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Sep-14-2011 20:31printcomments

Jesus Christ, PIA's and Nuclear Resistance

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Genius will not. Education will not. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." - Calvin Coolidge

Nuclear protest
Photos by Eileen Fleming

(TENNESSEE) - Today, the third of The Y-12 Thirteen were sentenced. They were arrested on 5 July 2010 after crossing through the thin strands of barbed wire at the Y-12 Oak Ridge, nuclear weapons site in Tennessee and charged with trespassing.

Their motives were fueled by faith/conscience in protest of the continued and soon to be expanded production of Hydrogen Bomb materials at the Y-12 Complex.

Y-12 produced the Uranium used to make the Atom Bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

International Law and treaties signed by the American Government prohibit such production and our obligations under the NPT require the U.S. to dismantle its nuclear arsenal; not refurbish or modernize it.

The Nuremberg Principles established at the end of WWII were used to prosecute German citizens for failing to do what the Y-12 nuclear resisters did: object to the criminal activities of their country!

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Genius will not. Education will not. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."-Calvin Coolidge

Leaders of 30 Years of Nuclear Resistance [left to right] Ralph Hutchison,
Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa, Bonnie Urfer, John LaForge, on the 4th of 2010.

Once upon a time, there was an old widow, who lived in a certain town with a judge who cared nothing about justice, people or God. But an old widowed crone kept coming to him with her plea, "Grant me justice against my adversary."

The judge ignored her until she became such a PIA [pain in the ass] he finally muttered to himself, "Even though I don't fear God or care a hoot about this old crone, she has become such a PIA, I will give into her, just to get her to leave me alone!" [Paraphrased from a story Jesus told in Luke 18 1-5]

When it comes to confronting hypocrites in high places and the injustices they commit, I am a royal PIA.

I also was an eyewitness to that day when thirteen persistent nonviolent nuclear resisters were arrested at the Y-12 Oak Ridge, nuclear weapons site in Tennessee.

Just prior to the arrests The Declaration of Independence from Nuclear Weapons at Y-12, was read:

The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 indicted a government that engaged in barbaric conduct contrary to the laws of Humanity that included "works of death, destruction and tyranny unparalleled in the most barbaric ages" until the Age of Now!

Current Law requires an end to all planning, preparation, production, threat, or use of nuclear weapons and we the people have gathered here today, July 4, 2010 at Y-12 to demand this Government adhere to the fundamental rules and principles of Humanitarian Law.

These rules and principles require that civilians never be the object of attack. Consequently we must never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilians and military targets.

Whereas, all W-76 and W-76-1 thermonuclear secondaries produced at Y-12 are designed and produced to unleash 100 KT of uncontrollable and indiscriminate heat, blast and radiation, six times more than the Hiroshima Bomb,

Whereas, the International Court of Justice found that the destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time, and that the potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet,

Whereas, citizens have both rights and duties we the people of conscience must ensure future generations their right to life,

Whereas, under the principals of democracy we the people of conscience demand this government to fulfill its promise and responsibilities to pursue and achieve nuclear disarmament,

We the people of conscience therefore exercise the right of every citizen of this republic and this planet to peacefully resist the nuclear threat; attacking as it does every core concept of human rights.

Whereas it is a basic human right to be free of threat or violence, and it is our duty to protect children and future generations we call on this government to use our tax dollars that are now being used to wage permanent war unequivocally demand they be used to pursue a nuclear free world and clean up all chemical and radioactive contamination.

Jean & Mr. Gump a few hours prior to her arrest and incarceration on 7/5/10.

Jean Gump was the first of the Y12 nonviolent nuclear resisters to be sentenced in federal court in Knoxville by Judge Bruce Guyton. He sentenced Jean to time served and ordered her to pay a fine of $500. The Federal Prosecutor asked the judge to sentence Jean to four more months in prison and five years of supervised release. The judge declined the probation and noted that Jean had served nearly a month in custody when she then signed bond papers and was released on recognizance.

When Father Bill Bichsel (Bix) was sentenced to three months in prison he said, “Judge, I come here with grave misgivings about the way we as a nation are headed.”

He also spoke about a sermon he heard preached on September 11, 2011, “about the power of intention. An intention to destroy or damage can reverberate throughout the country in a devastating way. So we have to think, personally and nationally, about where we are going.

“It’s important to live intentionally throughout life, apologizing if necessary. It makes a difference in this life what we do.

“I have an abiding faith in America [Martin Luther King, Jr. said] and an audacious faith in the future of humankind…Unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

At the conference and celebration of 30 years of The Nuke Resister and
Nukewatch on 3 July 2010, Kathy Kelly addressed the crowd in front of the
Funeral Banner made from the cloth cut from the clothes of PLOWSHARES
8, Father Philip Francis Berrigan as he lay dying in his bed.

“When we threaten other nations with nuclear weapons, we can hardly say we are bent on peace, sisterhood and brotherhood. Nagasaki and Hiroshima have shown us the terrible destructive power of these bombs. We can do something as a nation instead of using our power to show Afghans around, we can share with one another, enter into a dialogue.

“Myself, in this court of justice, I want today to recommit myself to justice, to nonviolence, to the love of Jesus, to work with others of different beliefs. I recommit myself in the spirit of Gandhi, of Martin Luther King, Jr, of Oscar Romero.” [1]

Father Berrigan also said: "If enough Christians followed the gospel, they could bring any state to its knees."

