Anne Montgomery remembered: “new birth, new time, new humanity”

Editor’s Introduction:  Dear Friends, Art Laffin, of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington D.C., wrote the following remembrance of our dear friend (and co-conspirator in the creation of God’s vision of a world at peace and with justice for all) Anne Montgomery, who died last year on August 27th.  It is, as is appropriate, mostly in Anne’s own words.  Anne’s words and witness in her life live on long after her passing; may they give us all strength for the long journey.  In our common humanity and in Peace, Leonard

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Dear Friends,

Today is the first anniversary of Anne’s home-going to God. I/we give thanks for Anne’s life and for all she did to make the Word flesh! We know Anne is advocating for us as she is among the cloud of witnesses in paradise.

Below is Anne’s letter that she sent out describing her cancer and expressing gratitude to all those she walked with and accompanied in the earthly vineyeard.

Anne comforting a Palestinian girl as she watches her family's orchard being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, August or Sept. 1998. (courtesy of Christian Peacemakers)

Anne comforting a Palestinian girl as she watches her family’s orchard being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, August or Sept. 1998. (courtesy of Christian Peacemakers)

In light of the Empire’s ongoing violence, past and present, including now the latest US military threats against Syria, the below poem by Anne speaks to the heart of the matter.

Anne Montgomery–presente!

With gratitude, Art

March 1, 2012 letter Anne wrote to friends describing her cancer and really a final farewell:

“I have been on chemotherapy for cancer, and it seemed to be helping, but, last weekend I had breathing problems and tests showed a lung full of fluid and that continuing any chemo, etc. would not help. I have been blessed by so much support, personal, and medical, that I know I must share that in some way with all those across our world who lack so much and are near desperation, especially for their children. I also know that the Spirit prays at the heart of the universe and that creation is an ongoing journey of death and resurrection, however mysterious that process is. Because it is energized by Love, we can enter into it rather than count on our own weak efforts and vulnerabilities and worry about failures. When I made my final vows, our group was named, “Joy in the Faith,” I am coming to believe that must somehow be possible since it is promised in the Beatitudes and that those who have nothing show us the way.

I am constantly filled with gratitude to you all who have done the nitty-gritty work of peace and nonviolent action and invited me to join you. I hope to be able to do so in a new way. As Phil Berrigan said in his last letter, that work must come from our own vulnerability. Much love, Anne.

FEAST OF THE INNOCENTS:1991
In Memoriam: Mass Graves

by Sr. Anne Montgomery, RSCJ

A voice in Ramah — a voice in Panama, Iraq–
weeping,
as yet again, Herod proclaims new birth
a threat,
the young expendable,
beginnings buried:
bulldozed into ditches,
shoveled into unmarked graves,
cast into the sea,
or flamed to ashes.

But in the sand and sea,
grass and cinders,
in silences,
the question will not die:
“Where is the one who is born?”
the child who sees with one eye__
or not at all,
who walks with one leg–
or never again,
whose dreams were shattered by shrapnel,
hunger stilled by pain.

The year’s death reminds us of an old story,
a nightmare that will not go away,
but, dragon-like, rises from the sea,
blinds the dawn,
blasphemes God’s name and dwelling
with fire from heaven
on those, uncounted, who do not count:
“You the nameless, do not exist.”
So it has been decreed,
for to allow the naming,
to confess reality and promise,
means new birth,
new time,
new humanity

###

Sr. Anne Montgomery, Plowshares leader against nuclear weapons, dies; National Catholic Reporter Online; Aug. 29, 2012

Jesuit anti-nuclear activist back in jail for probation violation (article from NCR)

Editor’s Note: The following May 22, 2013 article by Seattle-based freelance writer Julie Gunter is reprinted from National Catholic Reporter Online: Jesuit anti-nuclear activist back in jail for probation violation.

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TACOMA, WASH. — A noted Jesuit peace activist who has spent over a decade in jail for nonviolent protest actions, mostly over nuclear weapons issues, has been returned to prison for probation violations.

