IN THE 16th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF MISSOURI
MUNICIPAL COURT DIVISION
AT KANSAS CITY, COURT G
CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, )
PLAINTIFF, ) Ticket No. 5G113770,
) Case No. G00211959-2
) COURT G
VS. ) TRIAL: October 25, 2023
) 1:30 PM (Special Setting)
ANN C. SUELLENTROP, )
DEFENDANT ANN SUELLENTROP’S TRIAL BRIEF
RAISING HER LEGAL RIGHTS AND DEFENSES
COMES NOW the Defendant, Ann C. Suellentrop, and for her Trial Brief raising her Legal Rights and Defenses for the Special Trial Setting for Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at 1:30 PM, to be heard in Court G, states to the Court:
ISSUE 1: Is this a trespass, or a 1st Amendment protest, when advance notice and planning occurs, in a non-violent crossing of the line by 10 feet or less, three-fourths of a mile from the facility, on Memorial Day holiday, in the face of a nuclear weapons plant?
ISSUE 2: Is this protest protected 1st Amendment activity, when the headlines read: on
Monday, January 3, 2022, “Five World Leaders Issue Pledge To Prevent Nuclear War,”
which was the joint statement issued by China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the
United States, saying that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Yet
work on nuclear weapon parts continues to this day at the Kansas City National Security
ISSUE 3: Do the principles of life and liberty as stated in the Declaration of Independence and in our U.S. Constitution, as well as the principles of equal protection and due process, require this Defendant to challenge the policies for the existence of weapons of mass destruction, and the state of nuclear terror that impacts all of our lives?
ISSUE 4: Does the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution protect the right of free expression of Religion whereby Defendant’s representative gives advance notice of the protest action, and she expresses her beliefs that no government has the right to exterminate all or part of the world’s peoples, and whereby Defendant makes her beliefs known and steps across an alleged boundary line, when the state of nuclear terror impacts all of our lives?
ISSUE 5: Does the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution protect the right of free speech and assembly whereby Defendant steps across an alleged boundary line in protest to the making and procuring of parts for nuclear weapons at the local weapons facility, on Memorial Day, with advance knowledge of the plant, with coordination by representatives, and that protected action is a mere ten feet or less, and three-fourths of a mile from the plant?
BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF THE CASE
A SUMMARY OF MY POSITION: We all live under the threat of nuclear annihilation, with the nuclear states able to destroy all life on this planet many times over. Some call this deterrence, and others call this nuclear terrorism. This state of permanent warfare with its omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation was compared by President John F. Kennedy, in a United Nations speech on September 25, 1961, to the “sword of Damocles hanging over the people of the world.” These nuclear weapons “trespass” upon my inalienable rights to life, liberty, happiness, survival, justice, equal protection under the law, exercise of my religion, etc. My limited protest, a mere ten feet over a painted line, more than three-fourths of a mile from the weapons facility, was a matter of principle and should not cause me to face prison and/or fines.
- I, Ann Cathryn Suellentrop, was born on January 5, 1952, and I reside at 1865 S.
Pyle, Kansas City, KS 66103. I am 71 years of age. I have spent my entire life in the atomic-nuclear age.
Since this is a case where I am subject to six months in prison and/or $500.00 fine, or both, and since I maintain that this is a peace protest using civil disobedience, and since I was totally nonviolent, and since I maintain I am acting on my sincere and conscientious beliefs, I am providing character evidence, by listing my formal education, employment history, my credentials, honors and associations, my education and experiences in regard to nuclear weapons. I also present my beliefs in Catholic Social Teachings, my activities with PeaceWorks Kansas City, my activities with the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, my membership and activities with Physicians for Social Responsibility, and other membership. As recognized by Federal Rule of Evidence 405, character evidence is admissible when the character trait is an essential element of the charge, complaint, or defense. (Navigating the Federal Trial, 2012 Edition, Robert E. Larsen, Section 9.4, page 951, Judge Larsen was the United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Missouri, from 1991 to May 31, 2017). Likewise, Missouri also holds “Direct Use: Reputation, opinion and specific instances of conduct evidence are all admissible where character evidence is an essential element of a charge, claim, or defense.” (See Character and Habit Evidence, Rules 404, 405 and 406, Ripley Rand, Special Superior Court Judge, Advanced Criminal Evidence, May 2010, Section B, (5)).
- My formal education is:
- Master’s of Nursing, Maternal-Child Health with an emphasis in Pediatrics, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas,1982.
- B.S. in Nursing, Avila College, Kansas City, Missouri,1975
- Certified Medical Interpreter, Jewish Vocational. Services, Kansas City, Missouri.
- Intercultural Semester program, Johnson County Community College.
- Attended a University of Kansas (KU) conference in Costa Rica in February, 2000, with scholarship from this program.
- Continuing education classes in various computer programs: Word, Excel, Access, Power Point, accounting, internet and medical programs by Cerner and Meditech.
- Certified in Swedish Massage, Heartland School of Massage, Kansas City, Missouri; and in Hawaiian massage, energy bodywork, perinatal and infant massage.
- Employment History:
- Staff Nurse, Women & Children, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Merriam, Kansas (July, 2001 – June, 2020, when I retirement). Cared for mothers and newborns, neonatal ICU.
- Pediatric Clinical Instructor, Children’s Mercy Hospital, for MidAmerica Nazarene University and in Maternity at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
- Travel Nurse assignment in Maternity, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawai’i 2005.
- Medical Spanish instructor, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas.
- Community Health Education/Outreach Coordinator, Bethany and Providence Medical Centers and Saint John Hospital, Kansas City and Leavenworth, Kansas 2001.
- Staff Nurse, primarily in Pediatrics, Bethany Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas (1984-2001), cared for hospitalized children with a variety of illnesses, some child abuse.
- Nursing Supervisor, Kansas State School for the Blind, Kansas City, Kansas.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal ICU, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas (1979-1984), worked with families of premature babies, those with birth-defects, and infants who died.
- Public Health Nurse, Kansas City/WY CO Health Department, Kansas City, Kansas (1975-1978), did home visits to teenage mothers, worked in well-child and immunization clinics.
- Staff Nurse, Medical-Surgical, St. Mary Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, 1975.
- Credentials, Honors, Associations:
- Certified in Maternal Newborn Nursing, 2019.
- Kansas Licensed Registered Nurse since 1975.
- Missouri Licensed Registered Nurse, inactive.
- Member, American Nurses Association since 1975.
- Member, Sigma Theta Tau, Nursing Honors Society (30+ years).
- Bodhisattva Award for PeaceWorks, Rime Buddhist Center, December, 2019.
- Woman of Worth Award, Older Women’s League, fall 2010.
- Grassroots Activist of the Year Award, Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, March 2010.
- Charles E. Bebb Peace Merit Award, PeaceWorks, March 2010.
- Avila University Alumni Achievement Award, fall 2009.
- Employee Above & Beyond Award, Shawnee Mission Medical Center, 2007.
- Employee of the Month, Bethany Medical Center, 1999.
- Member, Catholics for Justice, Latin American Task Force (about 10 years).
- Member, Colombia Support Network-KC.
- Board member, PeaceWorks (2008-current).
- Member, Physicians for Social Responsibility (2009-current).
- Board member, Companion Ministries, KCK (2011-2015), assists homeless and mentally ill people to attain their goals.
- Member, JustFaith, organized home rehab team for the poor, disabled and elderly, April 2006, New Orleans post-Katrina for Catholic Charities.
- Clinic nurse in New Orleans for Heart to Heart, October, 2006.
5. I became a certified Spanish medical interpreter/translator through Jewish Vocational Services during the 1990s. There was a huge migration of people from Mexico and Central America during those years, and Bethany Medical Center, where I worked, had no interpreter. So I became a volunteer interpreter throughout the hospital. Some days on the Pediatric and Maternity Units, where I worked as a nurse, all the patients and their families spoke only Spanish. I returned to Johnson County Community College (JCCC) to improve my Spanish conversational skills and study Latin American history and culture. After completing the program, I was awarded a scholarship to attend a KU conference in Costa Rica. I also studied sign language last year at JCCC to broaden my understanding and ability to communicate with others.
