Liz McAlister, the eldest of the King Bay Plowshares 7, was sentenced on Monday via video to time served, three years supervised release and for a portion of the restitution for the seven of just over $30,000.
Frida Berrigan offered the statement below before her mother was sentenced.
Good morning, friends, My name is Frida Berrigan and I am here to speak on behalf of my mom, Elizabeth McAlister, one of the co-defendants in the Kings Bay Plowshares. I’m here in New London, Connecticut with my husband Patrick and our three kids, Liz’s grandchildren- Madeline, 6; Seamus, 7; and Rosena, 13. My brother Jerry is also here, with his wife, Molly and Liz’s other 3 grandchildren, Leah, 10; Jonah, 13 and Amos, 16. My sister Kate and her partner Karen are also here, they are now Liz’s roommates and live up the street a few blocks. Continue reading “Frida Berrigan’s Statement at Liz McAlister’s Sentencing”→
This morning at 9am Elizabeth McAlister will be the first to be sentenced for her action as part of the Kings Bay Plowshares.
The sentencing itself will take place with a video conference at 9am tomorrow. An audio link is provided by the court for public to listen. Dial 1-888-684-8852, enter the call access code 2296092 and enter the security code 1234.
Last night community gathered over zoom to hold a blessing and liturgy in preparation. Here is the closing blessing for Liz by Bill Wylie-Kellermann.
In the name of the One who creator and sustainer of life; the One who is Lord and servant of all creation; and the Spirit that calls us together as one, let this blessing be. Continue reading “Blessing Liz McAlister”→
Lindsay shot me a text last Friday afternoon. KingsBay7 all found guilty of all the charges. She concluded with crying emojis. The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 is a motley crew of older white Christians who, on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination, broke into a Naval base in Georgia with hammers, crime scene tape, baby bottles containing their own blood, and an indictment charging the U.S. government with crimes against peace. ¡Personas peligrosos!
The Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base is home to at least six nuclear ballistic missile submarines, each of which carries 20 Trident thermonuclear weapons—possessed with 3,800 times more destructive power as the weapons that were used on Hiroshima. Hammers? They were literally following the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.” They discerned the action after two years of prayer and practice. This was a deep symbolic action designed to penetrate souls. Continue reading “Deep Love”→
Verdict in. In this Federal court in Georgia all 7 were found guilty of all your charges. In this Federal court in Georgia the trident submarine and all weapons of mass distraction are legal. In this federal court in Georgia the planning for the destruction of the world is legal. Continue reading “The Evidence Will Show”→
An excerpt from Clare Grady’s oral arguments earlier this month in Georgia. Clare is a member of the Kingsbay Plowshares 7.
At this point, I would like to take a moment to look at the word religion. I learned that it has its roots in the word re-ligament. I translate that as re align, or to be in right relationship. Before I finish my time, I would like to share a few paragraphs from my affidavit and my testimony from the evidentiary hearing. All of my testimony was about religion, was about seeking right relationship. I will begin with a passage I quoted from Mark’s gospel chapter 12. It was the Sunday Mass reading on November 9, 1958, the day that I was born. In many ways it has been a rudder in my faith journey, one that has informed my religious beliefs, choices and practices. Continue reading “Seeking Right Relationship”→
Hiroshima Day August 6th through Nagasaki Day August 9th in solidarity with the KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES 7
A FAST FOR PEACE
in defense of life and against nuclear weapons.
We suggest the following calendar:
Monday Aug 5: Arrive
Tuesday Aug 6: 8am-10am Fast/Vigil at Kings Bay Submarine base
Wednesday Aug 7: Fast/Vigil at Brunswick, GA courthouse, beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Thursday August 8: Fast/Vigil at sites in Brunswick, GA
Friday August 9: Fast/Vigil at Kings Bay Submarine Base
Saturday Aug 10: Depart Continue reading “A Fast For Peace”→
From Clare Grady, a member of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, in an interview with Amy Goodman this week on Democracy Now, explaining why they risked twenty-five years in prison for their nonviolent action on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination:
The weapons of empire are always the threat of death and torture and incarceration and dehumanization. And so, when we undertake this, as white people of privilege, we are just adding a little tiny bit to what is ongoing of the struggle of people, where the Doomsday Clock has already hit midnight for them and their children and their grandchildren and the Earth where they live.