Fr. Steve Kelly, who has been on probation since June 2012 after serving a 15-month sentence for breaking into a nuclear weapons facility, was sent back to prison May 20 by a federal judge.Kelly, 64, was transported from the SeaTac Detention Center to the United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma, to receive the 60-day sentence. With time served, he is expected to be released May 29.

Jesuit Fr. Steve Kelly is seen in a 2007 file photo, taken outside outside Fort Huachuca in Arizona. (CNS photo/Felice Cohen-Joppa, courtesy TortureonTrial.org)

Jesuit Fr. Steve Kelly is seen in a 2007 file photo, taken outside outside Fort Huachuca in Arizona. (CNS photo/Felice Cohen-Joppa, courtesy TortureonTrial.org)

More than a dozen friends and supporters, including members of Tacoma’s St. Leo parish community and his Jesuit superior Fr. John Fuchs, attended the hearing. Some also attended a vigil outside the courthouse an hour before Kelly’s court appearance.

Kelly was arrested March 29, Good Friday, for blocking a road outside the Lockheed Martin missile plant in Sunnyvale, Calif. A trespassing charge was later dropped, but he was taken into custody for an outstanding federal warrant associated with probation violations.

Kelly was on probation for the 2009 Disarm Now Plowshares action, during which he and four other activists cut through multiple security fences and accessed highly sensitive areas of the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific in Bangor, Wash., where more than 2,300 nuclear weapons are believed to be stored.

After serving 15 months in prison for that action, Kelly was released June 21, and his first probation violation occurred within 72 hours when he failed to contact his probation officer. He violated his probation again a couple months later when he traveled to Atherton, Calif., for the funeral of Sacred Heart Sr. Ann Montgomery, a longtime activist and friend who had been part of the Disarm Now Plowshares action.

In court May 20, Kelly made an emotional appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the healing of divisions between people. Other testimonies praised Kelly’s character and commitment to peace.

Fuchs addressed the judge on Kelly’s behalf stating, “Fr. Steve Kelly is one of my brother Jesuits … Our religious Constitutions commit us to working for peace and justice in our world, resisting all forms of violence and unjust war, following our consciences regardless of the consequences. Steve is being faithful to his vocation as a Jesuit.

“I know Fr. Steve very well, having directed him in a number of spiritual retreats, and I can assure you … that he is one of the most nonviolent, gentle and committed persons I know,” Fuchs said. “I only wish that I and the rest of us could be nearly as courageous as he has been in following his call.”

Over the past two decades, Kelly has been imprisoned for an estimated 12 years, according to St. Leo parishioner and friend Joe Power-Drutis. Kelly has been held often in solitary confinement because as a matter of conscience he refuses to work for the Bureau of Prisons while incarcerated.

Kelly discussed his unique witness in a 1998 interview with America magazine. “My hope is that the church will really become a peace church,” he said.

“I realize that what I’ve done is not what most people would call being an effective witness. I don’t expect the culture as a whole to change overnight. The people I would like to reach are people of faith and belief. As for what I’ll be doing in the future, as long as nuclear weapons are being made for use on human beings, I’ll try to resist their creation.”

[Julie Gunter is a Seattle-based freelance writer.]

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Source URL: http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/jesuit-anti-nuclear-activist-back-jail-probation-violation

Steve Kelly and the final chapter of Disarm Now Plowshares prison time

Below is a brief report from Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa of The Nuclear Resister about Steve Kelly’s hearing yesterday in Federal Court.

Yesterday’s hearing and Steve’s resulting final bit of jail time will bring to an end the prison journeys of Bill Bichsel, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly and Anne Montgomery, at least for the their common journey as the Disarm Now Plowshares.

These five peacemakers willingly and without reservation came together to commit an act of spirit-led resistance to the scourge of nuclear weapons, knowing the price they would pay. And pay they did; the state (or should I say empire) does not take kindly to those who question its imperial intentions, let alone those who embarrass it with their Plowshares actions.  With thanks to each of these people of steadfast faith, courage and conviction.