I was also involved in several mission trips throughout Latin America over the years to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Colombia. I was a member of solidarity groups in Kansas City working for peace and justice in Latin America, such as Good Shepherd Catholic Church and its sister-parish El Buen Pastor in El Salvador and Colombia Support Network KC and the Embera Chami Indigenous villages in the jungle of Putamayo, Colombia. (see colombiasupport.net)
- My experience and education in regard to nuclear weapons:
- In 2008 I joined PeaceWorks KC, and in 2009 I joined Physicians forSocial Responsibility Kansas City
- I also joined a national organization, the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), which is a network of about 30 organizations nationwide that are located near nuclear weapons production facilities and their waste sites. I attend ANA’s annual spring DC lobby days and their fall meetings at one of the nuclear weapons or waste sites. The fall meetings include a tour of the facilities and a panel of local organizations that discuss that site’s issues. I also participate in monthly zoom calls with ANA and national PSR.
- I was President of ANA for a couple of years and was recently interviewed to potentially serve on the national board of PSR. I have received several awards for my activism (see above).
- Concerning Catholic Social Teachings, what I learned and teachings in regard to war, just war theory, nuclear weapons, etc.: As part of my Catholic faith I have read many books and attended many seminars on Catholic Social Justice Teachings. In the early 2000s I led a 9 month study group called JustFaith and then led another 9 month study group for JustFaith leaders. These were transformative experiences which greatly increased my social justice work. (see justfaith.org) About 10 years ago I met Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy and learned about Jesus’ teaching of Nonviolent Love of Friends and Enemies or His Way of Nonviolent Love. (see emmanuelcharlesmccarthy.org).
For the past 6 years I have been in a study group on Gospel Nonviolence at Keeler Womens Center run by the Benedictine Sisters from Atchison, Kansas. (see mountosb.org-keelerwomenscenter) We have read numerous books and watched many films and discussed how these apply to our daily lives. It became clear to me that the Just War Theory is not able to be applied to any war. The criteria used to justify going to war have been: having the competent authority to start a war, probability of success, using war as a last resort, and fighting for a just cause. Once war has begun, the criteria are distinction or directing acts of war against enemy combatants and not non-combatants, proportionality to limit the harm caused to civilians and their property, and military necessity to limit death and destruction towards civilians, fair treatment of prisoners of war, and no weapons considered evil, such as mass rape.
- There is no such thing as a just war, particularly with nuclear weapons involved. They are totally evil and inhumane, and Pope Francis has condemned a state’s even possessing them as immoral. They are totally evil and inhumane. In 2021, following the pope, Archbishop John Wester, whose New Mexico diocese includes Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory, birthplace of the nuclear bomb, released a pastoral letter calling for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. (see archdiosf.org-living-in-the-light-of-Christ’s-Peace) He has traveled to Hiroshima and Nagasaki twice with the nuclear abolition message.
- Concerning my education and experiences prior to joining PeaceWorks KC (PWKC): I have studied and been inspired by nonviolent direct action since my younger years. Gandhi, the Rev. Martin Luther King and the Catholic Worker Movement have had a big influence on me. (See Catholic Worker.org) I see Civil Disobedience as Divine Obedience and believe it has the power to change hearts and minds for peace.
g. A member of PeaceWorks KC, I joined the Board in 2008. My activity with PWKC includes making trips for PWKC to Washington, DC, to weapons facilities, to the 2010 New York City Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), various speaking engagements, i.e. at Park University and at Avila University. I have worked with Maurice Copeland and with Jay Coghlan about the dangers of making nuclear weapons. I joined PeaceWorks during the time when the City of Kansas City, Missouri, was involved in plans to close the Bannister Federal Complex (BFC), which included the nuclear bomb parts plant called the Kansas City Plant, and build a new nuclear bomb parts plant, the National Security Campus (NSC). (see kcnsc.doe.gov) My activities with PeaceWorks have been and continue to be numerous: lobbying at the national and local level for nuclear abolition and for compensation for sick workers at the KC Plant and other federal workers on the site, educational and film showings to the public, participating in public hearings, organizing rallies, protests and marches on converting the plant to peaceful purposes, speaking numerous times to classes at Park and Avila University. I attended the 2010 Review Conference on the NPT, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, meeting at the United Nations. I met hibakusha or survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As part of PeaceWorks’ work against Kansas City’s plans for its new nuclear bomb plant, we gathered 5,000 signatures three different times for a ballot initiative. We got 27% of the city’s vote, but we consider it a win that proponents of the new plant sent a flier about the issue to every voter. We posted 4 billboards for nuclear abolition around the city during this campaign. At the groundbreaking ceremony for the new plant we hired a plane to circle above for an hour trailing a banner that said “No New Nuke Bomb Plant”.
- I have been one of the leaders over the past 15 years advocating to change the work of Kansas City’s nuclear bomb parts plant to work in peaceful pursuits, such as solving the climate crisis. This should be the focus of the Department of Energy, which is the agency through which the Kansas City Plant is funded by our tax dollars. Over the past 13 years, there have been about 175 arrests for trespassing during PeaceWorks protests at the old and new Plants, and this has created public awareness, whereas the existence and purpose of the bomb factories had been kept quite secret in the past.
- Concerning my membership in the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, what ANA is, being part of their Board, holding a leadership position with ANA, going to DC Days, going to weapons and disposal sites, etc.: I received much assistance in my anti-nuclear activism from the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA), which I joined in 2008 on behalf of PeaceWorks and PSR. ANA is a network of 30 US grassroots organizations whose members live near the nation’s nuclear weapons production and waste facilities. Jay Coghlan, of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, was particularly helpful. I became part of a lawsuit filed by ANA which delayed the new nuclear bomb plant from being built for several months. Later I even became president of ANA for a couple of years. I attend ANA’s yearly spring lobbying day in Washington, DC. ANA has been lobbying since the 1980s after the proposed federal budget comes out. ANA lobbies against nuclear weapons and for cleanup of nuclear waste. This past spring, I took a group of four PeaceWorks members and we lobbied at the offices of all the Kansas and Missouri Senators and of the Representatives for Kansas City. We met personally with Rep. Sharice Davids and Senator Josh Hawley; we told them about the sick and deceased workers from Kansas City’s nuclear bomb plant and lobbied for the expansion of RECA, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Sen. Hawley had us escorted to the Senate Chamber as VIPs to watch the vote on his resolution on RECA expansion. I also attend ANA’s fall meetings at one of the country’s 8 major nuclear weapons sites or at a waste site. A panel of leaders from local organizations inform us in detail about the local issues, and there is usually a tour of the local facility. At these meetings I learn much about nuclear weapons production with its enormous budget and about each site’s problems with contamination affecting people’s health, particularly children who suffer from leukemia, brain cancer and thyroid cancer. Children are more vulnerable because their cells are dividing faster as they rapidly grow and develop. Radiation damages DNA, and cancer cells mutate and divide at an even faster, uncontrolled growth rate.
- The US government plans to spend over 2 trillion dollars over the next 30 years to remake all of its thousands of nuclear weapons, while spending little to clean up the waste. In my opinion, this is why the US has no universal health coverage or free universities, unlike other/ industrialized countries. So this is another way nuclear weapons affect our health negatively. (see ananuclear.org)
During monthly zoom calls, ANA members work on campaigns such as Back from the Brink, Schools of Mass Destruction, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, (ICAN), and the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. (See icanw.org)
Most of the groups in ANA have Hiroshima-Nagasaki remembrance events. Many ANA groups also gave out fliers at the premiere of the Oppenheimer movie this past summer and had discussions with a Q&A after the movie. We are hoping the movie starts a world-wide conversation about nuclear weapons and results in a mass movement to finally get rid of all of them.
