Press Release September 26, 2018
For Immediate Release:
KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES ACTIVISTS PRESENT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DEFENSE
For more information please contact:
Mark Colville firstname.lastname@example.org defendant
Clare Grady email@example.com defendant
Martha Hennessy firstname.lastname@example.org defendant
Patrick O’Neill ( email@example.com defendant
Carmen Trotta firstname.lastname@example.org defendant
Bill Quigley email@example.com attorney
Attorneys for the seven Kings Bay Plowshares defendants today filed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act Memo in federal court in Brunswick, GA, as their response to the court's request for supplemental briefings that would justify the defendants' use of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in their defense. The RFRA requires the government to prove a compelling state interest if it acts to restrict a person's free exercise of his or her religious beliefs. The defendants will also ask the court to hold a hearing to allow them to testify about their faith-based opposition to nuclear weapons.
The Memo points out that “Under RFRA the law is clear, and the relevant facts in this case are also clear. The defendants exercised their sincerely held Catholic beliefs by symbolically disarming nuclear weapons. The government is substantially burdening the defendants’ exercise of those same beliefs by seeking to enforce, through criminal prosecution, federal statutes that prohibit trespass and protect property ('trespass and property statutes'). Under RFRA, this places a heavy burden of justification on the government, which the government here fails to satisfy.”
Along with the RFRA Memo, an affidavit from each of the defendants was also filed with the court. In the affidavits, the defendants speak about their sincerely-held religious beliefs and how these beliefs motivated their nonviolent acts of prophetic witness against the government’s possession of nuclear weapons, and the use of such weapons to threaten people, nations and all life.
To quote from the Memo: “The defendants’ symbolic actions of disarmament are within the tradition of a long history of similar actions carried out by Plowshares activists who take their name from the Christian Bible verse, Isaiah 2:4:
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.“
In part of her affidavit, defendant, Clare Grady, details her sincerely held religious beliefs:
“My going to the US Naval Base at Kings Bay to symbolically disarm the Trident in an act of non-violent symbolic disarmament was an act of conscience that reflects my sincerely held religious beliefs, informed by my reading of the Bible, by Church teaching, by the signs of the times, the assistance of competent people, and the Holy Spirit.”…“The symbols we used reveal the bloodshed and violence inherent in the Trident. These symbols are: Stepping over a line, of which, if I do not step over, harm will continue in my name; Carefully pouring blood to reveal the bloodshed in the Trident Weapons system and to express my personal atonement for that bloodshed; Using a hammer, as a disarmament tool invoking Isaiah’s call to “beat swords into plowshares.” The hammer I used was made with metal from melted down guns, weapons converted into peaceful tools. The message I spray-painted on the sidewalk in front of the administration building for the Trident (Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic/ SWFLANT) expressed my intention to disarm Trident and heed the biblical call to Love One Another. Crime scene tape is an obvious symbol to alert of a crime. We used this symbol to name the Trident weapons system as a crime, a crime against God, against humanity, and against all God’s Creation.”
The Kings Bay Naval Station is home to at least six ballistic missile submarines. Each submarine carries 20 Trident II D5 MIRV thermonuclear missiles. Each of these missiles carries four or more individual nuclear warheads ranging in destructive power from 100 kilotons to 475 kilotons. To understand the massive destructive power of these weapons, remember that the nuclear bomb which destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima had an explosive power of only15 kilotons.
The seven defendants are:
Elizabeth McAlister ,78, Father Stephen Kelly, 69 currently incarcerated in the Glynn County Correctional Facility;
Mark Colville, 55, Clare Grady, 59, Martha Hennessy, 62, Patrick O’Neill, 62, and Carmen Trotta, 55, all currently out on $50,000 bond and w/electronic ankle monitors and curfews.
Press Release July 2, 2018
MOTIONS FILED IN KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT CASE
For Release Monday July 2, 2018
For more information please contact:
Today, Monday, July 2, 2018, attorneys filed Motions to Dismiss all criminal charges against the seven Kings Bay Plowshares in federal court in Brunswick, GA. The seven Catholic defendants are charged with three federal felonies and one misdemeanor for their actions in going onto the Naval Base at Kings Bay Georgia and symbolically disarming the massive amount of nuclear weapons at that base. The indictment and all the pleadings are online at: https://www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/
The request to dismiss ends the supporting memorandum with the following paragraph: “If the defendants took their actions in North Korea or Iran, the US government would hail their actions. The same US government cannot be allowed to criminally prosecute them at home. The charges should be dismissed.”
The Motion to Dismiss all charges argues several points. First,any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction are illegal under US law, thus disarming these illegal weapons of mass destruction cannot be illegal. Second, international law, a part of US law, also makes any use or threat of use of these weapons of mass destruction illegal. Third, the actions of the individuals charged were taken due to their belief as Catholics that nuclear weapons are both immoral and illegal and in prosecuting them the government is violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Fourth, the current President of the United States has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons and his illegal conduct has not been prosecuted, so the decision of the government to only prosecute those who protest against nuclear weapons is illegal selective prosecution.
