Monday, March 8, 2010

SURVIVAL: Strategies & Actions for a Nuclear Weapons Free World

Event including screening of the Journey of Repentance documentary by Ashley Michael Karitis, expert panel on nuclear weapons, and live teleconference with Steven Leeper from the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation will take place on March 28th and April 11th.

Sunday, March 28, 2010
1:30 - 5:00pm
Urban Grace Church
904 Market Street
Tacoma, WA

Sunday, April 11, 2010
1:30 - 5:00pm
Seattle University, Campion Ballroom
Seattle, WA

There are 30,000 nuclear warheads in the world and 15,500 are currently deployed or triggered. One of the largest nuclear weapons stockpiles is at Bangor Naval Base in Bangor, WA., 20 miles west of Seattle.....

Join us in this multimedia event that will update you on nuclear weapons and the implications they have on the economy, the environment, your health, and international law.

1.30-1.50pm - OVERVIEW and introduction

2pm - WORLD PREMIERE of the short documentary that followed Tacoma's own Journey of Repentance to Japan; directed by Ashley Michael Karitis

3pm - EXPERTS PANEL on NUCLEAR WEAPONS that will include:

-the local and global presence of nuclear weapons
-health and environmental consequences
-how the stockpiling of nuclear weapons violates international law
-the economics of nuclear weapons


-a LIVE video conference from Hiroshima to answer your questions about the upcoming Non-Proliferation Treaty Review in May 2010 at the UN

4.30pm - STRATEGIES & ACTIONS - What can YOU do and how YOU can get involved!

EVENT INCLUDES FREE FOOD AND REFRESHMENTS! Please try to bring 10 friends to help educate our communities about the dangers of nuclear weapons.

EVENT SPONSORS include City of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hiroshima Peace and Culture Foundation, and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

**PARKING in Tacoma** is available on Market and 9th streets. Behind the church, "Court D" or paid parking on 9th Avenue is also available

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What don't you know about the NPT?

Take the Non-Proliferation Treaty Tutorial at!

Bix’s Mémoires: Afternoon in Hiroshima, August 3

Following our visit to Miyajima we returned to Hiroshima in order to meet with Steven Leeper at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Steven is an American who is the Chairman of the Board of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. It’s the first time in its history that anyone not Japanese has been given that position. He and his wife have been in Hiroshima 40 years and he is deeply respected by the Japanese as well as by all nationalities. He is very insightful, articulate and charismatic.

After arriving at the Peace Museum we were ushered into a meeting room by his secretary. After a brief introduction he began by answering my question about what is happening to prepare for the Non Proliferation Treaty review which will take place in May of 2010 at the United Nations Building.

Steven left no doubt about the vital importance and urgency of the N.P.T. Review Session which will be held in May 2010 is to set definite dates for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in our world. Every 5 years the Non Proliferation Treaty nations (138) hold a Review to assess how well they are doing in moving toward nuclear weapon abolition. The international body of Mayors for Peace which has 3000 members of which Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima is president has helped to draft the accord which calls for the elimination of nuclear weapons from our earth by 2020. The agreement by all nations to abolish their weapons and the plans on how this will be accomplished must be in place by 2015. These goals and dates are known as the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocols.

Leeper fears deeply that if this doesn’t happen at the N.P.T. Review in May, 2010 then it won’t be long before poor nations will arm themselves with nuclear weapons. When that happens it is only a matter of time before a nuclear exchange will take place.

Steven said many other things but these were the words that I understood and felt great urgency about. He summed up his urgent message with “this is crunch time” the advice to listen was well advised.

We heard from the townspeople of Iwakuni about the local effects of American military supremacy. Now we heard from the Chair of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation about the global consequences of not acting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nagasaki Broadcasting Company August 10, 2009

Be a part of the documentary!

The filming is done, and our film crew (i.e. Ashley) is settled back in Bend, OR; but the editing, production, and promotion still lie ahead before we complete the documentary on the Journey of Repentance. What do we need to get there? Your support.

Below is a list of the things we need in order to get this process rolling for a target completion in January 2010! I’ll come back and revise this list to let you know what we have acquired and what we still need. If you can provide any of the below, please contact Tamara at

Living Quarters for Ashley starting on October 28st and going through New Years
We have some options out of town, but depending on where her office / work space is we might be looking for something in the city. If you have, or know someone with, a spare room with some smalls amenities (microwave, single stove top, small refridgerator) that Ashley could stay in for this time. There is no expectation of providing food/etc for her during this stay.

