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Nov. 1: Trial for 17 who crossed nuke-plant property line on Memorial Day

Suzanna van der Hijden of Amsterdam, left, and Bennette Dibben kick back at a restaurant after the line-crossing for peace on May 27. Why the hat? Dibben fashioned dandelions for her straw hat in honor of Lu Mountenay, who said in 2018 that the four men crossing the line with her were thorns in the side of militarism. Mountenay called herself a weed, a dandelion, saying, “Hear me roar: No more nukes!” as the five crossed the line. Mountenay was much on Dibben’s mind this Memorial Day.—Photo by Jane Stoever

Seventeen persons crossed the National Security Campus property line in Kansas City, Mo., May 27, Memorial Day, to object to NSC’s production of nuclear weapon parts and to seek a nuke-free world. In an Aug. 7 hearing, Judge Martina Peterson accepted the “not guilty” plea that the lawyer for the 17, Henry Stoever, submitted. The judge set the trial date for Friday, Nov. 1, at 1:30 pm.

Before the courtroom opened Aug. 7, defendant Bennette Dibben referred to Lu Mountenay, a civil resister who had hoped to cross the line herself May 27 but died of cancer April 21. Dibben told friends that on May 27, she stepped over the purple property line “because of Lu’s spirit. That gave me the courage to do it.” As time came close to the hearing, Dibben wrote a statement she may draw from during the Nov. 1 trial. It says she is guilty of paying taxes that cover the costs of US nuclear weapons, but she is not guilty of stepping across an arbitrary purple line that on other days she would be allowed to cross. “Our country is doing ‘nuclear upgrades,’” said Dibben, “but they’re not making nuclear upgrades, they’re making new kinds of nuclear weapons,” which violates the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in force since 1970. 

Two of the 17—one from Germany, one from the Netherlands—will not come to the trial. If you want to do “court support” for the other 15, come to Municipal Court, 511 E. 11th St., Kansas City, MO, on Nov. 1 at 12:30pm for reflections before heading to the courtroom. 

—By Jane Stoever of PeaceWorks-KC

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