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MONDAY April 28 - Anti-Trident nuclear weapons "Disarm Plowshares" Sentencing U.S.A.

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Sunday March 27, 2011 21:55author by Ciaron Report this post to the editors

They're Heading to Jail for Us, We're on the Loose for Them!

Here are the government recommendations for sentencing of each of the
Disarm Now Plowshares set for sentencing Monday March 28, 2011
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/events/ :
*One of the defendants Catholic Worker, Jesuit & Wobbly Fr. Bill "Bix" Bichsel
was at pre-trial court hearings in Dublin and Derry in solidarity the Pitstop Ploughshares and Raytheon 9.

MONDAY April 28 - Disarm Plowshares Senetencing U.S.A.

Here are the government recommendations for sentencing of each of the
Disarm Now Plowshares set for sentencing Monday March 28, 2011
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/events/ :
SOLDARITY VIGIL U.S. EMBASSY/LONDON
Monday 28 March, 2011, 12noon-6pm

Fr Steve Kelly - 3 years in prison, plus 3 years supervised release -
restitution of $7405;
Susan Crane - 30 months imprisonment, plus 3 years supervised release
- restitution of $7405;
Sr Anne Montgomery - 6 months imprisonment, plus 6 months home
confinement as part of 3 years supervised release - restitution of
$7405;
Lynne Greenwald - 7 months imprisonment, plus 7 months home
confinement as part of 3 years supervised release - restitution of
$7405;
Fr Bill "Bix" Bichsel - 6 months imprisonment, plus 6 months home
confinement as part of 3 years supervised release - restitution of
$7405.

Judge will decide Monday March 28, 2011.

* LONDON SOLIDARITY/ ANTI-NUCLEAR WEAPONS VIGIL
Contact Ciaron Ph/Text 079-392 90576

Where US Embassy, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ
(Bond Street / Marble Arch tube)
Map: http://london.usembassy.gov/embassy_location.html

* BACKGROUND ON THE "DISARM PLOWSHARES" WASHINGTON STATE, USA

In the early hours of 2 November, 2009, five veteran peace
activists were arrested at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor,
Washington, USA. Their crime? Cutting fences and walking
onto the grounds of the Trident strategic nuclear weapons
facility. They carried a banner, trailed blood, and
scattered sunflower seeds, and hammered symbolically for
disarmament.

The five are: Bill “Bix” Bischel, S.J 81 (Tacoma Catholic Worker & I.W.W.),
Susan Crane, 65 (Jonah House http://www.jonahhouse.org/),
Lynne Greenwald, 60;
Steve Kelly, S.J., 60;
Sr. Anne Montgomery RSCJ, 83.(formerly CPT Hebron http://cpt.org/ )

* MORE BACKGROUND ON THE DISARM PLOWSHARES ACTION
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/about/

They say: "As U.S. citizens we are responsible under the
Nuremberg Principles for this threat of first-strike
terrorism hanging over the community of nations, rich and
poor."

* VIDEOS
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/videos/

* CONVICTED

On December 13, 2010, a federal jury found the five guilty
of trespass, felony damage to federal property, felony
injury to property and felony conspiracy to damage
property.

On Monday 28 March, they will return to court to discover
their fate.

* LONDON SOLIDARITY VIGIL/ U.S. EMBASSY

The London vigil has been called by members of London Catholic
Worker, Figtree and Trident Ploughshares

http://www.londoncatholicworker.org
http://www.figtree.org.uk
http://www.tridentploughshares.org

* MORE INFO ON THE DISARM NOW PLOWSHARES FIVE

http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com
http://www.jonahhouse.org/Disarm_Now_Plowshares/DNPinde....html
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/about
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/sen...-jail
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/jur...trial

author by Ciaronpublication date Mon Mar 28, 2011 08:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I called the crew in Tacoma, Washington state/USA. last night and spoke to three of the defendants. They were all in good form. Also spoke to Catholic Workers who had traveled up the west coast (George Manly who I was at L.A.C.W. with in '89, he then spent 3 years founding a CW in Mexico and now at CW in Guadalupe/ California) and over from the east coast (Kathy Boylan from the D,C, C.W.) both George and Kathy are former anti-war prisoners themselves so they know the signiicance of solidarity.

