A 40th anniversary Plowshares Eight reflection from Dean Hammer

Dean Hammer

Filled with Gratitude for the Plowshares Conspiracy of Hope

by Dean Hammer

“It will take a long time before we really understand what we did at GE King of Prussia.” Phil Berrigan shared this reflection with me during a jail yard walk shortly after the Plowshares 8 action. This is one of the many gems from this treasured teacher and friend. When we did the Plowshares 8 action, we had no idea that over a hundred plowshares actions in the U.S., Europe, and Australia would follow ours. Indeed, this is amazing grace.

I share the following reflections with deep thanks for Phil’s leadership with Liz McAlister, the Atlantic Life Community, and the global network that evolved the past forty years. This resistance community provided immeasurable passion and skill to create, sustain, and expand the Plowshares movement. The gracious, wise, and stalwart spirits of Daniel Berrigan, Anne Montgomery, and Elmer Maas continue to inspire us in their heavenly witness — I feel buoyed by their vital presence in my life. The persistent lived commitment to peace and justice by Molly Rush, John Schuchardt, and Carl Kabat is a great blessing, bearing light in dark times.

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After 4 decades of Plowshares actions, it’s nuclear warfare that should be on trial — not activists

(l-r) Fr. Carl Kabat, Elmer Maas, Philip Berrigan, Molly Rush, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, Sr. Anne Montgomery, John Schuchardt, Dean Hammer

from Waging Nonviolence

by Frida Berrigan
Forty years ago, the Plowshares Eight sparked a movement of nuclear disarmers that continues to take responsibility for weapons of mass destruction. 

“Nuclear warfare is not on trial here, you are!” said Judge Samuel Salus, in exasperation.

Before him were eight activists, including two priests and a nun. As Judge Salus tried to preside over the government’s prosecution of them for their trespass onto — and destruction of — private property, the eight were trying to put nuclear warfare, nuclear weapons, nuclear policy and U.S. exceptionalism on trial.

That was 40 years ago this week — ancient history by some measures. And no one reading this will be surprised to find that the eight were found guilty and the human family is still threatened by almost 15,000 nuclear warheads. So, four decades later, why isn’t nuclear warfare on trial?

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Nuclear Resister coordinators among 2020 Nuclear Free Future Award recipients

Jack & Felice blocking the road leading into the Nevada nuclear test site. Photo by Mike Wisniewski

We are pleased to announce that we have received the 2020 Nuclear Free Future Award, in the Education category! Congratulations to the other 2020 winners: Canadian Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will (in the Solution category); journalist Fedor Maryasov and lawyer Andrey Talevlin from Russia (in the Resistance category); and Native American activist and New Mexico Democrat, U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (an honorary award for Special Recognition).

It is an honor to receive this recognition as we near the 40th anniversary of the Nuclear Resister. We share this Nuclear Free Future Award with the thousands of activists over the years who have engaged in direct action and civil disobedience – many of them spending time in prison – to say a loud and clear NO to nuclear weapons, nuclear power, uranium mining and nuclear testing.

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British military refuser arrested 

Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati stands vigil in London, August 24, 2020

An active duty British soldier in uniform was arrested outside the Ministry of Defence in London while engaged in a solo public protest. Yemeni-born Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati recorded himself making this statement for social media that he posted on the morning of August 24:

Yemen is facing the worst humanitarian crisis… due to years of war. This proxy war is led by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia are responsible for multiple airstrikes, killing innocents, targeting hospitals and breaking international law. Saudi Arabia are also responsible for blocking aid from going into the country.
This has left 80% of the population in need of emergency aid. That’s 24 million people in need of emergency aid. Yet our government continues to arm and support Saudi Arabia. We tried to make our voices heard by protesting in London, Manchester, Liverpool and many other cities. We’ve even tried to email our MPs, but clearly our words mean nothing to Boris Johnson.

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Trident resisters block nuke base in remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Photo by Glen Milner

by Leonard Eiger 

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action remembered the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a silent vigil and nonviolent direct action at the Main Gate of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.

Approximately 25 people gathered at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action early Monday morning, August 10, 2020. After a blessing by Reverend Jessica Starr Rocker of the Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Church and the collective reading of the Pledge of Nonviolence, those gathered walked to the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate, led by Senji Kanaeda and Gilberto Perez, monks from the Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Miyohoji Buddhist Temple.

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Hiroshima & Nagasaki – Never Again guest opinion in the AZ Daily Star

The following guest opinion was published in the Arizona Daily Star on August 6, 2020, and signed by 154 individuals and 21 organizations and faith communities.

by Jack & Felice Cohen-Joppa, The Nuclear Resister

Seventy-five years ago on August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States launched humanity into the nuclear age with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. More than 200,000 people were dead within days, half of them killed in an instant as the flash and blast flattened their cities. Hundreds of thousands more were maimed by the bomb or sickened by the “black rain” of radioactive fallout. Birth defects, leukemia and other cancers, chronic disease and the many long lasting effects of radiation exposure are still being felt today.

