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Former U.S. Attorney General says production of nuclear weapons could be considered illegal; cites Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark testified Tuesday that continued production of nuclear weapons at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge could be considered unlawful, if not illegal, because it violates the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty signed in 1968 during his tenure at the Justice Department.
The 85-year-old Clark testified on behalf of three Plowshares protesters who are facing multiple felony counts -- including a sabotage charge -- for breaking into Y-12 last July, cutting through security fences and defacing the exterior of the plant's storage center for bomb-grade uranium. The trial is set to begin May 7, with jury selection taking place the day before.
Tuesday's pre-trial hearing in U.S. District Court was a last-chance opportunity for defense attorneys to present evidence to support some form of "justification" defense in the case, arguing that the protesters' actions were for the greater good and necessary in order to prevent the imminent harm of nuclear weapons.
Clark said such a claim was reasonable, testifying, "These weapons are a threat to life on this planet.
"Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Theodore questioned Clark about whether it was illegal simply to possess weapons, not use them, and whether the laws passed by Congress superseded any treaties.
U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar, who also questioned Clark on some of the legal issues involved, said he would issue an opinion within a week.
Posted by Frank Munger on April 23, 2013 at 2:19 PM
Tags: Nuclear Issues
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