tv Democracy Now LINKTV April 8, 2019 8:00am-9:01am PDT
04/08/19 04/08/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! the realt track of security needs we face and we have become obsessed with spending more and more on military weapons. in fact, have only a minor role to play in the national security of the country. amy: as president trump marks the 70th anniversary of nato with a push for numbers to increase military spending, we speak to joe cirincione,
president of ploughshares fund, about how comscore will benefit u.s. weapons manufacturers like lockheed martin and boeing. then group of peace activists have entered their second year in pre-trial detention for entering the kings bay naval submarine base in georgia to protest u.s. nuclear weapons. we will speak to the four co-defendants in their first joint interview. the kings bay plowshares 7 face up to 25 years in prison. >> we thought it was a good place to call attention to in light of the horrrrific nature f the trident system. we're hoping this would somehow the our solidarity with triplets that martin luther king spoke up. we wanted to make the connections on the anniversary of king's assassination to militarism, consumerism, and racism. amy: the nobel peace prize winning south african archbishop
desmond tutu, daniel ellsberg, and noam chomsky among others, have just backed a global call for charges to be dropped against the kings bay plowshares seseven. all of that and more, miming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. department of homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen is stepping down. the news was announced by president trump on twitter sunday evening. cnn is reporting trump ousted nielsen following months of repoported tensions betweeeen te nielsen n oversaw w the trump two. administstration's draconian "zo tolerance" family separation policy and came under fire by democrats for lying to congress about the policy as well as withholding information on children who died in u.s. custody. in june of last year nielsen , tweeted -- "we do not have a policy of separating families at the border. period." in a statement, house speaker nancy pelosi said -- "it is deeply alarming that the trump administration official who put children in cages is reportedly resigning because she
is not extreme enough for the white house's liking." kevin mcaleenan, the current u.s. customs and border prototection commissssioner, w l become the acting head of the agency. on friday, trump withdrew nominee ronald vitiello to head immigration and customs enforcement, indicating he wasn't tough enough for the role. meanwhile, immigration and civil rights groups are urging fortune 500 companies not to hire former trump administration officials who are involved in separating migrant families and caging children. a letter signed by 41 groups, including the southern poverty law center, reads, "they should not be a logistic refuge in your boardrooms or corner offices, alallowing thehem to step off of revolvining door and into o your welcoming armsms should be a nonstarter," they wrote. the government said friday it could take as long as two years to reunite children who were separated from their families at the southehern border asas partf
trump's family separation policy. the trump administration admitted earlier this year they failed to keep proper records on which children in its care had been separated from their parents. last monthth, the judge overseeg a lawst onon behalf f of separad families, expanded the case to include any children who were separated from their parents as early as july 2017, nearly a year before the policy officially took effect, potentially adding thousands of children to the 2700 cases previously identified. the aclu, which brought the class-action suit against the government, said a two-year wait could be devastating and that the group would challenge the administration's plan in court. in new york, police arrested and charged a man friday for threatening to murder minnesota congressmember ilhan omar. 55-year old patrick carlineo, jr., a vocal trump supporter, who told investigators he loves the president and "hates radical muslims in our government," called omar's office and
delivered an expletive-laden rant, saying -- "do you work for the muslim brotherhood? why are you working for her, she's a f-ing terrorist? i'll put a bullet in her f-ing skull." congressmember omar is one of the first two muslim women elected to congress last november and is the only congressmember to wear a hijab. in a statement, the council on american-islamic relations said -- "the political environment, led by an islamophobe in the white house, has normalized hate speech and emboldened bigots in their actions. the rising threat of islamophobia and white supremacy must be taken seriously." one day after the arrest, president trump mocked congresswoman omar during a saturday address before the republican jewish coalition in las vegas.s. trump pretended to thank omar, before quickly adding, "oh, i forgot. she doesesn't likeke israel. i'm soso sorry." trump's comments refer to recent accusations of anti-semitism
against the congress member, largely fueled by conservatives and pro-israeli groups and lawmakers. trump also attacked migrants seeking asylum ithe e united statates. pr. trump: congress must and cacan generally y so local boror osseses cabe quickly and fely returnedd to their home. sorry,y, get out. and i told mymy people yestster, our r country is full. we are full. ouour systems. cacan't come in. our country is full. what can you do? wewe can't handlee anymore. our country is full. amy: during his speech, trump also boasted of the united states' recent recognition of the occupied golan heights as sovereign israeli territory and his decision to move the u.s. embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. activists from the progressive jewish, anti-occupation group "if not now" disrupted trump's speech. 10 members of the group chanted, "jews are here to say, the occupation is a plague.
