Warning of the “real and present danger” created by President Donald Trump’s recent withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Missile Treaty (INF), seven anti-war plowshares activists are condemning the move ahead of their upcoming trial for a direct action at a U.S. nuclear naval base last year.
“Pulling out of the INF Treaty was an unconscionable and reckless act on the part of the Trump administration,” said Patrick O’Neill, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven. “Such unilateral action involving weapons of mass destruction only serve to put our planet at greater risk for the use of nuclear weapons, which could end the human experiment.”
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“With actions such as Kings Bay Plowshares Seven and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons…this nation could pull back from the brink of omnicide.” —Kings Bay Plowshares SevenTrump pulled out of the INF last Friday, accusing Russia of violating the agreement which prohibited the development of ground-based missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,417 miles. The move followed reports that the Trump administration has begun manufacturing of new “low-yield” nuclear warheads which critics warn is helping to trigger a new nuclear arms race.
The Kings Bay Plowshares Seven is expected to go to trial in federal court within the next two months for staging a direct action last April at a U.S. Naval base in Kings Bay, Georgia, where they symbolically disarmed several nuclear weapons. The group faces one misdemeanor and three felony charges and up to 25 years in prison, and says that actions like theirs are necessary to avoid nuclear catastrophe.
“With actions such as Kings Bay Plowshares Seven and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, also known as ICAN (the 2017 Nobel Prize winner), which is promoting the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, this nation could pull back from the brink of omnicide,” the Kings Bay Plowshares said in their statement.
The campaigners’ opposition to the INF withdrawal is shared by two-thirds of Americans surveyed by the University of Maryland in the last month, including 55 percent of Republican respondents and 51 percent of those who voted for Trump in 2016.
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Anti-war groups have called attention to efforts in Congress aimed at stopping Trump and future presidents from developing and launching nuclear weapons.
On Twitter, Win Without War urged Americans to pressure their senators to co-sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley’s Prevention of Arms Race Act (S. 312), which would cut off funding for unilateral U.S. development of intermediate and shorter-range nuclear weapons which had been banned under the INF. The bill currently has 12 co-sponsors.
“We need to the rest of the Senate on board. Urge your senators to cosponsor the Prevention of Arms Race Act and block Trump’s banned nukes!” Win Without War told supporters in a petition.
The Kings Bay Plowshares Seven warned that Trump’s withdrawal from the INF may not be his final effort at unwinding treaties that have kept a new arms race at bay in recent decades.
“We must worry that the U.S. will next quit the New START Treaty signed with Russia in 2010; such an action would erase a legally binding, verifiable agreement capping the number of strategic nuclear warheads possessed by the nuclear powers,” said the group.
“There is a real and present danger that [Trump’s withdrawal] will provoke a renewed nuclear arms race and brings us closer to nuclear war,” Martha Hennessy, one of the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven, added.