By John LaForge
My refusal to pay fines imposed for resisting nuclear weapons at Germany’s Büchel Air Force Base raises a lot of questions, principally: Why not avoid prison and just pay?
One reason is because my protest was not wrong or a mistake in any sense, whereas paying the court-imposed penalty implies I’m guilty of some sort of offense or misconduct. Further, paying the fine has the appearance of an apology or remorse on my part when none is warranted. Any nonviolent action against preparations to commit mass destruction with nuclear weapons is honorable. An upsurge of such actions would be in the public interest. Further, my so-called “trespass” was an attempt at crime prevention, or interference with ongoing government criminality, and as such was a civic duty.
Refusing to pay fines for nonviolent resistance to nuclear war preparations is, from my position of privilege, also an act of solidarity with the poor, the undocumented, and the outcasts who often don’t have resources or connections enough to purchase their way out of pre-trial detention or incarceration for minor offenses.
In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law. The ongoing threat to attack people with nuclear weapons (known as “deterrence”) is prohibited by international law. My go-in actions at Büchel were based on international legal obligations, which in the words of the Nuremberg Principles “bind every citizen just as does ordinary municipal law.” Plans for massacres inherent in nuclear sharing and deterrence policy are prohibited and have been criminalized by the combined obligations — considered as a whole — set out in the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions, the Nuremberg Charter, Principles, and Judgment, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and the US and German federal constitutions.
The NPT in particular explicitly prohibits any transfer whatsoever of nuclear weapons from one state to another. I hope never to pay respect to governments that declare treaties are the “supreme law” but then proceed to wantonly violate them.
It can never be a crime to interfere with the deployment, rehearsals for use, or the threatened use of nuclear weapons, or to resist our governments’ joint plans to commit indiscriminate, uncontrollable mass destruction using firestorms and radiation. No criminal conspiracy of any kind anywhere compares to the level of deliberate public lawbreaking inherent in nuclear weapons threats. Rather than a trespass, my peaceful interference with nuclear attack machinery is justifiable, preventative, precautionary, and lawful.
Court systems in Germany and the US have labored to dismiss this lawful defense of necessity and to ignore their own constitutional command to abide by international treaties. Instead, when courts in both countries have been confronted with the treaty obligations outlined above, they have routinely denied their applicability in protest cases involving nuclear weapons. Courts in Germany have gone so far as to say that because Germany and the US have agreed to “nuclear sharing” the practice is therefore legitimate.
I have presented to the courts in Cochem, Koblenz, and Karlsruhe the facts about nuclear weapons, their effects, the government’s preparations for using them against civilians, and the treaties that forbid all such planning for massacres. By ignoring or denying these facts, the judges are guilty of pretending the criminality of deterrence is lawful, and they are complicit in the self-destructive maintenance of prohibited and suicidal nuclear threats. It is naïve or mentally unbalanced to act as if this charade is not homicidal and suicidal, and to ignore the criminal intent of the governments of Germany and the United States regarding nuclear sharing. I hope to be able to stand up to the courts’ coercion and intimidation, and to refuse to cooperate with such a government that is also the nuclear weapon’s government.
— This statement is in the Winter Nukewatch Quarterly, and ran Dec. 16 2022 at CounterPunch.org.
If you write to John at the prison, remember mail takes two weeks to reach Germany. After January 10 check nukewatchinfo.org or Nukeresister.org for other mail restrictions.
Am Glasmoor 99