jews are here to say, white nationalism is a plague." a mexican man died last week while in the custody of immigration and customs enforcement in florence, arizona, according to officials. 5454-year-old abel reses-clemen, was founund unconscious and not breathing after being transferred from a maricopaa county jail to an ice processing center in february. reyes clememente was in jail ona misdemeanonor conviction. he wasut u under obsbservation after showing flu-like symptoms and died just two days later. in yemen, local authorities reported at least 13 civilians, including at least seven children, were killed after an air raid on a warehouse in the capital sana'a, sunday. another 100 were reportedly injured. houthi rebels say the saudi-led airstrikikes targeted a weapons storage site that was located close to homes and a school. the u.s.s.-backed, saudi-led w r in yemen has killed d thousandsf civililians and sparked the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 10 million people
facing famine. last week, congress members joined their colleagues in the senana to back a a war powers resolulution calling for an endo u.s. support for war. president trump is expected to veto the resolution. on saturday, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu said he plans to annex israeli settlements in the occupied west bank if re-elected. he made the comments on israeli television just days before tuesday's parliamentary elections, pitting the embattled prime minister against his former army chief of staff benny gantz. palestinians officials and palestinian residents of the west bank condemned the remarks, which many say were made as an appeal t to right-wing voters. this is acactivist mohammemed zughayer frorothe group p youth against settlements. >> it is clear for the world that there is no real partner for peace that mahmoud abbas is calling for through negotiations. israeli occupation in netanyahu and his coalition with the extreme right once to form a big government for settlers that
will implement the plan of the century that is led by the american presidentnt donald tru. amamy: israeli settlements in te occupied west babank are considered illegal under international law. in libya, government officials say 21 people were killed in recent days as fighting intensified near the capital tripoli. last week, a renegade army commander of the benghazi-based libyan national army ordered his forces to advance on the capital in an attempt to topple the country's u.n.-backed government, the government of national accord or gna. general haftar said d thlna carried out airstrikes on sunday and that his forces had seized an airport near the capital. gna's armed forces announced a counteroffensive to defend tripoli. ththe u.s. has pulled some of is troops from libya and the united nations is warning that thousands of civilians would be displaced from the escalation in violence, while others would be trapped amid the fighting and cut off from emergency services. in sudan, protesters say security forces unleashed tear gas and stun grenades on crowds
who have been demonstrating outside the military headquarters in the capital khartoum -- which isis also the residence of president omar al-bashir. tens of thousands have taken to to the streeeets since in one of saturday the largest anti-goverernment protests since thpopular upring demandiding al-bashir's resignation began in december. at least five people were reportedly killed across the country over the weekend, and at least 50 people have been killed since according to rights december groups. the sudan government has also been accused of jailing hundreds of activists and critics of the president and of shutting down press outlets and barring foreign reporters from covering the protests. reports on the ground say some soldiers sided with protesters this weekend, signaling a possible loss of military support for the embattled al-bashir, who has been in power for three decades. his current term is due to end in 2020. the trump administration is preparing to designate iran's elite revolutionary guard as a terrorist organizazation accordg to recent reports.
