Lynne Greenwald – Presente!

UPDATE: The celebration of Lynne’s life will be held on Saturday, August 16th at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action. Click here for details.

Dear Friends,

Our dear fellow nuclear weapons resister, and member of Disarm Now Plowshares, Lynne Greenwald died yesterday. Lynne was very recently diagnosed with cancer. She was surrounded in the loving embrace of family and close friends throughout this time of transition.  Lynne G 2011-9-12 (11)

Lynne’s life is a beautiful testament to the power of servant leadership. Mother, grandmother, social worker, activist and so much more, Lynne was out in the world taking care of those in need and resisting violence and the scourge of nuclear weapons with all of her spiritual and physical strength.

People will be coming together this weekend at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and say Never Again! Lynne’s presence will run deep like a river throughout the weekend. Her life is the lesson…

Click here to watch Lynne interviewed in 2012 by Mike McCormick, speaking about her life in resistance.

Lynne has joined the Cloud of Witnesses.

Lynne Greenwald – Presente!

Light in the Darkness

Greetings Friends,

Our dear Disarm Now Plowshares people continue to do the various works to which they are moved. Lynne continues her work at Irma Gary House at the Tacoma Catholic Worker. Bix stirs the pot from his operations base at Jean’s House of Prayer just across the alley from Irma Gary. This coming weekend he will hold a shared Easter Eucharist at one of the Bangor Trident submarine base’s gates. Steve is a tough one to nail down; he moves as the Spirit moves him, and it moves him far and wide. There was a recent Stevo sighting at Jean’s House. Susan continues her work at the Redwood City Catholic Worker.

Speaking of Susan, she recently developed a website for the RC Catholic Worker. Today I came across a beautiful story (in the April 2014 Redwood City Catholic Worker Newsletter) written by Larry Purcell about someone who found light in the darkness when she came to the RC Catholic Worker for help. Click here to read the story and check out their website.

food distribution at RC Catholic Worker

food distribution at RC Catholic Worker

The Disarm Now Plowshares was a deep, spirit-led, courageous action that is now a piece of history, and a very important piece of history it is!  Bix, Lynne, Steve and Susan continue to be bright beacons as they do God’s work in the world. Their individual and collective works bring light to a world desperately in need of it.

And of course, we remember that great beacon Anne Montgomery.

May each of us light our candles from theirs and continue to spread light throughout the world.

In Peace,

Leonard

Transform Now Plowshares: A Trumpet Call to All of Us

by William “Bix” Bichsel

On July 28, 2012, Sr. Megan Rice, shcj, 84yrs, Michael Walli, 64yrs, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59yrs hiked a ridge and cut through four fences to reach the new U.S. storehouse for Highly Enriched Uranium, which is needed for the production of thermonuclear weapons. These weapons, used to threaten other nations, are in violation of the U.S. Principles of Nuremberg (U.S. Law), in which citizens are directed to resist illegal acts by their government. The refurbishing of the weapons is in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in which the U.S. pledges complete nuclear disarmament.

(l to r): Michael, Megan and Greg (art by The Washington Post)

(l to r): Michael, Megan and Greg (art by The Washington Post)

They name their lawful act of resistance: Transform Now Plowshares Action, following Isaiah’s injunction, “They shall hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” With faith in following the non-violent Jesus, they poured their blood, painted words of justice and hammered on the walls of the HEU Building.

They were convicted of sabotage (threatening the security of the U.S.) and depredation of government property and were sent directly into jail as terrorists to await sentencing (which took place ten months later). They were charged with $52,000 of damage- mostly to the fences. One of the attendees of the trial drew a parallel, “Would anyone let fences surrounding Auschwitz stand? Much less should we let fences guarding nuclear weapons stand.”

Sr. Megan Rice was given 35 months imprisonment, both Michael and Greg were given 62 months. Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors of the “Nuclear Resister” stated: “As the Hibakusha (survivors of the terror from Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings)”; so do Megan, Michael and Greg offer their lives to prevent similar massacre.

Ralph Hutchinson, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, stated: “Though their bodies are in prison, their voices are free reminding us that the central issue of this action and trial have not been resolved- as long as the government continues to produce thermal nuclear weapons of mass-destruction in Oak Ridge or anywhere, people are required to resist.”

