Welcome to

                                                                                  Peace Quest Cape Breton

          An informal citizens’ action group working to build a culture of peace in our community, country and world since 2002

CAMPAIGN NEWS

MARCH 2020

 

“It’s a Big Problem, and Not Many People Want to Fix It.”

 

Interview with Peace Quest Cape Breton’s Bhreagh McKinnon,

Introduction by Sean Howard, Campaign Coordinator, Peace Quest Cape Breton

 

The following transcript is an edited and abridged version of my hour-long conversation with Bhreagh McKinnon, a CBU student and a member of Peace Quest Cape Breton, who travelled to France in mid-February to attend the two-day ‘Paris Forum’ of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), subtitled How to Ban Bombs and Influence People.

 

ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for helping bring about the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), known simply – and fondly – as ‘the Ban Treaty.’ Adopted by 122 members – two thirds – of the UN General Assembly in July 2017, the Treaty has so far been signed by 81 states, ratified by 35, and will enter into force after 50 ratifications. It is, however, currently being ignored or ridiculed by the world’s nine nuclear-armed states (US, UK, Russia, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea) and their nuclear-dependent allies (including Canada).

 

Note: Bhreagh was a student in a recent course at CBU on ‘Nuclear Weapons and the Politics of Global Survival,’ co-taught by myself and Dr. Lee-Anne Broadhead. In November 2019. I interviewed another young Peace Quester, and classmate of Bhreagh’s, Christine Gwynn, about her journey to attend the trial and conviction of the ‘Kings Bay Plowshares 7,’ a group of Catholic anti-nuclear activists who in April 2018 ‘symbolically disarmed’ the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia The interview was published in The Cape Breton Spectator and can be viewed here: https://capebretonspectator.com/2019/12/11/convictions-the-trial-of-the-kings-bay-plowshares-7/.   

 

  1. Why Did You Go?

 

Sean Howard (SH): I know you’re very committed to the anti-nuclear and anti-war cause – as well as climate justice, anti-racism, and other issues – but what made you decide to take the time and spend the money to attend a 2-day event so far away, during a University term, in the middle of winter? Why did you go?

 

Bhreagh McKinnon (BM): Well, I was so moved by my nuclear weapons class. I mean, I learnt so much. and it’s so important, but it’s not something that’s talked about, anything like enough. Also, learning about the Kings Bay Seven really inspired me, and the conference was based on activism, how to get out there, and I’m so uncomfortable with doing anything in public, and I’d like to become more comfortable.  Because it’s a big problem, and not many people want to fix it. And I was in a place of privilege to do it, to go to Paris, so why not do it? 

 

2. The Critical Link: Nuclear Disarmament and the Fight for Climate Justice  

 

SH: One of the main campaign priorities for Peace Quest Cape Breton is to play a part, in our part of the world, in helping draw the Link between the two existential threats to life in earth: the risk of catastrophic climate change (and mass death) from global warming, and the risk of catastrophic climate change (and even more rapid mass death) from nuclear war. I know this Link is crystal clear to you, but it isn’t to many people, including people in the climate justice movement. So I wanted to ask how important and clear The Link seems to ICAN, and what success you think ICAN is having in building a coalition with the anti-global warming movement?

 

BM: I think it’s ICAN’s top priority: they talked about it a lot. Though I wish they talked to climate activists more, especially on social media, to join up events and messages. I mean, why is it climate marches and then disarmament marches?

 

SH: Some of the speakers were climate justice activists: in the opening  session, Fabio Bugelli from Youth for the Climate in France; and later Rebecca Johnson, my former boss, now advising the British Green Party on both nuclear disarmament and climate change issues. But you’re absolutely right, generally it’s not coordinated enough: and I’ve not seen a single joint event clearly making The Link. Beatrice Fihn of ICAN has been talking, I believe, to Greta Thunberg, but to my knowledge Greta Thunberg hasn’t yet publically embraced the Ban Treaty…

 

BM: No, and I don’t get it…

 

SH: There’s not much point in reducing carbon emissions and blowing the world up: we need both, Net Zero emissions and Global Zero weapons.