the move would be the latest in the white house's efforts to isolate iran after the us -- afterer the u.s. withdrerew m the lalandmark iran n nuclear dl and reimposed sanctions on the country, despite widespread international condemnation. iranian officials warned the designation would destabilize the region and draw a retaliatory response from iran, which could designate the u.s. military as a terrorist t group. in washington state, motel 6 is settling a lawsuit for $12 million that accused the budget hotel chain of violating anti-discrimination and privacy laws by handing over personal information of hotel guests to ice. hotel managers gave personal data including names, dates of birth, driver's license numbers of thousands of guests to immigration officers between 2015 and 2017, according to attorney general bob ferguson. immigration officials were able to scrutinize the lists for "latino-sounding names," leading to multiple arrests, detentions
and deportations. in massachusetts, the president of hampshire college's president, miriam nelson, stepped down friday after months of student protests against cuts in the school's staff and budget. in january, nelson announced hampshire college would not admit a full class in the fall as well as a plan to merge the school with a strategic partner, leading many to fear the school may either close or lose its independence. student organizers from the group hamp rise up have been calling on nelson, as well as other officials and board members come to step down following a vote of no-confidence from students. fundraising campaigns have been set up to keep hampshire college running in the face of losses from tuition for the coming school year. american airlines announced it is extending a cancelation on a number of its flights into early june due to the continued removal of the boeing 737 max from service. the cancellations will affect 90 flights a day. southwest airlines, which also flies boeing 737 max aircrafts, took similar measures last
month. the ongoing disruption in air travel comes as boeing apologized for the fatal crashes of two max 8 aircrafts in recent months -- last month's ethiopian airlines flight 302 and october's lion air 610, which together killed nearly 350 people. the first amererican wrongful death suit has been brought and faulty software is believed to have played a major role in both crashes. in new york city, activists from over 30 groups took over the prestigious whitney y museum to call for the removal of vice friday chairman warren k kanders , ceo of safari land, which manufactures teargas that has been used against migrants at the border. -- today we're here
for week three of the nine weeks of our inaction at the whitneyey museum, demanding the removal of vice chairman warren kanders. he is the ceo of safari land, and international weapons manufacturer who manufacture the tear gas against migrants families at the border, water protectors in standing rock, black folks in ferguson, palestine, oakland, turkey, egypt, and the list goes on. amy: and those are some e of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.orgrg, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to continue our look at the 70th anniversary of the founding of nato, the north atlantic treaty organization. the alliance was formed on a apl 4, 1940 nine. commemorations as well as protests were held last are to mark the anniversary. president trump use the anniversary to push for nato countries to increase military spending. during an oval office meeting tuesday with nato secretary general jens stoltenberg, president trump demandnded germy
and other nato countries increase their military spending from 2% to 4% of gdp. pres. trump: we worked together on getting some of our allies to pay their fair share. it is called burden sharing. as you know, when i came it was not so g good and now they're catching up. we have seven of the 28 countries are currently current and the rest are trying to catch up and they will catch up. some of them have no problems because they have not been paying and they're very rich. but we are looking at the 2%2% f gdp level. at some point, i think it is going to have e to go higher thn that, probably should be higher. amy: the push for momore militay spending could benefit weapons manufacturers, including boeing, lockheed martin, and others. this comes as acting pentagon chief patrick shanahan is under investigation for improperly advocating on behalf of boeing, where he worked for 30 years. for more on this, we continue our conversation with joe cirincione, who i spoke to on friday. he is the president of
ploughshares fund, a global security foundation. author of "nuclear nightmares: securing the world before it is too late" and "bomb scare: the history and future of nuclear weapons." i began by asking him to respond to president trump's demands that nato countries spend more on military weapons rather than education and healthcare -- what some might say are the true markers of national security in a country. cursed by very narrow definition of national security. default come to accept the national security equals military forces and weapons when in fact you point out a national , security is more often determined by the health and welfare of its citizenry, the system of justice, whether citizens feel that they're engaged in the country and have a role in ththe governance of ft cocountry. and spending on military is just one small part of national security, but this has become the test of whether a country is
carrying its fair burden. so burden sharing with nato countries has been an issue in this town for decades. republicans and democrats have both harped on it because it's kind of an easy way for them to show that they're tough, that they're strong. but let's put this in perspective. what are we talking about here? the world as a whole, every year, spends about $1.7 trillion on military weapons and forces. $1.7 trillion. the united states and our nato allies account for $1 trillion of that. so more than half of all global spending is spent by the united states and our nato allies. the nato allies alone account for about $240 billion. that's what they spend. what are they spending it to guard against? well, if you think that t russia is t the main threat, russssia y spends abobout $66 billion evevy year on defense. in fact,t, its spending droppedy 20% between 2016 and 201017, the last year we have figures for.
so its spending is going down. so why this demand for the nato allies to spend more, when they're beset with all kinds of problems that have nothing to do with military, all kinds of internal, economic, immigration problems, social justice problems, health and welfare problems? why? well, one, it's simple. the 2% solution, it's a simple mamantra that is repeated. and, two, this directly benefits military c contractors. who makes the moneney off of t ? well, most of the money that we spend in this country on defense, a and that the eueurops spend, go to a relative handful of defense contractors -- boeing, lockheed martin, nortrthrop grumman, , raytheon,. and they lobby incessantly for these kind of increaseses, in washington, in nato headquarters, in the capitals of europe. and now we have the absurd situation where e a 31-year veteran of boeing, a corporate executive, patrick shanahan, is the acting secretary of defense.