Lynne Greenwald of the ‘Disarm Now Plowshares Action’ (DNPA) at Bangor in 2009 reminds us that the day of this sentencing is the same day, Feb 18th, as the sentencing to death (by guillotine) of Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and six other members of the White Rose Resistance to Nazi Germany’s fascism in 1943 and also the day in 1985 when Lynne and six activists carrying white roses sat on the tracks leading into the Bangor Naval Base blocking the white train carrying nuclear weapons into the base.

Sr. Megan Rice who has spent her life living among and teaching the urban poor of our country and Western Africa, while also resisting U.S. militarism for the last 25 years, when questioned by Judge Thapars: “Do you have any regrets?”, responded: “Only for not starting 70 years earlier.”

` Greg Boertje-Obed has been most faithful in his quiet powerful witness against all weapons through many selfless actions of resistance. He has been separated from his wife and daughter for ten years.

Michael Walli is a Vietnam Vet who received a bronze star. After the service his life changed to caring for the homeless and marginalized people in a number of our cities. At the sentencing he asked Judge Thapar to look at his face and see the face of the future~ the many who will follow in resistance.

Fr. Steve Kelly, sj, another member DNPA (Nov-2009) said that the judge’s sentence gave great help to the U.S. in its efforts to categorize peace activists and whistle blowers as terrorists. The guilty verdict is meant to instill fear in the citizens. In contrast to this, Jesus says to Megan, Michael, and Greg: “Be Not Afraid.”

Fr. Bill Bichsel, sj, also of DNPA says that the possibility of redress of grievances, from any of our branches of government, is blocked. The heroic action and subsequent sentencing of the three is a trumpet call to all of us.

“YOU CAN JAIL THE RESISTERS BUT NOT THE RESISTANCE.”

Yesterday’s sentencing of Greg, Megan and Michael, the three members of Transform Now Plowshares, was the culmination of the government’s collusion with the Nuclear Industrial Complex.  It is collusion in the sense that the government is breaking many laws, including international humanitarian law, in its continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the courts cannot help but see and uphold established precedents, including the Nuremberg Principles. Supposed justice was “blind” to the wrong things in this case, and essentially every other case of this kind.

There is no lack of irony in the timing of yesterday’s sentencing. Seventy-one years ago on February 18, 1943 Sophie Scholl and other members of The White Rose were arrested at the University of Munich for dropping leaflets protesting the evils of the Third Reich.  Click here for an article on this piece of history.  Sophie, her brother, and the other members of The White Rose clearly understood the consequences of their actions, should they be caught.

tnp three sentenced

Greg, Megan and Michael also understood the probable consequences of their actions, and took their action with joyful hearts and fully prepared to accept those consequences. Judge Thapar gave all three significant prison time – Megan 35 months, and Greg and Michael each received 62-month sentences.  The judge’s intention by giving such long prison terms was to dissuade others to engage in such actions and instead to pursue “legal” means.

Of course, those of us pursuing nuclear abolition clearly understand the futility of legal means, which we have all tried over and over. As Felice and Jack of The Nuclear Resister said in a recent post about the Transform Now Plowshares sentencing: “YOU CAN JAIL THE RESISTERS BUT NOT THE RESISTANCE.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sister in resistance on the next stage of their journey.

 

Sentence postponed for Transform Now Plowshares

Thanks to Patrick O’Neill, who writes for National Catholic Reporter, for this TNP sentencing update.
Sentence postponed for Transform Now Plowshares

Patrick O’Neill | Jan. 28, 2014, in NCR Online (ncronline.org)

KNOXVILLE, TENN. A late-afternoon snowfall that blanketed the South led to the postponement of the sentencing of three Catholic anti-nuclear activists in federal court on Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Amul R. Thapar issued a continuance in the case of Sr. Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli when he was told the courthouse would be closing at 2:30 p.m. because of the snowfall. The case, which involves more than a half-dozen lawyers, was reset for Feb. 18.

The three, who call themselves the Transform Now Plowshares, are facing long prison sentences for sabotage following their July 28, 2012, break-in at Y-12 nuclear weapons facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn. They were convicted May 8, 2012, of “injuring the national defense” and depredation of government property, charges that carry up to 30 years in prison. Federal guidelines in the case call for the three to receive from five to nine years in prison.

In Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, which was witnessed by more than 100 supporters of the group, defense lawyers argued that Thapar should “downwardly depart” from the sentencing guidelines suggested by the federal prosecutor.

Thapar also agreed with the government’s contention that the defendants were responsible for making restitution to the government of $52,557.