- Concerning my membership in Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a Nobel Prize winner, with an opportunity to meet Dr. Helen Caldicott, MD, founder of PSR International, activities I have done with PSR, being on their national organization, being nominated to serve as Chair of the national PSR organization, etc.: Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) has influenced me for many years, and it has caused me to view working for the abolition of nuclear weapons as part of my role as a Registered Nurse. PSR provides me with scholarly articles on the health effects of radioactivity and nuclear weapons production and use. The national organization of PSR and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for raising public awareness of the catastrophic medical consequences of using nuclear weapons.
Over 130 international medical journals came together in August, 2023, in a joint editorial realizing the urgency of the moment to warn about the dangers of nuclear war. It was written by Dr. Robert Dodge, President of PSR of Los Angeles. It calls on ALL health care practitioners to alert the public on risks of nuclear weapons and the need to abolish all of them now. (see commondreams.org/opinion/doctors-warn-against-nuclear-war)
I was greatly influenced by several PSR doctors: Dr. Helen Caldicott, Dr. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn and Dr. Maureen McCue, as well as Dr. Ira Helfand, former head of PSR and of IPPNW. I hosted Dr. Helfand three times in Kansas City when he came to make presentations on nuclear weapons to medical students and the public.
- Concerning my membership in of other organizations, such as Pax Christi, environmental organizations, etc.: I have been a long-time member of Sierra Club (environmental) and have participated with them in joint events. I have also been a follower for years of Pax Christi USA and Pax Christi International, Catholic Peace and Nonviolence organizations. In March, 2024, I will be part of a spiritual pilgrimage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, under Pax Christi and with the Oleander Initiative, an organization that empowers peacebuilders from around the world. (see paxchristiusa.org, paxchristi.net, and oleanderinitiative.org)
- What are the Kansas City Plants, the old one and the new one? Kansas City’s new nuclear bomb parts plant, called the National Security Campus (NSC), is one of eight major sites that together make US nuclear weapons. It makes about 80% of nuclear bomb parts – the mechanical and electronic parts that guide the warheads and set off the nuclear bombs. I think of it as our making the parts for the gun and other factories make the ‘bullets’ – the plutonium, uranium and tritium. The NSC also repairs nuclear bombs brought in from the field.
- The Bannister Federal Complex was built during WWII to build jet fighter engines and then reopened in 1949 as the Kansas City Plant to build parts for nuclear weapons. Half of the BFC was used for other federal offices, such as the IRS. Since this enormous building shared one HVAC system, workers in these other areas also became sick and died from exposure to toxins. At the height of the Cold War, KC Plant employee numbers reached a peak of 9,000. At the time of its closing, there were only about 2,000 workers.
- I met with Maurice Copeland, a whistleblower who worked at the Kansas City nuclear bomb parts plant at BFC for 32 years and was a supervisor. Together with PeaceWorks, we organized many town halls so BFC sick workers could seek help getting compensation and health care. We also met with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Regional EPA office on behalf of the sick workers and the many who had died from the toxins at the BFC.
- As publicity generated by PeaceWorks increased, the Federal Government began to release the names of specific toxins used at the BFC, starting with about 300 and finally ending with about 2,400, including TCE, PC-BSD, petroleum hydrocarbons and radioactive substances in the soil or groundwater.
- After the new nuclear bomb plant was opened, the NSC, most of the BFC was torn down. Much of the contaminated soil was removed, including some uranium that was found on the grounds outside the building! The pump and treat wells were upgraded that keep the large, contaminated underground water reservoir from reaching two nearby rivers that flow into the Missouri River. An industrial park was built on the site, with no residential buildings allowed.
- Business is booming, so to speak, at the NSC. They are involved in Life Extension Programs, which is a plan to completely revamp all the nuclear weapons in the US arsenal, so that they will last throughout most of this century. For example, they have redone the B61 gravity bomb into the B61-12 ‘smart’ bomb equipped with a tail fin to guide it and the ability to dial its firepower up or down. The NSC is expanding in size and in numbers of workers since it opened in 2014. There are nearly 7,000 workers, a sharp increase from about 2,000 workers when it opened in 2014. The annual budget has risen also from millions of dollars to a $1.28 billion proposed budget for 2024.
- The Associated Press published an article Sept. 20, 2023, on the work that the National Security Campus does. (see https://apnews.com/article/nuclear-weapons-missile-military-overhaul-f7ac8939a3bd3e6455b144f0cb5da528) The Associated Press states it “has been granted rare access to U.S. Nuclear missile bases and weapons production facilities to see how technicians keep the arsenal working while starting the government’s biggest nuclear overhaul since the Cold War.” The AP article states, “the U.S. will spend more than $750 billion over the next decade to revamp nearly every part of its aging nuclear defenses.” it says, “At the Energy Department’s Kansas City National Security Campus, where warheads are maintained and made, technicians put components through endless tests. They heat weapons parts to extreme temperatures, drop them at speeds simulating a plane crash, shoot them at high velocity out of testing guns and rattle and shake them for hours on end. The tests are meant to simulate real world scenarios—from hurtling toward a target to being carted in an Air Force truck over a long, rutty road.” “Kansas City technicians are experimenting with 3D printers to create some warhead parts, such as a micro-honeycombed, rubbery layer that will serve as a cushion for warhead radar systems.
- Concerning the cycle of mining, transporting, milling, production, design, vital functions of the KC Plants, and where these products fit into the delivery system of death and destruction: Radioactivity makes nuclear weapons not only deadly in their initial blast but deadly for many years and across many generations. They are also highly deadly and harmful throughout their entire production cycle, from uranium mining, to milling and processing, production, testing and waste disposal. Before US nuclear bomb tests were stopped in 1992, the US exploded 1,000 bombs in the atmosphere, below ground and in the ocean. So we are all downwinders. A permanent storage site for our millions of gallons of radioactive waste is a problem that has still not been solved.
- St. Louis is an example of the harm done by transporting and dumping radioactive substances carelessly and illegally. Many people in St. Louis, including children, have been made sick and died from leukemia, brain tumors, and other cancers.
- Even the long-term effects of nuclear testing are now being seen in those affected by the very first Trinity bomb. A recently published study revealed there was a 150-mile area of radioactive exposure in New Mexico, and the 500,000 people in this area were not informed before or after the bomb test. There are many families in New Mexico with five generations of family members who have suffered with cancer and birth defects. There were also 46 states downwind of this first blast. (see TularosaBasinDownwindersConsortium.org) On Thursday, July 27, 2023, the US Senate voted to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, or RECA, to include the Trinity downwinders and uranium miners and others in several states. This includes many people in St. Louis from the illegal dumping of radioactive waste from the Mallinckrodt Company which processed the first uranium for the Manhattan Project. Kansas City also has thousands of nuclear workers from its plant who have filed claims for cancers and other illnesses due to the 2,400 toxins used there. Five members of PeaceWorks lobbied with Senator Josh Hawley this past April about the health problems in St. Louis and Kansas City caused by nuclear weapons production.
- I see the moral implications of these products as: We are at a crisis point with nuclear weapons. This year the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved their infamous Doomsday Clock, representing nuclear apocalypse, to 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it’s ever been since its inception in 1947. This is due to the Ukraine war and several other factors.
