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NUCLEAR WATCH SOUTH | TRIDENT

DISARM TRIDENT


DISARM TRIDENT
SAVANNAH TO KINGS BAY PEACE WALK
SEPTEMBER 3-14, 2018

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OPEN LETTER FROM PATRICK O'NEILL

Patrick O'Neill is the father of eight children, and is the cofounder of the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House in Garner, NC. He is one of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 which committed civil disobedience at the Trident Base on April 4, 2018. He is awaiting trial in Brunswick, GA.

DISARM TRIDENT Kings Bay Plowshares 7 on April 4, 2018 before trespassing on the Trident Submarine Base in Georgia on the 50th anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 are, from left: Clare Grady, Elizabeth McAlister, Patrick O'Neill, Carmen Trotta, Father Steve Kelly, Martha Hennessey and Mark Colville.

ST. MARY, GA -- Among the small cadre of peace activists living in Camden County, Georgia, few are willing to endure the scorn — or worse — of their friends and neighbors should they publicly profess their support for the Kings Bay Plowshares, the group of seven Roman Catholic pacifists who on April 4, 2018 entered the Trident submarine base and hammered on a few idols. So it goes.

In the three-plus decades since President Jimmy Carter brought Trident to southeast Georgia, the Navy base has been welcomed by the Camden County community and beyond.

We are so unpopular that my first cousin who lives in Jacksonville, F,L told my wife that she was afraid to visit me in the Camden County jail because the FBI might ask her questions if she did. 

So what gives? Why did the seven of us leave our friends and families behind to risk jail and prison? Since Trident is almost without opposition, we were compelled by our Catholic faith to come to St. Marys on the 50th anniversary of Georgia native Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination to warn the world about the dangers of Trident. 

One Trident submarine carries a payload of D-5 nuclear missiles that could end life as we know it. Trident is literally a diabolical doomsday machine embraced by most Americans as virtuous and godly.

Such unquestioning assent to these weapons of mass destruction is idolatry of the most dangerous kind. The D-5 is a weapon of mass idolatry. Our action is a wake-up call to Georgians and to the nation that Trident is not proper to life and must be disarmed. Humanity is in a race against time. Either we abolish nuclear weapons or their eventual use will abolish us. The risk of nuclear weapons being deployed — whether by accident, computer hacking or in war — has become an "acceptable risk" for our world.

Disaster almost struck on Sept. 26, 1983, when a Soviet command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system erroneously reported a nuclear missile had been launched from the United States, followed by up to five more. It was only the cautious response by Soviet Air Defense Forces Lieutenant Colonel Stanislave Yevgrafovich Petrov, who suspected a computer error was to blame, that prevented a "retaliatory" nuclear attack on the United States. Petrov, who died May 19, 2017, became known as "the man who single-handedly saved the world from nuclear war."

This is madness. Nuclear weapons are risky death-dealing props disguised as deterrents. The U.S. deploys them and, like other nuclear powers, we train our military personnel to launch them without question when ordered to do so.

This is our peril every second of every day. Worse, our WMDs represent our willingness as a nation to inflict horror of an untold magnitude on our fellow humans.

So, Elizabeth McAlister, 78 - grandmother and widow of iconic peace prophet, Philip Berrigan; Martha Hennessy, 63; granddaughter of Dorothy Day, a 20th century Catholic pacifist who will likely be canonized by the Catholic Church; Fr. Stephen Kelly, S.J., 69, who like Pope Francis, is a Jesuit priest; and Catholic Workers Clare Grady, 59; Carmen Trotta, 55; Mark Colville, 56; and myself, sit and wait for our chance to put Trident on trial in federal court.

Trident is illegal under international law because treaties, which the U.S. has signed, prohibit the manufacture and deployment of WMDs [Weapons of Mass Destruction]. Pope Francis recently said, the "very possession" of nuclear weapons is to be "firmly condemned." Christians are called to love their enemies.

Today, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists "Doomsday Clock" stands at two minutes, 30 seconds to midnight, the closest it's been to Armageddon in more than 50 years.

Like lemmings hurtling to the sea, we humans act as if "nuclear posing" is the only way to insure peace for our children and grandchildren. Distracted by this presumption, we ignore the greatest threat to human survival: our world on nuclear hair-trigger alert.

The Kings Bay Plowshares, acting on the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, decided to "beat swords into plowshares." (Isaiah 2:4) Our actions were a minor transgression of the law, yet we are facing three felony charges, one misdemeanor and likely prison sentences. The court is protecting Trident, and leaving us all dangerously vulnerable to nuclear attack.

Let us recall the prescient words of Dr. King: "The choice is no longer between violence and nonviolence, it is either nonviolence or non-existence."    

Trident submarine at the Kings Bay Base on the coast of Georgia

Kings Bay is the home for the Navy’s Atlantic-based nuclear-powered Trident submarines armed with ballistic, or guided, nuclear missiles.

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"To the village square
we must carry the facts
of atomic energy.
From there must come America's voice."

ALBERT EINSTEIN



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