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Context of The Nuclear Age and Nuclear Abolition

Early 21st Century
The National Atomic Testing History Institute joined with Desert Research Institute to form a new nuclear weapons history museum. In 2010 the U.S. premier testing ground was renamed the Nevada National Secuity Site. President George W. Bush had presided over the first eight years of the new millenium's war-mongering and lie-repackaging, so President Barack Obama continues the task as the NTS faced it's repurposing as a multi-faceted arm of the empire's efforts to continue complete domination of the planet. In 2005 Indian Springs Air Force Auxillary Field was renamed Creech AFB. In 2006 Creech became the host of training Predator and Reaper "drone" warfare aircraft pilots, and soon began helping pilots conduct bombing raids and killing missions in other countries from remote-controlled units at Creech. See the Poison Fire animation of U.S. nuclear history.

2009: NDE and Voices for Creative Nonviolence co-organize a week-long vigil at Creech Air Force Base.

2008: NDE begins focusing vigil and protest activity on Creech Air Force Base.

2007: The Pacific Life Community comes back to life with annual retreats, starting @ Indian Springs, Nevada and at the NNSS.

2005: Pax Christi USA joins with NDE to hold a 60th anniversary of the Bomb commemoration retreat, "Many Stories, One Vision for a Nuclear Free World."

2002: The Family Spirit Walk for Mother Earth from Los Alamos to the NNSS.

2001: On January 27th the NNSS celebrates its 50th anniversary, decried by the Governor of Utah as a phenomenon which poisoned Utahns, this "Family Day" at the NNSS is attended by thousands of celebratory participants, and protested by a dozen peace activists, holding an enormous banner listing all the names of all the U.S. nuclear bomb tests, including the recent subcritical explosion tests. In March, Bruce Gagnon (Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space) speaks at an NDE event. The Western Shoshone begin an annual Relay-Run for Newe Sogobia around the NNSS.

2000: NDE produces a short movie to showcase NDE's work for nuclear abolition, and the history of the nuclear age.

2000: At midnight on January 1st (the apex of "Millennium 2000" ) 313 people cross the line at the NTS to signify support for Shoshone sovereignty and nuclear abolition.


While President Reagan had energized and symbolized a new internalization of image-consciousness within the realm of nuclearism, President Clinton continued to job of being pretty and appeasing the people wanting to enhance our nuclear capabilities. In 1996 the President allowed Stockpile and Stewardship Management (S&M) to proceed, leading to the series of subcritical explosions at the testing site in Nevada. The U.S. nuclear weapons and nulcear energy programs began their repackaging/rebranding to complete the Orwellian task of proving that lies are truths when you repeat them enough. The DOE formed a subgroup to further delineate programs of energy and programs of weaponry, so the U.S. agency now controlling the NTS is called the National Nuclear Security Administration or NNSA.

1999: Chris Montesano's inspires NDE to organize a New Year's Eve celebration of peace and prayers for the end of the nuclear age. Called "Millennium 2000" the event is attended by 525 people. Thorn Coyle created a labyrinth for the event.

1998: Healing Global Wounds organizes a Mothers' Day Weekend gathering, including Starhawk. Episcopal Peace Fellowship hosts "Nuclear Gambling: Who Wins?" with Peter Ediger and Janet Chisholm.

1997: Stockpile Stewardship brings about the "Rebound" subcritical nuclear test, and nuclear abolition peace activities resume full-force with an Easter-weekend gathering at the NTS following NDE's 4th annual Holy Week Peace Walk. After Easter, on April 3rd, Shundahai Network shut down US95 for five hours to stop employees from getting to work at the NTS.

1996: Genevieve Vaughn commissions the Goddess Temple of Sekhmet and deeds the land to the Shoshone National Council.

1995: NDE holds it's 10th anniversary of the August Desert Witness.

1994: In the spirit of prior peace walks, NDE and the Atomic Veterans organize a Holy Week Peace Walk from Las Vegas to the NTS, under the guidance of Brother David Buer.

1992: NDE hosts a Franciscan event with dozens of Friars getting arrested. Cross-National peace walks converge at the NTS, organized by Europeans as well as Americans. The Shundahai Network is formed, starting in Washington D.C. under the guidance of Western Shoshone Spiritual Leader Corbin Harney. (Four years later it will move its headquarters to Las Vegas.) Healing Global Wounds begins an annual autumn event to commemorate Indigenous People's Day (formerly called Columbus Day).

1991: Dom Helder Camara comes to celebrate the 10th LDE and makes his statement, "This is the scene of the greatest violence on Earth. It should be the place of the greatest greatest acts of nonviolence on the Earth." NDE's archives have more info. APT and Veterans for Peace organized the Veterans Day Witness weekend in November.

1990: Citizen Call (Utah downwinders group) holds memorial service @ NTS for civilian victims of nuclear testing.

The Hollywood actor who held minor fame in the beginning of the Cold War grew to global fame as the U.S. President elected in 1980. President Ronald Reagan would help bring about an end to the Cold War by heightening it so greatly that it galvanized the world into stopping it. Reagan changed social programs to brutally magnifed social inequities while pleasing the upper classes with benefits and perks. Reagan's clean-cut facade was emblematic of U.S. Americans love for nuclear weapons at this apex of the Cold War. The mask of sweetness and simplicity covering greed and savage brutal foreign policy was perfect for people wanting to pretend that the U.S. is filled with goodness, but the U.S. population had recently experienced the violent effects of our wars upon our military personnel and society back at home, so many people couldn't simply internalize the bold-face lies that easily. Therefore in May of 1981 about 1,000,000 people marched for nuclear abolition in New York City. That kind of spontaneous people-power was a major wake-up call. While Reagan's cowboy mentality of rugged individualism and roughshod nuclear bullying appealed to many who just wanted to escape harsh empirical realities, it disgusted and terrified a new generation of folks alert enough to the real responsibilities of living in the empire and not wanting to be guilty of such mega-violence, or at least recognized the way the U.S. image reflected on the population.

