Resistance to Missile Testing, Space-based Weapons, Drones, and the U.S. War Machine
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Guadalupe, CA 93434
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KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES 7 UPDATE

Kings Bay Plowshares activists – Elizabeth McAlister, Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, Carmen Trotta, Mark Colville, Matha Hennessy, Clare Grady, Patrick O’Niell
Patrick O’Neill

October 16, 2020, Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activist Patrick O’Neill was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison to run concurrently with another six-month sentence for a misdemeanor charge. He also, like his two other co-defendants, has restitution of $33,603.51 that must be made in payments, no interest or fines, along with a $310. special court assessment due immediately. Plus three years supervised probation upon release, including DNA samples. 

Patrick immediately appealed the decision and will self-surrender to a prison near where he lives in North Carolina in 90 days. With time served, he should be released in 10 months. His sentencing statement (available on their website), though very long, was absolutely profound and prophetic. Simply GREAT! As were two of his children’s character statements and his uncle/godfather’s statement (also available on their website).

However, even though Judge Lisa Goodbey Wood went under the recommended minimum of 18-24 months, like Steve Kelly in yesterday’s proceedings, this is a travesty of justice. Nuclear weapons, specifically Trident, is the real crime. Pure idolatry, blasphemous, and a crime against God and humanity.

The remaining co-defendants, Mark Colville, Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, and Carmen Trotta, will appear before Wood for sentencing on November 12 and 13. FOR MORE INFO VISIT https://kingsbayplowshares7.org

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES 7 UPDATE

Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activists
Clare Grady, Elizabeth McAlister, Patrick O’Neill, Carmen Trotta, Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, Martha Hennessy, Mark Colville

On October 15, 2020 Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, received a sentence of 33 months in federal prison, minus the two and a half year’s already served in Glynn County Jail, which equates to approximately another three months more.

However, it is unclear if he will receive credit for good behavior while in the county jail. If he does, then it should be time served. Plus he is ordered to pay $33,503.51 restitution for damage done, payable in monthly payments of no less than $25 per month. No interest and no fines imposed. Plus a $310. special court assessment due immediately. Plus three years supervised probation upon release from prison, including monthly DNA samples.

Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ

It is fairly certain Steve will refuse to pay any restitution or special court assessment as he never cooperates with this unjust, illegitimate, corrupt, and immoral system.

Indeed, he refused to stand and approach the bench while sentencing was pronounced. He had to be escorted by U.S. marshals and a chair placed in front of the bench for him to be seated.

This is in no way just. Rather, it is a subversion and mockery of justice. A miscarriage of justice. The real and abominable crime is U.S. nuclear weapons and U.S. imperial policy to use them in a pre-emptive strike, destroying all life on the planet. As became clear in court, the certain use of the most diabolical weapons ever made in human history will be carried out legally by U.S. imperial laws. May God have mercy on US.

BELOW IS THE STATEMENT DENNIS APEL READ TO THE COURT AS CHARACTER WITNESS FOR FR. STEVE KELLY.

Dennis arrested at Lockheed Martin in 2016

I was asked by Fr. Steve Kelly to be a character witness at his sentencing. While I am more than honored to do so, I want to be clear regarding my intent. I am not trying to affect the sentencing. My fantasy would be to have Fr. Steve’s character precipitate a conversion among those present in the courtroom. As anyone who has been involved in this case is aware, if you believe that Steve Kelly is operating from deeply held convictions and a radical faith in the gospels, he is a prophet. If you don’t believe him, he is just an opinionated criminal. As someone who knows Steve well, I assure you that the first assessment is the truth and the second is false.

I am no stranger to the typical U.S. courtroom where the “law” is treated as God while justice takes a back seat; where even the most fundamental morals are ignored for the sake of upholding the system designed to maintain idolatry to the Pentagon; where witnesses are sworn in with the admonition “to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God” and then essentially gagged in front of a jury of their peers through motions In Limine, denied the ability to speak the truth about why they did what they did, the horrors they are confronting and the spirituality behind their actions.

