“Redeemer”

 

Speaker: Norman Lowry

Date: Friday, October 5, 2018 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010

On  August 1, 2018, Norman Lowry was released from prison after completing a 7 year sentence for repeatedly blocking the entrance to the Park City Recruiting Office in Lancaster, PA. To be released from prison, all he had to do was promise not to return to the recruiting office. No such promise was ever made.

In his talk, Norman will share his life with God including the “whys” behind his choices of nonviolent engagement that eventually led him to prison.

Please join us in welcoming Norman Lowry!

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649.

Published in: on September 29, 2018 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Report of AFA Arms Bazaar Vigil, September 17, 2018

 

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, Mike Walli, Kathy Boylan and I from the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, and Rev. Chuck Booker, Presbyterian pastor from Bethesda, MD, drove through periods of heavy rain to resist, once again, the annual Air Force Association (AFA) “Arms Bazaar” held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. More people had hoped to join in this witness but were unable due to the challenging weather.

When we arrived at the Gaylord around 5:45 p.m., the sun amazingly peaked through the clouds. Yet it was still overcast, with intermittent rain. Seeing no police or security around, we walked onto the Gaylord sidewalk right next to the driveway entrance where people attending the AFA Arms Bazaar and banquet enter. This is an area where we are prohibited from doing our vigil. (For the last nine years we have been told by Gaylord security and Prince George Co. police that we could not vigil on Gaylord property and that we had to be across the street or face arrest). Within several minutes we were literally greeted by the Gaylord Security and police. After shaking hands with the head of security, I explained our purpose for being there. This included an explanation about the Yemeni children who were recently killed by an Lockheed Martin-made bomb. Lockheed Martin, one of the 130 weapons contractors attending this year’s Arms Bazaar,  is the world’s largest weapons contractor and a main participant in the Arms Bazaar. I shared that if a gang was having a convention promoting all their new weapons it would for sure generate outrage and demands to stop it. Yet, because this is the AFA and weapons contractors are involved, this is deemed totally acceptable. Immediately, a downpour occurred and the security detail said they had to leave. But before leaving they surprisingly did not order us to go across the street. So we remained on Gaylord property to continue our witness as the AFA held its $300 per plate banquet inside.

During our hour-long vigil, we leafleted (see below leaflet), encountered military personnel (including two generals) and defense contractors, read from the scripture, offered prayers and reflections and sang. Mike read the Beatitudes account from Luke’s gospel. Chuck offered a prayer of Exorcism and Conversion. And Kathy recited a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech from 1967.  Towards the end of the vigil we met a defense contractor and reservist who spoke with us for several minutes about why we were there and about what it means to follow Jesus. When I asked him if he knew about the Yemeni children who were killed by a Lockheed Martin-made bomb during a Saudi attack he said he was aware of what happened. During our conversation he seemed very open to what we shared. We invited him to please contact us in the future.

We concluded our vigil with prayers of intercession, including for the KIng’s Bay Plowshares, and sang “This Little Light of Mine.”

In these turbulent times, let us remember and be inspired by these words from John’s Gospel: “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn. 1:5) Yes, Jesus, our Light, has forever overcome the darkness! And I am ever so grateful for all the witnesses of love, justice, peace and truth– past and present– who have and continue to be such great lights in the darkness! The forces of darkness and death will never overcome the light! With God all things are possible!

With gratitude,

Art

 

(Leaflet)

Resist The Air Force Association “Arms Bazaar!”

From September 17-19, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) “Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo,” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” The AFA, according to its web site, is “the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family.” The focus for this year’s AFA Arms Bazaar is: “Multi-Domain Operations: Leveraging the Full spectrum.” Some 130 arms contractors taking part in this year’s Arms Bazaar have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. These arms contractors, like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Pentagon and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military/ cyber superiority and militarizing and controlling space. This is evidenced by the graphic Northrup Grumman Ads on display at the Pentagon right now that reads: “Building the Future of of Space to Defend the Future of Earth.”

As the world’s preeminent military superpower, the U.S. is the world’s leading arms dealer. The U.S. State Department set a new one-year record for clearing weapon sales, with $75.9 billion cleared by the department and announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in fiscal 2017.