Spoke to Lynn Greenwald, she has been living on the west coast for 20 years after being at Jonah House in the '80's. Jonah House founded in the mid-70's by anti-Vietnam War resisters the late Phil Berrigan and Liz McAlister has been the major hub of the plowshares movement for the past 30 years. Many people, like myself and Lynn, who passed through Jonah House went to prison for nonvioent resitance to U.S. wars and war preparations. Lynn was there in the '80's and I was there '87 and '89, when Jonah House was located in a Baltimore row house - where all the Berrigan kidz were born in the house and raised. Lynne has been focused on the Trident Base at Bangor, Washington state, for quite some time. She was upbeat on the phone and grateful that we are heading to London's U.S. embassy today as they head to jail - for saying with their lives and liberty, NO to Trident and nuclear weapons.

Spoke to defendant Susan Crane similarly upbeat. Susan was a teacher in California for years before moving to Jonah House which itself relocated into a dormant (is that the right word?) 20+ acre old Irish cemetery in Baltimore.
http://jwww.onahhouse.org
If you are familiar with the series "The Wire" that is the neighborhood where the series is set and fimed and where Baltimore Catholic Worker hospitality house is located and Jonah is not far from that. Susan expressed gratitude for the solidarity work we are doing around Bradley Manning and Julian Assange in England..

The second time I called back, Bill "Bixchell was in the house, great man that he is. Bill was ordained a Jesuit in Berlin "before the wall went up"! He he is into his '80's and lives and works at the Tacoma Catholic Worker and has done a lot of jail time previously for nonviolent resistance against nuclear weapons and the School of the Americas http://soaw.org In one jail he was previously in, in Washington state, he could actually see the seminary in which he was trained! Bill is a long time member of the International Workers of the World (I.W.W.) and carries some of Joe Hill's ashes! Bill was happy that his Jesuit provincial had attended a solidarity mass yesterday with them, where the provinicial spoke strongly against nuclear weapons, if not that enthusiastic that two of his Jesuits are heading to jail again. (Fr. Steve Kelly SJ another Disarm Plowshares defendant has been recommended a 3 year sentence or this action!)

Bill stayed with us in Ireland and attended a PItstop Ploughshare pre-trial hearing, blessing us as we went into court (that worked, we got acquitted!). He also tavelled to Derry to attend a pre-trial for the Raytheon 9. Bill has a great sense of humour a expressed in this satirical clip from the "Seattle Times" dealing with their action.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/flatpages/video/mediac...80001

Fr. Steve Kelly S.J., I didn't get to speak to and have never met. Steve is a long time anti-war resister and has done a lot of jail time, much of it in solitary for nonviolent nonco-operation with the prison industrial complex.

Also didn't get a chance to speak to Sr. Anne Montgomery RSCJ, who I met many times while I lived in the U.S. '87 and '89-'93. Anne is a wonderful woman, the daughter of an admiral in the U.S. Navy. Like Bill, Anne is in her '80's and I recall a conversation about her growing up in San Diego and the advent of television (it's all been downhill for us all from there!) She worked for many years as a teacher in Harlem and more recently lived for many years with the Christian Peace Maker Team in Hebron where she was well respected by local Muslims, Jewish solidarity activists, christians and secular activists of the I.S.M.

Great crew of people heading to jail today for resisitng the nuclear weapons that many of us have learnt to live with and don't even acknowledge the existence of. If you would like to send a solidarity letter or postcard to any of these individuals send it c/-
Jonah House
1301 Moreland Ave
Baltimore,
Maryland 21216
U.S.A.............the folks there will add the federal prison number and redirect it to the jail the plowshares activist is in!

Related Link: http://dublincatholicworker.org
author by not the photogpublication date Mon Mar 28, 2011 20:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nagsa, Buddhist Monk, Peace Pagoda, Battersea Park London

Plowshares Activists Ciaron O'Reilly (ANZUS '91, Jabiluka '98, Pitstop '03) and Chris Cole (BAe '93)

more info http://www.craftech.com/~dcpledge/brandywine/plow/Chron....html

img_3696.jpg

img_3703.jpg

img_3704.jpg

img_3705.jpg

author by Imprisoned by Bill Quigley - Plowshares Solidaritypublication date Tue Mar 29, 2011 06:18author address Washington state, U.S.A.author phone + 1 425-445-2190 (U.S.A.)Report this post to the editors

* You can send a letter or postcard of solidarity for redirection to any of the individual defendants
c/- Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
16159 Clear Creek Road NW Poulsbo, WA 98370
U.S.A.

"Two Grandmothers, Two Priests and a Nun go onto a Nuclear Base:
Prison for Peacemakers in Tacoma WA"
By Bill Quigley.

(Bill is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a
law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Bill is part of the
legal team supporting the defendants and was in Tacoma for the
sentencing. You can learn more about the defendants at
disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com.

