Y-12 and Plowshares: The oppression continues in spades!

Y-12 Update May 17, 2011 (from Joe Power-Drutis)

I feel it important to clarify why the Y-12 action has been
incorporated into Plowshares News.

If the Trident Submarines, harbored in the beautiful Puget Sound of
the Great Northwest, are the proverbial mother lode of weapon systems,
then it’s our Governments Department of Energy Y-12 thermonuclear bomb
making plant here in the beautiful East Tennessee Valley that
impregnates the Trident with its babies.

Y-12 had its beginnings in 1942 doing what it did to help develop the
first atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Almost
60 years later it is central to the U.S. ability to refurbish old
nuclear weapons and create new ones. An infusion of more than 6
Billion dollars into this complex is now in the process.

Here in East Tennessee a group has formed and is known as The Oak
Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA). They are a collection of
eternally hopeful souls who believe we have the power to create the
world we hope to live in. They are committed to nonviolence and
believe in using every tool in the toolbox to bring about a world free
of nuclear weapons. Their main focus is stopping nuclear weapons
production at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

To assist them in this noble cause a group of seasoned nuclear weapon
resisters from here in Tennessee and around the country came to Oak
Ridge this past summer to support OREPA; 13 of them trespassed 10 feet
onto Y-12 property and were arrested. And for this, all of the wrath
the Powers can import has been placed on them. Indeed it was expected;
the Y-12 complex is incredibly important to our governments nuclear
weapon posture and casting a light on what is actually going on here
receives a militant reaction.

Our friends from Disarm Now Plowshares and those who came to support
OREPA are a family of peace makers committed to resisting such death
driven monster systems. Indeed, Bix was a member to both actions. I
encourage you to go to http://orepa.org/ to learn more about OREPA.

The oppression continues in spades:
Buildings of steel and concrete, inside and out, and cold as a tomb.
That is the first impression anyone can feel as you walk through heavy
steel doors of the Blount County Correctional Facility. Immediately
inside the main door you find yourself in a nondescript waiting room
of 20 or so dark plastic chairs. No staff are in view though you know
they are there; behind even more steel doors and blackened windows
through two way voice systems. You are scheduled a one hour visit, but
those precious minutes are often infringed upon by jail structure.

You feel in your gut that whatever injustice you might be experiencing
is minor compared to what they on the inside are experiencing. Not one
of our friends is a freshman in the world of civil resistance and they
have paid dearly for speaking their truth. So when Sr. Ardeth Platte,
OP, from the Jonah House Community, who has spent so many years in
prison says this jail is one of the most difficult places she has
experienced, that’s saying something. We had a lovely visit this
afternoon, even if it was cut short on each side of our one hour
visit. That’s one hour period. She will see no one else until next
week!

This jail is overcrowded, with 3 people to a cell that was built for 2
(one sleeps on the floor on a thin mat). There are 15 cells in each
pod, meaning there are 45 people in an area that was already woefully
small for 30 people. Everyone is locked into their cell 16 of the 24
hours each day, no exception.

There is nothing we can send into them. They can receive over priced
commissary items, but not in the first week. It will be 2 weeks before
they can even get a piece of paper or pen and an envelope and stamp.
No magazines books or cards from the outside, we can only send them
regular mailing envelopes. Phone calls are incredibly expensive; many
of them $20 – 30 for a 15 minute period (depending on where you live
and the deal the local sheriff brokers with the phone companies that
preys on the prison population).

When out of your cell, around meal times, breakfast is 2 biscuits,
coffee/milk, oatmeal. For Lunch – either a peanut butter and jelly
sandwich, or 2 pieces of bread with a slice of bologna (somewhat green
around the outside edge) – chips and water. Dinner – cold tea, wilted
lettuce or cabbage, 2 small scoops of instant mashed potatoes, some
noodles and boiled to death peas or beans. Fresh fruits or vegetables
are non existent.

Our friends in the Blount County Correctional Facility and Bix in the
Knox County Sheriff Detention Facility are there for what? For
reminding us we are ever so close to self destructing. Prophets of old
went into the desert (or were sent there), perhaps our present day
deserts (barren regions) are in buildings made of steel and concrete.
There are presently 12 Y-12 and Disarm Now Plowshare Resistors doing
the only thing they can do; speak with their lives and endure the
yokes we place upon them for shouting their truth from the mountain
tops.

