Wind and rain did not deter about 100 anti-war activists who observed Mother's Day with a weekend gathering at Project ELF. It was the 15th annual protest and nonviolent resistance action at the U.S. Navy's extremely low frequency transmitter, a Cold War anachronism created to send a doomsday launch command to deep-running U.S. nuclear submarines.
Following nonviolence workshops on Friday, May 10, a rally was held Saturday outside the Project ELF gate, deep in the northern Wisconsin forests. Two women provided keynote speeches: Polly Mann, founder of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), and Frances Crowe, a long-time Quaker peace activist from Massachusetts.
Concluding the rally, six people were cited for federal trespass after they crossed the line and sat in the roadway. John Bachman, Cory Bartholomew, Jane Hosking, John LaForge, Jeff Leys, and Judy Miner were ordered to appear in federal court in Madison. Miner pleaded guilty on June 11 and paid a $100 fine to conclude her case, the first time she has been arrested for her peace advocacy.
"I feel I was guilty because I trespassed, but in another sense I feel as if I'm not guilty, in terms of international law; and, as a registered nurse, I am responsible to try to save lives," Miner told a Madison newspaper.
Trial for the other five is set for the afternoon of September 10, in the court of Federal Magistrate Stephen Crocker. That same morning, Crocker will preside over the trial of six people arrested at Project ELF last January.
SILENCE TRIDENT UPDATE
Bonnie Urfer was released from prison on May 31, having returned there to serve five more months for not paying the fine imposed on her for cutting down three ELF antenna poles in a disarmament action known as Silence Trident. Co-defendant Mike Sprong has made only a few token payments. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, meanwhile, has rejected their novel use of "advice of counsel" as a defense for such interference with nuclear war preparations.
The court concluded that "Even if it were contrary to international law for a nation to possess nuclear weapons, domestic law could properly and does make it a crime to 'correct a violation of international law by destroying government property' [US v. Allen, 760 f.2d 447,453 (2d Cir. 1985)]."
Defending American nuclear exceptionalism with a slap at dissent, the court concluded, "It would be especially bizarre to suppose that antiwar activists have a right to disable the United States from using nuclear weapons when many other nations, not plagued by such activists, possess these weapons."
For more information, contact Nukewatch, POB 649, Luck, WI 54853, (715)472-4185, firstname.lastname@example.org.