Nuclear Resister E-bulletin Winter/Spring 2021

Winter/Spring 2021








Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. free after three years behind bars   

On April 13, Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. was sentenced in a Tacoma, Washington courtroom to time served for violating conditions of his supervised release for a 2017 trespass conviction at the Kitsap-Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base. On that day he had served the maximum six-month prison sentence for the original charge, and was unconditionally released from custody. 

By the time of Fr. Kelly’s arrest in April, 2018 at the Navy’s other Trident base at Kings Bay, Georgia (the Kings Bay Plowshares action), a bench warrant had already been issued for his arrest for violating the terms of his supervised release by not reporting to the federal probation office in Washington state. The Jesuit priest remained in jail in Georgia from the time of his arrest through trial in October, 2019 and his sentencing in October, 2020 to 33 months in prison plus restitution and three years of supervised release. With credit for time served, he’d essentially completed the custodial sentence but remained in federal custody pending the April 13 hearing. U.S. marshals took him from Georgia in mid-December to Washington state, a journey that took over 3-1/2 months with stays at three more private prisons and jails along the way in Florida, Oklahoma and Nevada. 

In the Tacoma courtroom, Fr. Kelly was reminded by Magistrate Judge Christel that the supervision imposed by the southern district of Georgia is still in effect, and that court has required him to report to the Georgia probation office within 72 hours of his release from prison. As a matter of conscience, Fr. Kelly does not cooperate with supervised release, which he let Judge Wood know shortly before his October 2020 sentencing for the Kings Bay Plowshares action (You can read his presentencing declaration here).
Read more here.

Mark Colville sentenced to 21 months for Kings Bay Plowshares action   

Mark Colville, the last of the seven Kings Bay Plowshares defendants to be sentenced, learned the court’s judgement via a video hearing on April 9. Notwithstanding his “somewhat troubling” record of convictions for disarmament actions, Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced the 59-year-old Catholic Worker to 21 months in prison, the low end of the recommended range of 21-27 months.

In his sentencing statement, Colville told the judge/court, “My neighborhood, my family and I have a right to live without a nuclear gun on hair trigger alert held perpetually to our heads. That right is ours, both by birth and by law. It is neither granted by courts, nor denied by them, but this court’s refusal to defend that right – or even to recognize it – has now, with no fewer than 28 convictions against me and my companions, placed it firmly in a posture of criminality. On this the world agrees, as the international consensus prohibiting the building and possession of nuclear weapons became law, by ratified treaty, on January 21st of this year. I bow then, also, to the vast multitude of neighborhoods worldwide – beginning with Hiroshima and Nagasaki – whose people have been demanding to be free of this scourge for more than 75 years, and who now await our nation’s compliance.”

Colville was further ordered, as his six codefendants have been, to pay $310 in special assessments, serve three years of supervised probation, and “jointly and singly” make restitution of $33,503.51 to the U.S. Navy. With credit for about 15 months spent in jail before trial plus statutory good time, he expects to serve about four more months. He has been assigned to MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center) Brooklyn and will begin his prison sentence on June 8.

Read more here, including Colville’s sentencing statement and the statement from his character witness, Stephen Kobasa.

Four Kings Bay Plowshares activists in prison    

Three years ago, late on the night of April 4, 2018, a group of seven Catholic nuclear abolitionists entered the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia. The Kings Bay Plowshares took action on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who condemned the “evil triplets” of racism, militarism and materialism. After cutting the lock at a remote gate, they split up, two pairs and a trio, to deliver an indictment of the “omnicidal” Trident nuclear program and “beat swords into plowshares” by carrying out symbolic acts of disarmament using hand tools, paint and human blood. Arrested in the early hours of April 5, they were charged with misdemeanor trespass and three felonies: destruction of government property, depredation of government property on a military installation and the conspiracy to do these things. The activists were all convicted after a jury trial in October, 2019.

The global pandemic caused their sentencings, each held separately, to be repeatedly delayed during 2020. Patrick O’Neill, Martha Hennessy, Carmen Trotta and Clare Grady are currently serving their prison terms, while Liz McAlister and Fr. Steve Kelly have completed theirs. Mark Colville, the last to be sentenced on April 9, will begin his prison sentence on June 8.

Read more about the case, and find prison addresses and reflections from the prisoners, here.

Letters to the judge needed for drone wars whistleblower Daniel Hale 

The week before his scheduled April 5 trial, Air Force veteran and former intelligence analyst Daniel Hale changed his plea to guilty on one count of violating the Espionage Act when he illegally obtained classified “national  defense information” and give it to a reporter widely acknowledged to be Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept.

At a March 31 hearing in federal court in Virginia, Hale affirmed he had printed 36 documents on a government computer while working for a private contractor, 23 of them unrelated to his work, and provided “at least 17 to a reporter and/or the reporter’s news outlet, which published the documents…” Eleven were classified Secret or Top Secret. The information Hale shared revealed gross human rights violations in the preparation of target lists for deadly attacks where ninety percent of the people killed were not the intended targets.

Jesselyn Radack, Hale’s attorney, told CovertAction Magazine that Hale changed his plea because he “would not have received a fair trial because the arcane Espionage Act does not allow for a public interest defense. Meaning, Hale’s motive of wanting to inform the public could not be raised as a defense to the charge of disclosure of information.”

Judge Liam O’Grady permitted Hale to remain free under supervision of a probation officer until sentencing on July 13. The charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. Despite the guilty plea, federal prosecutors opposed a motion to dismiss four related charges.

SUPPORT NEEDED: You can sign the petition to Judge O’Grady at Supporters are also encouraged to write a letter to Judge O’Grady speaking to Daniel’s character and the public importance of his disclosures. Directions for writing your letter and getting it to his attorney, who will present it to the court, are found at

Read more here.

Please support imprisoned anti-nuclear and anti-war activists – The Nuclear Resister needs YOU!

The Nuclear Resister is a bare bones operation that depends on grassroots support to chronicle anti-nuclear and anti-war resistance, and support the women and men in prison for their acts of conscience. We need your help to continue this work – please read more here!! Or go directly here to make a secure online donation and find information about how to send a check.  Each and every donation, large or small, will be gratefully received – thank you!