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Interview with Erik Thompson, March 4, 2006

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2006-03-04
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Narrator affiliation: Board of Trustees, Nevada Desert Experience
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Thompson, Erik. Interview, 2006 March 04. MS-00818. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d16688w75

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Nevada Test Site Oral History Project University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interview with Erik Thompson March 4, 2006 Las Vegas, Nevada Interview Conducted By Suzanne Becker © 2007 by UNLV Libraries Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews conducted by an interviewer/ researcher with an interviewee/ narrator who possesses firsthand knowledge of historically significant events. The goal is to create an archive which adds relevant material to the existing historical record. Oral history recordings and transcripts are primary source material and do not represent the final, verified, or complete narrative of the events under discussion. Rather, oral history is a spoken remembrance or dialogue, reflecting the interviewee’s memories, points of view and personal opinions about events in response to the interviewer’s specific questions. Oral history interviews document each interviewee’s personal engagement with the history in question. They are unique records, reflecting the particular meaning the interviewee draws from her/ his individual life experience. Produced by: The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project Departments of History and Sociology University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 89154- 5020 Director and Editor Mary Palevsky Principal Investigators Robert Futrell, Dept. of Sociology Andrew Kirk, Dept. of History The material in the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project archive is based upon work supported by the U. S. Dept. of Energy under award number DEFG52- 03NV99203 and the U. S. Dept. of Education under award number P116Z040093. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these recordings and transcripts are those of project participants— oral history interviewees and/ or oral history interviewers— and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U. S. Department of Energy or the U. S. Department of Education. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Erik Thompson March 4, 2006 Conducted by Suzanne Becker Table of Contents Introduction: childhood in Milan, MN, education at Stanford University, formation of early thoughts on world hunger and poverty, joins Peace Corps and travels to Central Micronesia, joins Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement 1 First visit to NTS ( 1984), impressions of NTS and memories protest movement, nuclear awareness at Stanford University 3 Second visit to NTS ( 1985) for fortieth anniversary remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, memories of protest and arrest 5 Participation in American Peace Test action. Evolution of treatment of protestors by justice system during protests at NTS, and symbolic walk to Mercury 7 Reconsecrating NTS/ Mercury chapel as Holy Trinity Chapel during Holy Week 10 Nagasaki Day protest at Holy Trinity Chapel and entry into the federal justice system. Trials of Thompson, Father Louis Vitale and Brother Gary Sponholtz 14 Enters the Federal Bureau of Prisons system; Oxford Prison Camp, WI 19 Talks about Lutheran background, work with various groups on social issues while at Stanford University. 22 Role of the desert in actions at the NTS and in other work 23 Characteristics of recent actions at the NTS 24 Relationship between Nevada Desert Experience [ NDE] and other groups and the authorities, particularly Sheriff James Merlino and Nye County Sheriff’s Department, and how that relationship shaped actions at the NTS 26 Describes one of last actions at NTS and subsequent arrest and trial ( August 2001) 28 Influence of antinuclear arguments on authorities and justice system, subcritical testing and the stockpile stewardship program at the NTS 32 Family reaction of antinuclear work, talks about business education at Stanford and eventually taking over family business in Minnesota 33 Sister Rosemary Lynch and Sister Ardeth Platt; Thompson’s work as co- chair of NDE, its financial struggles since moratorium on testing, its longevity 34 Challenge of motivating people about nuclear weapons issues in light of end of testing; other peace and justice issues to be pursued, linking various organizations 36 Changes in awareness and personal meaning of work from beginning to present 38 Reiterates purpose of NDE in the present, and talks about decreased desire of people to work in protest movement in the U. S. 39 Reflections on the legacy of Hiroshima 40 Conclusion: hopes for conversion of persons and of the NTS 41 UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 1 Interview with Erik Thompson March 4, 2006 in Las Vegas, NV Conducted by Suzanne Becker [ 00: 00: 00] Begin Track 2, Disc 1. Erik Thompson: My name is Erik Thompson. I find myself back in the town I grew up in, Milan, Minnesota, a town of 350 people out on the prairie. I’m fourth- generation there. I left there to go to college in the [ San Francisco] Bay Area in the mid- seventies. This was just after the world food crisis. I had some trouble understanding