May 22, 2018
Kings Bay Plowshares in court for arraignment, bond hearing
By Patrick O'Neill
"At a May 17 bond hearing in United States District Court in Brunswick, Georgia, U.S. Attorney Karl Knoche told U.S. Magistrate Stan Baker that the government recommended that the seven Kings Bay Plowshares activists be held without bond pending their federal trial for conspiracy, destruction of property on a Naval Station, depredation of government property and trespass.
Calling the action “serious criminal activity” carried out by defendants with “long criminal histories” who were a threat to the safety of the community, Knoche asked Baker to withhold bond.
The seven Kings Bay Plowshares were already a bit rattled as we faced a group of southeast Georgia federal and state judiciary and police folks who likely can make no sense of the actions of seven older adults breaking into a perfectly wonderful submarine base for the purposes of smashing idols and beating swords into plowshares.
In more than a quarter century since the Kings Bay Trident naval base was proposed by President Jimmy Carter, there has been little public opposition from the St. Marys, Georgia community that has reaped enormous economic benefits from the Trident’s weapons of mass destruction..."
May 18, 2018
Protesting our country’s nuclear weapons is (still) worth going to jail for
By Nathan Scheider
"On Mother’s Day a year ago, I was staying in a house whose usual residents had gone to visit their mothers, leaving me alone to somehow cook a worthy breakfast for four extraordinary mothers—my own mother, my wife, a Venezuelan professor in exile and Elizabeth McAlister, the nun-turned-war-resister, an architect of the Plowshares movement with her husband, Philip Berrigan. This past Mother’s Day, Liz was in jail again.
Her offense was hardly surprising. On April 4 she was part of a small group that, much like the first Plowshares action in 1980, broke into a nuclear-armed military facility with hammers and bottles of their own blood in order to make literal the prophecy of Isaiah, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares.” The ritual was an evolution of the Berrigan brothers’ famous draft-card burning in Catonsville, Md., which took place 50 years ago this week.
“Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order,” Philip’s brother Daniel Berrigan, S.J., testified in court about that day in Maryland. “We could not, so help us God, do otherwise.” Such rituals have resulted in many collective years of jail time since.
The Berrigan brothers were on the cover of Time magazine after Catonsville. Some Plowshares actions have likewise garnered national attention, like the 2012 break-in at Tennessee’s Y-12 nuclear facility led by 82-year-old Sister Megan Rice. But this latest Kings Bay Plowsharesbreak-in, at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, has been less widely observed outside the several hundred people awaiting news on a Facebook group. But I know some of the seven who participated, including Dorothy Day’s granddaughter Martha Hennessy, and I do not expect that they are worried about whether they are trending on Twitter. As Father Berrigan said, “We could not, so help us God, do otherwise.”..."
May 17, 2018
50 Years Ago Today: Catonsville 9 Burned Draft Papers with Homemade Napalm to Protest Vietnam War
"Fifty years ago today, on May 17, 1968, in the Baltimore suburb of Catonsville, Maryland, a group of Catholic priests and activists stood around a small fire, praying and singing. They had gone into the local draft board office and taken 378 draft records, for the young men in the 1-A category who were most likely to get drafted to go to war in Vietnam. They set fire to the draft records using homemade napalm, made from gasoline and laundry soap, to symbolize the U.S. military’s use of napalm on Vietnamese civilians. Video of the act of civil disobedience was seen around the world. They became known as the Catonsville Nine, and in 1970 they were given prison sentences of up to three years behind bars. We feature interviews with Fathers Phil and Daniel Berrigan, who helped organize the protest, and speak to Margarita Melville, one of the last surviving members of the Catonsville Nine, during a ceremony to mark the unveiling of a new historical marker to commemorate the action..."
May 16, 2018
50 years later, the spirit of the Catonsville Nine lives on
By Frida Berrigan
"It was a big moment. More than a hundred people watched as a college professor held one end of a heavy vinyl cover, helping an 88-year-old woman, pull it from the top of a tall metal sign. Together, they unveiled a familiar looking historic marker — the kind that draws attention to battlefields drenched in centuries-old blood and the birth places of famous men all over the country.