Prosecutors assume the role of protecting the military as if the most powerful military in the history of humankind were not able to protect itself. Prosecutors assume the role of establishing the motives and character of those they designate as criminals and of whom they haven’t the slightest clue regarding their true character or motivations. Nor do they care to learn because, in our system, character and motives are irrelevant. The character of the accused is no more relevant to the purpose of the law than is the will of God. Entire careers and livelihoods are based solely on convictions and sentences. In what kind of system could a person with the spirituality, conviction, and love of God’s children that Fr. Steve Kelly has, be dismissed as a criminal and left to languish for two and a half years in county jail, while his basic message is expunged in the courtroom; the message that the most horrific and abominable weapons designed by human technology, weapons that have and will visit unfathomable horrors on the children of God and likely exterminate God’s creation, are allowed to exist and proliferate while the most basic of reasonable detractors are gagged and put away. As Steve often reminds us, “When the nuclear holocaust comes, it will be completely legal.”

Fr. Steve Kelly is a man of deep faith who speaks truth to power and accepts the consequences. That is his character. Any other assessment of his character is false. I know this because I have known Steve for decades. He has spent more than 10 years of his life behind bars, giving up the warm embrace and camaraderie of loved ones as well as the comforts of a truly-accessible easy life, to instead speak the truth that God sees nuclear weapons as an abomination. I defy anyone in this courtroom to make a case for a God who embraces weapons of indiscriminate destruction and human misery. It is not complicated. We who accept nuclear weapons are wrong, wrong, wrong. Fr. Steve just says that with his life and body. That is his character. He has taken up his cross to follow Jesus, pure and simple. We dismiss that fact at our own peril.

So, the question before this court is, “What to do with Fr. Steve Kelly; what is the proper punishment? What shall we impose so that he and others of his ilk are deterred? How can we maintain the order and protect the military from those like Fr. Steve who may want to shine a light on a crime infinitely more serious than trespass and vandalism, namely the extermination of the human race?” The answer is, it doesn’t matter the punishment. Steve will accept it and continue his prophetic mission. The question ought not to be how to punish Steve but rather what is it going to take for those who have ears to hear but cannot hear, and eyes to see but cannot see, to give up their idolatry to weapons of mass destruction and turn toward the God of love; to once and for all beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more? My advice to those in this courtroom is to take an honest look at the true character of Fr. Steve Kelly and to try to emulate it rather than defile it. Or don’t.

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES 7 UPDATE

Elizabeth McAlister

On June 8, 2020, via video, Liz McAlister, 80, was sentenced to time served plus three years supervised probation for her part in the April 4, 2018, Kings Bay Plowshares nuclear disarmament direct action. Liz had already spent more than 17 months in Georgia county jails following her arrest.

Judge Lisa Godbey Wood presided and ordered Elizabeth to pay a special assessment of $310 and restitution of $33,503.51, assigned jointly to all seven defendants. No fine was imposed, but a minimum payment of $25 per month towards restitution was mandated.

Sentencing for Carmen Trotta, Fr. Steve Kelly, and Clare Grady is now scheduled for Sept. 3, and Mark Colville, Patrick O’Neill, and Martha Hennessey on Sept. 4. They asked for these continuances in order to be able to safely travel to Brunswick, GA, and appear in open court with family and supporters present. However, depending on virus circumstances, there may be further delays. Fr. Steve Kelly remains in Glynn County Jail. For further updates visit Kings Bay Plowshares Facebook page or their website: kingsbayplowshares7.org

FORMER L.A. CATHOLIC WORKER DAVID OMONDI LOSES GUILTY VERDICT APPEAL.

On Wednesday, April 10, we received word that the U.S. District Court upheld David Omondi’s trespass conviction for his August 2016 arrest at Vandenberg AFB and subsequent February 16, 2017 trial and later sentencing when he was sentenced to six months in prison.

The head of the appellate section of the Public Defender’s Office is filing an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court.

We believe David will be allowed to stay in Kenya until June.  He was granted permission to visit his family until that time by the court and U.S. Attorney’s Office, at the request of the Public Defender’s Office.  We also believe David will be able to hold off his sentence until the appeal process in the 9th Circuit Court is complete.

2019 PACIFIC LIFE COMMUNITY (PLC) ANNUAL RETREAT

More than 50 activists attended the Pacific Life Community (PLC) Annual Faith and Resistance Retreat, this year held at Vallombrosa Retreat Center in Menlo Park, CA, with a nonviolent direct action at Lockheed-Martin Corp in nearby Sunnyvale. Lockheed produces the Trident intercontinental ballistic missiles for launching nuclear weapons from Trident submarines. Eleven nuclear resisters were arrested during a blockade of Lockheed-Martin’s main gate. Those arrested included former LACW community member Sam Yergler and Guadalupe CW Dennis Apel. All were charged with trespassing and later released with a future court date. Others arrested include: Susan Crane, Clancy Dunigan, Calia Kammer, Andrew Lanier, Elizabeth Murray, Larry Purcell, Rush Rehm, George Rodkey, and Charlie Smith. For more info visit this LINK.

