Posts Tagged Nuclear Weapons

Nuke Free Now plans weekend of action Aug. 3-6

Introducing Nuke Free Now

Information about the group from their group page on Facebook:

The mission of this group is to raise awareness of the true costs and
consequences of nuclear weapons production, nuclear energy, &
corporate profiteering. We are transforming the nuclear narrative and
inspiring a life-affirming future.

We of the Occupy New Mexico Movement,, and allied
organizations worldwide invite you to join our 4-day event to
transform the nuclear narrative in the public consciousness and
inspire a life-affirming future.

The event will take place August 3rd through the 6th (Hiroshima
Commemoration Day). Please join us in Santa Fe and Los Alamos, New
Mexico, or coordinate an event in your community to call for the end
of nuclear weapons production and nuclear energy, disarmament, clean-
up and remediation, peace and justice.

Over the weekend our event in northern New Mexico will include
educational workshops, inspiring speakers, celebrity activists, hard-
hitting films and music, large-scale non-violent direct action, a
march to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), a hunger strike
(beginning July 16), and more.

It was in the small town of Los Alamos that the first atomic bombs Fat
Man and Little Boy were created, and from there sent to destroy
Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Forty-plus years after the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty was signed and with 5200 thermonuclear warheads
in our arsenal, LANL is still in the business of making bombs. We say
“business” because corporations like Bechtel and Lockheed-Martin are
profiting from the production of these genocidal weapons.

Carcinogenic runoffs from LANL contaminate hundreds of miles of the
Rio Grande, the drinking water source for hundreds of thousands of
people. Native American communities are closest and receive the most
contamination. Radioactive releases poison our air, water, and food
and cause disease. Huge forest fires regularly threaten the Lab,
including one last year and one in 2000 that came within a thousand
yards of setting ablaze 42,000 barrels of radioactive waste stored
under canvas canopies.

In our view, there is no starker example of economic disparity created
by the Military-Industrial Complex than Los Alamos County. Of our
nation’s 3,142 counties, Los Alamos county is among the richest, has
the highest income per capita, the lowest poverty rate in the nation,
and is tied for the lowest unemployment.

Yet it is surrounded by some of the poorest communities in the U.S.,
and LANL’s “contribution” to our economy has not kept New Mexico from
having the highest child poverty rate in the country.

We need your help! We know in our hearts that global cooperation and a
world of compassion is possible. Now is the time to create the
critical mass for disarmament and transformation. We are at the
tipping point.

You don’t have to come to New Mexico to make your voice heard. Any
Bechtel office or subsidiary, any University of California campus,
(which shares administration of LANL with Bechtel), or any nuclear
power plant, arms manufacturer, or public space is a perfect site for
local action in coordination with us and our brothers and sisters
around the world. We will help with material and logistics, and love.

In the coming weeks we will offer a tool kit with key talking and
organizing points both here and on our website.

Together we can create a global action to transform humanity’s
narrative and create the world of beauty that we know in our hearts is

For further information and to contact us go to: (Nuke Free Now on Facebook)!/nukefreenow (Nuke Free Now on Twitter) (OSF LANL Working
Group on Facebook)
(Hunger Strike Los Alamos 2012 on Facebook)


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Peace Planters Go to Court

By: Art Laffin of the Washington, DC  Catholic Worker

September 28, 2011

Dear Friends,

It was a long fruitful day of truth-telling in Kansas City Municipal Court for 27 peacemakers, mostly Catholic Workers, arrested last May 2nd at the site of the new Kansas City nuclear weapons plant. Those arrested were part of a larger nonviolent witness, including 26 others who were also arrested, calling for the transformation of the Bomb parts plant currently being constructed. Ruth O’Neill and Henry Stoever, who were exceptional throughout the trial, represented all but two of the defendants: Greg Boertje-Obed and I went pro-se.

The day began with nine people pleading guilty and receiving the following sentence: 1 year probation, 25 hours community service and court costs.

This was followed by a trial for 16 people before Judge Ardie Bland.The city prosecutor called three witnesses: a police officer, a supervisor from J.E. Dunn Construction Co., and Jim Cross, the senior VP who works for Centerpoint Properties, a real estate developer who claims his company is the owner of the construction site. However the real owner of the site, many contend, is a municipal entity called Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA). Following their testimony, and cross examination by the defense, which sought to clarify legal questions of trespass, establish true ownership of the plant site, and invite Mr. Cross to consider the moral implications of building a new bomb plant, the city prosecutor rested.

A motion for judgment of acquittal offered by the defense was presented and quickly denied.