This one, however, was different.
It read: “On May 17, 1968, nine Catholic activists raided the selective service office in Catonsville and burned hundreds of draft files to protest the Vietnam war.” It now stands on Frederick Road in Catonsville, Maryland — about a block from the building that housed the young men’s draft files.
The 88-year-old woman was Marjorie Melville — one of those nine Catholic activists and, along with George Mische, one of only two still living..."
May 15, 2018
7 Anti-Nuke Activists Indicted in Southern District of Georgia Federal Court
"Early on the morning of April 5, 2018, seven nuclear abolitionists were arrested inside the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia.
Kings Bay is the Atlantic homeport for six Trident nuclear ballistic missile submarines and also provides critical support services for the fleet of four British Trident nuclear missile submarines.
The seven Catholic activists entered the high-security base on the night of April 4, choosing to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.” King has devoted his life to addressing the triple evils of militarism, racism, and materialism.
The intent of the Kings Bay Plowshares was to begin fulfilling the prophet Isaiah’s command to” beat swords into plowshares.” Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction. They marked areas with crime scene tape and hung banners reading: “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, Dr. Martin Luther King”, “ The ultimate logic of tridents is omnicide” and “Nuclear weapons: Illegal – immoral.” They also brought an indictment of the U.S. government for crimes against peace, and, as part of their evidence, a copy of Daniel Ellsberg’s book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner...."
May 4, 2018
Plowshares Activists Indicted over Protest at Kings Bay Naval Base
And in Georgia, a federal court has filed an indictment against seven Catholic Plowshares activists who were arrested for protesting last month at Kings Bay Naval Base—the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The activists entered the base on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, April 4. They were armed with just hammers, crime tape and baby bottles containing their own blood. The activists said they were following the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.” In a statement from Georgia’s Camden County Jail, Plowshares activist Clare Grady wrote, “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.“
May 3, 2018
DANIEL ELLSBERG WARNS OF ‘NO SURVIVORS' IF U.S. GOES TO WAR WITH ‘CRIMINALLY INSANE’ NUCLEAR WEAPONS
"Daniel Ellsberg is best known as the defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers and exposed Defense Department lies about American involvement in the Vietnam War. But in 1971, when he took those top secret documents out of his office safe at the Rand Corp., he also took a cache of materials related to his job as one architect of America’s mutually assured destruction nuclear strategy, or MAD.
He hid the top-secret nuclear papers in plastic bags on his brother’s farm in upstate New York, intending to reveal them after the furor over the Pentagon Papers died down. But Tropical Storm Doria in 1971 eroded the hiding place, and he never saw his papers again.
Now a hale and vigorous 87, he is stumping the country giving talks about his latest book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. It recounts his participation in what he calls America’s “criminally insane” nuclear program. Newsweek caught up with him in Washington, D.C., where he was addressing a gathering of progressive lobbyists on the day President Donald Trump decided to bomb Syria, a country where five nuclear-armed nations have been involved during its civil war. Ellsberg, who wants the United States to abandon its willingness to use nuclear weapons offensively (the so-called first-use policy), said the weapons system he and his compatriots invented in the Dr. Strangelove years remains as hair-trigger as ever, and that a mere technical glitch or political clash with Russia could end with major American cities reduced to smoking ash with just 30 minutes’ notice..."
Daniel Berrigan’s Ethic of Resurrection and the Kings Bay Plowshares
By Art Laffin
“The No to state uttered by the unarmed Christ is vindicated in His resurrection. Of this, the world can never be a witness…This is our glory. From Peter and Paul to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Romero. Christians have known something which the “nations” as such can never know or teach—how to live and how to die. We are witnesses to the resurrection. We practice resurrection. We risk resurrection.” Daniel Berrigan (Testimony: The Word Made Fresh, p. 222-223)
April 30th marks the second anniversary of the death of Daniel Berrigan, SJ, the renowned prophetic priest, peacemaker, writer and poet. Dan was an important friend and mentor to me and countless others. His spirit lives on in the hearts of all he touched throughout his 94 years. And his writings and poems continue to instruct and challenge.