Two grandmothers, two priests and a nun were sentenced in federal
court in Tacoma, WA Monday March 28, 2011, for confronting hundreds of
US nuclear weapons stockpiled for use by the deadly Trident
submarines.

Sentenced were: Sr. Anne Montgomery, 83, a Sacred Heart sister from
New York, who was ordered to serve 2 months in federal prison and 4
months electronic home confinement; Fr. Bill Bischel, 81, a Jesuit
priest from Tacoma Washington, ordered to serve 3 months in prison and
6 months electronic home confinement; Susan Crane, 67, a member of the
Jonah House community in Baltimore, Maryland, ordered to serve 15
months in federal prison; Lynne Greenwald, 60, a nurse from Bremerton
Washington, ordered to serve 6 months in federal prison; and Fr. Steve
Kelly, 60, a Jesuit priest from Oakland California, ordered to serve
15 months in federal prison. They were also ordered to pay $5300 each
and serve an additional year in supervised probation. Bischel and
Greenwald are active members of the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent
Action, a community resisting Trident nuclear weapons since 1977.

What did they do?

Seattle Times: “Old vs. Navy,” Bill Bichsel, SJ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63B_PaQatco

In the darkness of All Souls night, November 2, 2009, the five quietly
cut through a chain link perimeter fence topped with barbed wire.

Carefully stepping through the hole in the fence, they entered into
the Kitsap-Bangor Navy Base outside of Tacoma Washington – home to
hundreds of nuclear warheads used in the eight Trident submarines
based there.

Walking undetected through the heavily guarded base for hours, they
covered nearly four miles before they came to where the nuclear
missiles are stored.

The storage area was lit up by floodlights. Dozens of small gray
bunkers – about the size of double car garages - were ringed by two
more chain link fences topped with taut barbed wire.

USE OF DEADLY FORCE AUTHORIZED one sign boldly proclaimed. Another
said WARNING RESTRICTED AREA and was decorated with skull and
crossbones.

This was it – the heart of the US Trident Pacific nuclear weapon
program. Nuclear weapons were stored in the bunkers inside the
double fence line.

Wire cutters cut through these fences as well. There they unfurled
hand painted banners which said “Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident
Illegal and Immoral”, knelt to pray and waited to be arrested as dawn
broke.

What were they protesting against?

Each of the eight Trident submarines has 24 nuclear missiles on it.
The Ground Zero community explains that each of the 24 missiles on one
submarine have multiple warheads in it and each warhead has thirty
times the destructive power of the weapon used on Hiroshima. One
fully loaded Trident submarine carries 192 warheads, each designed to
explode with the power of 475 kilotons of TNT force. If detonated at
ground level each would blow out a crater nearly half a mile wide and
several hundred feet deep.

The bunker area where they were arrested is where the extra missiles are stored.

In December 2010, the five went on trial before a jury in federal
court in Tacoma charged with felony damage to government property,
conspiracy and trespass.

But before the trial began the court told the defendants what they
could and could not do in court. Evidence of the medical consequences
of nuclear weapons? Not allowed. Evidence that first strike nuclear
weapons are illegal under US and international law? Not allowed.
Evidence that there were massive international nonviolent action
campaigns against Trident missiles where juries acquitted protestors?
Not allowed. The defense of necessity where violating a small law,
like breaking down a door, is allowed where the actions are taken to
prevent a greater harm, like saving a child trapped in a burning
building? Not allowed.

Most of the jurors appeared baffled when defendants admitted what they
did in their opening statements. They remained baffled when questions
about nuclear weapons were objected to by the prosecutor and excluded
by the court. The court and the prosecutor repeatedly focused the
jury on their position that this was a trial about a fence.
Defendants tried valiantly to point to the elephant in the room – the
hundreds of nuclear weapons.

Each defendant gave an opening and closing statement explaining, as
much as they were allowed, why they risked deadly force to expose the
US nuclear arsenal.

Sojourner Truth was discussed as were Rosa Parks, Gandhi, and Martin
Luther King.

The resistance of the defendants was in the spirit of the civil rights
movement, the labor movement, the suffragist movement, the abolition
of slavery movement.

Crowds packed the courtroom each of the five days of trial. Each
night there was a potluck and a discussion of nuclear weapons by
medical, legal and international experts who came for the trial but
who were largely muted by the prosecution and the court.

While the jury held out over the weekend, ultimately, the activists
were convicted.

