SOA Watch activists arrested while pasting posters on Washington, D.C. building

ArtIsNotACrimeSMfrom SOA Watch

Last week, Washington, DC activists helped kick off SOA Watch’s poster campaign to remember the martyrs and expose the killers. On Wednesday, May 14, a group of about a dozen activists came together to paste up a giant mural on the streets of the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Though the activists were peaceful in their actions, DC police decided that political art was unacceptable in the district. After the artwork was completed, four of the activists were handcuffed, arrested and held for 6 hours before being charged with “defacing public or private property.” The charge carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine. SOA Watch activists Dominique Diaddigo-Cash, Gail Taylor, Maria Luisa Rosal and Nico Udu-gama will be arraigned in US Superior Court on June 5, 2014. The best way to stand in solidarity with the targeted activists, and to push back against the criminalization of dissent, is to keep up the resistance!

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Retired attorney and Catholic priest arrested at Volk Field drone base during air show

IMG_1848from Bonnie Block

Six hardy souls vigiled at the gates of Volk Field in Wisconsin on May 17 for over an hour with a new banner, a kite flying, and Kathy’s colorful signs saying “Fly Kites, Not Drones” which was repeated on our new t-shirts. Vigilers were Kathy (the birthday woman), Mary Beth, Jim, Cassandra, Charles, and me. Charles had to leave for his meal program dishwashing duties so he dropped off Jim and me at Nelson Park. There were carnival rides and a stage with a National Guard musical group from Peoria, IL but there weren’t many people there at all.

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Why South Korean peace activists walked into a prison on their own feet

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World without War photo

from Jeewoo Yeo

Yeo-ok Yang and Jungmin Choi (activists with World Without War) and Reverend Bora Im (of Hyanglin Church) were put into prison on May 20.

They were sentenced to pay a fine of two million won each (approximately 2,000 USD) for taking a direct action to block the construction of Jeju Naval Base, which had been illegally undertaken without an agreement with local residents.

Instead of paying the fine, they chose to be imprisoned in a workhouse. Two million won is a large amount money for an activist. But that is not the main reason of their choices. They thought it is a violation of the constitutional rights to the freedom of assembly and association to impose heavy fines on activists taking a thoroughly nonviolent way of resistance against wrongful state policies.

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Daring dawn blockade of Berkshire’s nuclear weapons factory

photo by Nina Carter-Brown

photo by Nina Carter-Brown

Early in the morning of May 19, a group of people in England began blockading the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) site at Burghfield, near Reading. The protesters, acting as part of ActionAWE, a campaign of nonviolent direct action, are trying to disrupt construction of a new nuclear warhead factory on the site.

The eight protesters, aged between 19 and 40, were locked together using handcuffs inside “lock-on” devices – made from drainpipes and vegetable oil drums filled with concrete in order to block the gate to the construction site to prevent further work on the site. Traffic queued up, unable to enter the facility. The Christian protesters sang hymns.  The blockade ended after four hours.

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Anti-nuclear weapons activists stage tea party at West Coast nuke base; 8 arrested

Photo by Leonard Eiger, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Photo by Leonard Eiger, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

by Leonard Eiger, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Silverdale, Washington, May 10, 2014: Activists from Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, in Poulsbo, Washington staged a tea party at the main gate of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, the West Coast home port for the U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarine fleet.

Protesters walked onto the roadway in successive waves, briefly blocking the entrance, and offered tea and cookies to the Washington State Patrol officers standing in the median. Officers escorted them from the roadway and cited them for walking on the roadway where prohibited.

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Twelve women block gate at Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant

photo by Marcia Gagliardi

photo by Marcia Gagliardi

VERNON, Vermont — In pouring rain, Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin joined the Shut It Down Affinity Group on Friday, May 9 to block the gate at Entergy Corporation’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant here before police arrested twelve women for unlawful trespass. No court date has been set.

Before blocking the Vermont Yankee gate, the women stood with balloons and banners across from nearby Vernon Elementary School to urge love for mother earth as Mother’s Day approached.

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Three activists arrested at Ft. Meade in killer drone protest

Photo by Keith Wrightson, DC Media Group

Photo by Keith Wrightson, DC Media Group

from National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

After getting no response to a letter to the director of the National Security Agency, twenty activists went to Fort Meade, Maryland on May 3 to seek a meeting. First, they gathered alongside Route 32 to read the names of children killed by U.S. drone strikes and hold a die-in to represent victims of a drone attack. The die-in continued for about 20 minutes, and Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a Roman Catholic woman priest, wailed and ministered to the victims. Dick Ochs performed a drone song he had written and played the guitar.

The activists then headed to the guard station to seek a meeting with someone in a policy-making role. As they marched, they sang Peace, Salaam, Shalom. NSA police arrested Ellen Barfield, Marilyn Carlisle and Manijeh Saba when they refused to leave the roadway outside the base’s gates.

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Thirteen activists arrested during another drone protest at Beale Air Force Base

photo by Guarionex Delgado

photo by Guarionex Delgado

Six military veterans were among 13 people arrested at Beale Air Force Base in Marysville, California early in the morning of April 29. They were attempting to deliver an indictment charging President Obama, the Beale base commander, drone pilots and others with “crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.”

All 13 demonstrators were handcuffed and taken into custody about 8 a.m. They were released two hours later with misdemeanor charges, and are to appear in U.S. District Court. If convicted, they face up to six months in prison.

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NATO 3 Sentenced to 5 to 8 Years, Receive Credit for Time Served

1508648_417448748386168_745547946_nfrom Free the Nato 3

On April 25 in the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, the NATO 3 were sentenced to between 5 and 8 years in prison. The prosecutors had argued that they should receive 14 years and serve their sentences consecutively, whereas the defense attorneys had obviously argued that they should receive light sentences, if not simply being sentenced to time served. Brian Jacob Church was sentenced to 5 years, Brent Betterly to 6 years, and Jared Chase to 8 years. They will all serve this time at 50% of the sentenced time (e.g., 6 year sentence equals 3 years served) and will receive credit for the two years they have served pending trial. Upon release, they will each have two years of supervised release as well.

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Activists able to pray on Pentagon sidewalk on Good Friday with no arrests

photo by Lin Romano

photo by Lin Romano

by Art Laffin

From Wednesday evening to Good Friday, some 30 friends gathered in D.C. for the annual Holy Week Faith and Resistance retreat sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and Jonah House communities. We were especially blessed to have with us students from Loras College from Iowa and members of the New Jerusalem community from Philadelphia. The theme of the retreat was: “Put Away the Sword.”

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