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Dear friends,Steve Kelly was given a 60 day sentence [both defense and prosecution asked for the minimum sentence] by Judge Settle for violating conditions of supervised release put in place at the end of his prison sentence for the Disarm Now Plowshares action. It’s expected he will be released in 9 days [around May 29th], since he’s been held in custody since a Good Friday arrest at Lockheed Martin in California, and gets credit for most of the time served… then his Disarm Now Plowshares file will be closed!

Attorney Blake Kremer, part of the legal team for the Disarm Now Plowshares, reports that there were eloquent statements in court made by Steve and supporters. Blake also forwarded a powerful legal brief written and filed with the court for the hearing by Steve’s standby counsel for the Plowshares trial, Roger Hunko [see the previous post at Disarm Now Plowshares].

Stay tuned – before long Steve will be able to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and enjoy the summer sunshine!

Peace,

Felice and Jack

Editor’s End Note: Here is an additional comment from Mira Leslie, who was present at court as a witness and supporter: Steve ‘s courage and presence is absolutely pure. He appealed emotionally to the judge to help abolish nuclear weapons.  There were about 15 supporters, and no doubt  Ann Montgomery was presente.

Roger Hunko’s statement to the court on behalf of Steve Kelly

Steve Kelly, SJ will appear in United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Tacoma, before the Honorable Benjamin H. Settle in the matter of Steve’s violation of the terms of his supervised release.

Steve, being arrested at Lockheed Martin, Sunnyvale, Good Friday (2103).

Steve, being arrested at Lockheed Martin, Sunnyvale, Good Friday (2103).

Many of you reading this need no explanation of the reasoning behind Steve’s noncooperation with the terms of his supervised release.  Others might ask why Steve did not simply comply and get on with things; make it easy on himself.  For Steve to do so would be tantamount to cooperating with evil; his deeply spiritually grounded resistance to nuclear weapons knows no boundaries.  Essentially, the court that tried, sentenced and continues to attempt to control Steve holds no moral ground and cannot, therefore, hold any real control over him (other than its ability to continue to bring him into court and hand down sentences, as it will do on Monday).  These physical applications of control are meaningless to a person of such deep spiritual grounding.  Steve truly is untouchable; beyond reproach.  The system that continues with the threat of use of nuclear weapons is morally and spiritually bankrupt, in addition to being illegal under international humanitarian law.  The courts of this land that do not allow defendants like Steve (and other nuclear resisters) to mount reasonable defenses in their cases are NOT doing justice; rather they are defending the indefensible actions of a morally bereft government.

A number of attorneys have given of their time and energy to defend the actions of nuclear resisters.  Roger Hunko is one of these people; Roger was Steve’s standby counsel in the Disarm Now Plowshares trial.  Roger has written some beautiful and powerful words on Steve’s behalf, which are contained in the following statement for Judge Settle’s consideration in tomorrow’s hearing.

With Thanks and In the Spirit of Resistance,

Leonard

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Case 3:10-cr-05586-BHS Document 258 Filed 05/18/13

The Honorable Benjamin H. Settle

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Plaintiff vs. STEVEN KELLY, Defendant

NO. 10 5586 BHS

DEFENDANT’S DISPOSITION MEMORANDA

__________________________________________

Father Steve Kelly comes before this Court on a violation of his Supervised Release.  The violation is a single count of his failure to report as directed in the original sentence. At the time of his sentence he informed the court that because of his conscience he could not comply with the supervised release provision of his sentence. As a result he did not report.

The sentence of Father Kelly did not come from a desire to commit evil, but to prevent evil. He and his colleagues wanted to peacefully protest our government’s proliferation and maintenance of the World’s largest nuclear weapon arsenal and the most advanced method of deployment. All in violation of international treaties and law. To that end Father Kelly and four comrades in peace cut through the fence at Bangor, Washington. The five committed participants traversed the distance to the area where the nuclear warheads for the missiles were stored. Supposedly Bangor is one of the most secure facilities in the world for storing such weapons of mass destruction. They were able to cut through two more fences without being detected and managed to put up a Plow Shares banner condemning the proliferation of nuclear weapons within feet of the igloos where the warheads were suspected to be stored. It was only after this prolonged journey that the Marines designated to secure the weapons arrived. Even though two of the committed peace activist were octogenarians and the rest were either in or close to their sixties. One of the five was taking nitroglycerin to prevent a heart attack. They were arrested, bags put over there heads and months later charged.

