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


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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.

WHO SHOULD BE INDICTED?

Who Should Be Indicted?

by Liz McAlister (member of the Kings Bay Plowshares), May 5, 2018

Our country bound itself in 1945 to the U.N. Charter, which rendered nuclear weapons systems criminal by its purpose 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 maintenance of nuclear weapons.

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES ACTIVISTS HAVE BEEN MOVED

On Monday, May 7, the seven Kings Bay Plowshares activists – Liz McAlister, Steve Kelly, Carmen Trotta, Mark Colville, Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, and Patrick O’Neill were moved to the Glynn County Detention Center, in Brunswick, Georgia.

On May 10 they will appear in federal court in Brunswick. Last week, an indictment was filed by the federal government and the group was charged with four counts: conspiracy, destruction of property on a Naval Station, depredation of government property, and trespass.

You can now write to them at:

Carmen Trotta #015636

Clare Grady #015632

Patrick O’Neill #015637

Elizabeth McAlister #015633

Stephen Kelly #015634

Martha Hennessy #015631

Mark Colville #015635

Glynn County Detention Center
100 Sulphur Springs Road
Brunswick, GA 31520

Significant correspondence restrictions continue at the new jail. Plain white postcards only can be sent, either pre-stamped or metered (white pre-stamped postcards are available at some post offices and online). Minimum size – 3.5” x 4.25”. Maximum size – 4.25” x 6”. Written with black or blue pens only – no other color ink and no paint, crayon, marker or anything affixed with glue. Please handwrite your return address. No return address label or other labels or stickers allowed. All postcards are subject to search and/or screening. No letters will be accepted.

Inmates can receive new paperback books from a publisher only. We’ll share information when available about their book “wish list.” We will also check if there is restrictions on how many books a prisoner is allowed at a time.

You can check out the new Kings Bay Plowshares website for information about the action, updates, prisoner reflections, jail addresses, suggestions about how to continue the witness, how to make a donation and more. Also, visit the Kings Bay Plowshares Facebook Page.

If you want to be added to the list to receive e-mail updates from the Kings Bay Plowshares, please e-mail Jessica Stewart at jms733@cornell.edu

KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES UPDATE

Press Release
May 4, 2018

For more information contact:
Jessica Stewart: 207.266.0919
Paul Magno: 202.321.6650
Brian Hynes: 718. 838.2636
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 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.”

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.”

For more information visit their Facebook page: KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES.

Link to past Kings Bay Plowshares postings: See FRANK CORDERO’S BLOG

PRISON REFLECTION BY FR. STEVE KELLY, S.J.

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.

(NOTE: Above photo of Steve Kelly, S.J. taken by Felice Cohen-Joppa on March 4, 2018 at the Pacific Life Community liturgy and action at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site.)

Read more about the Kings Bay Plowshares action at the NUCLEAR RESISTER and on their Facebook page.

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.