The defense case consisted of six people testifying. Eric Garbison, Ron Faust, Chrissy Kirchoffer, Dan Wilson, Jerica Arents and Josh Armfield. Each gave eloquent testimony about  their faith and why the new plant should not be built from a human, economic, environmental, legal and moral perspective. The defense rested and closing statements were offered. Our motion for acquittal was renewed and denied again by the judge. The judge then took a short recess.

Upon his return to the bench, the judge dismissed charges against Gina Cook and Amy Nee as the city witnesses could not identify them. He then began by applauding us for our convictions stating that this country is great because of people like us who stood for change. He also said that as a man of faith he admired the faith aspect of our testimony and witness. He then proceeded to find us guilty. He then stated that anyone who was part of the Catholic Worker, and didn’t have jobs, would be given a sentence of community service. And people who had jobs would be given a fine plus community service. This part of the sentence would be amended. Greg and Eric told the judge they would not accept or cooperate with fines and community service and requested jail time instead.

When all was said and done the following sentences were rendered: *16 people were given one year probation, one year stay away order from the plant, 10 days suspended jail sentence and 50 hours community service.

* Greg Greg Boertje Obed – Duluth CW  and Eric Garbison – KC CW movingly told the judge why they would prefer jail over the sentence he pronounced and Greg appealed to him to speak out against nuclear weapons. They were both given 7 day jail sentences.

Deo Gratias for their life-giving witness!!!

The truth was once again proclaimed loud and clear in a court in the heartland of the U.S. Yet once again we were found guilty. Another deeply held conviction!!! I thank God for everyone who witnessed today in court, especially those who spoke for the first time. Meanwhile, the structure of the new bomb plant has neared completion. And the nonviolent campaign to stop it full construction continues!

With deep gratitude to all who have been praying for those of us in court today as well as for the judge and the prosecutor!  We keep our yes on the prize and hold on!

Art Laffin at
Dorothy Day CW House
503 Rock Creek Church Road, NW | Washington, D.C. 20010
Phone: 202.882.9649 or 202.829.7625

Contact Art Laffin directly for his closing statement.
Photo: Art Laffin holds a sign as activists surround a pick-up truck outside the construction site for the new Kansas City nuclear weapons facility. (NCR photos/ Joshua J.McElwee)

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Crane Pruning Hook

July 4, 2011 remarks by Father Carl Kabat, OMI at the construction site of the new nuclear weapons parts plant in Kansas City, MO.  Fr. Kabat is a 73-year-old priest of the Catholic order Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate who is best known for his eccentric, nonviolent protests against nuclear weapons. He has served over 17 years total in prison over his lifetime.

I, Fr. Carl Kabat, omi, have been pondering an appropriate way to celebrate the fourth of July, commonly called Independence Day.  Today it would be more appropriate to call it Interdependence Day since all of us live on this small planet Earth.  To show my patriotism and love for my country and the good of my country, I have decided on a pruning hook action in Kansas City, Missouri.

The opinion of the 1995 World Court is that weapons of mass destruction are a crime against humanity.

Christian churches have said that it is a sin to build a nuclear weapon.  Churches have declared that nuclear weapons are a crime against The Holy One and humanity and are to be condemned unreservedly!

Some have further stated that the manufacturing, deployment or use of nuclear must be condemned unreservedly.

The Nazis during WWII killed and burned 6 million of our Jewish sisters and brothers and 5 million sisters and brothers (who were communists, priests, Gypsies, enemy combatants, homosexuals, people with disabilities, etc).  Now 4 of our Minuteman IIIs could, in 30 minutes, go half way around the world and kill 12 million of our sisters and brothers.  We have become very sophisticated and efficient in our killing and burning.

We have more nuclear weapons than all the rest of the world combined and at one time could kill everyone on this planet fifteen times over.

Eighty five percent (85%) of the parts for nuclear bombs are made by the people of Kansas City.

May The Holy One have mercy on us all!

By my action I wish to en-flesh the reversal of our insane actions and hope that we will start to celebrate an interdependence and rid ourselves of nuclear weapons.


Fr. Carl Kabat, omi

Thomas Hereford provided the following background information. 

Fr Carl Kabat entered the construction site of the new nuclear bomb factory in Kansas City, MO approximately 10:00 p.m. July 3rd.  At dawn, on July 4, he had broken windows on a number of those huge cranes on the site but was unable to get into the cabs.  He then looked around for someone to “go to confession to” and couldn’t find anyone.  His plan was to cut the fence to get out, hitchhike to Kansas City and take the bus back to St. Louis.  The police must have changed his plans for him.

