Resistance to Missile Testing, Space-based Weapons, Drones, and the U.S. War Machine
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SIX ARRESTED ON AUGUST 8, 2015

Holding Banner.6693

Five Catholic Workers and a member of Veterans For Peace were arrested on Saturday, August 8, after an hour long vigil commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thirty-five people attended the vigil including members of the L.A, Guadalupe, and Kenya Catholic Workers, Veterans for Peace, and other individuals.

Dennis Apel led us in a short prayer of repentance and read a poem by Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Founder, David Krieger, entitled: “God Responded With Tears” from the book of poetry God’s Tears: Reflections on the Atomic Bombs Dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Dennis also reminded us that this date also marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Nuremberg Charter by the U.S. and other European nations. The charter stipulated that crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the European Axis Powers could be tried. How ironic that this agreement was signed two days after the bombing of Hiroshima and one day before the bombing of Nagasaki, yet NOBODY has been held accountable.

Those arrested included: (from left to right) Dennis Apel (Guadalupe CW), Mike Wisniewski and Jeff Dietrich (LACW) Chris Knucson (Veterans For Peace), David Omondi (Formerly of the LACW now at the Kenya CW), and Erica Brock (LACW Summer Intern who is now an LACW community member). The six resisters were sited for trespass and released an hour later at Vandenberg Village. No court date scheduled at this time. More photos to come. (Double click on photo to view in high resolution)

See the Santa Maria Times articles covering this vigil and another story about Dennis HERE and HERE.

CHAPLAIN TO HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI BOMBING CREWS REPENTS

Fr. George Zabelka2This LINK is to a inspirational and touching interview with Fr. George Zabelka, the chaplain to the crews that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This LINK is to a short video from the documentary about Fr. Zabelka, The Reluctant Prophet, who several years before his death, had a faith conversion and publicly repented for his part in the bombings, which was the greatest evil this nation has thus far committed, and began speaking out against war in general, nuclear weapons in particular, promoting gospel nonviolence as a way of life. This LINK is to the excellent full documentary–The Reluctant Prophet–about Fr. George Zabelka, the history of U.S. nuclearism, and the resistance against nuclear weapons.

2015 PACIFIC LIFE COMMUNITY RESISTANCE RETREAT & DIRECT ACTION

In front of Lockheed-Martin.5434 This year’s retreat was held in Menlo Park, in Northern California, from Friday, February 27, through Monday, March 2, with a nonviolent direct action on Monday at Lockheed Martin, in Sunnyvale, protesting nuclear weapons work and other weapons for war. After sharing poetry, litany, dancing, songs, and prayer, 12 people were arrested for blocking traffic. They carried a letter with them that read:

To All of Us Who Pay Taxes or Work at Lockheed Martin,

Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest weapons producer. The nuclear missiles that Lockheed Martin designs and builds are a threat to all life on earth. We ask you to evaluate the morality of profit from world-wide death and suffering.

This is the time to transform Lockheed Martin’s reliance on weapons production into new technologies that help the earth and benefit the common good.

Those arrested included: Peggy Coleman, Betsy Lamb, Ann Havill, Fr. Jerry Zawada, OFM, John Yevtich, Katie Kelso, Susan Crane, Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, Larry Purcell, Elizabeth Murray, Ed Ehmke and Mary Jane Parrine. Four of the protesters were released that afternoon by signing out, as was one later that evening. The seven who refused to sign papers for their release were held in jail until they were seen by a judge. They were released, all charges dropped, on Wednesday night, March 4. The individuals who signed out will have a future court date.

The keynote speaker was Dalit Baum, Ph.D., originally from Tel Aviv, and co-founder of Who Profits from the Occupation, and of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. Dalit is a feminist scholar and teacher. She has been active with various groups in the Israeli anti-occupation and democracy movement. She has worked for American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in the San Francisco office since 2013 and currently serves the organization as Director of Economic Activism. She spoke on the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, and the destruction and slow genocide of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. This year’s retreat had 80 people in attendance from various western states.

