No Prison Time for last of Y-12 Resisters

This just in from The Nuclear Resister BlogNo prison time for the last of 13 nuclear disarmament activists in court for a July 5, 2010 action at the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex, Oak Ridge, TN – On March 21, David Corcoran was sentenced to 150 hours of community service, a $1000 fine and 2 years of probation.  Three dozen supporters applauded when he walked out of the Chicago courtroom.

Here is David’s statement before Judge St. Eve:

Judge St.  Eve, I thank you for taking time to be with us today and I thank Sandy McNichols who took time to do my Presentence Investigation Report.

I thank you Raj for being here to do your job as Prosecuting Attorney  and of course I thank Sarah, my Defense Attorney, for guiding me through this maze of pleading guilty.

I also wish to thank all of those who sent support letters and who took time to be in court today, some coming from as far away as Tennessee and Kentucky

Judge, I want to reiterate that when I committed an infraction of civilian law twice before, I was protesting with thousands of others the U.S. sponsored School of the Americas which trains Latin American soldiers to torture, rape, assassinate, murder and massacre their own innocent civilians, men, women, and children.

David at Y-12

But in this incident I was protesting against the evil of nuclear weapons that contaminate the whole earth and corrupt the people who use them or threaten to use them.  Running through the very field where the 13 of us gathered to pray, is a creek that is so contaminated with nuclear byproducts that it is posted with signs warning people not to eat the fish that might be caught there.

If you so choose to send me to prison for this offense, I ask that you consider my health problems and the advice of my thoracic surgeon.  If you impose a fine, it will simply take money away from the poor that we donate to.  In the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower:  In the end every penny spent on the military, the wars, the weapons, constitute a theft from the poor.

The support letters submitted to you, testify not so much to my integrity, as to the cloud of witnesses that stood with us in that field.  They are also opposed to nuclear weapons that continue to contaminate our moral resolve.  Your sentence effects all of them as well.

I do wish to clarify the statement I made to you in the letter I sent you and is included in the presentence investigation report where I said I stand here before you sinful and sorrowful.  I am sinful and I am sorrowful for the existence of nuclear weapons but not sorrowful for protesting against them.  The evil is not that I broke an unjust law but the evil is that of nuclear weapons which threaten the continuance of all life here on earth.

I stand for peace, Judge.  That’s what my life is all about.

Thank You!


[[January 6th]]


Thursday, January 6, 2012 marks the end of eight long months of imprisonment for Steve Baggarly, Mike Walli and Bonnie Urfer who are scheduled to be released today from prisons in Lisbon, Ohio; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Lexington, Kentucky. We celebrate their faithful witness against the destructive power of thermonuclear weapons, expressed so courageously at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in the July 5, 2010 resistance action. For each of them, the Y12 action was one of many compelling actions in which these resisters have stood to speak truth to power. Their odyssey through the legal system took them to jails and prisons in Knoxville, TN; Maryville, TN; Ocilla, GA; and Oklahoma City, OK in addition to the facilities from which they are released today.

Still in custody is Bill Bichsel, who we all know as Bix. At last report, Bix was scheduled to be transferred to a transitional facility later within the next few days to serve out the remained of his sentence; he entered SeaTac prison to serve three months for his Y12 action in November.

The last remaining Y12 resister from the July 2010 action to be sentenced is Dave Corcoran, who entered a plea of guilty in late December and will be sentenced on March 21, 2012.

In the words of Dennis DuVall, codefendant of all those named above: RESIST ALWAYS!

ralph [Hutchison]

ps. since the may 9 trial of the Y12 resisters, OREPA has marked their imprisonment each sunday evening at 6:00pm with the singing of “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize” at the conclusion of our weekly vigil at Y12, singing their names into the night air with great energy and hope. we continue to sing for bix and dave —

The only chain that we can stand
Is the chain of hand in hand
Keep your eyes on the prize—
Hold on!