i mean, this is such an obvious conflict of interest, you would think that people would say, "well, no, you can't do that." but, of course, this is trump's washington, where oil industry executives are running the epa, and pharmaceutical companies run the fda, so it's become accepteded. but it's not right. it's not fair. and it distorts us. and it's dangerous. just one last fact, if you take trump at his word that he wants them to contribute 4%, well, that means y you want europe too double their defense spending from about $230 billion to $460 billion. for what? to do what? what does this go towards? we've lost track of the real security needs we face, and we've become obsessed with spending more and more on military weapons that in fact have only a minor role to play in the national s security of a country. amy: i want to go back to jens
stoltenberg, the nato secretary general. how unusual is it, joe, that he addressed a joint session of congress? let's play the clip of this moment. >> nato allies must spend more on defense. this has been the clear message from president trump. and this message is having a real impact. [applause] of the years of reducing defense budgets, all allies have stopped the cuts, and all allies have increased their defense spending. amy: "all allies have increased their defense spending," jens stoltenberg, after meeting with president trump in the white house, boasting of trump's influence. i mean, think back, joe cirincione, to the beginning of the trump term, when he was
slamming nato and now claiming credit for them all pouring money into weapons purchases. has nato caved to president trump? >> well, they certainly have, i guess, caved rhetorically. the actual figures are not quite as rosy as the secretary general states. for example, germany has slightly increased its defense spending, but it's not going to come anywhere close to 2%. so it's technically true, but it's -- what he's basically doing is trying to come and repair the rift in the nato alliance that presidident trump has caused. this is not a european problem; this is an american problem. the president of the united states is causing this division, almost unprecedented in the 70 of nato history. so this is why he wanted to come.
i don't think a secretary general has ever addressed a joint session of congress. and he's coming because the european allies are worried about the health of the alliance, not primarily because of defense spending, but because -- about the attitudes and policies and temperament of the president of the united states. so he's going directly to congress to solidify these ties. and in the course of that, he's trying to appease the president by saying, "yes, mr. president, your demand for increased spending is happening." he's stroking trump, the way, unfortunately, our allies have come to believe they have to do in order to maintain good ties. was it successful? it was successful. but, unfortunately, i think, in so doing, he feeds into the military spending frenzy that has seized congress. he got -- when he made that statement, he got a standing ovation. democrats and republicans stood up and applauded more defense spending. and this is what's happening in thisis country. the president has submitted a budget for $750 billion for military spending -- $750
billion -- a big jump from the approximately $720 that we were spending last year. what do the democrats do? they say, "well, we're not going to give you $750. we offer $736." that's their plan, $73 . -- so both republicans and democrats, unfortunately, are feeding into this frenzy to spend more and more on weapons, at the expense of domestic expenditures. amy: joe, you've written several books, one of them "nuclear nightmares: securing the world before it is too late" and "bomb scare: the history and future of nuclear weapons." do you think it's too late? and what do you think needs to happen? >> all the arrows are pointing in the wrong direction, so nuclear storm clouds are gathering. for example, john bolton, the national security adviser, has been very successful in sabotaging talks with north korea. the one benefit of the trump
presidency might be e that he coululd negotiate a solid deal with kim jong-un. it now appears, according to reports this week, that at the hanoi summit john bolton sabotaged those talks by presenting a list of unacceptable demands, an all-or-nothing offer to the north koreans that caused them to call off the talks. he has killed the intermediate nuclear forces treaty. this is a ronald reagan treaty, that successfully pulled out and destroyed 3000 nuclear weapons from europe. you may have been covering this in the 1980's, amy. when we were pouring nuclear weapons into europe, massive demonstrations. the biggest rift in the nato alliance until this point was that c crisis. ronald reagan and mikhail gorbachev negotiated a treaty. bolton never liked it. he killed it. and why did he kill it? he used the excuse of a russian violation, which i believe is real but the kind of thing that can be fixed within the treaty framework. and what -- but why did they kill i it? because there are elements in
the u.s. military and the defense industry that want to build new nuclear weapons that were prohibited by that treaty, to deploy against china and to put into europe. so weeks after we announced we were withdrawing from the treaty, it was revealed that the department of defense is starting manufacturing, research and dedevelopmenent, and producn of a new ground-launched cruisie missile, a so-called glcm. you may remember this phrase from the 1980's. it was glcm's and pershing ii's that we were pouring into europe. and so secretary general ststoltenbererg sought to assure congress that nato would not accept a new intermediate nuclear forces nuclear weapon in europe. so bolton is doing this a little cleverly. it's like a trojan horse. it's going to be a conventionally armed ground-launched cruise missile, a conventionally armed glcm, that will go into europe, perhaps in the next couple of years. but, of course, you can easily swap out the conventional warhead for a nuclear warhead.
