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Early on the morning of April 5, 2018, seven nuclear abolitionists were arrested inside the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia.
Kings Bay is the Atlantic homeport for six Trident nuclear ballistic missile submarines and also provides critical support services for the fleet of four British Trident nuclear missile submarines.
The seven Catholic activists entered the high-security base on the night of April 4, choosing to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.” King has devoted his life to addressing the triple evils of militarism, racism, and materialism.
The intent of the Kings Bay Plowshares was to begin fulfilling the prophet Isaiah’s command to” beat swords into plowshares.” Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction. They marked areas with crime scene tape and hung banners reading: “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide, Dr. Martin Luther King”, “ The ultimate logic of tridents is omnicide” and “Nuclear weapons: Illegal – immoral.” They also brought an indictment of the U.S. government for crimes against peace, and, as part of their evidence, a copy of Daniel Ellsberg’s book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.
At the fence surrounding the nuclear weapons storage bunkers, military police arrested Elizabeth McAlister, 78, co-founder with her late husband Philip Berrigan of Jonah House in Baltimore, Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, 69, from Oakland, California, and Carmen Trotta, 55, from the New York Catholic Worker. Arrested at the administration building were Clare Grady, 59, from the Ithaca Catholic Worker and Martha Hennessy, 62, from the New York Catholic Worker and granddaughter of Catholic Worker movement co-founder Dorothy Day . Mark Colville, 55, from Amistad Catholic Worker in New Haven, Connecticut and Patrick O’Neil, 61, from the Fr. Charlie Mullholland Catholic Worker in Garner, North Carolina, were arrested at the monument to the Trident D5 and other nuclear missiles.
The seven have been held without bond since their arrest. They were indicted on four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Government Property, and Trespass on May 3, 2018. They will appear before a magistrate in Brunswick, GA on May 10. Attorney William P. Quigley, Professor of Law at Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, noted, “These peace activists acted in accordance with the 1996 declaration of the International Court of Justice that any threat or use of nuclear weapons is illegal.”
Clare Grady wrote from jail, “We say, ‘the ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide’, and yet, the explosive power of this weapon is only part of what we want to make visible. We see that nuclear weapons kill every day by their mere existence. We see the billions of dollars it takes to build and maintain the Trident system as stolen resources, which are desperately needed for human needs. In response to news of the indictment, Mark Colville, wrote from jail, “Once again the federal criminal justice system has plainly identified itself as another arm of the Pentagon by turning a blind eye to the criminal and murderous course from which it has repeatedly refused to desist for the past 70 years.”