A U.S. magistrate said Tuesday four anti-nuclear protesters who...


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A U.S. magistrate said Tuesday four anti-nuclear protesters who broke into a Minuteman missile site and smashed equipment were a danger to the community, and he ordered them jailed without bond.

The four Catholic peace activists were charged with destruction of government property. They are Carl Kabat, 51, and Helen Woodson, 41, both of Madison, Wis.; and Paul Kabat, 52, and Larry Cloud Morgan, 46, both of Minneapolis.


Chief Magistrate Calvin Hamilton ordered them held without bond after learning the protesters had told authorities they would return to the missile site, and would not comply with conditions of being released on bond. U.S. Attorney Robert Uhlrich said they did not want bond and he asked that it be denied.

'On that, the court made the finding they would be a danger to the community, and ordered them detained without bail,' Uhlrich said.

Hamilton told them to appear at a preliminary hearing Nov. 23. They told Hamilton they would represent themselves, and declined an attorney.

Uhlrich said they caused $25,000 damage Monday to a missile silo near Higginsville, about 35 miles east of Kansas City. Uhlrich said he will present the case to a federal grand jury the week of Nov. 26. Conviction carries a maximum 10 years in prison.


The protesters call themselves the 'silo pruning hooks' in reference to the Biblical mandate to 'beat swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.' They said they drove to the silo, smashed equipment and were praying when they were arrested.

The protesters said they broke through a chain-link fence to get to the silo, and used a compressor-driven, 90-pound jack hammer to damage the equipment. Preliminary reports indicated a combination lock, power cable, three security antennas and some concrete above the missile were damaged.

A farmer, whose land abuts the site, said he did not see the protesters, but he was not surprised they were able to get through security.

Minuteman silos are controlled from remote underground 'pods,' where officers monitor ground sensors that warn of intruders and send security teams where an alarm is tripped.

A spokesman for Whiteman Air Force Base at Knob Noster, Mo., which operates the silos, said: 'At no time did the individuals have access to the missile. The missile continues at normal operation.'

Capt. Alan Freidemrich, chief of public affairs at Whiteman Air Force Base, said missile sites are under constant surveillance by redundant security systems.

'If individuals enter the pad area of the site, their presence is detected and security police are dispatched. The missile and its components are also protected by elaborate physical barriers in a 110-ton concrete steel blast door which would preclude access or damage,' he said.


'At one time, only God could destroy this world, but now we in our idolatry could do so, and we have no right,' Carl Kabat told United Press International. 'It is up to the people to disarm. Governments will never disarm. Ordinary people will have to do extraordinary things if this planet is to survive.'

Latest Headlines