Y-12: David Corcoran enters plea agreement

(From the Editor:  Here is a Y-12 Resistance update from Ralph Hutchison of OREPA)

as expected, David Corcoran entered a plea agreement in federal court in illinois on wednesday, december 28. the agreement is a simple plea of guilty for his july 5, 2010 action at the Y12 nuclear weapons complex in oak ridge, tn. dave’s record places him in the 0-6 months sentencing range. no word on the sentencing date.

as most of you know, dave’s health prevented him from joining his colleagues and co-defendants at trial and sentencing in tennessee. we are pleased he has been able to have his case moved, but we sure miss him and barb!

please continue to hold dave and barb in the light as they move forward through this process.

The Grinch tries (unsuccessfully) to steal Christmas…


It’s Christmas Eve.  As we prepare for the coming of the Prince of Peace many of our comrades are spending Christmas in prison for following in His nonviolent ways.  Meanwhile, the Grinch has scheduled yet another trial for Y-12 resister David Corcoran who was unable to be tried with the rest of the group earlier this year.  Here is an update from Ralph Hutchison of OREPA.

We have received word from the Corcorans that Dave’s trial is scheduled for wednesday, December 28. He is represented by a family friend and intends to enter a plea of guilty. Dave expects to be sentenced in january. I am not sure what his point range is, but he indicated he expects he might receive as much as 6 months. We’ll send more information when we know it.

May you all find Peace in this season of miracles, and may we all find strength to continue the long struggle for a nuclear weapon-free world in the coming year.

On the journey together in Peace,


Update on David Corcoran of the Y-12 resisters

(Editor’s Note:  Here’s a brief report from Ralph Hutchison of OREPA about David Corcoran, one of the Y-12 defendants.  David was not tried with the others do to his health)


i had a nice chat with barb and then dave when he returned from the courthouse where he was signing papers. he is doing much better physically and sounds better.

dave’s trial, scheduled to begin on monday, nov 14 in knoxville, will not happen then. it appears as though his trial will be moved from knoxville.there is no new trial date set, and barb said it may not happen until after the first of the year. they have been assigned a new lawyer, a woman they know and like. “we’ve been arrested with her,” barb said.

so that’s the news.


Bix & Community: We Are Called!

Dear Friends,

The bright sun streamed through the windows of Jean’s House of Prayer today as roughly fifty people crowded together in prayer, song, faith, hope and community.  We came together in honor of our dear friend and co-conspirator in the struggle, Bill “Bix” Bichsel before he reported to SeaTac Federal Detention Center to begin serving his sentence for the Y-12 resistane action.

Joe Power-Drutis began our time together by bringing out his old and well-worn Bible, the pages of which, when he opened it this morning, opened somewhat prophetically to Isaiah.  He handed the Bible to Bix who read those prophetic words about turning swords in plowshares, and nations not lifting swords against other nations, and people not learning war any more.

Diane Whalen, the first female priest in Washington ordained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, was invited to lead the remainder of the service. She began by inviting everyone to call out the names of those who were present in that space with us.  The already crowded house overflowed as a litany of names rang out: Jackie Hudson, Chief Leschi, Dorothy Day, Susan Crane, Anne Montgomery, Mother Teresa, Liz McAlister, Martin Luther King, Rachel Corrie, Phil and Daniel Berrigan, Chief Seattle, Steve Kelly…    The spirit of both the living and the dead were fully present with us.

Then Dianne asked us to pray today not only for Bix, but also for ourselves, for the oppressors, for the world so desparately in need of healing.  And then the people called out another litany, this one of things for which we need healing:

fear, anguish, judgement, sadness, idolatry, racism, self-rightousness, all forms of violence, apathy, nuclearism, US domestic and foreign policy, the 1%, homophobia, addiction, confusion, sexual violence, separation, despair, ignorance, mental illness, our prison system, denial, abuse, hunger, aggression, classism, childhood trauma, poverty, domination, selfishness, passivity, torture, dishonesty, slavery, damage to Mother Earth, war, sexism, homelessness, weapons…

Dianne then asked us to take all of these “illnesses” and imagine the healing oil of God’s love and peace, that we may act to heal them.