I encourage you to pick just one of these lovely people in the Blount
County Correctional Facility and write to them. Tell them of your life
or that of your family or community. Speak of the news in your own
words, since they neither get or can receive from you such information
in hard copy. Perhaps start reading a book, and at the end of each
chapter write to them what you just read or learned. We can break
through that wall of intuitional injustice that burdens their minds.
Be creative but remember each piece of mail is inspected closely and
anything other than a letter is removed.

Though way over priced, the only relief these good souls can get is by
way of an occasional phone call and supplies from the commissary. So,
if you can afford to apply some financial support please send it to:

Sue Ablao and note it is for the Y-12 Resistors. Sue’s address is:
Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action, 16159 Clear Creek Road NW,
Poulsbo, WA 98370.

These are the names and mailing address of 7 who went to prison on May
11, 2011. You can write to them at the following:

Sister Carol Gilbert
Sister Ardeth Platte
Sister Jackie Hudson
Bonnie Urfer
Michael Walli
Jean Gump
Steve Bggarly

(Inmates Name)
Blount County Correctional Facility
920 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804-5022
***must have a return address or inmate will not receive sent mail***

Miles to go… Update on Bix

Plowshares Update May 14, 2011 (from Joe Power-Druits)

Editor’s Note: Joe is staying in Knoxville to keep watch over Bix.

Bix:

While the Y-12 trial was occurring this week another very important
sub plot was being undertaken that had a primary impact on Bix.

Following the criminal way he was treated as he was moved from pillar
to post from Seattle to Knoxville it became clear he must not return
to SeaTac in a similar manner at the conclusion of the Y-12 trial.
Several avenues were being explored both here and in Tacoma to ensure
the transfer would not occur.

In the final moments of the Y-12 trial, Bix’s attorney, Mike Whalen,
at a pivotal moment, approached the bench and convinced the court it
would be in everyone’s interest to place a ‘hold’ on Bix, down here,
so that he would remain here until sentencing. The judge then asked
when he would want the sentencing date placed and he told him
basically right after the 3 month sentence he was currently doing for
the Plowshares action was complete, and that would be June 24th.

Bix and Anne Montgomery, August 2010

Subsequently, all was approved and he was placed on a court hold. So
far as we know he is to remain at the same facility he is currently
in. He should be released from Tacoma while he is here in Knoxville,
then go to his sentencing on June 27th. At that time Mike will
request, if there is any further time Bix must do, that Bix be able to
self report to the chosen Federal facility in a months time after
sentencing.

Can you hear the sigh of relief!! Thank you Michael. You may or not
know it in the here and now, but you have just bought yourself a whole
cart full of good Karma – go and spend it in high fashion. You are a
good man.

Bix’s mailing address remains as:

William Bichsel
IDN 1155703
Unit 2B
Knox County Sheriff’s Detention Facility
5001 Maloneyville Rd
Knoxville, TN 37918

I have visited with Bix 3 times since arriving here in Knoxville.
Interestingly enough I know less of the details of the facility he is
staying in. Actually this does not surprise me – most of the
communication Kathy Boylan and I had with him had to do with the here
and now. I have spent much time trying to get his phone system up and
running; and yet I am without success.

I believe now that we can relax, knowing he isn’t going anywhere soon,
we can attend to those details. I will be seeing him again Sunday
evening and I will start to explore the details of his life.

The complex Bix is in, by outward appearances, is much more appealing.
As I noted in another draft, you get some exercise walking to where he
is in order to visit him but the all around layout is just better. I
don’t believe he gets to see outside his building either. Having 2 –
30min visitations a week is much better than one hour.

Miles to Go
Joe

Expanded Plowshares News, or We’re all in this together

Update May 13, 2011

My Friends,

We have expanded Plowshares News to include the 13 members of the DOE
Y-12 action on July 5, 2010 in Oakridge Tennessee.

If the Trident Submarines, harbored in the beautiful Puget Sound of
the Great Northwest, are the proverbial mother load of weapon systems,
then it’s the Governments Y-12 thermonuclear bomb making plant here in
the beautiful Tennessee Valley that impregnates the Trident with its
babies. Disarm Now Plowshares Resistors and the Y-12 Resistors are a
family of peace makers committed to resisting such death driven
monster systems. Indeed, Bix is of particular importance to both
actions.

