“Know where you stand, and stand there”

The Trident Three were found guilty in Federal Court on charges of “trespassing” on a U.S. nuclear submarine/weapons base last May.

Larry Kerschner, Gilberto Perez and Bernie Meyer, aka: the Trident Three, appeared in United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma on Wednesday, April 12th. Magistrate Judge David C. Christel presided over the proceedings. A large number of supporters were in the courtroom to witness the trial.

(from left) Bernie Meyer, Larry Kerschner, Gilberto Perez

The defendants had their cases consolidated, meaning that their cases could all be tried at the same time. Attorney Blake Kremer, who has supported and represented many nuclear resisters, represented Larry Kerschner, and acted as standby counsel for Meyer and Perez.

All parties had already agreed to and signed the “statement of facts” that defined the events that occurred on May 7, 2016 when, during a vigil held by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, the three demonstrators engaged in a peaceful protest, entering the main highway and briefly blocking traffic on the federal side of the Main gate at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Silverdale, Washington. The three demonstrators carried an illustration of Fr. Daniel Berrigan, revered anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons priest, with a statement by Fr. Berrigan: “Know where you stand and stand there.” They also carried a colorful banner with symbols linking nuclear weapons and climate change.

The nonviolent direct action was held in honor of Mother’s Day, which, in the United States was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe as a day dedicated to peace. Howe saw the effects on both sides of the Civil War and realized destruction from warfare goes beyond the killing of soldiers in battle.

The three resisters were arrested by base security, booked, and released. They received citations pursuant to Title 18 USC Section 1382 for trespass on a military installation.

The court, as it has done in every case involving nuclear resisters at the Bangor base, granted the government’s motion in limine, which disallowed presenting any defense involving the necessity defense, international law regarding the use of nuclear weapons, and the policies of the U.S. government regarding the use of nuclear weapons. At Blake Kremer’s request, however, the court agreed to give some leeway in the defendants’ testimony.

Gilberto Perez and Senji Kanaeda holding photo of a Japanese boy bringing his dead younger brother to a cremation pyre after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki

Kremer noted to the court that the defendants have lived lives of service to humanity, and that they are united in the belief that nuclear weapons are illegal and immoral.

On the stand, Gilberto Perez spoke of how he prayed as he and the other defendants crossed the blue line onto the Bangor base. During their action he carried a framed etching of Fr. Daniel Berrigan with one of Berrigan’s famous quotes, “Know where you stand, and stand there.” When asked by Kremer what he would do for the cause of Peace, he replied that, “I would be willing to give my life; to spend the rest of my life in jail.” Perez noted that is willing to sacrifice himself to get across the message that we can use diplomacy with Russia, North Korea and China and prevent nuclear war. Click here to read Perez’ statement that was entered into evidence.

Larry Kerschner said that people do not consider the implications of the use of nuclear weapons and their effects. “We tried to wake people up to what Trident can do – the indiscriminate killing of mass numbers of people.” Click here to read Kerschner’s formal court statement.

On the stand, Bernie Meyer said that, “the experts are warning us… we have to give up business as usual,” and that there must be “trust” among world leaders in order to solve the existential problems we face, particularly nuclear weapons and climate change. He also quoted former Secretary of Defense William Perry who recently said that it is up to the people to speak out and demand action on nuclear weapons. Click here to read Meyer’s Nexus Follow Up Trial Statement, which he was not allowed to present to the court.

In part of Blake Kremer’s closing statement he said, “These defendants have knowledge that some courts and legal scholars believe they have a right and even an obligation to bring their message of peace and nonviolence to the base commander and the government, and that the importance of this message makes it necessary and legally justifiable for them to stand on base while attempting to deliver this message.” Sadly, the court made it impossible for the defendants to use any defenses that have been recognized in other courts! Click here to read Kremer’s full closing statement.

When all was said and done, the judge ruled against the defendants based on the “facts”, and found all three guilty of trespassing. The government asked for one year of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service, referring to the defendants “unrepentant” attitudes. The judge agreed with the sentencing request and in addition to probation and community service, assessed the defendants a $10 mandatory court assessment plus a $25 processing fee.

