Elder Catholic clerics arrested at Seattle protest

politics | Nov 04, 2009 | By Spero News

Two Jesuit priests and three nuns, aged 60 - 81, were arrested on an American navy base on November 2, as they took part in an anti-nuclear protest.

Fr. Bill Bischel, SJ, 81, from Tacoma, Washington; Sr Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore, Maryland; Sr Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton Washington; Fr Steve Kelly, SJ, 60, of Oakland, California, and Sr Anne Montgomery RSCJ, 83, of New York, were arrested at Kitsap- Bangor Naval Base near Seattle. They allegedly entered the Base illegally in the early hours of All Souls Day, the day on which Catholics pray for the souls of the departed, with the intention calling attention to the existence of the Trident weapons system.

After climbing through the perimeter fence, they made their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific ( SWFPAC) where they were able to cut through 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. They then walked onto the grounds, holding a banner declaring, 'Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident: Illegal + Immoral'. Then they hammered on the fences around SWFPAC and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base.

The group were arrested by military police, handcuffed, hooded and allegedly held face down on the wet ground for four hours. They were then taken for questioning by Base security, FBI and NCIS. They refused to give any information except their names, and were cited for trespass and destruction of government property, given a ban and bar letter and released.

In a joint statement, the group stated: “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 about 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares claimss that its actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in the Old Testament e 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 US arsenal, housing more than 2,000 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 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.

Source: Pax Christi



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