Monday, November 15, 2010

News Release - Former Attorney General to Speak out against nuclear weapons in Tacoma

News Release 11/11/2010

For immediate release


Former Attorney General to Speak out against nuclear weapons in Tacoma


Tacoma, Washington – November 11, 2010 – A former U.S. attorney general

will appear in Tacoma, Washington to speak about the illegality of

nuclear weapons prior to his appearance in court on behalf of five

Plowshares co-defendants.


Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark will give a public

presentation at the University of Washington, Tacoma campus, Carwein

Auditorium on Monday, November 15, 2010 at 6:30 PM on international

law and civilian responsibility in the context of nuclear disarmament.


The U.S. continues to pursue an aggressive policy that perpetuates the

development, production and potential use of nuclear weapons, wasting

billions of taxpayer dollars that need to be spent on human needs.  At

the heart of this issue are citizens’ responsibility to resist our

government’s illegal actions, and the government’s criminalization of

such dissent.


Clark will testify on behalf of the Disarm Now Plowshares

co-defendants during their motions hearing on Tuesday, November 16,

2010 at 1:30 PM. in the U.S. District Court for the Western District

of Washington, Tacoma Courthouse.


Just over one year since they entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons

storage depot at Bangor, Washington to symbolically disarm the nuclear

weapons stored there, the five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants are

preparing for their December 7, 2010 trial in Federal court.  They

were arraigned on October 8, 2010 in U.S. District Court, Tacoma,



Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, SJ,

and Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, all face charges of 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 years probation.


Among the documents being considered by the Judge in this case is a

motion for dismissal in which 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 U.S.

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



The Nuremberg Principles, 59 Stat 1544, clearly state that war crimes

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 U.S. law is 18 USC 1091, which states that

“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



Ramsey Clark was U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon B.

Johnson from 1967 to 1969, and supervised drafting and passage of the

Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.


The former Attorney General has provided legal defense for Plowshares

activist Philip Berrigan, as well as other prisoners of conscience in

the U.S., including Camilo Mejia, Leonard Peltier and Lori Berenson.


Clark’s presentation at University of Washington, Tacoma on Monday,

November 15, 2010 at 6:30 will be in the Carwein Auditorium, Keystone

Building.  Check the Disarm Now Plowshares Website (click on “Events”)

for updates at


Supporters of Disarm Now Plowshares will gather in front of the Tacoma

courthouse from 12:30 to 1:00 for music and reflection prior to the

1:30 PM motions hearing.


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 Bangor, just 20 miles west of Seattle,

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 Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire

U.S. arsenal.  The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than

China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined.


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 Hiroshima bomb) and costs approximately $60 million.  The

D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.  The

Trident fleet at Bangor deploys both the 455 kiloton W-88 warhead and

the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead


Contact: Leonard Eiger, 425-445-2190,

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action

16159 Clear Creek Road NW Poulsbo, WA 98370


Further information (and updates on events) on Disarm Now Plowshares

is available at





No comments: