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"WMD Here!" Plowshares Sentenced to 8, 12 & 15 Months & anti-war resistance updates!

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Friday November 17, 2006 14:23author by Bill - Catholic Workerauthor address North Dakota, USA Report this post to the editors

Their in Jail for Us, We're on the Loose for Them!

The "WMD Here!" Plowshares have been in custody since their nonvviolent disarmament of a ICBM missile silo in North Dakota - June '06. Fr. Carl Kabat OMI and former soldiers/ now Catholic Workers Greg Bortje-Obed and Michael Walli were sentenced this past week.

Three men protesting the presence of weapons of mass destruction in
North Dakota were sentenced to federal prison terms of over three years
and ordered to pay $17,000 in restitution by a federal judge in
Bismarck. The three dressed as clowns and went to the Echo-9 launch site of
the intercontinental Minuteman III nuclear missile in rural North Dakota
in June 2006. They broke the lock off the fence and put up peace
banners and posters. One said: "Swords into plowshares - Spears into
pruning hooks." They poured some of their own blood on the site, hammered on
the nuclear launching facility and waited to be arrested.

The Minuteman III missile has over 20 times the destructive power of
the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and can reach a target within 6000 miles in
35 minutes. The men called their action the “Weapons of Mass
Destruction Here Plowshares.”

Dressed in faded black striped prison uniforms and blue cloth
slippers, they appeared before the federal court for sentencing. Fr. Carl
Kabat, 73, a catholic priest from St. Louis with a life-long history of
resistance to nuclear weapons was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Greg
Boetje-Obed, 52, a former Navy officer living with his family in the
Catholic Worker community in Duluth Minnesota was given a 12 month and
one day prison sentence. Michael Walli, 58, also with the Loaves and
Fishes Catholic Worker in Duluth received 8 months. All were ordered to
pay $17,000 restitution.

During their trial, the men openly admitted try to disarm the nuclear
weapon. They pointed out to the jury that each one of these missiles
was a devastating weapon of mass destruction, a killing machine
precisely designed to murder hundreds of thousands. Testimony by experts about
the illegality of these weapons of mass destruction under international
law and their effects were excluded by the court and never heard by the
jury.

The 40 ton Minuteman III site they damaged lies deep in rural North
Dakota, at a site called Echo-9 about 100 miles north of Bismarck.
Coiled beneath the surface of a bland concrete bunker, it is clearly visible
from the gravel road. In fact, the otherwise pastoral countryside of
farms and silos is full of nuclear weapon silos. One nuclear weapon
launching site lies just across the road from a big farmhouse, another
just down the road from a camp for teens. There are 150 other such nuclear
launching facilities in North Dakota alone.

At the sentencing, Father Carl Kabat, who has already spent 16 years
in prison for peace protests, spoke simply and directly to the court and
prosecutor. “I believe that you, brother judge and brother prosecutor,
know that the Minuteman III at E-9 is insane, immoral and illegal, but
your actions protected that insanity, that immorality and that
illegality. Brother judge, you could have possibly been a Rosa Parks, but your
actions said “no.” We all can openly and publicly condemn North Korea
for nuclear bombs. We can openly and publicly condemn Iraq for nuclear
weapons and go to war with them. We can openly and publicly condemn
Iran for nuclear buildup, but we do not publicly condemn the United
States for the same?”

Fr. Kabat then challenged all of us, “What is the use of post marking
our mail with exhortations to “Pray for Peace” and then spending
billions of dollars on atomic armed submarines, thermonuclear weapons and
ballistic missiles?”

Michael Walli reaffirmed his continuing conviction of the illegality
and immorality of these weapons. He pointed out that Irish Courts
allowed juries to hear about international law. Recently, after learning
that US jets were stopping at Shannon Airport to refuel on their way to
bomb Iraq, the Pitstop Plowshares went onto the runway, poured their
blood on it and started to take up the tarmac to prevent additional
flights. After two mistrials, these peace protestors were acquitted on all
counts earlier this year by an Irish jury who heard an expert on
international law and other witnesses explain the illegality of the U.S.
actions. To conclude his sentencing statement, the Peace Prayer of St.
Francis was read into the record.

Greg Boetje-Obed appealed to the judge to consider the testimony of
the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki about the horrific effects of a tiny
nuclear weapon on their communities, testimony the court would not
allow the jury to hear. He asked the judge to re-consider expert testimony
from Professor Francis Boyle about the criminality of nuclear weapons
under international law and the UN resolutions calling for nuclear
disarmament, evidence also kept from the jury.