Editing Machine and Software
If you have a MacBook Pro, a MacPro, iMac, or a fast PC with an operating system that can handle editing that you would be willing to loan to us for this project between November and January, it would be well taken care of, used only for editing, and much appreciated! Otherwise, we’re looking at purchasing a computer to fill this need, which could run anywhere from $1000-$2000, so donations are welcome.

If you can provide a desktop monitor for the editing process, we are looking for a 24-30inch screen

Tape deck
If you are a filmmaker or know a production company in the area, we are in need of a tape deck for two/three days in order to digitize our 35 hours of footage which are all on MiniDV tapes. We would provide our own external hard drive.

Office-like Work Space for Ashley
Somewhere in the Tacoma/Seattle area, ideally a small office space that is not being used. Ashley promises not to get in your way!

External Hard Drive to store footage on (This one is cheaper because it uses USB for the connection)
(this one is more expensive because it uses a faster connection, firewire)

General Office Supplies
Donations are greatly appreciated. Will provide a more detailed list in the near future.

We are hoping to be able to provide Ashley with a stipend from $500-$1000, all dependant on funding. Donations GREATLY appreciated.

Additional post-production costs
This includes sound mixing, color correction, and festivals submissions costs.

Graphics Designer for DVD art and Cover
A graphic designer for the cover and DVD art will be needed around November/December.

DVD Authoring/Duplication
Details on cost coming soon

Assistance in acquiring all of the above is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, suggestions, or donations, please contact Tamara at

Bix's Mémoires: Journey of Repentance, August 3rd (Morning in Hiroshima)

I will skip to the fifth day of our journey. We had flown from Tokyo into Hiroshima and were met at the airport by Fr. Juan Catret, S.J., an associate pastor of the Catholic Church in Hiroshima. He had provided two dormitory style rooms with air conditioning for the men and the women. Through clerical custom, Louis Vitale, a Franciscan Priest and I were given separate rooms, custom prevailed over protests.

Fr. Catret was amazing. He accompanied us where we went and was a companion, tour guide, translator and conflict resolution person all while we were there.

He invited any that wished to join him for mass on August 4th. I concelebrated with him and the Japanese pastor and co-pastor. While we were sitting during the readings the rain storm outside picked up force and became a deafening down pour. Through the open window I saw the down spout became a rising geyser with the water gushing high. As it continued I had the thought that God is still crying in Hiroshima.

After a breakfast that was prepared by Demetra Schweiger and her daughter, Allyson and Teresa Montes,O.P., we took off for Iwakuni. Iwakuni is the site of a U.S. Marine Base and air field. The people of the town have been protesting its presence for over 30 years. It is not only that they feel still occupied (U.S. occupation ended officially in 1952) but the constant landing and taking off of Marine and Navy air craft causes terrible noise pollution in the city and neighborhoods. At present the base is adding an extra runway to increase the air traffic potential. The Government of Japan pays 70% of the cost of maintaining the U.S. base and paying 70% for any additions or improvements.

The Iwakuni Marine Base and all the other military bases in Japan and Okinawa are a contradiction and a threat to Japans Article 9 of their constitution. Article 9 states:

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace bases on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

Though it is hailed as a model constitution, there is pressure from our government to change Article 9 to permit deterrent forces and there is pressure by some Japanese government officials to bow to the need to arm themselves against threat – e.g. North Korea.

The Iwakuni peace league arranged an outside tour of the base for all of us. We were joined in the town by Marc Milsten, a PLU graduate from Tacoma, WA who was teaching English at the Ohno Higashi Junior High School near Iwakuni. He had read about our journey on line and contacted us before we left the U.S. He was accompanied by the main instructor of English at the junior high, Kay Domen. She was born and raised in Hiroshima.

As it turned out she became our translator on the tour of the base.

We witnessed the new construction going on and the constant take offs of the marine air craft. Each air craft take off was a reminder that American might still prevails.

After the tour we gathered for a sumptuous luncheon prepared by the townspeople. We were feted and treated as royalty. After the meal there was the exchange of gifts. The gifts of our hosts were always valued, artistic and heart felt. Joan Staples was our main gift presenter throughout our Journey. She was assisted by Debra Covert-Boles and Denny Moore in making gifts of Dream Catchers, Ground Zero T Shirts, books and calendars brought by Leslie Klusmire.

Then song prevailed as Steve and Kristi Nebel sang from their repertoire. Some of the songs were familiar – some were new. “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” sung by Kristi was new to our Japanese hosts where as “Blowing in the Wind” was known. The entire Iwakuni luncheon hosts joined in chorus for some songs of their history. An elderly man played the guitar and sang. We all joined together to sing, “We Shall Overcome.” We made our good byes and got on the train for Miyajima.