- As a pediatric nurse, I feel strongly about the health effects of nuclear weapons. I am a mandated reporter for child abuse and neglect, and I am duty-bound under pain of fines and imprisonment to report even suspected endangerment of children. I should report Kansas City’s nuclear bomb parts plant, as it threatens children every day. The organization I belong to, PeaceWorks Kansas City, holds a rally every Memorial Day at the plant to remember the workers who have died from exposure to toxic substances while making parts for nuclear bombs. (see PeaceWorkskc.org)
- The critical thing about nuclear bombs that make them different from other weapons is that they use radioactive substances that damage DNA, causing birth defects, cancers and death. Embryos, fetuses, children, adolescents and women are more sensitive to this harm. The first atomic bombs used plutonium-239 and uranium-235. The half-life of plutonium-235 is 24,110 years and of uranium is 700 million years. Plutonium is the most poisonous substance not found naturally occurring in nature. It is made from uranium in nuclear energy plants. That is why accidents at nuclear power plants cause similar health effects as nuclear weapons. The plutonium pit, or primary, in a nuclear weapon is about an 8-pound sphere that is compressed during a bombing to cause fission, where one neutron hits another and splits the atom, causing a chain reaction resulting in a huge release of energy. This fission reaction radiates the other part of the nuclear weapon, the uranium, or secondary, which causes fusion, where two atoms combine to form a heavier atom. Different types of these A-bombs were used in the Trinity bomb and on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. H bombs or thermonuclear bombs use different hydrogen isotopes for fusion, such as deuterium and tritium, which slam together to form heavier atoms and release 1,000 times more energy, like the process that powers the sun. These types of bombs were tested in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean and at the Nevada Test Site. (see BeyondNuclear.org) Six countries out of the nine countries that have nuclear weapons have H bombs.
- Over time, I came to realize that nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to our survival. Since the 1980s scientists have known the health impacts of even a smaller nuclear war would be catastrophic to life on earth. Because nuclear bombs target cities and the fireball they create is hotter than the sun – about a million degrees – they vaporize everything, even the earth below them, over a several mile diameter, depending on the size of the bomb. The shock wave after the initial explosion creates a windstorm of several hundred miles per hour winds that flings glass and other debris, ruptures gas lines and sets the entire city on fire. This would loft tons of soot into the stratosphere, circling the earth in following days and weeks. This would block the sun for years and temperatures would fall, causing massive crop failures and widespread starvation. An all-out nuclear war between US and Russia would cause a nuclear winter worse than the last Ice Age, and at least 5 billion people would die of starvation. It would cause the end of civilization as we know it and mass extinction of most plant and animal life. There would be no winners. Physicians for Social Responsibility has a motto: ‘Prevention is the Only Cure’. (see PSR.org) Because most cities would be destroyed, most hospitals and medical personnel would be, too. So there would be no help coming to the rescue.
- The world is turning away from nuclear weapons and momentum is building for abolition in many ways. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted at the U.N. on July 17, 2017 and entered into force on January 22, 2021. A total of 197 states may become parties to the Treaty; 69 States have ratified it within their countries’ laws internally and 28 more have signed but not yet ratified, so a total of 97 States or 49.2% of all states have accepted binding obligations in international law under the TPNW. The Treaty prohibits everything to do with nuclear weapons – their development, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use them. The TPNW is the first treaty to recognize the humanitarian harm done to people and the environment and seeks to compensate for those damages and help persons rehabilitate from those damages.
- The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a non-governmental organization working for the remaining nations to ratify the TPNW. (see Icanw.org) PeaceWorks, PSR, ANA and hundreds of other organizations are involved in ICAN. I will be attending ICAN’s meetings at the Second Meeting of States Parties on the TPNW at the UN in New York City November 26 to December 1, 2023.
- Simultaneously, civil society in the U.S. Is working to build support for nuclear abolition by the Back from the Brink Campaign, which has already been endorsed by hundreds of organizations and local governments. (see preventnuclearwar.org) This effort has resulted in House Resolution 77 sponsored by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass) and currently cosponsored by 41 members of Congress. This resolution calls on the U.S. to embrace the goals and provisions of the TPNW and to adopt Back from the Brink’s common-sense policies for preventing nuclear war now: renounce first use of nuclear weapons, end sole authority of the President to launch nuclear weapons, take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert and cancel the plan to replace the entire U.S. arsenal with enhanced nuclear weapons.
- Nuclear weapons don’t make us safe, nor do they deter or prevent war. Rather they are the greatest threat to our security and survival. And today the threat of nuclear war is greater than it has ever been. It will take a huge cultural shift and mass movement to convince our leaders to get rid of them. Perhaps the Juliana v. United States lawsuit brought by youths against the federal government is a harbinger of the changing outlook on the constitutional rights of children to grow up in a safe and healthy world.
HISTORY OF THE NUCLEAR AGE:
The Nuclear Age began by the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, and on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945. Both cities were obliterated instantaneously, each by just one bomb, killing over 200,000 persons near the epicenters.
In response to the use of atomic weapons, Albert Einstein said in 1945: “The release of atomic power has changed everything except our way of thinking … the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the wartime Los Alamos Laboratory, the birthplace of the Manhattan Project, and seen as the father of the atomic bomb, witnessed the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945, at Alamogordo test range, New Mexico. While watching the fireball of the Trinity nuclear test, Oppenheimer quoted from a piece of Hindu scripture from the Bhagavad Gita that ran through his mind: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Oppenheimer referred to these thoughts going through his mind in a 1965 TV broadcast.
The Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb on August 29, 1949. In response to this, the US tested the world’s first thermonuclear weapon, a hydrogen bomb in 1952. The hydrogen bomb was approximately 1,000 times more powerful than an atomic nuclear device. The Soviet Union tested its own hydrogen bomb in 1953. The US and the Soviet Union were engaged in an ever-escalating arms race.
The nuclear weapon States have engaged in a massive build-up of such weapons, engaged in testing (in the atmosphere, underground, under water and in outer space), which caused all the peoples of the world to suffer radioactive pollution, including Strontium-90 in the milk supply, increased thyroid cancers, and other illnesses, as well as deployment of nuclear weapons by air, sea and land.
The nuclear powers, including the US, have entered various treaties in regard to nuclear weapons, such as atmospheric test ban treaties, treaties in regard to nuclear weapons in outer space, and strategic arms limitation treaties. HOWEVER, these nuclear countries are also engaged in a massive up-grade of their armaments, which they call modernization, but which creates even more deadly and effective weapons of mass destruction, costing us billions of dollars. I consider these acts a violation of the letter and spirit of the treaties entered upon.
“Five World Leaders Issue Pledge To Prevent Nuclear War,” dated Monday, January
3, 2022, was the joint statement issued by China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and
the United States, saying that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought
(my emphasis). Yet work on nuclear weapon parts continues at the Kansas City National Security Campus (NSC), and more land has been purchased to work on nuclear weapon systems.
NUREMBERG PRINCIPLES AND RULES OF CONDUCT: Following the end of World War II, and the discovery of heinous crimes committed by the Nazi Government, and after the end of the first Nuremberg trial of Nazi leaders, the United Nations passed on November 21, 1947, General Assembly Resolution 177, in order to codify the “Nuremberg Principles.” The seven principles were adopted on July 29, 1950. Principle VI sets out crimes punishable as crimes under international law. “(a) Crimes against peace: (i.) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii.) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i). (b) War Crimes: Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, … killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity. (c) Crimes against humanity: Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.” The question is are we (the USA) engaged in war crimes and crimes against humanity by making, procuring, deploying, threating to use weapons of mass destruction, and having a policy of First Strike – that our weapons will always be armed and ready to launch and strike at a moment’s notice if we feel threatened, whether an actual threat or a mistaken false threat, thereby injuring most or all of the people on this planet?
UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS: Adopted on December 10, 1948, by the General Assembly of the United Nations, this Declaration sets out fundamental human rights of all persons to be universally protected. The Preamble speaks of “the inherent dignity and the equal inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” “Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and whereas the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people …” The thirty (30) Articles embody all rights essential for persons to live in freedom. Nuclear weapons of mass destruction, their production, deployment and use would violate all of these essential rights found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
MAJOR RELIGIOUS LEADERS HAVE CONDEMNED NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Quoting from statements of Pope Francis and prior Popes, in a pastoral letter issued January 11, 2022, Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, New Mexico, urges the local community and the world to join “a renewed commitment to the cause of peace” with the goal of eliminating all global nuclear weapons arsenals. The document, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace: A Conversation Toward Nuclear Disarmament,” challenges conventional political thinking that possessing nuclear weapons serves as a deterrence to potential attacks from other nuclear powers. “We can no longer deny or ignore the extremely dangerous predicament of our human family. We are in a new nuclear arms race far more dangerous than the first.” “Years of planned weapon modernization among the nuclear powers is contributing to a new arms race. It’s such an important topic that we really can’t dally.” The pastoral letter is not meant to criticize those who work in the nuclear weapons industry or the military, but is an invitation to begin conversations that can lead to abolishing such weapons in order to protect humanity and the Earth. The 52-page pastoral letter cites the words of Pope Francis, who several times during his papacy has urged the world to eliminate nuclear arsenals because of the threat they pose. The document also traces the history of the church’s long-held stance against nuclear weapons beginning with St. John XXIII in “Pacem in Terris” (“Peace on Earth”) in 1963 and continuing through the papacies of St. John Paul VI, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict. The pastoral letter also serves as an invitation to readers to review the nonviolent practices of Jesus and to put them into practice. “To love our enemies means we have to begin the process of ending our preparations to kill them, including our preparations to drop nuclear weapons on them. Nuclear weapons are not the will of the nonviolent Jesus, and it is time we took his rebuke seriously. If we listen, we can hear Jesus’ voice crying out today: Stop building nuclear weapons, do not prepare for nuclear war, dismantle your nuclear weapons, and welcome God’s reign of universal love and peace.” The release of the pastoral letter follows Wester’s unveiling Dec. 19 of a sign outside of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Fe depicting Francis and a quote the pope offered during a visit to Hiroshima in November 2019: “The possession of nuclear arms is immoral.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Beyond Vietnam speech, states:“…we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. … A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” –“Beyond Vietnam” (April 1967).
And MLK said, “It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or non-existence.”
TREATY ON THE PROHIBITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS (TPNW):
A major development occurred at the United Nations in 2017. The General Assembly held a conference to negotiate a legally binding international agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons, with the ultimate goal being their total elimination. On July 7, 2017, one hundred twenty-two (122) member nations voted for the approval of the Treaty, with two (2) nations opposed, and one (1) abstention. There were 135 nations that participated in the negotiations of the Treaty in 2017, and by now 69 nations have ratified the Treaty within their own country’s legislatures, making the Treaty part of the domestic law of those countries. The Treaty became International Law on January 22, 2021, three months after the 50th state (Honduras) ratified the Treaty. It is expected that additional countries will adopt this Treaty into their domestic law in the near future. Public opinion polls in at least six NATO member states show a high level of support to sign the treaty. It is only a matter of time before political leaders will accede to the will of their people to join the TPNW.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities. The prohibitions include not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. The Treaty also prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons on national territory and the provision of assistance to any State in the conduct of prohibited activities. States parties will be obliged to prevent and suppress any activity prohibited under the TPNW undertaken by a person or on territory under its jurisdiction or control.
The Ban Treaty came about due to interest in the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.Over 2/3 of the world’s countries support the Ban Treaty because nuclear weapons threaten all life on earth. They do not keep us safe. They could be set off by accident or by hacking, through theft by terrorists, or by war. They are designed to burn cities, which would loft tons of soot into the atmosphere, block the sun, and plunge the world into another Ice Age. Crop failures for years would cause billions to starve to death. The only way to keep us safe is to eliminate these weapons of mass destruction. The Ban Treaty sets a worldwide standard even if the U.S. doesn’t sign it. It’s an international treaty between countries. It is the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons.
Today, nine nations have nuclear weapons, and the United States and Russia possess around 91 percent of the world’s nuclear armaments. While China and Russia are modernizing and expanding their nuclear capabilities, in 2020, the U.S. increased its spending on nuclear weapons to $37.4 billion — more than twice what Russia and China spent combined. We are in the midst of a second nuclear arms race. In 2020 and 2021, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight, dangerously close to devastation. On January 20, 2022, the scientists kept the Doomsday Clock at the same time, 100 seconds to midnight.
So, we must make the Ban Treaty work by joining organizations such as The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), PeaceWorks KC, etc., and by asking our elected officials to support the Treaty through resolutions and statements of support such as the ICAN cities appeal. We need to press financial institutions to divest from nuclear weapon companies, like New York City recently did. We must encourage faculty and students to demand their universities sever ties with nuclear weapon companies. Honeywell, for example, has working agreements with many of our region’s major universities with the goal of recruiting students to work at Kansas City’s nuclear bomb parts plant. We need to invest in things that truly build peace and security, such as stopping the pandemic, reversing climate change, building up infrastructure, investing in housing, education and job training. If not, nuclear weapons could wreak global catastrophe at an unimaginable scale and bring life on Earth to a sudden and unexpected end.
The Ban Treaty stigmatizes nuclear weapons and restricts the 36 multinational corporations that make them. The treaty represents a new norm in which nuclear weapons are not only immoral, but also illegal. The 69 countries (and counting) that have ratified the Ban Treaty within their own legislatures can have absolutely nothing to do with nuclear weapons or assist these companies in any way. For example, Ireland already has made this law punishable by fine or imprisonment for life! Another example is Mexico. Honeywell has a factory in Mexico that makes air conditioners. Mexico could pass a law that prohibits government or private financial support for the factory. And if the Honeywell CEO visited the factory, he could be arrested.
International treaties affect the U.S. even if we don’t sign them. For example, we didn’t sign the landmine international treaty, but no company in the U.S. makes landmines anymore. Furthermore, the US has contributed funds to help victims of land mines.
The Ban Treaty mandates assisting radiation victims and cleaning up contaminated environments. A recent UN statement says, “Nuclear weapons testing has displaced Indigenous and Pacific Islander communities, rendering their lands unsafe, uninhabitable, and toxic.” The U.S. exploded about 1,000 nuclear bombs in New Mexico, Nevada and the Marshall Islands during testing.
Also, uranium mining on the Navajo and Dakota (Sioux) reservations highly contaminated the lands, and the companies never properly sealed up these mines when they abandoned them. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from dozens of types of deadly cancers and birth defects.
The U.S. Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to down-winders and atomic soldiers affected by radiation exposure, but many more have never received anything, including some General Service Administration workers at the former Bannister Federal Complex, here in Kansas City. The Ban Treaty could stimulate further assistance for victims, such as expanding RECA.
The Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) has expanded by 50% recently; the budget has soared from millions of dollars a few years ago to a projected $1.28 Billion dollars in 2024. In 2014, when the new plant opened, there were about 2,500 employees, and now there are about 7,000 employees! Their website says: KCNSC is one of eight sites that comprise the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration). Our primary focus is manufacturing 85 percent of non-nuclear components that go into the nuclear stockpile. The KCNSC develops advanced solutions for complex national security issues, from prototype simulations to production to quality testing. At the former plant, they made 2/3 of the parts on-site and procured 1/3. At the new plant, they make 1/3 on-site and procure 2/3. As the plant finally admitted using 2,400 toxins at the former site, it is interesting to wonder if toxic processes are still used at the current site. The budget for Kansas City’s National Security Campus is known as follows: Every year the proposed budget for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) under the Department of Energy (DOE) is released. The budget lists the amount of money requested for each specific bomb.
The programs for the bombs being made now are called Life Extension Programs (LEPs), that is, they extend the life of the bomb up to 90 years.
There are three categories of bombs, called the nuclear triad: Inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) (in underground bunkers), gravity bombs (dropped by the B-2 Spirit (Stealth Bomber) at Missouri’s Whiteman AFB), and sea-launched warheads from SSBNs (strategic nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines).
The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) meticulously researches the yearly budgets and does annual lobbying in Washington DC. Members of PeaceWorks-KC have participated in these lobby days since 2008. Numerous other organizations lobby regarding nuclear weapons, such as Physicians for Social Responsibility, Peace Action, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), and people from Kansas City participate in these lobby days as well.
A sample of some of the bombs listed in the KC National Security Campus budget with their requested amounts for 2022 were:
B61 LEP $290,000,000. gravity bombs, some of
which are deployed in European countries
W88 Alteration Program $61,491,000 submarine launched.
