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Seattle billboards called attention to our neighboring nukes

The largest concentration of deployed nuclear warheads in the world is on Kitsap Peninsula

Peace proponents opposed to nuclear weapons joined forces recently to display a quote from the pope on four billboards in Seattle and Tacoma. The Poulsbo-based Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action joined with an international Catholic group, Pax Christi USA, to pay for a billboard ad, in an effort to reawaken public awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons in the Puget Sound region, said the release. The billboards stayed up for four weeks in August and September:

The use … and possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.
— Pope Francis.

Get them out of Puget Sound!

Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, located 20 miles from Seattle, is homeport to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear warheads in the world. The nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on submarines and are stored in an underground nuclear weapons storage facility on the base. One Trident submarine carries the destructive force of over 1,200 Hiroshima bombs.

In 2017 Pope Francis denounced the possession of nuclear weapons by the world’s nuclear-armed nations. It was a departure from the Roman Catholic Church’s prior acceptance of the doctrines of nuclear deterrence and mutually assured destruction.

Speaking in Nagasaki, Japan in 2019 the pope said the nuclear arms race wastes resources that could instead improve people’s lives and protect the environment. Speaking in support of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2021, the pope called on all nations and people to “work with determination to promote the conditions necessary for a world without nuclear arms.”

The Vatican was the first state to sign and ratify the treaty. In August, on the 78th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the bishops of four Catholic archdioceses in areas impacted by nuclear weapons, issued a formal statement declaring that they will begin working together to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons.” The dioceses include Seattle and Santa Fe, NM, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

In the 1970s and 1980s, thousands demonstrated against nuclear weapons at the Bangor base and hundreds were arrested. Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen had proclaimed the Bangor submarine base the “Auschwitz of Puget Sound” and in 1982 began to withhold half of his federal taxes in protest of “our nation’s continuing involvement in the race for nuclear arms supremacy.”

In 2016, President Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, where he called for an end to nuclear weapons. He said that the nuclear powers “…must have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them.” Obama added, “We must change our mindset about war itself.”

There are eight Trident ballistic-missile submarines deployed at Bangor. Six Trident nuclear submarines are deployed on the East Coast at Kings Bay, GA, according to Ground Zero’s press release.

For information or to offer support: Leonard Eiger (360) 375-3207 Rodney Brunelle (425) 485-7030 Glen Milner (206) 365-7865.

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