On May 11, 2010, 7 of the 13 nuclear resistors, who demonstrated and
were charged with trespassing at the Department of Energy Y-12 Complex
on July 5, 2010, were remanded to prison after 3 days of a jury trial.
Bix makes their number 8 but he was already in custody from the
Plowshares action of November 2, 2009.

I encourage you to link onto any of these sites for up to date
information about Y-12 or Plowshares.

http://www.gzcenter.org
https://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com
http://nuclearresister.org
http://psnukefree.blogspot.com/

These are the names and mailing address of 7 who went to prison on May
11, 2011. You can write to them at the following:

Sister Carol Gilbert
Sister Ardeth Platte
Sister Jackie Hudson
Bonnie Urfer
Michael Walli
Jean Gump
Steve Bggarly

(Inmates Name)
Blount County Correctional Facility
920 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804-5022
(must have a return address or inmate will not receive sent mail)

Jean and Jackie are in the same pod, Ardeth, Carol and Bonnie are
together in another pod. Michael and Steve were placed in the Medical
Block for now due to a shortage of space in the general population.

Little by little, I am discovering that due to restrictions placed on
inmates and supporters, options for inmates are far more limited than
any other place I have encountered; and, what aid we can provide is
also limited and expensive.

There are 3 correctional facilities here in Knox County; and each
facility operates differently.

Here are some of the things I have discovered about Blount County
Correctional Facility (BCCF)

– Each inmate has to fill out a form to place someone on their
visitors list – can only have 4 people on the list and is permitted
only one hour a week of visitation.

– Commissary is only once a week –Everything in the commissary is over
the top expensive: i.e. one envelope and stamp cost 75 cents. Almost
nothing is provided you. Everything must be purchased. I am only
beginning to uncover the racket that exists – inmates and supporters
are at the mercy of the privateers.

– The only thing the inmate can receive from the outside is letters
and photo’s.

– They cannot receive any packages, magazines or books in any way from
the outside. I was assured by an employee of BCCF that inmates have an
adequate supply of books and the prison chaplain replenishes the books
regularly. I received this information with just a mild pause and was
waiting to see if I was going to be sold some prime real-estate in the
bayou.

– Telephones: Oh my god, it’s a nightmare. Though each facility is
different in how they make phones available to the inmate, what they
have in common is how expensive they have made it. This is an area I
am trying to map out before I send out any information at all. The
best I can make out at this time, is a 10 minute call will cost
anywhere 12 and 30 dollars, depending on where you are calling in the
country.

– So, as I said until I am sure of my information I will hold off on
sending you anything at this time. I believe it will be resolved in
the next week.

Libby and Erik Johnson, Ralph Hutchison and I visited Jackie Hudson
this morning. The visiting time allotted to her is on Saturday morning
from 9 to 10 AM – Period! That’s It!

Jackie appeared fine; chatting and joking and in good spirits. She
reports the food is jail food—bland and little variety. The jail is
crowded; there are 3 in her cell. She and Jean Gump are together; the
others are in a different area, they don’t get to visit with them.
They do make visual contact on their way to the recreation area, but
it is a one-way visual contact.

Jackie reported there is next to nothing to do and boredom is your
closest companion. Unlike what I was told at the front desk, readable
books are nonexistent and generally anything to circumvent the
inmate’s plight in this area is nipped in the bud. Their ability to
send letters out is severely limited. Letters only can come in, no
cards, news clippings, magazines, or books, and she was told that if
we send any articles downloaded off the net they will be confiscated;
all mail is checked.

She and Jean borrowed a radio from another inmate and shared ear buds
and listened to NPR last night. When Ralph told her she was missing
“wait, wait, don’t tell me” as we visited, she rose as if to leave—so
sense of humor fully intact.
I believe is important to infuse their commissary account with
sufficient funds to get a radio.

Jackie sends good wishes and her love to all we encounter; and this
includes you. We conveyed the support of many to Jackie and asked her
to share it with the others.

The architect of BCCF had absolutely no intention of utilizing his/her
god given creativity. Our friends currently reside in a two story, six
sided building with another square building attached to one end. The
building is a solid slab of concrete from top to bottom and in each
wall there are 2 rows of windows (16 in all), approximately 10 inches
by 4 feet, the entire window is tinted so you cannot see in or out.
Were they allowed to see out they might get a magnificent view of the
Great Smoky Mountains – but then again they may as well be on the
moon. Actually when I come to think of it this building may fit in
very well on the moon!

