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Peace Makers in Court in Missouri

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PeaceWorks, Kansas City

4509 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64111; 816-561-1181

Peace Makers in Court in Missouri-
Anti-drone Activists to be Sentenced in Jefferson City on October 11; Nuclear Weapons Resisters to be Tried in Kansas City on October 12

For immediate release: Sept. 26, 2012

Contacts: Brian Terrell, 773-853-1886; Ron Faust, 816-582-6893; Henry Stoever, 913-375-0045

Drones and nuclear weapons—what a combo!

Come to Oct. 11-12 events about drones and making parts for nuclear weapons.

First, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, attend the news conference at the federal courthouse in Jefferson City, Mo., a prelude to the 10:30 a.m. sentencing of two resisters to the remote control of predator drones from Whiteman Air Force Base. The courthouse is at 80 Lafayette St.

Second, at 7 p.m. Oct. 11, join the presentation “Drones & Nuclear Weapon Triggers in Our Backyard” at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut, KC, Mo. The event is free.

Third, at noon Friday, Oct. 12, meet at 11th & Locust in KC, Mo., at Ilus Davis Park for a lunch and rally to support three resisters coming to trial at 1:30 pm in Municipal Court, at 1101 Locust. At the trials, the defendants will say why they are not guilty of trespass at the new nuclear weapons parts plant in KC.

Oct. 11 sentencing. Ronald Faust of Gladstone, Mo., and Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa, were convicted on Sept. 10 of trespassing at Whiteman AFB. They had a bench trial before Judge Magistrate Matt J. Whitworth of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri. A third civil resister, Mark Kenney of Omaha, pled guilty at a hearing in June and is serving a four-month sentence in a Duluth, Minn., federal prison. On finding Faust and Terrell guilty, Whitworth asked the probation office to prepare a presentence investigation report about their employment, finances, family and personal histories, and criminal records.

Before receiving their sentences from Whitworth, Terrell and Faust will respond to the sentence recommendations made by Air Force Capt. Michael Pierson, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. The defendants intend to use the opportunity to continue to “put the drones on trial.”

“Blindly, we stumble into a moral abyss if we make killing by drones a casual video game,” says Faust, a retired Disciples of Christ minister and activist in American Friends Service Committee-KC. He warns, “First nuclear proliferation, now drone warfare—the destructive consequences will be unmanageable.”

Terrell, a Catholic Worker in Maloy, Iowa, and co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence, notes that the report prepared on him by the probation office questions his “acceptance of responsibility” for his crime. The report notes, “During the course of the court proceedings, the defendant admitted that the conduct described by the government was true and accurate. However, the defendant pled not guilty and put the government to the time and expense of preparing and holding a trial.”

Terrell insists, however, that “the conduct described by the government” constitutes exactly the “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances” as protected by the U.S. Constitution. “Mark is in prison, and Ron and I face sentencing not for committing any crime but for accepting our responsibility as citizens,” says Terrell. “The judge’s ruling that international law does not ‘trump’ domestic law notwithstanding, citizens are legally obligated to resist when their government is engaged in crimes like the drone program.”

Faust and Terrell face a maximum sentence of six months in prison, a $5000 fine, and a year of supervised release. For more information on this case, call Brian Terrell at 773-853-1886, lawyer Henry Stoever (Terrell’s legal advisor) at 913-375-0045, Ron Faust at 816-582-6893, and Faust’s attorney, Ruth O’Neill, at 573-268-8095.

Oct. 11 presentation. “Drones and Nuclear Weapon Triggers in Our Backyard” has two key speakers: Brian Terrell, who expects to begin serving a federal prison sentence about six weeks after his sentencing that morning, and Midge Potts of Springfield, Mo. She will come to trial in KC the next day. Potts and Henry Stoever of Overland Park, Kan., chair of the PeaceWorks Board, did civil resistance April 14 at the new plant for making nuclear weapons parts in southern KC, at Mo. Hwy. 150 and Botts Road. Potts has worked since 2002 with Proposition 1, a national movement to create nuclear weapon-free zones.

For more information on the presentation, contact Terrell. PeaceWorks-KC is sponsoring the presentation, with assistance from KC Peace Planters, Trifecta Resista, and Occupy KC.

Oct. 12 rally, trials. The light lunch and rally before the trials begin at noon. Potts and Stoever will be tried at 1:30 pm by Judge Elena Franco in Municipal Court. In a separate case, Franco will try Father Carl Kabat, OMI (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) of St. Louis. He “occupied” the site for the new nuclear weapons parts plant on July 4 in 2011 and 2012. Kabat, 78, who has a long history of civil resistance, will first be tried for trespass this July 4. Then the judge will address Kabat’s breaking of his probation from last year. The defendants in the trials say they wish to “put nuclear weapons on trial.” They will argue the illegality of these weapons and discuss the threat they pose to humankind and the environment.

For more information on the Oct. 12 trials, contact Stoever.