Lynne Greenwald shared the final passage from Jim Douglass’s book Lightening East to West.  In this passage Jim tells of the valley in the mountains of British Columbia where he lived at the time, and where he wrote this.  He spoke of the rock sculptures that were built over months or perhaps years, and which created a vision “so that the person, or community of persons who had sensed it could live in truth and peace.”  Jim then finishes with an invitation to each of us.

In our nuclear end-time, a vision of the kingdom demands concrete expression in the world if we are to live in truth and peace.  We need the patience and single-mindedness to form that vision of a global community out of the rocks of our own lives and communities, and to build up a vision of the kingdom of God on earth, from life to life, from community to community.  In our own valley of division and darkness, there is an invitation into Oneness, a transforming way to follow.

I believe that you and I are invited.  We are invited over the fences and into the heart of the Trident base.  We are invited down through tunnels and through vaulted doors into the War Room of the Pentagon.  We are invited into acts of ultimate perfect emptiness and compassion in the places of total destruction of life on earth.  We are invited into these places because they are ours.  In the nuclear age we live in darkness, in the absence of God, and the darkness is not separate from ourselves.  Going to the heart of Bangor or the Pentagon will bring no revelation of destruction.  We’ve been there every day of our lives.  In a time of total violence, our love has grown cold.

In walking into the darkness of these places which we know already in ourselves, we may eventually discover a tiny ray of light.  As we go more deeply with more faith and love into our own responsibility for darkness, that ray of light could intensify and fan out into the brilliance of a billion suns.  The Light in our darkness is real.  The transforming unity we seek is here. 

After more prayers, song and a Blessing Bix shared some thoughts with us.  He spoke of what an incredible community this is and how at times when he wanted to flee how different people in the community pulled him back into community.  “I am no more than who you are, or what you are, or who we are together.  And… I kind of have to blame you for the hope… that I could not do any of this without any of you.  But what I am called to, you, probably in greater ways are called to.”

Bix said that the strength of this community is marvelous, and that although the task ahead of us is daunting, the grace is abundant and we can walk in that, and that we should trust our hearts and continue walking and working together.  “To what much is given, much is expected.”

Bix gave thanks for not only coming together today, but for who we are as a community, for the coming together, and for the strength, the power and the grace, the wisdom and the good, and that it is humbling for him to be a part of that.

Bix finished by saying that “the graces you pray for today, I think they come to us as a community.  And I very humbly walk at this particular time, but we are all called and we all have strength beyond imagining, and it all comes from our community.”

After a blessing by Senji Kanaeda from the Bainbridge Island Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple and a rousing chorus of The Ballad of Disarm Now Plowshares (No, Nay, Never) , Bix said many goodbyes before walking out to the waiting car.  He was smiling all the way.

Although Bix will be in prison for three months his spirit, just like all those spirits present with us today, will be with us both individually and collectively.  I can already hear him calling to us through those thick SeaTac Prison walls – calling us, in Jackie Hudson’s immortal words, to take a step (or even a half step) outside our comforts zones.

We are called.  Can you hear it?

With Peace and Gratitude ,


P.S. – I wanted to get this posted right away, so stay tuned for photos tomorrow, and hopefully a video as well.

Ardeth Platte’s Y-12 Sentencing Statement


Sister Jackie Hudson, Order of Preachers, was the next peacemaker scheduled for sentencing, next Monday morning at 9:30. Her life was given on August 3rd, 2011, her testimony complete, and it resounds loudly and clearly, remaining with us and we are grateful. Jackie, presente!

Magistrate Guyton, we have been taught, have learned and believe that:
In these courts, justice should be rendered.

In these courts, prosecution for broken laws and policies regarding cancer-causing radioactivity that poisons soil, water, animal and human life should be enforced.

