News Release

Gorbachev Warns of “Colossal Danger”; Weapons Agreements Targeted; Activists “Railroaded” for Nuclear Protests

The New York Times reports: “Last Major Nuclear Arms Pact Could Expire With No Replacement, Russia Says.”

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned Monday that heightened nuclear tensions between Russia and the West have dramatically increased the threat of another catastrophic global conflict.

“As long as weapons of mass destruction exist, primarily nuclear weapons, the danger is colossal,” Gorbachev said in an interview with the BBC. “All nations should declare — all nations — that nuclear weapons must destroyed. This is to save ourselves and our planet.”

Late last month seven Plowshares activists, motivated by the biblical edict to turn swords into plowshares, were convicted on four counts for entering the first strike Trident missile arsenal based at Kings Bay, Georgia to “symbolically disarm” the weapons. They are known as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7.

During the trial, the judge prevented the jury from hearing expert testimony, including a declaration from Daniel Ellsberg about necessity and justification defenses for the activists.

Similarly, the judge prohibited the activists from talking about international law, including treaties the U.S. is party to as part of their defense, threatening them and their lawyers with being held in contempt of court.

See pieces about the trial in The Nation by Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy. Also see extensive coverage of the trial in the Ithaca Voice and from Linda Pentz Gunter in the British Morning Star.

The Plowshares activists, all associated with the Catholic Worker movement, have lead lives of nonviolence and voluntary poverty and may be sentenced to decades in prison in the coming months. They are: Father Steve Kelly, a Jesuit priest who is still in jail, Elizabeth McAlister (the widow of Phillip Berrigan who was released without explanation after 18 months in jail just before trial), Mark Colville of the Amistad House in New Haven who spent more than a year in jail, Clare Grady of the community in Ithaca New York, Carmen Trotta of the New York City community, Patrick O’Neill of the community in Garner, N.C. and Martha Hennessy — the granddaughter of Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day.

For interviews with the Plowshares activists and other information, contact:
Mary Anne Grady Flores, gradyflores08 at gmail.com
Bill Ofenloch, billcpf at aol.com

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle was featured on an accuracy.org news release the day before the verdict was declared: “‘Kangaroo Court’ ‘Railroading’ Noted Peace Activists.”

Professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Boyle’s books include Destroying World Order. He submitted two declarations to the court, both kept from the jury.

In the first from June 2018, he stated: “U.S. nuclear weapons policies include on-going threats of a ‘first-strike’ made ‘believable’ by maintaining the Trident II missiles and submarines in order to deliver the nuclear warheads prepared for launch on extremely short notice. I am further aware from my reading and study that a high degree of accuracy of the Trident II missiles is crucial to a first-strike and cannot ameliorate the indiscriminate and uncontrollable effects.”

Boyle filed a follow-up declaration after the Trump administration pulled out of the INF Treaty: “U.S. INFs in Asia will provide China with an enormous incentive to ‘use it or lose it’ by launching a preemptive strategic nuclear attack upon the Continental United States in the event of a crisis or an accident or a computer malfunction or a radar misinterpretation or human error. These phenomena have repeatedly happened before.”