The U.S. supplies weapons to much of NATO and Middle Eastern allies like Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi’s have been using weapons from arms contractors like Lockheed Martin, to kill innocent Yemenis.On August 9, 2018 the Saudi military used a 500 pound Lockheed Martin made MK 82 laser guided bomb in an attack on a school-bus in the market of Dahyan in Saada province of Yemen, which killed over 50 people, including 40 children. Ali Mohammed Hasssan Da’i–10 years old; Ali Zaid Hussein Tayeb–9 years old, were among those killed. And on September 15, 2018, Aljazeera reported that two more Yemeni children were killed in yet another bombing by the U.S.-backed Saudi-UAE Military Alliance. Three year old Nabil and new-born baby girl Sumood were killed when a bomb struck their home in the Saada Province’s Marran district. Imagine if these children were members of our own families or friends of ours–how would we feel? It is a grave miscarriage of justice that those responsible for this criminal act will never be held to account.

U.S. arms sales in the Middle East are fueling widespread wars in the region, as the U.S. continues its quest to destroy ISIS. In concert with weapons contractors participating in the AFA Arms Bazaar, the U.S. is engaged in direct military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, continues its military support for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, proceeds with its military “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contain China, and wages its killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

In its pursuit to dominate space, the Trump Administration wants to create a “Space Force,” a new branch of the U.S. military. The U.S. government continues its “Missile Defense” deployments encircling China and Russia, constituting a flagrant violation of its Anti-Ballistic missile treaty with Russia. Moreover, instead of ratifying the new UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, U.S. plans to spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize its own nuclear arsenal is already underway. And the U.S. Congress and Trump Administration just recently robbed the public treasury by authorizing a staggering $717 billion to be spent on the 2019 FY military budget! The U.S. military is also the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels which is directly destabilizing the earth’s climate. These are all criminal acts which must be resisted!

The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail!

During its three day Arms Bazaar, the AFA is sponsoring nearly 40 forums addressing how the U.S. can refine its warmaking apparatus and cyber capability so it can dominate earth and space. On Monday, September 17, the AFA is holding a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen. We decry the AFA Arms Bazaar for what it is: a scandalous affront to God, a theft from the poor, and a threat to people worldwide!

Who will speak for the poor and the victims, as arms dealers reap huge profits from their lethal weapons and death technology? Who will protect our sacred earth and environment? We urgently need, more than ever, to nonviolently resist all war and violence–from Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza, to Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, Charlottesville, D.C. and elsewhere. Together, in solidarity with Campaign Nonviolence who are engaged in nonviolent actions throughout the U.S. at this time, the Poor People’s Campaign and peace and justice-makers everywhere, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, eradicate poverty and create a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons, killer drones, war, racial hatred and oppression.In the name of God, who calls us to love and not to hate, demonize and kill, it’s time to end the AFA Arms Bazaar!

Please join with members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi and other peacemakers as we seek to say YES to Life and a resounding NO to the merchants of death and war profiteers.

For more info contact: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker–202-882-9649

Published in: on September 19, 2018 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Protest the Air Force Association “Arms Bazaar”

When: Monday, September 17, 2018, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

What: A Nonviolent Vigil and Prayer Service for Peace during the AFA $300+ per plate banquet (please bring a candle). As we undertake this vigil, we do so in solidarity with Campaign Nonviolence, who will be sponsoring a week-long series of actions nationwide during this time, including a special action in WDC on September 22nd. See: http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence.

Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745.

We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd., directly across from the Gaylord National Resort (See Directions Below)

Sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker

For more info contact: Art Laffin – 202-360-6416, artlaffin@hotmail.com

 

American news network CNN confirmed the bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition to strike a school bus in Yemen, which killed 51 civilians including 40 children, was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

CNN cited munitions experts as saying that the weapon massacred Yemeni children dead on August 9, 2018 in Saada province was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.
Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”Pope Francis, September 24, 2015 Speech to the U.S. Congress

 

Dear Friends,

From September 17-19, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) “Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo,” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” The AFA, according to its web site, is “the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family.” The focus for this year’s  AFA Arms Bazaar is: “Multi-Domain Operations: Leveraging the Full Spectrum.” (see below more info about the AFA Arms Bazaar) Some 130 arms contractors taking part in this years Arms Bazaar have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. These arms contractors, like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Pentagon and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military/cyber superiority and militarizing and controlling space.

As the world’s preeminent military superpower, the U.S. is the world’s leading arms dealer. The U.S. State Department set a new one-year record for clearing weapon sales, with $75.9 billion cleared by the department and announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in fiscal 2017. https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2017/09/13/us-clears-record-total-for-arms-sales-in-fy17/

A record dollar figure for U.S. foreign weapon sales were cleared in FY2017. (Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images)

The long-awaited sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain has helped set a new annual record in weapon sales cleared by the U.S. State Department.

