Five people cited in Mother’s Day demonstration at Trident nuclear submarine base at Bangor, WA

photo by Glen Milner

from Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

Thirty people were present on May 8th (the day before Mother’s Day), at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base.  At around 2 p.m., the five demonstrators entered the highway carrying two large banners stating, “Congress wants $1 trillion for nukes – What will be left for our children?” and “Trident Threatens All Life on Earth” and blocked all incoming traffic at the Main Gate of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor for over 20 minutes.  They were removed from the highway.

All five demonstrators were cited for violating RCW 46.61.250, Pedestrians on roadways, and released at the scene. Those cited by the Washington State Patrol: Brenda McMillan and Caroline Wildflower of Port Townsend; Sue Ablao of Bremerton; Elizabeth Murray of Poulsbo; and Michael “Firefly” Siptroth of Belfair.

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Women blockade Faslane Trident base for 11 hours, link militarism and climate crisis

XR photo

Early in the morning of April 30, members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) Scotland, with support from nuclear disarmament activists from Trident Ploughshares, set up a blockade at the north gate of the Faslane Trident submarine base in Scotland.

Three women locked onto three planters they had placed in the road, which contained plants and flowers and were painted with the words “Safe”, “Green”, and “Future”. With their action, they were demanding a future safe from the “threat of nuclear weapons and environmental destruction”, making the connections between the climate and ecological crisis and militarism.

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Drone wars whistleblower Daniel Hale enters one guilty plea

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.

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Fr. Steve Kelly FREE after 3 years behind bars for nuclear abolition actions

Fr. Steve Kelly in front of Tacoma federal courthouse after being sentenced to time served. Photo by Dennis Apel

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

Fr. Kelly appeared in person with his attorney Blake Kremer in the courtroom of federal Magistrate Judge David Christel, with the U.S. attorney and probation officer joining via video link. Supporters were able to listen in by phone using a number provided by the court for the public.

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. Entry onto another military installation and the ensuing federal charges were additional violations addressed at today’s hearing.

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Mark Colville sentenced for Kings Bay Plowshares action

Luz and Mark

Mark Colville, the last of the seven Kings Bay Plowshares defendants to be sentenced, learned the court’s judgement 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.

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.  He is to report to federal prison by June 8. With credit for about 15 months spent in jail before trial plus statutory good time, he expects to serve about four more months.

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March 31 court hearing for Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J.

by Felice Cohen-Joppa

On March 30, the day Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. arrived at FDC SeaTac after three and a half months of transport from the county jail in Brunswick, Georgia, his Tacoma, WA attorney Blake Kremer was given less than 24 hour notice that Steve was to have a preliminary court hearing on Wednesday, March 31.

Last summer, Steve postponed his Kings Bay Plowshares sentencing in Georgia until he could appear in person in the courtroom, as is his right and something that is important to him (due to COVID, court was taking place virtually, by secure video). And after three and a half months in transport, he arrived in the Western District of Washington only to learn that the Tacoma federal court is currently only doing virtual hearings by video. Because of Steve’s intention to appear in person, he waived his appearance and was represented by his attorney.

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Please donate to help the Nuclear Resister continue it’s work in 2021!

Jack & Felice Cohen-Joppa

December 2020

Dear friends,

As John Lennon sings in his song Beautiful Boy: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” We think that pretty well sums up a lot of 2020! It certainly describes the whirlwind of recent months for us…

The new issue of the Nuclear Resister newsletter (12 pages instead of 8) should arrive in your mail during the first week of the new year — later than we hoped for. This fall our long-time newsletter printer closed up shop, another business casualty of the COVID pandemic. We finally found a new printer in Phoenix, but the holiday-schedule press time was booked until the very end of the year.

We write now with deep gratitude for the support that has kept the important work of the Nuclear Resister going for 40 years. Thank you! We have been concerned about the Nuclear Resister’s credit union account during the difficult times we all find ourselves in, and know that it might be a challenging time for some people to make donations. But we need to ask you as 2020 draws to a close, if you are able, to make a contribution now to help ensure that the work of the Nuclear Resister continues through 2021.

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Extinction Rebellion–Bristol close down Filton Abbeywood MoD complex

Climate Activists blockade British military command center in Bristol. Photo by Roland Dye.

At about 6.30am, before dawn, on Friday, December 11, a coalition of Extinction Rebellion (XR) groups blockaded the vast MoD centre in north Bristol. Around forty activists from XR Bristol, Christian Climate Action, XR Peace and others unloaded wooden towers and a tripod to seal off all three vehicle entrances. Banners were strung across the roads and people clipped their arms into lockon tubes.

The date chosen was the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement pledging to keep climate change below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Asked by police why they took action, Michael Truesdale of XR Bristol told them, “Five years ago, the Paris Agreement gave me hope. It was a lie. We have stopped nothing. Our scientists are telling us that the 1.5° limit we imagined at that summit is now a pipe dream, and we should prepare for a 4° rise in global temperatures. At that point, or sooner, society would collapse as the oceans rise, soil dries and total war envelopes the planet. The Climate Crisis will create war, whilst war is also contributing to the climate crisis. Both from the massive direct emissions – the US military being the largest polluter in the world, and as a barrier to positive international relations. We must break the cycle.”

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Jordanian anti-nuclear activist on trial for Facebook post deserves international support

by Jack Cohen-Joppa, The Nuclear Resister
Basel Burgan, the head of a successful family pharmacy business and a prominent environmental champion in Jordan, is accused of cyber crimes and spreading rumors “that damaged a government institution.” Hearings in the case against him began in September, continuing every other week. Unless the case is dismissed, and barring additional delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a verdict by next spring could lead to a sentence of 6-24 months in prison for Burgan.
The case against the activist businessman began on January 4, 2019, when Saleh Ghbain, a Jordanian scientist working in the U.S. who had formerly worked as a consultant to the Jordanian Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), released a document on Facebook which he said proved that the Research Nuclear Reactor (RNR), recently constructed at the Jordan University of Science and Technology by a Korean contractor, has “cracks in its design and is leaking radiation.” 
In Jordan, Burgan shared the report on Facebook, commenting that “if the leaked radiation is high, then it is a health problem…. We need all security agencies to check this issue.”

Three more Kings Bay Plowshares activists receive prison sentences for 2018 nuclear disarmament action at nuclear sub base

Carmen Trotta is sentenced to 14 months in prison; Clare Grady is sentenced to 12 months plus a day; Martha Hennessy is sentenced to ten months

from the Kings Bay Plowshares

On November 12, two more of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 were sentenced by video conferencing with Judge Lisa Godbey Wood in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia. They both received less time than was expected according to the sentencing guidelines prepared by the probation department.

Carmen Trotta was sentenced to 14 months in prison in the morning session. This was a downward departure based on the judge granting his objection that the seriousness of his criminal history was overstated by the probation report. He only has four misdemeanor convictions for demonstration related arrests. However, the judge overruled numerous other objections from the defense, particularly to the increases for risk of death and lack of acceptance of responsibility. Carmen vigorously disputed these issues to no avail.

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