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Activists guilty of breaking into Kitsap naval base

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on Dec. 13, 2010 at 12:45 pm with 24 Comments »
December 13, 2010 12:53 pm

A federal jury has convicted five anti-war activists who broke into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to protest the nuclear weapons stored there, the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.

The jury today found guilty on all counts the Rev. Bill Bichsel, 82, a Jesuit priest in Tacoma; the Rev. Stephen Kelly, 60, a Jesuit priest from Oakland, Calif.; Sister Anne Montgomery, 84, of Redwood City, Calif.; Susan Crane, 67, a retired public school teacher from Baltimore; and Lynne Greenwald, 60, a social worker from Bremerton.

The five were charged with using bolt cutters to cut through three chain-link fences to enter an area where nuclear warheads are stored on the base, about 40 miles northwest of Tacoma.

The were convicted of conspiracy, trespass and destruction of government property.

Bichsel told The News Tribune for a story earlier this month the nuclear weapons at Bangor are illegal under international law because “they are indiscriminate killers of civilians and combatants.”

But U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle prohibited arguments relating to the interpretation of international law as a defense in the trial, according to court documents.

Sentencing is set for March 28. The defendants face a maximum of 10 years in prison although they are expected to get lighter sentences under federal guidelines.

Leave a comment Comments → 24
  1. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions; looks like the road to prison is as well. I think it is funny that it took two priests, a nun and a social worker to demonstrate that similarity!
    Here is the lesson for the kids: doing something illegal just because you think the law is wrong, or you think your reasons for breaking the law are good, does not make the activity any more legal.

  2. These people are lucky they are natural born citizens. If they were naturalized, they would probably appreciate America more. If they didn’t, however, they could be denaturalized and tossed out.

    Part of their sentence should be a course in constitutional history and study. The notion that there is international law or that it operates to render America subservient is so stupid it makes my eyes water from shock.

    America’s founding documents state that we are the only country on the planet that is created in a deliberate design derived from God (our Creator). That makes us superior and supreme and sovereign. All of those qualities are vested in the people in a bottom up hierarchy, which is unique in all the world.

    And our military personnel protects those precious gifts from God, which we call inherent rights.

    Anyone who is ungrateful and unappreciative of our greatness should leave America. In my wildest most rebellious Vietnam-era youth time-period, I never did stuff like these losers did nor did I even consider doing it.

    They should burn a few things, like their social security cards and passports.

  3. tommy98466 says:

    Activists? Activists you say? Lets call them what they are, liberals. Pathetic.

  4. Last I knew lethal force was authorized in those locations. They are lucky they didn’t get 120 grains of FMJ:)

  5. dster420 says:

    So glad no one got hurt. And their point was?

  6. Too bad a Marine did not shoot them dead on sight!

  7. @pgroup: I can’t say anything to make you seem more foolish than what you already said. Thanks for doing my work for me.

    @tommy: I know, right? How pathetic are these people?! To actually have the nerve to consider nuclear weapons to be indiscriminate killers? The nerve! The audacity! However, protesting the tax policies of a president you don’t like is exercising your god(s)-given rights, right? Just making sure I know the difference between good activism and bad activism. Good activism = fiscal conservatism. Bad activism = moral conservatism.

    This is yet another case of a rational message being muddled by an irrational act.

    I’m not particularly inclined to subscribe to religious dogma or method myself, but I would think that peace on earth and goodwill towards one’s common man would be a mindset that folks would applaud. Only a fool believes that these weapons are anything short of the most brutal form of ultimate savagery.

    Do I think that the tresspassers were justified in their transgressions? Not in the slightest. I mean, what could they possibly hope to achieve at the risk of being shot? Protests such as this are typically counter-productive to a cause. They typically draw little else other than ire. There are established and protected methods to stage protest; criminal tresspass is not among them.

    To think that these weapons exist to further any sort of good is ludicrous at best.

  8. jiminycricket says:

    This group not only talks the talk, but walks the walk! I admire them for standing up for their beliefs at a personal cost to themselves. For the rest of you without a spine that are throwing rocks, go look in the mirror. Father Bill has done this enough times to know the consequences, yet he did so because he is committed to what he believes in. He loves our country, but just happens to disagree with our government with regards to its nuclear arsenal. I say God Bless Father Bill and the others for staying true to their beliefs!

