[[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 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.

Supporting the Y12 Resisters • Letters and more

[from Ralph Hutchison at OREPA]

Dozens of people have contacted us asking how to write the Y12 Resisters who are now in jail: Beth Rosdatter, Bonnie Urfer, Steve Baggarly, Mike Walli, and Dennis DuVall. Currently, they are in three different facilities in two counties in Tennessee.

Here is information on how to write to them at the moment.

Please note: We have no idea how long they will be at this location. For Beth and Dennis, with 30 day sentences, they may serve them all in Tennessee. They have requested locations close to home, but it is not unusual for the Bureau of Prisons to take more than 30 days to place an inmate in a specified institution; they wait for available space.

When inmates are transported, which is likely with Bonnie, Steve and Mike, they get no notice. They are just gone. We check the websites of the Knox and Blount County facilities each day—and when they aren’t there, we know they are gone. At that point, we wait for a call and we monitor the Bureau of Prisons website. Until they reach their destination, though, the BOP lists them “in transit,” even if they are parked at the transportation hub in Oklahoma City, and it is possible they might be there for weeks.

While we will continue to track them and write to them and support them and their families, once they leave Tennessee, but at that point, the nuclear resister website (www.nukeresister.org) is probably the best place for up-to-date info. They’ll be posting the info now, too, if you want to get in the habit of looking there. We’ll update our web site (www.orepa.org) and I imagine the Nukewatch web site will have info as well.

Until we get more detailed info on what can get in or not, the safest thing to do is mail letters (rather than postcards). Some places allow photos, some don’t. None allow staples. Magazines, newspaper and books usually have to come directly from a publisher or Amazon, but there is often a limit to how many a prisoner can have at one time, so check before you mail!

Always put your full return address, handwritten, on the outside envelope. No labels.


To write to Bonnie or Beth (they are in separate facilities, but all the mail goes through the Detention Center):

Paula Elizabeth Rosdatter 1170658
Knox County Detention Facility
5001 Maloneyville Rd
Knoxville, TN 37918

Bonnie Urfer 1169236
Knox County Detention Facility
5001 Maloneyville Rd
Knoxville, TN 37918

To write to Steve, Mike and Dennis, you only need the name and address:

Steve Baggarly
Michael Walli
Dennis DuVall
Blount County Adult Detention Center
920 E Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804-5002


If you want to contribute financial support to the defendants, you can mail donations to:

Sue Ablao
Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action,
16159 Clear Creek Road NW
Poulsbo,  WA  98370.

***Note [on your check that] it is for the Y12 Resisters [and please make checks out to the “Resisters’ and Prisoners’ Support Fund”]

You can support the ongoing work of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance by mail at: OREPA, PO Box 5743, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 or on-line at www.orepa.org and click the red Donate Now button.

Thanks to all who are part of this great community of support!


One final note. The Y12 Resisters appreciate all the support they receive, but it is clear that each of them places the highest priority on the continuing work to stop nuclear weapons production in all the places it happens across the country, so we urge you to connect with groups working on these issues and dedicate a meaningful part of your time and resources to this work!

Sister, just freed from custody, speaks with civil disobedience*

* Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the National Catholic Reporter Online (http://ncronline.org/news/peace/sister-just-freed-custody-speaks-civil-disobedience) on September 21, 2011, by Joshua McElwee,NCR Staff Writer.  We thought it was a great article, so we share it with you here.  Just for the record, it is copyrighted.

Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch wears an outfit of flowers as part of a vigil outside the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex near Oak Ridge, Tenn., in April. (NCR photos/Joshua J. McElwee)

Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch’s voice is soft, with a little bit of a nasal tone. To hear her, you have to learn forward in your chair, and turn your ear in her direction.

Yet, Lentsch, a member of the Presentation Sisters of Dubuque, has for many years spoken loudly against nuclear weapons. Set to be freed from custody after three months in prison today for an act of civil disobedience, she has spent much of the past 22 years opposing the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex near Oak Ridge, Tenn.

When the federal government started to put together plans for a new $7.5 billion nuclear weapons manufacturing facility at the site, Lentsch joined 12 others in July, 2010, to witness opposition for the plans. Climbing over a barbed-wire fence onto the property of the current facility, they were immediately arrested and found guilty of trespass in federal court this May.

