Peace Quest Cape Breton
An informal citizens’ action group working to build a culture of peace in our community, country and world since 2002
HELP SAVE THE PLANET, HELP BAN THE BOMB:
PEACE QUEST CAPE BRETON URGES ALL CANADIAN MPs
TO TAKE THE ICAN PARLIAMENTARY PLEDGE
As the newly-elected House of Commons convenes in Ottawa, Peace Quest Cape Breton is contacting all 333 Members of Parliament to request their support for the ‘Parliamentary Pledge’ of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The Pledge – so far signed by over 1,250 parliamentarians worldwide, though by only a pitiable 13 Canadian MPs – endorses the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), popularly known as the ‘Ban Treaty,’ which Canada has so far refused to sign. And by expressing “deep concern” about “the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use” of these “inhumane and abhorrent weapons,” it identifies “the abolition of nuclear weapons” as “a global public good of the highest order”.
As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists argues, in setting its famous ‘Doomsday Clock’ at ‘two minutes to midnight,’ humanity faces two existential threats of its own making: global warming and nuclear war. In our letter, we make the case that both these threats pose unacceptable risks to the global climate: “As voluminous scientific evidence attests, even a so-called ‘limited’ nuclear war would cause – in addition to millions of immediate casualties – rapid and devastating global cooling, leading to mass-starvation, mass-migration and mass-deprivation on an unprecedented scale. And today, such unimaginable, unmanageable disasters are brewing in South Asia, on the Korean Peninsula, in the Middle East, and even, 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in Europe.” And our appeal concludes –
“The planet’s ecosystem needs us not only to decarbonize economies but denuclearize international relations. The hideous suffering that global warming may inflict in coming decades, nuclear weapons can inflict in days or hours. Drastically limiting the rise in global warming is essential to our survival. But saving the planet also means banning the Bomb.”
Peace Quest’s Campaign Coordinator Sean Howard commented that “although Canada’s main federal parties are split on the issue of signing the Ban” – with the NDP, Greens and Bloc Quebecois in favour, and the Liberals and Conservatives against – “the necessary and overdue reframing of nuclear disarmament as an issue of environmental emergency and climate justice has the potential to transcend party ‘lanes and loyalties.’ For the sake of the country and the globe, we hope it does.”
For more information, please contact Sean Howard at email@example.com
The 13 Canadian ‘Pledge-Takers’ are: Daniel Blaikie (NDP), Marjorie Boutin-Sweet (NDP), François Choquette (NDP), Don Davis (NDP), Linda Duncan (NDP), Randall Garrison (NDP), Cheryl Hardcastle (NDP), Carol Hughes (NDP), Gord Johns (NDP), Hélène Laverdière (NDP), Sheila Malcolmson (NDP), Irene Mathyssen (NDP), Elizabeth May (Green), and Thomas Mulcair (NDP). Of these, only 4 – Blaikie, Davis, Garrison and May – are still MPs.
The TPNW was adopted by 122 states at the UN General Assembly on July 7, 2017. It will enter-into-force after 50 ratifications. As of December 1, 2019, 80 states have signed and 34 have ratified: see ICAN, http://www.icanw.org/status-of-the-treaty-on-the-prohibition-of-nuclear-weapons/
For more on the link between nuclear weapons and the climate crisis, see Sean Howard, ‘The Chimney and the Cloud,’ Cape Breton Spectator, October 9, 2019, https://capebretonspectator.com/2019/10/09/the-chimney-and-the-cloud/.
PUNISHING THE PROPHETS:
PEACE QUEST CONDEMNS UNFAIR TRIAL AND UNJUST CONVICTION OF KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES SEVEN
Peace Quest Cape Breton condemns the unfair trial and unjust conviction of the Kings Pay Plowshares Seven, anti-nuclear pacifist activists found guilty on October 24 of three felonies and a misdemeanor for acts of ‘symbolic disarmament’ and ‘prophetic witness’ at the Trident nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia. The Seven now face up to twenty years in prison: they will be sentenced in December or January.
