By Anthony Donovan
With A good Ally. Two of “Democracy’s” Courts
A brief comparison of two “democratic” Judicial systems and their respective institutional treatment of citizens fulfilling their obligations to expose and educate others of the catastrophic lies and the highest crimes of their respective states. The industry of nuclear weapons.
Germany on the whole is disarmingly honest about it’s horrifying Nazi past and the tragic abuse of authority therein. Indeed it’s a crime there to deny it. Few others in the world have the wisdom to even notice their own shadows. Along with the origins of our U.S. court system, Germany has discerned long and hard about justice and it’s organization in society.
Both countries (then West Germany) developed and were strong advocates for the law of, and original signers of the NPT (Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) of 1968, ratified into international law in 1970. We have been violating this, our law, this international law since, unreasonably stating that we have that right because others are also violating.
Can anyone imagine that as a defense for anyone ever accused of any crime? That it is OK, because others are doing it. ! ?
The seven Kings Bay Plowshares activists of April 4th, 2018 who entered our nuclear weapon submarine base in prayer and holding compassion for all, very much including the soldiers, had guns pointed at them, were put to the ground, handcuffed, interrogated, reprimanded for committing serious crimes against state and country, had a very high bail set, and sent immediately to jail.
Our main media despite being alerted, kept silent about this action. Communication with the 7 was made very difficult. Many a postcard was returned to senders for unknown reasons.
Accused of trespassing, and of damaging federal property, they are being threatened now with up to 10 to 20 years of prison. The prosecutors are doing all they can to make sure no information, nothing gets to the jury about WHY they have risked their lives. They are making sure their is no discussion or facts about these weapons of omnicide mentioned.
For four “defendants” who after some months recently opted out of prison pre trail for family needs, they remain bound by strict house arrest, with the constant monitoring of permanently attached ankle bracelets (until the trail is over, or sent back to prison)
That is our “democracy’s” reaction to Plowshares actions.
For virtually the same action recently, Germany has another reaction.
Eighteen citizens from England, the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S. cut through in five separate locations, the fence that separates us and the approximately twenty U.S. nuclear bombs that according to FAS (Federation of American Scientists) still remain at Büchel Air Base, close to Cochem on the Mosel River, Germany.
Nuclear weapons remain an industry of denial and secrecy, outside of any democratic process, yet able to be paid for by we citizens of this republic.
With much support behind us, we 18 cut through the fence in five separate places, four teams of three, one of 5, with the same wire cutters Kings Bay Plowshares used. Then cut through the razor wire behind the fence.
We also took in similar banners to display.
Three of the group got through to and atop a nuclear weapon bunker (pictured with banner of Love, got the photo up to cyberspace before phone confiscated) and remained there undetected for an hour. Others got to the runway that the jets use to carry these B-61 nuclear bombs at a moments notice.
We went in with non violent Spirit, several in prayer, and all with a determination, calling out for U.S. H Bombs to get out of Germany, and be dismantled along with all others. 93% of German citizens want this. We thank them, for their full support and leadership in this action, and our shared goal.
Inside the base we would then read aloud to our captors, and hand them John LaForge’s document, “An Appeal to the Personnel of Büchel Air Base” which clarified our well established laws, from the U.S. Constitution, to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, to the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice, to the Army field manual: The Law of War, to The U.S. Law of Naval Warfare, to the U.S. Air Force policies on International law: The Conduct of Armed Conflict and Air Operations, alll making it clear such devices are illegal. It also included various other Pacts, Protocols, Charters and Conventions that render these nuclear devices illegal and immoral.
We also read aloud from international law of which our countries were and remain signatories:
from the Nuremberg Principals, especially Principal One,
to the NPT (Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty) predominantly Article Six, and to the latest of which we and NATO countries have refused to recognize, the recent Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations on July 7th, 2017, now in the process of ratification, a Treaty that the Nobel Committee awarded the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), it’s 2017 Peace Prize.
A Ban Treaty Pope Francis fully encourages, and speaks out on from the outset to the present.
A Ban Treaty which now several large pension funds, banks, City Councils and many organizations in the US and around the world have begun a Divestment movement from, divesting from this business of nuclear weapons. Investing in the future for our children.