The judge disagreed with defense contentions that the defendants were entitled to leniency because they had accepted responsibility for their actions. Federal prosecutor Jeffrey E. Theodore argued that the defendants were not entitled to departure from the guidelines because, “They have never admitted to criminal conduct.” The Plowshares activists, who take their name from Isaiah 2:4 (“They shall beat their swords into plowshares; their spears into pruning hooks. One nation will not lift sword against another, nor shall they train for war anymore”) have claimed they were following international law when they gained access to the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, which contains a stockpile of weapons-grade uranium. Once inside the facility, the three chipped the building’s structure with hammers and sprayed “biblical graffiti” before lighting candles and awaiting arrest.

“The critical point is contrition, and I don’t think any of the defendants are contrite about what they did,” the judge said. “The defendants will not be given acceptance of responsibility.”

Thapar also denied the defendants’ claim that they deserved leniency because they believed their “criminal acts” at Y-12 “were committed to prevent a perceived greater harm” (the possible use of nuclear weapons). Thapar said, “I understand that the defendants perceived a greater harm, but I think the United States has a different point of view.”
The judge still will hear arguments for departure based on the argument that the case includes “special or unusual circumstances.” Toward that end, the defense called four character witnesses, each of whom praised the defendants as committed peace activists who were led to nonviolent direct action out of their love for creation and humanity.

In her testimony, Yale professor and author Mary Evelyn Tucker, a longtime family friend of Rice, said, “It is clear that Megan is a person of high moral principles with a profound Christian commitment to alleviate suffering and advance the cause of peace.”

Catholic Worker Kathy Boylan, who lives with Walli at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, D.C., testified that “Michael Walli is trying to save our lives; your life, Judge Thapar; your life, Mr. Theodore. Listen to him.”

Witness Wilfred “Andy” Anderson called for the release of the three, calling them “terrific” and “decent, warm-hearted human beings” who did not “present a danger to society.”

The Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Rice’s religious order, is also calling on Thapar to be lenient. “We’ve been hoping and praying for either a suspended sentence or a lenient sentence, especially because of (Sr. Megan’s) age,” Sr. Sandra Lincoln, who was representing the society at the hearing, told NCR. Rice turns 84 on Friday. “She has a heart condition and over 50 years of service in our community.”

Boertje-Obed’s wife, Michelle Naar-Obed, told NCR the judge wasn’t in charge of the outcome. “I know it’s the Holy Spirit who’s in charge here,” she said.

[Patrick O’Neill, a freelance writer from Raleigh, N.C., is a longtime contributor to NCR.]

Source URL: http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/sentence-postponed-transform-now-plowshares

Disarm Now Plowshares Blog 2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 57,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Bix and Susan (and Friends) on trial AGAIN!

Dear Friends,

Just a brief note to let you know that Bix and Susan, along with five fellow resisters, will stand trial today in Federal court for their nonviolent direct action at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base on March 4, 2013.  You can get more details about the March 4th action and read a report on today’s trial (later today) at the Pacific Life Community Blog.

Last night we celebrated with our friends and resisters at a Festival of Hope at St. Leo Church in Tacoma.  Here is a photo of the blessing of the resisters.

IMG_1679

 

Appearing in court later today – William “Bix” Bicshel, SJ; Susan Crane; Ed Ehmke, Betsy Lamb; Denny Moore; Mary Jane Parrine and Jerry Zawada, OFM.

Blessings and Peace,

Leonard

 

Bix invites Pope Francis to Jeju Island

Bix and Gilberto are nearing the end of their stay on Jeju Island.  Here is a photo showing them in solidarity with the people of Jeju, in opposition to the construction of the naval base there.

Bix & Gliberto on Jeju (1)

More News (from Bix) From Jeju Island

October 3, 2013

Re: News from JeJu

From: Bix

We began the day once again with the 100 deep bows. After that Gilberto and I sat in blocking action at the gate with three nuns, our deep bow leader, and Iffka, a young, compassionate woman from Berkeley.

As we did the deep bows facing into the yard, huge trucks ready to exit would stop before us and the drivers would rev the motors so the trucks quivered and clanked–much like a bull before its charge. However, the trucks would be forced to turn to another exit. DSC06693-1-640x470

During the two hour blocking action I felt a deep grandfatherly affection for the three young women who are the main organizers. The time at the gates is a time of deep contemplation and prayer as the cement trucks come to enter. By then many police are assembled. The head policeman reads the warning to move. We remain seated there. They carry us, sedan chair style, to the side. Once the squad of trucks is in, the police leave and we return to the middle of the gate. This is repeated 3 or 4 times in the morning.