how there could be a world food crisis because there was food as far as I could see out there on the prairie. [ I] got to college and tended to take economics and political science courses that focused on development, and in those courses I discovered that people were hungry because they were poor. Then the circle got a little wider when I discovered that people were poor because they had no power. And a little later, I discovered that one of the reasons they don’t have power was because of the large military complex that exists both in the developed and developing worlds. So that was pretty formative for me. After college I joined the Peace Corps, went out to Micronesia, spent a couple of years there. I was in Central Micronesia, but Eastern Micronesia was where the United States did its nuclear bombings in the Pacific, in the Marshall Islands. While I was there, Micronesia was working toward a status of independence. They were a Trust Territory administered by the United States at the time. And the islands west of me had hoped to have a nuclear- free constitution, which I thought was pretty neat. Then the islands north of me in Micronesia, the islands just north of Guam, were where the Enola Gay and Bockscar took off from to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So I was living out there in this area where nuclearism was an issue, and felt that I should be doing something about that. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 2 When I got back to graduate school— Which was where? All of my education was at Stanford [ University]. I made some connections with the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement. Ched Myers was involved with it at the time. And through that, I broadened my— well, I had an interest in the independent Pacific because Micronesia was the last of the post- World War II Trust Territories, so it was a U. S. colony. Everything else had become independent. Micronesia was working toward independence— something that the United States could convince the United Nations was something resembling independence. And I was pretty impressed that there was an organization that had combined the nuclear- free and independence movements. These small islands in the Pacific felt that the larger powers weren’t paying any attention to their sovereignty because, as Henry Kissinger said about Micronesia, there’s only ninety thousand of them, who gives a damn? So through my interest in the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific, and other things that were happening at the time, the MX missile was about to be tested south of Stanford, and the missiles from there are shot into Micronesia, into the Marshall Islands, into Kwajalein Atoll. So I was aware that that was happening. I went to a nonviolence training seminar in order to do some preparation for putting my body on the line if I would ever be called to do that. At about this time, I heard Father Louis Vitale speak at a World Peace Day celebration in San Francisco, and he mentioned what the Franciscans were doing out at the Nevada Test Site. They had started a year or two before I heard him. And he invited folks to come out during Lent. Well, I thought that was quite interesting and I filed that in the deep recesses of the brain. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 3 But I felt more and more called to act about the MX missile testing from Vandenberg [ Air Force Base, California], and my affinity group with whom I trained were planning to go [ 00: 05: 00] down. But as it turned out, just prior to the action, I discovered that my mother had terminal pancreatic cancer, and so I ended up going home during that break from college instead of down to Vandenberg. That was back to Minnesota? Yes. But I had made a commitment to put my body on the line. I just didn’t know when and where. I decided that Good Friday of my final year at Stanford, I was in the business school at that time, Good Friday at Lawrence Livermore labs would be an appropriate place to take that step. And I thought, in order to prepare for that, I would come out to the Nevada Test Site and spend a few days with the friars at the beginning of Holy Week. This was 1984. So that was the first time I came to the Nevada Test Site. What did you think, meaning what were some of the things that struck you? Well, I hadn’t ever even witnessed an act of civil resistance that risked arrest before, which is why I came, to experience that. And I was struck by the sincerity of the small group that were there, must’ve been for the Palm Sunday action. At that time, we were able to actually drive all the way down near what’s now the Pass Gate. It was on the fringes of Camp Desert Rock, so we could actually see signs of when the military people were camped there prior to being marched over to the above- ground testing sites. I was aware that we had exposed about a quarter- million of our own men and women to nuclear weapons testing in the American West and in the Marshall Islands. One of the things that strikes me when we talk about how bad Saddam Hussein was, was that he did bad things to his own people. Well, I would consider, among the other atrocities that the United States government has committed against its own people, the willful UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 4 contamination of a quarter- million of them with nuclear fallout; people who were in the military, not even counting the Downwinders. But back to my story. I recall that