so i think they're planning to put these weapons in to avoid the kind of mass demonstrations, and later, possibly, equip them with nuclear weapons. this is the kind of cold war policy that we thought was behind us. we thought the arms race was over. it's not over. we are in a new arms race. every single nuclear-armed country is building new nuclear weapons and heading towards a confrontation point. you've got to be a real optimist to think that you can keep thousands of nuclear weapons in fallible human hands indefinitely and something terrible is not going to happen. i am very worried about the direction of the arms race, the direction of our policies. amy: joe cirincione, i w want to thank you, president of ploughshares fund, the global security foundation, author of a number of books, including nuclear nightmares: securing the world before it is too late and bomb scare: the history and future of nuclear weapons. to see part 1 of our conversation, go to democracynow.org.
nuclear weapons. the action took place on april 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of martin luther king jr.'s assassination. armed with hammers, crime scene tape and 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 ankle bracelet 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 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 -- "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." 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 phphilip berrigan. phil's wife, liz mcalister, was one of the seven arrested last april. she remains locked up alongside jesuit priest ststephen kelly ad mark cololville in brunswick,, georgia. i recently spoke with the four plowshare activists who are out on bond. martha hennessy is the grgranddaughter of dorothy day, the founder of the cathoholic worker movement. carmen trotta helps run the st. joseph catholic worker house in new york. patrick o'neill is the
cofounder of the catholic worker house in garner, north carolina. clare grady is a member of the ithaca catholic worker. they joined us in our new york studio in their first joint interview since being arrested. i started by asking patrick o'neill to take us back to that night of april 4, 2018. >> the seven of us cut a lock and got into the naval station kings bay. we had a ready done our homework. amy: where is it? looks s it is in st. mary's, georgia, right on the floridida-georgia border. it was the baby of jimmy carter, the one that brought that nuclear system to southeast georgia. we went in lock and and we were together for probably about an hour and then we split into three groups and we had our new plan to go to separate places. so carmen and liz mcalister and
steve kelly went to the bunkers were nuclear warheads are stored. martha andclare when to the headquarters of the facility stop mark and i went to what we call a shrine, but it was actually statues of nuclear weapons surrounded by flags coming up out of the ground. many of them. amy: why did you choose that site to reform this, to engage in this action? absurd that we would have a shrine to nuclear weapons in north cararolina whee i live, taking down confederate monuments but here we had monuments literally that were replicas of weapons of mass destruction surrounded by flags, the us flag. i thought this i is the most incredible example of modern-day idolatry we could find maybe on planet earth. it was the responsnsibility to smash idols. that is why we went there. amy: what did you particularly
do? you went with -- >> mark colvillend i would to the monument. i i had ne s somhammerer from te simple way ty were me e from memelt downn guns i would runngg up p to the monument of the d5 msile, which ishe trident missi, the st insidus,eadly weaponadade inhe h hisryf hunity. airst-ra accuratwithin 1 yardnuclear apon. i went up to with e e hopethatat my hamamr would t: it. buwhen i hit it, i went -- bong. and thee of cent hammerhead broke off. it was a strong idle. amy: and then what? >> we threw blood on the a second have the face and also on the -- insignia of the base and the replicas and some of the stuff around there. amy: why this base in particular? >> oddly enough, even though that base has been a 30 years, it was loaded with a nuclear
warhead back in the late 1980's. there have been a huge action in cape canaveral in 1987 when the bombs were being flight tested. dr. spock -- it was 5000 people went down there to oppose the flight testing of the d5 missile at the time. but even after that 30 years, the trident base had very little resistance from the community down there. not like out in washington state were the other trident base is where there's always been n a lt of ongoing resistance. they just never had much happening here. we thought it was a good place to call attention to in light of the horrific nature of the trident system. we were hoping this would somehow show our solidarity with the triplets that martin luther king spoke of. we wanted to make the connections on the anniversary of king's assassination to militarism, consumerism, and racism. so we wanted to -- what we call educate the base.
amy: clare grady, talk about why you made this decision to engage in this. you face years in prison. >> i have been part of the plowshares action in 1983 with the griffin how shares -- plowshares with liz mcalister and six others. were they had the christmas oh -- where they had the cruise missiles from the b-52 bombers. it was being re-outfitted to carry first-rate missiles. the doomsday clock was three minutes to midnight and these first-rate weapons were a big part of that. as a young woman in my 20's, was very conscious of the omnicide weapons of that time. last april, the compelling reason for me -- amy: and that was in rome, new york? >> yes.
