Father Bill "Bix" Bichsel and four others risked their lives Monday morning (Nov. 2, 2009, the Day of the Dead, or All Souls Day) by breaking into the Bangor Trident base in an effort to call attention to the illegal, immoral weapons system based there, but not a single mainstream media source described the horrific destructive power of the weapons based there. -- The group issued a press release distributed by Pax Christi describing their actions and motivations. -- Bichsel and the others were hooded and forced to lay on the cold ground for four hours before being interrogated (they refused to say anything but their names), cited, and released. -- Not much of their information appeared in a KOMO news squib on the action. -- The AP also posted a squib. -- Only the Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, WA) published (and the Longview (WA) Daily News reprinted) a longer article (and posted a video of them speaking), reporting that the five entered the base around 2:00 a.m. but were not apprehended until 6:30 a.m. -- A Navy Region Northwest spokesman denied that this indicated lax security at the base, where the use of "[d]eadly force is authorized." -- (The Kitsap Sun is also running a poll: "What do you think of the actions of the protesters who broke onto Bangor base?" At 10:45 p.m. on Nov. 3 (Election Day, as chance would have it), 201 persons had voted; 65% chose "It's illegal, and they should be put in jail" received 65%; "Jail is too lenient" received 21%; "They should be fined, then ignored" received 3%; "They should be thanked" received 8%.) -- The website Ekklesia rewrote the press release, emphasizing the ill-treatment accorded the protesters. -- BACKGROUND: An essay published by Albert Camus on August 8, 1945, a day after news was received of the destruction of Hiroshima by an atomic bomb, warned: “Faced with the terrifying prospects that are opening up before humanity, we see even more clearly than before that peace is the only fight worth engaging in. This isn’t a plea any more, but an order that has to rise up from peoples to governments, the order to choose once and for all between hell and reason.” -- Bill Bichsel visited Hiroshima last August, a fact that went unmentioned in all accounts....
THE "DISARM NOW TRIDENT PLOWSHARES ACTION"
November 3, 2009
Bill "Bix" Bischel [sic -- the correct spelling is 'Bichsel'], S.J., 81, of Tacoma, Washington; Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore MD; Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton Washington; Steve Kelly, S.J., 60, of Oakland, CA.; Anne Montgomery RSCJ, 83, of New York, New York, were arrested on Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor. They entered the Base in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, with the intention calling attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system. They entered thru the perimeter fence, made their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific (SWFPAC) where they were able to cut thru the first chainlink fence surrounding SWF-PAC, walked to and cut the next double layered fence, which was both chain link and barbed wire, onto the grounds of SWFPAC. As they walked onto the grounds, they held a banner saying: "Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident: Illegal + Immoral," left a trail of blood, and hammered on the roadway (Trigger Ave. and Sturgeon) that are essential to the working of the Trident weapons system, hammered on the fences around SWFPAC, and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base. They were then thrown to the ground face down, handcuffed, and hooded and held there for 4 hours on the wet cold ground. They were taken, hooded, and carried out through the very holes in the fence that they had made, for questioning by Base security, FBI, and NCIS. They refused to give any information except their names, and were cited, as of now, for trespass and destruction of government property, given a ban and bar letter, and released.
In a joint statement, the group stated that "The manufacture and deployment of Trident II missiles, weapons of mass destruction, is immoral and criminal under International Law and, therefore, under United States law. As U.S. citizens we are responsible under the Nuremberg Principles for this threat of first-strike terrorism hanging over the community of nations, rich and poor. Moreover, such planning, preparation, and deployment is a blasphemy against the Creator of life, imaged in each human being."
There have been approximately 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, "God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore."
The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads. In November 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal. The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea, and Pakistan combined.
The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more accurate Trident D-5 missile system. Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455 kiloton W-88 warheads (each warhead is about 30 times the explosive force as the Hiroshima bomb.) The D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead. The Trident fleet at Bangor deploys both the 455 kiloton W-88 warhead and the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.
Trident fact sheet and statements & bio's of activists will be sent in a separate message.
5 BUSTED FOR BREAKING INTO BANGOR NAVAL BASE
November 3, 2009
BREMERTON, Wash. -- The FBI and U.S. Navy are investigating a break in at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor that occurred Monday morning.
A group of five activists -- ranging in age from 60 to 83 -- say they cut through two security fences near a weapons facility around 6:30 a.m. They were about to cut another fence when they were arrested.
Navy officials say the five were cited for trespassing and released Monday afternoon. They added at no time was the safety of Navy personnel, property, or the public threatened in any way.
After their arrest, the group said in a statement to the media they were protesting "illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system."
OAKLAND MAN, FOUR OTHER DEMONSTRATORS ARRESTED AT WASHINGTON NUKE SUB BASE
November 3, 2009
BANGOR, Wash. -- Five anti-war demonstrators -- including an Oakland man -- were arrested after cutting through a security fence at the nuclear missile storage facility for Trident submarines at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
The Kitsap Sun reports they carried a banner that said, "Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident: Illegal and Immoral."
Navy spokesman Chris Haley says an alarm went off when the group entered at 6:30 a.m. today, and they were arrested on suspicion of trespass and destruction of government property, cited and released.
The five are identified as 81-year-old Catholic priest Bill Bischel of Tacoma, 83-year-old nun Anne Montgomery of New York City, 65-year-old Susan Crane of Baltimore, 60-year-old Lynne Greenwald of Bremerton and 60-year-old Steve Kelly of Oakland.