there wasn’t any barbed wire down there. There were nylon ropes between the fence posts. And I recall a woman passing through the ropes and the sheriff, Jim Merlino, who of course is a good old boy, what do you do when a woman’s crossing through a fence? Well, you hold the bottom one down with your foot and you lift the top one up with your hand. So he’s doing that as this woman passes through, and halfway through she says, Jim, you’re helping me. And he got this sort of sheepish look on his face. She passed through, turned to face maybe the dozen of us who were on the other side. I think there were probably three people arrested that day. She turned to face the small group of us as they were handcuffing her behind her back and said, Would you all join me in the Lord’s Prayer? And not only had I never witnessed a civil resistance arrest before, but I had never experienced the Lord’s Prayer under those circumstances— an extremely moving experience. Anyway, I felt empowered after that first trip down there. I went back to Lawrence Livermore, thought we would be in jail. We were arrested on Good Friday. Thought I’d be in jail over the weekend, but they did release us that night. And this is at the test site or this is at Lawrence Livermore? This was at Lawrence Livermore. And I was a student senator at Stanford at the time, so I went down to the students’ paper and said, Is this news, Student Senator arrested at Lawrence Livermore? So it was in the Monday edition. And people from the business school came up to me— this is the Stanford Business School, these are not your typical left- wing groupies— came up to me and said what a wonderful thing it was and if there was a fine, make sure to let them know, they’d pay it off for me. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 5 What was the atmosphere at Stanford like at that particular time, considering the proximity to the laboratories and some of the activities that were being conducted? [ 00: 10: 00] I would say the nuclear awareness was minimal. There had been a fairly substantial student movement on campus related to investments in apartheid South Africa, so there was some student activism at the time. That would’ve been like ’ 78, ’ 79 or so. But I think that the nuclear issue was not talked about very much. Once in a while a flyer would come out about how much Stanford was getting from the Department of Defense, but nothing specific to nuclear that I recall. So the next year I came back, 1985, brought a friend from the Bay Area. It was the fortieth anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so the Nevada Desert Experience [ NDE] was hosting a Jewish/ Christian/ Buddhist remembrance. And we walked into the test site from roughly where we are stopped now, down the long road, so it was a long procession. The theme was Forty Years in the Nuclear Wilderness, so we had a pilgrimage, basically, down to Camp Desert Rock. And then we were trucked up to Beatty for appearance before the Justice of the Peace there. My memory is that there were about thirty of us. And so the group of you all crossed over? I think about thirty crossed over the line. OK. And you guys were arrested. We were arrested. And at that point, people were being prosecuted. The expectation was that people would get three days of community service in their hometowns. Well, we arrived up at the Justice of the Peace Court, which of course wasn’t big enough to handle all of us, so we went in in waves of ten. And at the end of it, Judge Sullivan found us all guilty. And he said, Well, you know, this is costing the county money to put up with you people, so I’m UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 6 going to sentence you to three days of community service here in Beatty, Nevada. Well, some people had obligations that didn’t fit in nicely with, so there was this negotiation with the judge. How about if we do one day here and two days back home? Or one day here and three days back home? We’ll do more time. Well, he wasn’t willing to give on any of that. And then somebody said, How about if we go to jail? And he said, I guess I can throw you all in jail for twenty- four hours. So we said, That sounds great! [ Laughing] They bused us up to Tonopah because the Beatty jail wasn’t big enough. We joked that during this remembrance of Forty Years in the Nuclear Wilderness, in one day we traveled from Vegas to the test site to Beatty to Tonopah, we traveled further in a day than the Israelites traveled in forty years. And of course it ended up costing the county more money. So I have had some trouble figuring out the way the authorities respond to us. Yeah, what do you think about that? People have had varying responses. Because sometimes the charges are just dismissed. Well, what happened shortly after the action that I mentioned was that the American Peace Test started holding protests out there, and I participated in one of those that had 6,000 participants, and 1,205 of us arrested on one day. The authorities had pre- positioned buses at the test site, and they were rolling into Tonopah after dark. In anticipation of dealing with the mass numbers of people that they may arrest? Right. And they hauled us all to Tonopah, and then just released us. I just found out recently that [ 00: 15: 00] what may have led to what I’m going to explain was a lawyer who had been arrested, refusing to leave and claiming to have been kidnapped. What I heard happened is that shortly UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 