Miyajima is the most visited tourist spot in Japan. In the bay outside the city is the most famous Shinto Shrine & Emblem of Japan. We took a ferry to the island which borers on the bay inlet in which the shrine is built. It was a hasty trip on our part and we did not do the shrine and surroundings justice.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My plan to drop the bomb

Written by Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, as seen in the Washington Times on Thursday, August 6, 2009.

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 marked an end and a beginning. The close of the World War II ushered in a Cold War, with a precarious peace based on the threat of mutually assured destruction.

Today the world is at another turning point. The assumption that nuclear weapons are indispensable to keeping the peace is crumbling. Disarmament is back on the global agenda -- and not a moment too soon. A groundswell of new international initiatives will soon emerge to move this agenda forward.

The Cold War's end, 20 years ago this autumn, was supposed to provide a peace dividend. Instead, we find ourselves still facing serious nuclear threats. Some stem from the persistence of more than 20,000 nuclear weapons and the contagious doctrine of nuclear deterrence. Others relate to nuclear tests -- more than a dozen in the post-Cold War era, aggravated by the constant testing of long-range missiles. Still others arise from concerns that more countries or even terrorists might be seeking the bomb.

For decades, we believed that the terrible effects of nuclear weapons would be sufficient to prevent their use. The superpowers were likened to a pair of scorpions in a bottle, each knowing a first strike would be suicidal. Today's expanding nest of scorpions, however, means that no one is safe. The presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States -- holders of the largest nuclear arsenals -- recognize this. They have endorsed the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, most recently at their Moscow summit, and are seeking new reductions.

Many efforts are under way worldwide to achieve this goal. Earlier this year, the 65-member Conference on Disarmament -- the forum that produces multilateral disarmament treaties -- broke a deadlock and agreed to negotiations on a fissile material treaty. Other issues it will discuss include nuclear disarmament and security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states.

In addition, Australia and Japan have launched a major international commission on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. My own multimedia "WMD - WeMustDisarm!" campaign, which will culminate on the International Day of Peace (Sept. 21), will reinforce growing calls for disarmament by former statesmen and grass-roots campaigns, such as "Global Zero." These calls will get a further boost in September when civil society groups gather in Mexico City for a United Nations-sponsored conference on disarmament and development.

Although the U.N. has been working on disarmament since 1946, two treaties negotiated under U.N. auspices are now commanding the world's attention. Also in September, countries that have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) will meet at the U.N. to consider ways to promote its early entry into force. North Korea's nuclear tests, its missile launches and its threats of further provocation lend new urgency to this cause.

Next May, the U.N. will also host a major five-year review conference involving the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which will examine the state of the treaty's "grand bargain" of disarmament, nonproliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. If the CTBT can enter into force, and if the NPT review conference makes progress, the world would be off to a good start on its journey to a world free of nuclear weapons.

My own five-point plan to achieve this goal begins with a call for the NPT parties to pursue negotiations in good faith -- as required by the treaty -- on nuclear disarmament, either through a new convention or through a series of mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a credible system of verification. Disarmament must be reliably verified.

Second, I have urged the Security Council to consider other ways to strengthen security in the disarmament process, and to assure non-nuclear-weapon states against nuclear weapons threats. I have proposed to the council that it convene a summit on nuclear disarmament, and I have urged non-NPT states to freeze their own weapon capabilities and make their own disarmament commitments. Disarmament must enhance security.

My third proposal relates to the rule of law. Universal membership in multilateral treaties is key, as are regional nuclear-weapon-free zones and a new treaty on fissile materials. President Obama's support for U.S. ratification of the CTBT is welcome -- the treaty only needs a few more ratifications to enter into force. Disarmament must be rooted in legal obligations.

My fourth point addresses accountability and transparency. Countries with nuclear weapons should publish more information about what they are doing to fulfill their disarmament commitments. While most of these countries have revealed some details about their weapons programs, we still do not know how many nuclear weapons exist worldwide. The U.N. Secretariat could serve as a repository for such data. Disarmament must be visible to the public.

Finally, I am urging progress in eliminating other weapons of mass destruction and limiting missiles, space weapons and conventional arms -- all of which are needed for a nuclear-weapon-free world. Disarmament must anticipate emerging dangers from other weapons.

This, then, is my plan to drop the bomb. Global security challenges are serious enough without the risks from nuclear weapons or their acquisition by additional states or nonstate actors. Of course, strategic stability, trust among nations, and the settlement of regional conflicts would all help to advance the process of disarmament. Yet disarmament has its own contributions to make in serving these goals and should not be postponed.

It will restore hope for a more peaceful, secure and prosperous future. It deserves everybody's support.

By Ban Ki-moon