Press Release: Ellsberg: Plowshares Action Justified to Prevent Omnicide
Today, Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed the Pentagon Papers, said in a statement to accuracy.org: “I strongly endorse the action of civil resistance by the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 defendants who are now on trial for having ‘nonviolently and symbolically disarmed the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia.’ The sign they displayed during their action on the base — ‘The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide’ — is exactly right. I believe they are definitely entitled to the legal defense, among others, of ‘Justification’ or ‘Necessity:’ that an action which would under other circumstances be illegal can be justified as legal by a reasonable belief that it is necessary to avert a much greater evil: in this case, omnicide, the collateral murder of nearly every human on earth in a war in which the nuclear missiles aboard Trident submarines were launched.
“I lay out the argument for that defense in this case in an affidavit that has been submitted to the court. It is based on an earlier affidavit, much longer and more detailed, with legal references, that I have entered in similar trials of anti-nuclear resistance. A key point is that without the impact on myself of actions of civil resistance during the Vietnam War like those of the defendants in this case — including those of Father Philip Berrigan, the late husband of the current defendant Elizabeth McAlister, and of Dorothy Day, grandmother of another defendant Martha Hennessy — I would never have considered revealing the top secret Pentagon Papers: which legal scholars have described as having had, ‘arguably at least,’ a causal effect in shortening the Vietnam War.
Their trial is set for Oct. 21 in Brunswick, Georgia. The judge is Lisa Godbey Wood. They still do not know if they will be able to argue various justifications for their actions, like a Defense of Necessity as outlined by Ellsberg. However, they can address all of this in interviews:
ELIZABETH McALISTER, (310) 359-2118, @kingsbayplow7
McAlister, 79, was recently released — after over a year and a half in jail. Eventually the government allowed her not to wear an ankle monitor, but she still has to regularly report. She is the widow of Philip Berrigan.
MARTHA HENNESSY, cell: (802) 230-6328, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hennessy is also one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. She is the granddaughter of Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Hennessy was featured on the Intercepted podcast earlier this year. Also see a recent interview with her that gives an overview of the legal and moral justifications for their action, including ongoing U.S.nuclear weapons policy.
MARK COLVILLE, (203) 645-5417, email@example.com, (also via his wife, Luz Catarineau, (203) 812-0340, firstname.lastname@example.org)
See background on Colville, who has raised several children with his wife at the Amistad Catholic Worker in Connecticut. He spent most of the last two years in jail. See his statement justifying their actions, including on the basis of religious freedom at a hearing in August. He also notes a whole series of onerous conditions the court has placed on the Plowshares activists, for example: “for over nine months now this court has denied me the opportunity to meet with my co-defendants and their lawyers to prepare for court appearances or to discuss written submissions to the court.”
CLARE GRADY, (607) 279-7187, email@example.com
PATRICK O’NEILL, firstname.lastname@example.org
CARMEN TROTTA, (347) 898-2217, email@example.com
Mary Anne Grady Flores, (607) 280-8797, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Ofenloch, (212) 369-1590, email@example.com
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
October 15, 2019