In a series of hearings over the last week and a half, eleven of the activists found guilty for the 2010 action have been facing their sentences. While Lentsch was sentenced to time served, others have received harsher punishments. Bonnie Urfer, the co-director of the watchdog group Nukewatch, received an additional four months in prison, and Steve Baggarly, a member of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker community, received another eight months.

Lentsch, an educator for 30 years in Iowa and Minnesota, says she moved to Tennessee in 1989 because she was interested in ministering to the needs of those living in Appalachia where the percentage of people who are Catholic is the lowest in the country at under two percent, and poverty is still the norm for many living away from cities and towns.

In a spring interview, Lentsch said that ministry quickly forced her to look at the “deep connections” between poverty and military spending, and that she wanted to “raise her voice” against the spending, which, she says, is “holding basic human needs hostage.”

Amidst planning sessions for an April 18 vigil at the Y-12 site, Lentsch also spoke of the “deep mystery” of civil disobedience, and how she views the effectiveness of her actions against nuclear weapons. Following is that interview, which has been edited for length and clarity.

NCR:Can you tell me more about your actions at the Y-12 site? What kinds of things have you done in the past to raise your voice?

Lentsch: Well, I have made what I call a ‘peace presence’ at the gates of Y-12 a few times.

That means I stay there 24 hours a day for a week, for seven days. It’s almost like a retreat. I bring a port-a-pot, and borrow somebody’s truck and sleep in the back of the truck. And then just be present there for 24 hours.

What’s the purpose of that presence? What effect do you think it has on the people who work at the site?

Let me tell you some stories. One time when I was there, a big storm came up. So after the storm, maybe about 8:15 that evening, a man came down in a security truck. I went over to meet him and he asked, ‘Are you okay?’ He said, ‘I’m Dan, the maintenance man, and I’ve come down to see if you’re okay.’

I said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’

Another time, during a day presence, there had also been a storm. So afterwards, I took my folding chair, and my bible, and just was present there and went for a walk. And two maintenance men were fixing something nearby. So one of them came over and said, ‘We really admire what you’re doing.’ And I said, ‘Thank you. It’s important. But you probably are contributing to peace too.’

Then I said, ‘Look over the fence there.’ And here was a tree that was blooming. It was just beautiful, a pink dogwood.

And I said, ‘Isn’t that tree beautiful?’ And for some reason he then told me that he writes poetry.

So I asked if he could me read me one of his poems, but he said he didn’t have his notebook with him. But just that little give and take of the concern meant something. It just shows, through all the misunderstandings, they are concerned about us. Even the police here, I have found them to be very professional and even kind.

I just think there’s so much mystery in the witness of civil resistance. Eight years ago, when I did the action at Y-12 and I was serving time in Lexington, a woman wrote to me. She said, ‘When you crossed that barrier, I just started crying and crying because I was pregnant. And I thought, that’s what is happening for my child.’

The witness value is mysterious because it’s God’s action. In prison, I heard from people all around the world that I don’t know. Just the mystery of how this happens and how it affects people is incredible.

You talk of a “mystery” of civil resistance. But how do you measure success in your action? How do you think of the balance of success and faithfulness? What effect do you think you are really having?

I feel that when I’m called to act, it’s a mysterious inner call. It’s a call of conscience for me. I don’t believe that I will shut the bomb plant down. I just don’t believe that. But there’s no way to measure the success when we follow our conscience.

What we’re facing is an evil. And the exorbitant money that’s being spent is holding basic human needs hostage. We don’t have quality education, or decent affordable housing, or developmental child care, or money for alternative energy, or so many other things because of the amount of money that’s being spent.

You can’t measure the effect of this. I think I heard once that behind every avalanche is a snowflake, behind every rockslide is a pebble. So, in this movement for a nuclear free future, it’s each individual coming together, and eventually that will happen.

For me, the success and the faithfulness are so intertwined. It’s just like when we go to these trials, they are important educational opportunities. When we were in the jail cell before we were arraigned, several of the arrested women were saying that they were going to defend themselves.

I said, ‘Well I’m going to have a lawyer because I think we need to educate our lawyers and the judge.’

Well we have 12 lawyers now because everyone got a lawyer except one. That means there are 12 lawyers now talking to each other. They’re all planning strategies. They’re learning about nuclear weapons and international law. I think this whole educational perspective is powerful.