The five represented themselves with stand by counsel. I was standby counsel for Father Kelly. A task I am grateful to the Court for giving me the opportunity to meet this man and to participate in an attempt to assist him in his fight against nuclear weapons.

Father Kelly never denied what he had done. He was arrested while attempting to finish a prayer next to the weapons of mass destruction. He did not deny his purpose. He did not deny why he did what he did. His defense was that he was doing what was morally required to put his government and the general population on notice that the possession and deployment of such non discriminate weapons was a violation of international law and also the higher law of nature. He was not allowed to present that defense. He, of course, was convicted which he anticipated. At sentencing he informed the Court that he could not submit to the supervised release conditions because he felt he was doing the morally responsible acts.

He was arrested for failure to report on March 29, 2013. He has been held on a Federal detainer since that time.

At his first appearance he attempted to admit the violation, but Magistrate Creatura, deferred a finding till Your Honor could hear the matter. Father Kelly does not deny the allegation. He only avers that his conscience will not allow him to submit.

I was appointed to represent him on his supervised release violation

I have been practicing law for the last thirty four years. Almost exclusively in the field of criminal defense. I have never represented a man like Father Kelly, wholly devoted in trying to prevent an evil from hurting his fellow man, whether American or anyone else. A man totally committed to peaceful resistance. A man who is willing to risk his life to show others the right path.
In deciding what I could do to represent a totally conscientious person in a violation where he fully admitted both at sentencing and by his actions afterward that he would not submit to supervised release, I was at a loss. I then thought of going back to philosophers, intellects and others to see what defines a conscientious person.

I came up with the following:

1. Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it. Albert Einstien

2. Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die. Martin Luther

3. The person that loses their conscience has nothing left worth keeping. Izaak Walton

4. Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one. Justice Louis D. Brandeis

5. Pity the poor, wretched, timid soul, too faint hearted to resist his oppressors. He sings the songs of the damned, ‘I cannot resist, I have too much to lose, they might take my property or confiscate my earnings, what would my family do, how would they survive?’ He hides behind pretended family responsibility, failing to see that the most glorious legacy that we can bequeath to our posterity is liberty! Old Chinese Proverb

6. Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one’s opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness
required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth. W. Vaughn Ellsworth

7. A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi

8. Any attempt to replace a personal conscience by a collective conscience does violence to the individual and is the first step toward totalitarianism. Mahatma Mohandas K Gandhi

9. What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow; that is the whole Law: all the rest is interpretation. Hermann Hesse

10. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law … That would lead to anarchy. An individual who breaks a law that his conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. Martin Luther King

11. The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. Martin Luther King

12. Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about his religion. Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place. Show respect to all people, but grovel to none. When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero . Tecumseh

I then compared these words to what Robert Oppenheimer said on his successful test of the first atom bomb. “I am Vishnu destroyer of worlds.”

But of course the Court must decide what to do with Father Kelly. In doing so it must consider U.S.C. 18 § 3553. The most appropriate section in this case being Section 6. The need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct.

Under this cause number the Court has already sentenced Susan Crane on a similar violation. The Court ordered her to do 60 days in custody and terminated her supervised release. A similar result should be ordered in this case.

Dated this 18th day of May, 2013.
/s/ Roger A. Hunko
Attorney for Father Steven Kelly

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Editor’s Note: You can read this entire document as entered into the official public record at https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzRG1crlv8YMcGpaQ2w4VEtKaVE/edit?usp=sharing

Support vigils and court date for Steve Kelly!

Dear Friends,

On March 29th, Good Friday, Steve Kelly was picked up by the police while demonstrating at the Lockheed Martin missile plant in Santa Clara, CA.