Hundreds packed the courthouse today supporting the defendants. The
judge acknowledged the good work of each defendant, admitted that
prison was unlikely to deter them from further actions, but said he
was bound to uphold the law otherwise anarchy would break out and take
down society.

The prosecutors asked the judge to send all the defendants to federal
prison plus three years supervised probation plus pay over five
thousand dollars. The specific jail time asked for ranged from 3
years for Fr. Kelly, 30 months for Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, 7
months in jail plus 7 months home confinement, Sr. Anne Montgomery and
Fr. Bill Bichsel, 6 months jail plus 6 months home confinement.

Each of the defendants went right into prison from the courtroom as
the spectators sang to them. Outside the courthouse, other activists
pledged to confront the Trident in whatever way is necessary to stop
the illegal and immoral weapons of mass destruction.

For more info go to: http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/

Or contact:
Leonard Eiger (U.S.A.),
+ 1 425-445-2190,

Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action
16159 Clear Creek Road NW Poulsbo, WA 98370
U.S.A.

Related Link: http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/
author by "Bix" phone call - Disarm Plowsharespublication date Sat Apr 23, 2011 06:35author address Nevada, U.S.A.author phone Report this post to the editors

*Bill "Bix" Bischell is an 81 year old Jesuit anarchist long standing member of the I.W.W. & Catholic Worker. He attended pre-trial hearings of both the Raytheon 9 in Derry and Pit Stop Ploughshares 5 in Dublin. He is presently in prison in the U.S. having been the subject of "diesal therapy" being transported from county jail in Washington state arriving in a Nevada Federal facility as he has being convicted of felonies that took place on a Federal military base. There are approx 2.2 million folks presently imprisoned with Bix in U.S. jails, Federal prisoners often end up staying in overcrowded county jails where conditions are substandard. Private telephone companies with sweetheart deals with the prison system .make a mint out of this captive desperate market.
CO'R

April 21, 2011 4:15 PM
..from Joe in the U.S.

I received a phone call from Bix at 3:50 PM today. It was a very odd
call. First a recorded message said it was a collect call from a
Federal Detention Center, then the recording changed and said the call
was “one” free call and I would not be charged.

I was connected with Bix but could hardly recognize his voice. It was
not because he sounded particularly bad, but because the voice
reception was extremely poor. I had to ask him several times to repeat
what he was saying and to speak slowly (and anyone who knows him knows
he doesn’t speak very quickly at all). When Theresa, my wife, was in
Afghanistan a few years back, the phone reception I had talking with
her was 100% better than what I experienced speaking with Bix.

To make matters worse, the “free call” they provided lasted about 60
seconds, then we were abruptly disconnected. First off, even with the
transmission disturbance, I felt his voice sounded strong enough and
vital. He managed to get across to me that he was flown from SeaTac to
Las Vegas and then bussed from Las Vegas to the Federal Detention
Center in Pahrump, Nevada.

It was the next part of the conversation that was quite something; but
was uniquely Bix. I had no idea how long we had to talk, I don’t think
he did either, but he had only one thing on his mind, “What do you
hear about Dutch, how is he doing”. I was able to say that I hadn’t
heard anything new, when we were abruptly ‘cut off’.

He didn’t talk about himself, then again he hardly ever does. He is
uniquely honed to diminish self and obsess about the wellbeing of so
many others.

In this case, Bix was asking about his dear friend, Dutch Schultz.
They have been in deep friendship from childhood. Dutch is presently
very ill. He and his wife Juanita are staying with their son Eric in
Philadelphia while Dutch undergoes evaluation and treatment for
cancer. In early March, Dutch and Juanita came to Tacoma to visit with
Bix, knowing it might be their last time together.

Bix told me several times that, as teenagers (pre Jesuit era) he and
Dutch were at the Winthrop Hotel in downtown Tacoma, in the bathroom
on the 2nd floor when they decided it was time to settle an ongoing
argument. Neither he nor Dutch ever told me which of them was the last
man standing. But I do know this – anyone who has ever had a
knockdown, drag out struggle with Bix, finds their relationship with
him is both healed and stronger for it; no matter how long it takes. I
know this note will go out to more than one who has experienced this.
While Dutch was here, we went to the Winthrop to take pictures and
reenact their Viking stances.

In the last few years, Bix’s meditations and hopes were mainly about
‘Resurrection’. May this Holy Week bring you and I to a better
awareness of his hopes.