 

BM: The Link is there, it’s so obvious, but the general public doesn’t know. Some people don’t even know there are nuclear weapons in the world! And the climate movement is already so large, everyone knows about it. If you’re not a part of it, you’re looked at as reactionary, so why not latch onto that movement to push for nuclear disarmament too? It’s a perfect time.

 

SH: In the Green New Deal in the US, for example, The Link is missing, even though the amount of money you could save and use to make the world greener…

 

BM: It should common sense, to take money from war, things that hurt the environment…

 

SH: Not least because climate crises could generate conflict that could end in nuclear war.

 

BM: It’s common sense to me now – but only once I heard about it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. O Canada…

 

SH: You were telling me that there weren’t many people there from Canada, though one of the star speakers, Ray Acheson, is a Canadian woman, and Hiroshima-survivor Setsuko Thurlow has been a Canadian citizen since the 1950s. Were you surprised…

 

BM: I never met a Canadian, though that doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

 

SH: What was the response you got when you said you were from Canada? Were people saying ‘go back and tell Trudeau to sign the Ban’?

 

BM: There wasn’t a question on our nuclear stance. There was a question on, ‘do you still have that Prime Minister who’s really pretty?’  And I think that’s really telling of how the world perceives us, because it’s like no one is actually paying attention to our policies: Canada’s just this nice country with a beautiful Prime Minister. Which is really disappointing.

 

SH: A ‘beautiful Prime Minister’ who refuses to meet Setsuko Thurlow! Who refused to take part in the Ban Treaty negotiations – the first negotiations in UN history that Canada has snubbed…

 

BM: Exactly, there are so many flaws…

 

SH: Do you think Canada could emerge as an important force for nuclear disarmament, if, say, it challenged NATO’s nuclear posture?

 

BM: I think 100%, except there’s a lot of factors preventing that. Canada is perceived as this wonderful country, so I think people would say, ‘Well, of course Canada doesn’t like nuclear weapons.’ It would go with our stereotype. But unfortunately Canada is like America’s little brother, it’s ridiculous how submissive Canada is…

 

SH: They took them on on landmines, in the 1990s…

 

BM: I know, and listening to what Canada did in the nineties with landmines, and even before that, is a vast difference from now. People from the nineties should be so disappointed and disgusted!

 

SH: Some of them are. Retired diplomats and officials, especially.

 

BM: That was one of my biggest criticisms of the federal election here last year, that almost no one talked about it. When they talked about foreign policy, which wasn’t often, they talked mainly about trade, the environment a bit, but nothing on nuclear weapons.

 

SH: I think Canada may have to follow on this. Say there’s a seismic political shift in Europe, perhaps a Green government in Germany – which isn’t inconceivable – or Scotland leaves the the UK and gets rid of British nuclear weapons…

 

BM: Yeah, I think Canada needs a really big shove!

SH: They do want a good reputation. They do want to get back on the Security Council. But what’s the point of having ‘little brother’ on the Council when you’ve already got Big Brother?

 

BM: Yet we’re a big country with an important history in the nuclear age…

 

SH: A history which isn’t well known. How many Canadians know how much uranium we supplied to the US military, for years and years, starting with uranium for the Bombs dropped on Japan? Or that that uranium was taken from the indigenous Dene people in the North, without their permission, and with terrible health effects? Why isn’t reparation for the Dene – and environmental remediation – part of this country’s ‘truth and reconciliation’ journey? But it isn’t…

 

BM: And that says all you need to know about what Canada – about what the colonial government – feels about indigenous people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Waking the Sleepwalkers: How Can We Raise the Profile of the Issue?

