What We’re About

The Nuclear Resister networks the anti-nuclear and anti-war resistance movement while acting as a clearinghouse for information about contemporary nonviolent resistance to war and the nuclear threat. Our emphasis is on support for the women and men jailed for these actions.  This blog is the online companion to the quarterly Nuclear Resister newsletter, a more comprehensive chronicle.

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Jordanian anti-nuclear activist on trial for Facebook post deserves international support

by Jack Cohen-Joppa, The Nuclear Resister
Basel Burgan, the head of a successful family pharmacy business and a prominent environmental champion in Jordan, is accused of cyber crimes and spreading rumors “that damaged a government institution.” Hearings in the case against him began in September, continuing every other week. Unless the case is dismissed, and barring additional delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a verdict by next spring could lead to a sentence of 6-24 months in prison for Burgan.
The case against the activist businessman began on January 4, 2019, when Saleh Ghbain, a Jordanian scientist working in the U.S. who had formerly worked as a consultant to the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), released a document on Facebook which he said proved that the Research Nuclear Reactor (RNR), recently constructed at the Jordan University of Science and Technology by a Korean contractor, has “cracks in its design and is leaking radiation.” 
In Jordan, Burgan shared the report on Facebook, commenting that “if the leaked radiation is high, then it is a health problem…. We need all security agencies to check this issue.”

Three more Kings Bay Plowshares activists receive prison sentences for 2018 nuclear disarmament action at nuclear sub base

Carmen Trotta is sentenced to 14 months in prison; Clare Grady is sentenced to 12 months plus a day; Martha Hennessy is sentenced to ten months

from the Kings Bay Plowshares

On November 12, two more of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 were sentenced by video conferencing with Judge Lisa Godbey Wood in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia. They both received less time than was expected according to the sentencing guidelines prepared by the probation department.

Carmen Trotta was sentenced to 14 months in prison in the morning session. This was a downward departure based on the judge granting his objection that the seriousness of his criminal history was overstated by the probation report. He only has four misdemeanor convictions for demonstration related arrests. However, the judge overruled numerous other objections from the defense, particularly to the increases for risk of death and lack of acceptance of responsibility. Carmen vigorously disputed these issues to no avail.

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Invitation to get involved! Nuclear Ban Treaty Entry into Force Action Day, January 22

Dear fellow nuclear abolitionists,
Now that nuclear weapons are outlawed, it’s time to take action!
On January 22, 2021, people around the world will celebrate the day that the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) enters into force (EIF Day), which the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) describes so eloquently as “the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons”.
Please join us — the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA), Nukewatch, the Nuclear Resister and the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) — to help maximize the global impact of this historic event with a wide variety of public actions across the U.S. on that day and beyond. (see list in progress below)

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Not guilty verdict for peace activists in Ireland!

Trial of Peace Activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan
At Dublin Circuit Court on October 23, a jury of twelve Irish citizens acquitted peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan of the charge of alleged criminal damage at Shannon Airport over four and a half years ago. The trial by jury, presided over by Judge Karen O’Connor, found both defendants not guilty. 
They entered Shannon Airport on the morning of 25th May 2016 to search and investigate U.S. military aircraft that were being refuelled on their way to and from U.S. wars of aggression. 
There were two U.S. Air Force aircraft at Shannon at the time of the incident. One was a U.S. air force Learjet C-21A aircraft registration number 84-0072 being guarded by an Irish army patrol, and the other was a U.S. air force Boeing C-32B aircraft registration number 02-4452 used by the United States special forces, and being guarded by a Garda patrol car.

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Patrick O’Neill sentenced to 14 months in prison for nuclear disarmament action

from the Kings Bay Plowshares media team
BRUNSWICK, GA — On October 16, in a decision likely unexpected by both the defendants and prosecutors, a federal judge passed down a significantly lower prison sentence to one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7.
Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced Patrick O’Neill of Garner, North Carolina to 14 months in prison for his role in the nonviolent protest on April 4, 2018 at the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia.
“I’m grateful that we were able to pull the heartstrings of the judge and help her be as merciful as she can be under the circumstances,” O’Neill said afterwards. 
Wood began the proceedings by telling O’Neill she’d “received quite a lengthy, quite tall stack of records, of letters, on your behalf.”

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33 month prison sentence for Plowshares activist Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J.

On October 15, Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. was sentenced to 33 months in prison for his part in the Kings Bay Plowshares nuclear disarmament action of April 2018. Federal judge Lisa Godbey Wood also ordered that Kelly pay restitution of $33,503.51, jointly and severally with his six codefendants, and a special assessment of $310. Recognizing the Jesuit priest’s indigence, the court waived any fine and interest payments on the restitution. Three years of supervised probation will follow his prison term, with the conditions that Kelly must surrender all financial information requested by the probation office, make no applications for credit, and cooperate with submitting a DNA sample.
Fr. Kelly has already served 30 months in Georgia county jails since his arrest, and the judge said he will receive credit for time served. It’s possible that with statutory good time credit he has completed the 33 months, but that calculation has yet to be made by the Bureau of Prisons.

