The COVID-19 crisis underscores the need to release Leonard Peltier…/the-covid-19-crisis-underscores-the-ne…

March 26, 2020

by Zeke Johnson, Senior Director of Programs, Amnesty International USA

Amnesty International, an independent human rights organization, has long called for clemency and release for Native American activist Leonard Peltier, due to fair trial concerns, the exhaustion of his appeals and his having served more than 40 years in prison, some of which was spent in solitary confinement, for a crime he has always claimed he did not commit. The threat of COVID-19 underscores the urgency of this call, as Peltier is 75 years old and has serious health concerns. He suffers from diabetes, among a myriad of other health issues, and in January 2016 was diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which can be fatal if it ruptures.

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Judge Orders Chelsea Manning’s Release From Jail for Not Cooperating With WikiLeaks Grand Jury, Supporters Raise $256,000 Fines

By Andy Worthington (reprinted by permission of the author)

March 15, 2020

Good news from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where, on Thursday (March 12), District Judge Anthony J. Trenga ordered the immediate release from jail of whistleblower Chelsea Manning (formerly Pfc. Bradley Manning), who has been imprisoned since last March for refusing to cooperate with a Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

While serving as an Army intelligence analyst in 2009, Manning was responsible for the largest leak of military and diplomatic documents in US history, and received a 35-year sentence — described by Charlie Savage in the New York Times as “the longest sentence by far in an American leak case” — in August 2013.

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Thirteen disarmament activists arrested in nonviolent blockade of Trident nuclear submarine base

George Rodkey, Gary Cavalier, Sue Ablao, Julia Ochiogrosso

by Felice & Jack Cohen-Joppa, the Nuclear Resister

Thirteen nuclear abolitionists blocked traffic leading into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Washington on March 2, as part of a public protest of the United States’ Trident nuclear-missile launching submarines based there.

The direct action came at the conclusion of the annual gathering of the Pacific Life Community, a network of spiritually motivated activists from the Pacific Coast and other western states committed to nonviolent action for a nuclear-free future.

Washington state police arrested nine people for obstructing traffic after they carried banners that stretched across the roadway just outside the base main gate. Their banners read “Trident Threatens All Life on Earth” and “Abolish Nuclear Weapons”. While they stood in the road, one of the blockaders read aloud from the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. (Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2017, the Treaty will enter into force when ratified by 50 nations. Thirty-five nations have ratified to date.)

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Kings Bay Plowshares 7 still await sentencing

from the Kings Bay Plowshares support group, February 6, 2020

Dear Friends,

We continue to wait for a sentencing date to be announced. There have been delays in getting all the necessary pre-sentencing reports done by the probation officers. The defendants were originally told that sentencing would be 60-90 days from the conviction date on October 24th. After the reports are received each defendant has two weeks to make any corrections of their record and challenge the probation office’s findings. Then there is additional time for more responses from the government. Sentencing may take place in March.

Shortly after the trial an appeal was filed to drop one of two charges; one for destruction of government property or another for depredation of property on a naval base. The attorneys argued that the two charges are redundant, and one should be dropped (the 2 charges appear to be for the same thing). Each additional felony charge can add substantially to the possible sentences. There has been no decision on this appeal so far.

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Conference & demo in May: Stop the New Nuclear Arms Race

From OREPA, Nukewatch and the Nuclear Resister, COVID 19 update, April 6, 2020:
Maryville College’s campus is closed through the end of May, and Tennessee has instituted travel and gathering restrictions, so we have taken the disappointing but necessary decision to cancel STOP THE NEW NUCLEAR ARMS RACE. If you are registered for the conference, you will receive a refund in the near future. The conference is off, but the work is not! A world free of nuclear weapons is possible if we all work for it.

“Those who say a world without nuclear weapons is impossible need to get out of the way of those who are making it happen.” – Beatrice Fihn, ICAN


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Peace campers in Scotland arrested, one at Trident nuclear warhead loading jetty

Faslane Peace Camp photo

from Faslane Peace Camp

Two Faslane peace campers were arrested on January 28, one of them just a few yards from the Trident warhead loading jetty at Coulport on Loch Long, Scotland. 