The judge challenged Greg Boertje-Obed’s decision to take actions that
risked a year in prison instead of staying home with his family. “Why
would one leave a wife and daughter at home to engage in juvenile acts
of vandalism to protest nuclear weapons? I would think your commitment
to your family should far outweigh your calling to such actions.”
Greg’s wife, Michelle Naar Obed, was in the courtroom during this
exchange. After the sentencing was over, Michelle shook her head and said, “If
Greg had left us his for a year and risked his life to go to war to
kill people, no one would question him – they would call him a hero! But,
because he risked time in jail to act out his convictions for peace,
people question his commitment to his family. That is a tragic.”

What does it say about our society that personal sacrifices to go to
war to kill people in war are praised, while personal sacrifices for
peace are condemned? What does it say that intentional destruction of
cities and communities and families and individuals are considered
totally legal, while actions trying to dismantle weapons of mass destruction
send people to prison? Until those interested in peace are willing to
make the same sacrifices as those interested in war, peace will not
prevail. These three men have proven they are willing to pay the price
for peace. Their courage and sacrifice challenges us all.

While these men serve their time in prison, one hundred fifty weapons
of mass destruction sit peacefully free and protected in the fields of
North Dakota. The law protects these weapons and finds those who try
to protect the world from their holocaust criminals. If the weapons are
ever used, the people of North Dakota will not need the news to tell
them. The thunderous fiery launch of these weapons will signal the
failure of justice and the end of life as we know it.

For more information about the men contact the Loaves and Fishes
Community in Duluth at 218.728.0629 or Nukewatch at 715.472.4185. Copies
of some pleadings in the case, pictures, updates and addresses for the
men are posted on the Jonah House website http://www.jonahhouse.org

Related Link: http://www.jonahhouse.org
author by W. Finnerty.publication date Fri Nov 17, 2006 18:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For anyone who has not seen it, there is an interesting article on Harold Pinton and his views of the United States (and supporters) at the Al jazeera web site.

Sample: "The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law"

Full article can be seen at:
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/archive/archive?Archi...16892

author by Rose of Traleepublication date Sat Nov 18, 2006 17:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In his pre-recorded lecture to the Swedish Academy, which focused more on politics than literature, Harold Pinter launched a ferocious tirade against Bush and Blair, saying they were responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the Iraq war.

For more on this subject please see:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=active&c2co...earch

author by Yusufpublication date Sat Nov 18, 2006 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bush just can't help acting criminally. He is a Dog!

Let it be known, the Cats of the World will resist to the last claw!

US President is a Dog
US President is a Dog

Iraqi Cats are good resistance fighters
Iraqi Cats are good resistance fighters

author by Art - Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Washington DCpublication date Sat Nov 18, 2006 22:45author address Washington DC, USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Friends,

I am writing to let you know that I was tried and convicted today of
disorderly conduct in US District Court in Alexandria, VA and sentenced
to a fine for my participation in the August 9 peace witness at the
Pentagon. Gary Ashbeck, from Jonah House, was also to be tried with me but his
case was dismissed because his arresting officer did not appear in court.

I was tried before Judge Poretz who, back in 1994, sentenced me to two
months in jail for a Pentagon peace witness. I hadn't seen Judge Poretz
in ten years. When the trial began I conveyed my greetings and best wishes
to the Judge. The government's case basically centered on several legal
facts: that I failed to obey the order of a Pentagon police officer, and that
I interfered with my arresting officer's primary duties to be the primary
traffic officer supervisor for that morning. Due to the fact that the
officer was guarding me instead of doing his primary job, I was
ultimately held responsible for that. The officer also made several false claims
which were later contested and refuted.

