Jail Reflections

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5/6/2018 Who Should Be Indicted by Martha Hennessy on the Federal Indictment from the Camden County Detention Facility

The production and maintenance of nuclear weapons are a conspiracy to create unparalleled omnicidal weapons that violate national and international law. The production and maintenance of nuclear weapons trespasses on sacred Earth through global domination and unleashing illegal wars on small countries. The production and maintenance of nuclear weapons constitutes the depredation of air, soil, and water in the manufacture of Trident nuclear weapons system. The production and maintenance of nuclear weapons leads to the destruction of people and property with intent to harm whole countries and cities, while the United States infrastructure remains in disrepair.


5/5/2018 Who Should Be Indicted?
By Liz McAlister from the Camden County Detention Facility

Our country bound itself in 1945 to the UN Charter which rendered nuclear weapons systems criminal by its purpose is to “save future generations from the scourge of war.” It further directed that “all nations shall refrain from the use of force against another nation.” Our country bound itself in 1945 the Nuremburg Principles which prohibit crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. The Nuremburg Principles thus render nuclear weapons illegal and criminal under all circumstances. Our country bound itself in 1970 by the Non Proliferation Treaty which seeks the “cessation of the nuclear arms race and to undertake effective measures in the direction of nuclear disarmament.” Our country is further bound by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996 which bans nuclear explosions and the production of fissile material for weapons.
The work being done with nuclear weapons at Kings Bay violates all these laws and higher moral laws and is thus a great crime. We acted to expose this criminality and withdraw our consent to participate in the crime of the production and maintainence of nuclear weapons.



Once again, a federal court has plainly identified itself as another hall of the Pentagon by turning a blind eye to the criminal and murderous enterprise from which the Pentagon has repeatedly refused to desist for the past 73 years. According to international and constitutional law, both of which are binding and superceding law in all U.S. jurisdictions, the building and possession of first-strike nuclear weapons is a crime. Yet, apparently the U.S. District Court in Brunswick is content to let impunity and immunity reign supreme for those who would hold all of humanity hostage by terroristic threat, choosing instead to criminalize the right and duty of nonviolent resistance.

The destructive capacity of the D-5 missiles fitted for the six Trident submarines home-ported at Kings Bay is enough to kill an estimate of more than six billion people.* What the U.S. Attorney’s office asserts by the charges it brings today, and the charges it fails to bring, is that the genocide unleashed by the launching of those weapons will be a legally sanctioned event.

As a conscientious citizen of this planet, I refuse to accept the legitimacy of such a court, and I am proud to stand accused by it. In a spirit of hope and solidarity, then, I invite all who dare to dream with us of a future without a nuclear gun held to the heads of all our children, to stand in vigil with the Kings Bay Plowshares.

* data provided by nukewatchinfo.org/


4/30/18 Reflection from the Camden County Detention Facility, by Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J., Kings Bay Plowshares

"Do you swear/affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you [God]?", Dennis Apel was asked as he took the stand in Federal court for his witness at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Dennis looked to the judge and said, "If I am allowed to, I will, believe me, tell all the truth…" The torch of truth-telling is then passed on to the next set of nuclear resisters. They in turn give to the next. So we await, from the bowels of our southeast Georgia keep, the next of the three phases (action, trial, prison) of the Kings Bay Plowshares witness.

The second phase of our plowshare's witness, inspired by the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, is to figuratively hammer the Judiciary... in an attempt to convert the courts (plural) from legitimizer of nuclear holocaust sword to abolition plowshare. Our instrument, all self-righteousness aside, is what usually becomes the first casualty in the courtroom - truth. That’s the paradox, the torch passed on: We cannot shirk nor truncate "all the truth" for it is The witness…

There are many unknowns as this golf-pencilled prose is sent off late April (i. e. federal or state jurisdiction), but hammer we will, despite seeming failure.~


4/22/18 Reflection by Martha Hennessy
Camden County Jail, Woodbine, Georgia Jail

When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against the Lord’s anointed one.(Acts 4: 23-26)