Reverend Ralph Hutchison is the Executive Director of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance. On 14 September he reported:

After denouncing Bonnie Urfer as a ‘prolific criminal,’ Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton handed down the maximum sentence allowed under federal sentencing guidelines—eight months in prison—in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“‘The court finds you are a prolific criminal,” he said, noting her more than 50 convictions for trespass on federal property and other arrests of unknown disposition. ‘You are not deterred by sentences, and you have regularly informed courts that you will not comply with terms of supervised release and your actions have validated that promise. You most likely will not stop. So the only way to insure you will not continue this behavior that has become your routine, if you will, is to separate you from the community.’”

In her sentencing statement, Urfer stated:

“One of the most unpleasant things in life is to go to jail. But because they are places with some of the worst human rights violations in one of the most unjust systems, it is important that people know what happens in them. We need people in jails who have a voice, and people who know to tell the truth.

“In the past 126 days I have been booked into three different jails. The hardest part of the experience is being just one person in the midst of so much systematic crime.

“Do I refocus and put my energy into exposing the on-going crime of medical negligence in these jails? Do I begin a campaign to highlight the illegal starvation diet in the Blount County jail, for which no one has been arrested? Do I join the effort to condemn the practice of overcharging mostly dirt poor inmates for phone calls, and commissary, so that corporations and counties receive greater kickbacks? Should I add my voice to those in this courthouse who show up protesting unjust sentences for nonviolent conspiracy charges? Or should I spend all of my time researching how many prosecutors, judges, attorneys, court clerks and law enforcement personnel who hold stock in the private prison industry, commissary companies, phone providers or medical contractors in these human warehouses?

“I heartily disagree with this court that Y12’s production of nuclear bombs does not equate to imminent nuclear war. I can tell you about the women I met in the jails who lost family members from cancer after exposure to radiation while working at Y12. The government pays $150,000 to those with cancer or to their family after a death, if they can prove Y12’s liability. Thousands of people are dead or dying from weapons production. How many deaths does it take to convince the courts that Y12 is killing its own in a nuclear war? How many does it take to name it a crime?”

“It doesn’t matter what my sentence is. If I am returned to jail, I’ll expose more crimes. If I am set free, I’ll expose more crimes.” [2]

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever.  Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack...And never, never, never, never, ever, never give up." - Sir Winston Churchill

In 1987, Israeli Nuclear Resister, Mordechai Vanunu wrote from his windowless tomb sized jail cell that held him captive for 18 years for objecting to the criminal activities of his country:

"No government, not even the most democratic, can force us to live under this threat. No state in the world can offer any kind of security against this menace of a nuclear holocaust, or guarantee to prevent it.

"Any country, which manufactures and stocks nuclear weapons, is first of all endangering its own citizens. This is why the citizens must confront their government and warn it that it has no right to expose them to this danger. Because, in effect, the citizens are being held hostage by their own government, just as if they have been hijacked and deprived of their freedom and threatened.

"When governments develop nuclear weapons they are violating the basic rights of their citizens, the basic right not to live under constant threat of annihilation." [3]

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. submitted, “that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

 

Still to be sentenced are: Sr. Carol Gilbert and Sr. Ardeth Platte on Sept. 16. Michael Walli on  Sept. 19. Brad Lyttle and  Steve Baggarly on Sept. 20.  Sr. Mary Dennis Lentch and Paula Rosdatter Sept. 21 and Dave Corcoran and Dennis Duvall Sept. 22.


You can email the Judge in their behalf here


 

1. http://orepa.org/first-report-on-sentencing-of-y12-resisters/

2. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/14-4

3. BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010

________________________________________________________________

Eileen Fleming is a Citizen of CONSCIENCE for House of Representatives 2012. Founder of WeAreWideAwake.org, Staff Member of Salem-news.com, A Feature Correspondent for Arabisto.com and Columnist for Veteranstoday.com. She is the Producer of "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" and Author of "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" and BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker : 2005-2010

You can send Eileen Fleming an email at this address: ecumei@gmail.com

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Anonymous September 16, 2011 10:49 am (Pacific time)

UPDATE of the Y-12 Nuclear Resisters


DAY THREE • 16 September 2011
Carol Gilbert

By Ralph Hutchison

Carol Gilbert, arrested at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in July 2010 and convicted in May 2011 on a misdemeanor trespass charge, appeared before Judge Bruce Guyton for sentencing on Friday, September 16, 2011. Carol’s pre-sentencing investigation determined her sentencing range—points for prior offenses, added to points for the current offense—at 1-7 months.

Assistant District Attorney Melissa Kirby announced the government had no objections to the pre-sentencing report and sought a “just and fair sentence,” noting Carol had already served four months.

In her elocution, delivered just before the judge handed down his sentence, Carol said, “We do not choose jail. We do choose nonviolent direct action. We do choose to try to uphold Article 6 of the United States Constitution which was not allowed in this courtroom. We do choose life over death. But we do not choose jail.”

Carol declared that Oak Ridge can not continue to refurbish and upgrade nuclear warheads and, at the same time, adhere to humanitarian law and the laws of war. She spoke of women she met in jail who had horror stories to tell of the damage done to their families, health, and the environment by the work at Y12.

Drawing a distinction between civil disobedience, which breaks a specific law to accomplish a greater good, and civil resistance, which acts to uphold a law based on the citizen responsibilities established at Nuremberg to resist government crimes. Carol described her presence in the courtroom, along with her co-defendants, as drops of water—drops of water that, over time, wear away the stone.

Carol closed her statement with a remembrance of Jackie Hudson, to which the gathered audience responded, “Presente!”

The judge then sentenced Carol to time served, imposed no fine or probation.

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