i lived about an owner half from their in ithaca, new york. amy: how many years did you serve for that action? charge of facing the sabotage, whwhich carry 25 year. it we were acquitted of that charge after a five-week trial, a jury trial. i got a two-year sentence in federal prison and i served my time in west v virginia at the women's federal prison. but now -- well, i am 60 years old now. but at this point, i really see and understand how these weapons are not just omnicidal. if they are launched, their deadly now every day. capstone tos the the systems of violence from the top down to the police gun industry that kills and threatens to kill, but these weapons are though bully stick
that is used in the same way that a gun is used when it is held at the head of someone. even if you do not pull that trigger, you're using that gun. we are these weapons every day and i am not just concerned about if there are launched, but how they're used every day in a , "tohat my friend says extort." they are the enforcement mechanism that is necessary to enforce the systems of white supremacy and global capitalism, is how i see it. and so going to kings bay with my friends was my way of withdrawing my consent from that system. amy: what exactly did you do? >> martha and i went to the administration building and we put up crime scene tape at the front of the doors. this is in the middle of the night, yet there are people parked in the parking lot
working inside the building. we did not go inside the building, but we chose to put up this crime scene tape in the front, put up the indictment indicting for war crimes from the chain of command, the head of the base -- the commander of that base up to the president for war crimes. we brought daniel ellsberg's book "the doomsday machine," which is concessions of a a nuclclear warr planner -- confessions of a nuclear war planner. about as in-depth as you can get from back in the 1959's and 1960's. we brought these things as evidence to show why there is an urgency, why -- not just a right, but a necessity for us to disarm our first strike first world nuclear weapons. then we brought a small amount of our blood and poor that on the ground at the entrance way. we brought spray paint and spray a few things. amy: how did you get caught? >> nobody was coming in and out
of the entrance, so we chose to go over to where patrick and mark were disarming at that shrine that patrick just described. we were there for probably an hour in plain visibility of the security guards that were driving back and forth. thatat point, we realized they were much more interested in arresting -- well, carmen, liz, and steve went to the bunkers, which was a really highly secure area with deadly force. so they did not even look at us until they finished that. what it you do this on the anniversary of dr. king's assassination? >> for me, it has been really impoportant -- the triplets that the reverend dr. martin luther king identifies of racism, extreme materialism, and
militarism, are the key things that work together all the time together. not one by itself, but altogether make a deadly, deadly combination. dr. king is known for many, many things, but i feel like he has been tripped of many of his -- stripped of many of his as a just and life purposes. i want to honor what he gave us in that moment. amy: martha hennessy, you, together with clare, engaged in this particular action at the site, together with a seven activists participated in this action. you're the granddaughter of dorothy day, the founder of the catholic worker movement. for people were not familiar with it, explain what that is about, why you as catholics did this. >> the catholic worker movement began in 1933 under the duress of the great depression.
dorothy was a journalist. peter, the other founder of the catholic worker movement, instructed her in the catholic social teaching. and so the newspaper was there to be the voice of the people on the street who were voiceless. and since then, it has grown into a movement, into its 85th year, and there are perhaps 200 communities around the united states and around the world -- they call themselves catholic workers -- and we minister to the poor. we practice the works of mercy come to feed the hungry, clothes the naked. dorothy died in 1980 and we continued to try and walk in those footsteps of the disciples and of dorothy. amy: and so your decision to engage in this action -- have you engaged in one before? >> never. amy: this is a major decision you have made in your life? >> yes, with some trepidation
trajectories of those movements. amy: what was your trepidation? >> the whole question of nonviolence and secrecy. dorothy and gandhi and king all a different way. they were not sneaking onto u.s. military bases. my trepidation was -- what we did have to undergo to make this action possible. ahad to go through disarmament process myself. the war and my own heart. it is always just under the surface. this is part of my faith journey. to the people i was able to do this and do this action with made all of the difference to me. amy: what stands out most for you about that action, what you remember as the seven if you went onto this based on the anniversary of king's assassination, with your own
blood, with hammers? >> well, the fear in my heart of walking in the dark to challenge the greatest, most violent force on earth -- my own government and its military. in great contrast to the man who arrested as, who was incredibly kind, incredibly professional, incredibly considerate. and he even began to tell us about losing a child, losing a child in its infancy. and the combination of this dreadful, dreadful place and this man who worked at the base, his humanity just became so clear to me in that setting. just the combination of great fear and great love. amy: i want to turn to the words of the late father daniel berrigan who helped launch the international anti-nuclear plowshares movement with his brother phil. phil was t the husba o of liz
mcmcalister. liz is his widow. daniel berrigan and four others poured blood on it or had - -- warhead in pennsylvania. i asked father berrigan about this during an interview i did with him in 2006. >> we went in with the workers at the c changing of the shiftfd found there was really no secucurity wororth talkiking ab. very easy entrance. in about three minutes, we were looking at doomsday. the weapon was before us. it was an unarmed warhead about for itsipped to texas payload. so it was a harmless weapon as of that moment. we cracked the weapon. it was very fragile. it was made to withstand the heat of reentry into the atmosphere from outer space. it was like eggshell, really.
