Dear Fellow Abolitionists,
Many have asked about writing letters in support of the Y-12 nuclear resisters. Simultaneously Anabel Dwyer has written an open letter to Judge Guyton regarding their case asking for justice, not just on behalf of the Y-12 resisters, but on behalf of the world that remains endangered by the threat of use of nuclear weapons, and the US government’s continued reliance on them as an instrument of foreign policy in contravention to its duties as a member of the global community, as well as under its treaty obligations and international humanitarian law.
I invite you all to write to Judge Guyton before the first of the Y-12 resisters’s sentencings (that begin September 12th) and so so in your own voice. We need to speak out not for leniency; none of the Y-12 resisters want that. No – They want justice, which means that the judge should dismiss the ridiculous charges of “Trespass” against the defendants and, as a member of the legal profession, call on the US government to “take up a genuine discussion on the crucial steps for nuclear disarmament.”
For the record – There has been much communication with the defendants out of respect for their wishes, and as you might imagine there are as many feelings and opinions as there are defendants (12 of them!!!).
I have included Anabel’s open letter below that you may use in any way you wish – either as talking points, or in its entirety. Or – Write your own; but please write. Besides sending your letter to the judge, consider a letter to the editor of your local paper, or your representative in Congress. Even if there is not a nuclear weapons-related facility in your back yard, nuclear weapons are a local issue. If they are ever used they will not respect artificial boundaries. They are truly (when unleashed) uncontrollable in space and time.
For far too long US Federal court judges have ignored much of the law that they should have considered even as they toed the line laid down by the US government in its desire to maintain nuclear supremacy. It is high time that we the people call on these same judges to heed widely accepted principles,including the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law.
Let us speak out and speak now with clear and unequivocal voice! And PLEASE share this with others in your networks.
In Pursuit of Peace,
An Open letter to:
The Honorable H. Bruce Guyton
US District Court
800 Market Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
Re: Immediate and unconditional release of alldefendants is required to pursue good-faith discussion and implementation ofessential non-violent nuclear disarmament and to avoid further cruel and unnecessary punishment.
United States (plaintiff)
Jean T. Gump, Elizabeth Ann Lentsch, Bradford J.Lyttle, William Jerome Bichsel, David L. Corcoran, Bonnie L. Urfer, Carol SueGilbert, Ardeth Platte, Jacqueline Marie Hudson (deceased 8/3/11), PaulaRosdatter, Michael Walli, Steve J. Baggarly and Dennis DuVall (defendants)
Dear Judge Guyton:
We the undersigned urge you to release immediately and unconditionally all the above defendants on your own initiative.
Thefurther punishment or imprisonment of these defendants not only further endangers their lives and health but also undermines the integrity of the United States judicial system and the rule of law itself and endangers the lives and health of us all.
We concur with and point out the defendants’ accurate understanding of the factsand law as summarized below. These show no need for sentencing according to the standards set forth in 18 USC 3553 (a) (1) & (2).
As citizens andlawyers of the United States we are working to fulfill our “obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control” (International Court of Justice (ICJ) Opinion, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, ICJ Reports, 8 July 1996, § 105(2)F; Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Art. VI).
1. Thesedefendants simply and sensibly endeavored to create a real dialogue about and take non-violent steps toward obligatory nuclear disarmament.
On July 5, 2010 these defendants went under three strands of barbed wire at the Y-12 Oak Ridge nuclear weapons site to read a Declaration of Nuclear Independence (c.f. Nuclear Resister Report from July2010). That declaration in part read: “Under principles of democracy we exercise the right of every citizen of this republic and this planet to peacefully resist the nuclear threat, attacking as it does every core concept of human rights.”
These defendants acted on the specific knowledge that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) through Babcock and Wilcox, Technical Services LLC continue to refurbish or “extend the lives” of 100 kiloton nuclear warheads at the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge Tennessee. The continuing production or refurbishment of the W-76 warheads at the Y-12 site contravenes our common nuclear disarmament obligation.
In addition, each 100 kilotonnuclear warhead produced or refurbished at Y-12 is known and intended to precipitate or inflict uncontrollable and indiscriminate heat, blast andradiation. The radiation causes immediately lethal and long-term carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic effects on human beings and other life forms. Because these effects cannot be controlled in space or time, nuclear weapons categorically including this nuclear weapon, violate the fundamental rules and principles of humanitarian law, the laws of war, and the Nuremberg principles. These rules and principles are binding on the United States through treaties and agreements limiting the use of force and are incorporated directly through the U.S. Constitution, U.S.statutes, and military manuals.
In short therule of law and nuclear weapons cannot coexist. It is ultra vires in the extreme for any government or corporation to threaten or use the most egregious of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons. To say as these defendants have that it is also unlawful to plan, prepare or refurbish 100 kiloton W-76 nuclear warheads since they are for the fundamentally unlawful purposes of threat or use should not be a surprise.
Instead oftaking up a genuine discussion on the crucial steps for nuclear disarmament, the U.S.charged these whistleblowers with federal trespass. On May 11, 2011 they were convicted after a jury trial in Knoxville, Tennessee.
We understand that this Court prohibited at trial any defense evidence of the lethality andunlawfulness of the nuclear weapons refurbished at Y-12 in Oak Ridge. We are alarmed first that, fifteen years after the ICJ Opinion cited above, US courts still wrongfully presume legality of US nuclear weapons and thus fail to permit any defense evidence of justification or necessity for peaceful resisters to enter nuclear weapons facilities such as the Y12 site. This not only fails to understand the extreme and immediate danger of nuclear weapons and the nuclear system but also violates basic due process rights by wrongly turning non-violent statements of truth into strict liability crimes such as trespass.
We are also shocked that US “possession, production and policy” regarding nuclear weapons is considered a non-justiciable political question and that trespass charges can be brought and litigated at a nuclear weapons production or deployment site without reference to well understood peremptory limits to the use of force. But if the US believes that this is indeed a non-justiciable political question on these grounds alone these peaceful political prisoners must be set free.
2. The punishments already endured by these defendants are already far out of proportion to the measured steps they took to address these most important questions.
Sr. Jacqueline Marie Hudson, who with others of these defendants worked for 30 years toward non-violent nuclear disarmament, died August 3, 2011. Her illness was at least greatly exacerbated by the abusive and negligent delay of proper evaluation andtreatment (from May 27-June 10) by the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) a US Bureau of Prison private (for profit) detention facility. Six more of the defendants remain held in ICDC before their September sentencing dates. There are several other examples of cruel and negligent treatment of these defendants by the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and by the ICDC, whose inhumane procedures and conditions were known or should have been known by the court, the prosecutors and the BOP (cf. e.g.March 28, 2011 “Submission re: Racial Profiling in Gwinnett and Cobb Counties, Georgia and Conditions of Detention at Stewart and Irwin County Detention Centers” to The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights from the ACLU of Georgia, National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project.)
Jean Gump and Bill Bichsel, in spite of their ages, health and status also as very distinguished non-violent resisters to US nuclear weapons remain under draconian pre-trial and pre-sentence conditions. David Corcoran’s trial has been further continued due to illness.
All of these defendants have been subjected to pre-trial and pre-sentencing punishment that is not at all commensurate with and far out of proportion to their acts to state the truth. We urge this court to immediately and unconditionally release them all from any further proceedings.