Resistance to Missile Testing, Space-based Weapons, Drones, and the U.S. War Machine
267 Campodonico Ave.
Guadalupe, CA 93434
(805) 343-6322 info@vandenbergwitness.org


Menu:

Recent Posts

Links:

Archives


Meta

Archive for April, 2018

A PRAYER FROM PRISON

The following reflection was written by Martha Hennessy, one of the seven Kings Bay Plowshares activists, and granddaughter of Catholic Worker movement co-founder, Dorothy Day.

    Prayer from Prison

    by Martha Hennessy
    Camden County Jail, Woodbine, Georgia
    Kings Bay Plowshares

    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. 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? 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.

CATONSVILLE NINE 50th ANNIVERSARY

On May 17, 1968, nine Catholic activists (who became known as the Catonsville Nine) went into the Selective Services Offices in Catonsville, Maryland, removed 378 draft files, took them to the parking lot in wire baskets, dumped them on the ground, poured homemade napalm over them (an incendiary used extensively by the U.S. military in Vietnam), and set them on fire as an act of protest against the Vietnam War. They then prayed and spoke with reporters until arrested by Baltimore Police.

The nine were tried in federal court in Baltimore in October 1968 in a highly publicized trial. They were found guilty of destruction of U.S. government property and sentenced to a total of 18 years’ in prison. During the trial large demonstrations occurred outside the Federal Courthouse against the defendants.

The Nine were:
• Fr. Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest
• Fr. Philip Berrigan, a Josephite priest (who later left the priesthood)
• Br. David Darst, a De La Salle Christian Brother
• John Hogan
• Tom Lewis
• Marjorie Bradford Melville
• Thomas Melville, a former Maryknoll priest
• George Mische
• Mary Moylan

This act of civil disobedience intensified protest against the war–especially the draft, and prompted debate in households across the nation, as well as stirred angry reaction on the part of many around the country. It also propelled the nine Catholic participants – specifically Daniel and Philip Berrigan – into the national spotlight.

The most renowned quote from this action is that of Fr. Dan Berrigan, who so eloquently stated during their trial: “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise.”

For more info see this LINK and this LINK

For a list of events surrounding the anniversary see this LINK.

To see actual footage of the action see this LINK.

To read the transcript of the trial see this LINK.

There are books available on this action and a 45-minute documentary is posted on YouTube

Listen to an excellent song dedicated to the Catonsville Nine called War No More at this LINK.

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES UPDATE

If you are interested in writing to the seven Kings Bay Plowshares activists, here is information about sending them mail.

1. They can only receive plain white postcards with the pre-printed stamp (available for purchase at the post office). Please do not use regular, stick on stamps.

2. The address is: Camden County Detention Facility, P.O. Box 699, Woodbine, GA 31569.

3. You have to use their prisoner number after their name:

Carmen Trotta 65203

Clare Grady 65197

Patrick O’Neill 65205

Elizabeth McAlister 65198

Stephen Kelly 65201

Martha Hennessy 65206

Mark Colville 65200

See the FACEBOOK page for updates.

SEVEN PLOWSHARES ACTIVISTS ARRESTED INSIDE TRIDENT NUCLEAR SUBMARINE BASE

PRESS RELEASE
Paul Magno 202-321-6650
Jessica Stewart 207-266-0919
Brian Hynes 718-838-2636
Kingsbay Plowshares on Facebook: Kings Bay Plowshares

Seven Catholic plowshares activists were detained early Thursday morning at the Kings Bay Naval Base St. Mary’s Georgia.

Calling themselves Kings Bay Plowshares, they entered on Wednesday night April 4 and went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command: “They shall beat their 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 household 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 there.

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; Carmen Trotta, 55, NY Catholic Worker.

The activists at the Administration building were Clare Grady, 59, Ithaca Catholic Worker; Martha Hennessy, 62, NY Catholic Worker

The activists at the Trident D5 monuments were Mark Colville, 55, Amistad Catholic Worker New Haven CT; Patrick O’Neill, 61, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker Garner NC

All activists are being detained and as of 10:00 Thursday morning were acknowledged by the Camden County, Georgia jail as “on the way.” No one was injured.

This is the latest of 100 similar Plowshares actions around the world beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia, PA.

See full story HERE and HERE. See family-related story by Frida Berrigan on, How do you tell the children grandma is in jail for resisting nuclear weapons? HERE See their Facebook page and listen to their prophetic and powerful statement HERE.

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES, Plaintiff ​
​​​​​vs.​​​​​
​​​​​UNITED STATES OF AMERICA​​​​​, Defendant
​​​​​
INDICTMENT

Today, through our nonviolent action, we, Kings Bay Plowshares—indict the United States government, President Donald Trump, Kings Bay Base Commander Brian Lepine, the nuclear triad, and specifically the Trident nuclear program.

WHEREAS, This program is an ongoing criminal endeavor in violation of international treaty law binding on the United States under the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article VI, Section 2):
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

WHEREAS, The United States is bound by the United Nation’s Charter, ratified and signed in 1945. Its preamble affirms that its purpose is to “save future generations from the scourge of war”. It directs that “all nations shall refrain from the use of force against another nation”. Article II regards the threat to use nuclear weapons as ongoing international criminal activity.

WHEREAS, The Nuremberg Principles, also promulgated in 1945, primarily by the U.S., prohibit crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. They render nuclear weapons systems prohibited, illegal, and criminal under all circumstances and for any reason.

WHEREAS, The U.S. government is obligated as well by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in force since 1970 that requires the signers to pursue negotiations in good faith and to eliminate nuclear weapons at an early date. The U.S. government is also obligated by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits full-scale nuclear explosions.

WHEREAS, the members of the United Nations are currently negotiating a treat to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.

THEREFORE, the work being at done at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base violates all these agreements and is thus criminal.

Specifically, the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base refits and maintains submarines, which carry Trident D5 nuclear missiles. The Trident D5 is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), built by Lockheed Martin. The Navy currently operates 14 Ohio class submarines. Six have their homeport at Kings Bay. Each submarine carries the capacity to cause devastation equivalent to 600 of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima, Japan. Thus, the six Tridents maintained at Kings Bay have the capacity to cause the devastation of 3600 Hiroshima-scale attacks.

From the initial mineral mining through testing, storage, and dumping, the production and maintenance of these weapons harms human beings, destroys the environment, and violates international and God’s law. Moreover, each day this program steals from all in our nation and world by its theft of much-needed resources. Nor is the Navy or the nation retreating from this violation of international law. The Navy is currently preparing to spend at least $100.2 billion of the public’s money on a new class of 12 Trident ballistic missile submarines to replace the current Trident submarines.

Against these continuing violations of treaty law, we assert our right and duty to civil resistance against nuclear weapons. Furthermore, we affirm as crucial the human right to be free from these crimes. The Nuremberg Principles not only prohibit such crimes but oblige those of us aware of the crime to act against it. “Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity…is a crime under International Law”. The United Nations Charter further reinforced this principle and made it part of binding international law. Similarly, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to which the United States is a signatory, makes it clear that private individuals can be held responsible for acts of genocide.

The ongoing building and maintenance of Trident submarines and ballistic missile systems constitute war crimes that can and should be investigated and prosecuted by judicial authorities at all levels. As citizens, we are required by International Law to denounce and resist known crimes.

For the sake of the whole human family threatened by nuclear weapons, and for the sake of our Planet Earth, which is abused and violated, we indict the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base and all government officials, agencies, and contractors as responsible for perpetuating these war crimes.