The last time we had four lawyers. This time there’s 12. It’s an opportunity for them to come together and learn about this.

Can you talk to me about living in jail? How do you face that? What is it like to you?

When I did the action, I knew that that’s what might happen. I knew that I would face that and I would lose all control of the legal process. I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid because in all of this, and especially in prison, I have really felt the embrace of a good and gracious, and loving, God.

“Be not afraid, I am with you always.” That is so powerful to me. And when you think of a year, that is not very much time. Think of people who have cancer or terminal illness. They don’t know how long it will be. I know that whatever my sentence, there will be an end to it. And people with illnesses, or those who realize they have addictions, can’t see an end. I know there is an end to it.

And prison is not easy, but I believe we get the grace to live there, to live in a generous, joyful way. I have family that love me, I have community that love and support me. Many of the women in prison can’t say that. I know when I come back out I’ll be received as part of a religious community. And women coming out don’t have a place to go. They don’t know where to go for a job; many are estranged from their family. So I’m blessed in so many ways.

[Joshua J. McElwee is an NCR staff writer. His e-mail address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org.]

Still time to sign the petition for the Y-12 Resisters!


It’s crunch time for the Y-12 sentencings that begin this Monday, September 12th!!!

You still have time to sign the online petition calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the Y-12 resisters! Continue reading

Letters to the Judge on behalf of the Y-12

Dear Fellow Abolitionists,

Many have asked about writing letters in support of the Y-12 nuclear resisters. Simultaneously Anabel Dwyer has written an open letter to Judge Guyton regarding their case asking for justice, not just on behalf of the Y-12 resisters, but on behalf of the world that remains endangered by the threat of use of nuclear weapons, and the US government’s continued reliance on them as an instrument of foreign policy in contravention to its duties as a member of the global community, as well as under its treaty obligations and international humanitarian law. Continue reading

Y-12 Sentencing Dates


Here’s an update from Ralph Hutchison on the Y-12 defendants September sentencings.  Bix is leaving for Knoxville on September 10th (obviously not flying Con Air; lousy onboard meal service, no leg room, no reserved seating, and they lose your baggage).  Stay tuned for updates as we receive them.  Bon Voyage Bix!!! Continue reading

Expanded Plowshares News, or We’re all in this together

Update May 13, 2011

My Friends,

We have expanded Plowshares News to include the 13 members of the DOE
Y-12 action on July 5, 2010 in Oakridge Tennessee.

If the Trident Submarines, harbored in the beautiful Puget Sound of
the Great Northwest, are the proverbial mother load of weapon systems,
then it’s the Governments Y-12 thermonuclear bomb making plant here in
the beautiful Tennessee Valley that impregnates the Trident with its
babies. Disarm Now Plowshares Resistors and the Y-12 Resistors are a
family of peace makers committed to resisting such death driven
monster systems. Indeed, Bix is of particular importance to both

On May 11, 2010, 7 of the 13 nuclear resistors, who demonstrated and
were charged with trespassing at the Department of Energy Y-12 Complex
on July 5, 2010, were remanded to prison after 3 days of a jury trial.
Bix makes their number 8 but he was already in custody from the
Plowshares action of November 2, 2009.

I encourage you to link onto any of these sites for up to date
information about Y-12 or Plowshares.


These are the names and mailing address of 7 who went to prison on May
11, 2011. You can write to them at the following:

Sister Carol Gilbert
Sister Ardeth Platte
Sister Jackie Hudson
Bonnie Urfer
Michael Walli
Jean Gump
Steve Bggarly

(Inmates Name)
Blount County Correctional Facility
920 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804-5022
(must have a return address or inmate will not receive sent mail)

Jean and Jackie are in the same pod, Ardeth, Carol and Bonnie are
together in another pod. Michael and Steve were placed in the Medical
Block for now due to a shortage of space in the general population.

Little by little, I am discovering that due to restrictions placed on
inmates and supporters, options for inmates are far more limited than
any other place I have encountered; and, what aid we can provide is
also limited and expensive.

There are 3 correctional facilities here in Knox County; and each
facility operates differently.

Here are some of the things I have discovered about Blount County
Correctional Facility (BCCF)

– Each inmate has to fill out a form to place someone on their
visitors list – can only have 4 people on the list and is permitted
only one hour a week of visitation.