In keeping with his spirit of ‘non cooperation’ an arrest warrant was floating around with his name on it for not reporting to the probation office after his release from SeaTac in June 2012. This current incarceration has him once again at the SeaTac Detention
Center outside of Seattle.

If you want to be in touch with him, his address is:

Steve Kelly, SJ #00816-111
FDC SeaTac
P.O. BOX 13900
SEATTLE, WA 98198

Steve will be going to Federal Court in Tacoma on Monday, May 20th at 11:30 AM – at that time a judge will determine if he is to serve additional time for non cooperation with his June release conditions.

At 10:30, an hour before his court date, there will be a support vigil in front of the court house; all who can attend are encouraged to do so. Following the vigil, at 11:15, you are invited to sit in the court room with Steve.

On Sunday, May 19th, there will be a vigil in front of the SeaTac Detention Center. As in the past, when Steve was there for 15 months,
our presence, and message was very helpful to him. Anyone leaving from Tacoma and desiring carpool information can call me at 253-779-8362. We will be gathering in front of the Tacoma Catholic Worker [1417 S G St Tacoma WA 98405] at 11:45 and leaving at Noon for SeaTac. Hope you can make it.

Wishing you well,

Joe [Power-Drutis]

 

Disarm Now Plowshares Alert! Time to plant Seeds of Peace!!!

Many of you have undoubtedly seen the one-in-a-million Bix Tacoma Action Figure, created by local (Tacoma) artiste R.R. Anderson.  It’s a wonderful tribute to our selfless Friend Bix.  Well, Monsieur Anderson has done it again.  But this time there’s even more!

That’s right Kids!!!  Now, you can get your very own Father Bix Anti-Nuke Sunflower Seeds.  Yup – Sunflower seeds are a symbol of a nuclear weapons free world.  Part of this story is that sunflowers (really do) absorb certain radioactive elements from the soil and water, and have been used to clean up radioactive contamination in places like Chernobyl.

And besides; sunflowers just seem to make people happy.  Plant a bunch of these subversive seeds and you can have your very own field of sunshine.  (AND make a statement for a world free of the scourge of nuclear weapons).

This subversive, comic moment brought to you by local artist par excellence, R.R. Anderson!!!

This subversive, comic moment brought to you by local artist par excellence, R.R. Anderson!!!

Bix and his companions in the 2009 Disarm Now Plowshares action cut through fences and made their way over the course of many hours across the massive Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in the dark of night on their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific.  That is where the Navy stores the thermonuclear warheads for the missiles that are carried on its nuclear ballistic missile submarines.  Their purpose?  To symbolically disarm the weapons stored their – turning them “from swords into plowshares.”

Along the way the five brave souls sprinkled sunflower seeds.  And so a bit of sunshine might have one day sprouted in the evil darkness of a place dedicated to the preparations for the murder of upwards of millions of people and quite possibly the end of civilization as we know it on this small planet.

So get your very own Father Bix Anti-Nuke Sunflower Seeds today (just in time to plant) from the Central Tacoma Radical Media Exchange!  Spread a little subversive sunshine.  You’ll be glad you did.

Let’s all spread the message – Swords to Plowshares!  Ditch the Nukes!

Good Friday – Walking the Way of the Cross to Lockheed Martin

Dear Friends,

A group of the faithful carried the cross together, honoring the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus, on Good Friday.

They gathered – Catholic Workers, nuns, priests and lay people – and walked to the Lockheed Martin facility in Sunnyvale, California where day in and day out people go to work building the Trident II D-5 missiles that are deployed on our nation’s ballistic missile submarines.

IMG_6624

Each of those Trident missiles (and each submarine carries 24) is fitted with four (and as many as eight) thermonuclear warheads, each of which is many times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.  These submarines patrol 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on alert, prepared to launch their horrific weapons, threatening humanity with omnicide.

Such a thing is quite simply an abomination before God.

Scores of workers stream in and out of the Lockheed Martin facility every workday and, if the employee roster mirrors the societal demographic, a large percentage of those workers call themselves Christians. How then, can one who calls oneself “Christian” do the work of building something that is so un-Godly?  How can one build weapons that are, by their very nature, designed to incinerate tens of thousands or possibly millions – and that is with just a single warhead.