Fr. Kabat was charged with illegal entry and held at the downtown Kansas City, MO jail.  He was released at 4 a.m. Tuesday, July 5th; and has returned to St. Louis by bus.

In follow up to earlier arrests at this site, you are asked to come to Municipal Court, 1101 Locust, KCMO, on July 19 for the 1:30pm hearing for several of the 53 persons (including 33 Missourians and many Catholic Workers) who trespassed on May 2 at the site for the new nuclear weapons parts production plant in southern KC, at Missouri Hwy. 150, between Prospect and Botts.  If you have questions, contact Jane Stoever, 913-206-4088.

The synoptic Gospels record that when Jesus approached Jerusalem and prepared for his act of nonviolent civil disobedience at the Temple and the probable consequences of arrest, jail, trial and execution that would follow, he told his disciples that the courtroom would be the place where they would be able to proclaim the truth of God’s reign.  Mark’s Gospel, the earliest of the four, advises Christians, in the words of Jesus, to speak boldly when dragged into court, for the Spirit of God will be present:

Watch out for yourselves.  They will hand you over to the courts.  You will be beaten in synagogues.  You will be arraigned before governors and kings because of me, as a witness before them.  But the gospel must first be preached to all nations.  When they lead you away and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say.  But say whatever will be given to you at that hour.  For it will not be you who are speaking but the holy spirit. (Mark 13:9-11)

And lastly, for further reflection you may want to read remarks by Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the U.N.  He gave a speech at the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocesan Catholic Center on July 1, 2011.  His remarks, “The Nuclear Question: The Church’s [Catholic] Teaching and the Current State of Affairs,” can be found in their entirety here.

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Nuclear Bomb Parts Plant Protest Monday, Kansas City, Missouri

Source:  Eric Bowers’s Photoblog, posted May 2, 2011

On Monday morning, May 2, a protest and willful arrest took place at the construction zone of the new National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) campus and nuclear weapons parts plant out at Missouri Highway 150 and Botts Road – the replacement site for the old, toxically contaminated Bannister Federal Complex that has been under investigation for causing chronic illness and death to workers exposed to hazardous materials in the manufacture of nuclear weapons parts. Peaceworks KC, a Catholic group, organized the protest with several dozen members willfully arrested at the site today for blocking one of the gates.

Additional controversy comes from the financing of the plant. According to the petition Peaceworks KC is circulating, the city of KCMO sold $815 million in municipal bonds which went toward financing the plant as part of a mandate to generate 2,000 jobs at the new plant that the city itself holds legal title to – a tad ironic given the former weapons parts plant at Bannister has been proven toxically contaminated and has caused many ill former workers to complain of illness or even die.

When I covered a similar protest back in August of 2010, protestors made it all the way through the grounds of the construction area, however with a quick closure of a chain link fence gate by watchful construction personnel, the willful arrests took place this time near the front of the construction area.

Note:  for additional information and photos, visit here.  Article and photos are by Joshua McElwee,, National Catholic Reporter. Office: 816.968.2261

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Nuclear Weapons Bring Shame to UK

“Nuclear weapons bring shame to UK,” Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the head of Scotland’s Roman Catholic Church, stated on April 16.  You may already know that the Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien spoke at Faslane last Saturday. He said that the possession of nuclear weapons is contrary to the Easter message of peace.

As far as I know this was the first time a Cardinal has spoken outside a nuclear weapons or any military installation anywhere. The Cardinal condemned “the entire trade in weapons, not just nuclear weapons” saying “Weapons production, from the smallest handgun to rocket launchers, and fighter aircraft, is big business, a massive industry, and to our shame, Britain has a leading role.” He quoted the Pope: “How can there ever be a future of peace when investments are still made in the production of arms and in research aimed at developing new ones?”…The poorest in the world pay the highest price for an arms trade that brings misery to them, and fortunes to the
companies that develop and produce the weapons.”

On Trident the Cardinal said: “It is not courageous of Britain to have these dreadful weapons of mass destruction. It is shameful to have them. If our government wished to truly be courageous it would unilaterally give up its nuclear deterrent, giving the witness and impetus for other nations to do the same.”

A good short video of the service can be seen at here.  It is 6:20 minutes in length and includes speakers David McLachlan, Cardinal O’Brien, Alan McDonald, Lyn Peden and Bruce Kent. Music was from members of the Wild Goose Worship Resource Group. The witness took place at 12.30 pm on Saturday 16 April. The video includes film of a Trident submarine arriving at the base two hours later. The witness was organized by Scottish Clergy Against Nuclear Arms.

