Mark Colville Sentenced to 21 Months, Informs Court of Its Own Criminality

by Kingsbayplowshares7.org

Luz and Mark Colville

More than three years after he and six other anti-nuclear activists entered Kings Bay Naval Base, home to six Trident nuclear submarines, a federal judge sentenced Mark Colville, a New Haven resident from Amistad Catholic Worker, to 21 months in prison.

Over a video conference, Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced Mark to the minimum of the recommended guidelines provided by prosecutors. Mark is the last of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 to be sentenced. Five are now in prison. Prior to the trial, Mark had already served about 15 months of his sentence, which will count towards his 21 months.

Mark told the court that its refusal to recognize the right of his family and community “to live without a nuclear gun on hair-trigger alert held perpetually to our heads… (has) placed it firmly in a posture of criminality.”

“This government, in its lawlessness, has hidden first strike weapons with enough firepower to kill six billion people,” he read from his sentencing statement today. The court has a responsibility “to allow the law to be applied beyond the fence at Kings Bay… a fence that I and my loved ones, with much fear and trembling, freely answered the call of faith, the call of conscience, and the call of generations yet unborn, to breach.

“In a very real sense, then, this hearing today is itself irrelevant. The court has already pronounced a sentence on me, on my family, and on my neighborhood. We are hereby condemned to live as members of a rogue state, which, in the face of a global consensus that outlaws nuclear weapons, has budgeted what amounts to $100,000 per minute over the next ten years to upgrade its stockpile of these useless, poisonous idols.”

As with all six of his co-defendants, Mark was also ordered to share payment of restitution of $33,503.51. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation.

Mark called on teacher and activist Stephen Kobasa as his sole character witness.

“Mark Colville doesn’t need me here,” Stephen said. “His consistency, his passion, his fierce commitment to hope are completely apparent to anyone who has encountered him.

“There is nothing in the world of more seriousness than what Mark and his companions in the Kings Bay Plowshares demand that we face. The weapons at Kings Bay condemn us to living each and every moment in fear of losing everything we believe matters, everything we have, in a single flash of unbearable light.”

Mark was given 60 days to report to prison.

Full article and more information at kingsbayplowshares7.org.

Also see The Nuclear Resister for its coverage and Mark’s sentencing statement to the court. https://tinyurl.com/colville-plow-7-sentence]

Letter to Judge Requesting Leniency in Sentencing of Mark Colville

by Promoting Enduring Peace

Mark Colville is scheduled to be sentenced April 9 for his participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares anti-nuclear action. The following letter was sent to the judge who will sentence him. For information: kingsbayplowshares7.org.

February 12, 2021

The Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia
801 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Dear Justice Wood:

I write to you on behalf of the members of Promoting Enduring Peace, an organization founded in Connecticut in 1952. Our mission is to bring together the movements for international peace, planetary harmony, and social justice. We are best known for the American equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, known as the Gandhi Peace Award, bestowed first on Eleanor Roosevelt in 1960, and since then presented annually to leaders of peace and progress such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, and Ralph Nader.

Since 1952 we have supported nonviolent ways to highlight the need to put aside weapons of mass destruction that threaten civilization. We are especially moved by peace advocates willing to pay a price to carry out their religious commitment to peace via nonviolent action.

In that regard, we implore you to show leniency in the sentencing of Mark Colville, regarded in our community as a great moral leader. We ask specifically that his sentence be time served.

We ask you to consider the nature of the time when Mark Colville and the other members of the Kings Bay Plowshares entered the Naval facility. They were responding in a noble and completely nonviolent way to the announcement of a $10 trillion “modernization” campaign of U.S. nuclear weapons, and when the President renounced virtually all U.S. weapons control treaties and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. These few explained that they were desperate to warn the world that we were on a path towards nuclear war. We believe that all of us should follow their example in taking a stand against these supremely destructive weapons systems. But at the time of the Plow-shares action, no one else was listening.