IMG_6655

Are we truly listening to The Story on Good Friday (or on any other day for that matter) when, instead of turning away from violence, from hatred, from fear, and turning toward LOVE, we continue to build the machinery of empire today.  How different is today’s empire from that which was threatened by Jesus roughly two thousand years ago?

On this Good Friday those who walked to Lockheed Martin stood vigil with signs and banners carrying messages of love and peace and calling on all good people to stop making war.  Some of those present went into the roadway carrying that cross and blocking the entrance to Lockheed Martin in an act of nonviolent resistance to nuclear weapons and war-making.  They were arrested by the Sunnyvale Police.  This was their sacrifice in the name of Jesus, who sacrificed for us in the name of a loving God who wants us to live together in Peace.

Those arrested for their witness were Steve Kelly, Susan Crane, Larry Purcell, Mary Jane Parrine, Louis Vitale, and Ed Ehmke.  Steve was held on a warrant, and Larry didn’t sign the citation.  Those released have a court date May 13th.  Steve and Larry will be in court Wednesday, April 3rd in the afternoon.

IMG_6667(2)

Click here to view photos of the Good Friday vigil and action at Lockheed Martin. 

My wish today is that each of us was able to look Jesus in the eyes as he hung high up on that cross when he was crucified, and that we may connect in such a way that we find it in our hearts to carry that cross as we are able – whether a few inches or a few miles – so that others may live… so that we may all learn to live together as brothers and sisters one day as is God’s intention.

With great thanks this day to all who sacrifice so that others may live.

Peace,

Leonard

Bix Reflects on COMMUNITY

Friends,

Here is video from the November 10, 2011 prayer sendoff for Bix before he re-entered prison for his ongoing resistance to war-making and nuclear weapons. In this clip, Bix reflects on the rich blessings and strengths of COMMUNITY.

Peace,

Leonard

Bix and Joe are on the road again

Greetings Plowshares Friends! This just in from Joe Power-Drutis, our roving reporter, who is travelling with Bix around Europe.  What a whirlwind tour!!!  

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

Greetings from the mother country,

Bix and I find ourselves in the land of the great lady Elizabeth and
Harry Potter; where I might add the muggle cap my daughter Tamara gave
me hardly creates a stir. We are aided by travel companions Helen
Young and her photographer Flavia Fontes. Helen is producing a
documentary of the November 2, 2009 Disarm Now Plowshares action
involving Steve Kelly, SJ, Sr. Anne Montgomery, Lynne Greenwald, Susan
Crane and Bix. Helen hopes to complete it with footage of Bix
traveling through Norway, Sweden, England, and Scotland. By following
the following link     http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-young/2012-greater-tacoma-peace-prize_b_2287247.html
an article Helen wrote for the Huffington Post, you will have the
initial reason why Bix and I are here.

Bix and the organizers of this year’s Pacific Life Community Retreat
thought it fitting for us to confer with Catholic Worker communities
and other significant people working to dismantle nuclear weapons and
Trident Submarines in England and Scotland. Our intent is to film,
document and bring back this information to the people coming to this
year’s Pacific Life Community retreat, the Sons and Daughters of
Norway and other interested groups in the Northwest.

My initial plan was to write frequent short updates on our travels in
the region and to send them back via Plowshares News to anyone
interested; however, our packed schedule nixed that. We departed
Tacoma on December 6th and it has been a roller coaster ride all the
way; with action and schedules trumping writing time.

Today is Sunday, Dec 16th and we are allotted a day of rest here in
Oxford. Tomorrow we will continue our journey north into meet up with
Angie Zelter in Wales and beyond to Scotland; there we will connect
with Brian Larkin & Jane Talent, long time peace activists at the
Faslane Peace Camp, a permanent peace camp sited alongside the Faslane
Trident Sub Naval base. We will then travel to Edinburgh to visit
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, one of Scotland’s foremost critics of nuclear
weapons and especially the Trident Submarine.  On Dec 23rd we fly out
of Glasgow, and return to the Northwest.