(from left) Blake Kremer, Michael Siptroth

In a final irony, Judge Christal also noted, in accordance with the government’s request, that the 100 hours of community service must be completed in organizations “unrelated to the prevention of nuclear proliferation.” The judge did, however, note before handing down his decision that the defendants are “highly principled people with deeply held values…”

As much as the defendants attempted to bring light to the real crime – the continuing threat of use of Trident against other nations – justice was not served in the courtroom on this day. Instead, the National Security State protected its narrow interests rather than upholding the Constitution of the United States along with the rights of all humanity to live free of the threat of nuclear annihilation.

The Trident submarine base at Bangor employs the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. and is the home port for 8 of the Navy’s 14 Trident nuclear powered submarines. More than 1,300 nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines based at Bangor or stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) at the Bangor submarine base.

One Trident SSBN submarine at Bangor is estimated to carry about 108 nuclear warheads. The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force. One submarine deployed at Bangor is equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs.

The nuclear warheads at SWFPAC and on submarines based at Bangor have the combined explosive power equivalent to more than 14,000 Hiroshima bombs.

A March 2017 report from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists shows that the U.S. has been upgrading the W76 warhead, and has developed a “super-fuze” that makes the refurbished warhead three times as lethal as before. This huge increase in kill capability makes it appear as if the United States is preparing for a decapitating nuclear attack.

Larry Kerschner has a passion for poetry, and his powerful, poetic indictment of Trident titled On the blight of Trident was entered into evidence in his trial. Click here to read it.

Before the trial, supporters vigiled in front of the Tacoma Union Station Courthouse carrying signs that read, “Abolish Nuclear Weapons”, and and handed out leaflets about the trial.


In statements (prior to their trial) of the reasons for their collective action against nuclear weapons the Trident Three said the following:

Bernie Meyer: “We are at a juncture, a juncture that we created, that is of our own doing. We created nuclear weapons, nuclear power, a whole system of radiation dispersal. We created a way of life that spews carbon dioxide, methane, and more chemicals into the atmosphere which circulates into the oceans and onto the continents and heats them up beyond our accustomed tolerance. What do we do? What will you do?”

Gilberto Perez: “A moral consciousness is needed in realizing love and compassion for all. The revolution of the heart melts away the walls of hate, and war. We must love each other, or nuclear annihilation is inevitable. We are not alone.”

Larry Kerschner: “Twenty miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. It is clear that the actual use of nuclear weapons would grossly violate the international laws of humanitarian armed conflict under any conceivable circumstances. How can the US threaten the use of nuclear weapons without violating international law? The Nuremberg Principles absolutely proscribe crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. How can the US Government lawfully establish a threat to commit such heinous offenses?” Click here to read Kerschner’s Op-Ed, Will Federal Court Protect International Laws?, in The Chronicle (Lewis County).

And may we all “know where we stand, and stand there.”

The Trident Three after their trial

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977. The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident submarine base at Bangor, Washington. The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action offers the opportunity to explore the roots of violence and injustice in our world and to experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.

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Resisters’ “Charges dismissed in the interest of justice”

In an extraordinary decision yesterday, Friday, September 30, 2016 a Kitsap County Court Judge dismissed charges against two nuclear resisters.

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson appeared before Judge Marilyn Paja in Kitsap County District Court on charges of being in the roadway illegally stemming from their nonviolent direct action on August 8th during a vigil at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor Main Gate.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson blocking the roadway on August 8th

Sue Ablao and Mack Johnson blocking the roadway on August 8th

During the vigil, Ablao and Johnson carried a banner onto the roadway, blocking traffic entering the base. The banner was identical to the bus ad currently running on Seattle Metro Transit buses that reads, “20 miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S.” The banner included a map with a line drawn from Bangor to Seattle.

Both were subsequently removed from the roadway by Washington State Patrol officers and issued citations for being in the roadway illegally before being released.

Both Ablao and Johnson appeared in court to mitigate their charges.

At the courthouse; Sue Ablao (l) and Mack Johsnon (r).

At the courthouse on September 30th.

In her statement to the court, Ablao said (in part):

Our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren deserve better. They deserve a life. They deserve a nuclear free world. And that is why I stepped in the road to say, never again, no business as usual, at this base.

Ablao also quoted from a recent Op-Ed in the Seattle Times by David Hall and Leonard Eiger of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action:

The use of nuclear weapons is illegal under international law and humanitarian law – unusable because there is no way to limit escalation, are exorbitantly expensive, and are a massive diversion of human talent and resources away from resources, diplomacy, foreign assistance, innovation and public health.