TENSIE HERNANDEZ SELF-SURRENDERS TO FEDERAL AUTHORITIES

On Thursday, October 18, 2018, Tensie Hernandez, from the Guadalupe Catholic Worker, appeared in Santa Barbara Federal Court for a trespass charge related to her arrest at Vandenberg Air Force Base on August 6 during our annual protest in commemoration of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The court accepted Tensie’s guilty plea and ordered her to spend 7 days in federal custody at the downtown Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center.

On Monday, November 5, we gathered at the downtown Roybal Federal Building for a short prayer service before Tensie self-surrendered at the U.S. Marshal’s Office escorted by her husband Dennis Apel. It is expected that Tensie will be released on Friday, November 9 because of the Veteran’s Day holiday on Monday. We thank Tensie for her witness and dedication to peace and U.S. imperial war machine disarmament.

(NOTE: To see below photos in high resolution click on each photo then click again.)

NUCLEAR HYPOCRISY


This LINK is to an article that recently appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent concerning ongoing protests at Vandenberg Air Force Base against U.S. nuclear policy. The article is actually a statement formulated and signed by 91 activists who have been arrested while protesting at the base. The names of the 91 are listed in alphabetical order at the end of the statement.

An excerpt: “The United States brought nuclear weapons into the world. It is the only country to have used them, and it did so on innocent civilians.

Nuclear weapons are now many times more powerful than the fission bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They make no nation safer but imperil all nations and the planet we all live on. Nuclear weapons are intrinsically immoral.

Fifty years ago, the United States signed the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We joined the four other nuclear countries in 1968 to promise to work “in good faith” toward “complete disarmament,” while other nations that signed the treaty agreed to never obtain them.
 
The current nuclear arsenal of the United States, however, and its plans to modernize its nuclear weaponry over the next 30 years (at a cost of $1.2 trillion, according to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office), radically belie the promise our nation made when it signed the Nonproliferation Treaty. Our country’s current deployment of more than 1,500 nuclear warheads in its triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles endows us with monstrous nuclear capacity and supremacy over all other nations…

So, 50 years after promising to help purge the world of nuclear weapons, our nation insanely believes the best way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons is to assure that they are ever more effective. Moreover, we have the audacity to demand that other nations such as Iran and North Korea not have such weapons.
 

Has there ever been a greater and more dangerous hypocrisy in the history of civilization?”

TWO OF THE FIVE KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES INTERVIEWED

On Monday July 23, on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interviewed Martha Hennessy and Carmen Trotta, two of the five Kings Bay Plowshares activists. Watch or listen to this excellent interview or read the transcript HERE.

An excerpt: “We look at the resistance against nuclear weapons here in the United States. On April 4, 2018—-the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination—-seven Catholic Plowshares activists secretly entered Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, one of the largest nuclear submarine bases in the world. They were armed with just hammers, crime scene tape, baby bottles containing their own blood, and an indictment charging the U.S. government for crimes against peace. Their goal was to symbolically disarm the nuclear weapons at the base, which is home to at least six nuclear ballistic missile submarines. Each submarine carries 20 Trident thermonuclear weapons.

The activists said they were following the prophet Isaiah’s command to ‘beat swords into plowshares.’ It was the latest of 100 similar anti-nuclear Plowshares actions around the world beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The first Plowshares action in 1980 was led by the late Daniel Berrigan and Phil Berrigan. Phil’s wife, Liz McAlister, was one of seven arrested at the April 4 action. McAlister and two other activists, Jesuit priest Stephen Kelly and Mark Colville, remain locked up in pretrial confinement in Brunswick, Georgia. Four others—Patrick O’Neill, Carmen Trotta, Martha Hennessy and Clare Grady—are under house arrest. All seven could face years in prison, if convicted.
 

We speak with Martha Hennessy and Carmen Trotta. Hennessy is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Carmen Trotta helps run the St. Joseph Catholic Worker House in New York. I spoke to them shortly before Clare Grady was released and put under house arrest. I began by asking Martha Hennessy about what they did when they entered the nuclear sub base April 4th.”