During my case I called Gary and Mike Dorn as witnesses to testify
about what they did during the Pentagon witness and what they saw me do. I
began my testimony by conveying my love to everyone present in the courtroom.
I
then did my best to testify about the significance of being at the
Pentagon on August 9, the 61st anninversay of the U.S. nuclear bombing of
Nagasaki, as well as the anniversary of the martyrdom of Frans Jagerstatter, the
Austrian Catholic and father of three who was beheaded for refusing to
serve in Hitler's army. However, the judge interrupted me before I could
finish describing Jagerstatter. I was warned several times by the judge to
restrict my testimony to the disorderly conduct charge. However I was able to
offer limited testimony about why I acted at the Pentagon. I was able to
introduce into evidence the photograph I held throughout the vigil depicting the
devastating ruins of Nagasaki after the bombing. I was able to convey
that I was praying for peace, praying in repentance for my own complicity in
the culture of violence and warmaking and calling upon the US government
and the Pentagon to do the same. I was also briefly able to speak about how we
must uphold God's law and intercede for the victims. And I was able to say
that my intent was not to commit a crime but to prevent the crime of US
warmaking. I asked "why is it a crime to pray for peace at the
Pentagon?" I never did get an answer from either prosecutor or judge. I concluded my
case by saying that the government failed to prove that I was guilty of
disorderly conduct and asked the judge to heed St. Paul's admonition
that "love is the fulfillment of the law." In short order, Judge Poretz
found me guilty.

During my sentencing statement I told the judge that I stand in a long
tradition of people of faith--from biblical times to now--who have
acted for peace and nonviolently resisted war and injustice. I described the
works of mercy and peacemaking we do at Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. And I
invited him and the prosecutor to join with us in ending war and creating a
nonviolent world. When I invited him to follow the example of the
German judges who were arrested in Mutlangen for protesting US nuclear weapons
deployment on German soil, he cut me off.

In his sentencing remarks the judge said that because the prosecutor
was not asking for jail time he wouldn't give me a jail sentence. He also
acknowledged that I would not comply with probation so he would not
place me on probation. Although he acknowledged that I probably would not pay a
fine, he proceded to fine me $500 but said that it was up to the prosecutor
to determine whether the fine should be pursued. Indeed, I have never had
a sentence quite like this one. It will be interesting to see what the
government prosecutors do for I have no intention of paying the fine.

We keep our eyes on the prize and hold on!

In peace and hope,

Art

Related Link: http://www.jonahhouse.org
author by Bill - Citizen's for Peace in Spacepublication date Sat Nov 18, 2006 23:16author address Colorado, USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

In October 2002, three Dominican nuns known as "The Sacred Earth and Space Plloowshares" began the nonviolent disarmament of an ICBM missile silo in Colorado, USA. The dramatic action happened in the context of Bush's war drum beating about going to war over Iraq's (nonexistant WMD). The sisters were sentenced to years in jail following a kangaroo court in which they were stopped from raising any central issues to their defence. See link below for background.....

http://www.plowsharesactions.org/sacred_earth_and_space...2.htm

Thy were released several months ago but the state is demanding $3,000 restitution or threatens to return them to jail. The sisters have come up with a creative way of engaging the restitution issue by heading to Denver and starting a canned food drive for the air forc epersonnel many who are reduced to living off food stamps etc.............

Thursday Nov 16th.

At 6:20 this morning, Chris Keating the probation officer for
Dominican Sisters Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert ordered them by
phone to return to Baltimore within 24 hours. The canned goods
collected yesterday was refused by both the U.S. attorney's office and
the office of Judge Robert Blackburn. As a result four Denver groups
have come forward to help with distributing the food directly to Air
Force needy families. They are Code Pink, Denver AFSC, the Denver DAV
and Veterans for Peace. Ardeth, Jackie and Carol will return to the
downtown street outside the Prosecutors office again today to continue
collecting the restitution food inventory so the project can be
completed as soon as possible. Carol and Ardeth informed their
probation officer that they would be finishing the job they started
out to do along with Sister Jackie Hudson.

Related Link: http://www.plowsharesactions.org/sacred_earth_and_space_plowshares%202.htm
author by Jonahpublication date Tue Nov 21, 2006 18:55author address USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

The Judge who sentenced Greg Boertje to a year in jail for the WMD Plowshares made comments about his irresponsibility as a father for risking jail time in anti-war resistance. below is the repsonse from his wife Michelle and daughter Rachel

http://www.jonahhouse.org/WMD%20Here%20Plowshares/write.htm

Related Link: http://www.jonahhouse.org/WMD%20Here%20Plowshares/write.htm
author by Updatepublication date Tue Nov 28, 2006 16:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Truckloads of food are being delivered into Buckley Air Force Base in
Aurora, CO at 10:30 A.M. and Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs
on Tuesday, Nov. 28th. This food is designated for children of military
families who are in special need.

The cans of food have been collected by grateful Dominican Sisters
Jackie Hudson, Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte in lieu of their restitution of
$3082.00 which was mandated by Judge Robert Blackburn, demanded by
Prosecutor Robert Brown to be given to the Air Force, and complies,
with the consciences of the three Sisters. This collection far surpasses
the amount required by the court for the Sacred Earth and Space Plowshare
symbolic and nonviolent action.

They have had assistance from the following:
Colorado Veterans for America, Veterans for Peace, Military Families
Speak Out, Women in Black, Code Pink, American Friends Service Committee,
Front Range Coalition for Middle East Peace, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice
Center, Denver Catholic Worker, Loretto Community, Boulder Friends
Meeting, Citizens for Peace in Space, and hundreds of people from
Religious Congregations, Churches, peace communities, and individuals.

For your information:

There will be a gathering in front of Aurora Community College
on Center Tech Parkway in Aurora at l0:00 A.M. to prepare for the
caravan onto the bases.

Also, many cans of food have been sent to the U.S. District
Attorney Robert Brown’s office at 1225 W. 17th , Suite 700 in
Denver and are also designated for children inneed on the Air
Force Bases.

Background:

1. On Nov. 8, 2005 Judge Blackburn issued a judgment requesting an
alternative restitution plan of community service, stating that he was
aware that the Sisters are indigent, have taken a vow of poverty and because of religious and
political beliefs will not pay with funds the restitution amount.

2. In mid-December 2005 the U.S. District Attorney, Robert Brown
responded to the lengthy community service plan submitted by the lawyers of the
Sisters stating that nothing was acceptable unless it be given directly
to the victim, the Air Force.

3. Judge Blackburn denied the Sister’s alternative community service
plan in mid-October, 2006.

4. Nov. 28, 2006 over $4,000 worth of food is being delivered to
children of Air Force military families on food stamps and assistance.

Contact for further information:

Dominican Sisters - 360-286-9036
Bill Sulzman - 719-389-0644
Mary Casper -303-807-2109

--

Related Link: http://www.jonahhouse.org
author by make it an issuepublication date Tue Nov 28, 2006 18:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0523/shannon.html

Time to protest at shannon to force the govts hand!!!

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0523/shannon.html
author by Updatepublication date Wed Nov 29, 2006 17:54author address Colorado, USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Three Domican nuns who served years in prison for a nonviolent disarmament (plowshares) action on an ICBM nuclear missile silo in 2002 are refusing to pay cash restitution to the military. Instead they embarked on a fod drive for Air Force families......

http://www.jonahhouse.org/Nuns/cans/Burnett3.htm

Related Link: http://www.jonahhouse.org/Nuns/cans/Burnett3.htm
author by Srs. Jackie, Ardeth & Carol - Plowsharespublication date Sun Dec 03, 2006 18:54author address Colorado, USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

To each of you who sent food in our names and lent so much support,

Our message regarding the collection of food for children of military
families on food stamps and assistance went out far and wide and the
food deliveries to the prosecutor and to us on the Colorado streets were
overwhelming. We owe you gratitude that can only be put into words of
thanks to God for you and to you in this communicative way that
searches for more meaningful words.

This is more background: In an ORDER dated, November 8, 2005, Judge
Blackburn stated: "defendant is indigent and subject to a continuing
vow of poverty as a Dominican Sister. Thus, defendant is presently and
prospectively unable to pay the special victim's fund assessment and
restitution.

"Defendant may be willing to perform community service in lieu of
restitution, which she refuses to pay on personal, religious and
political grounds. I propose to permit defendant a reasonable time to formulate
and submit a plan for community service in lieu of restitution."

We were given until December 12, 2005 to file our plan, which we did on
December 2, 2005. The judge ordered that the plan include: " the
identification of the persons or entities (other than the U.S. government
or military or Plowshares) for which defendant proposes to perform
community service" plus the description of the service; number of hours
to be performed; time period during which said service would be performed.
He further stated in this ORDER: "That depending on defendant's
community service plan and the government's response, I shall either rule on the
papers or schedule appropriate in-court proceedings."

Our plan filed with the court on Dec. 2, 2005 included our lives of
community service; time given to counseling within the prison system;
knitting of many items to be distributed to the poor in surrounding
areas;
documentation of over $600,000.00 of gifts or in-kind services given in
our name to various "life giving" projects (food programs; housing;
educational efforts etc.) to be used in lieu of this restitution amount
of $3,082.

