December 8, 2010
For Immediate Release
Trident Plowshares Trial Continues
Plowshares trial began its second day this morning in
Before bringing in the jury, Judge Benjamin Settle took up the subject
of judicial notice of nuclear weapons at
defense was relying on three documents to confirm the presence of
nuclear weapons at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor (NBKB) and Strategic
Weapons Facility, Pacific (SWFPAC).
After the defense introduced an additional document they believed to
confirm the presence of nuclear weapons at NBKB and SWFPAC, the
prosecution stated what the government has done to reach a stipulation
regarding nuclear weapons at
The government will neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear
defense can say they thought there were nuclear weapons there, but the
government will neither confirm nor deny that, and that is as far as
they can go.
Judge Settle stated that nothing in the documents supplied by the
defense confirms the presence of nuclear weapons at
The judge then stated the facts accepted by the court
weapons exist, that the Navy has fourteen SSBN’s in operation, that
the Trident was designed to carry nuclear weapons, and that
home port of eight Trident submarines. The defense will limit its
questions to these four facts, whether or not there is evidence of
nuclear weapons at
issues before the court. Judge Settle then provided the defense with
specific questions they may ask.
The defense objected to the limited questions allowed by Judge Settle,
but were overruled. Judge Settle stated that the court has taken
great care to protect the highly classified nature of
The jury was brought into the courtroom and the prosecution began to
present its case. The government’s witnesses included an officer from
the Navy NW Regional Police Department, a funding and facilities
day of the Plowshares action, a member of the Navy security response
team, and an investigator with the Naval Criminal Investigation
Service Counterterrorism Unit.
After the jury was brought in the prosecution and defense continued to
struggle over which facts would be presented to the jury.
In her cross examination of Naval Petty Officer Austin Wilchek, Anne
military regulations that prohibit the indiscriminate killing of
civilians?” The prosecution objected that the question was
irrelevant, to which
important to us.”
In its examination of witnesses the prosecution paid great attention
to the physical details of the case. Craig Spencer, an investigator
with the Naval Criminal Investigation Service Counterterrorism Unit,
was asked about the width and height of the opening cut in the outer
fence, as well as the use of twist ties to close the opening.
On the other hand, the defense focused on questions of a more
universal nature. Do nuclear weapons exist? Has the
developed submarines intended to carry nuclear weapons? Are there any
of those submarines in the vicinity of the base where you work? Did
the base have nuclear-armed submarines on the day in question?
By this line of questioning the defense hopes to create an opening for
the jury to base its verdict on a set of laws that is broader in scope
than mere trespass and property damage.
Steve Kelly, SJ asked Spencer, “Are you aware of Trident’s capacity
for mass destruction?” “No, I’m not aware of what it can and cannot
do,” replied Spencer. Kelly then asked, “If you knew of a crime being
committed, a law that was being broken on the base, would you be
alarmed?” Spencer replied simply, “I would investigate.”
Tomorrow the government plans to finish presenting its case, and the
defense may begin to call witnesses, including Scottish Trident
Ploughshares activist Angie Zelter; Dr. David Hall, former President
Responsibility; and Steven Leeper, Chairman of the
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Media & Outreach Coordinator