US Peace Activists in Büchel

Susan Crane: 6

Bonnie Urfer: 6.5

John LaForge: 4.5

Carol Gilbert: 7.5

Ardeth Platte: 7.5

Steve Baggarly: 2

Kathy Boylan: 2

_______________________

Total: 36 years prison

 

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Sister Carol Gilbert, OP, has been a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, Michigan, which she entered in 1965 at age 18, for 52 years. She has worked as a middle school teacher and a researcher at the Home for Peace & Justice involved in draft counseling, countering nuclear power and nuclear weapons, U.S. intervention in Nicaragua, criminal injustices, poverty and all of the struggles caused by it.

Sister Ardeth Platte, OP, has been a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids, Michigan for 63 years. She has been teacher, principal of an inner-city high school, administrator of an educational center and school for dropouts and expellees, elected city councilwoman for 12 years and the mayor pro tem of the city of Saginaw, Michigan for two years, and a coordinator and organizer for Advocacy for Justice and a Home for Peace and Justice.

For twelve years Sister Carol and Sister Ardeth worked full-time organizing across Michigan State to generate protest witnesses at two nuclear-armed Strategic Air Command bases, to call for nonviolent symbolic actions to eliminate the nuclear weapons. After hundreds of people were arrested, and called before the courts for civil resistance, many being jailed -- both bases were closed. They moved to Jonah House, in Baltimore, Maryland, an intentional peace community devoted to nuclear disarmament and nonviolence as a way of life. They have spent the last 23 years there doing education, organizing, and joining actions of nonviolence at the Pentagon, the White House, foreign Embassies, the United Nations, and at many US nuclear weapons and war sites. The two have done “Plowshare” or symbolic disarmament actions four times: at the Naval Base in Connecticut (“Weep for Children”), at Andrews Air Force Base (“Gods of Metal Plowshares”), Peterson AFB in Colorado (“Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares 2000”) and Weld County, Colorado (“Sacred Earth and Space II” in 2002). They have continued to witness (usually with arrests) at the Y12 factory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and in Washington, DC. The two Catholic Sisters have spent more than fifteen years altogether in jails and prisons during these many years of working for justice and peace. They are co-recipients of the International Peace and Justice Award.

Leona Morgan (Diné or “Navajo”)  works as a community organizer and activist challenging Nuclear Colonialism, specifically dealing with

Environmental Justice issues affecting indigenous peoples in the United States Southwest from uranium mining. She does much of her work through popular education and advocating for the protection of water, environment, human health, and cultural resources. In 2014, Morgan co-founded Diné No Nukes, an initiative to address impacts from all

stages of the nuclear fuel chain with a focus on Diné Bikeyah (Traditional Diné Homelands).

Dinenonukes.org

Radmonitoring.org

Haulno.org

Susan Crane, is a school teacher, mom, grandma, war tax resister, nonviolent anti-nuclear and anti-war activist, and Catholic Worker. For the past five years, she has lived and worked in Redwood City, California at a Catholic Worker house for the homeless. For the past 48 years Susan has tried to withdraw her consent from the economic and political system that is a death sentence to life on earth. She has done this through war tax resistance and nonviolent direct action. She has been in prison over 6 years for peace actions, including several Plowshares actions, which addressed the dangers, illegality and immorality of nuclear weapons. In 2005 she was part of a walk to Guantanamo prison to bring attention to U.S. use of extrajudicial detention and torture. Susan asks: “What sort of world are we leaving for our grandchildren? Will they have clean and water? Will they have affordable education, housing and medical care? Will they have a chance to live in a world where we value sharing and helping each other, instead of greed, death-dealing and war-making?” *Plowshare Actions by Susan Crane see far below!

 

Ralph Hutchison is Coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (orepa). He has served on federal and state advisory boards dealing with cleanup and health issues at nuclear facilities. He has coordinated dozen of actions at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and has been arrested numerous times for nonviolent direct action/civil disobedience. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, USA; he is the father of two grown children and the caretaker of one middle-aged cat. Ralph has traveled in Nicaragua, Scotland, India and Japan.

Carmella Cole is a student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and plans to spend her junior year in Senegal, Africa studying French and teaching. She was a lead organizer of the May 2015 Youth Action for Peace at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Carmella is an accomplished violinist.

Bonnie Urfer spent 28 years working for Nukewatch, a peace and justice group in Wisconsin, USA. As a result, she has organized everything from peace camps, to anti-nuclear walks, to H-bomb truck and train watches, disinvestment campaigns, and resistance actions for peace, justice and disarmament. She has been a writer, an artist, and graphic designer. In the course of working with Nukewatch, Bonnie engaged in a lot of civil resistance, resulting in approximately 6 and 1/2 of prison and jail time. Bonnie said: "My longest sentence, for trespassing, resulted in 19 months in federal custody, with the shortest jail stay, just hours. I currently live in at the Plowshares Land Trust, rural community, and am happily retired as of a few years ago. I spend my time reading, playing, doing art, gardening and being with my dog, Camper".