Editor’s notes:  This article was originally sent by Brian Larkin and forwarded to KC Olive Branch by Frank Cordaro, who is a member of the Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Both links in the article will take the reader to websites where longer, faith-based reflections are available.  These are also by Cardinal O’Brien, and the others who spoke on April 16.

Faslane is a nuclear base in Scotland, described by Cardinal O’Brien as the “center of the nuclear industry.”

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Statement on the Groundbreaking of the Nuclear Weapons Plant

By the Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, D.D.

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

On September 8, 2010 ground will be broken to begin construction of a new facility for the production of non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons in South Kansas City.  In the Catholic Church September 8th is the feast of the Birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The confluence of the groundbreaking with the feast of Mary’s nativity provides the opportunity to pause at the irony of the situation:  Mary, mother of the Prince of Peace, and the construction of a facility whose main purpose is the construction of weapons for warfare.

The Catholic tradition has always affirmed the right of a state to defend itself from unjust aggression.  Implicit in that right is the need to equip a trained military force.  We do not deny this obligation and necessity on the part of any state.

However, the accumulation of weapons of mass destruction – which this nuclear plant proposes to construct – constitutes a grave moral danger.  Nuclear weapons are by their very nature weapons of mass destruction:  their force and impact cannot be contained, and their use affects combatants and non-combatants alike.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.  A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons – especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons – to use them” (CCC #2314; cf. also Gaudium et Spes #80).  Since the use of such weapons is morally questionable, it follows that the production of such weapons is also morally questionable.

Others would argue that to possess such weapons would be a deterrent to other nations who also possess such weapons.  The Church responds to such an objection:  “The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war.  They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations.  This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations.  The arms race does not ensure peace.  Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them.  Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations; it thwarts the development of peoples.  Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation” (CCC #2325; cf. also Pope Paul VI Populorum Progressio #53).

We will continue to stress the Church’s constant call for disarmament:  “The Church’s social teaching proposes the goal of ‘general, balanced, and controlled disarmament.’  The enormous increase in arms represents a grave threat to stability and peace.  The principle of sufficiency, by virtue of which each state may possess only the means necessary for its legitimate defense, must be applied both by States that buy arms and by those that produce and furnish them.  Any excessive stockpiling or indiscriminate trading in arms cannot be morally justified.  Such phenomena must also be evaluated in light of international norms regarding the non-proliferation, production, trade and use of different types of arms.  Arms can never be treated like other goods exchanged on international or domestic markets” (CSD #508; cf. also John Paul II Message to the United Nations 1985, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace paper “The International Arms Trade” 1994, John Paul II Address to the World of Work 1988).

We have an obligation to think responsibly concerning this nuclear weapons plant; to think beyond the local and examine the global dimensions of this project.  “Arms of mass destruction – whether biological, chemical, or nuclear – represent a particularly serious threat.  Those who possess them have an enormous responsibility before God and all of humanity.  The principle of non-proliferation of nuclear arms, together with measures of nuclear disarmament and the prohibition of nuclear tests, are intimately interconnected objectives that must be met as soon as possible by means of effective controls at the international levels” (CSD #509, cf. also Gaudium et Spes #80; CCC #2314, John Paul II World Day of Peace #2 1986).  Let us make a decision for all of humanity: that one day this facility may be transformed from a producer of weapons into a producer of goods that benefit all mankind.  We look forward to the day when Isaiah the prophet declared, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (Isaiah 2: 4)

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Targeting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program: America’s Allies in the Crosshairs

By Alicia Dressman, writer and activist in the Kansas City community

In his editorial to The New York Times (12/24, A23, “There’s Only One Way to Stop Iran,”) Mr. Kuperman quietly suggests a solution to preventing an Iranian warhead: Nuclear strike on behalf of the United States. Eliminating Iranian nuclear facilities would obliterate resources to enrich uranium, the fuel, and resources to develop ballistic missiles, the delivery system. What the article fails to discuss is the dilemma of Iran’s covert affiliates, technically speaking, countries which tacitly support the Iranian government visa vie economic cooperation. This dilemma will require, to Kuperman’s dismay, more than a B-2 stealth bomber, a 300 kiloton gravity bomb, and the latitude and longitude of the enrichment facility in Qom.[i] The dilemma would require us to sever political and economic ties with our closest allies at a time when America needs them the most.

