Monthly Archive for April, 2011

PFC Bradley Manning moved to Fort Leavenworth

By Deanne Reed Hollinger,

Still awaiting trial, accused whistleblower PFC Bradley Manning has been moved from solitary confinement at the U.S. Marine base at Quantico, Virginia to medium-security status in the military brig at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  The government denied that growing concern over the conditions of his confinement led to the move, which came days after nearly 300 of the top law scholars in the U.S. called on the Obama administration to end the torturous treatment of Bradley Manning.

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~ from Tacoma, Washington, by Lynne Greenwald

photo by Leonard Eiger

FDC SeaTac

by Lynne Greenwald

Concrete walls and locked doors
cannot take away images of bright lights,
fences and towers protecting tombs
of unimaginable horrors.

We remember fertile lands, natural
forests, mollusk-rich beaches, early morning
fog clinging to water and earth until
the sun brightens the sky,
exposing Olympian mountains.

Trident IS Illegal and Immoral.
We mourn. We cannot be silent.
Resistance is a song, a dance,
an act of love.
We must resist.

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Headed to prison today, activist explains nonviolent witness: A journey from the U.S. Navy to Duluth Federal Prison Camp

Mark Kenney, before crossing the line on August 9, 2010

April 27, 2011
National Catholic Reporter

By Joshua J. McElwee

A young sailor walks through his nuclear submarine, headed for the engine room. As he winds through the tight, crowded corridors he suddenly finds himself standing next to a nuclear missile launch hatch.

He reaches out an outstretched hand. Tentatively, he places it on one of the warheads.

Click. Something changes. The destructive power of a thermonuclear detonation is no longer an abstraction. It’s real. His hand is touching it.

Over the next few days, the sailor heads to his chaplain. He asks the same questions, over and over: What are we doing? How can we justify this?

Fast-forward thirty years. That ex-sailor, Mark Kenney, reports today to Duluth Federal Prison Camp for a six-month stint for an act of civil disobedience at Offutt Air Force Base. He walked about ten steps onto the property of the complex with three others after a vigil there August 6.

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Thirty-seven people protesting drones are arrested at Hancock Air Base

Drone protests block entrance to Hancock Field. Photo by Gary Walts, Syracuse Post-Standard

by Dave Tobin / The Post-Standard

Dozens of war protesters were arrested Friday afternoon, April 22 outside the main entrance of the New York Air National Guard’s base at Hancock Field.

Thirty-seven protesters, draped with red-spattered sheets, had lain themselves in the main entrance roads to the base, off East Molloy Road. They were arrested by Onondaga County Sheriff’s deputies on charges of trespassing and obstruction of justice.

They were handcuffed and, after a 45-minute wait, were led to a jail transport bus that was supposed to take them to the Onondaga County Justice Center for processing. Two were in wheel chairs.

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Eleven women temporarily close Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant

Photo by Marcia Gagliardi

Eleven women from Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire chained and locked the main gate of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont on Friday afternoon, April 22.  Police arrested the women and charged them with trespass.

The demonstrators carried two banners reading “No More Leaks / No More Lies / Shut It Down Now” and “No More Accidents / Shut it Down Now.” They also stretched yellow caution tape across the Entergy driveway and noticed that spray-painted warnings they applied several months ago are still visible.

After the arrests, state and local police transported the women to the Vernon police station, where they were cited and released pending a June 20 appearance in Brattleboro’s Windham District Court.

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Good Friday and Easter arrests at the Nevada Test Site, Livermore Labs, Pentagon and 10 Downing Street, London

Easter, 2011 blockade of the Nevada Test Site. Photo courtesy NDE


Easter Sunday Service Ends in 16 Arrests at Nuclear Test Site

At 12 noon on April 24, 2011, 38 people gathered near the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The group held interfaith prayers and then eight women and eight men were arrested for alleged trespassing onto the NNSS. The prayer-action included local members of the Western Shoshone National Council, Buddhist Nipponzan Myohoji monks from Washington state and Catholic Workers from Nevada. Other demonstrators came from Arizona, California, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin, The Netherlands, and Japan.

The Easter services were the climax of a 60-mile walk from Las Vegas to Mercury along US Highway 95. The annual pilgrimage is the interfaith “Sacred Peace Walk”, which included a musical ritual at the NNSS.

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Persistent anti-nuclear activists in India jailed, shot by police; Tabrez Sohekar is killed

The day after the killing, villagers clash with the police in Ratnagiri. Photo by Deepak Salvi,

Opposition to the proposed six-reactor Jaitapur nuclear power complex at Maharashtra on India’s west coast reached new heights April 18 when police opened fire on more than 100 protesters, killing one – Tabrez Sohekar – and wounding eight others.  The protesters, including many members of Shiv Sena, the opposition political party in Maharashtra state, tried to halt early construction at the site when the conflict turned deadly. Two days before, more than 50,000 people had rallied in opposition.  Sohekar’s family continued the protest, refusing to claim his remains until the Maharashtra government dumps the nuke project.

About fifty local opponents have been jailed in previous weeks, prosecuted for their role in demonstrations last October and December. Some were released April 26, while most remain in custody. Police are regularly tapping organizers’ cell phones to disrupt the organized opposition.

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~ A letter from Bix (written several days before beginning “diesel therapy” to Tennessee)



photo by Leonard Eiger

After spending the first 2 1/2 weeks of his prison sentence for the Disarm Now Plowshares action at the SeaTac Federal Correction Facility, Jesuit priest Bill “Bix” Bichsel was taken out of his cell on April 18.  He is being transported several thousand miles across the U.S. to Tennessee, where he is scheduled to join 12 others for a May 9 trial stemming from their July 5, 2010 civil resistance action at the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge.  (More about the action here.)

Bix’s health is fragile, and being transported by the Bureau of Prisons can make for a long and difficult journey, during which it is difficult to receive needed medications.  Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

April 14, 2011
Day 16 at SeaTac Federal Detention

By Bill Bichsel, S.J.

I will pursue my hope to do some writing while in lock-up. I feel the
spirit present with me in lock-up and feel confirmed by the spirit
that here is where I should be.

As I slowly shuffle around the common area, I thank God for being here
and for the peace I experience. I am not anxious or overly concerned
by anything, though I do feel some tugs to answer my letters and to
get my calling and visitor lists into the computer.

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From civil disobedience to civil defiance

by Ed Kinane

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves…[and] the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
— Howard Zinn

Over the years I’ve been jailed numerous times.  Each such event arose from what is loosely called “civil disobedience.”

The tactical value of arrest and ensuing “court witness” and “prison witness” is that they can generate news helping to bring vital, often neglected, issues to public notice. These mindful acts can boost solidarity and the grassroots campaigns in which they are embedded.

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British activists blockade Queen’s backyard to brand energy giant’s nuclear power bid a “right royal rip-off”; two arrested

Campaigners brought rush hour traffic to a standstill on the morning of April 11 to protest against EDF Energy’s plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK. All four lanes of the A302 outside EDF Energy’s headquarters in Grosvenor Place – which runs alongside the gardens of Buckingham Palace – were sealed off shortly after 8 a.m. using 14-foot tripods. The cleared zone was then declared a “nuclear disaster area”.

After seven hours, the police called a specialist team to erect scaffolding to bring down the two activists who were on top of the bamboo tripods.   Once they were down, the pair were arrested and taken to the Belgravia police station.

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