But I think that what we want to do…is be invitational to other people with similar privilege to say that we enjoy these privileges. But we’re not really enjoying it. There’s just tremendous cost that comes with all this. But in stepping over that line and taking that hammer and actually hammering a dent in some of these weapons system, they give you this 25-year threat, but you don’t know what the outcome is. The whole process is to encourage each other to walk in love and not fear.
Written by Mark Colville from jail. Serving time for the Kings Bay Plowshares
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples. – – Mark 4:26-34
There’s a consolation that flows from this parable, “the seed grows of itself,” that I’d not found before.
Day to day life here is dominated by the experience and the effects of scattering. The collective that makes up this cellblock – any cellblock – is just about as far from an intentional community as could be imagined. Everyone here has been torn up by the roots, violently and unwillingly, from his community of choice. We’ve been cast together, literally on top of one another, haphazardly. The only intentionality apparent in how we’ve been assembled by the jailer (the farmer?) is in the separating of friends and co-defendants. It might be argued, or even assumed, that the randomness is specifically intended to prevent the possibility of healthy community living. For the past 45 years, no nation has invested itself in the prison industry with the vengeance of the United States. Not only does the per capita size of our prison population dwarf those of other countries, but we have developed the incarceration project into a finely tuned experiment in anti-community. The prison staff here, typical of thousands nationwide, are highly trained in managing our dysfunction, but completely unequipped to deal with anything substantive within these walls that might resemble unity, mutual empowerment, or even rehabilitation. They are so skilled at anticipating and responding to our violence that the promotion of an agenda that fosters it is a foregone conclusion. And yet, irrepressibly, community happens. The Rastafarian plays chess with the Aryan Brotherhood guy. The violent misogynist and the peace activist read scripture together, praying from the heart. The Mexican awaiting deportation draws an incredible orchid in blue pen on a postcard for the gringo to send home to his wife, and politely refuses anything in return. Food changes hands at meals; one homesick guy gives his place in line at the phone to another; the old man held here for over a year without bail rejoices with the twenty-something who expects to get to a halfway house this week.
We are seeds, scattered. Nothing good is supposed to grow here – that’s against policy. When it happens – and wherever they’ve tossed me, it always happens – they inevitably dig it up and scatter it again. And we sleep and rise, night and day, and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, they know not how.
There’s a sign that keeps appearing at immigrant’s rights marches back in New Haven. I think I saw it first with the families of the disappeared students in Mexico: “They thought they buried us. They didn’t know that we were seeds.”
Dissent without civil disobedience is consent. Philip Berrigan
Our friend Mark sits in a jail cell again
and I stand in the lunch hour line
under fluorescent lights
at the post office with my toddler
to buy a stack of pre-stamped postcards,
the only kind acceptable to mail,
written only in blue or black ink,
no stickers, glue, glitter, or pictures,
no letters or packages. Continue reading “Kings Bay Plowshares- a poem”→
Reflection by Martha Hennessy
Camden County Jail, Woodbine, Georgia Jail
Kings Bay Plowshares
When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against the Lord’s anointed one. (Acts 4: 23-26)
We walked in the dark, stars overhead, with Orion at our shoulder and the waning moon rising late. Praise to you Dear God, for this gift of Eden. There were fire flies and croaking frogs to keep us company. And to think the logic of Trident is the obliteration of Creation. What did God whisper to my ancestors and then to me? Swords into Plowshares! We don’t mean to make everyone furious, but why turn our blood and hammers into spray paint and bolt cutters?* Why continue to set the desecrated altar to the false idols of war? We walked onto a military base that harbors the ultimate destruction, and we prayed for the power of a message, of a witness that could reach many ears; conversion of free will towards life- giving work and away from death dealing false constructs.
We strung up crime scene tape over the model missiles and over the door to the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic (SWFLANT), a place where war plans promise to take all we love. We wish to indict this war machine for what it is: immoral, illegal, and monstrous. Our foolish plans desire to see a world in which the suffering is lessened, our leaders begin to know what it means if they pull the nuclear trigger. Our action is an invitation to all for a change of heart that will bring us to true revolution.
*Editor’s note: the charging documents and the Magistrate referred to their possession of bolt cutters and spray paint, but ignored mention of the symbols of blood and hammers, which were used by the seven in their symbolic action.