7 after this, the ACLU [ American Civil Liberties Union] brought suit on our behalf, basically alleging kidnapping, since we were transported that far with no intention of being prosecuted. This is all hearsay, but I believe that this is what happened. And this is something that recently came to light? The fact that a lawyer was arrested and decided to do it. I thought the ACLU just thought it was a good cause. As a result of that, the authorities were enjoined from transporting us further than the nearest Justice Court. I was told. And after this event, we were never hauled further than Beatty anymore, so I think that that’s what happened. There may be some truth to that. My favorite action at the test site happened around— it’s a little bit of a long story. It’s your time frame, so you let me know. We’ve got plenty of time left on the CDs. I could be off by a year or two on the dates, but I believe it was 1988, and either Hiroshima or Nagasaki Day. Hiroshima Day, I believe. There were a small group of us arrested. At this point the authorities had stopped even hauling us places, unless we did something that really annoyed them. Were they just processing you onsite? Yes, the county had decided it wasn’t worth their trouble to even deal with us in the court system anymore. They were still arresting us in some fashion. The cage had been built for us by that point. Do you happen to remember what year– sorry to interrupt— what year those came about, the different pens? I’m pretty sure they were not there in 1985, and they were there for the large action— With the American Peace Test. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 8 Yes, and I don’t remember the date of that action. Probably mid- eighties? I’m pretty sure they were here for the action— yes, they [ the pens] were, for the action I’m talking about now, so by ’ 88 or ’ 89. And then they were continually improved. And the guards got nicer quarters to hang out while they were waiting for us. For a while there was a large like a fire watch tower that a guard could be in to look down. But that came down at some point, and lights went up— there was a generator first and then I think they got electric lines laid. But anyway, in Hiroshima [ day] of say 1988, a small number of us were arrested. While we were in the holding pen, we decided that if they released us, which was our expectation, we would cross the line again, with the expectation that they would haul us away to jail at that point. Well, they released us, we crossed, they put us in the cage for an hour or two, released us, and so we crossed again. And we came to the conclusion among ourselves that it wasn’t going to be another day like usual at the test site, that this was an important day to remember what the U. S. did with these weapons, and that we were not willing to leave the test site of our own free will for that day. As a consequence, we were arrested eight times that day, and they never did haul us to Beatty. They just kept reprocessing you? Yes, and a couple of hours later— Were you given citations? Yes, and a couple hours later, they would let us go. I think they drove us up to the overpass on the test site, which is maybe a half- mile from the line. Interesting for our last arrest, it was dark, and we walked down from where they dropped us off, so it took us a little while to decide we were in fact going to go through again. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 9 So they basically put you on a bus and thought they’d drive you a little bit further out and drop you off? Yes. It was up probably where we were parked, hoping that we’d get in our cars and drive away. In fact, during one of the arrests— we had one person who stayed [ 00: 20: 00] behind from the large group, so that if we got hauled to Beatty he could follow and if they released us immediately, give us a ride back, or at least let people know what was going on. And it’s common practice at these to have support people who do not risk arrest— sometimes they are arrested anyway— who try to remain free so that they can provide support that’s necessary. But on our fourth arrest, our support person said, Ah, they’re not going to take him. I’m coming in with you. So we were all together for one of them. It was three of us who remained there, Father Louis Vitale and I and Steve Kelly, who is a Jesuit priest. Father Vitale’s a Franciscan priest. On our final arrest, it was dark. As we walked the last half- mile and got to the line and crossed the line, it became clear to us that the authorities didn’t realize we were back on the property, because it was not lighted or they weren’t paying attention. And you know, we feel some sense of camaraderie with the Nye County deputies who are out there. So we had to decide what it is we wanted to do with this opportunity. Were we going to walk down to the town of Mercury? And we didn’t feel that that would be fair to the deputies, so our compromise was we would sing as we walked. To give them a little heads- up. So we walked down to Mercury, toward Mercury, singing, and they immediately shone their light at the crossing area and couldn’t find us. Eventually shone the light further down the road UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 10 and came to get us. When they released us after that time, it was after midnight and we had fulfilled the pledge we had made to each other for the day. But while we were there, Steve Kelly, Father Louis and I