After listening to each defendant’s testimony, Judge Paja dismissed the infractions for both Ablao and Johnson “in the interest of justice.”  She also thanked them both for their service and action.

And we also thank our fellow resisters for their service and (nonviolent direct) action. Through our continuing and concerted actions may we hasten the day when there will be a totally different, peaceful and sustainable “business” at what is now the Bangor Trident ballistic submarine base.

Click here to read Sue Ablao’s full statement to the court.

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Bangor Eight Guilty of Faithful Resistance

Eight peace activists stood trial On Friday, April 1, 2016 in US District Court on charges of trespassing onto a US nuclear weapons base.

On August 10, 2015 the eight activists crossed the blue line onto Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, which represents the largest operational concentration of nuclear weapons in the US arsenal, in an act of nonviolent civil resistance. Some staged a die-in, spreading ashes around others’ bodies on the asphalt, while two members of the group attempted to deliver a letter to the base commander (CLICK HERE to read the letter) urging him to uphold international law regarding nuclear weapons.

All were charged with trespassing onto a closed military installation and released on the same day; they were arraigned in November 2015.

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons in the US arsenal. Each of the 8 Trident submarines at Bangor carries up to 24 Trident II (D-5) missiles, each capable of being armed with as many as 8 independently targetable thermonuclear warheads. Each nuclear warhead has an explosive force of between 100 and 475 kilotons (up to 30 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb).

The eight defendants, who call themselves the Bangor Eight, are Mary Gleysteen, Kingston, WA; Anne Hall, Lopez Island, WA; Ann Kittredge, Quilcene, WA; Betsy Lamb, Bend, OR; Peggy Love, East Wenatchee, WA; Emilie Marlinghaus, Bend, OR; Elizabeth Murray, Poulsbo, WA; and Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA.

Bangor Eight defendants (L to R): Anne Hall, Mary Gleysteen, Ann Kittredge, Michael Siptroth, Emilie Marlinghaus, Betsy Lamb, Peggy Love, Elizabeth Murray

Bangor Eight defendants (L to R): Anne Hall, Mary Gleysteen, Ann Kittredge, Michael Siptroth, Emilie Marlinghaus, Betsy Lamb, Peggy Love, Elizabeth Murray

The Honorable David W. Christel, United States Magistrate Judge, presided over the April 1, 2016 trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Tacoma. Attorney Ken Kagan, who has represented nuclear resisters for many years, assisted the defendants. Kagan represented five of the defendants, while Lamb, Murray and Siptroth acted in their own defense (pro se).

The eight separate cases were all heard together as the defendants requested and consented to a consolidated trial.

Judge Christel accepted the motion by the government to exclude a wide range of evidence that could be used in the defense including necessity defense, international law, in-force treaties, and policies of the US government regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

The prosecution opened, stating that there is a “thin blue line” [on the roadway entering the base] marking the boundary of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. All protest and other forms of speech are allowed outside of the blue line. The defendants crossed the line, were ordered to leave, and did not comply. Therefore the court should find them guilty.

Kagan opened for the defense by saying that, “each person has a very definite point of view as to why they were there” He further stated that he would, “let the testimony unfold as it will.” He then offered the August 10, 2016 letter, which the defendants attempted to deliver to Commander Zwolfer, to be entered into evidence.

The Judge examined the letter and stated that he found, “no foundation for this” [the letter], and would hold defendants’ exhibit 1 for decision later in the trial. The letter was ultimately entered into evidence.

Although severely hamstrung by the court’s decision to disallow the many reasonable defenses sought by the defendants, they nevertheless proceeded with their testimonies. The defendants spoke eloquently and passionately on their own behalf.

The defendants were then called, one at a time, to take the stand.

Betsy Lamb was the first to take the stand. She said that she was, “here today because it is so important for me to stand up and call our nation to lead the international effort to abolish nuclear weapons.” She started to read the text of the August 10th letter, to which the prosecution objected. After reviewing the letter Judge Christell admitted it as evidence and allowed Lamb to read portions of it into the record. Lamb said that, “we [as a nation] need to conform to what we expect of other nations” and that “we were calling on Capt. Zwolfer” to act in good conscience. “In my defense, I say only that as a person of faith and conscience, when I see something as wrong as our proliferation of nuclear weapons systems and their current and proposed use, I have to act.” Lamb concluded by asking the judge “to step outside the box that is contiguous with your comfort zone. Act in whatever way(s) you feel appropriate to address the menace of nuclear weapons. Perhaps – for one thing – here today, find our actions justified, as an initial step.” (CLICK HERE to read Betsy Lamb’s full trial statement).