motto theen as our great statemement of isaiah, thy shall beat t their swords into plowshares. so we did it. port our blood around it. we stood in the circle. i think reciting the lord's ,rayer until armageddon arrived as we expected. amy: that was the late father daniel berrigan talking about the action they took act in the 1980's during the reagan-bush years, at king of prussia, pennsylvania. carmen, you were a dear friend of father daniel berrigan. this also was your first action, though you have been a leader of the catholic worker movement in new york city for decades. talk about the dececision you me to engage in this action now facing years in jail. >> i could mention i was part of three prior plowshares actioions develop a group. was not able myself to go forth
with those actions. i really put it off for a very long time. 30 years later or thereabouts when it comes back to me 20 years later. a great deal of it had to do with the community that had gathered. so many of them coming out of the catholic worker. these were dear friends. four of the seven of us went to guantanamo together. amy: to protest. onprotest the torture going at one time at the time. there was a prisoner strike in 2005. so to walk into the room and see the people -- once i decided to explore it again, to see the people that were there was phenomenally compelling. also, all of this occurs in the oftext of all those years the catholic worker, there is war and there is war and there is war and we are 17 years at war in afghanistan. so all of our work come all of our other protests in the city had been seemingly easily
dismissed. every arrest in the city led to the only punishment that they gave you was that you went to wouldsix times and it never actually give you a trial. then they would dismiss the case, but they made to -- made you come to court sixers over the period of a year. the taproot of violence really come the nuclear system, the berrigan's pointed it out pretty early. and we could not have chosen certainly a better time to do it. given the nature of the weapon systems now in the filling out of the treaty. the ins treaty. if we pull out of the start treaty, my understanding is nuclear weapapons will be entiry unregulated for the first time since 1972. amy: carmen trotta of kings bay plowshares. we will be back with him and his codefendants. this is democracy now!
back in 30 seconds. ♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we continue our conversation with for of the seven plowshares activists who face up to 25 years in prison for breaking into the kings bay naval submarine base in georgia to protest into weapons. i spoke with patrick o'neill, carmen trotta, martha hennessy, and clare grady in new york city in the first one interview since being arrested. they are out on $50,000 bond while they await federal trial. they are all required to wear electronic ankle monitors.
i asked martha hennessy, the granddaughter of dorothy day, about the conditions of their release. >> we spent the first two months on house arrest and we were only allowed to go out with a schedule dictated by the parole officer. and now it is curfew. >> i would like to point out that the primary use of these ankle monitors in the united states now is for undocumented people. it is a very, very oppressive system. the ankle monitors hurt. there used to track people. it is a very sophisticated form of imprisonment. many people are sentenced to house arrest back to wherere the anklkle monitors, serving g a sentencece -- i don't want to me any comparison to what they're going through because we have been in jail, but the point is this is a very oppressive, advanced in the technology used to oppress people and especially people of color, especially thee
poor. our suffering is minimalist compared to how it is being used all over the country. and ago michelle alexander talks ceration and the dangers. but it does mean you can be outstside a prison for the m mo. liz mcalister, the wididow of pl berrrrigan, liz mcalister has bn gel f for almost a year now. she celebrated come if you could call it celebrity, her 79th birthday in jail. steve kelly turns 70 in jail. and there is mark colville. how did you all decide to leave jail and they decide to remain? talk about the decision you made. >> i think the time in jail, time in court is also part of the witness, just as much as going to kings bay. i had intended to stay in, but my health was deteriorating.