It is why the last bastion of democracy, America, tip toes around China’s human rights violations, why the Islamic Republic of Iran fraternizes with Socialist Venezuela. Securing natural resources and regulating national debt have implicitly connected the world’s greatest archrivals. The Senate’s recent sanctions bill is not simply about cutting off Iranian access to energy (gasoline), but about measures against its trading partners which export this energy. [ii] By “trading partners,” one traditionally imagines U.N. Security Council members Russia and China, who until recently opposed sanctions.[iii] However Iran’s foremost importers are the United Arab Emirates  (U.A.E.), China, Germany, South Korea, Italy, France, and Russia respectively.[iv] Therefore the net is wider, and the plot thickens. The Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, which recently bankrupted projects in the booming city of Dubai,[v] revealed the interrelatedness of U.A.E. and American investments. It goes without saying America is $2 trillion out of China’s favor.[vi] As for Germany and South Korea, their friendship has long been held as deterrent to the Russian and North Korean weapons program with B-61 gravity bombs deployed in Germany[vii] and armed forces deployed in each country. Therefore Iran’s reckoning would bring more than two countries to the table.

The futility of sanctions and diplomacy is underlined in Kuperman’s argument, “since peaceful carrots and sticks cannot work…the United States faces a stark choice: military air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities or acquiescence to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.” Kuperman’s ultimatum applies to a universe in which the Iranian ballistic missile system and nuclear warhead is Persian in design and production. Nothing could be further from the truth. Former IAEA chief nuclear weapons inspector David Kay remarked earlier this year the focus of concern should be “the transfer of technology to others, particularly the Iranians.”[viii] The Shahab 3A ballistic missile is modeled on North Korea’s NoDong-1 missile,[ix] China is North Korea’s closest political ally. Russia, elected by the U.N. to enrich uranium for Iran’s disputed civilian energy use, collaborated on the Bushehr-based nuclear power plant to break ground in March 2010. [x] In essence, if the United States were to usurp the Iranian nuclear weapons program, we would have to strong arm our closest political allies.

America has witnessed Kuperman’s zone of no alternatives before when in March 2005 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld coordinated military efforts into a first-strike policy on Iran and North Korea.[xi] We were told this would safeguard our allies as well as ourselves. Today our allies are increasingly ambivalent to the American nuclear deterrent. Germany and Belgium recently announced the intention to redeploy B-61s,[xii] The Obama administration cancelled the installation of radar and missile shield programs in Poland and Czechoslovakia after public opposition.[xiii] Leaders of states without nuclear weapons have been at the forefront of the Global Zero Campaign to eradicate the world’s nuclear arsenal, such as Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso. [xiv] The foreign policy agenda with nuclear strike as a military option is no longer the agenda of a majority of our allies. America would therefore pursue a nuclear strike without unilateral advocacy. We would alienate economic partners during the greatest economic drawback since the Great Depression, and weaken political alliances in the midst of two theaters of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a drone campaign in Pakistan. America no longer has the political or economic hegemony needed to dictate our military objectives to foreign powers. Our policy of nuclear deterrence is simply unsustainable; this is not cock-eyed idealism, but cold-eyed pragmatism.

[i] Bruno, Greg, Iran’s Nuclear Program, Council on Foreign Relations, September 29, 2009, available at

[ii] Krieger, Hillary Leila, Senate to Take Up Iran Sanctions in 2010, The Jerusalem Post, December 25, 2009, available at

[iii] Learsy, Raymond J., With Iran And China On Board Iran Can Now Be Stopped, The Huffington Post, November 29, 2009, available at

[iv] CIA World Factbook 2008 available at

[v] Hamdan, Sara, Payout to Gulf Clients hit by Madoff Fraud, The Nation, March 18, 2009, available at

[vi] Collard, Timothy, America owes China two trillion dollars. But what does that mean? The Telegraph, September 24, 2009, available at

[vii] Harrell, Eben, What To Do About Europe’s Secret Nukes, Time Online, December 30, 2009, available at

[viii] Does N. Korea’s Taepodong-2 Ballistic Missile Pose a Serious Threat? Voice of America, May 14, 2009, available at

[ix] Vick, Charles P., No-Dong-a, Ghauri-II, & Shahab-3 Technical Data, February 15, 2007, article available at

[x] Soldatkin, Vladimir, Exclusive: Russia to Start Iran Nuclear Plant in 2010, Reuters, November 30, 2009 available at

[xi] Arkin, William, Not Just A Last Resort, The Washington Post, May 15, 2005, available at

[xii] Butcher, Martin, It’s Official-German Coalition Wants US Nukes Out, October 25, 2009, available at The NATO Monitor blog

[xiii] Obama Shelves Europe Missile Plan, September 17, 2009, available at BBC News Online

[xiv] For more notable signatories, see the Global Zero Campaign website, available at

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