October 21 Verdict Due for Kings Bay Plowshares 7
The Institute for Public Accuracy
Seven peace activists face 25 years in prison for protesting nuclear missiles with hammers and bottles of blood.
BRUNSWICK, Georgia (October 10, 2019) — On April 4, 2018 — exactly 50 years after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — seven Plowshare activists entered a major US nuclear submarine base to nonviolently and symbolically disarm nuclear weapons. Earlier this year, a statement was released supporting this Plowshares action, which took place at Kings Bay, Georgia. See: “Rev. Tutu Among Luminaries Backing Activists Facing 25 Years for Nuclear Weapons Action.”
The trial of the “Kings Bay Plowshares 7” is set to begin on October 21 in Brunswick, Georgia. Some of the Plowshare activists have been locked up for over one-and-a-half years, though all but one are out of jail right now and available for interviews. Father Stephen Kelly, a Jesuit priest, is the only one still in jail. See the recent statement he gave to a gathering of hundreds of supporters at an event in New York City, in which he invokes Isaiah 2:4, which gives the Plowshares movement its name:
“He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Elizabeth McAlister has been involved in the Plowshares movement for decades. She was just recently released — after over a year-and-a-half in jail. Eventually, the government allowed her to remove an ankle monitor, but she still has to regularly report. She is the widow of Philip Berrigan. (See piece in The Baltimore Sun.) When they did the action, the activists held up signs reading: “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide” and “Nuclear Weapons: Illegal / Immoral.”
McAlister explained of the Trident submarines at the base, with all the warheads atop each of their missiles: “If they were ever launched, it is the end of life on Earth. I don’t think we have the right to end life on Earth. We don’t have the right to keep those weapons and threaten to launch them.”
Martha Hennessy is currently in Vermont. She is also the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Hennessy was featured on the Intercepted podcast earlier this year. Also see a recent interview with her that gives an overview of the legal and moral justifications for their action, including ongoing US nuclear weapons policy.
The other Kings Bay Plowshare 7 are: Mark Colville, Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill and Carmen Trotta. See statements defending their actions on the basis of religious freedom in August by O’Neill and Colville, who noted: “For over nine months now, this court has denied me the opportunity to meet with my co-defendants and their lawyers to prepare for court appearances or to discuss written submissions to the court.”
For More Information: Contact KingsBayPlowshares7.org:
Mary Anne Grady Flores, (607) 280-8797, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Ofenloch, (212) 369-1590, email@example.com
The Institute for Public Accuracy, 980 National Press Building, Washington, DC 20045. (202) 347-0020 * accuracy.org * firstname.lastname@example.org
@accuracy * ipaccuracy
Countdown to Trial: Activists Facing 25 Years for Symbolically Disarming Nuclear Weapons
BRUNSWICK, GA. (October 10, 2019) — The countdown has begun after waiting one-and-a-half years! A federal trial begins Monday, Oct 21st for seven nonviolent anti-nuclear weapons resisters facing a sentence of more than 20 years. The trial will be in the Southern District Court of Georgia in Brunswick.
On April 4th, 2018, the peace activists cut a fence, entering the US Navy’s Trident nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia. Acting on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, the protestors sought to highlight Dr. King’s triad of evils — racism, materialism, and militarism.
The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 sought to symbolically disarm and expose the sin and the crime of Trident submarine’s lethal nuclear weapons warheads. Over 100 world luminaries, celebrities, church leaders, Nobel Laureates (including Archbishop Desmond Tutu), and thousands of citizens have signed a Global Petition demanding that all charges against the seven be dropped. [You can read and sign the petition here or below — EAW]
The Kings Bay naval base is homeport to six mammoth submarines, each armed with 20 Trident II nuclear missiles. Each missile is tipped with five warheads, each having between 7 and 30 times the power of the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima.
If all were launched, the fleet’s missiles could kill the world’s entire human population twice over —14 billion people — through direct strikes on cities throughout the world and through the effects of the “nuclear winter” that would follow.
All seven protesters are Catholics Workers who do works of mercy but question and challenge the works of war. As a matter of faith, they oppose the Trident fleet’s omnicidal threat to humanity and all of creation and oppose the theft from the poor to pay for Trident’s $1.2 trillion program.
The seven are Martha Hennessy, 64 (granddaughter of Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement); Mark Colville, 57; Clare Grady, 60; Patrick O’Neill, 60; and Carmen Trotta, 56; Father Steve Kelly, S.J., 70; Elizabeth McAlister, who will be 80 in November.
Liz McAlister is the widow of Phil Berrigan who, with seven others, began the Plowshares movement of nonviolent direct action, disarming nuclear weapons, starting in 1980. This Kings Bay Plowshares 7 action is the 100th in Plowshares history.
The defendants informed the court that they intend to use a justification and “necessity defense” that they were compelled to enter the base to try to prevent a greater harm — nuclear war. The government responded with an In limine motion to prevent raising a necessity defense unless four conditions were met, basically that there is an immediate threat and their action would be able to stop it. (click for legal updates) This will be argued at a pre-trial session on Oct. 16th.