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES UPDATE

Thank you for supporting the Kings Bay Plowshares. Please know that the trial and jail witness are a powerful and important part of the work for nuclear disarmament. Here is where the Kings Bay Plowshare are now in that process.

In early May, the Kings Bay Plowshares were indicted in the Southern District of Georgia, Brunswick division. The seven were charged with four counts each: Conspiracy; Destruction of Property on a Naval Station; Depredation of Government Property; and Trespass. On May 17, 2018, the seven were arraigned and all pled not guilty. Magistrate R. Stan Baker presided.

Also at the May 17 court date, bond was set for six of the seven. Steve Kelly, SJ, was not offered bond due to a pending nonviolent direct action case at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base in Washington State. Conditions of release required that each of the six post a $50,000 surety with $5,000 cash paid ($1,000 for Carmen Trotta). The court also mandated that they wear ankle monitors, be subject to home confinement, and surrender their passports. Martha Hennessy, Carmen Trotta, and Patrick O’Neill chose to accept these conditions and bond out hoping to continue the work of organizing for nuclear disarmament from their home communities as they await trial. Liz McAlister, Clare Grady, and Mark Colville elected to continue writing, praying, and organizing from within the Glynn County Jail in Brunswick, Georgia. However, on May 24, Martha, Carmen, and Patrick were released from Glynn County, traveled home, and began their home confinement.

Currently, Liz McAlister is represented by attorneys Bill Quigley and Jason Clark (local attorney) Martha Hennessy is represented by attorneys Anna Lellelid and Jason Clark (local attorney), Clare Grady is represented by Stephanie McDonald. Attorney Matt D’Aloisio will be standby counsel for Mark Colville, who will be representing himself. Patrick O’Neill will be representing himself with Darrel Gossett as standby counsel. Steve Kelly, SJ, and Carmen Trotta are also representing themselves. Other attorneys are helping in various capacities as well.

A motions hearing has been set for August 3, 2018 (tentative). At this hearing the seven along with their attorneys, and on the opposing side, the prosecution, will argue motions related to the trial.

Around the time of this hearing, the legal team expects that the timing of the trial will become clearer. As soon as a trial date is announced, the legal team will share that news with supporters.

The legal team and the seven members of the Kings Bay Plowshares expect to win this case. The Kings Bay Plowshares will continue throughout this process to show how nuclear weapons are illegal and immoral. They will continue to illustrate how nuclear weapons kill everyday through the theft of resources from desperately poor communities, the ecological and public health catastrophe of the mining, production, and waste processes, and the looming threat posed by their existence. The seven and their attorneys will make a clear and powerful case that they were upholding both International and U.S. laws when they went to the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base and are innocent of any crime.

REGARDING STEVE KELLY, SJ, — Steve recently called from the Glynn County Detention Center and said he is doing well and is now getting vegetarian food. He is grateful for the mail he is receiving and for your support, and has plenty to read, including the daily New York Times.

Many people have been getting their postcards to Steve returned for various reasons, so please be advised of the below rules we have learned about.

Significant correspondence restrictions include: Only plain white pre-stamped postcards can be sent, which can be purchased at some post offices and online at usps.gov. Write with black or blue pens only – no other color ink and no paint, crayon, marker, or anything affixed with glue is permitted. You must hand write your return address with your full first and last name–no initials. No return address label or other labels, stickers, or stamps are allowed. Hand write Steve’s full name and number with the jail address as it appears below. Write Stephen, not Steve. Do not write Rev. or Fr. in front of his name or SJ after it. Do not write anything on the mailing front other than his address and your return address. All postcards are subject to copying, search and/or screening. No letters will be accepted. Also do not write any anti-U.S./U.S. policy remarks. They are very strict about this.

Stephen Kelly #015634
Glynn County Detention Center
100 Sulphur Springs Road
Brunswick, GA 31520

TRAILER FOR AN EXCELLENT DOCUMENTARY – THE NUNS, THE PRIESTS, AND THE BOMBS.

Nuclear disarmament activists, including Catholic nuns and priests, challenge the security and legality of U.S. nuclear weapons when they break into the “Fort Knox” of uranium and a Trident nuclear submarine base. Are they criminals or prophets sending a wake-up call to the world? This LINK is to a trailer for an excellent documentary.