Disarm Now Plowshares Five go on trial December 7th

News Release 12/1/2010

For Immediate Release

Disarm Now Plowshares Trial Begins December 7th

The trial of the Disarm Now Plowshares activists who entered a U.S. Navy Trident nuclear submarine base and nuclear weapons storage depot begins on December 7, 2009 at 9:00 AM at the Tacoma Courthouse, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

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The trial of the Disarm Now Plowshares activists who entered a U.S. Navy Trident nuclear submarine base and nuclear weapons storage depot begins on December 7, 2009 at 9:00 AM at the Tacoma Courthouse, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, SJ, and Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, all face charges of Conspiracy, Trespass, Destruction of Property on a Naval Installation and Depredation of Government Property for their November 2, 2009 Plowshares action. They entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons storage depot at Bangor, Washington to symbolically disarm the nuclear weapons stored there, and expose the illegality of the government’s continued preparations for nuclear war. As co-defendant Susan Crane described their intention during a pre-trial hearing, “On Nov. 2, 2009, we remembered the words of the prophet Isaiah, who had a vision of beating swords into plowshares”…convert weapons of war into something useful for human life. It is our firm understanding that these Trident nuclear weapons are illegal under national and international law, as well as the teachings of our faith, and general humanitarian law and conscience.” Continue reading

Former US Attorney General Testifies for Plowshares Activists

Tacoma, Washington – November 16, 2010 – At a motions hearing in the U.S. Federal District Court former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark testified on behalf of five plowshares activists who are going on trial Dec. 7.

Judge Benjamin Settle allowed testimony from Ramsey Clark, who responded to questions from Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants.  When asked by Anne Montgomery if the plowshares activists were justified to enter the restricted area of the U.S. Naval Base, Clark said that they “had a duty to prevent harm, they were justified, and even required to prevent harm.”  Clark was speaking in the context of the Plowshares activists entering the base, in which nuclear weapons are stored, to expose the illegality of the government’s actions in preparing for nuclear war.

Ramsey Clark & Anne Montgomery

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Disarm Now Plowshares Activists Arraigned

Tacoma, Washington – October 8, 2010

 

Joan Staples blesses the 5 going into court. Photographer Leonard Eiger

– The five plowshares activists who entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons storage depot in Washington State in November 2009 had their initial day in court.

 

Over eleven months since they entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons storage depot at Bangor, Washington to symbolically disarm the nuclear weapons stored there, the five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants faced arraignment on October 8, 2010 in U.S. District Court, Tacoma, Washington before Magistrate Judge Karen L. Strombom.

Anne Montgomery, RSCJ, Steve Kelly, SJ, Lynne Greenwald, Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, and Susan Crane were all present to enter their pleas before Judge Strombom.

The government brought many serious charges against each of the Disarm Now defendants for their peaceful November 2, 2009 Plowshares action.  They include Conspiracy, Trespass, Destruction of Property on a Naval Installation and Depredation of Government Property.

The major consequences for the various individual charges range between 5 and 10 years in prison, and from $50, 000 to $250,000 in fines, as well as up to 3 years of supervised release, and/or up to 5 years probation.

Additionally, the judge made it clear that should the defendants be convicted on multiple charges, the court could order them to serve consecutive sentences, thereby greatly increasing the number of years they might spend in prison.

All defendants entered pleas of “not guilty”, to which each defendant added a personal statement.

Greenwald called “for the end of all wars, and an end to the threat of nuclear war.”  Crane made “a plea for the abolition of nuclear weapons, for the children of future generations.”

Bichsel made his plea “for those who are dying now because of nuclear weapons because of funding going for weapons of mass destruction instead of health care, education, housing, employment and nutrition.  I plea for those dying because of the uranium mining cycle connected to nuclear weapons.”

Crane tried twice to enter a “Motion To Immediately Dismiss Charges and Memo in Support”.  The judge said that she would not hear it, and could not rule on it in these proceedings.  After the arraignment, Crane filed the motion for dismissal, and two others, with the clerk of court.

In their motion for dismissal the co-defendants conclude that, “Because this case involves unjust and illegal weapons of mass destruction, the use of which is a war crime under US and international law, and defendants actions were taken to protect a greater good and much higher law than the laws they are accused of violating, this case should be dismissed immediately.”

They cite numerous laws to show that the Use of Nuclear Weapons is a War Crime under US Law, and state that “Any threat or use [of nuclear weapons] is categorically prohibited and constitutes a war crime, crime against humanity or genocide as defined consistently by the U.S. Criminal Code,” citing the statute for war crimes, 18 USC 2441.

They also reference Article 23 of the Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907, which applies because nuclear weapons are incapable of distinguishing between civilians and combatants and cause unnecessary suffering.