A Blessed, Happy Easter
Joe

Related Link: http://nuclearresister.org/
author by Bix now in Oklahoma - Joe - Disarm Plowshares Solidaritypublication date Sun Apr 24, 2011 19:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

April 23, 2011
BIX IS NOW AT THE FEDERAL TRANSFER CENTER IN OKLAHOMA CITY

As of today, Bix is at the Oklahoma City FTC. This link will take you
to the federal prisoner locator site: http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/LocateInmate.jsp.
Just type in Bix's register number 86275-020 and his information will
appear. It’s not a lot but at least it tells you where he is.

So the milk run journey continues. We know where he has been, where he
is to end up; but we still don’t know where his journey is taking him;
we know his court appointed attorney is in Knoxville Tennessee.

I received a couple of letters from Steve in the last few days and
want to share some of them with you.

“Bix was taken today. My emotions are like an aquarium – I hold the
image of him: chin-up, bag of medications, newly purchased sweat
shirt, that all of the guys here say he will lose.”
(then in another letter)
“I’m feeling so many things. I have to be kindred spirits with you.
You too care for our octogenarian……
such a mensch! 3 weeks – a privilege. Of course I made his bed
whenever I could. His making the bed was the equivalent of me
sprinting around St. Leo’s and your house ----but the company,
sublime.”

Steve is trying to organize Bix’s writings and addresses (a massive
undertaking, as Bix is a prolific writer). He will then send these to
me for safekeeping until Bix returns.

Obviously missing Bix, still Steve maintains his dry wit. I sense he
will stay in the general population for now as he completes these jobs
for Bix and decides what his next move will be.

In this Holy Week, I am also sending out an excerpt from a Lenten
meditation written by Susan Crane and a couple of invitations to join
Plowshare supporters in Tacoma:

PRAYING FOR CONVERSION: A LENTEN REFLECTION
by Susan Crane

Turn our hearts
Turn our minds
Make us branches holding fast to the vine
Patient Keeper, hold us in your tender mercy, Tree of Life
This Lenten journey has been one of prayer and conversion. I wake each
morning asking god to turn my heart and mind toward nonviolence, love
and compassion. It is very humbling to be here with the women being
held, waiting for their cases to come up, waiting for sentencing,
waiting for a destination. Their stories touch my heart. Their
generosity and kindness brings a smile and a disarmed heart minute by
minute… Full reflection can be found on
Disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com (posted April 12)
We pray for the women and men held here at SeaTac and for the guards;
we pray for disarmed hearts in a disarmed world, and for the
conversion of our hearts and our weapons.
Peace, Susan

author by A29 Prison Updatepublication date Fri Apr 29, 2011 16:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

April 29, 2011

Unfortunately Bix remains in Atlanta

Kathy Boylan, Catholic Worker at Dorothy Day CW in DC, doting
grandmother, self avowed sleuth and coincidentally, dangerous sister
felon, knows something about the these federal hotels Bix has been
visiting. By the way when I say dangerous, she is so only to those who
abuse their positions of power and prestige; for more than once this
mild mannered woman has boldly exposed them for who and what they
are.

Kathy states “the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma city, built
recently, is not so bad. The environment is a little more relaxed; at
least there you can recognize the food that is served you. The Atlanta
Federal Penitentiary is a hole, the food served you there is
unrecognizable.”
I googled this USP and was reminded once again of the Cuban riots of
1987. It has history!!

Anne Montgomary

Anne and Susan remain together at SeaTac. Her first of a two month
sentence complete, she does not believe her address will be changed
and she will finish out her time there. Several times she sent short
letters for me to pass onto others. She did this because the stamps
allotted to them are restricted, for no good or otherwise reason; just
because the Department of Punishment can. Anyway, recently she was
told she cannot forward mail through a third party anymore. You know
Anne is quite a dangerous person. I guess if I were in the Fed’s
shoes, I would want to limit access to her too.

Steve Kelly

Amazingly so, a man who could write a book on noncooperation, remains
at SeaTac, Unit FA-4, in the general population and not in solitary
where he has normally spent so much time in so many prisons along the
way. Steve speaks very little about himself or his experiences but
does come back to Bix: “Bix humanized the environment…Yes, I’m glad to
have accompanied him, very consoled. He took care of me by our focus,
and we met good people, guards & priz-nerz along the way”.

