Contact: Bonnie Block, Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice
Phone: (715) 472-4185
Contact: Echnaton Vedder
625 N. Frances St.
Madison WI 53703
Phone: (608) 280-8683
FINAL PRE-TRIAL HEARING
February 8, 2001
(The hearing will determine whether the defendants will be allowed to present any defense to the charge. Expert witnesses will attend to offer testimony regarding the defense of crime prevention, including international and domestic law prohibiting nuclear weapons, that defendants wish to present to the jury.)
On June 24th, at 1:45 PM, two peace activists calling their action "Silence Trident," cut down three wooden antenna poles for the U.S. Navy's Project ELF submarine transmitter. Bonnie Urfer and Michael Sprong used hand-held Swede saws to take the dangerous and illegal nuclear war trigger system off-line.
After Bonnie and Michael sawed through the heavy poles that hold up the antenna lines in the National Forest near Clam Lake, WI, they attached a "criminal indictment" of the ELF/Trident system and waited for authorities. An Ashland County Sheriff's Deputy took over an hour to arrive and placed the two under arrest.
On October 18, 2000, the U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Wisconsin filed an indictment charging that the two "wilfully injured and committed depradation" against property of the United States Department of the Navy, with the damage to such property not exceeding the sum of $1,000. (In violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1361 and Section 2.)
Project ELF sends coded, one-way messages to deeply submerged Trident missile-firing submarines around the world. The submarines can be ordered simultaneously to the surface where they can launch 24 missiles that carry up to 8 nuclear warheads apiece. From these forward-based "platforms," enemy missile sites and command posts can be destroyed in less than 15 minutes. This makes Project ELF the "trigger" for over 50% of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons. In documents that Bonnie and Michael brought to the site, they charge that the ELF/Trident complex is illegal under international as well as domestic U.S. law against planning murder and indiscriminate warfare.