Save the “Saboteurs”: Sign the Petition!!!

My Dear Friends,

Let’s start with a couple of definitions.

Sabotage: Destruction of property or obstruction of normal operations, as by civilians or enemy agents in time of war (Free Dictionary).  Destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation’s war effort (Merriam – Webster).

It appears that the U.S. Attorney’s office is hard at work trying to figure out the most expeditious way to get the Transform Now Plowshares to cop a plea and get them behind bars with a minimum of public attention.  Hmmm… wonder why??? Continue reading

Susan’s Probation Hearing: A Question of Conscience

Today in Judge Benjamin Settle’s courtroom in Tacoma, Washington Susan Crane continued to drive home the illegality and immorality of nuclear weapons. She started by saying that the Plowshares group went to the US Naval Base to speak the truth about the need to disarm the illegal and immoral nuclear warheads. In court they tried to speak the truth about the nuclear weapons, but the court would not allow their defense. Continue reading

Susan to be in Federal Court on July 23rd

Dear Friends,

Susan Crane has been ordered to appear in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on July 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM.

Susan is charged with violating various conditions of supervision following her discharge from FCI Dublin this past April. Her sentence included one year of supervised release. Her probation officer was not particularly pleased with Susan’s noncooperation, and is asking Judge Benjamin Settle to revoke the term of supervision. Translation – more JAIL TIME. Continue reading

The best we can do for the common good

I have been summoned to appear at the federal court in Tacoma, Washington on Monday, July 23 at 1:30. It is possible that Probation Officer will ask that my supervised release be revoked, and that I be sent back to prison. This is not a surprise. I have not cooperated with being on supervised release. Continue reading

Disarm Now Plowshares loses appeal (government loses moral values)

Hot off the presses from Courthouse News Service is news of today’s appelate court ruling on the Disarm Now Plowshares appeal of their conviction for the 2009 Plowshares action at the Bangor Trident submarine base. As usual, U.S. “law” (protecting government property) trumps the Hague Convention, Nuremberg Principles, the laws of war, every precept of international humanitarian law and pretty much every treaty to which the U.S. is a party. Why??? Because we say so!!!  Continue reading

Disarm Now Plowshares Appeal: “an exciting morning…”

Dear Friends,

The Disarm Now Plowshares defendants appealed their case on the basis that they were denied their right to present their defense in their December 2010 trial in Federal court.  Today, March 8th, attorneys representing the Disarm Now Plowshares defendants appeared in US Federal Appellate Court in Tacoma, Washington to present their arguments.  Attorney Blake Kremer shared a brief reflection of his experience – what he called “an excting morning” – in court today, and I’ve included it here.  Thanks to Blake and all the attorneys who assisted (and in some cases continue to assist) the Disarm Now Plowshares defendants.  And thanks to all attorneys who give of their time assisting the many peacemakers who risk arrest for the sake of peace and justice.

Peace,

Leonard

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

Given 20 minutes to make my argument to the court, I prepared a 10-minute speech. I knew that I would be given some opportunity to make my pre-planned points, but was confident that the judicial panel would likely frequently interrupt me with questions.

I was less than 20 seconds in to my pre-planned speech when the questions erupted, and I was never able to return to my notes again. The judges wanted to know why I felt that the defendants were not given an opportunity to present their defense. They were also interested in hearing more about the questions that the jury sent out during trial deliberations, and what I felt the legal significance was. I pointed out an interesting case where this very appeals court had used jury questions as part of a basis to find that a judge had erroneously confused the jury and deprived a defendant of a fair trial.

The US Attorney went next. The judges had less questions for him. I finished with a short rebuttal, then asked the judges to take in to account that some of my clients will soon be completing prison sentences and others have serious health concerns, and that in both cases, these people would like to hear back from the court as soon as possible. The panel acknowledged this concern.

I have never had such an aggressive round of questions from judges in my entire career. They were sincerely interested, and were pushing me hard to answer questions that they had clearly been considering for some time. Afterwards, I walked past one of the judges outside the court house. She looked up at me, smiled, and said “Good job, counselor!” I have been a lawyer too long to read this or anything else as a sign of encouragement. But it was an exciting morning.

Disarm Now Plowshares with some members of their legal team, December 2010

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.

Still Unrepentant After All These Years

Friends,

Bix sat down with “The News Chick” – that’s what they call KIRO Radio’s Linda Thomas – for an interview the other day.  As usual Bix spoke truth, and she allowed him to pour it out.  At the end of the interview Linda asked Bix if he had any regrets or remorse for what he did (at Bangor), and whether he would do it again.  Bix replied, “You might say I’m unrepentant.”  Yes, one might say that about Bix!!!

Perhaps those who truly need to repent are the ones dutifully dismantling and re-assembling the W-76 nuclear warheads that, after being refurbished, will be returned to the Bangor base where they will be attached to their missiles and deployed on the Trident submarines.  Perhaps those who cruise silently beneath the sea, prepared to dutifully “press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction…” (to quote Thomas Merton) need repentance.  And perhaps it is those who dutifully work in laboratories further developing and refining the technologies that prepare for the end of the world in dire need of repentance. Continue reading

Sending the Wrong People to Jail…

Friends,

In a little over a month from now (on March 28th) the five Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants will walk into Judge Benjamin Settle’s courtroom for sentencing.

Sentencing can be defined as the punishment given to persons convicted of a crime.  One legal dictionary refers to the primary goals of sentencing as “punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation.”  It is somewhat ironic that one of the goals of sentencing is “deterrence,” the same longstanding stated (and completely misguided) goal of U.S. nuclear weapons policy.  And I must admit that the last one, “rehabilitation” made me laugh as I thought of the idea of rehabilitating any of these fine people.  Perhaps it would be more appropriate to  prescribe rehabilitation for those people engaged in preparations for nuclear war, the ones Thomas Merton once described as:

“…the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared.” Continue reading

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