FIVE ARRESTED FOR BREAKING INTO NAVY BASE
By Ed Friedrich
Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, WA)
November 3, 2009
BANGOR -- Five protestors associated with an international peace movement were arrested Monday after cutting through three security fences to reach an area where nuclear missiles are stored at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
Cited on suspicion of trespassing and destruction of government property were Bill Bischel, 81, a Catholic priest from Tacoma; Anne Montgomery, 83, a nun from New York; Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore; Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton; and Steve Kelly, 60, of Oakland, Calif.
The nuclear weapons opponents were “apprehended in accordance with standing security procedures for incidents of this nature,” according to a Navy press release. They were turned over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, cited and released at about 4 p.m.
“At no time was the safety of Navy personnel, property, or the public threatened in any way,” according to a Navy press release.
The protestors said Tuesday that they used bolt cutters to infiltrate the perimeter fence at around 2 a.m. Monday and slipped onto the base under a full moon. They walked along the ridge above Delta Pier and the weapons-handling wharf, then followed a road east to their destination -- the weapons storage bunkers.
“We were hidden in plain sight the whole time,” Greenwald said.
Another pair of fences stood between the group and Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific, where nuclear missiles for the base’s Trident submarines are stored. The protestors cut through them, setting off an alarm at around 6:30 a.m. They were quickly swarmed by Marines.
The protestors held up a banner that read “Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident: Illegal + Immoral.” They put their arms out, gave peace signs, and tried to look as non-threatening as possible to keep from being shot, Greenwald said.
Plowshares is an international anti-nuclear weapons movement that gets its name based on scriptures in the Bible that encourage beating “swords into plowshares.”
The protestors complained about being handcuffed, hooded, and kept on the ground for four hours.
“We had some intruders in a very strict-security place, and for them to be treated like criminals probably was the right thing for our security forces to do for awhile until they understood who they were, what they were doing there and what we needed to do to maintain our security,” said Navy Region Northwest spokesman Chris Haley.
Deadly force is authorized in SWFPAC, Haley said.
There have been dozens of protests at the base’s gates, and people have been arrested for walking a short distance onto federal property. But nobody has tried to cut through the fence before. Security measures worked, Haley said.
“We had a breach, we found the breach, we responded and everybody walked away healthy,” he said. “I don’t think we have any more concerns today than we had before.”
Security forces didn’t know how many people were involved or whether intruders might have driven onto the base, so the identification of everybody leaving the base was checked after the incident. That backed up traffic, but there was not a lockdown on Monday, Haley said.
The protestors said they wanted to bring to light the number of nuclear weapons in the community. The protestors say they believe the weapons are instruments of death that prevent peace in the world and waste money that could be put to better uses.
Greenwald and Bischel have participated in protests at the base organized by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, but this action was on their own, acting in the Plowshares tradition, they said. Plowshares has staged about 100 nuclear resistance actions worldwide since 1980.
The group wasn’t trying to make a point that base security could be broken but wanted to get as close as possible to weapons they despise, they said.
“Our intent in talking to any media is not to emphasize how we broke through security or were treated but the real terror of the Trident nuclear weapons system,” Greenwald said.
Both trespassing and destruction of government property are misdemeanors, said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle. The maximum penalty for trespassing is six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. It’s a year in jail and a $100,000 fine for destroying property. The tickets will be processed in San Antonio, which takes about 40 days. Letters will then be sent to the protestors to appear before a judge in Tacoma, Langlie said.
EIGHTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD CATHOLIC PRIEST AND NUN ABUSED AFTER WEAPONS PROTEST
November 3, 2009
A Catholic priest and a nun, both in their 80s, were hooded, handcuffed and held faced down on the ground for four hours before being arrested after a protest against nuclear weapons yesterday.
Father Bill ‘Bix’ Bischel, 81, from Tacoma, Washington and Sister Anne Montgomery, 83, of New York, were arrested along with three others at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.
They entered the base in the early hours of the morning on All Souls Day with the intention of calling attention to the "illegality and immorality" of the existence of the Trident weapons system.
Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore, Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton, Washington and Steve Kelly, 60, of Oakland, California were also arrested.
The group entered the base through the perimeter fence and then made their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility - Pacific (SWFPAC). They cut through the first chainlink fence surrounding SWFPAC and then cut the next double layered fence, which was both chain link and barbed wire, and entered the grounds of SWFPAC.
As they walked, they carried a banner with the words: "Disarm Now Plowshares : Trident: Illegal + Immoral".
When they were caught, they were thrown to the ground face down, handcuffed and hooded. They were then held there for four hours on the wet, cold ground. Still hooded, they were carried out through the holes which they had made in the fence for questioning by the base security, FBI and NCIS.
They refused to give any information except their names, and were charged with trespass and destruction of government property.
In a joint statement, the group said: “The manufacture and deployment of Trident II missiles, weapons of mass destruction, is immoral and criminal under International Law and, therefore, under United States law. As US citizens we are responsible under the Nuremberg Principles for this threat of first-strike terrorism hanging over the community of nations, rich and poor. Moreover, such planning, preparation, and deployment is a blasphemy against the Creator of life, imaged in each human being."
There have been approximately 100 Ploughshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Ploughshares actions are based on a passage from the book of Isaiah in the Hebrew scriptures of the Christian Bible. It states: “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore.”
The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the US arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads. In November 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire US arsenal.
The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined.
The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more accurate Trident D-5 missile system. Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455 kiloton W-88 warheads. Each warhead has about 30 times the explosive force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.