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Protest Trident Submarine Base In Honor Of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Above photo: Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.

Thirty five peace activists protest at Trident submarine base in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Bangor, WA – Members of the Resist US-Led War Movement and Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action  were present, on January 13, at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base.  Due to severe cold weather, which caused mechanical difficulties with equipment, the Main Gate at Bangor was closed.

About 35 demonstrators braved the 20 degree weather and voiced their desire for a nuclear weapons-free world to drivers and passengers in backed-up traffic entering the Trigger Ave. entrance.  Signs with quotations by Dr. King stated, “We Still Have a Choice Today: Nonviolent Coexistence or Violent Annihilation” and “When scientific power outruns spiritual power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.”  Other signs had images and statements about Dr. King, and many other signs stated, “Abolish Nuclear Weapons.”

Demonstrators were in high spirits in spite of the cold weather, lining both the incoming and exiting sides of the roadway at the base.  The demonstration lasted about an hour.

Resist US-Led War Movement spoke in front of the Trident submarine base and stated:

How do we choose to remember Martin Luther King Jr?

Is it as a beloved civil rights leader, a champion of non-violence, an inspirational speaker? The textbooks, the monuments, the politicians give us an incomplete image. They have twisted and contorted his legacy to serve the interests of the powerful.

Now more than ever, it is important to remember the MLK that was widely hated, the MLK that was arrested, the MLK that was assassinated. Despised, jailed, and murdered for posing a threat to US interests. He understood the necessity of an anti-war movement that tackled the root issue of US imperialism. An anti-war movement connected to the problems of the working class. And for that, he was killed.

The legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is not only the possibilities he envisioned, but importantly, the repression he faced in the struggle for those possibilities…

Sue Ablao and Glen Milner, of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, read a statement to Ground Zero from beloved Jackie Hudson in January 2005, when Jackie was in federal prison in Victorville, California.  Jackie’s message spoke of the importance of learning from our opponents.  In 2005, Jackie told us:

Our role of nonviolent peacemakers calling our government to accountability must increase in these days—days that Martin would have been hard pressed to predict or imagine.

My deep gratitude for your presence here today. I join you in spirit at these gates which protect the most dangerous and devastating threat to a peaceful planet—Bangor—Home of Trident.

Peace be with each and every one as you Witness, Act and Support today…

Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, is homeport to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear warheads in the world.  The nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missileson 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 warheads, W88 455-kiloton warheads, or W-76-2 8-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 demonstrations will be joining with the annual MLK Day march in Seattle on January 15 and on January 22nd in commemoration of the third anniversary of the entry-into-force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The next planned demonstration at Bangor will be in May, in commemoration of Mothers’ Day.

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.

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