Nagasaki actions at US base

IssueOctober - November 2016
News by David Polden

On 9 August, there was a large waterborne protest, involving 33 activists in two yachts and 13 kayaks, at the only Trident submarine base for the US Pacific fleet, the Kitsap-Bangor naval base near Seattle, Washington state. The activists marked Nagasaki day by sailing and paddling the entire length of the Bangor waterfront where nuclear warheads and Trident missiles are loaded onto submarines, and where submarines are resupplied for ballistic missile patrols in the Pacific Ocean.

The flotilla, organised by the Ground Zero Community, was led by The Golden Rule, which sailed to the South Pacific in 1958 to stop nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, and which has been restored and maintained as a Veterans for Peace project.

Standing in the way of control

Ground Zero marked the anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Japan in 1945 with a land-based action the previous day, 8 August, when campaigners walked from the Ground Zero dsweCentre to the main gate of the base, where they held a vigil as the morning shift arrived for work.

After Ground Zero peacekeepers safely stopped traffic, four activists entered the roadway carrying banners, blocking traffic into the base. One read, ‘20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US’, wording used at the same time on an advert on the side of Seattle Metro Transit buses. Another sign said: ‘No More Genocide in My Name’. The four activists were arrested and charged with being on the roadway illegally.

The US currently has 14 Trident nuclear-armed submarines based either at Bangor or at Kings Bay, Georgia, the base for the US Atlantic Fleet. Kitsap-Bangor was opened in 1977. The same year, the Ground Zero Community was launched to oppose the base and bought land adjacent to the base as a centre for organising nonviolent action against it. This they have continued to do ever since.

  • Actions to mark the Hiroshima/Nagasaki anniversary were held all over the world, including in Wales: in Rhyl, Newport, Haverfordwest, Gwent, Cardiff and Bangor. CND Cymru national secretary Jill Gough said: ‘CND Cymru calls upon Theresa May and the British government to reverse their commitment to develop, threaten to use and, as Ms May has stated, willingness to use nuclear weapons.’