During this Holy Season of Easter, I have been pondering Dan’s words in his profound and deeply challenging essay, “An Ethic of Resurrection,” from Testimony. How do we understand resurrection in a time of pervasive systemic racism, violence, oppression, inequality, perpetual war, rampant political instability and corporate domination, and the ever present threats of nuclear extinction and climate chaos?..."
New Haven activist among 7 protesters detained in Georgia for trespassing at nuclear sub base
"ST. MARY’S, GA. — A New Haven peace activist is among a group of seven protesters being detained in jail after they were arrested at a nuclear submarine base in Georgia.
Mark Colville, 55, of the Amistad Catholic Worker group, was charged with possession of tools for the commission of a crime and interference with government property (both felonies) as well as criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor.
The seven members of the Catholic Plowshares movement broke into the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, on the night of April 4, acting on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
According to a news release from the Kings Bay Plowshares, the seven timed it to the anniversary of King’s death because he “devoted his life to addressing the triplets of militarism, racism and materialism.”
The group carried into the base a statement quoting King: “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government...."
April 6, 2018
How did 7 protesters break into Kings Bay Submarine base?
April 6, 2018
How do you tell the kids that Grandma is in jail for resisting nuclear weapons?
by Frida Berriga
“Our grandma is in jail,” Madeline tells a woman wrestling a shopping cart at Target.
“She went over a war fence and tried to make peace,” Seamus adds helpfully. “They arrested her, and she is in jail now.”
“Where?” the woman asks, looking from them to me in disbelief and maybe pity.
“We don’t remember,” the kids say, suddenly done with their story and ready to make passionate pleas for the colorful items in the dollar section over the woman’s shoulder.
“Georgia,” I say, but I don’t have a lot of energy to add detail to my kids’ story. They hit all the high points.
“There’s a lot going on these days,” she says. I agree, and we move on into the store and our separate errands.
I was happy not to say more at that moment, happy to avoid a sobbing breakdown at Target, happy to wrestle one little bit of normal out of a very abnormal day...
April 5, 2018
7 PROTESTERS DETAINED AT NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE IN KINGS BAY
According to the Public Affairs Officer, Scott Bassett, protesters made their way onto the base property of Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Georgia.
Officials report the protesters were able to make their way onto the base but were not near any compromising areas. The protesters pained signs on the base, officials report...
April 5, 2018
Activists raid nuclear submarine base with hammers and ‘baby bottles of their own blood’
by Lindsey Bever
Seven Catholic peace activists were detained early Thursday at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia after entering the installation to protest nuclear weapons.
The protesters were “carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood” when they entered the base, according to a statement from fellow activists. “They also brought an indictment charging the U.S. government for crimes against peace,” it said.
A Kings Bay spokesman said the anti-nuke group entered without authorization and smeared what appeared to be red paint on buildings and signs around the base...
April 5, 2018
7 anti-war activists detained after vandalism on Kings Bay sub base
ST. MARYS, Ga. - Seven members of a group called Kings Bay Plowshares were arrested Thursday after they slipped onto the Kings Bay Submarine Base and vandalized some signs, according to a base spokesman.
A news release on the Kings Bay Plowshares Facebook page said the seven Catholic activists got onto the St. Marys base Wednesday night, carrying hammers and "baby bottles of their own blood."
The base's gates are staffed with security at all times, so it’s uncertain how the protesters gained access to the base, but Kings Bay public affairs office spokesman Scott Bassett said no personnel or facilities were ever threatened.
It's possible the seven activists were there for hours before they were caught, and Bassett confirmed security measures at the base are being reviewed.
"I believe they walked on," Plowshares supporter Jessica Stewart said. "They went through a fence and walked on. Surprisingly, considering it’s a nuclear installation, I don’t think it was difficult for them to gain access."...