Editor’s Note: The following Op-Ed was written by Larry Kerschner, and published in The Chronicle, Lewis County, Washington, where Larry resides. Larry, along with Bernie Meyer and Gilberto Perez, collectively known as the “Trident Three”, will stand trial in Federal court on April 12th for their nonviolent direct action at the Bangor nuclear submarine/weapons base in Silverdale, Washington on Mothers Day weekend in 2016.
Letter: Will Federal Court Protect International Laws?
Apr 6, 2017
Twenty miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the United States. Most politicians in this country are under the strong influence of the well-paid war- and weapons-making lobbyists.
However, the United States at Nuremberg urged that individual citizens have an affirmative duty to publicly disassociate themselves from a known violation of international law.
Chief Prosecutor for the United States Robert H. Jackson, later a U.S. Supreme Court justice, stated, “International law, as such, binds every citizen just as ordinary municipal law.”
International law is the “supreme law of the land” under Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution and therefore binding on the United States and all states therein. The most important international law principles related to nuclear weapons exist within the Nuremberg Principles, the Genocide Convention, the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter. The Charter of the United Nations states, “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat of or use of force against territorial integrity of any state. …”
Over the past 50 years there has been a U.S. military tendency toward increasing tolerance for the limited use of nuclear weapons delivered by weapons such as drones, allowing military planners to claim that their objectives can be achieved with minimal loss of civilian life.
This ignores the fact that the entire point of nuclear weapons is their massive, indiscriminate destructive power.
The use of nuclear weapons is a war crime because such use would violate international law by causing unnecessary suffering while failing to distinguish between combatants and noncombatants and by poisoning its targets with radiation.
In September 2002, a paper concerning the National Security Strategy of U.S. marked the adoption of a pre-emptive strike doctrine: “While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting pre-emptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country.”
Every American citizen has the right and the duty to insist upon a lawful foreign policy. In post-Nuremberg settings, a government that flagrantly violates international law is engaged in criminal activity, and as far as related law is concerned, its policies are not entitled to respect or compliance.
Last Mother’s Day, two friends and I were arrested for holding anti-nuclear signs blocking traffic entering the Trident Submarine Base in Kitsap County.
Our trial will be Wednesday at the Federal Court in Tacoma. I will respectfully ask the court to dismiss the charges against us on the grounds that they are pre-empted by the international laws and treaties that are the supreme law of the United States and to publicly define the current nuclear weapons policies of the U.S. government as an ongoing criminal conspiracy to violate international law and the United States Constitution.
It’s time for the judicial branch to act as the check on the executive branch it was designed to be.
Original Source URL – http://www.chronline.com/opinion/letter-will-federal-court-protect-international-laws/article_5f88f9f4-1aee-11e7-84af-9b23647b5fe3.html