Judge rules Henry Stoever 'not guilty' of trespass at nuclear weapons parts plant--hurrah!
After a 90-minute trial today, January 16, 2015, at the Kansas City, Mo., Municipal Court, Judge Elena Franco found that the City had failed to prove that Henry Stoever had the “mens rea” (guilty intent, criminal mind) for conviction of trespass. Judge Franco also found that the City witness had failed to prove where the property line was located at the new Honeywell nuclear weapons production, procurement and assembly plant in southern KCMO. This Plant makes, procures and assembles 85% of the non-nuclear parts of a nuclear weapon. Early in the trial, Henry had played the video for the judge that showed him and two companions crossing the line.
When Judge Franco declared Henry “not guilty,” the 31 members in the audience burst into applause. Henry shook the hands of Judge Franco, the City Prosecutor, and the complaining witness, and then visited with supporters outside the courtroom, wiping back tears of joy.
In this case, Henry had filed with the Court and with the Prosecutor a 12-page Pre-trial Notice of Defenses, Brief and Motion in Limine, where he set forth a number of “claim of right” points for taking his action on August 22, 2014, to cross the supposed line at the weapons plant. In his closing statement, Henry quoted a dissenting opinion from Supreme Court Justices Douglas, Brennan, and Fortas in 1966, in Adderley vs. Florida: “We do violence to the First Amendment when we permit this ‘petition for redress of grievances’ to be turned into a trespass action.”
Henry was surprised at the not guilty finding, for the Judge said you may feel disappointed by my finding (because it was based on a technicality … and earlier, Henry had said he didn’t want to quibble over whether the line was a true property line, and that if the line were 20-30 feet farther onto the property, Henry would have gone there). Also, about two years ago, Henry had invited Franco to find him guilty so he could appeal his case to State Court (but that case was dismissed without going to a jury trial). In truth, the Judge today was not convinced Henry committed a crime—bravo! Bravissimo!
The entire Stoever family is celebrating. Many, many thanks to all who’ve risked arrest, to all who’ve supported our now about 120 individual instances of a person crossing the line, to all who’ve sent well-wishes! This is the first in the 120 instances in which a judge saw fit to say, “not guilty!”
Love, Jane, Henry, Janie, & Anneliese Stoever
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Published on Alternet (http://www.alternet.org)
How Mass Nonviolent Resistance Could End Israel's Blockade of Gaza
By Norman Finkelstein  / OR Books 
January 13, 2015
The following is an excerpt from Norman Finkelstein's latest book, Method and Madness: The Hidden Story of Israel's Assaults on Gaza  (OR Books , 2014). Reprinted here with permission.
If diplomacy and judicial redress won’t go anywhere, then the only option left is popular resistance. But what kind of popular resistance? The question is not whether Palestinians have the right to use armed force to end the occupation. Of course, they do. Rather, the point at issue is a practical one: Which tactics and strategy are most likely to yield political gains? However heroic the resistance of the people of Gaza, however inspiring their indomitable will, the fact remains that, after going three bloody rounds with Israel in the past five years, after suffering death and destruction on a heartrending scale, armed resistance has yet to produce substantive improvements in people’s daily lives.
What if the quantum of time, energy, creativity and ingenuity channeled into building the tunnels (a wondrous feat of civil engineering) were instead invested in Gaza’s most precious resource: the people? What if they organized a mass nonviolent demonstration demanding an end to the blockade of Gaza? What if 1.8 million Gazans marched on the Israeli border crossings under the banner, STOP STRANGLING US! END THE ILLEGAL BLOCKADE OF GAZA! What if Gaza’s one million children stood at the head of the march? Yes, children. Wasn’t it the “children’s miracle” in Selma, Alabama, during the Civil Rights Movement that broke the back of segregation, when Black children, positioned in the front lines, fended off police attack dogs and high-velocity fire hoses? (1) What if Palestinians found the inner wherewithal to stay nonviolent even as Israel fired murderously on the crowd?
What if the vast reservoir of Palestine’s international supporters simultaneously converged, in the hundreds of thousands, on UN headquarters in New York and Geneva, enveloping and blockading the buildings?
Wouldn’t Ban Ki-moon (or whatever US minion happens to be holding office) be forced to denounce the Israeli bloodbath, just as he did on 3 August when Israel destroyed the UN shelter filled with children? Wouldn’t Washington, isolated on the world stage, then be forced to denounce Israeli atrocities, just as it did on 3 August?
Wouldn’t Israel then be politically cornered, just as Netanyahu was on 3 August when he suspended the ground invasion? Long before Israel killed 2,200 Palestinians, 500 of them children, it’s quite possible, judging by the sequence of events on 3 August, that mass nonviolent resistance can end the blockade if, in one last exertion of will, Palestinians find the strength to sacrifice, and the rest of us flood the streets surrounding the UN, ready to risk arrest and injury.
The best that can be said for armed resistance is that it has been tried many times to break the siege but failed. The worst that can be said for mass nonviolent resistance is that it hasn’t yet been tried. Shouldn’t it at least be given a chance?
(1) Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King years, 1954–1963 (New York: 1988), pp. 756–802.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs