Your Connection To Jazz, Blues and NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Law

Anti-war protesters sentenced for breaking into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kplu/local-kplu-960218.mp3

Five peace activists who broke into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor have been sentenced to prison.  The group cut through fences at the Trident submarine base on November 2, 2009 to reach an area near where nuclear warheads are stored.  Bangor is the largest nuclear weapons storehouse in the United States.

At a trial in Tacoma in December, the Bangor trespassers, also known as the "Bangor Five," were found guilty of conspiracy and destruction of federal  property. 

Now, a federal judge has handed down sentences ranging from 2 to 15 months.  The  shortest sentences  went to the oldest in the group:

  • Jesuit priest Bill Bichsel, 82, of Tacoma, 3 months in prison and 6 months home monitoring.
  • Sister Anne Montgomery, 84, of Redwood City, Calif., 2  months in prison and 4 months home monitoring.
  • Lynne Greenwald, 61, social worker from Tacoma, 6 months in prison with 60 hours of community service.
  • Jesuit priest Stephen Kelly, 61, of Oakland, Calif., 15 months in prison.
  • Susan Crane, 67, of Baltimore, 15 months in prison.

The activists could have received sentences of up to 10 years in prison. 
All of those sentenced are long time anti-nuclear weapons protesters.  By his own account, Bichsel has been arrested more than 45 times.  He began protesting at Bangor in 1976.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle, in handing down the sentences, called the activism of the defendants "extraordinary," but said he had to send a "clear message," that the conduct was illegal and exposed the defendants and those on base to unnecessary risks. Settle called actions of the five "a form of anarchism."

"If it goes unchecked, it will lead to a breakdown of the social order and descent into chaos," the judge said.

Outside the federal courthouse in Tacoma, several hundred supporters gathered.  One held a sign that read "Blessed are the Peacemakers." 

 

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.
The Associated Press (“AP”) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from the AP. Founded in 1846, the AP today is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. The AP considers itself to be the backbone of the world’s information system, serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television, and online customers with coverage in text, photos, graphics, audio and video.