Tacoma News story about Irma Gary House, talks of Bix and Lynne
Greenwald
"Like namesake, Tacoma's Irma Gary House stays the course " - The News
Tribune April 27, 2011 - CW house struggles to continue work as
volunteer director Lynne Greenwald - Plowshares Now activist sent to
jail
Published: 04/27/1112:05 am The News Tribune

KATHLEEN MERRYMAN; STAFF WRITER

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/04/27/1641636/like-n....html

Irma Gary persisted.A 29

author by M1 Prison Updatepublication date Sun May 01, 2011 08:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Susan:

According to the Federal Prisoner Locator, as of today, Susan is now
"In Transit". According to Susan a few days back, she was told she
would be going soon. I think it unusual that Susan was informed of her
move in advance; like Bix, most of the time the prisoner only finds
out they are being moved on a few minutes notice. Because of this, she
would have had time to organize her personal belongings and probably
work out with Anne Montgomery what to do with her things. Here's
hoping she was granted the federal facility outside of San Francisco,
so she might be near her 2 sons.

Lynne:

Lynne wrote a very insightful story; and it is posted on the Disarm
Now Plowshares web page; here is the link if you would like to read
it.
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/whi...ynne/

Related Link: http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com/
author by By John Dear SJpublication date Tue Jun 07, 2011 08:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Many of us are especially concerned about Fr. Bill Bischel. "Bix," as he is known, is an 83-year old Jesuit from the Tacoma Catholic Worker doing time for a plowshares disarmament action.

Fr. Bill Bischel's ordeal: Cruel and inhuman punishment
By John Dear SJ

Last week's Supreme Court ruling against California's prison system as "cruel and inhuman punishment" was not a surprise -- except in the sense that it was said publicly. Many of us who have experienced our criminal injustice system first hand know well how horrific it is. The court ruled that 35,000 California prisoners would have to be transferred or released because the system is so unjust.

The case sparked new discussion on overcrowded prisons (156,000 prisoners suffer in California prisons built for half that number), but it started years ago because of the atrocious lack of health care in California's prisons. Many prisoners died needlessly over the years, usually because they were not given their medicine.

It's not surprising either that our violent, imperial nation has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. The most recent figure says we have over 2,292,000 people in prison. The so-called "war on drugs" and mandatory sentencing laws against nonviolent offenders are partly to blame for this huge prison population.

Prison is bad for one's health, to put it mildly. During my last stint in the Las Vegas Jail for the Creech 14 action, I was stunned as the woman in charge of the main admitting area where a hundred of us sat in chains or handcuffs, yelled at us and threatened us. Then, she ordered an officer to beat up one prisoner, and he threw him against the wall. Nobody blinked.

Certainly one of the worst places I've ever been is the Robeson County Jail in North Carolina near the South Carolina border. Built for 75 people, it held 400 people when I was there for a few weeks in 1993 for our Plowshares action. One human rights report claimed that over 25 people had died in the five years previous to my stay. Most of them had been denied medicine, and were simply found dead the next morning.

I remember an elderly man serving a year for a nonviolent offense that Philip Berrigan and I had befriended. He was in the cell across the hall from us. We occasionally talked. He told us of his heart condition. We saw pills delivered to him every day. About a month after our transfer to another jail, we received word that he had died. He had argued with a jailer, so the jailer did not give him his medicine, and he died that night.

This week, many of us will gather in San Francisco to celebrate the release of Franciscan Fr. Louie Vitale after his six months in prison for protesting the "School of Americas," our U.S. assassination and terrorism school at Fort Benning, Ga. Louie's in fine fettle, as determined as ever to do what he can to resist our wars and weapons. We go to honor his indomitable spirit (See: www.paceebene.org [3]).

Last week the Nuclear Resister (www.nuclearresister.org [4]) reported that since Obama's inauguration, over 2,600 people have been arrested for similar acts of nonviolent civil disobedience against war and injustice, a stunning number given the total lack of media coverage on peace and justice movements. As our prisons continue to worsen, it's amazing that activists are willing to risk imprisonment for social change.

At the moment, some friends are currently languishing in Tennessee and Georgia jails for civil disobedience at the Y-12 nuclear complex at Oak Ridge, Tenn. (See: www.jonahhouse.org [5]). This past weekend, one friend suffered severe chest pains and was refused medical help. We are hoping and praying for her healing, and mobilizing folks to work on her behalf.

He could be released at the end of June, but will then be sentenced for his part in last year's Oak Ridge protest (and probably get another 6-12 months). Two years ago, Bix's doctor gave him six months to live. He needs to take nitro glycerine every day for his heart condition. Bix had visited Hiroshima in 2009, and was so moved that he decided to undertake civil disobedience for nuclear disarmament, even at the risk of his life. Many of us are praying with him on his paschal journey for peace.