(See Photos HERE)

(See Video of Lockheed Martin action HERE)

2012-12-12-photo7 During the retreat, on February 28, news came of the passing of longtime Tacoma Catholic Worker, peace activist, and PLC member, Jesuit Fr. William “Bix” Bichsel, 86, who now resides with the Heavenly Cloud of Witnesses. He was loved by many and will be deeply missed. The retreat and direct action were dedicated to him, with many wearing a photo of Bix in remembrance. Bix was a member of the Disarm Now Plowshares and recently traveled to Jeju Island to protest the U.S.-sponsored naval base being built there. Fr. BixPRESENTE!

FINES FOR HIROSHIMA/NAGASAKI DAY WITNESS

Five Resisters.3655The five Catholic Worker resisters arrested on August 9, 2014, commemorating Hiroshima & Nagasaki Day and protesting against U.S. imperial war-making, appeared today in federal court in Santa Barbara. All five entered a plea of “Nolo contendere” (no contest), which, surprisingly, was accepted by the court. After listening to each statement by the defendants, the court followed the prosecutor’s recommendations and issued fines ranging from $100 (for Karan Benton and Mark Kelso), $300 (for Mike Wisniewski), and $500 (for Jeff Dietrich and Fr. Steve Kelly), plus $10 court costs and $25 processing fees. All five resisters stated they would not pay fines or other added costs. The court responded by setting December 1, 2014 as the due date, acknowledging that each defendant has refused to pay. We now wait to see what, if anything, will transpire after the due date expires.

FIVE CATHOLIC WORKERS ARRESTED

Five Resisters.3655The L.A. Catholic Worker, Guadalupe Catholic Worker, and Las Vegas Catholic Worker gathered at the Vandenberg AFB main gate to vigil in commemoration of the 69th anniversary of bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 6 and August 9, 1945. As a witness against diabolical nuclear weapons and U.S. imperial war-making, five Catholic Workers, Karan Benton, Mike Wisniewski, and Jeff Dietrich from the LACW, Mark Kelso from the Las Vegas CW, and Rev. Steve Kelly, SJ. from Oakland and the Redwood City CW were arrested. All were cited for trespassing and released an hour and a half later at Vandenberg Village. Court date pending. See photos HERE.

UPDATE: Arraignment date is Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 1pm, in Santa Barbara Federal Bankruptcy Court, 1415 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. If you can attend for support, it would be greatly appreciated. Be sure to bring your ID.
 

WE REMEMBER – AUGUST 6, 1945 and AUGUST 9, 1945

June 2014 Graphic Disarm and Repent!
Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

LYNNE GREENWALD – PRESENTE!

Disarm Now Plowshareslynne greenwald  On Tuesday, August 5, 2014, we lost a great woman, mom, grandmother, friend, Catholic Worker, peace and justice activist and anti-nuclear plowshares activist, as well as director of a Tacoma, WA, shelter in for women leaving prison.
Lynne, you will be greatly missed. May you rest in peace.
Lynne Greenwald – PRESENTE! (See videos of interviews with Lynne HERE and HERE.

Lynne Greenwald (second from left in above photo) in her last plowshares action with Susan Crane, Sr. Anne Montgomery, Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, and Fr. Bill Bischel, SJ, at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor against the immoral and illegal trident missile system. November 2, 2009. See this LINK.

 

THE 22nd ANNUAL GLOBAL NETWORK CONFERENCE

DennisThe 22nd annual Global Network (GN) space organizing conference was held in Santa Barbara from March 14 – 16, and hosted by Guadalupe Catholic Worker activists Dennis Apel and Tensie Hernandez.

Just over 30 people arrived at Vandenberg at 4:00 pm on March 14 to hold a protest in support of the dedicated local activists who have been protesting at the base for the past 30 years. We held a brief news conference to begin our solidarity vigil and soon after we began a phalanx of military police marched into our group and handcuffed and removed Dennis. Within minutes they came back and took another of our GN board members MacGregor Eddy (WILPF). Both Dennis and MacGregor have permanent ban and bar letters from the base commander, which prevents them from being at the protest area outside the base.