 

The U.S. supplies weapons to much of NATO and Middle Eastern allies like Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi’s have been using weapons from arms contractors like Lockheed Martin, to kill innocent Yemenis, including scores of children. U.S. arms sales in the Middle East are fueling widespread wars in the region, as the U.S. continues its quest to destroy ISIS. In concert with weapons contractors participating in the AFA Arms Bazaar, the U.S. is engaged in direct military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, continues its military support for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, proceeds with its military “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contain China, and wages its killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

In its pursuit to dominate space, the Trump Administration wants to create a “Space Force,” a new branch of the U.S. military. The U.S. government continues with its “Missile Defense” deployments encircling China and Russia, constituting a flagrant violation of its Anti-Ballistic missile treaty with Russia. https://www.businessinsider.com/china-russia-oppose-thaad-in-south-korea-2017-7

China has repeatedly stated its opposition to the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system and has called for its deployment to stopped, and the missiles already installed to be removed. China says the system’s powerful radar can probe deep into its territory, undermining …

 

Moreover, U.S. plans to spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize its own nuclear arsenal is already underway. And the U.S. Congress and Trump Administration just recently authorized $717 billion to be spent on the 2019 FY military budget. The U.S. military is also the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels which is directly destabilizing the earth’s climate.

The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail!

During its three day Arms Bazaar, the AFA is sponsoring nearly 40 forums addressing how the U.S. can refine its warmaking apparatus and cyber capability so it can dominate earth and space. On Monday, September 17, the AFA is holding a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen, and two days later will hold another similar banquet. We decry the AFA Arms Bazaar for what it is: a scandalous affront to God, a theft from the poor, and a threat to people worldwide!

Who will speak for the poor and the victims, as arms dealers reap huge profits from their lethal weapons and death technology? Who will protect our sacred earth and environment? We urgently need, more than ever, to nonviolently resist all war and violence–from Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza, to Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore, Charleston, Charlottesville, D.C. and elsewhere. Together, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, eradicate poverty and create a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons, killer drones, war, racial hatred and oppression. In the name of God, who calls us to love and not to hate, demonize and kill, it’s time to end this Arms Bazaar!

Please join with members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi and other peacemakers as we seek to say YES to Life and a resounding NO to the merchants of death and war profiteers.

With gratitude,
Art Laffin

 

 

Air, Space & Cyber Conference

SEPTEMBER 17-19, 2018

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD

EXPLORE NEW HORIZONS AT AFA’S AIR, SPACE & CYBER CONFERENCE

https://www.afa.org/events/calendar/2018/09/17/air-space-cyber-conference/

AFA’s National Convention. ASC is preceded by AFA’s National Convention, which presents an exciting opportunity for AFA members to shape the future of AFA as a delegate.

Gain new insights and skills to advance your career. Be among the first to see the latest innovations in airpower, space, and cyber capabilities all the while bonding with your fellow Airmen. Inspiring addresses from recognized leaders in your Air Force will give you drive for taking your career to the next level. You can do all of this and more at AFA’s annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference (ASC).

ASC 2018 is themed “Multi-Domain Operations: Leveraging the Full Spectrum,” and will take place from September 17-19 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD, located just outside of Washington, DC. As the nation’s premier event for defense and aerospace professionals around the world, ASC brings together Air Force senior leaders and experts from government, industry, and academia. From engaging speakers and panels focused on airpower, space, and cyber developments to the technology exposition featuring the latest technology, equipment, and solutions for tomorrow’s problems, the conference has something for everyone.

 

Directions and Public Transport Info to Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center

Directions from Downtown D.C., Parking and Meeting Place
Take 395 South (off of New York Ave. or Constitution Ave. at 9th St. NW) Merge onto 295 South via exit on left (crossing into Maryland) – 7.4 miles. Take the exit toward National Harbor. Take ramp to National Harbor Blvd. Bear left on National Harbor Blvd. and go two blocks to St. George Blvd. Make a right on St. George Blvd. Go to one block before Waterfront St. and look for street meter parking. Also St. George Parking Garage is on right in case you can’t find street parking (just past the cross street called Mariner Passage). The garage is one block before Waterfront St., where the Gaylord National Resort is located. We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd. on the sidewalk in front of the Gaylord National ResortIf you are coming from Maryland or Virginia use Map Quest for the most precise route to the Gaylord.