The Nuremberg Principles, 59 Stat 1544, clearly state that war crimes are committed by anyone who “participates in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of planning preparation, initiation or waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurance.”

Their last reference used to substantiate that the use of nuclear weapons is a crime under U.S. law is 18 USC 1091, which states that “the use of nuclear weapons can also be considered genocide because the weapons destroy, in whole or substantial part, groups of people, in indiscriminate fashion, killing military and civilian alike.

The five Disarm Now co-defendants firmly believe that there is sufficient legal doctrine substantiating their invocation of the necessity defense, and that the “Defendants’ actions are just and not at all illegal,” and therefore the case should be immediately dismissed.

During the arraignment all of the Disarm Now defendants stated that they look forward to the opportunity to discuss the illegality of our nation’s production, maintenance and preparations for the use of nuclear weapons during their upcoming trial.

Before the arraignment approximately 80 Disarm Now supporters gathered in front of the Tacoma courthouse to stand vigil, hand out leaflets about Disarm Now and participate in an interfaith service to bless the Disarm Now co-defendants.

The judge set a trial date for December 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM in the United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma.  A pre-trial conference date is set for November 22, 2010.

There have been more than 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles west of Seattle, is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads.  In November 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal.  The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined.

The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more accurate Trident D-5 missile system.  Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455 kiloton W-88 warheads (each warhead is about 30 times the explosive force as the Hiroshima bomb) and costs approximately $60 million.  The D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.  The Trident fleet at Bangor deploys both the 455 kiloton W-88 warhead and the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead

Contact:  Leonard Eiger, 425-445-2190, subversivepeacemaking@comcast.net

Disarm Now Plowshares Activists Ready For Arraignment

The plowshares activists who entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons storage depot in Washington State in November 2009 are ready for their upcoming arraignment.

After waiting for over 10 months the five Disarm Now Plowshares defendants, who were only recently indicted by a grand jury for their November 2, 2009 Plowshares action at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific (SWFPAC), are ready to go to court for their arraignment. They will be arraigned on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 1:30 PM in courtroom F before Judge Karen L. Strombom at the U.S. District Courthouse in Tacoma, Washington.

Sr. Anne Montgomery, 83, of Redwood City, California, Bill “Bix” Bichsel, SJ, 82, of Tacoma, Washington, Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore, Maryland, Lynne M. Greenwald, 61, of Tacoma, Washington, and Steve Kelly,SJ. 61, of Oakland, California, each face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the government’s charges of “conspiracy, trespass, destruction of property on a naval installation, and depredation of government property.” The charges were handed down by a grand jury in early September 2010, ten months after their November 2009 Plowshares action.

The defendants entered Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, with the intention of calling attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system. During the action they held a banner saying…“Disarm Now Plowshares : Trident: Illegal + Immoral”, left a trail of blood, hammered on the roadway and fences around Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific (SWFPAC) and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base. They gained entry to the secure nuclear weapons storage facility known as Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific (SWFPAC) where they were detained, and after extensive questioning by base security, FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), cited for trespass and destruction of government property, given ban and bar letters and released.

Many individuals and organizations have sent messages in support of the Disarm Now defendants.

Dr. David Hall

Dr. David Hall, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Dr. David Hall, past president, Washington state chapter, Physicians for Social Responsibility, said of the Disarm Now Plowshares action that, “the challenge of US nuclear weaponry for me is the challenge of knowing we Americans can and will obliterate whole cities, literally millions of innocent lives, if we so choose. Our Trident fleet of nuclear-armed submarines places every city in the world at risk of annihilation within 15 to 30 minutes of our designated leaders giving the command. We must imagine this horror so we can prevent it. People like Bix, Lynne, Susan, Steve and Ann of the Disarm Now plowshares group that entered the Trident submarine base on Hood Canal last November showed the courage and moral clarity to put their lives on the line to break the silence about these weapons of mass destruction. All of us who cherish life and the possibility of worldwide cooperative security owe them immense appreciation for their faithful witness to a future built on love instead of mass murder.”

Thomas Rogers, Captain, USN (Retired) talks with Joe Anderson from Gonzaga Univ.

Thomas Rogers, Captain, USN (Retired) issued a strong statement of support of the Disarm Now Plowshares action saying, “The time for our country to move away from a national security policy based on nuclear weapons is long overdue. Nuclear deterrence became obsolete when the Cold War ended nearly 20 years ago, yet our government continues to rely on this dangerous, expensive, barbaric strategy. I applaud the courage and commitment of the Plowshares Activists in bringing national attention to this most important issue.” Rogers, a former submarine commander, retired in 1998 after a 31 year career. He is currently active in the anti-nuclear weapons movement with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, WA.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu supports plowshares activists.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu wrote a support letter saying, “We know that nations need teachers, schools, books, drinking water, productive farm land, food and shelter. We do not need weapons of war, and we do not need nuclear weapons which threaten to destroy all of God’s creation.” Tutu went on to say that, “If we are to believe the words of our faith, “to love our enemies”, then we must begin to disarm our nuclear weapons. If we believe that every life is sacred, that every person is a child of God, then we cannot bomb their villages and cities with nuclear warheads. The Plowshares movement, a movement of people who take responsibility for the nuclear weapons of their country, and who believe that disarmament is the way to abolish nuclear weapons, is a light in the darkness of the war making around us.”

