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!).
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.