Public Transportation
If you would like to use public transportation, take the Green Line to Branch Ave. Get off at Branch Ave. and take the NH1 National Harbor bus line. This bus takes you to the corner of St. George Blvd. and Waterfront St. across from the Gaylord National Resort. Call 202-637-7000 and select “ride guide” for best directions. Or go WMATA web site.
Published in: on September 11, 2018 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Report on the Sept. 7, 2018 Trial of Art Laffin for Poor People’s Campaign Action on May 29 Outside of Sen. McConnell’s Office Another Deeply Held Conviction!

Dear Friends,

On Friday, September 7, 2018, I was tried before Magistrate Judge Shana Matini in D.C. Superior Court as a result of the May 29th Poor People’s Campaign witness outside the office of Sen. McConnell (see below info about this action). I viewed the trial as an important opportunity to continue the witness of the PPC, this time in a courtroom!  While conveying the urgent message of the PPC, we were also faced with challenging an extremely difficult and limiting statute that I was charged under. Ultimately, I came out of this trial with yet another deeply held conviction!

By way of background, I was charged under a disorderly conduct statute which was changed several years ago to grant police wide latitude in ordering arrests. The subsection of the statute that I was charged with reads as follows:

(b)(1) It is unlawful for a person, alone or in concert with others, to engage in a demonstration in an area where it is otherwise unlawful to demonstrate and to continue or resume engaging in a demonstration after being instructed by a law enforcement officer to cease engaging in a demonstration.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term “demonstration” means marching, congregating, standing, sitting, lying down, parading, demonstrating, or patrolling by one or more persons, with or without signs, for the purpose of persuading one or more individuals, or the public, or to protest some action, attitude, or belief…

It was a long day dealing with the court system. All who were present to offer their support showed amazing patience and resilience. The trial, originally scheduled for 9:30 AM, did not actually begin until 12:55 p.m. During this break I received a remarkable phone call of support from 160 people involved in the PPC who were meeting outside of Baltimore. I am ever so grateful for this heartfelt solidarity as well as from an earlier phone message that was passed on to me from Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the PPC.

During the trial I represented myself. Mark Goldstone, an outstanding lawyer and friend who has assisted and represented activists in court cases dating back to the 1980’s, acted in an advisory capacity. The government put on its case, which included one witness, a U.S. Capitol police officer who arrested me, and submitting into evidence a short video and one photograph that was taken after I was arrested. I cross-examined the officer who basically testified that although he did not see me blocking or obstructing anyone, I was still obstructing the hallway.  He also said that I was “actively demonstrating,” chanting and praying. When the government rested its case, I offered a motion for judgment of acquittal which was denied.

After the judge called for an hour lunch recess, the trial resumed around 2:30 PM. I then began my case. I called two witnesses whom I questioned: Rev. Graylan Hagler and Sr. Ardeth Platte, both long-time friends and steadfast peace and justice makers, both of whom gave eloquent and moving testimonies. Graylan, who is senior pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church and co-chair of the DMV PPC, was the first to testify. While Graylan was not arrested for this particular action (he was arrested at several other PPC actions) he was present for the May 29th witness. He spoke about his ministry and the purpose of the PPC. During Graylan’s testimony we entered into evidence the “Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America Fact Sheet, April, 2018” and the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Fundamental Principles.”

Ardeth, a Dominican sister who is 83 and celebrating 65 years as a professed religious, testified next. She conveyed to the court her experience as an educator, an elected official and her decades-long work for nuclear disarmament and the abolition of war.

Both Graylan and Ardeth testified that our action on May 29th was a nonviolent witness whereby we were actually lobbying and advocating for policy change. It was emphasized that our presence that day was to be a “witness.” It was asserted that if lobbyists can lobby without getting arrested, why can’t we, as people of faith and conscience, do the same? They both testified that they didn’t see me or anyone blocking or impeding the Senator’s office or hallway. After they were both cross-examined by the prosecutor, I rested my case. The government then offered its closing argument and I offered mine (see below). Toward the end of my closing statement  Magistrate Matini interrupted me and said that she had given me enough leeway to speak about my views and that I should just stick to the facts of the case. I then proceeded to finish my statement.