Many of us in Promoting Enduring Peace personally know Mark Colville and can attest to his outstanding and merciful work for the homeless. His family home has been a soup kitchen for years. He has also made great efforts to stop torture everywhere. He has now served 15 months in prison.
Please understand the sacrifices he has made to help make us all safer. Please let him return to his family and his admirable work.

For peace and progress,

James C. van Pelt, President
Stanley Heller, Administrator

Kings Bay Plowshares 7 – Update on Sentencing Dates Sept. 3 and 4

Seven Catholic plowshares activists entered Kings Bay Naval [nuclear] Submarine Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia on April 4, 2018. They went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.”

The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who devoted his life to addressing what he called the “triple evils of militarism, racism, and materialism.” Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction.  They hoped to call attention to the ways in which nuclear weapons kill every day, by their mere existence and maintenance.

Liz McAlister was sentenced by video conferencing with the court on June 8, 2020. She was sentenced to time served, 3 years of supervised probation and a portion of the $33,000 restitution.

On September 3, Carmen Trotta is scheduled for sentencing at 9 a.m., Steve Kelly at 1 p.m., and Clare Grady at 4 p.m. On September 4, Mark Colville at 9 a.m., Patrick O’Neill at 1 p.m. and Martha Hennessy at 4 p.m. These dates may yet again be pushed back depending on the course of the virus. The defendants prefer to be sentenced in person in open court with family and supporters present as is their right. It is not sure when it will be safe for all parties to be present.

For more information on this and other actions against nuclear weapons, visit https://kingsbayplowshares7.org.

Because Federal Government Is Allowed to ‘Weaponize the Law,’ Plowshares 7 Found Guilty for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams News

Seven anti-nuclear activists face up to 20 years in prison after a jury in Georgia on Thursday found the activists guilty of four counts of destruction and depredation of government property in excess of $1,000, trespassing, and conspiracy, charges that could land each member of the group in prison for up to 20 years.

“I really think that the verdict was, frankly, reactionary,” defendant Carmen Trotta said in a statement.

Trotta and Steve Kelly, Mark Colville (from New Haven), Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Elizabeth McAlister, and Martha Hennessy on the night of April 4, 2018 entered the U.S. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia and took part in a symbolic closure of the facility in protest of its housing of the base’s Trident nuclear program and then “split into three groups and prayed, poured blood, spray-painted messages against nuclear weapons, hammered on parts of a shrine to nuclear missiles, hung banners, and waited to be arrested.”

The Kings Bay Plowshares Seven hoped to use a necessity defense, claiming the omnicidal potential of the Trident program—that the weapons could end all life on the planet—made their actions a moral imperative. On October 18, Judge Lisa Wood rejected the defense and in her ruling (pdf) barred the defendants from using it or calling on expert witnesses like Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to address the jury.

Read the whole story here: Because Federal Government Is Allowed to ‘Weaponize the Law,’ Plowshares 7 Found Guilty for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest | Common Dreams News

Legal Escalation Against Catholic Activists Facing 25 Years for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Action | Accuracy.Org

Seven Catholic peace activists are facing 25 years in jail for entering the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia last April to protest U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

The activists are knowns as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. They sought to “nonviolently and symbolically disarm the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia” on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Friday, a magistrate moved to hinder their motion that the charges against them be dismissed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. See the group’s statement: “Anti Nuclear Activists, Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Respond to U.S. Magistrate Cheesbro’s recommendation that our Motions to Dismiss be denied.” They are appealing this decision in the next 30 days.

Source: Legal Escalation Against Catholic Activists Facing 25 Years for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Action | Accuracy.Org

Plowshare Activist, Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville Returns to Jail

On the night of April 4, 2018, New Haven resident and Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville was arrested with 6 others at a non-violent Plowshares action at Kings Bay Naval Base, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The naval base has six ballistic missile submarines and two guided missile submarines.

“Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land. This weapons system is a cocked gun being held to the head of the planet” (from the statement of the seven arrested Plowshares activists).

Mark Colville was granted bail for skin cancer treatment that was successfully treated.

The following excerpts are from Mark before he and his wife Luz returned to Georgia, where, on Dec. 11, he self-surrendered to Georgia authorities.

Greetings in the peace that the world cannot give…

 

From the beginning, my participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares action was first of all an act of contrition for complicity in the sins of nuclearism and empire, and I’ve regarded any incarceration as penance for those sins.  But the jail has also been for me a place of ministry, personal faith-development and formation of conscience. …

With this in mind, there are no misgivings or mixed feelings about going back to Glynn County Detention Center, but rather a sense of rejoicing that, as Dan Berrigan liked to say, one has the freedom to go to jail.

A week ago, judge Cheesbro accepted a motion to return the bail money that was posted on my behalf and put me back in the jail on December 11.

This Tuesday, Luz and I will show up at the Glynn County Detention Center and part ways again, for another undetermined length of time. We will do this mindfully, reaching hands of solidarity toward our extended global family members who are now at this country’s border facing atrocities and uncertainties far beyond whatever hardships we might be obliged to bear.

…I’ll look forward to your postcards, and delight in all news of your ongoing efforts to bring about the nonviolent collapse of the U.S. empire, in defense of all creation…

Love and Prayers, Mark

[For the regulations on how to send letters to Mark, please see www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/jail-addresses]

Truth on Trial — Kings Bay Plowshares Court Report on Aug. 2 Hearing

by Bill Quigley, attorney

King’s Bay Plowshares Update

In the June newsletter, PAR informed our readers about the King’s Bay Plowshares action of April 4, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the seven, Mark Colville, is from the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven. They were charged with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Govern-ment Property, and Trespass. On Aug. 2 they had a court hearing. The following was written by Bill Quigley, one of their attorneys, and published in The Nuclear Resister.

For four hours on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, the Kings Bay Plowshares appeared before U.S. Magistrate Stan Baker in federal court in Brunswick, GA, to argue that all charges against them be dropped. The peace activists set out six reasons why the charges of conspiracy, trespass, and two counts of felony damage to property should be dismissed. Detailed arguments are available at kingsbayplowshares7.org.

The theme of the hearing was clear: Thou shall not kill and these weapons will end life as we know it. Speaking to the court were Mark Colville, Stephen Kelly SJ, Anna Lellelid, Stephanie McDonald, Patrick O’Neill, Bill Quigley, and Carmen Trotta. Everyone who wanted to speak was given several opportunities to speak and truth was proclaimed.

The arguments were greatly assisted by sworn statements from Professor Francis Boyle, Physicians for Social Responsibility Director Jeff Carter, Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and US Navy Captain Thomas Rogers.

What PAR Readers Can Do

We hope our readers will be able to help the Amistad Catholic Worker house while Mark is in prison. Luz Colville and others are continuing the work and have sent out the following list of supplies that are needed.

1) Donations of items for the community breakfast program: old-fashioned oats, grits, eggs, coffee, creamer, sugar, etc.

2) Gift cards for buying the above items

3) Checks made out to the Amistad Catholic Worker and mailed to 203 Rosette St., New Haven, CT 06519.

4) Volunteering: cook, serve meals, clean the yard, sort clothes, work in the garden, pick up donated furniture, etc.

Contact Luz at amistadcwh@yahoo.com about how you can help.

For more information about the Plowshares action and up-coming trial, see: facebook.com/Kingsbayplowshares.

Local Catholic Worker Mark Colville Jailed for Plowshares Action against Nuclear Missiles

by Stephen Kobasa, Kings Bay Plowshares support group

Mark Colville of the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven was one of seven Catholic Plowshares activists who carried out a Plowshares action on April 4, at the Kings Bay Naval Base, St. Mary’s, Georgia, where Trident ballistic missile submarines and their nuclear weapons are based.

