Report on Zumwalt 12 Court Hearing & Invite
to Next Zumwalt 12 Event
Eleven of the members of the Zumwalt 12 (arrested at Bath Iron Works on
June 18 when we blocked the road and gate during a ‘christening ceremony)
appeared in West Bath District Court early this morning. (Our 12th member of
the group Tarak Kauff is in Okinawa with a Veterans for Peace delegation). Bar
Harbor attorney Lynne Williams was with us providing her expertise having
represented activists following previous civil disobedience cases around
As it turned out the new $7 billion Zumwalt ‘stealth’ destroyer (the second
one to be ‘christened’ at BIW) was leaving Bath today on its way to be home
ported in San Diego. From there it will be sent into the Asia-Pacific as part of the
Obama-Clinton ‘pivot’ of 60% of Pentagon military forces into the region to
The Associated Press
has reported, “A super-stealthy destroyer [Zumwalt]
that could underpin the U.S. Navy’s China strategy will be able to
sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with
electromagnetic ‘rail guns’ right out of a sci-fi movie.
Using electric pulses, not chemical
explosives, the ‘rail gun’ can shoot a 40-pound metal slug from New York to
Philadelphia at up to 5,600 mph — more than seven times the speed of sound —
with 32 times the force of a car traveling at 100 miles per hour."
Judge Matthews presided over the ‘dispositional conference’ and after
learning that all 12 members of the group were planning to plead ‘not guilty’ -
and that 11 of the group would defend themselves during a joint trial – the
jurist adjourned the conference until 12:30 pm.
Once Judge Matthews reconvened the court he began by asking the state
prosecutor if Bath Iron Works (BIW) had been consulted about the case. Matthews
remarked, “BIW would probably like to see this all go away.” The prosecutor
said he didn’t know if anyone had reached out to BIW.
Judge Matthews then began a long series of questions to the state
prosecutor that included the following:
“What is it about this case that the state wants to do a jury trial? I
don’t think a trial makes any sense but I am not the judge who would try this
case. I’d urge the [Sagadahoc County] District Attorney’s
to rethink this. What would they achieve? The last thing BIW wants
in this case is to re-raise the issues in this case. And this case will incur
considerable time and cost to the court.”
Next Judge Matthews mentioned the first Plowshares action at BIW by Fr.
Phil Berrigan and four others on Easter, March 31, 1991. The judge told the
state prosecutor, “Fr. Berrigan and his group were charged but the charges never
proceeded. He made his point and everyone went on. Sometimes in these
conferences we plant seeds that can later be worked out.”
The next step is for the District Attorney’s office to decide how they will
proceed with the Zumwalt 12. It is possible that by late November a trial date
(likely in December) will be set.
In the meantime the Zumwalt 12 have decided to return to BIW for a
on Saturday, October 1
from 11:30 am for
an hour during the midday shift change. This protest will be held in
conjunction with local events around the world during Keep Space for Peace Week
destroyers, also built at BIW, are outfitted with so-called ‘missile defense’
systems that are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning.
Following the October 1 BIW vigil the Zumwalt 12 will hold a pot
luck lunch at the Neighborhood Church (798 Washington St) in Bath and
invite others to join us. After the 12:30 pm lunch the Zumwalt 12 members will
each offer their reasons for having taken the step to risk arrest at BIW. This
will be done in preparation for a possible trial in December.
Please come and support the Zumwalt 12 and help continue this important
peace witness in Bath.
Convert BIW to peaceful purposes!
No war with China and Russia!
Fund human needs!
Stop the War$ on Mother
Arrested at BIW on June 18 were: Richard Lethem, 83 of Bath; Dud
Hendrick, 74 of Deer Isle; Bruce Gagnon, 64, of Bath; Russell Wray, 61,
of Hancock; Tarak Kauff, 74, of Woodstock, NY; Joan Peck, 69, of
Brunswick; George Ostensen, 61, of Hope; Jason Rawn, 42, of
Lincolnville; Cynthia Howard, 69, of Biddeford; Constance Jenkins, 68,
of Orono; John Morris, 79, of New Gloucester; and John Peck, 75, of