Since he went into prison on March 28, Bix has traveled the nation. He started in the SeaTac Federal Detention Center in Seattle, Wash.; then after a few weeks, without notice, he was shipped across the country in a two week trip that nearly killed him. They flew him in chains to Las Vegas, then bused him to Pahrump, Nevada, and then flew him to Oklahoma City. From there, he was flown to the infamous Atlanta Federal Penitentiary -- a notorious transfer center where cruel and inhuman punishment is the norm. Then, he was shipped to Knoxville County Jail and landed at the Knox County Sheriff's Detention Facility where he now sits.

On April 14, Bix wrote from Seattle about his initial weeks in prison:
I shuffle around the common area, and I thank God for being here and for the peace I experience. I am not anxious or overly concerned about anything… [I have] things wrong from head to toe, move slowly, tire easily, and take a half ton of pills to prolong breath and life [but] I'm blessed by the peace and quiet spirit inside. I'm not concerned about trying to be more than I am with the other inmates. I'm trying to let them see -- and not hide or disguise -- my lack of knowledge on so many things… I'm lucky to be here.

I know I'm getting weaker -- it takes all my strength and breath to make my bunk. I have to sit down a few times in the process. It takes all I have now to do one or two slow shuffles around the common area. I don't feel panicked or upset about my condition. I know I can keel over at any time, but I feel very much at peace with this condition and understand and accept it -- thankfully -- as part of my journey.

I don't have a regular prayer time now -- but I pray and try to be alert, i.e., at rest in the presence of God. I ask God to lead me as God sees fit. There is no anxiousness or compulsiveness or resolve to preach or hold prayer sessions or do any "religious actions" -- just be and shuffle around. There are four TVs which I avoid, with their steady diet of sex and violence. I am so thankful to feel at peace with my life. It's a gift from God and I do feel God working in and with me. I could be wrong, but this is what I experience.

After Bix landed in Knoxville, his primary support person and old friend Joe Power-Drutis flew there to be near him. Joe writes regular updates about Bix and the others (see: www.disarmnowplowshares.org [6]). On May 7th, he wrote of his visit with Bix:
I am not sure what I expected to encounter but what I did see was a broken and very hurting soul. Pale, frail, mildly shaky, complaining of being unable to hear because of fluid in his ears, dizziness and lightheadedness, pointing with his fingers that he is struggling to push the right numbers on the phone -- eyes glassed over, flat affect, and complaining that his gait is so poor, yet he has been commanded to "keep moving." He requested a wheelchair and was refused. He went on to tell me with tears in his eyes that he was placed in a cell and locked in there, with woefully inadequate bedding and clothing, for a week. He repeatedly asked guards for clothing and an extra blanket, and was laughed at and ignored. At some point after repeated requests, another inmate gave up his blanket to Bix.

Bix's medical problems create a lack of blood and oxygen to his hands and feet, leaving them white and ice cold when his overall body temperature falls. Following this, his hands and feet are filled with pain, like being jabbed repeatedly with needles. He spoke of the never-ending pain, which leads to sleep deprivation, insomnia, disassociation and hallucinations.

Bix was certainly aware of what he was doing when he walked onto the base at Bangor and across the blue line at Y-12. For these acts he is ready to remain in prison and pay the ultimate price. But this in no way permits this system of criminal injustice to do what it has done to him. The unjust and unlawful acts perpetrated on him are tantamount to torture.

Yesterday, Joe told me that Bix is better. I asked Joe to ask Bix for a message, and Joe sent this on. As you see, Bix remains strong in spirit. Despite the cruel and inhuman punishment which is our evil prison system, Bix has kept his focus on Jesus and the kingdom of God. His heart is in the right place.
We Americans are lulled and brainwashed. We accept the security of nuclear weapons as our guardians. As a result, we live a type of Midas Touch, embracing gold and all that shines while we decay within from greed, addiction, and selfishness. Beyond this, we arm ourselves more and more for the destruction of others.

Jesus comes to us in the midst of this, and no matter how high the waves of empire might be, that threaten to swamp us, he invites us to walk the path he walks and to believe his Kingdom is real.

Jesus doesn't give up on us. He tells us, "Do not be afraid." He invites us to follow him and walk through the violence, to walk in resistance to the Powers that bring death. He invites us to a life of real community where we care for each other as brothers and sisters. No matter how small the seed of our efforts, the Powers fear most our attempts to come together and live as God intended us to live.

