The Bangor 5 were given prison terms ranging from two to fifteen months on Monday by a federal judge at U.S. District Court in Tacoma. -- Judge Benjamin H. Settle "sentenced Jesuit priest Stephen Kelly, 61, of Oakland, Calif., and retired teacher Susan Crane, 67, of Baltimore, to 15 months in prison," the Kitsap Sun reported. -- "Jesuit priest Bill Bichsel, 82, of Tacoma, was sentenced to three months in prison and six months' home monitoring. Sister Anne Montgomery, 84, of Redwood City, Calif., got two months in prison and four months' home monitoring, and social worker Lynne Greenwald, 61, of Tacoma, got six months in prison with 60 hours of community service." -- "The judge ordered Kelly to be taken to prison immediately. Settle was going to allow the other defendants to report to prison next month, but when they told the judge they might not show up, he ordered them to be taken to prison immediately." -- “It’s not easy to sit in judgment of people who have lived such sacrificial lives,” Settle said, the News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) reported. -- "The five protesters have 10 days from the sentencing to decide whether they will appeal the jury’s verdict to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals," Steve Maynard said. "Members of the group gave differing views whether they would appeal." -- In addition to some other local media, an AP article based on the News Tribune's report was picked up on Monday by the Wall Street Journal, the San Jose Mercury News, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, KHQ in Idaho, KSRO of Sonoma County, CA, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, a blog on the website of the Macon Gazette, and a news outlet in Taiwan, a Google News search indicated....
'BANGOR 5' PROTESTORS GET PRISON TIME FOR TRESPASSING, PROPERTY DESTRUCTION
By Josh Farley
March 28, 2011
TACOMA -- Two priests, a nun, and two other women in their 60s who cut through fences at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to protest nuclear weapons were sentenced Monday to prison terms ranging from two to 15 months.
U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle called the work and activism of some 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 sentenced Jesuit priest Stephen Kelly, 61, of Oakland, Calif., and retired teacher Susan Crane, 67, of Baltimore, to 15 months in prison.
Jesuit priest Bill Bichsel, 82, of Tacoma, was sentenced to three months in prison and six months' home monitoring. Sister Anne Montgomery, 84, of Redwood City, Calif., got two months in prison and four months' home monitoring, and social worker Lynne Greenwald, 61, of Tacoma, got six months in prison with 60 hours of community service.
Briefly, Settle spoke of the nuclear arms abolition those before him were so advocating. "It'll be a great day when they'll exist no more," he said.
The five defendants admitted that on Nov. 2, 2009, they cut through the chain link fence surrounding Bangor and walked to Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific, the weapons storage area. There, they cut through two more barbed wire fences and went inside, putting up banners, scattering sunflower seeds, and praying until they were arrested.
Federal prosecutors argued that the protesters had "crossed a line." The protesters violated the rights of the people on base whose activities they disturbed and placed themselves and others at great risk, prosecutors said.
Assistant United States Attorney for Western Washington Arlen Storm said the protesters had been "selfish" and their actions did not fit the "democratic process."
"These defendants must be held accountable under the law," he said.
The defendants, however, maintained that nuclear warheads stored at the base and on submarines there are illegal under international, national, and humanitarian law. Settle prohibited them from using international law and the lethality of nuclear weapons as a defense.
"We went to the base to uphold a higher law," Kelly said.
Among those that advised the defendants during trial -- they acted as their own attorneys -- was longtime Port Orchard attorney Roger Hunko, who told Settle that the five had actually improved security at the base by exposing a hole in the security there.
Two of the defendants even asked Settle if he'd come out to the next protest they hold near the base. "Cross the line with me," Crane said.
Settle said Monday's audience was the largest he's ever had for a sentencing.
The judge ordered Kelly to be taken to prison immediately. Settle was going to allow the other defendants to report to prison next month, but when they told the judge they might not show up, he ordered them to be taken to prison immediately.
A federal jury convicted the five anti-war demonstrators of conspiracy, trespass, and destruction of government property in December. They had faced up to 10 years in prison.
Bangor is home to 10 Ohio-class submarines, eight armed with Trident ballistic missiles and two with conventional weapons.