Money can be put into each inmates commissary account either by money
order, or coming to the jail (before noon, Monday – Friday and placing
the funds (in cash) directly into their account. (Money orders can be
done but it is a process, be in touch with me if you want to support
them in that way.)

If you would like to financially assist the Y-12 resistors with
commissary and phone expenses it would be very much appreciated. Your
check can be made out to Sue Ablao and note it is for the Y-12
Resistors. Sue’s address is: Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action,
16159 Clear Creek Road NW, Poulsbo, WA 98370.

Maintaining support for the 5 Disarm Now Plowshare Resistors and now
organizing to meet the needs of the Y-12 Resistors is of primary
importance. There is a reason the government placed this terrible
demonic bomb making plant so far and away from the sights of most of
its citizenry.

Much the same as we in the Northwest have learned to live with
apparent comfort with the Trident Sub Base just 30 miles from our
front door, folks here in Tennessee are equally complacent with Y-12
since 1942. Our fiends in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the recipients
of the first babies born to this complex. And still with all the
silver tongue double talk being broadcasted D.C. about downsizing our
nuclear arsenal, how many of us are aware that 6 Billion or more
dollars are presently being spent to upgrade our nuclear bomb making
capabilities here in this sleepy corner of Oakridge Tennessee.

I will be remaining in this beautiful part of the country until most
likely after June 27th. A number of us are doing what we can to put
together whatever support we can for all of the Y-12 Resistors. Any
support you may want to add is also much appreciated.

Joe Power-Drutis
jpdrutis@mail.com

Where to write the Y-12 Resisters

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Liz McCalister for the following update with the addresses for the 8 (including Bix) Y-12 resisters currently imprisoned following their trial in Knoxville.  Check the Blount County Adult Detention Center Website (where seven of them reside) for additional information on mail and telephone calls.  Bix will remain in Knoxville!

*****************

Here is the information for all 7 of those jailed yesterday:

To write the seven you need to address the letter:

(Inmates Name) Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert, Jackie Hudson, Bonnie
Urfer, Jean Gump, Steve Baggarly and Mike Wallie
Blount County Adult Detention Center
920 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804-5002

In order to receive calls from them (i got a “courtesy call” of about
three minutes and was able to give jean the phone #s she asked for:
erik’s number and her lawyer’s number, and she said she would set up
an account for future calls), one has to have money on account at the
phone company the jail uses.One can create an account, according to
the recorded message, at 800 682 0707 or http://www.citytelecoin.com.

Bix’s mailing address posted earlier:

William Bichsel, IDN 1155703
Unit 2B
Knox County Sheriff’s Detention Facility
5001 Maloneyville Rd
Knoxville, TN 37918

There is no indication of a sentencing date and certainly no sense of
what that sentence is likely to be when it does happen

Thought you’d want to know.

Blessings.

Liz McAlister

Y-12 Trial Ends – Guilty as Charged!

Editor’s Note: This came in earlier this evening from our ace reporter on the scene in Knoxville, Joe Power-Drutis.

Right on the money, at 5PM, a jury of 12 returned after less than 30 minutes recess to deliver a unanimous verdict of “GUILTY” for 12 Y-12 nuclear resistors at the Knoxville Court House.

The following peace activists were charged with trespassing at the Department of Energy Y-12 Project on July 5, 2010. Thirteen people took part in the action, David Corcoran, because of health reasons has been granted a later court date.

Carol Gilbert,OP,Ardeth Platte,OP,Jackie Hudson,OP, Bonnie Urfer,Michael Walli,Jean Gump and Steve Bggarly were immediately taken into custody.

Bradford Lyttle,Dennis DuVall,Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch and Beth Rosdatter remain free on bond until a later sentencing date is arranged.

Fr.Bill Bichsel,S.J., who is currently serving a sentence for the Disarm Now Plowshares action of November 2, 2009, is remanded to the Knox County Detention Facility until his sentencing for this Y-12 action, on June 27, 2011.

On Thursday May 12, an overview of the three days of this trial will be covered.

In the meantime link onto http://www.knoxnews.com for the latest local news of the hearing. Knox news covered this event in court all three days; log onto Knox News for May 11th for another insightful report.

Editor’s End Note: You can read Ralph Hutchison’s full length trial wrap-up by clicking here.