W80-4 LEP $176,066,000 air-launched cruise
W80-4 Alteration Program-SCLM $200,000 submarine-launched ballistic missile.
W87-1 Modification Program $75,000,000 ground-based.
W93 Program $3,000,000 submarine launched.
Imminence of the use of nuclear weapons or nuclear materials is a clear and present danger. In the book “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe,” Graham Allison, 2004, who served as formerAssistant Secretary of Defense for policy and plans, on pages 5 and 6, quotes from a cover story in the New York Times Magazine, in May, 2002, which states, “Eugene Habiger, retired four-star general who had overseen strategic nuclear weapons until 1998 and had run nuclear antiterror programs for the Department of Energy until 2001. Summarizing his decade of daily experience dealing with threats, Habiger offered a categorical conclusion about nuclear terrorism: ‘it is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when.’”
These same conclusions were made by Daniel Ellsberg, weapons planner and whistle-blower during the Vietnam War, author of “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a nuclear war planner.” When asked about the probability of nuclear war, Ellsberg said, “It’s not a question of a precise probability, but in terms of betting odds: Too great. We shouldn’t have the right to keep it above 0.”
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by Einstein and University of Chicago scientists who helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The Doomsday Clock is set every year by the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 13 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and disruptive technologies in other domains. In 2020 and 2021, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight, dangerously close to devastation. In January 2022, the scientists set the Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest it’s ever been.
OLD KANSAS CITY PLANT: In approx. 1949, the old Kansas City Plant at Bannister Road and Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO, began work in regard to nuclear weapons, their parts and the operation of nuclear weapons. Prior to the closing of the old Kansas City Plant in 2014, that plant was found to be severely contaminated into perpetuity with over two thousand (+2,000) dangerous chemicals present at that site, which it is alleged caused persons to die and others to become seriously ill.
In the last years of the old Kansas City Plant, Russ Ptacek, investigative reporter for NBC Action News, Channel 41, in KC MO, in the early 2010s reported that many persons who had worked at the Kansas City Plant or other facilities at Bannister Federal Complex (BFC) had become ill or died. Why? From contaminants in the making of non-fissile parts for nuclear weapons. The toxins at the plant sometimes spread through the BFC halls and heating and cooling ducts. Ptacek gathered together persons sick from the contaminants and family members to participate in interviews about the contaminants. The list NBC Action News put together based on telephone reports from sick persons and the family members of dead employees at BFC included 154 dead persons (mostly employees) and about 250 persons ill from the toxins.
NEW KANSAS CITY WEAPONS PLANT: The newly built 2014 Kansas City nuclear weapon parts plant is located at 14510 Botts Road, Kansas City, Jackson County, MO 64145. On August 22, 2014, this new Kansas City nuclear weapon parts plant held a Dedication to open this new nuclear weapons facility, named the Nuclear Security Campus (NSC). This plant was built for the purpose of manufacturing, procuring and assembling parts for nuclear weapons for this country. The NSC creates or procures or assembles the triggering system, the guidance system, and other non-nuclear interior and exterior parts for nuclear weapons, approx. 85% of the parts of U.S. nuclear weapons. In effect, the NSC constructs the “gun weapon,” and the bullets for the weapon are constructed and installed elsewhere, although this may change in the near future.
Since 2010, activists have protested and done civil disobedience at the old
and new nuclear weapon parts plant. There have been over 175 arrests of persons who have demonstrated their opposition to nuclear weapons and to the eco-genocide these weapons can cause. During these years, Attorney Henry M. Stoever has communicated in advance with members of the Kansas City, MO Police Department, to confirm that a demonstration would occur at a particular date, time and place, that this event would be a totally non-violent protest, that there would be no difficulties in preventing the officers from doing their duties, and the number of persons who would risk arrest. In recent years, Attorney Henry M. Stoever has communicated with Kansas City Missouri Police Department Officers — Sgt. Hope, Captain Perne, Captain Todd Paulson, and Captain Ryan Mills. Also, in recent years, Attorney Henry M. Stoever has communicated in advance directly with Honeywell’s Protective Force Lt. Bill Birkner, who has been a complaining witness. And more recently, Lt. Bill Birkner has retired, and since then Henry M. Stoever has communicated with Lt. Mike Clark and Lt. Bryan Gomez, in advance of these protest actions, and they would share information.
The National Security Campus (NSC), at 14510 Botts Road, KCMO, is open, with no staffed personnel or barriers such as a gate or check-point identification site. The NSC is visited by vendors, by workers, staff members, contractors, politicians and other visitors. The street entrance is staffed only on the date when a planned protest is scheduled, and these actions have often occurred on Memorial Day, a national holiday, when there was no production staff present.
- Prior to the Action of May 29, 2023, Memorial Day, Henry M. Stoever
communicated with the security guards at the National Security Campus and with KCMO Police officer Sgt. Craig Hope a number of times, as he has done for many years, of the events that would occur, the time, place, manner of the action, the approximate number of persons to do the action, the nonviolent manner of the action, and that this was an act of conscience.
- On May 29, 2023, the activists and supporters met one mile west of the
Plant, at Missouri Highway 150 and Prospect, and walked the one-mile nature trail that passes directly in front of the new nuclear weapons parts plant. This one-mile nature trail ends near the entrance of the driveway to the new National Security Campus, at 14510 Botts Road, Kansas City, MO 64145.
- On May 29, 2023, there were approx. 60 supporters in attendance on the
public right-of-way who listened to speeches, music, prayerful reflections, and participated in a die-in where the names were read of some of the 154 persons listed as having died as a result of working at or near the old Kansas City Plant — giving the name, age at diagnosis, and illness of the deceased — and then persons laid down on the sidewalk or on the grass for a “die-in,” much like the 1960s sit-ins, teach-ins, bus counter sit-ins, etc. Following a blessing from the supporters, then Defendant Ann Suellentrop approached the driveway entrance to 14510 Botts Road, KCMO, where she was met by security officers.
- Defendant Ann Suellentrop made a public statement as to why she must
protest the nuclear weapons plant.
- After allegedly stepping over a painted line in the street, by a distance of
less than ten feet, more than three-fourth of a mile from the weapons facility, and after refusing to retreat, Defendant was taken into custody, hands were placed behind her back and into a plastic strap or handcuffs, and Defendant was escorted to folding chairs, for booking and for issuing a citation. Defendant was cited on a trespassing charge. Defendant was transported to the East Patrol Station, where she was released from custody. Defendant has pled not guilty and seeks this trial.
- Defendant will assert that her very own life and those she loves are at risk,
and that there is a clear and present danger of the use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
- Defendant asserts that the actions of the Kansas City National Security
Campus have grown by the increase of personnel from formerly 1,800 to 2,200 to now an expansion of about 7,000 employees, that this weapons plant has acquired real estate across the street to the east in order to double the size and amount of nuclear weapons parts, and this Plant is engaged in the modernization of nuclear weapons, despite treaties to restrict or limit the use of nuclear weapons.
- Defendant will testify that her actions were of a symbolic protest, of an
intervention and preventative nature, in light of these nuclear weapon parts being produced, procured and assembled at this site, and Defendant will assert the following Rights and Defenses.
DEFENDANT’S THEORIES OF DEFENSE
ISSUE 1. Is this a trespass, or a 1st Amendment protest, when advance notice and planning occurs, in a non-violent crossing of the line by 10 feet or less, in the face of a nuclear weapons plant?
Kansas City, Missouri Code, Section 50-102, Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions, Trespass generally, is not a strict liability statute, as in Missouri Statute 569.150 Trespass in the second degree, which is an infraction, with absolute liability, with a maximum fine of $200.00.
Kansas City, Missouri Code Section 50-102 is more like Missouri Statute 569.140, Trespass in the first degree, a class B misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 6 months.
Missouri Caselaw shows a variety of defenses have been attempted.
