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A bird's eye view of the vineyard
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Day 2 of the Kings Bay 7 Plowshares Trial
anti-war / imperialism |
Thursday October 24, 2019 23:45 by Justin Morahan
Best defences excluded by judge
Summary: On Day 2, he trial continued in the best traditions of predetermined verdicts
The second day of the Kings Bay Plowshares trial, according to reports, resembled the trials in Dublin already referred to.
It seems that the prosecution, aided by the court, does not have to deal with the prepared defence (which has been excluded by the judge) so the time is spent instead "proving" what has been openly admitted by the defendants. They had split in order to enter the Base at three different points.
So there were exhibits of photos and banners, bolt cutters and a ten foot piece of cut fence. They even used segments of GoPro video footage filmed by two of the defendants - presumably to prove that they were there and did what they said they did.
A military police officer testified that he found Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J., Elizabeth McAlister and Carmen Trotta on the other side of a fence at a deadly force zone where a warning is blared on loudspeakers every 10 to 15 minutes, and where the activists believe nuclear weapons are stored in bunkers. The government’s witnesses will neither confirm nor deny there are nuclear weapons there.
The head of the Marines security team was called to apprehend the three. He was awoken from sleep at one in the morning and drove over with his team. They climbed through the hole in the fence and approached the three. Carmen Trotta told him they were unarmed and came in peace.
An officer of the Department of Defence police said he arrested the other four Plowshares activists at the missile display. He testified to the peaceful, compliant nature of the protesters. During a defence attorney’s cross-examination of the military police officer, she highlighted the religious aspect of the defendants’ action, calling the area a “missile shrine.” Defendant Patrick O’Neill connected with his arresting officer with a humorous story about their first meeting. The officer made him smile, he recounted: “You said, ‘You folks realize you are in a bit of trouble, don’t you?’”
Special Agent Thomas Kenney of the NCIS presented forensic evidence about the cut fence and various tools found. He then reviewed about two hours of GoPro video recordings filmed by Carmen Trotta at the restricted area and by Patrick O’Neill at the missile monument display. The video was mostly too dark to see clearly what was happening, but the audio provided a running commentary. It also showed O'Neill swinging various sledge hammers and gardening tools at a monument to the Trident II D5 missile and signs. It entered into evidence many of the points the defendants wanted to make about the peaceful, religious nature of their action.
Because the judge will not allow almost any of the defence's arguments to be heard -- necessity, international law, moral and religious objections -- the trial is expected to conclude in a day or two.