Plowshare activists on trial
By Stuart Wax
Four young peace activists go on trial in New York on May 20, facing charges that could result in their being imprisoned for 15 years.
Two of the defendants, Ciaron O'Reily and Moana Cole, are Australians. With Bill Streit and Sue Frankel, they were arrested for their participation in a January 1 action by the Christian peace group Plowshare.
The activists are accused of invading an air force base and attempting to disarm a B-52. Two of them hammered on a refueling jet while the others painted the message "No more bombing of children in Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq or anywhere else". They then smashed the runway with hand tools, creating a crater nearly five feet in diameter.
The four argue that "disarmament is not a crime" and that in fact B-52s are illegal under the Geneva Treaty and the Nuremberg principles on the rules of war.
They plan to call expert witnesses such as Ramsey Clark, who was in Basra when it was heavily bombed during the Gulf war.