decided, because we had lots of time together, that the next time we were all together we would attempt to go down to the chapel in the town of Mercury. Father Louis had had a dream of reconsecrating it. We had heard rumors that there was a chapel in the town, but that it had been turned into a nuclear weapons lab, office building. And during Holy Week of the following year, we were all in Vegas together, and on the morning of Holy Saturday, twelve of us wandered through the desert, got to the town of Mercury right about sunup. How did you get in? Did you come in through a fence or did you— were you on test site property, wandering? Yes, we were on test site property since about midnight, walking in the dark among the cactus. It was a little slow going. We got to the edge of town and were able to identify by its architecture which building must have been the chapel. We sent a scout over there, and he came back and said, The door is open. And given that date in the Christian calendar, we decided, well, the stone has been rolled away from the tomb. And so we all scurried over there. As near as I can tell, the carpets had been shampooed, and the doors were left open to air the place out. That’s the best understanding that I have of the occasion. Interesting. So it was just literally by chance that you were able to get in. Well, some folks say there are no coincidences but— and we were there for quite a while, sent some faxes, tried to call the media. So you were faxing from the chapel and using the phone? We called the Washington Post, I think, and said, Here we are. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 11 And they said, It’s early Saturday morning. Can’t you call back at noon? [ And we said], Well, we’re not sure we’ll be able to be here then. So we weren’t able to actually do anything with the print media, but I was conducting a live radio interview at the time the authorities showed up, and apparently they were listening to the radio. So from the chapel, you were able to get through to a radio station. Yes, I believe it was a Las Vegas station, talk radio. And actually I think that they might’ve called the authorities and said, We have somebody who claims to be— is this true? And so the hired security guards—. [ 00: 25: 00] Is this Wackenhut? I think it was them. I’m not sure if they had the contract that long ago. Yes, they would have at the time. I was just wondering if it was Nye County or Wackenhut. No, the hired ones. Showed up with, I think they had rifles, and looked in on us, and then left. And I told the radio people that, at some point were going to have a worship service and I’ll be hanging up on you. I might’ve left the phone off the hook so they could listen. I can’t remember. Apparently Wackenhut was waiting for Nye County to show up, and when they did, they came in, and we were in worship. There were no weapons visible at that point. They did not disturb our worship service. They let you finish what you were doing? They let us finish what we were doing. Well, they wandered around to see if they could tell if we’d done any damage to the building. We heard one half of a telephone conversation as they reported back to their boss: No, it doesn’t look like breaking and entering. Well, it looks like their having a church service. And we had a fairly long service. As we UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 12 got near the end of it and were running out of things to do, [ Brother] Gary Sponholtz, another Franciscan who had actually carried an Easter lily through the desert that night, started doing a roll of the Catholic canon of saints, so that went on for quite a while. And when we ran out of saints that we could remember, we came up with the saints that should be canonized, like Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day and I don’t know if Archbishop [ Oscar] Romero had been assassinated by that point, but we kept going, and we just were allowed to do this. And they just let you guys go on. They just let us do that. So it was a great action. When we finished, they took us into custody, and after a while took us up to Beatty. While we were in there and making the phone calls, we did put the word out that the chapel was rechristened as Holy Trinity Chapel because it was on Trinity Avenue, and that it was open for Easter services. Well, while we were in Beatty Township Jail— maybe they took us to Tonopah, I can’t remember, but I think we were in Beatty— Easter Sunday morning two other people went down. The building was still open, and they went in and spent a number of hours there before being arrested. And they were the first people to receive federal charges at the test site. Really! Do you remember who those were? I want to say Ted Thomas and maybe somebody else named Diamond. And we were in jail at the time and heard— and we were expecting a six- month sentence for our action. We heard that the feds had arrested these two and apparently had said OK, that’s it, that’s the last straw. What happened is eventually the county dropped the charges against us, apparently saying if the feds are finally willing to get involved, we don’t need to expend county resources to do it. So we got a free six months, because we were all sure that that’s what we would be looking at. And the two fellows who had the federal charges, I don’t remember if they had trials or if they plea- UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 13 bargained, but I believe they got probation or something