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November 07, 1979 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-07

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Page 4-Wednesday, November 7, 1979-The Michigan Daily

19

NOVEMBER.

79'

Nuclear power debate
growing into court battles

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The defense of
necessity-rarely accepted by U.S. courts
as a defense to justify civil disobedien-
ce-has slowly begun to gain ground in
the courts as anti-nuclear defendants have
sought to use it as a means of publicizing
what they regard as the hazards of nuclear
power.
With growing numbers of anti-nuclear
protesters being arrested this autumn, the
courts can be expected to serve as an in-
creasingly important forum for the escalating
national debate on nuclear power.
Already, anti-nuclear activists who have
engaged in civil disobedience have suc-
ceeded, in a limited way, in putting nuclear
power on trial in conjunction with their own
case.
IN A FEW recent cases, anti-nuclear
defendants have managed to employ a cour-
troom tactic that anti-war protesters had
tried in vain to use a decade ago: the use of
the defense of necessity.
Under that plea, defendants must show the
jury that they disobeyed the law (usually by
trespassing or obstructing traffic) to protect
the public from a grave danger, much as a
passerby might break into a burning home to
save a child. Where this argument has been
made, expert testimony on issues of nuclear
power safety has been introduced, heard by
juries and reported on in the press.
John Thorne, a San Jose, Ca., 'attorney,
sought to defend "dozens and dozens" of draft
resisters and anti-war activists by arguing
that their participation in an undeclared war
in Vietnam would make them war criminals.
Thorne said to his knowledge no judge has
allowed this necessity defense during the anti-
war movement. But in anti-nuclear cases,
three judges this year have accepted it-a
major breakthrough that Thorne beleves
might now be expanded into other civil
disobedience areas.
IN THE FIRST trial, 20 people who had
been arrested at Commonwealth Edison's
Zion plant in Illinois were acquitted. The
second, involving 50 arrested in a sit-in at the
Comanche Peak plant at Glen Rose, Texas,
resulted in a hung jury. In the third trial, one
of 11 defendants was found guilty, one not
guilty. The jury could reach no decision on the
other nine. The defendants had been arrested
at the Rancho Seco Nuclear Plant near
Sacramento for blocking an entrance at the

By John Ogulnik

time that plant's twin was running out of con-
trol near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
To find any defendant not guilty under such
a defense, the jury has to believe that: ,
" the defendants acted to preserve life or
property;
" a reasonable person under similar cir-
cumstances would have reasonably believed
that the dedendant's actions wer necessary to
protect life or property;.
" the defendants believed their actions were
necessary;
" the danger to life and property was sub-
stantial and in the immediate future.
The Elk Grove jury determined that only
defendant Mike Gillogly had met all the con-
ditions. Gillogly testified that he had
organized rallies against nuclear power, had
worked on California's unsuccessful Nuclear
Safeguards Initiatice in 1976, had written to
Congressional representatives, and finally
had worked for anti-nuclear candidates for
the board of the Sacramento Municipal
Utilities District (SMUD). SMUD is the public
utility licensed to operate Rancho Seco.
Gillogly was one of only a few defendants
residing in Sacramento.
Unlike Gillogly, the other defendants had.
not exhausted every avenue of protest before
climbing the_ fence, according to the jury;
therefore, their actions were found not
reasonable. But in all nine cases at least one
juror held out for acquittal. The one defen-
dant found guilty did not appear to testify on
his owp behalf; therefore, the jury felt they
did not know just what his motives were.
LEONARD POST, an attorney for the Ran-
cho Seco defendants, says trials where the
issue of nuclear power can be raised become.
an "educational tool and political forum,"
especially in communities surrounding
nuclear power plants where the population
may never have been exposed to the anti-
nuclear side.
In all three trials, considerable testimony
was given by the defendants themselves, who
told how they came to oppose nuclear power
and why they engaged in acts of civil
disobedience. Experts testified about possible
accidents at nuclear plants, about the effects
of low level radiationand the nuclear fuel
cycle. In the Rancho Seco trial, the
prosecution brought in pro-nuclear experts to

