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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A History of the Plowshares Movement – a talk by Art Laffin, October 22, 2019

Art Laffin speaking on the history of the Plowshares movement in Brunswick, Georgia

Plowshares activist and Catholic Worker Art Laffin is the editor (with the late Sr. Anne Montgomery) of two editions of Swords into Plowshares – Nonviolent Direct Action for Disarmament (Harper & Row, 1987 and Fortkamp, 1996). He delivered the following historical review to about 100 supporters of the Kings Bay Plowshares gathered in Brunswick, Georgia for their trial, October 21-24. His talk was also recorded on video

Plowshares History Talk 

by Art Laffin
Delivered October 22, 2019 at St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, Brunswick, GA.
This version includes some slight revisions.

I am honored to be invited to speak tonight and to share this presentation with Rosalie Riegel.

I would like to begin by thanking God for the miracle of this day, for the miracle of life and for the Kings Bay Plowshares7, for Martha, Liz, Clare, Steve, Patrick, Mark, Carmen and their families and communities, and for their amazing legal and support teams. Let’s give them all a standing ovation!!!

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Kings Bay Plowshares Found Guilty on All Charges – A summary of the trial

The Kings Bay Plowshares receive a blessing at the Festival of Hope on the eve of their trial

A JURY FOUND THEM GUILTY, BUT TRIDENT IS THE CRIME.

Late in the afternoon of October 24, the seven members of the Kings Bay Plowshares – Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, Elizabeth McAlister, Patrick O’Neill, Carmen Trotta, Mark Colville and Fr. Steve Kelly – were convicted by a jury in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia. The 12 person jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding the nuclear disarmament activists guilty of conspiracy, destruction of property on a Naval Station, depredation of government property and trespass. Defendants and supporters all left the courthouse singing “Rejoice in the Lord always”…. except for Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, who was returned to the Glynn County Detention Center, where he has spent the last 18 months. Sentencing will be scheduled after pre-sentencing reports are completed.
Ralph Hutchison prepared the following summary of the four-day trial from his contemporaneous notes (followed by links to articles about the trial).

The Trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares
by Ralph Hutchison

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Ten arrests at Creech drone base demonstration

photo by Chris Knudson

On the morning of October 2, ten demonstrators blockaded the South Gate entrance to the Creech Air Force Base Drone Center with a large banner that read, “Stop Droning Afghanistan – 18 years: Enough!” The anti-military drone activists from across the U.S., including military veterans, were arrested by Las Vegas police and transported to a Las Vegas jail for processing. Toby Blomé, Michael Kerr, Susan Witka, Maggie Huntington, Don Kimball, George Killingsworth, Don Cunning, Denny Riley, Eleanor Levine and Norie Clarke vowed to “halt the killing business as usual” by the Trump administration.

“ENOUGH!” said the activists, who used street theatre and imagery to link the shared barbarism of U.S. drone killings and the historical oppression and reckless killing of black and native people in our country.

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From two Dominican sisters: a master class in why the bomb is bad

from Global Sisters Report, a project of National Catholic Reporter

Longtime activists teach peace

Update: Additional states joined as signatories and/or ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Sept. 25 and 26, bringing the totals to 79 signatories and 32 ratifications. Check here for the latest numbers. Sept. 26 is the United Nations’ International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

It’s Sunday, Oct. 6, 2002, and Dominican Sisters Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert and Jackie Hudson are walking a field in Weld County, Colorado. Scattered throughout are underground silos that harbor the LGM-30G Minuteman III, an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead that can obliterate most buildings and human beings inside a 4-mile-wide circle. More than 400 Minuteman III missiles lie buried in the farmlands of the Midwest, 49 within this field.

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Six activists arrested at Hancock Field during protest of U.S. drone attack in Afghanistan

photo by John Amidon

from Upstate Drone Action

30 Pine Nut farmers in Afghanistan killed by a U.S. Drone Strike – Was Hancock Drone Base Responsible?
Syracuse, NY – At approximately 10:30 a.m. on September 24, 2019, six members of Upstate Drone Action (UDA) were arrested while expressing deep anguish and grief over the recent U.S. drone attack in Afghanistan responsible for killing at least 30 pine nut workers, and for the numerous other civilians slaughtered by the U.S. government. Holding a banner reading “Drones Fly, Children Die – Our Hearts Are Breaking”, the six activists requested that the Sheriff’s department enforce the law and stop the killings by the drone assassination program conducted at Hancock Field and other Air Force bases across the U.S. They were arrested while standing in the road at the main gate entrance of Hancock Field in Syracuse, New York.

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Nuclear and war resister Frances Crowe dies, age 100 – Presente!

100 Years of love, persistence, resistance…Frances Crowe, Presente! (March 15, 1919 – August 27, 2019) With gratitude for her life, which has been an example and an inspiration to so many of us near and far, for her activism for a peaceful and nuclear-free future, and so much more. Rest in power – all of us who you have protested with, supported, mentored and encouraged will carry on!

xxx
Democracy Now Remembers Frances Crowe – click here.
xxx
Frances Crowe, Peace Activist and War Resister, Dies at 100

The bombing of Hiroshima led her to devote her life to antiwar protests. She was arrested often, but when asked how often, she said, “Not enough.”

by

In 1945, when she was at home in New Orleans ironing a place mat, Frances Crowe was alarmed to hear on the radio that in its efforts to end World War II, the United States had dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb instantly vaporized tens of thousands of people and ultimately killed as many as 135,000.

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Six arrested on Hiroshima anniversary attempting to deliver U.N. nuclear ban treaty to Lockheed Martin, #1 nuclear weapons contractor

from the Brandywine Peace Community
On August 6, Hiroshima Day, nuclear disarmament activists in Pennsylvania remembered the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, which obliterated the city and consumed more than 145,00 human beings in the unimaginable fire and radioactive fallout that was new in the brutal history of warfare. Radioactive fallout would kill thousands in the days following the first atomic bombing, invading generation after generation from 1945 till the present.
The Brandywine Peace Community held its annual remembrance of the bombing of Hiroshima, a remembrance that began in 1977 – 42 years ago – and has always included resistance to nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war that began in Hiroshima. 

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Federal judge rules against Kings Bay Plowshares’ motion to dismiss charges under RFRA, October 21 trial date set

UPDATE: Trial date set for October 21.
BRUNSWICK, GA  –  On August 26, a federal judge denied all the pre-trial motions of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. The activists had urged U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to dismiss their charges for numerous legal reasons as well as the fact that the hundreds of first strike nuclear weapons on the submarines based at Kings Bay Naval Base are illegal and immoral.
The judge found the Plowshares did establish a prima facie case under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because they were sincerely religiously motivated to challenge the nuclear weapons at the Naval Base. Wood also found that the government’s actions substantially burdened their right to exercise their religious beliefs. However, the judge went on to rule that the government had a compelling interest in keeping unauthorized people out of the base and the prosecution of the Plowshares activists was the least restrictive means of protecting the safety of the base.

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Two blockaders arrested at Des Moines Drone Command Center

Ed and Frank

from Frank Cordaro

The Des Moines Catholic Worker and Veterans for Peace ended their third annual 24/7 Vigil from August 6 – 9 at the Des Moines Cathedral with a rally and direct action August 9 at the Des Moines Drone Command Center. Two protesters were arrested.

The peace gathering was an annual commemoration in Des Moines of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

This year’s three day, three night 24/7 vigil at the St. Ambrose Cathedral was low key and personal. We did not have an opening or closing ceremony for the vigil. The reason? We are in-between Catholic Bishops in Des Moines. The Pope named Father William Joensen, a priest from the Diocese of Dubuque, to be installed as our new Bishop in September. Bishop Pates is retiring and moving back to Minnesota.

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Chelsea Manning will remain confined another year, steep daily fines continue

Judge Says Chelsea Manning Can Pay Fines, Despite Evidence to the Contrary

Alexandria, VA — On Monday, August 5, 2019, Judge Anthony Trenga denied Chelsea Manning’s Motion to Reconsider Sanctions imposed after he found her in civil contempt of court for her refusal to give grand jury testimony relating to her 2010 disclosures of classified information. 

While the judge has authority to sanction Ms. Manning in an effort to convince her to comply with his order to testify before the grand jury, he does not have the authority to impose sanctions for punitive purposes. In her motion, Ms. Manning argued that the sanctions, including both incarceration and steep daily fines, will never coerce her compliance with the Court’s order, and therefore impermissibly serve only a punitive function.

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