The protest at the base received good coverage twice by the two largest newspapers in the region as well as a local radio station.

Vandenberg is a key space operations center that launches military satellites, is a deployment site for ground-base missile defense interceptors, and tests Minuteman nuclear missiles by firing them from the sprawling base into Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific.

Following dinner that first evening back at the retreat center we watched The Ghosts of Jeju documentary about the Navy base struggle and the sordid history of US militarism on Jeju and throughout Korea. Activist and musician Jo Yakgol came representing Gangjeong village on Jeju Island and sang throughout the weekend. People from India, Norway, England, Japan, Canada, Korea, and throughout the U.S. attended the conference.

Journalist Bard Wormdal, author of the book The Satellite War, gave a fine presentation about how U.S. deployment of a radar in Vardo, Norway near the Russian border is a key element in U.S. “missile defense” strategy.” He went on to detail the extensive Pentagon use of satellite ground relay stations near the north and south poles which violate existing treaties outlawing these locations being used for military (surveillance and targeting) purposes.

Another presentation was made by Masaki Toda from Kyoto, Japan who briefed us on the pending deployment of another US X-band “missile defense” radar near their community. Local activists in the Kyoto prefecture have been building a campaign to oppose the radar deployment because of its destabilizing nature. While it is said to be aimed at North Korea the true nature of the radar will be for US military “control” of China.

Canadian activist Tamara Lorincz also made an excellent presentation about the need for demilitarization and conversion of the military industrial complex. She thoroughly reviewed the work of former Columbia University professor Seymour Melman, the father of economic conversion.

On the evening of March 15 we moved the conference participants to a local church in Santa Barbara where we had invited the general public to join us for a program that included speakers and more music. About 75 people heard several talks that included a fantastic video presentation about the history and work of the Global Network prepared by our board convener Dave Webb who also chairs the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK. (We hope to be able to share this via YouTube soon.) Music that evening was performed by Tom Neilson, JoYakgol and Holly Gwinn-Graham.

The Peace in Space awards were presented this year to west coast activists Dennis Apel, Tensie Hernandez, Lynda Williams, Holly Gwinn-Graham and MacGregor Eddy. Plus a special lifetime award was given to WW II veteran Bud Boothe who has been protesting at Vandenberg AFB for the past 30 years. See photos HERE.

2014 Pacific Life Community (PLC) Faith and Resistance Reteat

Nuclear Banner.2475Fifty-eight West Coast faith-based activists attended the 2014 PLC Faith and Resistance Retreat in Las Vegas from Friday, March 7 – Monday, March 10. Gary and Julia, from the Las Vegas Catholic Worker, hosted this year’s retreat, with Bruce Gagnon, from Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space giving an excellent keynote presentation, along with Janet Chisholm, the new director of Nevada Desert Experience (NDE). Former NDE director Jim Haber and Marcus Page, from the Sheepranch Catholic Worker Farm, also gave presentations. We vigiled against drone warfare at Creech AFB, and against nuclear weapons at Nellis AFB, with 37 people getting arrested at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site on Monday, with another anti-nuclear vigil at the Department of Energy’s complex in North Las Vegas. See photos HERE. Also, see Bruce Gagnon’s blog HERE.

UPDATE: This LINK is the PDF of the leaflet that was used at the Department of Energy complex.

UKRAINE CRISIS ANALYSIS – SURROUNDING RUSSIA

russiamdThis LINK and this LINK provide an excellent analysis of the crisis in the Ukraine that we are not getting from the Western mainstream news media. These articles tell a very different story that contains much more truth than the rhetoric coming out of Washington and the EU.  Let us not forget the hypocrisy also present as U.S. imperial policy includes the illegal invasion and occupation of both, Iraq and Afghanistan, not to forget the ongoing illegal (and immoral) drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. God forgive US.