We are now at what is commonly referred to as Oxford University, a
consortium of 38 colleges and 6 religious orders – Jesuit,
Benedictine, Dominican, 2 Anglican and a Baptist; all  mixed within a
fascinating labyrinth of old world passageways. It is the home of
Gerry Hughes, SJ, who resides at Campion Hall. Bix and Gerry’s special
friendship goes back to the years 1956-59 when they studied at the
Jesuit Theologate in Frankfurt. Both Gerry and Brendan Callaghan, S.J.
Master of Campion Hall, have opened their home and are caring for us
for the duration of our 2 days stay in Oxford. Our time together with
Gerry is worth the trip alone; his insights and knowledge of ‘what is
real’ is reflected in his every word and footstep. Truth be known, it
is Bix that is the driving force behind our daily schedule, no
surprise by all who traveled with him to Japan. Thanks to Gerry, Bix’s
minions will be allotted a few hours of rest so he and Gerry can have
time together.

Leaving Norway on Dec 13th, we landed in London and after jumping
through all of the hoops necessary to get out of the airport, we
snagged a rental car and made straight for our friends and hosts at
the London Catholic Worker who lovingly took in us four weary
travelers. They were a site for sore eyes after bumbling our way
through the heart of London on “the right-their left” side of the
road; of course the Brits feel the colonies were just being
oppositional by having “the yanks” drive on the opposite side of them.
Not wanting to be “dodgy”, that’s for you Dave, I took up no argument
with that issue. Our hosts, Martin Newell C.P. , Ciaron O’Reily, Dave
Nash, Conner Wurth and Roland Dale showed us every kindness possible
as we shared stories of resistance and how our two communities are
alike and different. We were also fortunate to share time with Bruce
Kent, former director of the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament UK
(CND), Ms.Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi International
and Dr. Rebecca Johnson, one of the UK’s foremost experts on nuclear
weapons and a peace activist.

Going backwards, our plane from Tacoma took us over the Artic Circle
and into Iceland, where at the Reykjavik airport, we met up with Helen
and Flavia, who departed from New York – then the 4 of us were onto
Oslo and the beginning of an exciting adventure. We arrived on the 7th
and were “supposed” to use the 8th to recover from jet lag; but, Heir
Fuehrer Bichsel plotted our course right off to Sweden where we would
drive the beautiful countryside of Norway and Sweden in the morning,
spend the afternoon and early evening with Per Herngren then return
late to Oslo. Per founded the Gothenburg Catholic Worker, Vine and Fig
Tree and has been involved in Plowshare Actions in the US, Scotland
and Sweden over a 25 year period. On April 22, 1984, Per was involved
in the Pershing Plowshares action along with our beloved Sister Anne
Montgomery and 6 other activists in
Florida.

Fortunately Heir Fuehrer saw fit to allow his minions to rest some and
for the better part of the 9th we did just that, and so did
he.

Dec 10th – Following the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony Bix and
Helen met with Dr. Bjorne Hilt who is with the International
Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Dr. Hilt stressed that
in the event of a nuclear war, and given the sheer size of our present
day nuclear weapons, the medical community would find it impossible to
address the needs of survivors.

On Tuesday the 11th we met with Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime
Minister of Norway and presently the administrator for the Oslo Center
for Peace and Human Rights. He explained that his work was primarily
to address governments working together to correct human rights
abuses. We also met with Steinar Bryn of the Nansen Center for Peace
and Dialogue, who is currently working to resolve conflict with
peoples in the Balkan States.

In the evening time we met members of 3 anti nuclear organizations who
were having their end of year meeting. We shared thoughts and ideas on
the elimination of nuclear weapons as well as human needs.

