Holy Tagging at Y-12

Dear Friends,

The three Holy Taggers of the Transform Now Plowshares – Greg, Megan and Michael – recently released evidence photos that make clear the real issues behind their July 28th Plowshares action at Y-12.  These three people of flesh and blood approached the fortress where uranium intended for nuclear weapons is stored.  They brought with them their blood, hammers, spray paint and crime scene tape.  They symbolically chipped away at the abomination that humans have made.  They poured out their own blood – that others may live.  Their holy graffiti is a clear message to the powers and principalities to repent, and turn away from the machinations of death making; choose life!  And of course the CRIME SCENE tape reminds us that the real crime here is the U.S. Goernment’s threat or use of nuclear weapons. Continue reading

Susan’s upcoming release… and a poem

Dear Friends,

Susan Crane will walk out of the Dublin Federal Correctional Institution on October 19th.

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

Bix fasting for Leonard Peltier!!! What fast do we choose?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (Isaiah)

NEWS FLASH:  Bix is fasting yet again!!!  Does this guy ever sleep???  Well, actually NO (literally)!  Right after I sent out this morning’s email about the new Bix Action Figure I received an email from attorney Blake Kremer who got a letter from Bix.

Bix told Blake that he would be starting a new FAST today (February 1st) “in solidarity with a march and vigil on the 4th for Leonard Peltier and his release”.  Here’s what Blake told me:

I had gone to see him [Bix] on the 28th at the FDC and after waiting in the visitation room was told that he would not be brought out to me due to his non-compliance.  Bix wrote me later that same day and I received the letter yesterday.

Bix reports that he is “doing well.”  He is warm, but that he continues to get no sleep.  He also reports that he will begin another fast on February 1st, in solidarity with a march and vigil on the 4th for Leonard Peltier and his release.  He expects to end the fast on the 4th. 

Bix wrote that he is asking that a resolution be entered in the Tacoma City Council and Pierce County Council to support clemency for Peltier.

The upshot of all this:  Bix is calling on us to support Leonard Peltier!!!  February 4th is the INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SOLIDARITY WITH LEONARD PELTIER.  Click here to learn more and find many of the global actions happening that day to support Leonard.  You can also find more at Facebook.  Click here to learn about events in Portland, OR and Tacoma, WA on the 4th.

Leonard has suffered far too long as a result of a grievous injustice.  This must end, and the government will not respond without a huge groundswell of public pressure.  Spread the word.  Justice must be served!!!

Peace,

Leonard

Bix got blankets – his fast continues…

Dear Friends,

More than 40 people showed up yesterday.  The rain and wind were unable to dampen our spirit-filled spirits as we vigiled outside of the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in support of Bix, and of course all the prisoners incarcerated in all prisons.  We were simply reminding those in power of their moral and ethical responsibilities to their fellow human beings.  I hope that our collective Love, Compassion and Nonviolent spirit penetrated those thick, cold concrete walls and touched both prisoners and prison guards.  As Lynne Greenwald of Disarm Now Plowshares said,

It is important to note that while our circle of resisters have a wonderful network of supporters, we also remember all prisoners, everywhere, who daily suffer under this system of injustice. Most of the 700+ prisoners at SeaTac FDC are there for nonviolent crimes. Our friends in prison have witnessed cruel treatment under an inhumane structure. Jackie Hudson’s and Bix’s experiences remind us of how much work there is to do, to turn our lives around.

Vigiling outside SeaTac FDC on Sunday, January 22nd

Bix has received blankets, and both Joe and Blake will fill you in below.   Your collective good wishes, prayers and emails are a powerful force.  Thanks!!!  Rodney Herold videotaped yesterday’s vigil, and I expect to have that up here later today or tomorrow.  May the spirit of this community spread far and wide, and may everyone come to embrace its message of Mercy, Justice and Peace.

Leonard

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

From Joe Power-Drutis

My apologies for not sending this report from Blake to you sooner; however, much was happening yesterday that prohibited me from jumping on this. Yesterday’s vigil at SeaTac was absolutely wonderful. We did sing Angels We Have Heard On High – twice; along with one of Bix’s favorites “This Little Light Of Mine”. Our line of well wishers stretched the front entrance of SeaTac Detention, as Senji and Gilberto led us for nearly an hour of meditation and drumming.

All of your efforts were well rewarded, as Bix has received extra blankets and he now reports he is much warmer. There remains a couple of other health related issues and we hope to resolve those soon through direct negotiation. Thank you so much for all of your efforts.

From:  Blake Kremer

I met with Bix yesterday, January 21st, and he asked me to pass along a message.

Bix is still in the SHU. Bix received a letter from Terry Morrison where he learned of the Tuesday vigil, and he is deeply appreciative of that.

Bix says that he has received extra blankets, and he is no longer cold.  He is able to stay warm enough in bed, and wears his blankets when he stands up to stay warm.  Bix says that he continues to not be able to sleep at all, but he no longer thinks that being cold is the cause of that. He thinks that it relates to “itchiness” that continues to trouble him.

Bix wants everyone to know that as he continues on his fast – yesterday was his eleventh day – that he feels stronger and more confirmed in his resolution.  Bix is appreciative of any who join him in his fast, the goal of which is to unite us as one and strengthen resolve against nuclear weapons.  Bix says that there are 10,000 issues that we can work on; this is one thing that we can all unite together on today. Bix says that Christians can unite in conscience where God speaks to all of us, to abolish nuclear weapons and to oppose those policies of the US that are without conscience. This was a point that Bix was reminded of when he was taken back to the BOP and told by his jailer that his re-arrest was a matter of policy, not of conscience.  Bix talked about how policy without conscience reminded him of the courage of the White Rose and their courage in protesting Nazi policies without conscience, even though they were beheaded for their resolve.