The prosecutor rejected our submitted plan stating: "These defendants
deserve no alternative other than making restitution to the victim and
the object of their crime - the United States Government, and in
particular, the United States Air Force."

We then waited until October 18, 2006 (ten months later) for the
Judge's response: "After careful consideration of the defendants' plan and
motions and the government's response...I reject defendants' proposed plans and
deny their motions."

It was after receiving this that the inspiration came as to how we
might fulfill the prosecutors demand that the US Air Force receive direct
recompense. In conscience we cannot and will not pay money to an
entity engaged in warfare, (nor do we wish anyone to do so in our names),so a
plan was conceived to collect cans of food to be presented to children
of Air Force personnel, primarily those who are on public assistance /food
stamps, etc. We have studied the data and were assured by Base
personnel that there truly was a need.

This food collection took place in Denver, CO from November 15 - 27,
2006.

Cans of food were also being received by mail from supporters around
the country in the offices of Prosecutor Robert Brown in Denver, CO.

A medically retired (cancer due to Agent Orange) Vietnam Veteran made
arrangements at Buckley AFB in Aurora, CO for the delivery on Tuesday,
November 28th. The base officer directed him to deliver the food to
Building #2. However, upon arrival at the base the food trucks were
turned back. There had been a "high level" meeting on the base that
morning resulting in the rejection of the food, citing "security
concerns" and a statement regarding the fact that they could not accept this food
since it was being considered as "restitution in a criminal case that
is pending.”

Another, delivery at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, CO was likewise
turned back because of a phone call from Buckley AFB.

We then took the food to Centers where it will be used and distributed
to the homeless in Denver and Colorado Springs, many of whom are Veterans.

Obviously, we are disappointed that the stated need of assistance could
not be relieved and that the base officials could not separate the
issues of food relief for their personnel and our hope that this would be
acceptable to the prosecutor as direct restitution to the US Air Force.

A detailed list of the food items we collected has been presented to
our Probation Officer (20 pages) and we are told that the Prosecutor will
also send an accounting of the mailed cans he has received. The Probation
Officer will then send these lists on to the Judge. We now await the
Judge's response, making this another special season of Advent waiting.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that
matter." MLK, Jr.

Related Link: http://www.jonahhouse.org
author by Micehele Naar-Obed - Duluth Catholic Workerpublication date Fri Dec 08, 2006 21:21author address Duluth, USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Friends,

Just received some great news. Both Greg and Michael Walli, WMD Here
Plowshares activisit are now in the Duluth Fed Prison Camp. The
marshals felt bad for Greg because there was not enough room on the
plane to go to Oklahoma yesterday so they drove him from the county
jail in SD directly to Duluth. Along the way, Greg met up with Michael
and there you have it. Wonders never cease. So forget all that I last
emailed regarding Michaels address in ND and Carl is still in transit
so no address for him yet. When you write Michael and Greg you have to
use their prison numbers so here it is:

Greg Boertje-Obed #08052-016
Michael Walli #92108-020
Duluth Federal Prison Camp
FPC POBox 1000
Duluth, MN 55814

Drop them a line and welcome them back to Duluth. Rachel and I will
get to visit Greg this Saturday. It will be Rachel's first visit since
June 20.

Thanks and peace,
Michele Naar-Obed
Duluth Catholic Worker
(218) 728-0629

Related Link: http://www.jonahhouse.org
author by Frankpublication date Fri Dec 22, 2006 17:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fr Carl Kabat has landed at the Fed Prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. We
do not know yet if he will do his time inside the walls at the Fed Pen
or at the Fed Camp located outside the Fed Pen in Terre Haute. Below
is his address and for any updates call the Karen Catholic Worker
House in St Louis MO at 314-621-4052

Carl Kabat 03230-045
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
P.O. BOX 33
TERRE HAUTE, IN 47808

Carl's co defendants are at the Fed Prison Camp in Duluth MN and their
add. are:

Greg Boertje-Obed #08052-016
Michael Walli #92108-020
Duluth Federal Prison Camp
FPC POBox 1000
Duluth, MN 55814

You can contact Michele Naar-Obed, Duluth Catholic Worker
(218) 728-0629 for updates on Greg and Michael.

Please remember these fellow Catholic Workers in your prayers this
Christmas season and drop them a note.....

Related Link: http://www.jonahhouse.org
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