 

Steve Baggarly lives in Norfolk, Virginia, in the most militarized area on the planet. He is a husband and father and is a founding member of the Norfolk Catholic Worker community (1989). The community runs a soup-line for hungry people living on the street, and a hospitality house where a handful of homeless people with serious medical issues live. Steve has taken part in nonviolent civil resistance against war and nuclear weapons in the Norfolk area and up and down the east coast of the US, including the “Prince of Peace Plowshares” action in 1997. He has served over 2 years in jails and prisons. This will be his first time outside of the United States.

 

Kathy Boylan, 73, was born and raised in New York City and was blessed with 6 sons and became grandmother of 7.

The Catonsville Nine draft board action on May 17, 1968 inspired her peacemaking and resistance work in opposition to war, nuclear weapons and power and to close the School of the Americas, a US Army school where soldiers from Central & South America are trained in torture techniques. Kathy has participated in five Plowshares disarmament actions and poured blood on the Enola Gay (which was used Aug. 6, 1945 to drop the atomic bomb in the city of Hiroshima) when it was on display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. Kathy has served two years in federal prison. Since 1993, Kathy has been member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, DC which vigils at the Pentagon and the White House. **KATHY BOYLAN joined five plowshares actions

John LaForge, is the senior staff member at Nukewatch, in Wisconsin, where he edits its Quarterly newsletter, and is a regular contributor to PeaceVoice.org and CounterPunch.org. In 2008 and 2009 respectively, he joined other panelists in speaking to British and Dutch Parliamentarians about the outlawed nature of depleted uranium weapons used widely by the United States.

In 2003 John was Co-Organizer of the Hamburg World Uraniumweapons Conference in Germany. In 2004, John and several other defendants were found not-guilty of trespassing in a Minnesota protest case, after showing that the trespass was excused in view of the international illegality of producing depleted uranium weapons.

 

After 15 years of coalition-building and nonviolent actions against a Navy-run antenna system for first-strike nuclear war -- Project E.L.F. in Wisconsin -- the project was closed. John has spent over 4 and 1/2 years in jail and prison for antiwar actions, and is a co-recipient of the 1985 War Resisters League Peace Award, and the 2004 US Peace & Justice Studies Association Social Courage Award. He’s lived at the Plowshares Land Trust since 1989. He plays the trumpet.

 

Plowshare Action by John:

Sperry Software Pair, August 10, 1984 – Barb Katt and John snuck into a Sperry Univac building in St. Paul, Minnesota and hammered and poured blood on missile-guidance computers being made for nuclear-armed D-5 missiles for Trident ballistic missile submarines. Convicted of $36,000 damage and facing a possible 10 years in prison, US District Judge Miles Lord chose not jail them, but sentenced them to only “unsupervised probation.” The judge said in part, “They have made a plausible argument that international law forbids what our country is doing by way of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction,” and, “It is the allegation of these young people that they committed the acts here complained of as a desperate plea to the American people and its Government to stop the military madness which they sincerely believe will destroy us all, friend and enemy alike.”

Zara Brown, Photographer, guides the delegation with her camera.

*Plowshare Actions by Susan Crane

Jubilee Plowshares West

August 7, 1995

Lockheed Martin, Sunnyvale, CA

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Steve Kelly, SJ and Susan Crane climbed over a fence and walked right into the Lockheed Martin building where the Trident D-5 missiles were being made. They found a section of the missile being worked on, and hammered and poured their blood on it. Also, they hammered on another section across the aisle, and found plans that they wrote on. They put their banner, posters, and international law papers (including the Nuremberg Principles) on the floor, put down their hammers, and knelt in prayer. It was at the beginning of the morning shift, and when they looked up, there were many people around encircling us, just watching. One of the workers came from behind us and walked to the opposite side of the circle. As he passed us, he whispered, that was very brave.

They coordinated this action with Jubilee Plowshares East, who disarmed a fast-attack submarine at Newport News (VA) Shipbuilding.

The action continued in the courtroom. During the testimony, Susan tried to introduce the Nuremberg Principles into evidence. The judge stopped her three times, and then supporters in the room stood one by one to finish reading the principles. Federal Marshals removed eight supporters from the building, and removed Susan from the courtroom, also. When Steve refused to continue with the trial, the jury was removed. The trial did eventually continue. Both were found guilty of two felony counts. On March 13, 1996 both were sentenced to 10 months in prison, and 2 years supervised release.

 

Prince of Peace Plowshares

Bath Ironworks, Bath, Maine

Ash Wednesday, Feburary 12, 1997

Early in the morning, before dawn, Susan Crane, Steve Kelly, SJ, Steve Baggarly, Mark Colville, Tom Lewis-Borbely, and Phil Berrigan boarded the USS Sullivans, a nuclear capable Aegis destroyer at Bath Iron Works in Maine. They hammered and poured blood on different parts of the battleship, including the Pilot House, the Bridge, the Helicopter pad, and several missile hatch covers. Steve was able to walk into the Pilot House, where he hammered on the track ball and other items, which turned out to be particularly necessary for the running of the ship. As they read their statement, and were pushed to the icy deck and held under arrest.