The Motion to Dismiss is supplemented by four important declarations, available in full at https://www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/impact/.
Professor Francis Boyle, a renowned Harvard Law graduate and professor of law at the Illinois College of Law, advised the court that nuclear weapons are flatly illegal and the actions of defendants are in full compliance with the law.
Captain Thomas Rogers, a retired career Navy commander of nuclear armed submarines, told the court that nuclear weapons violate the principles of the laws of war and are both illegal and immoral.
Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton declared that the actions of the Kings Bay Plowshares are totally consistent with and supported by Catholic social teaching that any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is totally immoral.
Jeffery Carter, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, explained to the court the fact that his organization and the American Medical Association condemn any use of nuclear weapons because of the horrific impact upon millions, perhaps even billions, of people.
The Kings Bay Naval Station is home to at least 6 nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Each submarine carries 20 Trident II D 5 MIRV thermonuclear weapons. Each of these individual Trident thermonuclear weapons contains four or more individual nuclear weapons ranging in destructive power from a 100 kilotons to 475 kilotons. To understand the massive destructive power of these weapons remember that the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a 15 kiloton bomb.
The seven defendants are:
Currently incarcerated in Glynn County Jail, Brunswick Georgia:
Elizabeth McAllister: 78, Baltimore, Maryland
Stephen Kelly SJ: 69, Oakland, California
Mark Colville: 55, New Haven, Connecticut
Clare Grady: 59, Ithaca, New York
Currently released on $50,000 bond & home confinement w/ electronic ankle monitor:
Martha Hennessy: 62, Perkinsville, Vermont
Patrick O’Neill: 61, Garner North Carolina
Carmen Trotta: 55, New York, New York
Press release June 15, 2018FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Steve Baggarly
On June 18, 2018, peace activists will begin a “Hunger for Nuclear Disarmament” fast at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, at 10:00 a.m. at the Stimson Gate, in Kings Bay, GA, seeking abolition of all nuclear weapons and justice for fellow activists who await trial for an April 4th action of civil resistance at the base.
St. Marys, GA—On June 18th at 10:00 a.m. four peace activists in support of the Kings Bay Plowshares action will begin a five day fast and public witness at and near the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, calling for immediate abolition of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and public support for seven people, now awaiting trial, who acted to convert “swords into plowshares” through a plowshares action at the base. Kings Bay is home port to six nuclear armed Trident ballistic missile submarines with the combined explosive power of over 9000 Hiroshima bombs.
On June 19th the fasters will hold a public presence in front of the Glynn County Detention Center, 100 Sulphur Springs Road, in Brunswick, GA. They will be at the U.S. District Court at 801 Gloucester Street in Brunswick, GA on June 20th and 21st, and they will finish on June 22nd with a peaceful presence at the Kings Bay sub base. For more information, please call Steve Baggarly at 757-469-6239. The public is invited to join them.
At each site, beginning June 18, participants in the liquids only fast will distribute fliers and hold banners, one of which says, “Disarm Trident…Love One Another.” They will also hand out copies of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, negotiated by 122 nations in July of 2017. The Kings Bay Plowshares action was the latest of 100 similar actions taken around the world since 1980 and the first plowshares action to take place since the global treaty banning nuclear weapons was signed.
Steve Baggarly, a former plowshares activist who will participate in the fast, said, “Most of the world is tired of being held hostage by omnicidal weapons and wants nuclear disarmament. The US and the 8 other nuclear powers who boycotted the Treaty negotiations are the outliers.” Baggarly added that, “Our true national security lies in achieving the long overdue objective of nuclear disarmament.” Fast participant Beth Brockman added, “Nuclear weapons are a theft from the poor. People here in Georgia and across the South are in desperate need of the resources squandered on the war economy.”
On April 4th, 2018, seven Catholic plowshares activists aimed to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.” Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, they hung banners, delivered an indictment and used crime scene tape at three sites on the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Their call to “beat swords into plowshares” aims to eliminate all nuclear weapons and instead devote equivalent resources to meet human needs, end white supremacy, and alleviate environmental degradation.
The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who devoted his life to addressing what he called the “triple evils of militarism, racism and materialism.”
Press Release May 4, 2018For more information contact:
Jessica Stewart 207-266-0919
Paul Magno: 202-321-6650
Kings Bay Plowshares Indicted in Southern District of Georgia Federal Court
On April 4, 2018, the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Liz McAlister, 78, Stephen Kelly S.J., 70, Martha Hennessy, 62, Clare Grady, 58, Patrick O’Neill, 62, Mark Colville, 55, and Carmen Trotta, 55, entered the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. Carrying hammers and bottles of their own blood, the seven sought to enact and embody the prophet Isaiah's command to: “Beat swords into plowshares.” In so doing, they were upholding the US Constitution through its requirement to respect treaties, international law through the UN Charter and Nuremburg principles, and higher moral law regarding the sacredness of all creation. They hoped to draw attention to and begin to dismantle what Dr. King called, “the triple evils” of racism, militarism, and extreme materialism.