The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who devoted his life to addressing the triplets of militarism, racism, and materialism. In their statement, which they carried with them, the group quoted King: “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.”

A federal indictment charges the seven with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Government Property and Trespass. In response to news of the indictment, Mark wrote from the Camden County Jail, “Once again the federal criminal justice system has plainly identified itself as another arm of the Pentagon by turning a blind eye to the criminal and murderous course from which it has repeatedly refused to desist for the past 70 years.”

While Mark is in prison, the work of the Amistad Catholic Worker is being continued by Luz Colville. Support for that work can take any of several forms:

1) Donations of items for the community breakfast program: old-fashioned oats, grits, eggs, coffee, creamer, sugar, pancake mix, pancake syrup, cereal, milk powdered or fresh, canned evaporated milk, margarine, pasta, pasta sauce, tomato sauce, rice, beans, napkins, toilet tissue, rolls of paper towels;

2) Gift cards for purchase of above items;

3) Checks made out to the Amistad Catholic Worker and delivered or mailed to 203 Rosette St., New Haven, CT 06519.

No Jail Time for Drone Protestor! Read his statement to the judge here

[For previous coverage, visit https://par-newhaven.org/2014/12/05/new-havens-mark-colville-sentenced-for-protesting-at-drone-base-near-syracuse-ny-democracy-now/}

by Mark Colville, Amistad Catholic Worker

colville

My family and I are back home after some surprising developments at the sentencing hearing in the Syracuse court. I’m writing this by way of update for those who have expressed their care and concern for us but may not have heard the outcome or any of the details. Some links are posted below which provide a good explanation of the action for which I was brought to trial. Most of all, though, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have been walking with us in so many beautiful ways during this time. We could not possibly have felt more loved and supported, so thank you all.

We all were proceeding with the well-founded belief that I was facing a long jail sentence. The judge himself had made it clear before trial that he would sentence me to the maximum Read more

New Haven’s Mark Colville Sentenced for Protesting at Drone Base Near Syracuse, NY | Democracy Now!

coville-goodmanA longtime peace activist was sentenced today to one year conditional discharge for demonstrating outside the gates of New York’s Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, which is used to remotely pilot U.S. drone attacks. Mark Colville faced up to two years in jail stemming from his arrest last December. More than 100 people have been arrested over the past five years as part of nonviolent campaign organized by the Upstate Drone Coalition. Hours before he learns his fate, Colville joins us to discuss his activism and why he opposes the U.S. drone war.

via Peace Activist Sentenced for Protesting at Drone Base Near Syracuse, NY | Democracy Now!.

Dec. 3 Sentencing of Mark Colville for Protesting Drone Warfare

by Friends of the Amistad Catholic Worker

On Sept. 18, 2014, Mark Colville, of Amistad Catholic Worker in New Haven, was convicted on five criminal charges for walking peacefully to the front gate of the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Airfield in Syracuse, N.Y., along with Yale Divinity School students Creighton Chandler and Greg Williams, to deliver a People’s Order of Protection for the Children of Afghanistan.

Mark and his family and community are preparing for his sentencing on Dec. 3 in Syracuse, in a court that has gone to extreme lengths to justify the U.S. government’s extrajudicial killing and crimes against humanity perpetrated through weaponized drone strikes.

Before the trial, Judge Robert Jokl threatened to give Mark the maximum penalty allowable, which could amount to more than two years in prison.

Note: As you who have supported us in the past know, this situation has placed a stress on the life of the Amistad Catholic Worker, and with Mark away it will continue to increase. We need people to think of ways to help us, both financially and by lending a hand to our work of hospitality. Please put some prayerful consideration into this, and join us if you can! For more information, call Frances Goekler-Morneau: (203) 676-2066; (203) 562-6165.

This article from Friends of the Amistad Catholic Worker first appeared in PAR-NewHaven.org.