In these courts, killing and threats to kill should be on trial.

In these courts “Deterrence” – intentional threats to kill massively (i.e. triggers cocked at targeted nations) should be listed on trial dockets as criminal.

In these state and federal courts Y 12 (along with Los Alamos and Kansas City Nuclear Complexes) producing and processing uranium, plutonium, materials and parts for nuclear weapons should be prosecuted as crimes.

Prosecutors, you have chosen instead to prosecute the Y 12 thirteen. Your “in limine” motion to silence us at trial about applicable Constitutional, Humanitarian, Customary, International laws and treaties substantiating our action and motivation stripped us of our defense.

The probation officers chose to list for you some of my nonviolent, symbolic, direct actions of civil resistance that were designated points because of arbitrary arrests and incarcerations. However, they too have eliminated the moral and legal ways and means of my teaching and preaching truth about war and weapons, nor have they recorded the reasons why I refuse to be silent.

So before sentencing I want to tell you more of my story. Note that it is violence, injustice and killing that move me to actions. I believe that nuclear weapons are the taproot of all violence and must be abolished. Poverty and deprivation kill too. Domestic and foreign violence, injury to air, soil and water kills, massive killing in war with conventional bombs and threats of actual use of nuclear weapons – all are immoral, illegal and criminal.

So I refuse to be silent.

My stance is the same as my religious community of Dominican Sisters, my intentional community of Jonah House and my Roman Catholic Church. It is the same position taken by international law professors and lawyers (like Charles Moxley who testified before you), the World Court, Global Zero, Nobel Peace Laureates, many Admirals and Generals, political leaders, scientists, organizations and millions of people throughout the world.

We each in our own way refuse to be silent!

At four years of age, I/We in kindergarten were ordered to duck and cover. Our families were ordered to extinguish all lights for blackouts in the entire city. In those early years we were all incorporated under the cloak of fear to participate in war.

At nine years of age my country obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as you know, killing hundreds of thousands of people – innocent women, men and children with “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”. (Years later I have had the privilege of being with and speaking at forums with the Hibakusha who plead for a nuclear-free world also.) The pictures of their land and burnt dead make me weep.

At thirteen years of age my brother was accidently shot while deer hunting. What I recall was the sight of the open leg wound and its difficult healing process. It stirred in me images and awareness of the maiming and killing in warfare.
In the early 50’s I entered college and then the Dominican Sisters Community, preparing for a vowed life and teaching ministry. Scripture, theology, social documents of the Church, secular studies, the life and charism of Dominic, our founder – an itinerant preacher of truth, along with many Dominican saints formed me and deepened my conscience.

Affected by and study of a nonviolent/loving God, a nonviolent Jesus, giving his life rather than taking another’s life, all people made to the image of God, one family of sisters and brothers in the world, to become a Beatitude people, love God and neighbor as self, do good to those who persecute you, forgive seventy times seven, hammer swords into plowshares –all of these words/concepts took root in me. I would never be the same because sacred life and creation became most meaningful.

I found my voice, must speak out, must speak truth!

In the 60’s and 70’s, during the years of my educational ministries, the “isms” became evident, focused and clearer to me. Racism was prevalent so it was right and good to be part of the nonviolent civil rights movement. Farmworkers were oppressed, so many of us joined boycotts and marches with Cesar Chavez and workers. Sexism and classism reflected the subjugation of women and the poorest and my heart and eyes were opened to the need for education, empowerment and organized efforts. For in each of these movements for justice, I saw democracy in action and had to join it; it was the way to bring about systemic change through legal, political and direct action.

I refused to be silent then and now!

Assigned to an Upward Bound program at our college as an administrative assistant and to an inner city high school as principal brought me face to face with killing. It was the time of turmoil, riots and sniping in the streets of the cities. At the same time war was escalating and raging in Vietnam. Militarism had a devastating effect on domestic budgetary needs: education, food, shelter, health care. African Americans, Hispanics, and people made poor challenged me to walk by faith’s talk about preferential option with the poorest. Some of our grads were coming back in body bags and some of our students and family members were killed on the city’s war-zoned streets.