– Commissary is only once a week –Everything in the commissary is over
the top expensive: i.e. one envelope and stamp cost 75 cents. Almost
nothing is provided you. Everything must be purchased. I am only
beginning to uncover the racket that exists – inmates and supporters
are at the mercy of the privateers.

– The only thing the inmate can receive from the outside is letters
and photo’s.

– They cannot receive any packages, magazines or books in any way from
the outside. I was assured by an employee of BCCF that inmates have an
adequate supply of books and the prison chaplain replenishes the books
regularly. I received this information with just a mild pause and was
waiting to see if I was going to be sold some prime real-estate in the

– Telephones: Oh my god, it’s a nightmare. Though each facility is
different in how they make phones available to the inmate, what they
have in common is how expensive they have made it. This is an area I
am trying to map out before I send out any information at all. The
best I can make out at this time, is a 10 minute call will cost
anywhere 12 and 30 dollars, depending on where you are calling in the

– So, as I said until I am sure of my information I will hold off on
sending you anything at this time. I believe it will be resolved in
the next week.

Libby and Erik Johnson, Ralph Hutchison and I visited Jackie Hudson
this morning. The visiting time allotted to her is on Saturday morning
from 9 to 10 AM – Period! That’s It!

Jackie appeared fine; chatting and joking and in good spirits. She
reports the food is jail food—bland and little variety. The jail is
crowded; there are 3 in her cell. She and Jean Gump are together; the
others are in a different area, they don’t get to visit with them.
They do make visual contact on their way to the recreation area, but
it is a one-way visual contact.

Jackie reported there is next to nothing to do and boredom is your
closest companion. Unlike what I was told at the front desk, readable
books are nonexistent and generally anything to circumvent the
inmate’s plight in this area is nipped in the bud. Their ability to
send letters out is severely limited. Letters only can come in, no
cards, news clippings, magazines, or books, and she was told that if
we send any articles downloaded off the net they will be confiscated;
all mail is checked.

She and Jean borrowed a radio from another inmate and shared ear buds
and listened to NPR last night. When Ralph told her she was missing
“wait, wait, don’t tell me” as we visited, she rose as if to leave—so
sense of humor fully intact.
I believe is important to infuse their commissary account with
sufficient funds to get a radio.

Jackie sends good wishes and her love to all we encounter; and this
includes you. We conveyed the support of many to Jackie and asked her
to share it with the others.

The architect of BCCF had absolutely no intention of utilizing his/her
god given creativity. Our friends currently reside in a two story, six
sided building with another square building attached to one end. The
building is a solid slab of concrete from top to bottom and in each
wall there are 2 rows of windows (16 in all), approximately 10 inches
by 4 feet, the entire window is tinted so you cannot see in or out.
Were they allowed to see out they might get a magnificent view of the
Great Smoky Mountains – but then again they may as well be on the
moon. Actually when I come to think of it this building may fit in
very well on the moon!

Money can be put into each inmates commissary account either by money
order, or coming to the jail (before noon, Monday – Friday and placing
the funds (in cash) directly into their account. (Money orders can be
done but it is a process, be in touch with me if you want to support
them in that way.)

If you would like to financially assist the Y-12 resistors with
commissary and phone expenses it would be very much appreciated. Your
check can be made out to Sue Ablao and note it is for the Y-12
Resistors. Sue’s address is: Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action,
16159 Clear Creek Road NW, Poulsbo, WA 98370.

Maintaining support for the 5 Disarm Now Plowshare Resistors and now
organizing to meet the needs of the Y-12 Resistors is of primary
importance. There is a reason the government placed this terrible
demonic bomb making plant so far and away from the sights of most of
its citizenry.

Much the same as we in the Northwest have learned to live with
apparent comfort with the Trident Sub Base just 30 miles from our
front door, folks here in Tennessee are equally complacent with Y-12
since 1942. Our fiends in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the recipients
of the first babies born to this complex. And still with all the
silver tongue double talk being broadcasted D.C. about downsizing our
nuclear arsenal, how many of us are aware that 6 Billion or more
dollars are presently being spent to upgrade our nuclear bomb making
capabilities here in this sleepy corner of Oakridge Tennessee.

I will be remaining in this beautiful part of the country until most
likely after June 27th. A number of us are doing what we can to put
together whatever support we can for all of the Y-12 Resistors. Any
support you may want to add is also much appreciated.

Joe Power-Drutis

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