We as a people must come together and meet one another and invite the Spirit to come into our midst. "Where two or more are gathered," the Spirit will be. We must trust this and follow the call of our hearts. We are called to say "yes" to God's invitation and to be a part of God's Kingdom as it unfolds in our lives.

May we remember our imprisoned resisters and join their efforts for peace and justice, for a world without cruel and inhuman punishment.

author by 76 y-o nun releasedpublication date Sat Jun 11, 2011 21:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nuclear abolitionist Sr.Jackie Hudson is 76 years old, and has been
released, finally, after people OUTSIDE prison complained loudly
enough because the prison gave her no medical care during her cardiac
trouble:
more info on Jackie....
http://disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com

author by Released & Rearrestedpublication date Wed Sep 14, 2011 15:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Plowshares activist was released today after serving the majority of
her sentence, only to be promptly arrested for allegedly violating the
terms of her probation.

Lynne Greenwald was released earlier today from the SeaTac Federal
Detention Center in Washington State after serving five and a half
months of a six month sentence for her participation in the 2009
Disarm Now Plowshares action at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine
base and Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific.

Greenwald is a grandmother, retired social worker, peace activist, and
until her time in prison worked at Irma Gary House, a transitional
house for women recently released from prisons in Washington State.

Greenwald arrived at the Federal Progress House (the organization that
was to provide community supervision while she is under house arrest
for the remaining two weeks of her sentence) before noon as she had
been instructed by Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials. While working
through her paperwork U.S. Marshals arrived and arrested Greenwald for
allegedly violating her conditions of release. They transported her to
a holding cell in Tacoma awaiting transport back to the SeaTac Federal
Detention Center this evening.

Upon learning of Greenwald’s arrest supporters immediately contacted
the U.S. Marshal’s office as well as attorneys working on Greenwald’s
behalf.

Attorney Blake Kremer said that Greenwald was picked up on a probation
violation based on the requirement that she go “immediately” to the
halfway house (Irma Gary House). A brief videotaped interview and time
spent with well-wishers who went to the prison to meet her are the
issue. Greenwald did go directly from SeaTac to Irma Gary House and
then on to Progress House where she did what was required by checking
in before noon. The marshals were sent by the BOP, not requested by
Progress House or Irma Gary House.

According to the Marshal's office generally when Marshals pick up
someone for the BOP at a halfway house, the issue is handled
administratively and without a hearing. Kremer said that her case
could either be handled administratively or through a hearing. A
hearing would likely be held tomorrow at the U.S. District Courthouse
in Tacoma, Washington.

Greenwald and her fellow Disarm Now Plowshares co-defendants, Bill
“Bix” Bichsel, SJ, Susan Crane, Steve Kelly, SJ, and Anne Montgomery,
RSCJ, challenged the legality and morality of the US storage and
threat of use of thermonuclear missiles by Trident nuclear submarines
stationed at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base outside Bremerton
Washington. They entered the U.S. Navy’s nuclear weapons storage depot
at Bangor, Washington on November 2, 2009 to symbolically disarm the
nuclear weapons stored there, and expose the illegality of the
government's continued preparations for nuclear war.

The five admitted from the start that they cut through the chain link
fence surrounding the Navy base during the night of All Souls,
November 2, 2009. They then walked undetected for hours nearly four
miles inside the base to their target, the Strategic Weapons
Facility-Pacific. This top security area is where activists say
hundreds of nuclear missiles are stored in bunkers. There they cut
through two more barbed wire fences and went inside. They put up two
big banners which said "Disarm Now Plowshares: Trident Illegal and
Immoral," scattered sunflower seeds, and prayed until they were
arrested at dawn.

Prosecutors said the government would neither admit nor deny the
existence of nuclear weapons at the base and argued that "whether or
not there are nuclear weapons there or not is irrelevant." Prosecutors
successfully objected to and excluded most of the defense evidence
about the horrific effects of nuclear weapons, the illegality of
nuclear weapons under US treaty agreements and humanitarian law, and
the right of citizens to try to stop war crimes by their government.

After difficult deliberations the jury finally found all five
co-defendants guilty on all charges of Conspiracy, Trespass,
Destruction of Property on a Naval Installation and Depredation of
Government Property. The five co-defendants received varying sentences
including up to fifteen months confinement.

Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor and Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific
represent the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons
according to the Kansas City Star. The U.S. is currently working on
plans for a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines to replace the
current Trident fleet. The new fleet armed with nuclear armed missiles
would operate through the year 2082.

There have been more than 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions
worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4, a
book in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible, “God will judge between
the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall
beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they
train for war anymore.”

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