The very existence and threatened use of nuclear weapons is irreconcilable of the basic social contract, for we are to have a government of checks and balances, a government of separation of power, and a government of limited powers. The purposes and intent of our US Constitution is to govern us as a people, to protect the people’s inalienable rights and privileges. We take oaths to support and defend the US Constitution. There are no provisions for the extermination of life on this planet. There was never an intent for “We the People” to join in a suicide mission, or be part of an actual “murder scheme” rendering null and void the US Constitution.
The U.S. has not declared war since 1942, despite the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Congress has shirked its duty to debate, oversee and enforce its powers. At the present, our nuclear weapons are on “first strike” status, ready to be launched at a moment’s notice, at any time. Today, when the U.S. President travels, the nuclear briefcase (football) is carried by security nearby the President. Daniel Ellsberg’s book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, December, 2017, states that U.S. government documents revealed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower empowered a few top military officers to be able to use nuclear weapons without presidential authorization in case there was incapacitation or no way to contact the president. In his book, Ellsberg said that a Major in the US Air Force in South Korea told him that if he believed that a nuclear war had probably begun and his command communications had been broken, he would launch his dozen aircrafts with their nuclear weapons, which would likely reach their pre-assigned targets. Ellsberg believes that similar procedures remain in place today, in sharp contrast to what the American public is told about how the “nuclear football” works. This “nuclear football” concept makes the American public feel the US nuclear arsenal is safe, when it is not.
Our Framers never imagined that one person, the President, could order a launch of weapons of mass destruction, without the intervention of Congress, or We, the People. The current status in effect disables the Legislative Branch, as a check. The purpose of the U.S. Constitution was to make it difficult to go to war. That constitutional check has been breached, and We, the Citizens, must take a stance.
This situation is not idle speculation. Daniel Ellsberg says in his book, supra, that every U. S. President, since Truman, with the possible exception of Ford, has considered the use of nuclear weapons, sometimes covertly. President Truman threatened the use of nuclear weapons against the USSR and China. President Eisenhower considered use of nuclear weapons on two (2) occasions, and he delegated the power to use nuclear weapons to certain field commanders if he were unavailable; President John F. Kennedy considered use of nuclear weapons on three (3) occasions, including on Cuba, coming within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear catastrophe; President Lyndon B. Johnson considered use of nuclear weapons; and President Richard M. Nixon considered using nuclear weapons on three (3) occasions, other than on Vietnam.
In the drafting of and the debates to ratify the Constitution of the United States, one of the purposes of the Founders was to “chain the dogs of war,” which was done by separating the powers among the three branches of government – wars must be declared by the Houses of Congress, funding authority was given to Congress, and the President is a manager of military affairs in a time of conflict. The more recent War Powers Resolution limits the amount of time that a President may act, unless Congressional approval is given. But that limited amount of time to act does not occur when nuclear weapons are at ready to launch at any time. Further, our Government is one of limited, enumerated powers. Given that nuclear weapons pose the greatest danger to the future of civilization and our planet, then nuclear weapons are seen as a direct threat to the continued existence of our Constitution of the United States, a direct threat to our form of government, a direct threat to all life on Earth, a threat to the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, to due process, to equal protection under the Law.
With a nuclear war, we will have lost all of our Constitutional protections – as we sit “on death row” literally, we lack charges of any criminal nature, we lack the ability to mount a defense, we lack the power to take the witness stand, or to cross-examine, or to appeal an unjust decision. A few years ago, we were at the mercy of a leader who boldly stated to North Korea, “My nuclear button is much bigger and more powerful than your button, and my Button Works!” Similar threats were directed to Iran and Afghanistan. Faced with a mercurial, compulsive leader, as President Donald Trump was and may again be, we are mired in a constitutional crisis that must be addressed.
The U.S. Congress has had legislation introduced to restrict “First Use of Nuclear Weapons,” H.R. 669, Senate Bill 1148; however, that legislation was introduced in the House on January 24, 2017, and nothing has happened with that legislation. PeaceWorks leaders have been on zoom conference calls with Kansas Congresswoman Sharice Davids’ staff and with Kansas Senator Roger Marshall’s staff on this very topic, and have been to Senator Jerry Moran’s office in person in regard to this legislation. We have used conventional methods of bringing about change.
All members of our federal, state and local governments also take an oath “to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution,” yet what have they done to protect us from these weapons of mass destruction?
According to the U.S. Constitution’s Ninth Amendment, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” As noted in the U.S. Constitution’s Tenth Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Since our federal and state governments do not address this state of mutual terror, it is for “we, the people” to raise these issues in a public and non-violent way. Also, “we, the people,” and the Officers of the Court have a duty to see that justice is done.
ISSUE 2: Is this protest protected 1st Amendment activity, when the headlines
read, on Monday, January 3, 2022, “Five World Leaders Issue Pledge To Prevent
Nuclear War,” which was the joint statement issued by China, France, Russia,
United Kingdom and the United States, saying that a nuclear war cannot be won
and must never be fought? Yet work on nuclear weapon parts continues to this day
at the Kansas City National Security Campus (NSC).
When United States President Joe Biden signed this Pledge on January 3, 2022, Ann
Suellentrop was given an “implied consent” to engage in nonviolent, limited activity
to honor and abide by the Pledge made by President Biden. Further, I invoke the ABSTENTION DOCTRINE, for the Chief Executive Federal Officer, President Biden, has made this Pledge, and under the current set of facts, this case should not be heard by this Court, but this case should be dismissed..
Each of us has a duty and responsibility to speak out and act in a manner that protects the “inalienable rights of all persons.” What are the limits a government may take to protect safety and integrity of our society? We speak of “over-kill” and “blindness to justice.” Reflecting back on our history, no one has taken responsibility for the genocide that happened to the Indigenous Peoples of America. No one has taken responsibility for the enslavement of Africans forcibly taken from their homes in Africa, placed in bondage and enslaved. Our society continues to suffer from these badges of slavery by too much violence and racial discrimination. Some elected leaders bar the full teaching of the factual history of what has occurred. I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS DEATH WATCH IN REGARD TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAT IS OCCURRING AT THIS VERY TIME, AND I CANNOT IDLY STAND BY.
We are staring into the face of nuclear annihilation. What am I, or we, going to do about this? It is no accident that the US military budget for 2022 was $768 Billion, roughly $24 Billion more than the White House requested. This military budget exceeded the combined military budgets of the next ten (10) countries, China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, and Italy. In 2020, the US military budget accounted for almost forty (40) percent of the world’s military expenditure. And we say we are a peaceful people, yet armed to the teeth, with a policy to keep nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert to use at any moment. The five great nuclear powers say they do not approve of a nuclear war and made statements on January 3, 2022, “We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought…” Yet we continue to possess these weapons of mass destruction, and these weapons are being made or procured and assembled in our midst at the National Security Campus, KCMO. Is this hypocrisy? Is this madness? We must speak out and take nonviolent action. We must confront this evil and speak for victims. We must look at the totality of the circumstances, the grave situation we are in, and recognize the nonviolent efforts for reform.
ISSUE 3: Do the principles of life and liberty as stated in the Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution as well as the principles of equal protection and due process, require this Defendant and others to challenge the policies for the existence of weapons of mass destruction, and the state of nuclear terror that impacts all of our lives?
The Founders of our country endorsed our rebellion for “certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” as stated in the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. The Preamble of the US Constitution declares “establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Our US Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788. Do we want to nullify our US Constitution by the use of nuclear weapons, an exchange of nuclear destruction, whether by accident or by design or intent? Studies have shown that a mere exchange of 150 older nuclear missiles by India and by Pakistan will cause nuclear winter to this planet, which will fill the skies with soot and nuclear pollution, causing crops to not get adequate sunlight for growth. The consequences of ten years of nuclear winter will eliminate most of the world’s population. The nuclear arsenals of Russia and of the US each have 3,500 nuclear missiles, far more than what would cause irreparable damage to this planet. In effect, a mere 350 nuclear missiles can be a deterrent to go to war using nuclear missiles. Then, why continue to build and modernize nuclear weapons?