Bix talked about his re-arrest at the halfway house, and how just prior to that he was Gilberto and others drumming outside the house. Bix said that the monks looked like angels bringing songs of peace and joy to him. While Bix was re-arrested for this “unauthorized contact,” he continues to think of that and delights in the memory of what he considered wholly authorized contact. He blew kisses to them at the time, and continues to rejoice in the memory. Bix sings to himself in his solitary cell, and hopes that at the vigil today, those present will sing:  “angles we have heard on high.”

Bix is deeply appreciative of those who are thinking of him and sends his love.

Which fast do we choose? A reflection from Lynne

A Reflection by Lynne Greenwald
22 April 2011, Good Friday
FDC SeaTac

My second bunkmate at FDC SeaTac was Jan (not her real name).  She arrived one week after I began this short 6-month sentence.  She walked into our room cheerful and talkative, excited because the van that brought her from the airfield had a TV.

Jan explained she was here for “testing.”  Over 3 weeks time she gradually shared pieces of her life story.  I’m grateful to have gotten to know her for the short time we were on the same unit.  She’s left my life richer for putting a face and painful emotions onto a system of generational abuses and injustices.

Jan could not remember where she was or what the “rules” were.  Gradually, with a helpful community of women supporting her, she fell into the prison routine.  She has a great sense of humor, a transparency and vulnerability similar to a young child, loyalty to her family, pride in her Native American heritage, and a good, generous heart.

Jan is also a fighter.  I hear her voice so clearly when she would say, “I had to fight all my life, since I was a kid.”  She would take up a pose with her fists up, so it was possible to see this short, compact woman-child taking a stand against a threatening, often violent world.

Coming from a South Dakota reservation, Jan talked about having a job before having “brain surgery.”  It seems she had a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, leaving her weak on her right side and unable to speak.  Her recovery gives testimony to her survival spirit, and her challenges continue to frustrate her, taking her into patterns of conflict and self-destruction.

Jan was brought to SeaTac for a psychological evaluation to determine if she is capable of going to trial.  What led to this situation is unclear.  She drank, heavily at times, and spent time in holding cells.  The Reservation police knew her and seemed to have developed a way to keep everyone safe.  That is until one night when the responding officer didn’t know Jan.  She was home drinking heavily, there was a knife, “a long knife,” and Jan was shot in the abdomen.  She really doesn’t remember what happened.  She kept asking, “Why am I here when I was the one shot?”

Seeing the psychiatrist was especially traumatic.  “He thinks I’m stupid.   How would he like to have someone’s hands on his brain?”  Jan would explain, “Brain surgery changes you.”  She struggled to find names for objects, to recall names and recent events.  As her anxiety increased, her behavior deteriorated.  She would either “lash out” or “shut down.” 

Jan was put in the “SHU” today – Special Housing Unit, “the hole.”  Earlier this morning she came back from the psychiatrist’s office extremely upset, verbally lashing out at everyone.  “He thinks I’m stupid  Are you in on it too  You are, aren’t you?”  She went to her room and soon came out crying.  Tears ran down her face as she sat next to me, trying to explain what was going on.  Other women tried to comfort her.

As we were eating lunch, Jan went up to the unit counselor, stood too close and said something.  She was sent to the SHU.  My last image of Jan is seeing her standing defiantly in front of prison authority.  I was transferred from the unit shortly afterwards.

I think of Jan’s mother and family back home waiting for a phone call.  These frequent calls and her memories were all that kept Jan connected with home.  Tomorrow is her son’s birthday.  He’s locked up in Rapid City.  Jan once told me, in relation to her son’s imprisonment, “There’s meth on the reservation.  Can you believe it?  It was in all the news.”  He’s the same age as my son, Noah.

I’m not sure anything could have really prepared me for prison.  Everything operates so differently from my personal and professional life.  Things like empathy, compassion, helping, strength-building are at odds with this system meant to punish people and deter crime.

Although there are many good, kind people working here, workers are here to support the prison.

So I’m left with many questions and a reflection.  Why are so many poor and non-whites locked up for nonviolent crimes, leaving families torn apart?  Why are so many professionals caught up in a system of supporting prisons, not people?  Why does it seem too simple to shift resources into mental health care, drug and alcohol treatment, education and jobs?  Why are some individuals getting rich off of the prison system?

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke, letting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke.” (Isaiah 58:6)

Many nonviolent resisters choose to witness within prison walls as part of an action intended to expose violence and injustice, and to begin the transformation process.  Let us pray for the strength to do this work.

What We Believe, or The Dream of God

Friends,

Now and then when the violence in the world seems to rage out of control I find myself drawing inward to that contemplative space where I can re-collect my thoughts and center on the task at hand.  Today was one of those times, and I found a suitable meditation thanks to Pax Christi.

The beloved Dom Hélder Pessoa Câmara, former Archbishop of Recife and Olinda, Brazil, who died in 1999, is well known for defending the poor and working for social justice.  In response to claims that he was a danger to Brazil’s national security he said, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why are they poor, they call me a Communist.” Continue reading

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