I felt a deep connection with all there: the nuns, organizers, villagers. This feeling of connection spread to the young policepersons who are held in bondage to this system. I felt a great connection and compassion for the nuns who were carried to the side and circled by the policewomen. I also felt a poignancy and compassion for the policewomen who probably didn’t like what they were doing and probably felt some of the same things the nuns were feeling.

Word has come that a typhoon may hit Jeju tomorrow. What is most striking about this is the fact that the farmers of Jeju also pray for the typhoon to come. The typhoon will rip up their fruit, vegetable, and tangerine crops as well as destroy their green houses where most of the crops are grown. Jeju is a basic agricultural island. Yet farmers will pray for this howling and uprooting force to hit the island because the last time a typhoon hit, it carried away and destroyed a good part of the naval base construction.

gillchun talk sonomaSo deep is the opposition and resentment at the building of the naval base that farmers will suffer the loss of their livelihood with the hope the typhoon will carry away this monster from its peaceful shores.

However, I feel that this spirit of resistance that has been nurtured and grown in this faith filled community has more power than the typhoon or American militarism.

Blessings to All
Bix

Note: Jeju is 16 hours ahead of Northwest time

Bix and Gilberto are to arrive back at the Seattle/Tacoma Airport
Monday Oct 7th at 2:55 PM

Bix and Gilberto on Jeju Island!

Dear Friends,

In March 2012, at our yearly gathering of the Pacific Life Community, Dennis Apel of the Guadalupe Catholic Worker first introduced to PLC that US naval ships/subs were soon to be stationed on Jeju Island.

True to form of all actions and involvements the US is into and doesn’t want the American people to know about, don’t look for too much information about JeJu in the US press. These next two web sites can provide a lot of information most folks have no clue about.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-threatens-eastern-china-jeju-island-key-strategic-naval-base-for-americas-asia-pivot/5335532

You can see the photo’s Dennis took of his trip to Jeju on  http://vpan.org/resources/Jeju-Island-of-Peace

Bix has been very focused on wanting to respond to the call of the religious and lay community on Jeju. Daily vigils and resistance actions have been in place for quite some time with the hope that one day the construction will end and this very dangerous American Funded Naval base 300 miles from mainland China will cease to be.

On September 23rd Bix, and Gilberto Perez flew from Seattle to Seoul Korea. They spent one day in Seoul and then directly onto Jeju. They have joined in with the resistance community on Jeju and the following reports give a lively report of his and Gilberto’s activities.

They are due back here in Seattle on the 8th of October. In the meantime the following are some thoughts from Bix and Gilberto.

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 Van-den-berg vigil        September 26, 2013    From Bix

You would see and feel the holiness of this island; after returning from the regular daily practice of 100 bows (stand-kneel-deep bow) in front of a main gate of the construction site–with a view of the great sea beyond the site. The woman who started this deep bowing practice two years ago was there and today she was assisted by Gilberto and I, two Korean Notre Dame Sisters, a young woman from the US and two Korean women from Jeju.  One of the ND Sisters said to me, “Your country has done this to us”!

Very much wish Steve Kelly and Louie Vitale would have been able to make this trip. Their life experience, and ability to absorb and appreciate another culture would be solidarity plus. We have been greatly welcomed by all Jesuits and well provided for and well scheduled.Fr. Kim,S.J. lives on Jeju Island in a small house rented by the Jesuit Order. He lives in community with two other Jesuits; one, Brother Pamk, is in jail for resistance to the naval base; the other, Fr. Lee is presently on trial for resistance activities.  Fr. Kim has been jailed on different occasions for resistance. Jeju resistance and village -building is his assigned apostolate.

We began this day with Eucharist being celebrated at the gate leading into the construction site. We were four priests, five nuns, and four village women.  The village men sat in chairs in front other main gate.JCR_893

The police showed up in droves (high employment). When the time came for the construction trucks to enter the building site, the police surrounded us, asked us to leave, then carried all of us in our chairs to the sideline. Best chair- sedan ride ever. This happened four times. No arrests. Eucharist was being prayed and sung all the while. We all received communion.

 September 27, 2013

We are living in Gangjeong Village here on Jeju Island and the village life is wonderful. Daily Eucharist and rosary is ended with high spirited Korean dance and song. We then have lunch in the community meal long-home. Fr. Kim had arranged for Gilberto and me to attend the ongoing investigative trials of Brother Park, S.J. (who lives in community with Fr. Kim) and Doctor Song who were being held in jail for their resistance work against the naval base.