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Standing up to Rosatom

Anti-nuclear resistance in Russia: problems protests, reprisals

Yekaterinburg protest against UF6 import courtesy of RSEU

Reposted with permission from Beyond Nuclear International
The following is a report from the Russian Social Ecological Union (RSEU)/ Friends of the Earth Russia, slightly edited for length. You can read the report in full here. It is a vitally important document exposing the discrimination and fear tactics used against anti-nuclear organizers in Russia and details their courageous acts of defiance in order to bring the truth of Russia’s nuclear sector to light.

Rosatom is a Russian state-owned corporation which builds and operates nuclear power plants in Russia and globally. The state-run nuclear industry in Russia has a long history of nuclear crises, including the Kyshtym disaster in 1957 and Chernobyl in 1986. Yet Rosatom plans to build dozens of nuclear reactors in Russia, to export its deadly nuclear technologies to other countries, and then to import their hazardous nuclear waste.

This report is a collection of events and details about the resistance to Russian state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, and other activities that have led to the pollution of the environment and violation of human rights. Social and environmental conflicts created by Rosatom have been left unresolved for years, while at the same time, environmental defenders who have raised these issues, have consistently experienced reprisals.

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Nuclear weapons abolitionists again convicted of damage and trespass in Germany

Outside the courthouse in Cochem

by John LaForge, Nukewatch

On June 10 in Cochem, Germany, three peace activists were convicted of “damage to property” and “trespass” for their part in a July 15, 2018 protest at the Büchel Air Force Base in west-central Germany, where the United States Air Force deploys 20 hydrogen bombs. The trial of Marion Küpker, of Hamburg, Stefanie Augustin, of Dortmund, and Margriet Bos, of Amsterdam, was the latest in a series of trials resulting from a long-running campaign of nonviolent resistance directed against the threatened use of the U.S. nuclear bombs. District Judge Andre Zimmermann sentenced Küpker, Bos and Augustine to fines ranging between 1,200 and 300 Euros, or to a possible 30 days in jail for refusing to pay.
 The regional paper Rhein-Zeitung reported, “The three women entered the Büchel air base together with a total of 18 people during an international protest week,” July 15, 2018. The protest was aimed at U.S. nuclear weapons used at the NATO base where the Luftwaffe’s Tornado fighter jet pilots from Germany’s 33rd Tactical Air Force Wing train to drop the U.S. nuclear weapons which are maintained there by the U.S. Air Force’s 702nd Munitions Support Squadron. The widely reported mid-summer action saw five separate openings cut in the base’s chain link fence, through which the 18 resisters entered in small groups unhindered, in broad daylight, on a Sunday morning. One person got through in a wheel chair, and another entered using crutches. 

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Elizabeth McAlister sentenced for 2018 Plowshares disarmament action

Elizabeth McAlister (photo by Steve Dear)

from the Nuclear Resister

A revered elder of the American anti-war movement was sentenced on Monday, June 8 to time served for her part with six other Catholic peace activists in the April 4, 2018 Kings Bay Plowshares nonviolent direct action for nuclear disarmament. Elizabeth McAlister, age 80, had already spent more than 17 months in Georgia county jails following her arrest.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, McAlister appeared for sentencing via video from her daughter’s home in Connecticut, surrounded by her three children, their partners and her six grandchildren. Judge Lisa Godbey Wood presided from federal court in Brunswick, Georgia.

McAlister was also ordered to pay a special assessment of $310 and restitution of $33,503.51, assigned jointly and severally to all the defendants. Out of consideration for her lifetime of voluntary poverty and lack of material assets, the court did not impose a fine, but mandated a minimum payment of $25/month towards restitution. McAlister was also placed on three years of supervised probation.

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First U.S. citizen convicted for protests at nuclear weapons base in Germany

May 26, 2020
by John LaForge, Nukewatch

COCHEM, Germany 

A US Air Force veteran of the US war in Vietnam and two other nuclear weapons protesters were found guilty of trespassing and damage to property in Cochem District Court May 11, 2020, as a result of July 2018 protest action at Germany’s Büchel Air Force Base, where the United States positions 20 of its nuclear bombs and where German pilots train to use them in possible attacks against Russia.

Dennis DuVall, 78, a long-time member of Veterans for Peace from Arizona and now living in Dresden, Germany, became the first US citizen prosecuted in Germany for civil resistance against the threatened use of the US nuclear weapons. (US Catholic Priest Carl Kabat was thrown out of Germany for a disarmament action against US Pershing missiles deployed there in the 1980s.)

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