TROMP TRIDENT TREK TO ELF COMMEMORATES U.S. ATOMIC ATTACKS
CLAM LAKE, WI -- Twelve peace activists were arrested August 8 for trespassing at the U.S. Navy's "Project ELF" submarine transmitter during a demonstration marking the 54th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The August 8 rally came at the end of a four-day, 53-mile long peace walk to the Navy site, that began at the county courthouse in Ashland, WI. Ashland County Courthouse has been the site of dozens of hearings, trials and sentencings of nuclear weapons resisters who have defied local ordinances by conducting sit-ins, citizen inspections, blockades and disarmament actions at the transmitter site.
About 65 demonstrators gathered at the secluded Navy facility that sends Extremely Low Frequency messages to submerged British and U.S. Trident and Fast-Attack submarines around the world.
Civil resistance at the Navy ELF transmitter just since November 1991 (when Nukewatch began keeping records) has resulted in 496 arrests at the remote facility, which is secluded in the Chequamegon National Forest in Northern Wisconsin. More than four years of accumulated jail time have been served in Ashland County by resisters who have refused to pay fines. The system has also been the focus of four Plowshares direct disarmament actions since 1985, for which four resisters have served almost seven years in prison.
More than 30 walkers from eight states participated in this third "Tromp Trident Trek" which was again organized by Nukewatch. All three Treks have taken place in August, commemorating the U.S. atomic bombings of Japan.
The rally coincided with other commemorations in Nagasaki, Japan, Los Alamos, NM (where new H-bomb development has been initiated), Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Baltimore, MD (where H-bomb development continues), Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab in Berkeley, CA (where H-bombs are designed), the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, TN (where workers are "upgrading" the W87 warheads that top the MX missiles), Bangor Trident Submarine Base, in Bremerton, WA and at the Pentagon.
Those arrested at the ELF transmitter were told to appear Sept. 7 in County Court for arraignment, or pay the $209 fine. For refusing to pay they risk jail and/or suspension of their driving privileges for up to five years.
The cold war ELF system was designed to "survive" the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) of nuclear bomb blasts in order to maintain communications for submarine-based nuclear warfare.
Walking for Peace, Working on Community
By Jane Hosking
Yvonne Mills, Sydney Baiman and I left Duluth with oodles of granola, bread and bagels from 3rd Street Bakery, bound for the memorial Peace Walk. People arrived at Prentice Park in Ashland from Minnesota, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and nine Wisconsin locales.
Forming community during the walk was, as I have experienced over the last five years at Loaves & Fishes, full of joy and struggle. It happened while we were all busily shuffling gear, organizing support and meals, tents and banners, singing, walking and talking. And that bountiful fresh blueberry patch was too much to pass up!
Coming together for six full days, we connected by weaving stories as we walked. We enjoyed mostly sunny days, with ample shade from clouds and the cool relief of afternoon rains. Imagine: it rained on walkers, but not at camp!
Spending time with old and new friends was wonderful. Telling personal stories, windows into each one's world, was an extravagant luxury of time and focused energy. Blessed be the moments of sharing, the trouble and turmoil of community living, the stirrings of the heart, the vulnerability of honestly questioning the group process and learning the power of love and compassion shared by the walkers.
Interpersonal confrontation, apologies, healing and forgiveness are issues with which society does not cope well. Generally, we agreed we are all in need of dealing with one another in loving ways, or we cannot expect grand scale violence to cease. We endured patient moments of dark and buggy evening meetings searching for the courage and vulnerability to repair wounds. Disarmed hearts for a disarmed world? Yes. Even if we were only together six days, we needed to work out personal struggles, attend to bruises and blisters, emotional and physical. Imagine my dismay when we spent more time in meetings while on the walk than when I am living at the Catholic Worker!
The number of walkers soared to the all time high Friday as 33 folks from near and far walked, singing "'Neath the Vine & Fig Tree" through Clam Lake, the company town where the local cafe menu includes an "ELF Breakfast."
I was impressed with the focus we shared in preparing for nonviolent conflict resolution. The local VFW left a few pro-war signs at the ELF gate, and the walking community worked on nonviolent responses to potentially volatile counter demonstrators. They didn't show.
Building community may be a challenge, but the rewards of lifted spirits and renewed life are great.
Jane Hosking is a peace activist and a member of the Loaves & Fishes Catholic Worker Community in Duluth, MN.
Larry Dodge: Witness to Hiroshima
No one can understand the 20th century without understanding Hiroshima. This is the truth of Robert J. Lifton's study Hiroshima In America: Fifty Years of Denial.
I was in Tokyo with the General Headquarters Signal Corps, in occupied Japan, from late 1946 until late 1947.
We were not allowed to drive into Hiroshima but did visit a hill overlooking the city to observe. Twenty-five percent of the city was destroyed. I was a Staff Sergeant and a member of the Photographic Supply Unit attached to headquarters.
I took film equipment to Hiroshima. In the bombed city, even one year after the attack, shack-like barracks were used as hospitals where hundreds of burn victims -- men, women and children -- lay with open sores.
Only photographers were allowed inside these hospitals to take photos. My Supply Unit was not allowed. The photographers took millions of feet of film in Japan. The film was suppressed and has never been seen.
Not until 1952 did the people of the U.S. see a photo of the bombed Hiroshima. This was the worst killing of civilians in history. The Peace Park memorial in Hiroshima, Japan today holds 70,000 unidentified victims of the A-bomb -- one quarter of the population of Hiroshima.
In addition, 20,000 Korean civilians died in Hiroshima. They were living there as forced laborers. For an 18-year-old in 1947, I believed the bomb was a sad necessity. I believed the White House line then and for many years. But I don't believe it now.
Long-time social justice activist Larry Dodge, Cumberland, WI, spoke to the peace walkers on the 54th anniversary of the U.S. atomic attack on Hiroshima.