counter the testimony of defense witnesses.
After the eight-week Elk Grove trial, one
juror commented, "I'm afraid of nuclear
power ... I really had a hand out to the
kids . . . they really stuck to their
guns ... I'm sorry I didn't bring in a verdict
for them, I really am."
BOYD BRADLEY, a prospective juror who
can see the huge Rancho Seco
cooling towers from his house said
before the triam that he considered the defen-
dants a "bunch of whippersnappers out there
creating antics that weren't necessary in my
opinion."
He attended the trial every day pretending he
was a juror and refusing to come to any con-
clusions until all the evidence was in.
By the end, Bradley's opinion of both the
defendants and nuclear power had changed.
"I won't go so far as to say I'm anti-nuclear,
but I'm no longer pro-nuclear by any stretch
of the imagination," he said.
JURORS IN THE Zion trial made similar
comments. The strongest came from a juror
who said that two days into the week-long
trial "I was ready to picket with them."
Despite this relative success of the defense
of necessity, however, many anti-nuclear ac-
tivists find it a dubious tactic. "It's so depen-
dent on the whim of the judge," said one at-
torney close to the New England Clamshell
Alliance. Also, the costs of this court tactic
are enormous and cases can drag on for many
months, tying up people who might be
working in other ways in the movement.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court has
ruled against the use of necessity defense by
nuclear protesters. In Massachusetts and
California, higher courts are expected, to
determine its validity.
Clamshell member Roy Morrison said that
in future arrests, unconditional release will-
be sought. "It's saying to the courts, either
you jail a large number of people for a long
time, or you release them." Morrison adds
that they will not promise to return for trial if
released. About a third of the 1,000 protesters
arrested in last month's Wall Street demon-
stration refused to give their names and were
booked and given court appearance dates as
John and Jane Does. If they fail to show up for
court, their arrests are unlikely.
John Ogulnik is a freelance writer.
based in the San Francisco area.

14OW lb COPE VflO NWFLW rOPADFUEL cOM 16 MMrEI
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Vol. LXXXX No. 54 News Phone: 764-055
Edited avad managed by students at the-University of Michigan.
,-y
Another 14*test of wll
Khomeini's ruthessness
T ERRORISM, the outgoing ter than to get their hands on th
decade's contribution to modern year-old Shah.
diplomacy, again presents negotiators Therefore, since the death pena
with a no-win situation. The latest a cruel and inhumane punishmei
f.lain, the clergy-dominated matter who is involved, it would b
(evolutionary government of Ayatollah risky for the US. to send him to Ira
Khomeini, has, by refusing to do This incident also highlights the
Anything about the students' takeover ruthlessness in Iran-the Khor
df the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, given regime. Since the Ayatollah s
the terrorism weapon another difficult power last year, his leadership
tst. become more and more like
; This time, the State Department has Shah's. After banning forms of i
tb decide whether to deport the cancer- and censoring the press, the Ayat
stricken Shah to Iran, or risk the death has quashed the rights of the Kurd
o6 about 60 Americans there. So far, has even permitted his Mo
neither side has budged, though followers to attack the rebellious
Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi ds as another guarantee against
lBazargan has finally stepped down. expressions contrary to strict Mo
: Either decision would be painful, but doctrine.
the American negotiators should Now he has plunged into even:
remain firm and refuse to extradite the dangerous territory. In resisting
Shah back to his native land. For put- efforts to improve ties With his
ting the Shah in the hands of government, Khomeini has st
Khomeini's reign of terror would be deep bitterness toward the Shah'.
handing down the death sentence for mer allies. That may well be u
the exiled dictator. standable, but endangering the liv
No doubt the Shah was ruthless. He the Americans in the embassy
permitted few, if any, liberties and ex- beyond mere disagreement. It s
ploited the common people of that a basic disrespect, and even host
country. A defense of his regime would toward traditional diplon
be impossible; his actions of murder relations. When a country's le
cannot be condoned. becomes determined to terminat
Yet it seems quite clear that the with another nation, the no
Shah's life would be in serious danger procedure is to withdraw envoys
if he returned to Iran. The recent end official discussions.
statements by the Ayatollah-in which But kidnapping and hol
he said he hoped reports that the Shah Americans for ransom, Khomein
is dying of cancer are true-show the displayed characteristics of a des
former leader would not receive a fair leader. The revolution has eve
trial in Iran. The cutthroat completely into a new kin
revolutionaries would love nothing bet- repressiveness.

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Letters to

The Dail

To the Daily:
The racist scum of the Ku Klux
Klan murdered five anti-Klan
demonstrators and wounded nine
others (two critically) in Green-
sboro, North Carolina, on Satur-
day, November 3. As an in-
tegrated group of Textile Union
organizers, community activists
and anti-racist militants organiz-
ed by Workers Viewpoint Organiza-
tion demonstrated peacefully, the
KKK drove up; leapt out of their
cars and unleashed a barrage of
semi-automatic weapon fire on
the crowd. Within minutes the
streets were covered with the
blood of the anti-Klan protesters.
Klan night-riding, cross bur-
nings, bombing and murder are
part of the heritage of racist,
capitalist America. But an ar-
med, murderous assault by these
fascist vermin in broad daylight
on a public demonstration is un-
precedented.
4 It is crystal clear that no union,
black or leftist organization can
defend itself against a repeat of
this wanton reactionary terror
without the right to armed self-
defense! Robert F. Williams set
this example in Monroe, North
Caroline during the civil rights
movement. In contrast, the
young black athlete shot in
Boston and now paralyzed from
the waist down is a victim of the
stringent Massachusetts gun-