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Presentencing declaration of Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J., Kings Bay Plowshares nuclear disarmament action

Steve Kelly at 2015 Pacific Life Community blockade of Lockheed Martin, CA. Photo by Felice Cohen-Joppa

Presentencing Declaration of Pro Se Defendant’s Conscientious Objection To and Non-compliance With Any and All Post-incarceration Conditions

[This statement was filed with the court before Fr. Steve Kelly’s October 15, 2020 sentencing.]

While still in chains, I, pro se defendant Stephen Michael Kelly, S.J., file this declaration in an attempt to remove any ambiguity and avoid all misunderstanding, come time of sentencing. 

I assert the innocence of the Kings Bay Plowshares. But this statement is my own declaration. Both my conscientious objection and my Religious Freedom Restoration Act testimony are attempts to fulfill the mandate of the Nuremberg Accords. This witness has me confronting and engaged with the omnicidal policies of the U.S. government. Recourse to appeal is futile, pathetic, and dangerous because all the judiciary’s rulings precluded our jury from hearing any defense. The circuit, appeal, the entire judiciary has thwarted redress that would fulfill the purpose and mandate of the signatories of the Nuremberg Accords. For this reason, I am a political prisoner of conscience for Christ. The judiciary has been unable to see the Isaian vision as a way out of this spiral of violence. The Isaiah 2:4 vision is an imperative to conversion. The judiciary dangerously legitimizes a nuclear holocaust in following previous rulings. The precedents, when followed, have functioned as a gag order. This court would not allow the jury, the triers of fact, to hear what was recognized in our Religious Freedom Restoration Act evidence; we were at the Trident base to preach against the sin that flourishes in weapons of mass destruction.

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11 years in prison: A Catholic priest serves time for crimes of conscience

photo by Joyce Donovan

from Religion News Service

by Patrick O’Neill

September 24, 2020

(RNS) — For more than 850 days, the Rev. Stephen Kelly, a Jesuit priest, has hunkered down in a south Georgia jail in relative obscurity.

On April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s assassination, Kelly and I cut a padlock on a perimeter fence gate at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, the Atlantic home port of the Trident submarine, located in St. Marys, Georgia.

Five other Catholic peace activists passed through that gate with us that evening as we made our way to three different parts of the nuclear base to, in the words of the biblical prophet Isaiah, “beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.”

The U.S. fleet of Trident subs, each armed with D-5 nuclear missiles, carry enough firepower to essentially end the human experiment.

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Ardeth Platte, Dominican nun dedicated to no-nukes cause, dies at 84

photo by Felice Cohen-Joppa

Sr. Ardeth Platte, O.P., Presente!

April 10, 1936 – September 30, 2020
Nuclear resister, Plowshares activist, Dominican sister
With Sr. Carol Gilbert, O.P., long time member of the Jonah House community in Baltimore, and then of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, D.C.
We had been in touch with Ardeth and Carol in recent weeks to discuss and plan and brainstorm what we can do across the country after the 50th nation ratifies the nuclear ban treaty, and it enters into force 90 days later – something she had worked so hard for. 
With deep gratitude for the gift of her life, and for her encouragement and support and friendship over many years… Rest in power, Ardeth. In your memory – and with your energy and commitment! – we will continue to work for a nuclear-free world. 

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A tribute to a jailhouse monk

3/14/18 – Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. at the Nevada nuclear test site

from Radical Discipleship

by Dean Hammer

One of the amazing gifts of the Holy Spirit amongst believers is that we are afforded the capacity to be present to fellow travelers from a distance. Each day since the Kings Bay Plowshares (KBP) disarmament action (April 4, 2018), Steve Kelly and the other six of the KBP (Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Elizabeth McAlister, Martha Hennessy, Mark Colville, and Carmen Trotta) gift me with their witness against omnicide on behalf of human survival. Liz McAlister has been sentenced and the others await sentencing, currently scheduled for mid-October. This reflection is meant as a tribute to the extraordinary example of Steve Kelly and the KBP community.

Steve Kelly has done ten years in prison and time underground for his witness against nuclear weapons. He will not be released when the KBP charges are “resolved.” Since the KBP witness, he has been remanded on a retainer from the West Coast judicial system. Steve will be transported there to address a warrant for a previous protest action at the Pacific Fleet Trident base. He will continue to dedicate his life to ridding the world of nuclear weapons. With his fellow jail mates, Steve is identified by his inmate number. As Kathy Kelly eloquently says, “Those eight numbers distinguish him.”

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