Signs of community solidarity are clear to see; however, there is division also with some of the islanders. After the court visit Fr. Kim drove us to the hospital to visit a village woman resister who was struck many times by a villager who disagreed with the resistance. Though most of the people of Jeju Island and South Korea don’t want the base, there are those that support it.

This division was made manifest when the coordinator of the community meal hut was brought into the emergency room with multiple facial injuries while we were at the hospital. He had made a remark to a villager opposed to the resistance and the villager struck him in the face many times. Many members of the resistance community showed up and were very vocal in their opposition to the police, who were investigating the victim rather than the perpetrator. Sometime after midnight we left the hospital with Fr. Kim who drove us to our guest house.

1336582897-save-jeju-as-island-of-world-peace--london_1203575 After the 100 bows, Eucharist and rosary, dancing and singing, and lunch in the community meal hut, we traveled to Jeju City to visit Brother Park, S.J. in jail. His spirit is strong and he is very alive and committed to his justice work.

I’m experiencing this time as a real retreat. The oneness of the Eucharist unifying all people in a live background stirs me. The signs of resistance and the dancing and singing give life and vibrancy to the Eucharist. What I’m experiencing is a church alive with a bishop calling for resistance.

 September 29, 2013

Great conversations today with two Korean Jesuit Priest, each named Kim. This is the most alive and vibrant faith community I’ve ever experienced. Daily Eucharist is the foundation of the ongoing acts of resistance which also occur each day. Everyday priests, nuns and villagers sit in chairs blocking the main gate while the sung Eucharist up the road is being broadcast. After the Mass and rosary there is very vibrant Korean dance that knocks your socks off and fills you with joy. After this there is lively song. This is followed by Korean lunch—kim chi style- that is held

in the community meal house that has free and open meals every day. The atmosphere is light and alive with communication. At 7AM the day starts with a village lady who leads us in 100 deep down on your knees bows in front of the gate. Different blocking actions take place in the afternoon. Each order of nuns sends two nuns every week to vigil and resist. They stay in a guest house that is rented by the diocese. Four Jesuits are assigned to full time resistance work. The bishop is fabulous and calls villagers to resistance as well as assigning priests to work for peace.

At 4pm the bishop of Jeju will lead the Eucharist gathering in front of the main gate where Gilberto and I with other priests and nuns will block the gate. It is not yet clear to us but we are talking about an action on St.Francis day to call Pope Francis to join the opposition and resistance to the naval base at Jeju Island. However, today the regular resistance community expects hundreds to show up. Gilberto and I will be blocking all day.

More later—love Bix

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From: Gilbeto Perez        September 29, 2013   

Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo,

We bow hundred times in front of naval construction site with nuns and Fr. Bix. Very tough nuns, just like Sr. Junsan. Oliver Stone was here about a month ago and also prayed and bowed at local sacred location where US and Korea police massacred over 30,000 left wing peoples, mostly farmers and whole families, burned villages just like Vietnam..began 1946 ended in 1948. US called Jeju a “Red” island during this period. After freedom from Japanese, Koreans did not want another colonizer, therefore the arguments and massacre.jeju4

We all continue to pray. Yesterday and today over 75 Catholic nuns, 45 Jesuits and even the Bishop performed Sunday Mass. With over 300 local peoples and big dinner party at the village center. Reminds me of Cuba and Mexico where everyone in town is invited. Many of the nuns, priests and Bishop came from Seoul.Yes, Koreans are very passionate about peace and prayers, many studied in Berkeley, Boston and even the Philippines too. Two young Americans are here but not able to block gate, as they want to return to Korea. We sit in front of gate while Mass is said and police carry us off to let trucks and cars on/off the base and then we just return again. Police are thus far been pretty gentle. They remove us and lots of filming while this is performed, about five time each day.

Fr. Bix becomes like a young teenager when he is resisting the empire and very funny and happy with all…A baby Buddha.

Being near ocean means fresh fish and wonderful vegetables, cheese…No cows! Yes, US has taken the most beautiful location for the naval nuclear site, with approval of government (Eminent Domain) and destroyed the coral reed too.

So much to say about the Koreans, very respectful to elders and all participate in actions with joy and dancing after mass…I like the dancing in front of the gate the best.

Gassho, love to all and much peace, – Br. Gilberto

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