Mary Gleysteen took the stand next, providing some background on her current activism. Among the stories she told was how, as a child in a military family in 1955 while living in Quantico, Virginia, her mother allowed her to drink from the “colored only” drinking fountain, telling her that if you see something that is wrong you need to say or do something to correct it. Her growth in activism went from signatures to action; from protesting weapons shipments from Bangor to Vietnam to protesting Bangor’s first-strike ballistic missile submarines. Gleysteen stressed how she has engaged in every form of “legal” protest over the years, including contacting members of congress and the executive branch, all to no avail. She has also spent decades leafleting at Bangor. She “knows what goes on at the Bangor base” and “felt compelled by the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing off Nagasaki” to take action. She concluded by stating that her purpose on August 10th was “to express my opposition to nuclear weapons as immoral, irresponsible and unsafe.”

In speaking of her reasons for her action on August 10th, Ann Kittredge spoke emotionally of her sense of duty to her (and other people’s) children and grandchildren. Although her testimony was brief, it was strong and to the point.

Upon taking the stand, Emilie Marlinghaus gave the names and ages of her children and grandchildren to point out the reason she took action against nuclear weapons – her first ever – on August 10th. Following the death of her husband, and having raised her children, she came to the realization that those skills developed through her early life would serve her well in her new life of activism. This new life began with protests against the Iraq war. To help explain her passion for activism Marlinghaus quoted the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who said, “I want my whole life to be a protest against war and political tyranny. No to everything that destroys life. Yes to everything that affirms it.”

Elizabeth Murray, who spent 27 years with the CIA, explained how her experience as a government bureaucrat made her understand that so often the “last thing on their [the government’s] mind is collateral damage” when making so many decisions involving the potential loss of lives through the use of “kinetic action.” Murray also quoted Robert Shetterly, the painter of “Americans Who Tell The Truth,” who said that “dissent is the prerequisite for democracy.” (CLICK HERE to read Elizabeth Murray’s full trial statement)

Michael Siptroth began his statement by quoting Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson: “We’ve never said protests are the answer, but protests create space for the answer. Protest is disruption. Protest is confrontation. Protest is the end of silence, and what protest does is it creates space for other work to happen.” Siptroth said that he would not “be silent as my government prepares for war, developing weapons of mass destruction while depriving millions of people basic human dignity and peace,” and violating “domestic and international law.”

Peggy Love began by explaining that she was born on August 8, 1945, in between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That has become an important reminder for her over the years. August 2015 was not only the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, but her 70th birthday as well as her first birthday without her husband Jerry, who died of cancer and worked with Naval nuclear reactors during his career. Love could not acknowledge her 70 birthday without speaking out against the nuclear weapons at Bangor. “I did what I believe to be the act of a good citizen… exercised my first amendment rights.” (CLICK HERE to read Peggy Love’s full trial statement)

Anne Hall, an “ordained minister in the evangelical lutheran church” said she has lived “most of my life as a Christian… have tried to live as Jesus taught me to live.” Hall referred to the story of the Good Samaritan, saying that “we are called to love most of all the people we are taught to despise.” Hall said that she is “sure that Jesus would be appalled by nuclear weapons…” and that she is also “sure he would have stood in front of trains bringing nuclear weapons into a base… would have blocked roads and would have done everything he could” to abolish nuclear weapons. Hall also spoke of the history of leafleting people working at Bangor, and how at the height of leafleting efforts there were leaflets on bulletin boards all over the base, and that some people have left their jobs as a result of leafleting. She spoke of her vision of people at the base going on strike, and refusing to work on nuclear weapons. Hall stated how the nuclear danger now is as great or greater than it was during the Cold War; how the rest of the nuclear nations are modernizing in response to US modernization and Russia is angry about NATO expansion. On August 10th she “wanted to communicate to base workers, the public and ourselves that the only way to avert the increasing risk of nuclear war is to work with every ounce of our strength both domestically and globally to outlaw nuclear weapons and to put in place comprehensive safeguards so these weapons will be dismantled and abolished forever. (CLICK HERE to read Anne Hall’s full trial statement)

In his closing arguments, attorney Kagan argued that under the trespassing statute, in this case, the first amendment (attempting to convey a crucial political idea) justifies the defendants’ attempted entry, and therefore does not constitute trespassing under this statute as there was no obstruction or vandalism. The trespassing statute, 18 U.S. Code § 1382 – Entering military, naval, or Coast Guard property, can be enforced “if a person enters for a purpose prohibited by law.”