We opened an Educational Center to drop outs, expellees and adults to offer some hope and self-determination sessions during a dark time. I participated in moratorium marches within the city and also in Washington DC. My own conversion kept deepening.

My voice was not silent!

War is not peace. Basic human necessities are intended as a right for all of God’s people. Hundreds of thousands of us were part of the demonstrations…and the Vietnam War ended. But nuclear weapons continued to be built. Each President, except Ford, threatened to use them, from Truman to the present as weapons of mass destruction have become more and more powerful.

We continued organizing – teaching conscientious objection, joining thousands at the UN Disarmament Conference in New York City in 1978 and a million of us in 1982. Nearly 1800 were arrested at the five nuclear weapon nation’s Embassies. In 1979 I was invited to the White House with other religious leaders to examine the SALT treaty. As a City Councilwoman I attended “Women for the Prevention of Nuclear War” with Rosalyn Carter, Ellen Goodman, Coretta Scott King, Joanne Woodward and numerous women leaders from every walk of life. As Mayor Pro Tem of the city I voted at our California Conference with Mayors for Peace for a Nuclear Freeze. Upon return from these urgent events our Michigan Coalition developed, gained signatures, and placed on the November 1982 ballot an Initiative banning nuclear weapons from our state. It passed by a 56% vote of the people.

However, the federal government and Dept of Defense defied the will of the people of Michigan by deploying and storing hundreds of nuclear cruise missiles for B52’s at two Strategic Air Command (SAC) Bases in 1983 and 1984. For the next twelve years, we prayed, studied, organized, marched, demonstrated, lobbied and did legal, political, and direct actions until every nuclear weapon was removed (1995) from our state, which is a wonderland with fresh water lakes surrounding it. At the same time we did all we could do to gain funds and commitment to cleanup the serious contamination which we believe caused cancer rates to escalate in the area.

I and others refused to be silent!

{As an interesting sideline, all of my arrests at these bases were for trespass. In the city I served for years, the police were facing a hostage situation – a veteran had collected a stash of guns and was holding his wife hostage. The police requested me to come to defuse the situation, so the man could be seized and given the mental health care that he needed. There was no question about my trespassing to stop a possible killing. I did so and it was successful. It is exactly what we attempt to do each time we enter a nuclear site – to save lives and stop the hostage-taking of other nations.}

During the 1980’s and 1990’s under the tutelage of lawyers, we learned the laws of the United States applicable to nuclear weapons, war and our own nonviolent actions. These experts: Francis Boyle, Kary Love, Bill Durand, Richard Faulk, Bill Quigley, Peter Weiss, Bob Aldridge, Ved Nanda, Lawyers for Prevention of Nuclear War, Anabel Dwyer, etc. by their writings and testifying through the years substantiate the illegality and crimes of governments and corporations and our duty and responsibility to stop them.

A Coalition of Michigan peacemakers and lawyers led by Anabel Dwyer developed the Nuremberg Campaign. Atty. Dwyer attended the sessions at the Hague regarding the International Court of Justice report and opinion of nuclear weapons being illegal in threatening to use or ever using them. The Campaign included depositions, laws, procedures to be taken to stop the SAC Base from illegal action. The briefs were submitted to the Attorney General, two federal District Attorneys and two county prosecutors. Day by day we offered leaflets at the SAC Base to teach Air Force personnel that they must disobey any command (according to their Field Manuals) to threaten use or to launch nuclear weapons.

I refuse to be silent!

Lawyers who are experts in Law continue to teach us the pertinence of the Constitution, Geneva, Hague, UN Charter, Nuremberg Principles, Poison Earth Treaty, World Court Decision, the Non Proliferation Treaty – “with its 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.”

