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Train Crew

November 30, 1988

Your brief article "Crew of Train That Hit Man Faces Punishment" (Part I, Nov. 18) reports that the Navy is disciplining the three-man crew of the munitions train that ran over war protester Brian Willson on Sept. 1, 1987. It says nothing about discipline for the naval base authorities who gave the crew their orders.

I have been at the site of the protest vigil, which continues 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with hundreds of people participating in turns to block the trains. The protesters gave and still give the base authorities ample written notice of their plans. The train crew insists they were not told there would be people on the tracks, and the protesters are sympathetic to their plight. The tracks make a decided curve at the point where they cross the narrow strip of public land where the vigil is. People sitting or kneeling on the tracks would be difficult to see until too late.

This looks like yet another instance of a committee of foxes investigating a break into the henhouse. One could dismiss the matter by pointing out that Willson did survive, despite severed legs and a hole in his skull. But there is more. A base official sympathetic to the protesters was mysteriously murdered last November during the congressional investigation into the affair. And the reason for the protest continues: U.S. violation of international law as summarized in the Nuremberg Principles. Hundreds and thousands of civilians in Central America are being maimed or killed by these weapons that we send their governments. What we are seeing at Concord is that when the official lies that cover up the slaughter are challenged to the cracking point, the violence starts to break out closer to home.

Our only protection, and that of our sisters and brothers farther south, is a firm commitment to liberty and justice for all, and the courage to make it stick.

GRACIA FAY ELLWOOD

Pasadena

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