Bangor, Washington – people were present on May 8th (the day before Mother’s Day), at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base. Five demonstrators blocked the main highway entrance into the base for over 20 minutes and were cited by the Washington State Patrol.
At around 2 pm on Saturday, the five demonstrators entered the highway carrying two large banners stating,“CONGRESS WANTS $1 TRILLION FOR NUKES–What will be left for our children” and “TRIDENT THREATENS ALL LIFE ON EARTH” and blocked all incoming traffic at the Main Gate at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. They were removed from the highway by the Washington State Patrol.
All five demonstrators were cited for violating RCW 46.61.250, Pedestrians on roadways, and released at the scene.
Those cited by the Washington State Patrol: Brenda McMillan and Caroline Wildflower of Port Townsend; Sue Ablao of Bremerton; Elizabeth Murray of Poulsbo; and Michael “Firefly” Siptroth of Belfair.
Mother’s Day in the United States was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe as a day dedicated to peace. Howe saw the effects on both sides of the Civil War and realized destruction from warfare goes beyond the killing of soldiers in battle.
Earlier, on Saturday morning, Fr. Steve Kelly, a longtime anti-nuclear peace activist, spoke of his last three years in prison for a Plowshares action at the Atlantic-based Trident submarine system at Kings Bay Georgia.
Fr. Kelly stated,“…no matter what line of activism you are—it’s all making a contribution to keeping that we never forget [Hiroshima and Nagasaki], that we keep the memory alive. that these weapons are right now aimed at innocent people.
…we have today as a witness, we are going to walk down to the gates of this base, this, as Phil Berrigan would call—this hellhole—and create a witness there reaching out to others who are caught up in this system. And so I think this ongoing campaign here, the efforts that are being made here—I have total confidence that the nuke’s days are numbered.”
Also on Saturday morning,Vicki Elson of NUCLEARBAN.US spoke in a Zoom presentation on the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and how diverting military spending to green jobs is possible. See http://www.nuclearban.us.
Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor is homeport to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear warheads in the U.S. The nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines and are stored in an underground nuclear weapons storage facility on the base.
There are eight Trident SSBN submarines deployed at Bangor. Six Trident SSBN submarines are deployed on the East Coast at Kings Bay, Georgia.
One Trident submarine carries the destructive force of over 1,200 Hiroshima bombs (the Hiroshima bomb was 15 kilotons).
Each Trident submarine was originally equipped for 24 Trident missiles. In 2015-2017 four missile tubes were deactivated on each submarine as a result of the New START Treaty. Currently, each Trident submarine deploys with 20 D-5 missiles and about 90 nuclear warheads (an average of 4-5 warheads per missile). The warheads are either the W76-1 90-kiloton or W88 455-kiloton warheads.
The Navy in early 2020 started deploying the new W76-2 low-yield warhead (approximately eight kilotons) on select ballistic submarine missiles at Bangor (following initial deployment in the Atlantic in December 2019). The warhead was deployed to deter Russian first use of tactical nuclear weapons, dangerously creating a lower threshold for the use of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons.
The next planned demonstration will be the annual Ground Zero Peace Fleet demonstration on August 4, 2021 in Elliott Bay.
The next planned demonstration at Bangor and events at Ground Zero will be on August 7, 8 and 9.
The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977. The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.