Nuclear weapons inflict indiscriminate and uncontrollable mass destruction, violate fundamental rules and principles of humanitarian law and threaten the existence of life itself.

I/We were informed that the replacement upgrades in targeting capability of Trident D-5 missiles, W76 and W88 series are breaches of Article VI of the NPT and signed agreements, therefore, the ongoing production at Y12 Oak Ridge must be halted and total disarmament take place.

I refuse to be silent and joined in issuing the proclamation on July 5, 2010.

So I ask you now:
Is it or is it not the duty to stop crimes?
Is it legal to defy treaties?
Is it legal to kill civilians?
Is it legal to bomb counties at which no war has been declared? to torture?
Is it legal to threaten with nuclear weapons?
Is it legal to occupy countries and establish 1000 military bases on ¾ of the world’s countries?
Is it legal for the U.S. to divide the world into Command Centers, controlling independent Continents?
Is it legal to allow or cause people to starve and be malnourished here and abroad?
Is it legal to sign treaties to total nuclear disarmament and not fulfill them? If it is legal, it is certainly not moral. My commitment has been and is to put my mind, body, spirit and voice on lines to stop war, weapons, and killing. I oppose all killing – by the pen, by guns, by conventional and nuclear weapons. I refuse to be silent about personal, societal, state and national murder. I refuse to be silent regarding the lies told, the resources stolen, the crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The universe, Earth, creation and creatures are sacred, too magnificent to be destroyed.

You may wonder why I’m taking time to add the above material to the record and my rap sheet. No doubt you have probably decided my sentence before I spoke. I wanted you to know my convictions and passion and what has led me to do what I do…not only civil resistance and the promise to give my life for justice and peace. I want to invite you to be agents of change.

My question is – where are the courts and judges. Will any of you be agents for change as were the courts in abolishing slavery, child labor, gaining civil rights, women’s voting, unionization, and other laws galore that had to be upheld and interpreted. It is an urgent time, a kairos moment, a key time in history – wherein abolition of nuclear weapons is law. Let all of us go home to feed the poor and serve God’s people! Never again bring to court nonviolent civil resisters at Y12. Cases dismissed. Join the movement to stop weapons, war and killing! Prosecutors – bring forth the cases of contamination and radiation. Stop nuclear weapons and prosecute those breaking the law. As Jackie would say, “Let’s all take another step outside our comfort zone.” I trust and hope you will be the persons that will someday do it.

Sentencing Statement by
Sister Ardeth Platte, O.P.
September 16, 2011 for Y12 Action

Carol Gilbert’s Y-12 Sentencing Statement

Judge Guyton, before I begin my prepared statement I want to apologize for how I look and hope my mind is operating because the last 31 hours have been hectic.  We were awakened at 2 am and left Ocilla at 4:30 am with the officer driving 80 -90 miles an hour plus about half of the trip texting.  I don’t know what the law is in TN or GA but in MD and in MI that is illegal. You might not think I am a very law and order person but my friends would tell you I am. We arrived about 11:30 am and were given a very nice lunch by the marshals. We then sat in the holding cell for most of the afternoon and then taken for processing.  We arrived in our cells at 10:30 pm and were taken out again at 5 am for court.  The jail also ran out of combs to give us. So, I apologize to you.

One of the charisms of my Dominican religious order is “to give to others the fruits of your contemplation.”

These past 131 days I have contemplated what if anything I would say to this court.

Four clarifications need to be made:

1.)     We do not choose jail. Anyone who has ever been in jail, prison, or even a lock-up would never choose it.  We do choose non-violent direct action. We do choose civil resistance enough to risk arrest and incarceration.  We do choose to try and uphold Article 6 of the United States Constitution (the supremacy clause) which was not allowed in this courtroom. We do choose life over death.  But, we do not choose jail.

2.)     I chose not to testify at trial because of your order which would silence my truth.  Your order spoke of lack of “imminence”. I believe that every human being and all species are my brothers and sisters.  These last 131 days have only strengthened for me how imminent our action was.