We were able to call out what unspeakable horror just one detonation can do, and the unfathomable cost of the nuclear weapon industry in the U.S. alone (some $ 70,000 a minute of every hour of every day, all year long, including Christmas and Passover and Id, not to mention July 4th.)
Some of the acute differences in treatment from our colleagues of The Kings Bay Plowshares of April 4th:
For the vast majority entering the base, we did not have a gun or rifle pointed toward us.
We were not handcuffed at any point.
With one distant exception to one activist by one soldier, we were not put to the ground.
We were not told to put our hands up, or down.
We were not physically threatened, reprimanded, nor talked down to.
Walking without being pushed, we were guided to a common area in the protective shade on a hot day (a consideration much appreciated by me).
We were eventually searched and padded down individually, in privacy, respectfully, and them Asked for our names and ID’s.
We were lead into their own recreation room to sit on comfortable couches and arm chairs, served water or tea, and were allowed to go to the bathroom when needed. We were asked if anyone needed to use the facilities (again an appreciated consideration)
We were never asked to be quiet, or silent. We sang many songs together. Some told bad jokes. (Do write John LaForge if you have good ones.)
We again could read aloud our prepared statements, mentioned above, and make spontaneous comments alike, to all, especially with the soldiers and police present.
Although soldiers have orders not to fraternize with us, it was clear that even with the great inconvenience our actions caused (the closing of the base operations, the reparations needed now for several areas of fence, etc), by facial gestures you could tell many simply agreed with what we were saying and importantly, why were doing this.
When it was asked how they, professional soldiers, felt that they at any time they could get marching orders from the Commander in Chief, our U.S. President Donald Trump, for their maneuvers with our U.S. nuclear bombs, a few simply shook their head from side to side in disbelief. They knew they knew much more than he ever would about these bombs. For me, this gesture said more than any words can convey. A point of genuine congruence.
After these couple of hours we were all led respectfully to an air conditioned, comfortable bus. Although orderd to close curtains and not look out windows, I sat in the front seat next to that soldier giving the order, with a wide full view of the entire trip as we drove along exiting the base.
- We were Released.
- With our ID’s.
- Without bail.
- And as of yet to my knowledge:
- Without a required appearance in court
- Without fine.
- Without charges
- Without threats.
We were told that we needed to stay a least a 100 meters from the base for the next 24 hours.
Then, less than 12 hours later, we all showed up successfully blockading the front entrance of the base again, without incident, without repercussion.
The city police were again called and arrived without sirens or lights flashing. When one base worker drove up in his car to our blocked gate (a very long line of cars behind him) he asked the police to move us and let him in. The police officer turned to the driver and said for him to turn around immediately, saying that the gate was closed. This officer said nothing to us about moving. Some minutes later, he actually asked us how we were doing.
For most U.S. official personnel this may be perceived as sheer weakness on the part of Germans. It would seem a loss of control.
For most the German profession military and police we came across on these days, it is the sheer strength of democracy working.
I’ve no illusions that there wasn’t harsher treatment in the past, nor the bravery of so many activists before us, nor the possibility of knowing that on this day we’d receive this kind of response. We were prepared for the worst, and had rehearsed beforehand various scenarios and outcomes together. We role played together. Tremendous leadership on the part of the camp’s and delegation’s leaders.
What was experienced by me was a highly unusual lending of respect to fellow citizens, the same respect the German soldiers I imagined wished for themselves and their families. By the attitude felt, many seemed to me that they have actually done some real thinking about what these weapons actually do and unfathomable horror they represent.
Although those of us entering enjoyed each other tremendously (we had a few who loved telling jokes in tense situations) it was never a joke, nor taken lightly by any, on either side of the fence. Amazing to many of us from the U.S., the soldiers showed the patience and genuine experience with how true democratic principles and respecting citizen rights can work.
One German citizen apprehended last year on a Büchel Air Base bunker with wire clippers in his pocket, having also entered with a few others from the United States, for a very similar action as the Kings Bay Plowshares, was served individually a summons to face court in Koblenz (the nearby city).
When the Military Commander at Büchel told him, “Cutting a fence is not non-violence.” he responded, “You do not get to be the definer of non-violence.” The commander did not argue the point. Cutting a fence = pointing out the unspeakable horror of one nuclear bomb?