like that. But they were not ready for federal time. Right. So you guys received nothing. No time. No time at all. Well, we had the weekend in jail till we were released. Right. But other than that, beyond that, there were no charges? No. But now we all had a free six months we had to figure out what to do with. We had been trying for years to get the issue into federal court, so now we knew how we could do it. And so on the next, I believe it was Nagasaki Day, it was— Differentiate for me— there’s a Hiroshima Day and a Nagasaki Day? Yes, Hiroshima was bombed on August 6 [ 1945] and Nagasaki on August 9. [ 00: 30: 00] OK, so this is August Desert Witness. Correct. So you just were delineating the days. OK. So on the next Nagasaki Day, while our friends were being arrested at the gate, Louis and I and Gary Sponholtz walked, that night, back to Mercury. And while our friends were being arrested at the front gate, we went back into the chapel. This was a work day, so there were workers present. We invited them to join us in a memorial service, which they declined to do. They of course called Security. Most of Security was involved with our colleagues up at the main gate, so management had to show up. How many people were at this particular action, do you remember? I don’t know that. I think these were some of the larger ones, though, that were happening. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 14 Well, this was probably fifty or a hundred being arrested. The three of us were taken into custody. I refused a citation at that point, and so my arresting officer was required to take me in to appear before a federal magistrate. So I got to spend some time with him during the day. He was a fundamentalist Christian. And I asked him about the part in Acts where some of the early Apostles are preaching on the temple steps, and they are arrested and brought before the court. The court decides to let them go for fear of the people, the Bible says, but tells them not to do it anymore. And the Apostles say, We must obey God rather than man. So I asked this fundamentalist Christian to talk to me about that story in light of the fact that I had been in the chapel once before, I was put in jail, I was released and told not to do it again, and I think that I’m obeying God rather than man. And his response was, I try to avoid these moral dilemmas. So I was glad to have the opportunity to let him grapple with it a little bit. We appeared in front of a federal magistrate who tried to release me on my own recognizance in kind of a slam- bam- leave- the- room type arrangement. After he was gone, I said to the clerk, Shouldn’t someone tell the judge that I’m not willing to be released under these conditions? Which of course were almost no conditions at all except not go back to the test site. So they put me back in custody, and at the end of the day, the judge had me brought back into court and we had a nice conversation for fifteen, twenty minutes or so. I don’t remember if I accepted a release at that point or what happened. But anyway, because I had refused a citation and seen the federal magistrate, I got into the court system earlier than Louis and Gary did. I had my trial a few months later in front of Lloyd George, after whom the new courthouse building in Las Vegas is named. I am told he was an officer in the nuclear Air Force, and a Mormon bishop. I can’t confirm that but this is what I was told. I had a jury trial. Of course UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 15 the prosecution had moved to prohibit me from mentioning any of the likely defenses I was likely to raise. It’s called a necessity defense, which is that, yes, I have to break a trespassing law, but I’m doing it in order to avert a larger ill. The classic example is trespassing to save a baby from a burning building. Right. And you were not allowed to use [ it]? The prosecution moved to prohibit me from raising that, and a number of other defenses, including my state of mind at the time. Actually part of the charge is willful being in the wrong place, and so I was hoping to prove that I thought that the Constitution and the treaties of the United States were the supreme law of the land, and that they not only permitted but obliged me to try to stop my government from doing illegal actions. And why was this not permitted? The prosecution didn’t want it in because they wanted to convict me. Most courts around the country have refused to allow these issues to be raised, because they say it’s a trespassing [ 00: 35: 00] charge, nothing else. There have been, oh, a handful or more of this type of civil resistance action where the courts have allowed these defenses to be made, and I am aware of a number of cases, a small number, where juries have deadlocked or even acquitted after being allowed to hear the [ argument]. So obviously that’s why they didn’t want you to bring that out. No. I filed an extended response to the motion, the inliminee it’s called, the motion to limit the defenses that can be raised, and the judge refused my arguments. So we had my trial. The jury forewoman, I believe her husband, I think he worked in secret military stuff. I said, He works for the government and we don’t talk about it, something like that. Right. That’s not a very impartial jury. UNLV Nevada Test Site Oral History Project 16 I asked the judge whether that was cause to have her excused and he said to her, Can you render a fair and impartial verdict? And she said yes,