Before rendering her verdict, Magistrate Matini, did something that most judges I’ve been before rarely do– she offered a supporting viewpoint to something I said. She said that there was additional information she wanted to add to my closing. Regarding my reference to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist Doomsday Clock now set at 2 minutes before midnight, she remarkably stated that she recently learned that the world is now closer than 2 minutes before midnight. She then declared that while she may share similar views that were put forth in the defense case, she was bound by the statute of the law and that there was sufficient evidence to find me guilty.  At sentencing I shared with her that I was a volunteer at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and that despite the fact that she found me guilty I believe in my heart that I committed no crime. The government prosecutor recommended that I be fined $500. She responded by saying that as a judge she has latitude sentencing. She said she did not believe in fines because it is unfair to the poor who cannot pay them and while the rich can easily pay them. Thus, I was surprisingly sentenced to time served (the time I was actually police custody) with a mandatory assessment of $50 to be paid to the victims of violent crime fund. At the end of the hearing I thanked the judge for what she said.

I want to express my appreciation to Mark Goldstone, who did a superb job assisting me as legal adviser. I am also deeply grateful to Rev. Graylan Hagler and Sr. Ardeth Platte for being extraordinary trial witnesses. I am especially thankful, too, for all who were present in court offering their support–Sr. Carol Gilbert, Mike Walli, Kathy Boylan, Rev. Chuck Booker, Malachy Kilbride and Bill Barbieri–and for all those who could not attend the trial and who sent messages of support and were in prayerful solidarity.

In these turbulent times, let us continue to keep our eyes on the prize and hope on as we strive together to help create the Beloved Community!

With great gratitude, Art

 

Art’s Closing Statement

You have heard evidence form Rev. Graylon Hagler and Sr. Ardeth Platte about the Poor People’s Campaign nonviolent witness on May 29 and what they saw me do.

Regarding the legalities of the case, I renew the Motion for Judgment of Acquittal that I made earlier. Additionally, there is no evidence that I obstructed or blocked anyone from going into or leaving the Senator’s office, or that I was boisterous. Despite what the government has claimed, I did not unlawfully assemble. Simply put, my action was a lawful witness with people of faith and conscience who are committed to making God’s reign of justice, love and peace a reality in our country and world.

There is no evidence that anyone from Senator McConnell’s office asked me to leave the hallway because I was interfering with the work of the office. There is no sign saying that I could not be present outside his office or in the hallway

Why should I be arrested for nonviolently making an appeal to those in position of power that we can’t kill? Why should I be arrested for praying?

The action I and my friends took on May 29 is part of a long biblical tradition of n.v. resistance to injustice and killing.

I acted in the tradition of Jesus,  Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Caesar Chavez of the United Farmworkers and Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker and countless other nonviolent peace and justice makers. Regarding Dr. King, why is it that we have a National Holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., who broke the law on numerous occasions in order to expose and resist violence and social injustice? Because we recognize that his actions were morally and legally justified and necessary in order to bring about constructive change and justice in our society. My actions, I submit, were in concert with Dr. King’s.

What do we do when human law conflicts with God’s law? Do we uphold human laws that sanctions injustice and killing? Or do we uphold God’s command to love one another and not to kill?

As a person of faith I believe we have to uphold God’s law first.

It was never my intention to commit a crime on May 29. I was simply trying to appeal to political leaders to avert more needless death and suffering by calling for an end to state-sanctioned violence and racially motivated killing in our society.

Since our May 29 witness there have been more war and gun-related deaths.

For example, just look at what happened on August 9, 2018 in Yemen, as but one of numerous gruesome acts resulting from the U.S. backed–Saudi war against Yemen.

On August 9, 2018 the Saudi military used a U.S.-made Lockheed Martin bomb in an attack on a school-bus in Yemen which killed over 50 people,  including 40 children,  in the market of Dahyan in Saada province. Here are the names of two of the children killed: Ali Mohammed Hasssan Da’i–10 years old; Ali Zaid Hussein Tayeb–9 years old. Imagine if these children were members of our own families or friends of ours–how would we feel? It is a grave miscarriage of justice that those responsible for this criminal act will never be held to account.

On May 29 I, and other friends in the Poor People’s Campaign, were witnessing to prevent such massacres from occurring.

On May 29 I, and others from the Poor People’s Campaign, were also appealing to the Sen. Majority leader to call for the conversion of  the U.S. war economy which, with the passage of the recent 2019 military budget bill, has reached a staggering $717 billion. How can this exorbitant military spending be legal when some 140 million people are living in poverty in the U.S.? How can such a budget be tolerated when last year 45 people in D.C. who experienced homelessness died without the dignity of a home? Just think how this massive misuse of money and resources could be better spent meeting urgent human needs. This money could instead provide health-care for all God’s children everywhere, housing for the homeless, and jobs for the unemployed. This $ could also go a long way to help alleviate poverty, provide clean drinking water in places like Flint, MI, rebuild Puerto Rico, and reverse the climate crisis by decreasing  our reliance on fossil fuels and investing in environmentally friendly renewable energy. Now is the time to convert our war economy, cancel plans for a Space Force, and disarm our nuclear arsenal, killer drones and all weapons of war.

