The anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have come and gone. The weekend surrounding those two anniversaries was filled with activities commemorating the events. In Hiroshima it was the first time ever that the U.S. Government sent a representative to attend the ceremonies to mark the moment the first atomic bomb was dropped.
There were also other events around the world commemorating the atomic bombings. Some, such as the From Hiroshima to Hope Lantern Floating Ceremony at Seattle's (Washington State) Green Lake brought people together for peace and nuclear disarmament.
Other events also commemorated the atomic bombings in their own unique solemn fashion by condusting nonviolent resistance actions in which some participants engaged in creative acts intended to symbolically close facilities engaged in the design, production, storage or deployment of nuclear weapons.
People vigiled, demonstrated and acted (nonviolently), and some participants were arrested for their actions at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor (aka Sub Base Bangor), Vandenburg Air Force Base, California, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, The Pentagon, the Strategic (Nuclear) Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Lockheed-Martin's nuclear weapons facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, California.
Nuclear resisters (from left to right) Alice Zillah, Macknight Johnson and Rev. Anne Hall holding a banner, blocking the entrance to Trident nuclear submarine base Bangor, symbolically closing the base, on August 9, 2010. A total of nine resisters blocked the roadway and were arrested that day. Resisters ranged in age from 21 to 88.
People sometimes ask why people choose to engage in such actions when there are other "legal" avenues available to voice one's opinions, avenues that include voting, letters to the editor, correspondence and visits with elected officials, and public demonstrations.
The answer most provide is that they have tried all of these methods, but feel that they have had little, if any, real impact. And in light of what many international legal experts cite as the illegality (and don't forget the immorality) of nuclear weapons and the threat of their use under international law, we (as citizens) must act; we believe that it is essentially our moral obligation and our legal right.
But don't take my word for it; you should hear it from someone who has been arrested more than once, and tried and convicted for her actions. Ann "Kit" Kittredge was recently tried for her action with another resister, Denny Moore, during a Ground Zero vigil honoring Martin Luther King Jr. on January 16, 2010, in which they set up a wooden ladder near the base entrance at the Trident nuclear submarine base and strategic weapons storage facility at Bangor, Washington, and attempted to climb over the barbed wire fence onto the base. They carried with them a letter to the base commander imploring him to disarm the base.
At Kittredge's trial on May 3rd she testified on her own behalf as to the reasons for her action in January. She spoke purposefully and passionately about her act; you can read a copy of her testimony (below), which she provided. My hope is that this testimony of one resister will help people better understand why some choose to resist.
I know many people see resistance as a futile gesture, but for those who make the difficult choice to resist, it is anything but futile. It is a statement of hope, of faith, of a deep abiding belief that we can create a peaceful and sustainable world free of nuclear weapons for future generations.
May it one day be so.
Testimony of Ann Kittredge in United States District Court, Tacoma, Washington on Friday, July 16, 2010.
My name is Ann Marlowe Kittredge.
I am a mother, grandmother, firefighter/EMT, Massage Therapist, Organic Farmer and Peace Activist. i am 11th generation American and a Daughter of the American Revolution. I was taught that the United States Constitution gives me the right to the petition for redress of grievances and that as a citizen of this Democracy and the world it is my patriotic duty and responsibility to do so.After exhausting countless other lawful avenues to advocate for the removal of nuclear weapons and the threat
and/or harm from their potential use I chose to attempt to reenter Naval Base Kitsap to bring to the attention of the relevant officer my concern.
When our Congress and the Federal Judiciary FAIL to ensure that the Executive Branch act within International and U.S. law, to limit method and means of the threat or use of military force, WE THE PEOPLE are compelled to act without being treated as criminals.
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention various types of weapons are prohibited under all circumstances. The Trident Nuclear missile submarines at Naval Base kitsap are one of these. These barbaric first-strike Weapons of Mass Destruction are incapable of distinguishing between combatants and civilians and therefore are in violation of International Law per Geneva Protocol of 1925 and by the US Army Manual 27-10 on the Law of the Land National Law. The Charter at the Nuremberg Tribunal made explicit that violations of the Law of War are criminal. Furthermore the United States is obligated under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty to negotiate the elimination of it's nuclear weapons and is failing to do so.
I cannot look my children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them I am aware of this atrocious, destructive, unlawfulness and that I did nothing. I feel it is imperative that I take action in upholding the law for peace and justice or I am complicit in this illegal behavior either by cooperation or by silence.
This is why I chose to reenter Naval Base Kitsap.