Judge Christell found that Kagan did not present adequate justification to support his argument and, based on the factual findings, found that each person had entered the base that is within the jurisdiction of the US without prior authorization and for a purpose prohibited by law or lawful regulation, constituting a violation of section 1382. Having found them guilty and in violation of section 1382 he moved to sentencing.

During sentencing the government called one witness, Christopher Crane, Operations Officer for Bangor Base Security. Crane explained that he and others from the base visited with members of the Ground Zero Center community (GZ) before the August 10th action and learned about the groups basic plans for the weekend. He further stated that he and his team had already made an action plan before the meeting with GZ. The action plan was designed “to cover all possible scenarios” and was approved by the “commanding officer of the base.” The total number of base personnel involved was about 25, “taking people away from their regular jobs.” Crane cited 70 to 75 hours of preparation to handle the protest.

Kagan, in response, said that 70 to 75 hours of preparation was “overkill” based on the history of Ground Zero’s nonviolent actions at the base. The organization has a flawless safety record, utilizing trained Peacekeepers who ensure everyone’s safety and act as liaisons to law enforcement personell.

Although the Government did not ask for confinement or fines, it did recommend one year of supervised probation and community service; 100 hours for Kittredge, Love, Marlinghaus and Murray; 150 hours for Gleysteen, Lamb and Siptroth; and 200 hours for Hall. The graduated community service hours were based on the defendants respective prior records of barment letters and convictions. In addition, the community service would have to be conducted with an “organization unrelated to nuclear disarmament.”

Kagan told the judge that these are “people with deeply held values who are deeply concerned” about our nation’s nuclear weapons policies and practices. He quoted a sign at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station that said, “Pardon our noise; it’s the sound of freedom,” going on to say that, “well, what this group did is part of the cost of freedom.”

Siptroth spoke to what he called the narrowness of the prosecutions overly strict interpretation of the law. He told the court that the sentences handed out will not stop the defendants from repeating their actions in the future. “We will be back here again and again until you understand that you are trying to impose a very narrow legal interpretation.”

Judge Christell accepted the Government’s recommendation of one year probation, and did not impose the recommended graduated community service hours; he gave a flat 100 hours to all defendants. He agreed to the government’s recommendation that the service be conducted with an “organization unrelated to nuclear disarmament.”

After the trial Rev. Hall reflected on sentencing: “When Magistrate Chrystel said our community service couldn’t go to work for nuclear disarmament, I wanted to say, ‘Did you hear what we were saying? Does it occur to you that if we don’t avert nuclear war there won’t be any community to serve?’”

While the verdict was disappointing to the defendants and their supporters in the courtroom, all agreed that they had presented a worthy collective defense. In reality, however, it was not the defendants at this trial who should have had to defend their actions; it is our government, whose actions are, ironically, indefensible. A nation that continues to modernize its nuclear weapons systems and holds humanity under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, while ignoring treaty obligations and international humanitarian law, is both morally bankrupt and guilty of the highest crimes against humanity.

President Obama, at the close of last week’s Nuclear Security Summit, extolled “the extensive and impressive national action steps that many of us have taken, and the collective efforts that we’ve made to reduce the amount of nuclear material that might be accessible to terrorists around the world.” Although it is important to keep nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, the risks posed by the nuclear nations’ continuing escalation of a new nuclear arms race are huge by comparison. It is of critical importance that the U.S. and Russia begin a serious dialogue, and begin to make progress, on nuclear disarmament to send a clear message to the much smaller nuclear powers and move the process forward toward global disarmament within a comprehensive, multilateral, strict, legal framework.

Before the trial, supporters of the Bangor Eight held a vigil protesting nuclear weapons in front of the Tacoma Union Station Courthouse; their message was clear and concise. They also held a commissioning of the eight defendants before everyone entered the courthouse for trial.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download


Earlier in the day the defendants met with attorney Ken Kagan at Jean’s House of Prayer at the Tacoma Catholic Worker in preparation for trial. We are grateful to the Tacoma Catholic Worker community for their support and gracious hospitality.

Ken Kagan (left) meeting with defendants before trial

Ken Kagan (left) meeting with defendants before trial

The Bangor Eight also wish to extend a huge Thank You to Ken Kagan who provided his legal assistance completely pro bono (at no cost).

The U.S. Navy’s current planning for a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines, costing nearly $100 billion to build, is accelerating the rapidly developing submarine nuclear arms race. It has been estimated that by the time the new generation of ballistic missile submarines are put into service, they will represent 70 percent of the nation’s deployed nuclear warheads.

Ground Zero’s NO To NEW TRIDENT Campaign (notnt.org) is working to de-fund the Navy’s plans for the next generation ballistic missile submarine.

For nearly forty years Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.


Trial-Related Documents

CLICK HERE to read the 8/10/2016 letter to Captain Zwolfer.

CLICK HERE to read Anne Hall’s trial statement.

CLICK HERE to read Betsy Lamb’s trial statement.

CLICK HERE to read Peggy Love’s trial statement.

(CLICK HERE to read Elizabeth Murray’s full trial statement)

(CLICK HERE to read Michael Siptroth’s full trial statement)

NOTE: We will post additional statements as they become available.



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Michael Siptroth’s Statement to the Judge

Michael Siptroth, one of the four resisters who recently had mitigation hearings in Kitsap District Court on October 27th, wrote a formal statement, which he read to the judge. Michael provided us with a copy, which we’ve scanned to share with you here. With thanks to Michael and his colleagues for their dedication to the abolition of nuclear weapons, and a just, peaceful world. Click here if you would like to read the PDF version of Michael’s letter.watch Power Rangers film online now

Michael Siptroth, Statement, 2015-10-27_0001

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Eight Resisters Arraigned for August Action at Bangor

The eight resisters who were arrested for “trespassing” on the Bangor Trident base in August of this year had their initial day in US District Court yesterday. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Strombom presided over their arraignments.

Earlier that morning supporters gathered to vigil in front of the courthouse, carrying “Abolish Nuclear Weapons” signs and handing out leaflets to the passersby.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)


Background: On August 10th the eight activists crossed the blue line onto Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, which represents the largest operational concentration of nuclear weapons in the US arsenal, in an act of nonviolent civil resistance. Some staged a die-in, spreading ashes around others’ bodies on the asphalt, while others attempted to deliver a letter to the base commander urging him to uphold international law (among other things). You can read the letter to the base commander here.

The eight defendants are Mary Gleysteen, Kingston, WA; Anne Hall, Lopez Island, WA; Ann Kittredge, Quilcene, WA; Betsy Lamb, Bend, OR; Peggy Love, East Wenatchee, WA; Emilie Marlinghaus, Bend, OR; Elizabeth Murray, Poulsbo, WA; and Michael Siptroth, Belfair, WA.

The maximum penalties for the trespassing charge are 6 months in prison, $5000, $10 special assessment, and $25 processing fee. The government is evidently not pursuing prison time for the defendants.

The defendants were called one by one to enter their pleas; all defendants pleaded “not guilty.”Michael Siptroth, who is representing himself, pleaded “not guilty on behalf of all the children of the world.” Betsy Lamb, also representing herself, said that she was pleading “not guilty on behalf of our Mother Earth…”

The defendant’s trial date – all will be tried together – was set for April 1, 2016 at 1:30 PM before Judge David W. Christel in Courtroom C, Tacoma Union Station Courthouse.

Attorney, and longtime friend and legal supporter of nuclear resisters, Ken Kagan was with the defendants for the arraignments, and will be representing many of them in their April trial. Three of the defendants are representing themselves (“pro se”).

Judge Strombom expressed her concern to Kagan about him representing so many defendants together, as it can be difficult for so many defendants to have cohesive and consistent defenses. Ken explained the unique situation that exists in the case of this affinity group (and the historical context), and stated that he is confident the defendants can work together and be consistent in their defenses, and that “everyone takes full responsibility…” The judge requested written waivers, and the matter was settled.

After the arraignments, everyone congregated at Jean’s House of Prayer at the Tacoma Catholic Worker to debrief and plan for the upcoming trial. Megan Capes, of the TCW, provided a wonderful meal for everyone (THANKS Megan!).

Defendants and supporters meeting at Jean's House after arraignment

Defendants and supporters meeting at Jean’s House after arraignment

The spirit was strong yesterday at Jean’s House. It continues to be a sanctuary for all who walk through its doors in the name and spirit of peace. May it always be so, and may we continue to bring that spirit of peace out into the world.

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