

When you ask the internet search engine for the “father of the bomb” you get the incredible result of around six million hits. One of the first results you may get reads: “Trinity and the birth of the bomb”, which indeed goes on about the “father of the bomb”. There is a good chance you will accuse the writer of the text you now see of blasphemy when you are kindly reminded of the combination of the words trinity, birth and father. Words used in connection with a device that killed about a hundred thousand people in one instant, and another hundred thousand in the slow aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima.

When such a combination yields about six million hits this must mean “we” have accomodated to these weapons. Generally they are called weapons of mass destruction these days, which refers to damage done to buildings and other lifeless things. You do not hear the phrase weapons of mass killing. And apparently “we” accept the idea of these weapons “having been born”, they have “a father” and they have to be modernized once in a while. Then we hear about the next “generation of nuclear bombs” (about one hundred thousand hits in the search engine). Born, father, generation – all words referring to life, the ending of which is the specific aim of these weapons. If you think it unfair that the “mother of the bomb” is not mentioned you are right: she “only” gets three million hits in the search engine.

Since it refers to an insect it probably will be even harder to see the full obscenity of a killing device, the unmanned aerial vehicle, named drone. The main task of drones, male bees, is indeed: fathering. We are up to see a new generation of drones, which will be more stealthy than the present day unmanned killing device.

Let us be aware that bombs and unmanned bombing devices are directed against fathers and mothers, against those who are born and against generations. And let us remember that the most obscene about these things is still not the words used about them. It is the fact that they exist at all, that they are used or that using them is even being considered.

Message is simple: No nukes


From: Times Union

Message is simple: No nukes

By JOHN AMIDON
First published: Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lying on my back, in the middle of the road, crying and wailing, the police looked withdrawn and confused. The strength of the women who joined in this anguished lamentation, our expression of profound grief over nuclear weapons and the poisoning of the land with radioactive waste somehow touched upon the holy mother and the divine feminine. It is Easter Sunday 2010 at the Nevada Test Site. I have returned to protest nuclear weapons and again my behavior has taken me out of the logical and rational. It has left me feeling disoriented and disturbed, yet a powerful healing and life-affirming transformation has occurred. Isn’t this what Easter is about?

I want so much for Christianity to find itself, to give up violence and the mistaken belief in the right to kill. Jesus offer loved and the way of the cross. The bomb is the way of the sword, the ultimate weapon in our killing arsenal. Years ago, late Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle said, “Our nuclear war preparations are the global crucifixion of Jesus.” Recently the Indian writer Arundhati Roy has simplified this understanding. “If you are religious,” she said, “then remember that this bomb is man’s challenge to God. It’s worded quite simply: We have the power to destroy everything that you have created.”

Near the Nevada Test Site exists a spiritual anomaly, the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet. It is metaphorically and literally an oasis, with natural springs offering life-giving water in the Mojave Desert. A visionary, Genevieve Vaughan, created this temple to Goddess Spirituality. Inside the temple the divine feminine is worshiped, most visibly in the form of Goddess Sekhmet, El Madre Del Mundo and the holy mother.

Genevieve wrote of her experience here in 1986. “I knew almost at once that this was the right place to build a temple to the goddess. The Earth at the test site is wounded underground. You can feel it in your body as you stand at the gate of the test site looking some 40 miles across the desert at the hills … Mother Earth is injured there, and nuclear waste is being stored in her wounds.”
Genevieve talked about wailing the test site. “We name the things we mourn for and moan, and scream our grief like banshees.”

The Judaeo-Christian tradition once recognized the need for lamentation more fully. It was past time for us to wail against nuclear weapons. We wailed our grief with our brothers and sisters of the Sacred Peace Walk and the priestess of the Goddess Temple. We writhed and screamed against the destruction of our planet. Hot tears streamed to the asphalt, and as we wailed, a Shoshone chief drummed what seemed like the calming and “steady beat of a human heart.”

Last Sunday, thousands of people walked from Times Square to the United Nations calling for nuclear disarmament and the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Our message was simple and profound, summed up in signs that said, “No Nukes, No Wars, Fund Human Needs, Protect the Planet” and “It’s Always Been Wrong,” and the words Buckminster Fuller, “We Are Called to Be Architects of the Future, Not Victims.”

Some 1,800 people traveled from Japan, including survivors from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Giving the rally a gracious civility and gentle tone, they came bearing friendship and small gifts. Steve Wickham, a peace activist from Guilderland, encountered a woman, a Hibakusha, who survived the blast at Hiroshima. She was 13 years old in 1945. She suffered burns over 25 percent of her body, was rendered infertile by the radioactivity has bone and eye problems in her later life. Her peaceful nature and message was moving.

We cannot leave it to our leaders to abolish nuclear weapons. All of us as common citizens must speak out and insist upon nuclear abolition. Sunday is Mother’s Day. Let us all insist that we take care of our holy mother planet Earth, end the threat of nuclear annihilation and restore the balance of the divine feminine.

John Amidon is a member of Veterans for Peace in Albany. Wailing at the Nevada Test Site can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEGiD2lNiTw