1989: During the Lenten Desert Experience and Easter, 687 people are arrested, including 13 who had hiked into Mercury and were arrested there. On September 24th, NDE & APT hold an encirclement of the DOE building in Las Vegas to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Soviet Union's nuclear testing program.

1988: A permanent Peace Camp is established by Art Casey and others (lasting two years). See the PeaceCamp History Blog . For March 8-16 about 8,000 people joined the Reclaim the Test Site event. 2,000 were arrested at that huge event organized by APT. In the Autumn the Jewish Peace Fellowship, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, FOR, and NDE hold a Gandhi Celebration. 84 were arrested on October 2nd.

1987: APT, Loretto, WILPF & NDE organized the first Mothers Day Action with over 3,000 participants, and 759 were arrested on May 10th.

1986: Western Shoshone begin issuing permits to non-Shoshone folks (demonstrators) to support the actions for nuclear abolition. Ramsey Clark testifies in Nye County court for the 149 activists on trial. The Great Peace March walks to the NTS.

1985: The first August Desert Witness is created to commemorate Hiroshima & Nagasaki Days, and NDE kept an RV parked across US 95 for a year, the nascent Peace Camp. American Peace Test (APT) begins as an offshoot from FREEZE.

1984: Buddhists and Franciscans create specific NDE events via their unique spiritual paths. One NDE line-crossing includes an exorcism of the demons while a stealth bomber crashes at the NTS.

1983: The second LDE leads immediately to the formation of Nevada Desert Experience (NDE). On April 21st Greenpeace sent seven people on the first backcountry action to Yucca Flats.

1982: The first LDE from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday.

1981: Fr. Louis Vitale, Duncan McMurdy, Mike Affleck, Anne Symens-Bucher, Sr. Rosemary Lynch and others organized for a bold step for early 1982--a Lenten Desert Experience (LDE) of a six-week vigil at the nuclear testing grounds of Nevada.


Once called the Nevada Proving Ground, it was now called the Nevada Test Site (NTS). At this time the NTS was operated by the DOE. The AEC reorganized itself in the early 1970s as ERDA, while creating the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to separate the functions of nuclearism, then quickly recreated ERDA into the Department of Energy (DOE).

1978: The Sagebrush Alliance demonstrates for peace at the NTS and in Vegas.

1977: Japanese demonstrators come out to protest the ongoing nuclearism of Nevada's testing program.


In 1963 the U.S. enters the Partial Test Ban Treaty, driving all nuclear explosions underground, forbidding oceanic and atmospheric explosions. This kind of governmental action is inspired by popular social movements, including the activism against nuclearism.

1963: Demonstrators come to Mercury to protest the mega-violence.


The 1946 Atomic Energy Act is ammended in 1954 to ensure the U.S. governement has complete control over nuclear materials. In 1951 the AEC opens up the Nevada Proving Ground to conduct obove-grouind nuclear bomb explosions. On July 16th 1952 the order came to reopen the Indian Springs Base, under the command of New Mexico's Kirtland Air Force Base, to support the new nuclear bomb testing program beginning a few miles away in Nye County.

1958: Ammon Hennacy fasts for 13 days and the Hydrogen bomb failed to detonate.

1957: Ammon Hennacy fasts for 12 days because it's been 12 years since Trinity, Fat Man and Little Boy. From the Catholic Worker Movement, Ammon would later start a House of Hospitality for homeless men in Salt Lake City, and continue praying, fasting, vigilling and agitating against WMDs and the death penalty throughout the Southwest.

1956: Quakers come out to pray in the Desert against nuclear weapons.


Early 20th Century
In 1942 the Manhattan Project was created as a secret program to create the world's first three nuclear bombs. In 1943 the Manhattan Project's headquarters were established in Los Alamos, New Mexico. After the 1945 nuclear bomb detonations in New Mexico and Japan, the U.S. began testing in the Pacific Ocean, and sought a continental U.S. site for continuing explosive testing. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 created the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to govern nuclear weapons and nuclear power as a civillian agency rather than a military agency. In 1948 the U.S. Government forced less than 100 Shoshones to leave the region, expanding the Las Vegas Bombing and Gunnery Range which would soon include a Nevada Proving Ground for nuclear weapons testing. The Indian Springs Auxiliary Army Airfield had been built in Clark County as part of the WWII infrastructure, then shut down in 1947 along with the Las Vegas Air Base.


Pre-20th Century Warrior & Pacifist History

People in and out of the USA have disciplined themselves in the arts of war and nonviolence for many centuries. Most wars prior to the 20th Century included the standard primary methods of soldiers using technological gadgets to kill soldiers of the other team. Pacifists and other practicioners of nonviolence were disgusted by this mutual consent of offering young lives up for governmental violence. The standards of war were about to change Within the next century pacifism would become more popular because the standard practices of higher technological warfare would allow soldiers to kill higher rates of civillians and lower rates of the other team's soldiers. Meanwhile, in this Great Basin Desert, the Paiutes, Shoshone and European immigrants lived and travelled throughout Southern Nevada. The Western Shoshone were a nomadic people who made a treaty with the U.S. governement in 1863 of "peace and friendship" to allow the U.S. access to the territory, without the foresight of weapons of mass destruction. Shoshone (a.k.a. "Newe") activists of the past 70 years have pointed out that their land--the "people's earth mother" or "Newe Sogobia"--is desecrated and damaged by U.S. wmd activities, and a grave environmental injustice continues here.



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