Over more than 170 supporters — including actor and activist Martin Sheen — are expected in Brunswick, GA around the time of the Monday, October 21 trial of the KBP7.Supporters are planning to participate in the 2 p.m. vigils leading up to the trial on Oct. 21 are asked to arrive on Friday or Saturday morning, October 18 or 19.
Vigil at Kings Bay Nuclear Submarine Base, St. Mary’s, GA, Saturday: October 19, 2-5 pm.
Meet at the Kings Bay Stimson Gate at the intersection of Kings Bay RD/USS Henry L Stimson Dr. & Charlie Smith Sr. Hwy./Spur 40. Parking is available at McIntosh Sugar Mill Park, just north of the gate on Charlie Smith Sr. Hwy.
Festival of Hope in Brunswick, GA: Sunday, October 20, 4 – 7:30 pm
The Historic Ritz Theater, 1530 Newcastle St., Brunswick, GA
Speakers includes six of the defendants along with music by The Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters of Georgia. The Ring Shout is among the oldest known African-American performance traditions surviving on the North American continent, other music, and poetry. Click for details.
Trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7: Monday, October 21, 9 am.
Brunswick, GA. Jury selection begins. The end date is uncertain, but the trial may be one week or more. However long the trial lasts, supporters will witness inside and outside of the court, vigil to keep nuclear weapons on trial and host peace community gatherings.
Location: Federal District Courthouse, 801 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA
Click for court dress code and rules at this courthouse. Bring sweaters: the court is cold.
The Brunswick Art Show will showcase peace and hopeful actions.
Tribunal on Trident: Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7 pm at the Historic Ritz Theatre. Community Meals will be shared.
Past Event / Sept.29, NYC Festival of Hope, Padre Luis Barrios, Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, All 7 KBP Defendants Voices (including Mark Colville calling from Jail). Nueva Cancion: Umigrante, Tom Chapin and Chapin Sisters, Brendan Fay on NYC Council divesting pension plan from nuclear weapons. Facebook Live Video: (Over 1.1 K views)
We ask all who participate in the October Hope and Solidarity events to support the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 to fill out and sign the Core Agreements document. You can download it here: http://bit.ly/KBP7Agree
Supportersare asked to place a reservation for the Georgia events to arrange for housing and transportation. click here.
Mary Anne Grady Flores, Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Media Support Team
ACTION ALERT: Global Petition to Dismiss Charges Against Anti-Nuclear Activists Facing 25 Years
This is an urgent request that you join with distinguished global supporters including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, other Nobel laureates and many others by signing our global petition to dismiss all charges against the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7). They face 25 years in prison for exposing illegal and immoral nuclear weapons that threaten all life on Earth. The seven nonviolently and symbolically disarmed the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, GA on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (View KBP7 reading their statement here.)
This petition is also a plea for us all to be involved in rebuilding the anti-nuclear weapons movement that helped disarm the world’s nuclear arsenals from 90,000 down to 15,000 weapons in the 1980s. We must abolish them all. The KBP7 trial is expected to begin this fall in Georgia. Time is short. Please sign the petition and visit kingsbayplowshares7.org. Help KBP7 by forwarding their petition to your friends, to lists, and post it on social media.
The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 have offered us their prophetic witness. Now it’s up to us!
In peace and solidarity,
The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Support Committee
To: US Attorney General William Barr
The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7) are facing a federal trial and a 25-year prison term for having confronted a system in which nuclear weapons that can destroy all creation are accepted as a normal, even inevitable, part of life.
This threat, and the lack of public outrage over it, compelled seven principled activists (Elizabeth McAlister, Stephen Kelly S.J., Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Mark Colville, and Carmen Trotta) to enter Naval Station Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia on the 50th anniversary of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.
Kings Bay is homeport to six US nuclear ballistic missile submarines carrying hundreds of nuclear weapons, many of which have up to 30 times the explosive power of the bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. Following the Prophet Isaiah’s Biblical command to “beat swords into plowshares” (Is. 2:4), the seven were also acting legally to uphold anti-nuclear treaties as the supreme law of the land according to the US Constitution, international law manifested in the UN Charter and the Nuremberg principles.
By their actions at Kings Bay, they sought to draw attention to the urgency of withdrawing consent and dismantling what Dr. King called the “triple evils” of racism, excessive materialism, and militarism. The KBP7’s action statement reads:
“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. A just and peaceful world is possible when we join prayers with action. Swords into Plowshares!’”
We who share the moral vision of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 proclaim our support for their courage and sustained sacrifice and call for the immediate dismissal of all charges against them. The defendants invite us to act creatively. They invite us to join global coalitions working to promote governments’ adherence to, and full implementation of, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. They also invite us to participate in campaigns for divestment from nuclear weapons as complementary efforts towards the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons.