News Release 10/9/2010
For immediate release
Disarm Now Plowshares Activists Arraigned
Tacoma, Washington – October 8, 2010 - The five plowshares activists
who entered the
Over eleven months since they entered the
storage depot at
weapons stored there, the five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants
faced arraignment on October 8, 2010 in
Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, Steve Kelly, SJ, Lynne Greenwald, Bill “Bix”
Bichsel, SJ, and Susan Crane were all present to enter their pleas
before Judge Strombom.
The government brought many serious charges against each of the Disarm
Now defendants for their peaceful November 2, 2009 Plowshares action.
They include Conspiracy, Trespass, Destruction of Property on a Naval
Installation and Depredation of Government Property.
The major consequences for the various individual charges range
between 5 and 10 years in prison, and from $50, 000 to $250,000 in
fines, as well as up to 3 years of supervised release, and/or up to 5
Additionally, the judge made it clear that should the defendants be
convicted on multiple charges, the court could order them to serve
consecutive sentences, thereby greatly increasing the number of years
they might spend in prison.
All defendants entered pleas of “not guilty”, to which each defendant
added a personal statement.
Greenwald called "for the end of all wars, and an end to the threat of
nuclear war." Crane made “a plea for the abolition of nuclear
weapons, for the children of future generations.”
Bichsel made his plea “for those who are dying now because of nuclear
weapons because of funding going for weapons of mass destruction
instead of health care, education, housing, employment and nutrition.
I plea for those dying because of the uranium mining cycle connected
to nuclear weapons.”
Crane tried twice to enter a “Motion To Immediately Dismiss Charges
and Memo in Support”. The judge said that she would not hear it, and
could not rule on it in these proceedings. After the arraignment,
Crane filed the motion for dismissal, and two others, with the clerk
In their motion for dismissal the co-defendants conclude that,
“Because this case involves unjust and illegal weapons of mass
destruction, the use of which is a war crime under US and
international law, and defendants actions were taken to protect a
greater good and much higher law than the laws they are accused of
violating, this case should be dismissed immediately.”
They cite numerous laws to show that the Use of Nuclear Weapons is a
War Crime under US Law, and state that “Any threat or use [of nuclear
weapons] is categorically prohibited and constitutes a war crime,
crime against humanity or genocide as defined consistently by the
Criminal Code,” citing the statute for war crimes, 18 USC 2441.
They also reference Article 23 of the Hague Convention IV of 18
October 1907, which applies because nuclear weapons are incapable of
distinguishing between civilians and combatants and cause unnecessary
are committed by anyone who “participates in a common plan or
conspiracy for the accomplishment of planning preparation, initiation
or waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international
treaties, agreements or assurance.”
Their last reference used to substantiate that the use of nuclear
weapons is a crime under
“the use of nuclear weapons can also be considered genocide because
the weapons destroy, in whole or substantial part, groups of people,
in indiscriminate fashion, killing military and civilian alike.
The five Disarm Now co-defendants firmly believe that there is
sufficient legal doctrine substantiating their invocation of the
necessity defense, and that the “Defendants’ actions are just and not
at all illegal,” and therefore the case should be immediately
During the arraignment all of the Disarm Now defendants stated that
they look forward to the opportunity to discuss the illegality of our
nation’s production, maintenance and preparations for the use of
nuclear weapons during their upcoming trial.
Before the arraignment approximately 80 Disarm Now supporters gathered
in front of the
about Disarm Now and participate in an interfaith service to bless the
Disarm Now co-defendants.
The judge set a trial date for December 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM in the
United States District Court, Western District of
There have been more than 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions
worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in
Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, “God will
judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people.
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into
pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations,
nor will they train for war anymore.”
The Trident submarine base at
is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the
U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads. In November
2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364
nuclear warheads at
China, France, Israel, India,
The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more
accurate Trident D-5 missile system. Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a
Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455
kiloton W-88 warheads (each warhead is about 30 times the explosive
force as the
D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead. The
Trident fleet at
the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead
Leonard Eiger, 425-445-2190, email@example.com
The Disarm Now defendants’ “Motion To Immediately Dismiss Charges and
Memo in Support” is attached to this release.
Also attached is a photo of the pre-arraignment interfaith service.
The photo shows Joan Staples, Director,
the five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants before their arraignment.
Photo Credit: Leonard Eiger,
Action. High resolution version available.
Further information on Disarm Now Plowshares is available at