control laws which leave racist
murderers unhindered while
citizens are deprived of the
democratic right to bear ar-
ms-leaving the victims helpless
against the cop and racist terror.
No to gun control!
The Greensboro cops were ob-
viously complicit in the Klan's at-
tack. The racists in blue followed
the KKK car right to the demon-
stration site-but were con-
spicuously absent when they
opened fire. They appeared
moments after the bloody assault
and proceeded to arrest the vic-
tims of the attack! The cops have
proventhat they will side with the
Klan and the nazis: their job is to
defend the racist, capitalist
state-from gunning down the
Panthers to the Jackson State
killngs. Groups like the Young
Workers Liberation League who
call on the government to "ban
the Klan" simply embolden the
KKK murderers. The Klan could
care less about their legal status;
their program is to kill blacks,
leftists and labor militants. The
state has no intention of sup-
pressing the fascists; the
capitalists need them to unleash
their bloody terror. On the very
day of the Greensboro massacre,
no less than 300 cops protected a
band of 50 of the fascist Klan filth
marching in Dallas for the first
time in 50 years.

Civil libertarians of the ACLU
and their fellow travelers in the
left, the Socialists Workers Par-
ty, defend the democratic
"right" - of the" fascists to
organize. The Greensboro
killings demonstrate that fascists
like the Klan use such "rights" to
only one end: reactio'nary
mobilizations that defeated
bussing in Boston and Louisville,
the fascists have stepped up their
campaign of terror.
It is the organized labor
movement that has the power to
smash the nazis and the Klan.
Detroit auto workers at the giant
River 'Rouge plant pointed the
way forward when the mobilized
to drive two KKK-hooded
foremen out of the assembly
plant just three weeks ago. A
number of those killed at Green-
sboro were active union
organizers as well as militant an-
ti-racists: the KKK is virulently
anti-labor as they are anti-black.
The murderous Klan must be
smashed!' We are for mass ac-
tions of the labor movement and
black organizations to get rid of
these racist labor-hating scum
once and for all. The SYL is
calling on all those who denounce
the murderous KKK to demon-
strate Wednesday, November 7,
at noon, on the Diag.
--Spartacus Youth League

Elton's songwriting ability
because it isn't reflected on this
album.
, Mr. Harvey also seems to
dislike Elton's new style of't
showmanship. To tell you the
truth, I don't think it's changed~.
very much. The show was dif-
ferent because Nigel Olson, Dee
Murray and Davey Johnston
aren't there to add a powerfulT
backgrourd sound. However,
Elton himself still puts on a
powerful show which leaves
everyone drained after the show.
I found Elton's keyboard abilities.
to be quite excellent and his en-
thusiasm was everpresent. He }
was on stage for three hours
which is unheard of nowadays. I
would just like to add that
everyone I've talked to so far,
about the concert agrees that it
was the best, or one of the best
concerts they've ever seen. I
believe that Mr. Harvey should.
crawl back into his hole and
reevaluate his ability as a music
critic because it is certainly
lacking. My personal music
tastes have expanded quite a lot
since the days when Elton was
popular but I still feel that Elton
is a powerful force in contem-
porary music. Elton John lives on '
and he proved it Monday night,
October 31, at Hill Auditorium.
--Brian Wiatrak

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To the Dlaily:

To the Daily:
In your issue of 10/31/79, Den-
nis Harvey reviewed the Elton
John concert at Hill Auditorium
and obviously without much
thought he stated, "Tuesday's
concert revealed that he's
(Elton) in a relatively unin-
teresting state of transition, with
his peak days of both songwriting
and showmanship behind him
and no new ideas in sight." This
statement couldn't be more
eroneous. Elton's songwriting
ability has remained quite intact
as can be seen in his "A Single
Man" album which was released
in 1978. The music on this album
is beautiful and if you don't like

Friday you stated that Carter's'
bailout plan "recognizes
economic reality," and shows'
"commitment to large cor-
porations".
If reality is that welfare for the
rich will ensure that corporations
can be wasteful as long as they
can buy off politicians, and that.
free enterprise is impossible,
then Carter is recognizing"
reality. However, the economic
reality is that Chrysler can't.
make cars very well. What Car-
ter is recognizing is political
realitv

L o r TE15 foM
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