We walked in the dark, stars overhead, with Orion at our shoulder and the waning moon rising late. Praise to you Dear God, for this gift of Eden. There were fire flies and croaking frogs to keep us company. And to think the logic of Trident is the obliteration of Creation. What did God whisper to my ancestors and then to me? Swords into Plowshares! We don’t mean to make everyone furious, but why turn our blood and hammers into spray paint and bolt cutters?* Why continue to set the desecrated altar to the false idols of war? We walked onto a military base that harbors the ultimate destruction, and we prayed for the power of a message, of a witness that could reach many ears; conversion of free will towards life-giving work and away from death dealing false constructs.

We strung up crime scene tape over the model missiles and over the door to the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic (SWFLANT), a place where war plans promise to take all we love. We wish to indict this war machine for what it is: immoral, illegal, and monstrous. Our foolish plans desire to see a world in which the suffering is lessened, our leaders begin to know what it means if they pull the nuclear trigger. Our action is an invitation to all for a change of heart that will bring us to true revolution.

*Editor’s note: the charging documents and the Magistrate referred to their possession of bolt cutters and spray paint, but ignored mention of the symbols of blood and hammers, which were used by the seven in their symbolic action.~


4/11/18 Reflection by Elizabeth McAlister
Camden County Jail, Woodbine, Georgia

Absurd Convictions, Modest Hopes is the title of one of the more than fifty books by my late brother-in-law Daniel Berrigan (RIP and Presente!). It might be fair to say that we came to Kings Bay Submarine Base animated by the absurd conviction that we could make some impact on slowing, if not ending, the mad rush to the devastation of our magnificent planet. And this is no extreme overstatement. The six Trident submarines that consider Kings Bay their homeport carry enough destructive power to destroy all life on Earth. What difference can seven aging activists make?

We come with hammers to imprint the pristine coat of the weapon. Knowing a bit about how important image is in the military, the weapons so scarred may be trashed.
We come with blood (our own) to mark the weapons’ purpose as the spilling of blood and yes,
We come with bolt cutters to violate the fences that protect the weapons that spell death to all life.

But, above all, we come with our voices and our lives. We raise our voices in a cry to dismantle the weapons- all of them and we risk life and limb and our future hopes to make this plea: “dismantle the weapons.”

Admirals at Kings Bay, you must know as well or better than we, that the payload of your six Tridents is more than enough to obliterate all life on Earth (cf. Daniel Ellsberg’s book Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Bloomsbury, 2017, to learn more)

We plead with you to examine your priorities. Is this really what you want to be about?
How can you look at your children and grandchildren and continue to grease the wheels of destruction. Turn it around before it is too late…

Editors note: Yesterday when I spoke with Clare, she related a beautiful story about Liz: The women in the jail have an emergingprayer circle. They asked Liz, as the elder, to lead a prayer. Liz was reluctant but eventually agreed. She began by saying, “God is in each of us. Each of you has God within you.” She repeated those words. Women began to weep. No one had ever shared this with many of the women in the Camden county jail.
Any of us who have been inspired and comforted by Liz can probably hear her steady, firm, and loving Irish inflected New York voice offering that benediction. Thank God for the gift of Elizabeth McAlister in that jail and in our world.~


4/9/18 Reflection by Clare Grady
Camden County Jail, Woodbine, Georgia

We say, 'the ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide', and yet, the explosive power of this weapon is only part of what we want to make visible. We see that nuclear weapons kill every day by their mere existence. Their production requires mining, refining, testing, and dumping of radioactive material, which poisons sacred Earth and Water, all on Indigenous land. 
We see the billions of dollars it takes to build and maintain the Trident system as stolen resources, which are desperately needed for human needs.
We see nuclear weapons as a cocked gun, the biggest gun, used 24/7 to ENFORCE the many layers of state-sponsored violence and deadly force required to maintain white supremacy, global capitalism, and global domination.
We invite others who have been privileged by these systems to join us in withdrawing consent from their deadly function and purpose. We live with hope for a nuclear-free, decolonized world.~