Sylvia Boyes and Willemien Hoogendoorn hung banners at the pedestrian gate, and a hole (first cut on October 8) was re-opened. After about an hour, Sylvia went through the hole with a banner to hang directly in front of the warhead loading bay. The banner read “TRIDENT – An atrocity waiting to happen”. 

Despite openly carrying out these actions, it took at least 1.5 hours for the Ministry of Defence police to arrive. Willemien was arrested at the pedestrian gate, and Sylvia was arrested immediately in front of the loading bay. 

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On Martin Luther King Day, in support of the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, five activists arrested at Lockheed Martin

Brandywine Peace Community photo

by Robert M. Smith, Brandywine Peace Community

Another Martin Luther King Day has passed. 
A new decade, January 20, 2020.  It was cold, real cold, with a wind that always seems to accompany the Martin Luther King Day peace demonstrations at Lockheed Martin from 1995 til now (and for 17 years before that at General Electric).  
Our large banners attached to a-frames wouldn’t hold. We had to adapt. Our heavy wooden sign reading “We’re making a killing! and painted with the Lockheed Martin logo in the background, was grounded to an iron light post at the main entrance to the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania corporate complex of the world’s #1 war profiteer.  We shared a Statement of Commitment, and Brandywine troubadour singer-songwriter, Tom Mullian, did some verses from his song, I may not get there with you.   
As our bell of peace tolled loudly, crime scene tape was stretched across the driveway as five people attempted to deliver poster size copies of our statement to Lockheed Martin personnel.  

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Eight arrests at Pentagon mark Massacre of the Holy Innocents

by Art Laffin
From December 27-28, 2019, about 40 members from the Atlantic and Southern Life communities, and other peacemaking friends, gathered for a retreat at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Church in Washington, D.C., and a nonviolent witness at the Pentagon to commemorate the Massacre  of the Holy Innocents – past and present. Due to the fact that the actual feast of the Holy Innocents Martyrs was on Saturday, December 28, we held our nonviolent witness at the Pentagon on December 27, late afternoon, so we could be present to more Pentagon workers.
The retreat began at 1 p.m. on December 27 with introductions and a reading of Matthew’s account of the massacre of the innocents. (Mt. 2:1-18) This was followed by a rich community sharing focusing on these questions: Why do you think Herod saw Jesus as such a threat that he wanted him killed? What are the parallels for today? How do you identify with Rachel’s response to the massacre of the innocents? What are the parallels today? 

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The Pope and Catholic Radicals Come Together Against Nuclear Weapons

Daily Comment

“When something difficult is attempted,” Daniel Berrigan said, “it is like trying to break a rock with an egg.” Berrigan, a Jesuit priest and social radical, who died in 2016, at the age of ninety-four, spent the last third of his life doing something difficult: trying, through protest, civil disobedience, and a steady stream of books and articles, to persuade the nuclear powers to abolish their arsenals. For his efforts, he was frequently called an out-of-touch extremist who changed nothing. But now, when the jousting of Donald Trump and other would-be political strongmen on the world stage are making the nuclear threat appear particularly urgent, there are signs that the Catholic Church has come around to the position that Catholic activists such as Berrigan have resolutely maintained for the past four decades.

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Seven activists arrested at Volk Field mourning children killed by drones

photo by Bob Block

by Joy First 

Camp Douglas, WI – Seven peace activists walked onto the base at Volk Field on November 12, wearing black veils, carrying limp dolls and posters of children killed by drones, and reading a statement.  They were arrested by Juneau County officers, handcuffed and taken to the station in Mauston, where they were cited for trespassing and released.

The action was organized by the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars.  This group of dedicated activists have been vigiling monthly at the gates of Volk Field since 2011. This is the sixth action leading to arrests at the base.

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