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Jan-03-2012 15:26printcomments

County Trials this Week for Civil Resistance at Trident Submarine Base

They are charged with being “pedestrians in the roadway”, a traffic infraction.

File photo of protest against Trident missiles in Washington.
File photo of protest against Trident missiles in Washington.

(SEATTLE) - Eleven nuclear resisters will appear in a Kitsap County courtroom this week in two separate trials for their acts of civil resistance to the Trident nuclear weapons system.

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons. Each of the 8 Trident submarines at Bangor carries 24 Trident II (D-5) missiles, each armed with up to 8 independently targetable nuclear warheads. Each nuclear warhead has an explosive yield of between 100 and 475 kilotons (up to 32 times the yield of the Hiroshima bomb).

Anne Hall, Betsy Lamb, Brenda McMillen and Tom Rogers, who were arrested for blocking the main entrance road to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on August 8, 2011, are scheduled for trial in Kitsap County District Court on January 4th at 1:15 pm.

They are charged with being “pedestrians in the roadway”, a traffic infraction. The four moved a 44 foot long inflatable Trident II D-5 missile replica onto the roadway in an attempt to symbolically close the base as a statement against the U.S. government’s continued deployment of the first strike nuclear weapons system.

Mary Gleysteen, Anne Hall, David Hall, Bernie Meyer, Shirley Morrison, Dorli Rainey and Alice Zillah, who were charged with the same traffic infraction for blocking the Bangor entrance road on May 7, 2011, have their trial on January 5th at 1:15 pm in the same court.

Kitsap County District Court Judge James M. Riehl considered several pretrial issues at a November 14th hearing for the August 8th defendants, including the government's motion in limine which would have prevented the defendants from mentioning nuclear weapons, international treaties the U.S. had signed, or any of the reasons they sought to symbolically close the base.

The judge ruled in the defendants' favor on all points. He said he would allow them to talk about why they blocked the road, although he withheld his ruling on exactly to what extent they could discuss international law and other issues covered in the motion in limine.

He also ruled that the group could show a video of the action, and that they could consolidate their cases. In addition, he implied that he would make the same rulings for the seven defendants from the May 7th action.

The defendants in both trials are pleased with Judge Riehl’s rulings, as the reason the resisters wish to stand trial is so they can speak to the very issues that our government continues to ignore as it continues a massive build up of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including research and manufacturing complexes, and planning for a next generation ballistic missile submarine fleet to replace the current OHIO class fleet, all in contravention to both United States and international humanitarian law.

The purpose of the May and August nonviolent actions was to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons and U.S. government’s continuing reliance on them (particularly the Trident nuclear weapons system), and the critical importance of working towards a nuclear weapons-free world.

The eleven defendants are members of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, which holds vigils and nonviolent direct actions every year around Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

For over thirty-three years Ground Zero has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.

The Kitsap County District Courthouse is located at 614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA. Both trials begin at1:15pm in courtroom 105.

Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (Coordinator) psnukefree.org

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