The United States cannot at one, refurbish and upgrade nuclear warheads at Y-12 Oak Ridge for deployment, threat or use and abide in good-faith by promises to adhere to humanitarian law, the laws of war limiting the use of force and our obligation in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Criminal Code and I understand the U.S. Military Code.

We met women both in Blount County Detention Center, Maryville, TN and Irwin County Detention Center, Ocilla, GA
who had friends, relatives, spouses or themselves that worked or lived near Y-12.  We heard stories of cancers, deaths, class action suits, loss of jobs due to contamination, money awards, environmental contamination and radiated deer. We heard from peacemakers where on 279 out of 365 days last year, the water leaving the Y-12 facility was contaminated beyond safe drinking water levels.  This speaks to me of imminence!

3.)     This court has no understanding of the difference between civil disobedience and civil resistance.  Civil disobedience means breaking a specific law.  One example from our history is the African-American population who broke the racist Jim Crow municipal ordinances by sitting at lunch counters legally prohibited from serving them.  Civil resistance is upholding the laws.  The necessity defense and Nuremburg principals say that citizens have a responsibility and a duty to resist illegal government crimes.

In many countries around the world and sometimes in this country people are acquitted for these non-violent actions.  Our Y-12 action on July 5, 2010 was an act of civil resistance.

4.)     I want to explain why Sister Ardeth Platte and I chose not to comply with supervised release after trial.  We had been on ten months of strict supervised release which we followed to the letter of the law.

When we appeared here in July of 2010 you gave us permission to go to our motherhouse in MI for meetings.  Usually, we have been on unsupervised release where we just signed a paper promising to return to court and not break any laws. So, when we got to Baltimore the papers did not read we could travel outside of MD.  We did finally get approval after many phone calls. Then in October we had a college student group and we wanted to take them to a trial in VA for a Pentagon peace action. When I called the probation department the officer said he would need to call TN.  He called back a few hours later and said if it was up to him he would give permission but after talking to TN he could not say yes. We could not participate in any demonstrations, vigils, rallies, prayer services, even our local death penalty vigil all of which were legal and First Amendment rights. Another hardship was parking when we had to visit the probation office as the costs were at least $8 and sometimes as high as $18 which were prohibitive for us. We could not work with the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Community on Faith and Resistance Retreats held three times a year in D.C. We also knew that after the guilty verdict we would need to return to TN for PSI reports and sentencing and it seemed better to begin serving the time.

These 131 days most of which were spent in a “for profit, private jail” (and that is a whole other story) taught me again how we treat the poorest in this country-the throw aways:

pain clinics, addictions, trauma, conspiracy laws, no trials, plea bargains, mandatory minimums, over-crowded federal and state prisons and lack of medical care – you know what happened to our Sister Jackie, may she rest in peace, and hers is one of many stories I could share.

I want to close with a story about our Sister Jackie Hudson.  When Jackie was giving a presentation she always ended by asking people “to take one step outside of their comfort zone.

Each of the warheads prepared or refurbished at Y-12 is known and intended to threaten or inflict vast, indiscriminate and uncontrollable heat, blast and radiation.   Life as we know it would cease.

After ten months of strict supervised release and 131 days in jails we come before this court as drops of water…drops of water that over time can wear away the stone.

And so Judge Guyton, prosecutors, U.S. Marshalls, court workers and friends, I stand before you today, in the memory of our Sister Jackie, who was to be sentenced in this courtroom on Monday, September 19th and say, “Let’s all take one step outside of our comfort zone.” Jackie Hudson, Order of Preachers, PRESENTE!

