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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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

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.

POPE FRANCIS CONDEMNS POSSESSION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Pope Francis, during a recent conference on nuclear disarmament, condemned the possession of nuclear weapons by ALL nations. This, in light of a U.S. commitment to spend $1 trillion to upgrade its nuclear arsenal, and the Trump regime’s dangerous talk threatening to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, is a welcomed wake up call to the entire Catholic Church, hierarchy, priests, and everyone in the pews, indeed, ALL people who believe in the way of peace. It is incumbent upon each of us to pressure the U.S. and other nuclear nations to heed Pope Francis’ admonition and fully endorse the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. And pressure our bishops and priests to uphold and promote Pope Francis’ condemnation. NOW is the time for nuclear disarmament. Decades ago Fr. Richard McSorley, SJ, was absolutely correct when he emphatically stated: “It is a sin to build nuclear weapons.”

Read the complete story behind this LINK.

An excerpt: “Pope Francis has openly denounced the continuing possession of nuclear weapons by various world governments, in what appears to be a departure from the Roman Catholic Church’s prior acceptance of the Cold War-era global system of nuclear deterrence and mutually assured destruction

In a talk Nov. 10 (2017) to participants in a high-profile Vatican conference on nuclear disarmament, the pope also seemed to indirectly criticize world leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump, who has openly threatened nuclear war with North Korea over that country’s continuing development of nuclear arms.

Francis told the conference participants — who include the U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, NATO’s deputy secretary general, and 11 Nobel Peace Prize laureates — that humanity cannot fail ‘to be genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental effects of any employment of nuclear devices.’

‘If we also take into account the risk of an accidental detonation as a result of error of any kind, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned,’ he said.”

$900 MILLION FOR A NEW NUCLEAR CRUISE MISSILE FOR THE U.S. IMPERIAL WAR MACHINE–WHY?

The article behind this LINK is inconceivable, outrageous, and an abomination considering millions of U.S. citizens are homeless, tens of millions are living in poverty, we do not have a national single payer health plan, our public education system is in shambles, our infrastructure is outdated and collapsing, to name just a few of many critical societal needs that are causing our demise.

The continuous blatant idolatry and blasphemy is prompting the death of our nation’s soul. Where is the moral outrage? How long will “we the people” allow this to continue? As a society, specifically as the Body of Christ, it is our moral obligation to stand against this diabolical insanity.

COMMEMORATION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI ATOMIC BOMBING – ONE ARREST

On Saturday, August 5, the LACW joined the Guadalupe Catholic Worker and others in a prayerful witness commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and calling for the elimination of ICBM missile testing, nuclear weapons, and U.S. imperial war-making.

Three LACW’s (Jeff Dietrich, Mike Wisniewski, and Karan Benton) were faced with arrest for “Ban and Bar” violations if they did not immediately leave the protest area. Jeff and Mike chose to leave rather than face arrest, while Karan refused to leave and was immediately arrested, cited for trespass and later released facing a future court date and certain jail time. Security also approached Guadalupe Catholic Worker Dennis Apel, but chose not to enforce his Ban and Bar. The witness continued for an hour and a half before gathering for a closing prayer and dispersal.

Photos are now posted HERE and HERE.

NUCLEAR WAR WOULD SET OFF CLIMATE CATASTROPHE

The article behind this LINK is yet another wake up call to the catastrophic consequences of what one nuclear bomb will do if launched.

An excerpt: “Four U.S. scientists have just introduced one more good reason not to launch a nuclear war. It would not simply guarantee the mutual destruction of the participants. It would also precipitate catastrophic climate change.

And, they argue in the journal Environment Magazine, even a single nuclear missile strike could darken the skies, chill the atmosphere, stop rainfall, ruin harvests and cost a billion lives.

The most immediate victims would be those in countries that are already poor or food-insecure. And, the scientists warn, should a warhead fall upon a nuclear power facility ‘the spread of toxic radionuclides and their long-term effects would be greatly magnified.'”