Bix’s journey: the ordeal in Atlanta

Update May 11, 2011, from Joe Power-Drutis

(Editor’s Note: The Y-12 trial is in its third day; click here for updates.)

Many apologies for the delay in receiving information; I have been
experiencing some problems getting the word out. Should go more
smoothly from here on out.

I arrived in Knoxville on Saturday May 7th, that evening I visited Bix
at the Knox County Detention Facility. Each inmate is limited to 2 –
30 minute visits each week; not very much time for family and friend
support. Once you pass through security, your allotted 30 minute time
slot begins; then comes a long walk down 3 very long hallways,
precious minutes of your visitation time used up in the walk. I
observed some visitors using canes and walkers, obviously requiring
them to use up even more of their visitation time. Other visitors
walked quickly, some ran.

You finally arrive in a cubby hole of a space with a steel bench and a
3 x 4 foot, one inch thick glass barrier surrounded by concrete block;
a phone hangs on your wall to the left with a cord that extends barely
long enough for you to both talk and look through the glass – that
will be the extent of intimacy allotted for you to visit.

This next part I want to share with you contains some of the reason
why I have been delayed in writing to you – I just needed time to
process.

I am not sure what I expected to encounter but, what I did see was a
broken and very hurting soul. Pale, frail, mildly shaky, complaining
of being unable to hear because of fluid in his ears, dizziness and
lightheadedness, pointing with his fingers that he is struggling to
push the right numbers on the phone – eyes glassed over, flat affect,
and complaining that his gait is so poor, yet he has been commanded to
“keep moving”, requesting a wheelchair and being refused. (Well that
was the easy part to listen to) – Then he began to talk about the week
he spent in Atlanta.

Looking back we all spoke of our grave concern of his traveling via
federal prisoner transport, but I sincerely believe none of us
realized he was going to go through at the Atlanta Federal
Penitentiary.

He went onto tell me, with tears in his eyes, that he was placed in a
cell and locked in there, with woefully inadequate bedding and
clothing, for a week. He repeatedly asked guards for clothing and an
extra blanket, and was laughed at and ignored. At some point after
repeated requests, another inmate gave up his loan blanket to Bix.

Bix’s medical problems create a lack of blood and oxygen to his hands
and feet; leaving those extremities white and ice cold when his
overall body temperature falls. Following this, much like one drowning
in a frozen body of water, your hands, and feet are filled with pain,
like being jabbed repeatedly with needles. He then spoke of the never
ending pain, leading to sleep deprivation, insomnia and ultimately
disassociation and hallucinations.

Bix was certainly aware of what he was doing as he walked onto the
base at Bangor and across the blue line at Y-12; and for these acts he
is ready to remain in prison and pay the ultimate price. But, this in
no way permits this system of criminal injustice to do what it has
done to him. These unjust and unlawful acts perpetrated on him in his
trip from Seattle are tantamount to torture.

I have consulted with his attorneys both here and in Tacoma; legal
avenues are being looked at to ensure Bix is not returned to SeaTac in
the same form of prison transport that was used to bring him to
Knoxville.

On a happier note: Kathy Boylan and I went to see him on Sunday
evening and we could see even then that his overall frame of mind had
improved.

On Monday, May 9th, the trial began for Bix and 11other defendants
charged with trespassing at the Department of Energy Y-12 facility in
Oakridge TN on July 5, 2010. Today is the 3rd day of the trial and
there have been some very interesting moments and words spoken that I
will share with you soon.

Editor’s Note: You can read all about the “interesting moments” at the Y-12 trial at The Nuclear Abolitionist Blog “Y-12 Witness page.

Bix testified today!

Friends,

Our roving reporter, Sue Ablao, has been checking in from time to time with updates from the trial of the Y-12 nuclear resisters.  It was 85 degrees in Knoxville today, and everyone was happy to be in a cool courtroom.  Speaking of cool, Bix testified today as the defense began to present its case.  Bix, who had been looking pretty sleepy earlier in the day, perked right up once he hit the stand and gave it 100 percent.  That is so BiX!!!

More details on the Y-12 trial and regular updates at The Nuclear Abolitionist (Y-12 Witness page).

Also, if you missed this weekend’s action at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, click here to read about it and see the photos.  Many Tacoma folks participated, and we honored the Disarm Now Plowshares.

Peace,

Leonard

Susan is in Dublin (not Ireland!!!)

