Peace protesters grounded by US military
A retired Oblate priest and two veterans "ate a lot of gravel" following their arrest at a non-violent action protest at a nuclear weapons launch facility in North Dakota.
DefenseTech, a blog published on a US military community website, said that Fr Carl Kabat from Missouri and two veterans put on clown suits, broke into a nuclear missile launch facility, and began beating the silo cover with hammers, in an attempt to take the Minuteman III missile off-line.
The trio - members of the Luck, Wisconsin, group Nukewatch - said the break-in was part of "a call for national repentance" for the Hiroshima and Nagaski A-bombings in 1945.
The activists used bolt-cutters to get into the E-9 Minuteman II facility, located just northwest of the White Shield, North Dakota. "Using a sledgehammer and household hammers, they disabled the lock on the personnel entry hatch that provides access to the warhead and they hammered on the silo lid that covers the 300 kiloton nuclear warhead that is targeted and ready to launch," the group said in a statement.
They then painted "It's a sin to build a nuclear weapon" on the face of the 110-ton hardened silo cover and the peace activists poured their blood on the missile lid.
This was all done while wearing face paint, dunce caps, misfitting overalls, and bright yellow wigs.
"We dress as clowns to show that humour and laughter are key elements in the struggle to transform the structures of destruction and death," the statement said. "Saint Paul said that we are 'fools for God's sake,' and we say that we are 'fools for God and humanity.' Clowns as court jesters were sometimes the only ones able to survive after speaking truth to authorities in power."
When guards arrived, the protesters "ate a lot of gravel," according to DefenseTech. They are being held in the McLean County jail. The three have been charged with County Criminal Trespass and Criminal Mischief.
Speaking from jail, Fr Kabat said, "We now prepare for the nuclear bombing of Iran with the reasoning that only weapons of mass destruction can stop weapons of mass destruction. We bombed and strafed in Iraq based on lies that the Iraqi's possessed nuclear weapons. We have the weapons here."
According to the group, the Minuteman III missile is targeted and on alert for launch. The missile is armed with a warhead that carries 27 times the heat, blast and radiation of the bomb dropped by the US on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
The activists say that they are following the non-violent Jesus, that they are taught by their faith to love their enemies, and that the money used for these weapons of mass destruction is a theft from the poor and should be used for food, housing, medical care and rebuilding infrastructure.
DefenseTech provided no further explanation for the "eat gravel" comments.
Clowns sabotage nuclear missile (DefenseTech 23/6/06)
Three activists charged with trespassing, criminal mischief (Minot Daily News 22/6/06)
WMD Found in North Dakota: Disarmament Begins (Nukewatch Press Release, Jonah House 20/6/06)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
WMD Here Plowshares (Jonah House)
27 Jun 2006