On May 29, the Poor People’s Campaign was also trying to address the tragic proliferation of guns in the U.S. and to demand an end to racial violence. With some 300 million guns now in the U.S., the epidemic of gun-violence across the nation claims countless lives daily. And we continue to witness the horrific killings of people of color by police and vigilantes. In our action on May 29 we were pleading with Congress to ban assault weapons (and I would add all guns), and  demand an end to the scourge of racial violence and gun-violence!

If the victims were here and could grace this courtroom with their presence, what would they tell us?  What would the several million victims of U.S. warmaking in Iraq say to us? What would the tens of thousands of victims in Afghanistan and Yemen say to us? What would  the victims of the Charleston, Las Vegas, Orlando and Parkland shootings say to us? What would  Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, Nia Wilson, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray, to name but a few, say to us?

In his famous song, “Blowin in the Wind,” songwriter Bob Dylan sings: “How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died?  This question is as relevant now as it was when Dylan first sung this verse. How many more people have to needlessly die before we take action to prevent it?

Tragically, we live in a world where killing has become the norm. Renowned psychiatrist, Robert Jay Lifton, refers to the time we live in as one of “malignant normality,” where the abnormal has become normal. (I was interrupted by the Judge and had to abbreviate most of this paragraph which is in brackets). [Examples of this date back to when the Nazi doctors cooperated with the Nazi regime to kill rather than to heal. Today, psychologists continue this practice by participating in torture at Guantanamo.  And we now have political leaders, including those in the highest positions in government,  who have tried to normalize destructive behavior. This malignant normality is now most painfully evidenced by the fact that the ending of all life on our planet has become a real possibility. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has now turned it’s Doomsday Day Clock to 2 minutes before midnight, due to the colossal dangers posed by the apocalyptic twins of climate crisis and nuclear war.  And so, as Einstein once said, we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe].

St. Paul writes that: “Love is the fulfillment of the law.”

William Penn: “Always put justice above the law.”

Despite what the government has claimed and charged me with, this case is really about the love and justice that St. Paul and William Penn speaks about.

The task at hand before us all is to uphold the law of love and justice and to do all we can to nonviolently stop the killing, abolish war and all weapons, end systemic racism and inequality, protect and cherish the earth and all of God’s creation and to seek to create the Beloved Community. This is what I and my friends tried to do on May 29. I invite you, Judge Matini, and Prosecutor Mason to please join us in the Poor People’s Campaign as we seek to bring about a moral revival in our country that can help transform our political and economic order into one that is based on love, justice, nonviolence and, which has as its greatest priority, serving the common good.

Judge Matini,  I committed no crime. I submit that the police order to arrest me was not lawful. I believe that I, nor my associates, should never had been arrested as we were acting within our first amendment rights. I therefore ask you to find me not guilty.  Thank you for your patience in listening to me.

Published in: on September 9, 2018 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Kings Bay Plowshares Action

The Kings Bay Plowshares Action
Speaker: Paul Magno

Date: Friday, September 7, 2018 @ 7:30 p.m.

Place: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 503 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20010.

On April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. Jr., seven Catholic peacemakers, seeking to enflesh the biblical prophesy to “beat swords into plowshares,” carried out a plowshares action at the Kings Bay Trident facility in St. Mary’s, Georgia. Kings Bay is home port to six nuclear armed Trident ballistic missile submarines with the combined explosive power of over 9000 Hiroshima bombs.

For their action they were charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor: conspiracy, destruction of property on a naval installation, depredation of government property and trespass. If convicted they face the prospect of long prison terms.

Three of the seven are still being held in pre-trial detention and the four remain under house arrest as they await their trial. No trial date has yet been set. See: https://www.kingsbayplowshares7.org.

Paul Magno is a longtime peacemaker, plowshares activist and Dorothy Day Catholic Worker alumni who now resides at the Jonah House Community in Baltimore. Since the Kings Bay Plowshares action occurred, Paul has helped coordinate supports efforts on their behalf. He will speak about the purpose of this action, the current status of the Kings Bay Plowshares–those in and out of jail, what they face in their upcoming trial and what people can do to offer solidarity and support.

Please join us!

For more info contact the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker: 202-882-9649, artlaffin@hotmail.com

Published in: on August 27, 2018 at 1:33 pm  Leave a Comment