UPDATE from Leonard: Sunday, MAY 8th– Susan called Friday evening, and is settling in at Dublin.  Aside from some of the routine things we needed to discuss, she made a point of telling me how excited she is to finally be able to buy a full sized toothbrush and dental floss.  She couldn’t get dental floss at SeaTac, and she had a dinky toothbrush; sounds like cruel and unusual dental hygiene punishment to me.  Go figure.  You can write to her at Dublin, and we’ve updated the Contact page with her new address.  Remember – Our friends are starved for “real” news from the outside.  When you write, consider printing/copying a favorite article from Common Dreams or other progressive Website or print publication and including it with your letter.  Don’t staple pages as the guards might frown on that; heaven knows what kind of weapon one might make out of them.  Here’s her new address:  

Susan Crane, 87783-011 
FCI DUBLIN
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
5701 8TH ST – CAMP PARKS
DUBLIN, CA 94568

******************

The FCI Dublin is a low security prison facility located approximately 30 miles east of Oakland, California.

Also – Bix showed up in court on May 5th in Knoxville for a pre-trial hearing. The Y-12 trial begins on Monday, May 9th. I will post updates on the Y-12 Court page at the Nuclear Abolitionist Blog.

Angels in Knoxville, watching over Bix

Update Mar 3rd 10Pm (by Joe Power-Drutis)

Bix has had one long day. In the last 24 hours he has traveled over
many roads; but, thank God his last road took him far and away from
Atlanta UPC. Angels no doubt came to care for him today in Knoxville,
and as I write now I rest assured his overall condition and frame
of mind is much improved.

Ralph Hutchison and his good friend Erik took to the hunt and were on
top of things after first hearing Bix had arrived. They called the
jails until he was found and immediately were in touch with Bix’s
attorney,Mike Whalen, who as soon as he was out of court himself,
immediately went to see Bix.

Somewhere in the mix it was determined that Bix should not have been
sent to Knox County Jail and he was transferred out and into the Knox
County Sheriff’s Detention Facility. This facility is a far cry from
what Bix experienced in Atlanta. The visiting hours here are much more
accessible, and the overall milieu more relaxed. Within a short period
Mike reported Bix was much improved. Mike fronted Bix the funds he
needed to purchase warmer clothing and other accessories. Mike
assisted Bix in setting up a phone and visitors list so that as his
friends arrive in Knoxville they can visit him.

Ralph stated he and Erik will be visiting Bix tomorrow and ensuring he
receives whatever care they can provide.

So! This is good. One hella a lot better than where we were 24
hours ago. Ralph received this new address for Bix. I believe Bix will
be at this address at least for a couple of weeks; therefore, now is
the time to send the letters we have been holding onto. Be patient
with responses though. His energy has been spent. It’s time to give him
ours. 

NOTE THE CHANGE IN ID AND UNIT

William Bichsel, IDN 1155703
Unit 2B
Knox County Sheriff’s Detention Facility
5001 Maloneyville Rd
Knoxville, TN 37918

A Nuclear Free Zone in the Puget Sound?

A reflection by Susan Crane, FDC SeaTac, 2011-4-12

The US has blocked nuclear free zones in Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands.

African countries agreed to be a nuclear weapons free zone. But Africa includes Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean. Diego Garcia is a US military base, and nuclear weapons are stored there. So, the US vetoes the African nuclear weapons free zone.

Similarly in the South Pacific. The South Pacific countries want to be a nuclear weapons free zone, but the US has islands there, and nuclear weapons are stored on those South Pacific islands. The US consequently won’t agree to a nuclear weapons free zone there.

Further, after the May [2010 Nuclear] Non Proliferation [Treaty Review] Conference in New York City last May, there was an international call for a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East.

The US said it wanted a nuclear weapon free Middle East, but first, there had to be a comprehensive peace treaty. The US has been taking the side of Israel and blocking comprehensive peace treaties in the Middle East for decades.

As we struggle for a nuclear weapons free zone in the Puget Sound, we’re in solidarity with the people of Africa, the Pacific Islands, and many in the Middle East. There is one blue sky over all of us, and we struggle together.

Editor’s Note: Susan’s reflection was inspired by US Savage Imperialism, The U.S., the Mideast, and the world, part four of a talk at Z Media Institute with Noam Chomsky, published online at Z Magazine (http://www.zcommunications.org/u-s-savage-imperialism-part-4-by-noam-chomsky).

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