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Trial for nuclear resisters at Trident Submarine Base starts Wednesday

PORT ORCHARD — Eleven nuclear resisters, members of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, will appear in Kitsap County District Court this week in two separate trials for their acts of civil resistance to the Trident nuclear weapons system, according to a release by the Ground Zero Center.

Anne Hall, Betsy Lamb, Brenda McMillen and Tom Rogers, a former submarine commander turned antinuclear protester who lives in Poulsbo, were arrested for blocking the main entrance road to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on Aug. 8. Their trial starts Jan. 4 in Kitsap County District Court.

They are charged with being “pedestrians in the roadway,” a traffic infraction. The four moved a 44-foot long inflatable Trident II D-5 missile replica onto the roadway in an attempt to symbolically close the base as a statement against the U.S. government’s continued deployment of the first strike nuclear weapons system. The Trident submarine base at Bangor contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons, according to Leonard Eiger, media coordinator for the Ground Zero Center.

Mary Gleysteen, who lives in Kingston and is known for her many years working at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island, Anne Hall, David Hall, Bernie Meyer, Shirley Morrison, Dorli Rainey and Alice Zillah were also charged with the same traffic infraction for blocking the Bangor entrance road on May 7, 2011. Their trial is set for Jan. 5 in District Court.

Kitsap County District Court Judge James M. Riehl considered several pretrial issues at a Nov. 14 hearing for the Aug. 8 defendants, including the government's motion in limine which would have prevented the defendants from mentioning nuclear weapons, international treaties the U.S. had signed, or any of the reasons they sought to symbolically close the base. The judge ruled in the defendants' favor on all points.

He said he would allow them to talk about why they blocked the road, although he withheld his ruling on exactly to what extent they could discuss international law and other issues covered in the motion in limine. He also ruled that the group could show a video of the action, and that they could consolidate their cases. In addition, he implied that he would make the same rulings for the seven defendants from the May 7 action.

The purpose of the May and August nonviolent actions was to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons and U.S. government’s continuing reliance on them (particularly the Trident nuclear weapons system), and the critical importance of working towards a nuclear weapons-free world, according to the release.

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action holds vigils and nonviolent direct actions every year around Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Mother’s Day, and the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For over 33 years Ground Zero has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.

The Kitsap County District Courthouse is located at 614 Division St., Port Orchard. Both trials begin at 1:15 p.m. in courtroom 105.

Read a previously published interview with Rogers here, via the Central Kitsap Reporter.

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