He continued, “I’ll not be going to court because you brought me. I go for me, and the world I wish to protect.”
When asked if he wanted to go to jail, “My goal is not to be set free. It is to have a confrontation of violence with non-violence. It’s to bring out the truth behind this cause, these bombs.”
A year later he still has not been given a date for a trial.
He has been out free to travel, without bail or surveillance, or house arrest.
He has contacted the courts himself REQUESTING a trial date. It is clear the courts in Germany would also like to keep things quiet, or keep it all about the destruction of property, the cutting of a fence. They know in a trial in Germany, all facts would be allowed to come out.
His four other colleagues from the U.S. who entered Büchel Air Base with him and also got to the bunkers, who also cut through the fencing and trespassed, and together shut down the base down for hours were not charged, and have never even been contacted about it.
The German court mentioned at the hearing, that they never got their, these others addresses, therefore could not contact them. Upon hearing this untruth, those four last week, a year later, showed up at the municipal court offices with a anti-nuke banner and a letter with their addresses saying that indeed they had given their addresses and full information to them several times. Presenting their complete information again, they requested if there were to be any trial, they would want to be with the defendant and face the same charges together. We want a public discussion of nuclear weapons.
At this writing, there still remains no response, no court date.
- Very importantly, UNLIKE the U.S. Federal Courts charging the Kings Bay Plowshares in Georgia today, in Germany the courts would allow the defendants to present at the trial:
Why this action was taken.
Their motivations, hopes, desires.
They could present all the information we have on nuclear weapons: what one detonation does, what the industry costs, the tremendous amount of death and harm the mining, testing, manufacture, production and storage of materials of the industry has caused and continues with each day.
The history of serious, deadly accidents.
The high risks of being a target for cyber or terror attack, The threat of escalation of an incident to war, and very importantly the many international (and national) laws the entire industry is violating presently, and has in the past 73 years.
In depth books such as Command and Control by Eric Schlosser, Daniel Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine, and many other works and documentaries could be entered.
They can show documentation of the immense amount of profiteering this industry takes from citizens tax monies, without any democratic process in this allocation.
Indeed they can present this highly secretive world that hides behind and makes pure mockery of the word democracy, and law.
They can present witnesses and experts in all these areas.
They can point to the thousands of professional and religious organizations around the world who oppose these omnicidal devices.
They can site the many leading retired U.S. military professionals, some who’ve led our entire Nuclear Weapon Strategic Command, to our Medical professionals, to Scientists, to Teachers, to Artists, to Religious leaders, to our most respected human leaders of the U.S. and world, not to mention the many millions of citizens who’ve taken to the streets in the past, and again, to the polls now showing 93% of German people wish nuclear weapons out of Germany.
They can reenter all the Treaties and laws mentioned above and more.
They can expose the many lies and untruths citizens are told daily, and institutionally, to keep this most dangerous secret world viable.
In U.S. courts the prosecutors have rigged things so none of the above would be admissible to the jury. This week the Plowshares 7 are in “Motions” to challenge this again.
For the U.S. Federal Court prosecutors, it is purely a focus on the cutting of a fence, which therefore threatens the complete security of our country, and for this great crime, there must be severe punishment, a severe example set, again.
They will do their best to not allow a word into court about the greatest crime of all time, a active, ongoing crime these good citizens are bravely standing up to expose, and the enormous profiteering a few gain, from the “enterprise”.
They are seven courageous, thoughtful, prayerful people that come to this court after years of sincere prayer, with the deepest personal discernment of weighing the value of their beloved families, beloved humanity, beloved planet, with these purely beyond catastrophic devices. They chose life.
They took this great risk for us all, for others.
We well know life often isn’t fair. But must we not continually bend toward fairness, and truthfulness, and uphold law to the best of our ability? There is no fairness in a court system that denies such witness, such truth, such law, all known hard earned law that seems valid.
Can we look at this close valuable ally, Germany, who is struggling with dealing with this same action for the same reasons? We have much to learn from their example.
Anthony Donovan, director of the documentary Good Thinking (Those Who’ve Tried to Halt Nuclear Weapons).