that is really important that the camden county joe we were in for the first five weeks in time and in glenn county j jl. i got out in the middldle of ju. i have low blood pressure .sually and it went really high i thought, i'm getting blood clots. the food was -- - all jail f f o --was feeling, i want t to get t of jail 11. amy: are you communicating with the other prisoners at this time? >> we are. we had a sobering conversation with mark colville, who got out because he had a cancerous growth that developed on his nose while he was in. i can't say enough about the health care come the lack of health care in prison and lack of anything. mark reiterated all of that for us on the phone yesterday in his little 15 minute call from the jail. there is little movement, little
outside, little access to a library, like no access to good sod even on commissary, and if you are there for any extended time -- and he was describing one friend who had had a stroke and another friend who had died of a heart attack, people who were in their 30's. so it cannot be said enough and all of us as we seek to abolish nuclear weapons, completely connect that prison abolition and jail -- all of this incarceration is part of the same system that we seek to abolish. amy: i want to ask you, patrick, about the legal strategy you're going to use in court. the theory that you're going to apply using the religious freedom restoration act. talk about your case. is inuess i would say it a holding pattern right now. we have been dealing with these pretrial motions now since may.
i would like to think we sort of flummoxed the federal government alone but because religious freedom restoration act has primarily been used in administrative cases or civil cases, not so much criminal cases.s. but also, it has been used frequently of people on the right. the case which hobby lobby won. amy: explain. >> they were challenging -- hobby lobby, the corporation, they didn'ting -- want to provide insurance for birth control, for example, they used religious freedom restoration act to claim it as a religious rite and they won. but it is also been used by others, a man who was not allowed to have a beard. he was muslim and he won. he was in jail. use in the religious
freedom restoration act. it is pretty unique now that some of our lawyers who were helping us -- most of us are representing ourselves, but with standby coununsel and with many other l lawyers writing briefs d do the background work, a talented group of lawyers from around the country. the idea came up, how to like to look at the religious freedom restoration act for us? so it turned out that when we initially told the government we wanted to pursue this, they were sort of caught off guard and did not do their homework. they kind of blew it off. with the magistrate rerealized s use attorney had made a tactctil mistake in not taking this seriously. in many ways, if you look at the act, it am is trump's the first amendment. it really gives -- amy: how does it apply in your case? >> the criteria is you have to that iseligious belief sincerely held. you also have to show that you
have been burdened by the government's reaction to what you have done and that this burden is limiting your practice of your religion. as was mentioned, our whole religious symbolism going into the base was clear. it was documented in our statement. it was documented by the blood. it was document a by scripture, by t the bible, by the spray painting of the religious scripture quotes. amy: and it was -- eat their shall b swords into plowshares." we did establish a case that are religious beliefs were sincerely held. so the government ended up having to grant us world inument in which we brought getting health ledger, theologian at fordham who came all the way down to georgia. what was the bishop's name? >> joseph of jackson mississippi. mrs.,were able to call
which is unprecedented in the 39 years of plowshare history to make our case that these weapons are illegal and immoral and the hearings were absolutely astounding and the content. not only were our two expert witnesses able to speak, but all of us were able to speak about our religious convictions and make all of the o arguments clare mentioned. amy: where to the hearing go? >> we are still waiting for the government's response and it was over in november. us of our lawyers met with the day before yesterday and he said, the holy spirit has hijacked your case. but he really thinks the government is really taking their time because they are worried. they don't really want a court precedent that would be in favor of us. amy: how does using the religious freedom restoration act relate to what is often
used, martha hennessy, and that is the necessity defense? explain what that is. >> the necessity defense has been something the plowshares movement has attempted to o use all l of these decades, and essentially has been stripped of that. that if you are walking past a burning house and there's a child inside, you have the right to break down the door and rescue the child. and so we would like to bring forth to the federal courts expert testimony to show that the necessity defense and the international law defense are relevant in this case. and that has been obstructive for the past 36 years. we need expert testimony on the legality of the nuclear weapons. amy: how much time do you face in jail? >> they say the accounts against ,s are good for 10 years each depredation of property, destruction of property, conspiracy. and of course, the misdemeanor
of trespass, which is up to six months. amy: so the numberer of years su are all facing? >> 25 is how i remember. amy: are you prepared to serve years in jail? >> i am 63. i am facing maybe 20 years left of my life. life isall my personal irrelelevant compared to the creation of god being destroyed, so. >> 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 only hit midnight for them. and their children.
and her grandchildren. and the earth where they live. but i think that what we want to do or i want to do and we want to do is be invitational to other people with similar privilege to say that we enjoy these privileges. we're not really enjoying it, it is a tremendous cost that comes inh all of this, but that stepping over that line and taking that hammer and actually hammering a dent in some of these weapon systems that they give you this 25 year threat, but you don't know what the outcome is. and the whole process is to encourage each other to walk in love and not fear. amy: clare grady of the kings bay plowshares 7 along with patrick o'neill, carmen trotta, martha hennessy whose grandmother, dorothy day, is be considered for sainthood by the catholic church. the kings bay plowshares seven