Sentencing Statement
September 16, 2011 –Knoxville TN
Carol Gilbert, OP
(Y-12 Action July 5, 2010)

Y-12 Prisoners on the move!


here is an update on our friends. sometime this [Tuesday] morning, steve baggarly, beth rosdatter and bonnie urfer were whisked out of tennessee to points unknown. we discovered just after noon that they were gone.

by late afternoon we had heard from ocilla, ga—yes, their new home (a homecoming for steve and bonnie, i’m sure)

no idea how long they will be there. but here is the contact info if you are inclined to write.

Paula Rosdatter  10660
Bonnie Urfer   8957
Steve Baggarly  8955

the rest of the address is
Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Dr
Ocilla GA 31774

so far as we know, as of this afternoon, mike walli and dennis duvall are still in blount county jail.


ralph [Hutchison]

Editor’s Note:  We keep all the Y-12 prisoners of conscience addresses regularly updated at the Nuclear Abolitionist Y-12 Witness Page.

Mary Dennis’ Y-12 sentencing statement – centered on the sacred

Sentencing Statement Sept. 21, 2011
 Mary Dennis Lentsch (Elizabeth Ann)

I bow to the sacred in each person in this room and to my sisters and brothers around the world.

I bow to the sacred in all plants and animals.

I bow to the sacred in all the gifts of creation found on planet Earth and in our Universe.

In order to protect all the sacred gifts of creation, I feel called to do whatever is necessary to abolish nuclear weapons. My years of nonviolent resistance and acts of conscience have their roots in my Christian baptismal promise to renounce and resist evil, and in the public witness of my religious vows as a Catholic sister.

My heartfelt conviction for resisting nuclear weapons is reinforced by a passage from the Bible. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 30 verse 19 we read: “…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life that you and future generations may live.”

It is a known fact that nuclear weapons are instruments of death and massive destruction. The explosion of a nuclear bomb gives off immense quantities of heat and energy, as well as powerful and prolonged radiation that cannot be contained in time and space. This violence of nuclear weapons has the potential to destroy all that is sacred—all living beings, as well as our ecosystems, and our planet.

At the peaceful gathering at Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on July 5, 2010, I carried a sign that read: “Continuing nuclear weapons production at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is in direct violation of the treaty obligations of the United States (The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Article VI), and therefore is a violation of Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States of America and fails to conform to our obligations under international law according to the ruling of the International Court of Justice, July 8, 1996.”

To my surprise a copy of this sign was not included in the Discovery Document from the government while the copies of two signs carried by other codefendants were included.

With my sign and nonviolent act of conscience, it was my hope to bring a lawless situation into the court of justice. It was my hope and expectation that the judge and jury would weigh in the balance of justice the gravity of the United States violating international law and the Constitution of the United States, with my puny action of calling attention to these violations regarding the continued nuclear bomb production at Y-12.

In the United States justice system, where it is expected that truth and integrity will be honored, should it not make a difference who breaks the law and what law is broken?

I am inspired and energized in my efforts to abolish nuclear weapons by the witness of Jesus, Nano Nagle, and so many other prophets who challenged unjust systems and oppressive government policies. Jesus resisted the unjust laws and oppression of his day. Nano Nagle, the foundress of the Presentation Sisters, resisted the government policies in Ireland by illegally giving religious instruction in her hedge schools.

Salvator Fink, a Franciscan priest, describes Nano Nagle in the following manner and I quote: “a woman whose love was stronger than viciousness, injustice, greed and violence that swamped her city and nation. She was a woman of indomitable courage, native shrewdness and indefatigable zeal for her faith. Challenging the brutal power of her people’s oppressors, she spent her life on the razor’s edge of danger.” As a member of the Presentation Sisters, I am inspired by the witness of deep faith and lived experience from this great woman.

Today I face a sentence of prison for my nonviolent action resisting nuclear weapons. Like Jesus, Nano Nagle, and many prophetic witnesses before me, I accept the consequential suffering of my decision to follow my conscience.

It is my prayerful hope that the nonviolent energy of each person in this room, and all people around the world, could one day soon, insure the sacred gift of life and existence for all in a nuclear-free future. We must abolish nuclear weapons!

Thank you.

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