Monthly Archives: July 2017

Activists enter US military base in Germany to challenge nuclear weapons deployment


Catholic Worker Susan Crane amongst five international activists who entered nuclear weapons base, Buchel Air Base in Germany

Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
An international group of five peace activists got far inside the
Büchel Air Base in Büchel, Germany, after nightfall on Monday, 17 July

For the first time in a 21-year long series of protests against the deployment of US B61 thermonuclear bombs there, the activists climbed on top of one large bunker used for nuclear weapons. After cutting through two exterior fences and two more fences surrounding the large earth-covered bunkers, the five spent more than one hour unnoticed sitting on the bunker. No notice of the group was taken until after two
of them climbed down to write “DISARM” on the bunker’s metal front door, setting off an alarm. Surrounded by vehicles and guards searching on foot with flashlights, the five eventually alerted guards to their presence by singing, causing the guards to look up. The internationals were eventually taken into custody more than two hours after entering
the base.
The five, Steve Baggarly, 52, of Virginia; Susan Crane, 73, of California; John LaForge, 61, and Bonnie Urfer, 65, both of Wisconsin; and Gerd Buentzly, 67, of Germany, said in a statement titled All Nuclear Weapons are Illegal and Immoral: “We [..] have entered Büchel Air Base to condemn the nuclear weapons deployed here. We ask Germany to either disarm the weapons or send them back to the United States for disarming.”
An hour after being detained, searched and photographed, the five were
released through the base’s main entrance.

Activists from the United States came to Büchel to highlight the plans
for modernization of the B61. Ralph Hutchison, from Oak Ridge,
Tennessee, where a new thermonuclear core for the “B61-Model12” will be
manufactured, said: “It is important that we show this is a global
movement. The resistance to nuclear weapons is not limited to one
country. The new B61-12 program will cost more than $12 billion, and
when production starts sometime after 2020, Büchel is scheduled to get
new nuclear bombs.”
“The idea that nuclear weapons provide security is a fiction believed
by millions,” said John LaForge, of Nukewatch in Wisconsin, which
organized the 11-person delegation from the US. “Tonight we showed that
the image of a secure nuclear weapons facility is also a fiction,” he said.
“Everyone’s children and everyone’s grandchildren have a right to a
nuclear weapons-free world. All of creation calls us to life, to
disarmament, to a world of justice—for the poor, the Earth, and the
children,” read the statement, released in both German and English.

Susan Crane, a Plowshares activist from the Redwood City, Calif.
Catholic Worker, said, “The Commander of the Base, Oberstleutnant
Schlemmer, came to meet us at 3:00 a.m. and told us what we did was very
dangerous and we might have been shot. We believe the greater danger
comes from the nuclear bombs that are deployed at the Base.”

Büchel is Everywhere, Nuclear Weapons Free Now! continues until August
9, 2017 and will close with a commemoration of the US atomic bombing of
Nagasaki, Japan.

Message of Support from Dorothy Day’s granddaughter


One of over fifty Christian activists signing the Faith and Resistance Pledge at the launch

Martha Hennessy, granddaughter of Dorothy Day sent us this message of support:


I write in support of the Nonviolent Direct Action Network being launched this month in the UK. As disciples of Christ in His two thousand year old movement, we strain to hear the voice of God guiding us, giving us courage, helping us to walk while holding “enemy” love. We need each other in community as we follow our daily practice of the works of mercy. The best way to visit the prisoner is to be in prison.

Our tears are a form of prayer and protest in our awareness of the suffering we inflict on the so-called “other”. Our position of privilege and power reminds us that we are complicit in the sins of violence. Our high standard of living relies on the exploits of war.

“Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.” We are blessed in our rising up in protest against the misuse of nation/state law that refutes God’s law of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Christ was executed through devious yet “legal” means. We continue to practice this murder on a massive scale in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and many other countries, even in the streets of our own western democracies.

Our small but persistent actions may appear to be weak, but remember; God hears just one voice raised up against evil. Our brothers and sisters at Standing Rock, North Dakota are showing us the way. Many other people around the world are standing up and are paying a harsh price. Like our Christian forerunners in the early centuries of the Church, we too can place ourselves in solidarity with the oppressed. We must not idolize the state system by complying with the lust-filled force; we want heaven on earth here and now.

Message of support from Martin Sheen


Gathering of activists at Friends House yesterday

Martin Sheen, best known for his role in Apocalypse Now, sent a message of support for new Faith and Resistance Network:

Dear friends,

When we accept the cup as offered, not altered, we join a powerful world-wide community who share a common vision of hope and a deep thirst for that mysterious nourishment called grace, which soars up and flows out of a collective memory from all those times and places where that mighty blessing descended on those outrageous and necessary acts of compassionate confrontation,  those heroic acts of non-violent resistance that take our breath away and renew the face of the earth!

Peace be with you

Martin sheen


Bishop sends message of support to Christian activists, willing to risk arrest

Over fifty Christians, who have pledged to take nonviolent direct action for the sake of justice and peace, have gained the support of Thomas McMahon, Bishop Emeritus of Brentwood.

The activists, of all denominations and from all parts of the country, campaign on issues of justice, peace and climate change, and consider nonviolent direct action to be an unavoidable consequence of following Jesus’ teaching today. They will gather to take the pledge at the launch of the Faith and Resistance Network on Saturday 15th July at Friends House, Euston Road, London.

In a statement to be read out on Saturday, Thomas McMahon says,

‘I have long believed that when the Gospel loses its prophetic element it has lost its cutting edge. A prophet is very much God’s person who is prepared to challenge in his name even though uncomfortable. They are not usually popular people and certainly disturb our conscience. There are many ways of giving prophetic witness  and non violent direct action can be one of them.’

The pledge was initiated by the Faith and Resistance Network whose aim is to grow the Christian nonviolent action movement, widen recognition of its wide ranging work and welcome new activists.

Martin Newell, one of the organisers, says,

‘Nonviolence is at the heart of the Christian Gospel. This network will raise the profile of Christians today putting Jesus’ radical teaching into action’

The network is intended to support activists as they embark on direct action, through providing training, contact with the media and legal support. It has been set up by experienced activists who have themselves been arrested, charged and convicted and experienced time in prison for the sake of their faithfulness to the teaching of Christ.

Symon Hill, author of The Upside Down Bible writes,

‘Jesus exemplified active nonviolence and resistance to the sins of violence, oppression and inequality. I continue to seek God’s guidance and am unsure of the way forward, but I don’t doubt that active nonviolence is an essential element of seeking to follow Jesus. It is a consequence of attempting to live out love for God and love for our neighbours.’

At the launch pledgers and their friends will hear from Andrea Needham, ploughshares activist and author of The Hammer Blow and Sam Walton and Dan Woodhouse, who recently attempted to disarm a warplane, bound for Saudi Arabia, at RAF Warton, Lancashire.

The pledgers look forward to the No Faith in War Day, which will see people of all faiths oppose the DSEi arms fair in September.