 

SH: I’m sure that this was a major preoccupation: how do we broaden our base and deepen the discourse? The Forum itself – a tremendous success, very well attended – got almost no coverage, even in the progressive press, so that’s pretty disheartening. But it’s not in ICAN’s DNA to just get depressed, so what kind of ideas were there? I mean they became pretty famous when they won the Nobel Peace Prize, but the issue still hasn’t broken through.  

 

BM: One of the biggest things they stressed is that no matter how many negative comments you get (and they get a lot!), stay positive.

 

SH: And they have achieved an immense amount, just in the last few years, while you’ve been growing up, becoming conscious of the issue. Ten years ago there was no hint of a Ban Treaty…

 

BM: That’s the thing, they should be this force to be reckoned with, but they’re not seen as that. I mean, in the nuclear community they are, but the governments that support nuclear weapons don’t seem nervous. Maybe on the inside they are, but they’re not like, ‘Oh no, not ICAN!’ But other governments matter, too, and one of the most important things about the Ban is that a lot of countries from the Global South, a lot of smaller countries, have signed it, have stood up for themselves…

 

SH: Yes, and they’ve hooked up with countries in Europe that refuse to be defined by militarism, - countries like Ireland, Austria, that don’t want to become part of some military machine.

 

BM: I know it’s really nice to see countries in the Global North who aren’t investing in war, who aren’t playing that game.

 

SH: And Ireland’s an interesting case, because it’s suffered hideously from British colonialism, so it’s never going to think, ‘well, Britain’s big nuclear weapons will keep little old Ireland safe.’

 

BM: They’re tired of being pushed around.

 

5. “My New Obsession to Connect”

 

SH: The Ban Treaty is radical not just because of its sweeping, comprehensive provisions, but in how seriously it takes the racist and patriarchal prejudices that have so cruelly shaped the nuclear age, and which continue to threaten the planet with disaster.

 

BM: Yes, Rebecca Johnson kept calling it a ‘feminist-humanitarian treaty’.

 

SH: And that has roots in the landmines ban, the cluster bombs ban, and other modern disarmament agreements: but to have the Biggest Weapons of all talked about like that is itself a big deal. One of the sessions, in fact, was titled Fight the Power!, dedicated to challenging the “established narratives” of “the military, the patriarchy, big businesses, and colonial powers.” I think that’s exactly the right approach, but I also know some experts and even campaigners who feel uncomfortable with that kind of language, those kind of linkages. I’m not talking about many people, but there is some pushback and scepticism. So why do you think, in order to Ban the Bomb, we do indeed need to talk about all ‘this other stuff’ as well? Isn’t the movement ‘biting off more than it can chew’?  

 

BM: Well, for me, this school year, it’s become my new obsession to connect every issue. Because when you look at something like nuclear weapons only on the surface level then you won’t completely find or solve the problem, because the problem is rooted deeper. It’s a real problem that the US government thinks so little of indigenous groups that they test nuclear weapons on their land, and then do nothing about the terrible harm they cause. That’s an issue: why wouldn’t you link that? And if you do, you have another community that’s supporting you, indigenous groups all over the world, and that lets you build a fuller and more fruitful argument. And the Bomb does affect everyone and everything! It’s a feminist issue, because when Strontium-90 from nuclear testing is absorbed into the body, a mother’s breast milk is poisoning her baby!

 

SH: And all the hideous birth defects, the ‘jellyfish babies’, from radiation…

 

BM: And on the spectrum of ‘security’, when feminists want to help their community, they don’t want to do it by disadvantaging another community. But the ‘masculinized’ view of power says, well, if helping your community means disadvantaging, hurting another community, that’s OK.

 

SH: Power over, rather than power with. And there’s economics, with the US planning to spend at least $100,000 a minute for the next ten years on these things…

 

BM: Trade, economics, race: it links to everything, and if you only look at it on the ‘top’ level of the weapons, you’re diminishing the power of your argument, you remove or deny the human factor, and that’s how you get things to change, by using empathy.