All five Disarm Now defendants are prepared to face the judge and justify their actions based on both moral and legal reasoning, and welcome the opportunity to speak on their own behalf during the arraignment.

Supporters will join the Disarm Now defendants on the day of the arraignment to walk with them from the Tacoma Catholic Worker to the courthouse. They will then hold a vigil and prayer service in front of the courthouse (located at 1717 Pacific Avenue) in preparation for the arraignment.

There have been more than 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles west of Seattle, is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads. In November 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal. The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined.

The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more accurate Trident D-5 missile system. Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455 kiloton W-88 warheads (each warhead is about 30 times the explosive force as the Hiroshima bomb) and costs approximately $60 million. The D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead. The Trident fleet at Bangor deploys both the 455 kiloton W-88 warhead and the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.

Leonard Eiger, the contact for this release, can be reached at
subversivepeacemaking@comcast.net  or 425-445-2190
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Disarm Now Plowshares indicted for November 2009 witness

A federal grand jury finally handed down a litany of indictments against five nuclear  resisters who entered the U.S. Navy’s West Coast nuclear weapons storage depot in a plowshares action on November 2, 2009.

On September 3, 2010 the United States Attorney announced the indictments handed down by a grand jury in Tacoma, Washington, against members of Disarm Now Plowshares came ten months after their plowshares action in which they entered Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, with the intention of calling attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system.

During the action they held a banner saying…“Disarm Now Plowshares : Trident: Illegal + Immoral”,  left a trail of blood, hammered on the roadway and fences around Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific (SWFPAC) and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base.  They gained entry to the secure nuclear weapons storage facility known as Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific (SWFPAC) where they were detained, and after extensive questioning by base security, FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), cited for trespass and destruction of government property, given ban and bar letters and released.

Sr. Anne Montgomery, 83, of Redwood City, California, Fr. Bill “Bix” Bichsel, 82, of Tacoma, Washington, Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore, Maryland, Lynne M. Greenwald, 61, of Bremerton, Washington, and Fr. Steve Kelly, 61, of Oakland, California, each face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the government’s charges of “conspiracy, trespass, destruction of property on a naval installation, and depredation of government property.”

Following a 10-month wait, the Disarm Now Plowshares defendants are ready to face trial in the Western District of Washington stemming from their Nov. 2, 2009 disarmament action.

In the months since her action, Greenwald, a retired community health nurse and social worker, and mother of three grown children, has welcomed her first grandchild into the world.  Knowing that Jack has been born into a nuclear-armed world has given her more of a sense of urgency “to wake people up” to the imperative of nuclear disarmament, and “to expose what we choose to avoid,” Greenwald said.

Moving to Kitsap County in 1983 to join the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action Greenwald participated in several nonviolent actions at the Trident Base and is currently on probation for “crossing the blue line” August 2009. She currently lives in Tacoma and works with the Tacoma Catholic Worker.

Bichsel said he feels compelled by his faith to continue risking his freedom for peace, despite two open-heart surgeries that require him to take frequent rests during even light exertion.  “The power of the resurrection is much stronger than our destructive ways,” he said. “I believe the presence of God made manifest through the witness of nonviolent action will break the bonds of fear, hopelessness, and death in which nuclear weapons imprison us.”

The fact that five unarmed, nonviolent, peace activists could enter a deadly-force, high-security installation without being detected exposes the lie that nuclear weapons make us secure, Bichsel said.  “We hope to expose the fact that these weapons create absolutely no security.  They bring nothing but fear and further proliferation of weapons and war.”

Thirty years ago this month, Montgomery was involved in what was the first of more than 100 Plowshare disarmament actions when she was among a group of eight people who hammered on components of a Mark 12A nuclear missile at General Electric’s King of Prussia, PA weapons plant.

“It is distressing that 30 years later the nuclear weapons are still here,” Montgomery said. “And the reason that I’m acting is that they’re still here. As citizens of a nation ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’ we must take our responsibility to use every nonviolent means necessary to eliminate these illegal weapons of mass destruction.”