EMPIRE OF DESTRUCTION

This LINK is to a sobering article about how the U.S. continues its imperial wars repeatedly bombing the rubble caused by previous bombings of the same areas and the devastation that will take generations, if ever, to recover and rebuild. This is utterly disgustingly immoral, indeed diabolical. To save whatever moral fiber left in our society, it is IMPERATIVE that we the people nonviolently rise up to denounce this unconscionable evil, corrupt, and bankrupt system, which is utterly rotten to the core, cease our imperial warring ways, repent for the death, destruction, suffering, and misery perpetrated in our (and God’s) name and, as Peter Maurin (co-founder of the Catholic worker movement) said, “create a new society in the shell of the old.” Our collective soul hangs in the balance.

An excerpt: “In the 15-plus years since 9/11, parts of an expanding swathe of the planet — from Pakistan’s borderlands in South Asia to Libya in North Africa — were catastrophically unsettled. Tiny groups of Islamic terrorists multiplied exponentially into both local and transnational organizations, spreading across the region with the help of American “precision” warfare and the anger it stirred among helpless civilian populations. States began to totter or fail. Countries essentially collapsed, loosing a tide of refugees on the world, as year after year, the U.S. military, its Special Operations forces, and the CIA were increasingly deployed in one fashion or another in one country after another.

Though in case after case the results were visibly disastrous, like so many addicts, the three post-9/11 administrations in Washington seemed incapable of drawing the obvious conclusions and instead continued to do more of the same (with modest adjustments of one sort of another). The results, unsurprisingly enough, were similarly disappointing or disastrous.

If anything, so many years after it was launched, the war on terror shows every sign of continuing to expand and rubble is increasingly the name of the game. Here’s a very partial tally sheet on the subject:

In addition to Mosul, a number of Iraq’s other major cities and towns — including Ramadi and Fallujah — have also been reduced to rubble. Across the border in Syria, where a brutal civil war has been raging for six years, numerous cities and towns from Homs to parts of Aleppo have essentially been destroyed. Raqqa, the “capital” of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, is now under siege. (American Special Operations forces are already reportedly active inside its breached walls, working with allied Kurdish and Syrian rebel forces.) It, too, will be “liberated” sooner or later — that is to say, destroyed.

As in Mosul, Fallujah, and Ramadi, American planes have been striking ISIS positions in the urban heart of Raqqa and killing civilians, evidently in sizeable numbers, while rubblizing parts of the city. And such activities have in recent years only been spreading. In distant Libya, for instance, the city of Sirte is in ruins after a similar struggle involving local forces, American air power, and ISIS militants. In Yemen, for the last two years the Saudis have been conducting a never-ending air campaign (with American support), significantly aimed at the civilian population; they have, that is, been rubblizing that country, while paving the way for a devastating famine and a horrific cholera epidemic that can’t be checked, given the condition of that impoverished, embattled land.”

DAVID OMONDI SENTENCED TO SIX MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON

Former L.A. Catholic Worker community member David Omondi was sentenced to six months imprisonment on Thursday, May 18, by Federal Magistrate Judge Louise LaMonthe, in Santa Barbara Federal Court. However, David notified the court of his intention to appeal the guilty verdict he received on February 16, 2017 for his arrest at Vandenberg AFB last August, and the sentence he received as a result. David has 14 days to file the appeal and is not required to self report to the federal prison in downtown Los Angeles until after the appeal verdict (if he loses). David cannot leave the country, which means he cannot return to Nairobi, Kenya, to continue Amani House, the Catholic Worker he founded.

KARAN’S DAY IN FEDERAL COURT

LACW Karan Benton appeared in Federal Court in Santa Barbara on Thursday, January 19, to plead not guilty for the citation she received for a “ban and bar” violation at Vandenberg AFB last August 6 (see HERE). To her surprise, Magistrate Judge Louise LaMonthe decided to dismiss the charges because Karan is battling cancer. Karan has to submit a verification note from her doctor, upon receiving it Judge LaMonthe will officially remove it from her record. Amazing, there is still some compassion present within this filthy rotten system.