 

SH: I mean specialists have a role to play, in constructing good treaties, ensuring adequate verification…

 

BM: 100%: we need facts and statistics, but we need more. Rebecca Johnson had a sign: ‘No Jargon!’ She meant ‘nuke speak,’ just using facts, statistics, euphemisms, acronyms. I think that’s what turns people off from learning more about it. You can’t understand everything the scientists are saying, because not everyone has a degree in that, and you shouldn’t have to…

 

SH: Well, most climate justice activists don’t understand all the science, but they know enough to know the future of the planet’s at stake. People used to say ‘It’s the Economy, Stupid!’ But now, It’s the Planet, Stupid! And it’s the same with the Bomb…

 

BM: Exactly. It’s a single problem – a single planet – but it’s multi-faceted.  

 

SH: And the peace movement has always been like that! Women have always been at the forefront of efforts to stop war, from before the First World War. Feminism has always been a part of it. Anti-colonialism has always been a part of it. Anti-racism: look at Martin Luther King, one of your heroes. He talked a lot about the Bomb, and war, but that’s been written out…

 

BM: And purposively written out, so the public can’t make the links. Because imagine the community you’d have backing you if it knew Martin Luther King supported nuclear disarmament. I mean, it’s very hard to be an activist, it’s very stressful: you only have one lifetime, and you have to be educated very well in the topic you’re trying to fight governments on. But a lot of activists are open to learning about more issues, about how they all connect – so that I feel that the people who say that’s ‘too much’ are ignorant of what it takes, of what’s involved in getting involved! That might be kind of harsh, but why wouldn’t you look at race, why wouldn’t you look at gender?

 

SH: Peace education is important in this regard. Tiny numbers of people at High School learn…

 

BM: I don’t think peace education even exists, honestly.  

 

SH: And when you suggest it, it’s called ‘propaganda,’ ‘brainwashing’: ‘you can’t reach kids about the Bomb!’

 

BM: You’re criticized, you’re demonized, you’re ‘too radical’. You’re too emotional, that’s the big one!

 

SH: That’s the gendering… You grew up partly in Texas, right?

 

BM: I spent fourteen years there.

 

SH: You know how much militarism there is in the culture, glorification of the Warrior…

 

BM: Oh my Gosh yes! I spent five years learning about Texas history from a colonial perspective, and I remember sitting in a class with a majority of Mexican students, and we were learning about how the Mexicans came across the Rio Grande and the white people were forced to fight to defend their land, and all the Mexicans in the class were like, ‘what?!’

 

SH: So Mexico invaded itself?

 

BM: Uh huh! I just read something about how many years it’s been since Texas ‘left’ Mexico. Texas didn’t ‘leave’ Mexico: part of Mexico was colonized. So there’s no peace education because it’s from the perspective of the colonizer.

 

6. SOS: Young Person to Young People…

 

SH: What is your message to people your age who perhaps have never thought much (if at all) about nuclear weapons: who don’t think they pose much of a threat, at least not compared to other threats: climate, debt, etc. Why, when there’s so much to worry about, should they worry about this?

 

BM: Because we’re all going to die! I mean that’s the simple answer.

 

SH: If we don’t get this right, there’s nothing else…

 

BM: And I came out of the conference with a new confidence, where now I want to talk about it, now I want to sit here and do this interview, take every chance possible to talk about nuclear weapons. I want to tell my friends about it, and I really want it to be known at climate marches that this is an issue. I mean, there’s lot of people saying, ‘I don’t want to have kids’ because of the environment, but it’s the same threat, or worse, with nuclear weapons.