About 250 demonstrators gathered outside the federal courthouse before Monday's sentencing. Kelly told KOMO television before the sentencing that he was prepared to go to prison.
"I think it's really worth it," Kelly said. "I have the solace of my conscience, as I think this is just one little step against nuclear weapons and someday we'll be free, and maybe not in my lifetime, but I have hope."
The trial hinged on straightforward charges relating to trespassing and property damage.
Montgomery said in a sentencing document filed last week that she and others have taken responsibility for their actions. She wrote that they trained for the action and went over every aspect, including discussing that a Marine might shoot one of them.
"We accept personal responsibility for bringing attention to the policies of our government, and for the responsibility of protesting nuclear weapons," she wrote. "We know that the manufacture and deployment of Trident II missiles, weapons of mass destruction, is immoral and criminal under International Law and, therefore, under United States Law."
FIVE PROTESTERS SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR BREAKING INTO BANGOR BASE
By Steve Maynard
News Tribune (Tacoma, WA)
March 28, 2011
Five anti-war protesters -- including a Jesuit priest from the Hilltop -- were handed prison sentences ranging from two months to 15 months in federal court in Tacoma today for breaking into Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to protest the nuclear weapons stored there.
The five -- including two Catholic priests and a sister -- were convicted by a federal jury of using bolt cutters to cut through three chain-link fences to enter an area where nuclear warheads are stored on the base, about 40 miles northwest of Tacoma.
The Rev. Bill Bichsel, of Tacoma, 82, was sentenced to three months in prison and six months home detention by U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle. Settle also sentenced 84-year-old Sister Anne Montgomery to two months in prison and four months in home detention.
Supporters, including former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Retired Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit -- praised the five for taking non-violent action against nuclear weapons.
"Their conscience is telling them they have to do it," Clark said.
But Settle called the protesters’ actions a “form of anarchy” that if left unchecked would result in a breakdown of society. While Settle praised the five for their life stories and humanitarian work, the judge said he was bound by law to send “a very clear message” that legal -- not illegal -- means must be used to try to bring about change.
“Indeed, there is no indication of remorse” by any of the five, Settle said.
Settle’s sentences for the other three were:
• 15 months in prison for the Rev. Stephen Kelly, 62, a Jesuit priest from Oakland, Calif.
• 15 months in prison for Susan Crane, 67, a retired public school teacher from Baltimore.
• Six months in prison for Lynne Greenwald, 61, a social worker from Bremerton.
Kelly defended the protesters actions during today's sentencing.
"We went to the base to uphold a higher law," Kelly said.
Kelly and Crane received the longest sentences because they had the most extensive criminal history. Both have several prior convictions for destroying government property at military installations across the country as a protest of U.S. military weapons.
While supporters in the packed courtroom sang “rejoice in the Lord always,” the five were taken into custody to the federal detention center in SeaTac.
Bichsel has spent about 20 months in federal prison for prior acts of trespass at Bangor and at a federal facility in Georgia.
Prosecutors recommended mid-range sentences for each of the protesters. Settle issued shorter sentences than prosecutors recommended.
He cited Bichel's work to help others in the community.
“It’s not easy to sit in judgment of people who have lived such sacrificial lives,” Settle said.
The five were convicted Dec. 13 of conspiracy, trespassing, and destruction of government property. They faced up to 10 years in prison.
The defendants admitted they broke into the base around 2 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2009. Bichsel previously said the protesters were beyond the perimeter fence for about 41/2 hours before they cut through the final two fences and military personnel responded to an alarm.
The armed guards ordered the banner-carrying activists to the ground and placed bags over their heads so they couldn’t view any more of the secure area. Bichsel has estimated the protesters were within 35 to 50 feet of the weapons bunkers.
During their weeklong trial, the protesters wanted to focus their defense on their motivation for breaking into the base, but Settle barred them from submitting arguments that called the weapons illegal under international law.
During the sentencing, the protesters and their supporters did speak about their intent.
Prosecutors and Settle said the protesters endangered themselves and military guards by entering a secure area.
The five protesters have 10 days from the sentencing to decide whether they will appeal the jury’s verdict to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Members of the group gave differing views whether they would appeal.