News Release

Legal Escalation Against Catholic Activists Facing 25 Years for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Action

Seven Catholic peace activists are facing 25 years in jail for entering the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia last April to protest U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

The activists are knowns as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. They sought to “nonviolently and symbolically disarm the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia” on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Friday, a magistrate moved to hinder their motion that the charges against them be dismissed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. See the group’s statement: “Anti Nuclear Activists, Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Respond to U.S. Magistrate Cheesbro’s recommendation that our Motions to Dismiss be denied.” They are appealing this decision in the next 30 days.

Last month, the group gained the backing of Rev. Desmond Tutu, several Catholic Bishops and noted critics of U.S. foreign policy Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, who exposed the Pentagon Papers and recently wrote the book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.

See recent a episode of “Intercepted” podcast with Jeremy Scahill: “Catholic Workers Carmen Trotta and Martha Hennessy Discuss Their Protest at Kings Bay and the History of the Plowshares Movement.”

See recent “Democracy Now” segment: “Kings Bay Plowshares: Peace Activists Face 25 Years for Action at U.S. Nuclear Submarine Base.”

The defendants are Elizabeth McAlister (the widow of Phil Berrigan), Martha Hennessy, granddaughter of Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day, Stephen Kelly S.J., Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Mark Colville, and Carmen Trotta.

Some of the defendants are out of prison for the time being and, along with some close supporters and legal representatives, are available for interviews:

Defendant Martha Hennessy, marthahennessy at gmail.com
Mary Anne Grady Flores, Ithaca, NY, gradyflores08 at gmail.com
Bill Ofenloch, NYC, billcpf at aol.com
Attorney Bill Quigley,  quigley77 at gmail.com, @kingsbayplow7