Nukewatch Quarterly Fall 2019
By The Nuclear Resister on August 27, 2019.
On August 26, a federal judge denied all the pre-trial motions of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. The activists had urged US District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to dismiss their charges for numerous legal reasons as well as the fact that the hundreds of first-strike nuclear weapons on the submarines based at Kings Bay Naval Base are illegal and immoral.
The judge found the Plowshares activists did establish a case under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because they were sincerely religiously motivated to challenge the nuclear weapons at the Naval Base. Wood also found that the government’s actions substantially burdened their right to exercise their religious beliefs. However, the judge went on to rule that the government had a compelling interest in keeping unauthorized people out of the base, and the prosecution of the Plowshares activists was the “least restrictive” means of protecting the safety of the base.
The seven activists argued that the government action of bringing multiple and duplicative charges, threatening 25 years in prison, is far from the “least restrictive” option to keep unauthorized people out. On April 4, 2018, the seven activists entered the naval base in St. Mary’s, Georgia. They undertook various nonviolent actions such as pouring blood, hammering on a statue of a Trident II D5 missile, and placing crime scene tape in front of the entrance to a headquarters building.
“We took these actions to say the violence stops here, the perpetual war stops here—at Kings Bay, and all the despair it represents,” said Clare Grady, one of the Plowshares activists. “We took these actions grounded in faith and the belief that Jesus meant what he said when he said, ‘Love your enemies,’ and in so doing offers us our only option for hope.…”
Trial Set for Oct. 21
After denying the disarmament activists’ motions for dismissal, Judge Wood set October 21 for a trial by jury at the federal courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, in Glynn County on the state’s southeast coastline.
Supporters from throughout the country are expected to attend the trial. Earlier this month nearly 100 people attended events around the Aug. 26 hearing held by Judge Wood, who also presided over the October trial.
For more info., see: https://kingsbayplowshares7.org.