In an indictment filed this week in the Southern District of Georgia, Brunswick division, the seven were charged with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Government Property, and Trespass. They will appear before a magistrate in Brunswick on May 10th. Although currently being held at the Camden County jail in Woodbine, Georgia, they expect to be acquitted of all charges. Attorney William P. Quigley, Professor of Law at Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, noted, “These peace activists acted in accordance with the 1996 declaration of the International Court of Justice that any threat or use of nuclear weapons is illegal.” Martha Hennessy, the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, responded from Camden County jail with the observation that, “the real conspiracy lies with those create unparalleled onmicidal weapons that violate national and international law.”
Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy's Atlantic Ocean Trident port. It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The Kings Bay Plowshares hope to draw attention not only to the threat of nuclear annihilation posed by the weapons aboard the submarines whose homeport is Kings Bay, but to emphasize how the weapons kill every day. Clare Grady wrote from Camden Country jail, “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. 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.” In response to news of the indictment, Mark Colville, of New Haven, Connecticut, wrote from the Camden County Jail, “Once again the federal criminal justice system has plainly identified itself as another arm of the Pentagon by turning a blind eye to the criminal and murderous course from which it has repeatedly refused to desist for the past 70 years.”
Press Release April 6, 2018
For more information contact:
Jessica Stewart 207-266-0919
Paul Magno: 202-321-6650
Bond Denied for Kings Bay Plowshares
Seven Catholic plowshares activists were arrested early Thursday morning at the Kings Bay Naval Base St. Mary's Georgia.
They entered the base late in the evening of April 4, 2018 in an attempt to nonviolently transform weapons of mass destruction and inspire Americans to reject racism, militarism, and economic injustice. They are being held at the Camden County Public Safety Complex in Woodbine, Georgia.
On April 6 at 9:30 am the seven had a first appearance in Camden County court before Chief Magistrate Judge Jennifer E. Lewis. They were charged with two felonies, Possession of Tools for the Commission of a Crime and Interference with Government Property, and a misdemeanor, Criminal Trespass. Despite their well-established commitment to nonviolence and integrity and a clear promise to reappear, the seven were denied bond for the felony charges. Magistrate Lewis acknowledged the seven posed no flight risk, but claimed they were a threat to the community because she believed they might return to the base.
Their bond denial comes at a time when community organizations and attorneys across the country are challenging the widespread practice of pretrial detention and excessive cash bail. The Kings Bay Plowshares stand in solidarity with innocent people, disproportionately Black and Latino, across the United States who languish in jails awaiting due process.
The seven being held are Clare Grady, 59, of the Ithaca Catholic Worker; Elizabeth McAlister, 78, Jonah House, Baltimore; Steve Kelly, S. J., 69, Bay Area, CA; Carmen Trotta, 55, NY Catholic Worker; Martha Hennessy, 62, NY Catholic Worker; Mark Colville, 55, Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, CT; and Patrick O'Neill, 61, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker, Garner, NC.
The Kings Bay Plowshares is the latest of 100 similar actions around the world beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia PA.
Facebook: Kings Bay Plowshares
PRess Release April 5, 2018
For more information Contact:
Paul Magno, 202-321-6650
Jessica Stewart 207-266-0919
Brian Hynes 718-838-2636
Seven Catholic plowshares activists were detained early Thursday morning at the Kings Bay Naval Base St. Mary's Georgia.
They entered on Wednesday night April 4. Calling themselves Kings Bay Plowshares, they went to make real the prophet Isaiah's command: "beat swords into plowshares".
The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Who devoted his life to addressing the triplets of militarism, racism and materialism. In their statement, which they carried with them, the group quoted King, who said: The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government."
Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction.
Kings Bay Naval base opened in 1979 as the Navy's Atlantic Ocean Trident port. It is the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. There are six ballistic missile subs and two guided missile subs based at Kings Bay.
The activists went to three sites on the base: The administration building, the D5 Missile monument installation and the nuclear weapons storage bunkers. The activists used crime scene tape, hammers and banners reading: The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, Dr. Martin Luther King; The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide; Nuclear weapons: illegal - immoral. They also brought an indictment charging the U.S. government for crimes against peace.
The activists at the nuclear weapons storage bunkers were Elizabeth McAlister, 78, Jonah House, Baltimore; Steve Kelly, S. J., 69 Bay Area, CA; and Carmen Trotta, 55, NY Catholic Worker.
The activists at the Administration building were Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca Catholic Worker; and Martha Hennessy, 62, NY Catholic Worker.
The activists at the Trident D5 monuments were Mark Colville 55, Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, CT; and Patrick O'Neill, 61, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker, Garner, NC.
All activists are being detained. No one was injured.
This is the latest of 100 similar actions around the world beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia PA.