Here are just some of the ‘crimes’ the Seven – Mark Colville (56), Clare Grady (60), Patrick O’Neill (62), Martha Hennessy (63), Fr. Steve Kelly (70), Liz McAlister (79) – ‘committed’ on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: placing crime tape across a nuclear warhead storage bunker; pouring bottles of their own blood on the ground; spray-painting slogans (‘Love one another, ‘May love disarm us all’); leaving a copy of Daniel Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (dedicated ‘To those who struggle for a human future’); and issuing a detailed indictment against Trident, “the world’s deadliest weapon.” The group’s Mission Statement concluded: “Nuclear weapons eviscerate the rule of law, enforce white supremacy, perpetuate endless war and environmental destruction, and ensure impunity for all manner of crimes against humanity. Dr. King said, ‘The ultimate logic of racism is genocide.’ We say, 'The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide.'”
The trial, which took just four days, was unjust as crucial evidence and expert testimony, including from famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and prominent Catholic theologians, was disallowed. As Bill Quigley, the Seven’s attorney, said after the verdict, “the jury” - which raced to its verdict in two hours – was “not allowed to hear” that the Trident submarines at the base “have 3,800 times as much destructive power as the weapons that were used on Hiroshima, enough power to destroy life on Earth as we know it.” “After two years of prayer and action and practice,” Quigley told supporters and media, “they came together and took action to go onto King’s Bay and preach the word of love, preach the word of life, preach the word of peace, and they are paying a huge price for that”.
Peace Quest Campaign Coordinator Sean Howard commented: “Because of the blinkers placed on the jury, they could not see that the federal laws the Seven admitted to breaking are lower and lesser than a body of international law identifying the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons as a crime against humanity – as well as the divine law calling them as Christians to defend the Creation.” “One day,” Peace Quest member Lee-Anne Broadhead warned, “we may all pay a huge price for failing to heed the words of the Seven or understand their non-violent resistance to the world’s most violent weapons. But they have inspired many people, including ourselves, to raise their case and argue their Cause: the Cause, no less, of Life on Earth.”
Peace Quest will continue to stand in solidarity with the Seven and their supporters in the United States and around the world. One of the group, Father Kelly, has been incarcerated since the Action; though they others are at liberty pending sentencing, all were jailed for weeks after their arrest, and until a few weeks ago, three (Colville, Kelly, and McAlister) remained behind bars, with the other four ‘e-carcerated’ – wearing ankle-monitors – under strict conditions. None should serve a day in jail: all should be called as expert witnesses in defence of humanity against nuclear weapons, the real evil we need to place on trial.
On October 25, Peace Quest launched its inaugural White Poppy campaign at a well-attended event at Cape Breton University: all proceeds will be donated the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven support fund (https://www.gofundme.com/f/xaajdf-kings-bay-plowshares-support-fund).
To request a white poppy, please contact Sean Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org
PEACE QUEST CAPE BRETON STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES SEVEN
In recent months, Peace Quest Cape Breton has been seeking to raise the profile in our region of the ‘Kings Bay Plowshares Seven’ (https://www.peacequestcapebreton.ca/plow), seven veteran Catholic anti-nuclear activists facing decades in jail for non-violent acts of civil disobedience at a U.S. submarine base hosting the world’s deadliest weapons. As the activists go on trial in Georgia, with jury-selection starting on October 21, we are sending them and their supporters this message of Solidarity.
Peace Quest Cape Breton stands in solidarity with the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven, facing unfair trial and draconian punishment for non-violent acts of symbolic disarmament at the Trident nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia: “the site of the sin,” as the Seven rightly say. We applaud the courage and sacrifice of the Seven, as well as the eloquence and commitment of their many friends and supporters, gathering in witness, love, and protest, in and outside the Courthouse. As the acts of prophetic resistance ‘committed’ by the Seven make clear, it is Trident that needs to go on trial, charged with attempted omnicide: the planned and practised desecration of Creation.
On Friday October 25 our group will launch a White Poppy Campaign to remember all victims – military and civilian – of all wars. The proceeds of the campaign will be donated to the KBP7 support fund.
For over 80 years, the White Poppy has symbolized the hopes of humanity for a world without war, and has been worn to send a simple message to those in power: ‘to remember is to disarm.’ In the atomic age, to disarm is to survive: and in an age of climate crisis, disarmament can also help us win – and fund – the fight against global warming.
DEMILITARIZE – DENUCLEARIZE – DECARBONIZE –
AND DECRIMINALIZE PEACEFUL PROTEST!