 

SH: And it’s not like these things are leftovers from the Cold War, stuck in some room somewhere, safely locked up. They’re on alert, an alert that could be triggered by hacking, malfunction, misjudgement… And new ones are being built, and they’re spreading, with nine states now but more wanting to ‘join the club.’ And that’s why some people previously in favour of keeping them, like former US Republican Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, are now in favour of getting rid of them. Not because they’re making all the connections you are, or ICAN is, but even from a narrow, ‘national security,’ ‘cost-benefit’ perspective, they’re just horrified at the risks: the terrible truth that, as we speak, there are increasingly active preparations to fight and win…

 

BM: ‘Win’…

 

SH: Right, a nuclear war!

 

BM: You need to break the cycle of war, not invest in it…

 

SH: Good for the stock market.

 

BM: As we say in the climate movement, there’s no economy on a dead planet. Or during a nuclear winter...

 

SH: In my experience, when young people find out about the threat – find out, for example, that Canada is part of a Nuclear Planning Group in NATO – then their indifference can suddenly switch to indignation. ‘Why was I not told this before? Why is this never on the news?’ And I think that kind of disgust is something campaigners can use…

 

BM: That’s what happening with the climate marches. And it could be the same with the Bomb, because once the youth grab on to something as existential as this, they’re not going to stop. I mean, we’re not going to stop on climate policy until we get what we want. Or we die!

 

SH: If India and Pakistan have a bad nuclear day… 

 

BM: If one the leaders is feeling cranky: if Trump decides to poke at North Korea again. It’s ridiculous how easy and quickly…

 

SH: And that’s the other issue: what kind of democracy are you?

 

BM: The power is behind the curtain. ‘Democracy’ is on the curtain. But when you pull it back… And you can see that by comparing what candidates say before they get into office, and what they do when they’re in office. Even President Obama, which was so disappointing…

 

SH: He wouldn’t even adopt a No-First-Use policy!

 

BM: It’s becoming increasingly obvious to Americans, especially Americans on the left end of the spectrum: we’re all being fooled.

 

7. Highlights and Inspirations

 

SH: Final question: what surprised and inspired you most?

 

BM: My favourite panel was Fight the Power!, with Ray Acheson and a Russian woman, a peace activist called Faiza Oulahsen. That was the most important one for me, because it really out into perspective what happens when activists stand up, because Faiza knew she was facing years in prison, in a labour camp in Russia. That kind of courage is the only way change is going to happen. But it’s not a question of not being afraid…

 

SH: In the end, what are you more afraid of…

 

BM: Should I be more afraid of the planet dying and me dying, or should I be more afraid of being in prison for a year, or something worse. I’m not saying I would go that far…

 

SH: How important is it to you that when these brave people say, ‘Fight the Power!’, they mean non-violently?

 

BM: Martin Luther King is a massive inspiration to me. I love him so much, and he’s proved that you can be non-violent and create real change. If you just go out to the street and start violence you won’t hurt the government, you’ll let the government hurt your cause…

 

SH: You’ll be ‘terrorists’?

 

BM: Exactly. You can still create trouble, be a pest, really disrupt, without violence. And I mean, the Kings Bay Seven cutting a hole in a fence and walking around the base is the complete opposite of violence, and they’re being treated like they did the worst crime ever!

 

SH: When they were trying to stop the worst crime imaginable!

 

BM: Yes! So I would really like to be a ‘pest’!

 

SH: The good news is, there’s a whole spectrum of ‘pest’ behaviour! Including taking your money somewhere else, not banking with a bank that invests in nuclear weapons. ‘Don’t Bank on the Bomb’: that’s not just peaceful but legal, and if enough people do it…

 

BM: It’s important to find your ‘comfort level,’ work out what you can do, how to use your privilege.

 

SH: Well, that’s wonderful. And good luck in your career as an anti-nuclear ‘pest’!

 

 

*All photographs by Bhreagh Mckinnon

DECEMBER 2019

 

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 seanjameshoward@gmail.com

Notes

 

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/.

OCTOBER 2019

 

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.

 

Note

 

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 seanjameshoward@gmail.com

OCTOBER 2019

 

PEACE QUEST CAPE BRETON STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES SEVEN

 

Background Note

 

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!