Activist Philip Berrigan Released From Prison,
Confronts Bush At Church

Pacifica Radio Democracy Now!
January 3, 2002

Since September 11th, President George W Bush and his administration have threatened the world with warnings that nations that do not fall in line with Washington's so-called war on terror will pay a price-you're with us or you're with the terrorists he says. His attorney General John Ashcroft has pushed through a series of repressive decrees and laws, aimed at slashing civil liberties and basic constitutional rights. Ashcroft has said on a number of occasions that to criticize his detention of more than a thousand people here in the US--or any of his edicts for that matter-is supporting what he calls the terrorists. In fact only one member of the Senate, Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, voted against the repressive anti-terrorism bill.

At a time when dissent has been virtually outlawed, there are still some who dare to speak out.

This past weekend longtime peace-activist Philip Berrigan was released from federal prison after serving 2 years for an anti-nuclear protest in which he and several other activists hammered on US warplanes at the Bath Iron Works in Maine. Their Plowshares action was aimed at the A-10 warthog plane, one of the main warplanes that uses depleted uranium weapons. This was not the first time Phil Berrigan was behind bars. In fact he has spent more than a decade of his life in prisons and jails throughout the country:

* --In 1964 he was imprisoned for pouring blood on draft cards in Baltimore during the Vietnam War.

* --In 1968, along with his brother Fr. Daniel Berrigan and 7 others burned draft files in Catonsville, Maryland in what came to be known as the Catonsville 9.

* --In the early 1970s he was put on trial on false charges of attempting to kidnap Henry Kissinger. Berrigan's wife Liz McAlister was also indicted in that case.

* --In 1980, he and 7 others including Dan Berrigan entered the General Electric plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania where they hammered on nuclear warheads. Known as the "Plowshares 8". This sparked a movement called the Plowshares movement where dozens of actions have been carried out at US military facilities across the country, usually involving hammering on weapons or pouring blood on them.

Barely a week out of prison, Phil Berrigan paid George W Bush a visit this past Sunday at the National Cathedral.


* Phil Berrigan, is a longtime peace time activist and a member of the Jonah House community in Baltimore. He was just released from prison where he served some 2 years for an anti-nuclear plowshares action in which he and several other people hammered on A-10 warthog attack planes. These warplanes generally drop depleted uranium. [listen to the entire second hour]