Monthly Archive for October, 2020

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

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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