On Wednesday the 12th we had lunch with Hanne Aaberg, Secretary
General of Norwegians Worldwide, and co-workers Maria Vang Ormhaug,
Turid Johannessen, Ingrid Margrete Hillestad, Lisbeth Bo Haaverstad,
and their intern Linda; they work to keep Norwegians Worldwide
connected with their home country. Over lunch we very much enjoyed
sharing hopes and dreams for a more peace filled world. A special
thanks to Maria and Turid without whose assistance we may still be
driving around in circles in the downtown core of Oslo. (Small hint,
if you ever go to Oslo – no GPS system works in the downtown core due
to massive street changes and no satellite map updates)

In the afternoon we met with Geir Lundestad, Director of the Norwegian
Nobel Institute who responded to questions about the controversy
surrounding the European Union receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. We met
around the table that is used for the selection of the Nobel Peace
Prize recipient (s).

The day ended with a tour of the Nobel Peace Center which features an
elaborate Gandhi display.

On the morning of Dec 13th Bix spoke with the Academic Coordinator for
Peace and Conflict Studies, Torstein Dale-Akerlund and a group of
students at Bjorknes College. Several students from Pacific Lutheran
University in Tacoma were in attendance.

After another exciting road trip to the airport we managed to make it
to our 3:15 flight to London. I will try to update more regularly as
we head north – but one never knows.

Bix: In the Audience at the Nobel Peace Prize

Friends, Here is the latest on Bix’s European journey that began with a stop in Oslo to attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies.  Documentary filmmaker and producer Helen Young, who is accompanying the Jesuit on his mission, wrote a column in the Huffington Post, which I have posted in its entirety here.  The source URL is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helen-young/2012-greater-tacoma-peace-prize_b_2287247.html.  Peace on Earth (or else!!!), Leonard

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In the Audience at the Nobel Peace Prize

by Helen Young, 12/12/2012

They were all in one majestic room: Norway’s King and Queen as well as the Crown Prince and Crown Princess; the leaders of 20 European nations including Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande; the European Union’s Nobel Laureates and their entourages; plus hundreds of other dignitaries. They filled Oslo’s massive and beautifully ornate City Hall. And there, too, among the VIPs sat an 84-year-old Jesuit priest who had traveled half a world away from Tacoma, Washington to be there. He seemed to be as well dressed as the rest of the crowd, though he admitted his black suit jacket and trousers had been purchased at Good Will. But to know Father William Jerome Bichsel is to understand that he does not place much importance on appearances. He’s focused laser like on action, and what the next best action needs to be to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

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Father Bichsel, whom everyone calls Father Bix or just plain Bix, was invited to the Nobel Peace Ceremony after he was awarded the 2012 Greater Tacoma Peace Prize by the Scandinavian community in Tacoma a few months ago. The award is bestowed annually on an individual whose life exemplifies a dedication to peace. The elderly priest had just been released from federal prison because he and four other activists broke into the U.S. Navy’s Trident nuclear submarine base near Seattle, which houses one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the country. Acting as citizen weapons inspectors, the intruders, whom prosecutors called, “The Bangor 5,” were intent on exposing America’s “weapons of mass destruction.” Father Bix has spent a lifetime “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable,” says Tom Heavey, a U.S. military veteran who headed up the committee that voted to give the elderly priest its Greater Tacoma Peace Prize. Heavey admits he wrestled with the decision to give the priest the award, because Heavey is “uncomfortable” with some of the priest’s protests actions. In the end, however, Heavey decided Father Bix deserved the honor and that it was the right thing to do.

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One wonders if there was similarly such soul-searching among the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee whose choice of the European Union as this year’s Laureate has sparked so much controversy.  The EU is mired in a three-year-old debt crisis causing rampant unemployment, with some countries in the group teetering on bankruptcy. Several previous Nobel Laureates have sharply criticized the decision including, Desmond Tutu who called the EU an organization based on military force and not deserving of the award. Despite that one cannot overlook the progress in peace the group has fostered over the last 60 years, culminating in a unity among nations who were at one time often at war with each other, such as Germany and France.

At the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony, Father Bix listened intently to the speeches and said he came away feeling an opportunity had been missed. He commended the remarks of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who described the European Union as supportive of disarmament and against nuclear proliferation.  However, Father Bix said he wished that the support had come in the form of some concrete action from the EU instead of just words.

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