  9. Too funny.

  10. Deon Gates says:

    If more people cared that others are being killed, and if more people were living what they think is right instead of what they think is comfortable, maybe these beautiful souls wouldn’t be so misunderstood. They knew that prison was the likely consequence and were willing to pay that price. Their HOPE is that people will begin to think, care, and act – to love one another.

  11. the3rdpigshouse says:

    The deadly force option would have saved the court & incarceration costs!!

  12. metallica_fan_7 says:

    Give them all 10 years

  13. aranciata says:

    Two priests and a nun my fanny, they are not that at all, they are infiltrators who USED the Church for their own ends.

    Most of the practitioners of this 1960’s leftwing nonsense, who are doing so under pretense of having some special status granted by their affiliation with The Church have been slapped down by The Church. From the Vatican stripping Hunthausen of his powers to the Pope declaring Liberation Theology to be heresy The Church has, since the mid 70’s has condemned this type of renegade crockery and tried to distance itself from the actions of these Jesuit fruitcakes.

    A good place to read more on the subject is Malachi Martin’s book Jesuits.

    I personally think the Jesuits should all be excommunicated and then only have the excommunication lifted after thorough review of their personal record.

  14. Anders Ibsen says:

    Bichsel knew what he was doing was illegal, and willingly chose to suffer the consequences. In the same manner as Rosa Parks and MLK willingly enduring incarceration and persecution for their disobedience of an institution they thought to be evil.

    The law matters, and civil disobedience should by no means be the norm. But our history as a country has taught us that there are sometimes laws and institutions that are so morally reprehensible that the only just response is to oppose and subvert them. Remember that some of our nation’s greatest heroes – the Founding Fathers, the abolitionists, the Suffragists, the early labor organizers, the civil rights workers – were considered criminals and seditionists in their time.

    You can joke about shooting 80 year old priests and nuns all you like. There are some people who have the courage to suffer the ultimate consequences for their beliefs, rather than writing brilliant retorts on a blog behind an anonymous user name.

  15. Was it Gods Law that told them to trespass and break Mans Law?They all should get the maximum sentence,Just like all other criminals.But our Justice System will probably give them a suspended sentence with a 25.00 dollar fine.A very good deterent for someone else doing the same thing,wouldn,t you say?

  16. If all people stayed true to their beliefs,the government would be hurting for money after April 15TH!

  17. DubyaFTW says:

    Two priests, a nun, a retired school teacher and a social worker all walk into a submarine base…

    Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. Hey, it is the beginning of a bad joke!

  18. m9078jk3 says:

    For the individuals who have never committed a serious crime before (Felony) I could see a light sentence given (perhaps even home monitoring or a lighter 2 year sentence but for those convicted previously of a Felony
    I would like to see the judge throw the book at them and give them a harsher sentence to make an example out of them (the full 10 year sentence).
    This was not a peaceful protest it was willful destruction of Government Property and a threat (even if minor) to (the) security (of all).If they had just done a lawful protest with just signs they would not be in this predicament.

  19. tommy98466 says:

    twoody. You missed the point. When its liberals doing the protesting they are either students or activists. When its conservatives its always the far right. Get the point? Pathetic.

  20. The hypocrisy of the Catholic church has become repulsive for us raised in that faith. These people have lived their religion as is expected in that faith. I have no problem with that ,what other choice do they have. These people are heroes to humanity not government.

  21. I admire people of faith who do what their conscience requires of them. Our society needs more people of conscience who will do whatever it takes to call our attention to the larger issues. I am sorry but in the ethics of Jesus MIGHT does not mean RIGHT!!

    We are so eager to buckle on the military uniform, shoot our guns and wave our flags but are we really thinking of what this culture IS SAYING and why we are heading in the direction we are heading?? We have completely lost any moral compass. Just look at the written responses listed here! “Shoot, kill destroy”. Is that all we think about ? How about thinking a little deeper and consider this: have you ever read the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who participated in an assassination attempt on Hitler and faced the firing squad instead. Would he be a hero??

  22. aranciata says:

    Micksee says: “….repulsive for us raised in that faith.”

    Hmmm, raised in the Catholic faith or raised in some 1960’s leftist heresy of “that faith.” I am not inclined to give the benefit of the doubt on this matter, all too many times the hypocrisies referenced are the actions emanating from people within the church who subscribed to a certain political agenda and IMHO were only using The Church to further their own ends. They were only nominally Catholic, and in fact are the ones why decry orthodoxy every chance they get.

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