Monthly Archive for May, 2020

First U.S. citizen convicted for protests at nuclear weapons base in Germany

May 26, 2020
by John LaForge, Nukewatch

COCHEM, Germany 

A US Air Force veteran of the US war in Vietnam and two other nuclear weapons protesters were found guilty of trespassing and damage to property in Cochem District Court May 11, 2020, as a result of July 2018 protest action at Germany’s Büchel Air Force Base, where the United States positions 20 of its nuclear bombs and where German pilots train to use them in possible attacks against Russia.

Dennis DuVall, 78, a long-time member of Veterans for Peace from Arizona and now living in Dresden, Germany, became the first US citizen prosecuted in Germany for civil resistance against the threatened use of the US nuclear weapons. (US Catholic Priest Carl Kabat was thrown out of Germany for a disarmament action against US Pershing missiles deployed there in the 1980s.)

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Beating Swords into Plowshares

Kathy Kelly

by Kathy Kelly

Inscribed on a wall across from the United Nations in New York City are ancient words of incalculable yearning:

“They will beat their swords into plowshares
 and their spears into pruning hooks.
 Nation will not take up sword against nation,
 nor will they train for war anymore.” – Isaiah 2:4

I’ve stood with activists in front of that same wall singing Down by the Riverside, a song promising we’ll lay down our swords and shields, – “and study war no more, no more.”

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Nuclear Resister issue #194

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Sentencing dates set for Kings Bay Plowshares nuclear abolitionists

UPDATE: Elizabeth McAlister had her sentencing on June 8 via video from her  daughter’s home in Connecticut.  The other six Kings Bay Plowshares defendants filed several continuances for their sentencing, which is now scheduled for October 15 and 16.  Because of COVID-19, they have asked for these continuances in order to be able to safely travel to Brunswick, Georgia and appear in open court with family, character witnesses and supporters present.

by Felice & Jack Cohen-Joppa, the Nuclear Resister

After delays and disputes over pre-sentencing reports followed by a court closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the seven Kings Bay Plowshares activists are due to be sentenced in separate hearings on May 28 and 29 in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia. The dates were announced on April 6, just over two years from the day the seven were arrested inside Kings Bay Naval Base while engaged in symbolic acts of nuclear disarmament.

At press time, it is not yet certain whether the defendants will appear in person or by video, whether spectators will be allowed in the courtroom or access to the proceedings by audio stream, or whether sentencing might be delayed.

The declaration of a National Emergency in mid-March led federal courts around the country to curtail business and restrict access. In southeast Georgia, the federal court put most proceedings on hold, first until April 17 and later through the end of May.

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Muslim philanthropist Dr. Rafil Dhafir released from prison after 17 years photo, 2007

by Jack Cohen-Joppa, The Nuclear Resister

On the morning of May 15, Dr. Rafil Dhafir was released to home confinement from the Allenwood federal prison in central Pennsylvania. The Iraqi-American physician and philanthropist has been in federal prison since the day of his arrest more than 17 years ago in 2003, on the eve of the second U.S. invasion of Iraq. He was not due to be paroled from his 22-year sentence until November, 2021. Dhafir will now complete that term at his home near Syracuse, New York.

A combination of factors described in the Bureau of Prisons (BoP) COVID-19 management plan added up to Rafil Dhafir’s eligibility for release now. Many of his supporters wrote to the warden following the March 26 memo from Attorney General William Barr to the Director of the BoP that outlined the plan. Dhafir is 71 years old and was being held at a low-security institution. He has a compromised immune system due to diabetes. He had no conduct violations within the last year. He had demonstrated a re-entry plan that both maximizes public safety and reduces his risk of exposure compared to continued confinement, and local authorities confirmed that he posed no danger to the community based on his crime of conviction. 

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