On Anniversary of Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest, Plowshares Activists Call for Renewal of Movement, Dismissal of Charges



Mary Anne Grady Flores, Ithaca, NY, 607-280-8797, gradyflores08@gmail.com

Bill Ofenloch, NYC, 212-369-1590, billcpf@aol.com

On Anniversary of Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest, Plowshares Activists Call for Renewal of Movement, Dismissal of Charges

APRIL 4, 2019 — On the first anniversary of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7) anti-nuclear protest, supporters have launched a global petition calling for the charges against the seven activists to be dismissed and for a renewal of the anti-nuclear weapons movement. Distinguished signers of the petition include Archbishop Desmond Tutu and several other Nobel peace laureates.

The defendants are awaiting trial for their nonviolent symbolic disarmament action at the Kings Bay nuclear submarine base in Georgia. The KBP7 acted last year on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The base is homeport for six submarines with more than 100 Trident II D5 nuclear-armed missiles.

This Thursday at 3:45 – 4:15 p.m. EST four of the defendants will be interviewed on a Facebook live event to mark the anniversary of their action. Facebook page links are Kings Bay Plowshares and Steve Dear.

“Following the Prophet Isaiah’s biblical command to beat swords into plowshares,” the petition reads, “the seven were also acting legally to uphold anti-nuclear treaties as the supreme law of the land according to the U.S. Constitution, international law manifested in the U.N. Charter and Nuremberg principles. By their actions at Kings Bay, they sought to draw attention to the urgency of withdrawing consent and dismantling what Dr. King called the ‘triple evils’ of racism, excessive materialism, and militarism.”

Mary Anne Grady Flores’ sister, Clare Grady, is one of the seven defendants facing 25 years in prison. “These prophetic witnesses remind us of the urgency for nuclear disarmament,” Grady Flores said. “We invite everyone to join Nobel Peace laureates and leaders from around the world in calling for the charges to be dismissed and for renewing the movement to abolish all nuclear weapons throughout the world.”  Grady Flores points to the need to renew the massive anti-nuclear weapons movement of the 1980s which led to a reduction of nuclear weapons worldwide from 90,000 to 15,000.

“Nuclear weapons will not go away by themselves,” said Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. He and co-defendants Elizabeth McAlister (widow of Phil Berrigan) and Mark Colville (Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven, CT) have been in a rural county jail in Georgia since their arrest last year. This is the 101st Plowshares disarmament protest around the world since 1980.

This week’s NATO summit in Washington celebrates the treaty alliance’s 70thanniversary on what is the 51st anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. No NATO member state has ratified the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In their statement accompanying the protest, the Plowshares activists said, “Dr. King said, ‘The ultimate logic of racism is genocide.’ We say, ‘The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide.’”

The Plowshares activists point to the existential threat to humanity which has moved the nuclear doomsday clock to two minutes to midnight; a renewed and accelerating arms race driven by the recent withdrawal from the INF nuclear treaty, unstable government leaders and the threat cyber-attacks on nuclear systems. The KBP7 call on all of us concerned the future of the planet to work for divestment from and for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Last fall the seven co-defendants, all Roman Catholic, asked a federal judge to dismiss the charges against them under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Evidentiary hearings in November included expert testimony on the nature of their protest as a religious act. The judges have not yet issued their decision on the motion for dismissal under RFRA.

The Plowshares’ petition and further information is available at https://kingsbayplowshares7.org/global-petition

Four of the defendants are out of jail on bail, bond and GPS monitors, and are available for interviews. They are Clare Grady, (daughter of John Grady, Camden 28) Ithaca Catholic Worker, NY; Martha Hennessy (granddaughter of co-founder of the Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day) of Vermont; Patrick O’Neill, Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker, Garner, NC; and Carmen Trotta of the New York City Catholic Worker.

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