Kelly, who has spent more than six years in prison for anti-war actions, said the abolition of slavery, an institution many people thought would never end, gives him hope that humans will turn away from nuclear weapons. The abolition of slavery required leadership, Kelly said.   The same kind of leadership from the Unites States will be required to abolish nuclear weapons.   “We’re not asking for unilateral disarmament,” Kelly said. “Somebody has got to lead, and the most reluctant party in all of this is the United States.  We’ve got to get rid of these things.  Everybody’s got to get rid of them, period.”

Funding for war and the nuclear arms race is coming at the expense of programs for the poor, Kelly said. “We’re going to crumble from within.”  As he faces trial once again, and the prospect of another long federal prison sentence, Kelly said he remains hopeful that humans will turn away from war and nuclear weapons.  “It gives me tremendous hope to live for what I may not be able to see achieved in my lifetime,” he said.

Kelly said he expects the Disarm Now Plowshares trial to be “another act of resistance” because the government will try to limit what the defendants have to say about nuclear weapons and war. The judicial body functions as a legitimizer of nuclear weapons, Kelly said. “Our actions, which could be part of the solutions, are deemed illegal, because nuclear weapons are legal,” so that courtroom becomes a place of further resistance.”

Crane, a mother of two grown children, and who is expecting her first grandchild, said one of her goals at the trial will be to show the jury that the five had no intent to break any laws, but rather they came to the Navy base to uphold international laws.  The Trident D-5 warheads at the base, highly accurate first-strike weapons “are against international law by their very existence,”

Crane said. “The nuclear warheads, if used, indiscriminately kill civilians, cause radiation burns, poison the environment and create sickness and genetic damage for generations to come.  “Additionally, these weapons are our responsibility.  They were made with our tax dollars, and will be used in our name. We are the ones who have the duty and responsibility to disarm them.”

The Disarm Now Plowshares defendants will appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for arraignment on September 24, 2010, at 1:30 p.m.

There have been more than 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles west of Seattle, is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads.  In November 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal.  The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined.

The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more accurate Trident D-5 missile system.  Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455 kiloton W-88 warheads (each warhead is about 30 times the explosive force as the Hiroshima bomb) and costs approximately $60 million.  The D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.  The Trident fleet at Bangor deploys both the 455 kiloton W-88 warhead and the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.

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Editor’s Note: Click here to read the press release announcing the indictments for Disarm Now Plowshares from the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington.  Of interest is the statement by U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan that “All citizens are free to disagree with their government. But they are not free to destroy property or risk the safety of others.”  A November 4, 2009 article in Military.com, 5 Arrested for Breaking Into Navy Base, contradicts Durkan’s allegation; the Military.com article quoted a Navy press release as saying, “At no time was the safety of Navy personnel, property, or the public threatened in any way.”

5 people arrested on Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2009

Contacts : Jackie Hudson- 360-286-9036 or jackiehudson123 (at) Yahoo (dot) com

Sue Ablao – 360-286-9157 or sablao1 (at) yahoo (dot) com

5 people arrested on Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor
The “Disarm Now Trident Plowshares Action”

Bill “Bix” Bischel, S.J., 81, of Tacoma, Washington; Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore MD;  Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton Washington ; Steve Kelly, S.J., 60, of Oakland , CA.; Anne Montgomery RSCJ, 83, of New York , New York , were arrested on Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor. They entered the Base in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, with the intention calling attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system.  They entered thru the perimeter fence, made their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific  ( SWFPAC) where they were able to cut thru the first chainlink fence surrounding SWF-PAC, walked to and cut the next  double layered fence, which was both chain link and barbed wire, onto the grounds of SWFPAC. As they walked onto the grounds, they held a banner saying…… “Disarm Now Plowshares : Trident: Illegal + Immoral”,  left a trail of blood and hammered on the roadway (Trigger Ave and Sturgeon) that are essential to the working of the Trident weapons system, hammered on the fences around SWFPAC and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base. They were then thrown to the ground face down, handcuffed and hooded and held there for 4 hours on the wet cold ground. They were taken, hooded and carried out thru the very holes in the fence that they had made, for questioning by Base security, FBI and NCIS. They refused to give any information except their names, and were cited as of now, for trespass and destruction of government property, given a ban and bar letter and released.

In a joint statement, the group stated 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.  As U.S. citizens we are responsible under the Nuremberg Principles for this threat of first-strike terrorism hanging over the community of nations, rich and poor.  Moreover, such planning, preparation, and deployment is a blasphemy against the Creator of life, imaged in each human being.”

There have been approximately 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The Trident submarine base at Bangor , just 20 miles from Seattle , is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads. In November 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal. The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China , France , Israel , India , North Korea  and Pakistan combined.

The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more accurate Trident D-5 missile system. Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455 kiloton W-88 warheads (each warhead is about 30 times the explosive force as the Hiroshima bomb.) The D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.  The Trident fleet at Bangor deploys both the 455 kiloton W-88 warhead and the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.

Please see attached Trident fact sheet and statements as well as bios of activists.

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