AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. A group of activists have been jailed for over a year before trial for entering the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia last April to protest U.S. nuclear weapons. The action took place April 4th, 2018, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Armed with hammers, crime scene tape, baby bottles containing their own blood, seven anti-nuclear activists secretly entered Kings Bay — one of the largest nuclear submarine bases in the world — under the cover of night. Their goal was to symbolically disarm the six nuclear ballistic missile submarines kept there. Each submarine carries 20 Trident thermonuclear weapons.
One year after this historic action, three of the Plowshares activists remain jailed in Georgia. The other four are out on $50,000 bond with electronic ankle monitors. All seven face up to 25 years in prison. They’ve been charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor. On Thursday, global leaders, activists and scholars, including the Nobel Prize-winning former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky, released a petition addressed to U.S. Attorney General William Barr demanding all charges against the Kings Bay 7 be dropped immediately. The petition reads in part, quote, “We who share the moral vision of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 proclaim our support for their courage and sustained sacrifice and call for the immediate dismissal of all charges against them,” unquote.
The Kings Bay protest builds on a history of similar anti-nuclear Plowshares actions around the world, beginning in 1980 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. That first Plowshares act was led by the late Father Daniel and Philip Berrigan. Phil’s widow, Liz McAlister, is one of the seven arrested last April. She remains locked up, alongside Jesuit priest Stephen Kelly and Mark Colville in Brunswick, Georgia.