Then, who should enforce protections against such nuclear destruction? It is for the peoples of the world to do so, such as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) mentioned above. It is for a person like myself to raise these grave issues in forums such as this court. Court and the legal system like to speak of Justice, and to look at issues narrowly in order to fail to address the real issues presented. Then, such courts are not doing Justice, but avoiding the issue of Justice.
ISSUE 4: Does the First Amendment to the US Constitution protect the right of free expression of Religion whereby Defendant gives advance notice and expresses his beliefs that no government has the right to exterminate all or part of the world’s peoples, and whereby Defendant makes his beliefs known and steps across an alleged boundary line, when the state of nuclear terror impacts all of our lives?
The US Government has given special preferential rights in the area of the free exercise of religion, when balancing the free exercise right against other governmental interests.
By making, procuring and deploying nuclear weapons and being ready and willing to use nuclear weapons, a government has usurped all caution, all sacredness for life on this planet, by engaging in omnicide of all creation on this planet. This is a gross over-reach of power and replaces any chance of Divine Creation or beliefs surviving. We have usurped God. It would be the height of arrogance, as well as suicidal. I would call this demonic.
ISSUE 5. Does the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution protect the right of free speech and assembly whereby Defendant steps across an alleged boundary line in protest to the making and procuring of parts for nuclear weapons at the local weapons facility?
The 1st Amendment also speaks of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition Government for the redress of grievances.
Through a representative, Defendant gave prior notice of date, time, place, schedule and what would occur – giving notice to local law enforcement and to a security guard of the Kansas City Plant. Defendant was totally non-violent and cooperated with the officers and security at the scene. The Defendant crossed an alleged painted sign on the roadway, a mere ten feet, and was away from the facility (the plant) by more than three-fourth of a mile, when she was taken into custody. Defendant did not go limp or cause any problems for the arresting officers.
Protest is a form of speech, and it is particularly relevant at the site of a nuclear weapon parts plant. The locals called the old facility the “bomb plant.” There is no doubt that all was peaceable, even the arrests, with a row of chairs for processing. The demeanor of all was peaceable.
One has a right to Petition the Government for redress of grievances: Yes, public speaking with a “die-in” where there is a reading of the names of former plant workers who have died, and then stepping forward, was a form of petitioning the Government for redress of grievances.
If one merely held a sign or spoke on the public right-of-way, there would be no cause to arrest Defendant. However, in order to have a “case or controversy,” one must step across the line. It is in the discretion of the National Security Campus (NSC) to ask that Defendant be arrested, however minor the step may have been. In effect, the National Security Campus has given Defendant a forum in which to make known her cause, protestations, and rights.
The questions are: (a) should the National Security Campus have required more intrusion onto its land before requesting arrest of Defendants, and (b) should the National Security Campus acknowledge that they are responsible for placing all persons and all life on earth in jeopardy by the products made and assembled there, and therefore, as part of the cost of doing this type of work, this National Security Campus must countenance this limited action with First Amendment ramifications?
Washington University (St. Louis, MO) Constitutional Law Professor Gregory Magarian in the September, 2019, Washington Magazine wrote about the formative years when the Supreme Court protected political dissents, socially marginal speakers and minorities of all kinds. New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) helped the civil rights movement get its message out. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) shielded Jehovah’s Witnesses from enforced patriotic rituals. Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969) let school children protest the Vietnam War. .Magarian concludes that courts should promote robust debate and foster challenges to the established order. That, I believe, is what the First Amendment is supposed to do.
If we balance the preferential constitutional First Amendment rights of this Defendant, against the property rights of the National Security Campus to this minor intrusion, I state that the rights of the Defendant are superior, and must be honored.
RIGHT TO LIFE
All issues and rights are moot if nuclear weapons are used. Our Founders in the American Revolution enshrined the principles of the Magna Carta and the Great Charter of the Liberties of England, year 1215, which limited the powers of the King, and protected the rights of freemen in regard to certain liberties, into our founding documents. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” President Abraham Lincoln used words to this effect in dealing with the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves. Our U.S Constitution and its Amendments carry forth the same principles.
The United Nations has chosen to honor those same principles of unalienable (or inalienable) rights by the following quote: The UN Human Rights Committee has adopted a new general comment on the right to life, with Para. 66 providing in full: The threat or use of weapons of mass destruction, in particular nuclear weapons, which are indiscriminate in effect and are of a nature to cause destruction of human life on a catastrophic scale is incompatible with respect for the right to life and may amount to a crime under international law. States parties must take all necessary measures to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including measures to prevent their acquisition by non-state actors, to refrain from developing, producing, testing, acquiring, stockpiling, selling, transferring and using them, to destroy existing stockpiles, and to take adequate measures of protection against accidental use, all in accordance with their international obligations. They must also respect their international obligations to pursue in good faith negotiations in order to achieve the aim of nuclear disarmament under strict and effective international control and to afford adequate reparation to victims whose right to life has been or is being adversely affected by the testing or use of weapons of mass destruction, in accordance with principles of international responsibility.
These inalienable rights are found in the Nuremberg Principles, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
Pope Francis has also been quoted during a visit to Hiroshima in November 2019: “The possession of nuclear arms is immoral.”
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) includes a comprehensive set of prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities. These include not to develop, test, produce, acquire, possess, stockpile, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons. The Treaty also prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons on national territory and the provision of assistance to any State in the conduct of prohibited activities.
Defendant exercises her Right To Life in advocacy for the defense of
others, in advocacy for all life on this planet, and in advocacy for the abolition of
all nuclear weapons. The issues presented are fundamental vital issues of our time.
All of the great religions contain the principles of “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself.” Their sacred texts call for peace, mercy, forgiveness, and recognition of the Divine. Yet, these nuclear weapons are designed to create a global threat, a terrorist threat, to the entire world. These weapons are politicized as a means to create a sense of security and deterrence. Yet the dangers of global catastrophe seem to the Defendant to vastly exceed any supposed increase in security.
LACK OF CRIMINAL MENTAL ELEMENT – NO MENS REA
Defendant states that all of her actions, intent, motives, and purposes were of a symbolic and preventative nature, an intervention in light of these nuclear weapon parts being produced, procured and assembled at this site. Defendant acted much like a private attorney general who seeks to right a wrong. Defendant acted in the spirit of love, life, justice, and grave concern for all children, grandchildren and for all of creation. Our country has a rich history of non-violence – from the time of the American Revolution, concern about the mistreatment and enslavement of our Black and Native sisters and brothers, from the Abolitionists, from the Suffragettes, from the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr., from the Women’s Movement, from the Anti-War Movement, from the work to help migrant workers, led by Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta, from protecting LGBTQ, from protecting the Environment, etc. That is what makes America great. Do we criminalize or jail such persons using truth force, persons following a higher power and higher values, persons of integrity, persons willing to put their bodies on the line for a higher purpose?
WHEREFORE, Defendant Ann Suellentrop files her Trial Brief raising her Legal Rights and Defenses and asks this Court to admit into evidence said Trial Brief, and to find her not guilty of the charge of general trespass.
DEFENDANT’S LIST OF WITNESSES:
/s/ Ann C. Suellentrop
Ann C. Suellentrop
1865 S. Pyle
Kansas City, KS 66103
(913) 271-7925 (Cell phone)
Defendant Ann Suellentrop acknowledges the legal assistance of her Advisory Counsel Henry M. Stoever, on inactive status with the Missouri Bar, who is retired.
Certificate of Service:
I hereby certify that a true copy of the foregoing was sent by e-mail this 18th day of October, 2023, to the Court, The Honorable Judge Katherine Emke, at Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org, and to the Prosecutor for Court G, at email@example.com., and to KCMO Municipal Court at firstname.lastname@example.org., and to City Prosecutor Kendrea White at: email@example.com.
/s/ Ann C. Suellentrop
Ann C. Suellentrop