During their jury trial, in the federal US District Court, they were not allowed to present expert witnesses, except for Daniel Berrigan, SJ, whose testimony was greatly restricted. When they were prevented by the Judge from speaking to the jury about the moral and legal intent of their action, they ended the trial by standing in prayer and reading a passage from Scripture.

They were all convicted of 2 felonies, and sentenced to various prison time. Susan was sentenced to 27 months, two years supervised release, and $703.89 in restitution.

 

Plowshares vs. Depleted Uranium

Maryland National Guard

Baltimore, MD Dec. 19, 1999

Early in the morning on Sunday, December 19, 1999, Philip Berrigan, Susan Crane, Rev. Steve Kelly, SJ, and Elizabeth Walz walked onto the flight-line at the Warfield National Guard base where the A-10 Thunderbolts where lined up in row. They hammered and poured blood on the planes, hammering on the Gatling gun in the nose of the place, on the pylons under the wings, and on the metal near the engines. They hung their banner Plowshares vs Depleted uranium.

Steve was pepper sprayed, Susan was tackled by the Federal Air Police, (and then consequently charged with assault).

DU is a highly toxic radioactive waste that has been used by the US to make munitions that are shot out of the gatling guns of the A-10 Thunderbolts. The DU is responsible for birth defects, and increased cancer in Iraq and in the miitary.

The Catholic judge did not allow the resisters any sort of defense. international law, the Nurenberg principles, freedom of religion, the necessity defence...all disallowed. Major Doug Rokke, in the US Army Reserve, came to the trial to speak about the effects of exposure to depleted uranium. All questions aout depleted uranium and the A-10 planes were disallowd. He was only about to give his name and academic credentials.

In response, the defendants stood at the defense table with their backs to the judge, and Susan read their statement. He was not allowed to gave sentences that were three times what the prosecutor asked for. Susan was sentenced to 27 months in prison, as well as restitution of $88,622.11

 

Disarm Now Plowshares

Bangor, Washington

Trident sub base

Nov. 2, 2009

US Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, which is homeport to half of the Trident submarine fleet, and has the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads in the US.

Bill “Bix” Bichsel, S.J., Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly, S.J., Anne Montgomery RSCJ, were arrested on Naval Base Kitsap- Bangor at the largest nuclear weapon storage area in the US.

They entered the base in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, to call attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the first strike Trident weapons system. They entered through the perimeter fence, and walked through the base for four hours. During that time they made their way to the Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific (SWFPAC) where they cut through the first chain link fence surrounding SWFPAC. They then walked through the shoot to kill zone and cut the next double layered fence to entered the grounds of SWFPAC. This bunker area holds the largest nuclear weapon stockpile in the United States.

They were held for 4 hours on the ground, with hoods on their heads. Eventually they were carried out through the holes they had made in the fence, and interrogated by the Navy. They were released, and charged months later. During the trial they were not able to use international law, necessity, moral law or any affirmative defense, and were found guilty by the jury (who also said they would find Rosa Parks guilty, if she were on trial today). All were sentence to prison. Susan was sentenced to 15 months in prison, 2 years supervised release and a huge restitution.

 

**KATHY BOYLAN joined five plowshares actions:

1) Thames River Plowshares, Sept. 4, 1989 -- USS Pennsylvania Trident submarine docked at the Naval Underwater Systems Center New London, Ct. Seven peace activists swam and canoed up the Thames River, hammered, poured blood and carved the word “Death” on the Trident. Electric Boat Corp. built the Trident.

 

2) Aegis Plowshares, March 31, 1991 -- Four peace activists boarded the USS Gettysburg, an Aegis equipped Cruiser docked at Bath Iron Works, in Bath Me, hammered and poured blood on the covers for the vertical launching systems for Cruise missiles. We spend 2 hours on the ship before turning ourselves in to security.

 

3) Good News Plowshares, April 9, 1993 – Three activists entered Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., scaled 80 feet of scaffolding and boarded the USS Tucson, a fast attack submarine. We hammered and poured blood on two Tomahawk Cruise missile launchers and spray-painted “Disarm – Christ Lives” and “Love” on the submarine

 

4) Weep for the Children Plowshares, July 9, 1996 – Four activists entered the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Ct. We poured blood and hammered 18 times (1 for each of the 18 Trident submarines) on a torpedo test cylinder used inside a fast-attack submarine. During trial, the prosecutor declared: “These women must be stopped because they are just like the Oklahoma City bomber!” Amazed, Judge Thomas Smith firmly disagreed and stated that the women were following a higher law.

 

5) Gods of Metal Plowshares, May 17, 1998 – The 30th anniversary of Catonsville Nine, five peace activists disarmed a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber during the Dept. of Defense Open House at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. As hundreds of spectators looked on, the activists poured blood and hammered on the bomb bay doors and missile hatches.