In 1945 the United States exploded an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. I was eight years old and couldn’t believe that we, Americans, the good guys killed thousands upon thousands of civilian people. We are the only country that has ever used a nuclear weapon.
Sixty five years later, relentlessly posing again as the good guys, the United States has a total inventory of 9600 nuclear weapons, perhaps a hundred times more powerful than the 1945 bombs. We continue to enrich uranium nuclear warheads to update this huge stockpile. The United States suspended underground nuclear explosion tests in 1992 but has not ratified the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear arms. Taking the position that the Test Ban Treaty does not prohibit experiments that don’t create nuclear explosions, this September 15th, in a Nevada underground test site, we conducted the 24th subcritical nuclear test, the first such since 2006. Two more tests are scheduled. In 2009, President Obama stated, his hope “to have a world without nuclear weapons,” but the decision to renew testing is dangerously contradictory and must be addressed.
There are currently nine countries that have developed nuclear weapons. With the exception of Russia, no country has near the number of our arsenal. The United States is concerned about several of these nations, North Korea, China and Pakistan. Others express more concern about Israel and the United States making a first strike given their fear that Iran will develop nuclear warheads.
The Obama Nuclear Posture Review of April 2010 stated that the president of the United States might need to authorize a US nuclear first strike. This maintains the policy option for the United States to preemptively start a nuclear war.
The United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Conference began on May 3rd 2010. A few blocks away, at Grand Central Terminal, anti-nuclear activists were urging the abolition of nuclear weapons. The activists believe that the disarmament of world nuclear arsenals should begin with the United States.
We Americans have the right, guaranteed by the First Amendment, to peaceably assemble to express these ideas in a public place. We are called upon to do just that when our nation continues to threaten nuclear disaster. We did so in a non-violent peaceful direct action of a die-in and banner drop, neither of which “blocked the free flow of pedestrian traffic on the main concourse.”
– Beverly Rice, for The Granny Peace Brigade
Photo – Eva-Lee Baird
I was delighted to tell my National Lawyers Guild lawyer, Mark Taylor, that the MTA policeman who wrote the summons wasn’t my arresting officer. After being sworn in, this officer said he was called in from Penn Station because “there was a war protest in Grand Central.” When Judge Weinberg asked him for details, the officer stated he couldn’t identify me. The officer continued, “A lieutenant told me to write out the summons.” Judge Weinberg thanked him for his candor and dismissed the case against me.
Carol’s trial was on October 29th. Judge Weinberg wanted to review the court transcript and set her sentencing date for December 3rd . Carol’s summons states she was “supine on the floor” when, in fact, she was hanging a banner from the balcony. The “summons” officer, “identified” Carol when in fact, he too, was not the arresting officer. I am certain that her case will also be dismissed.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement, especially for those who attended the trial.