On this page you will find information on the Y-12 resisters, as well as trial reports and early post-trial updates. Scroll down a bit for the updates. Please note that I am currently (as of May 29th) posting ALL updates about our Y-12 friends at Disarm Now Plowshares.
The Y-12 prisoners of conscience welcome financial support to help with prison expenses. You are welcome to support them by making checks payable to the Resisters’and Prisoners’Support Fund. The mailing address is 16159 Clear Creek Rd. NW, Poulsbo, WA, 98370.
You can support the ongoing work of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (which has been integral to the Y-12 Resistance) by mail at: OREPA, PO Box 5743, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 or on-line at www.orepa.org and click the red Donate Now button.
Thanks to all who are part of this great community of support!
One final note. The Y12 Resisters appreciate all the support they receive, but it is clear that each of them places the highest priority on the continuing work to stop nuclear weapons production in all the places it happens across the country, so we urge you to connect with groups working on these issues and dedicate a meaningful part of your time and resources to this work!
Here are the names of all the nuclear resisters who went to trial on May 9th for the July 2010 Y-12 action:
Steve Baggarly of Norfolk, Virginia
Brad Lyttle of Chicago, Illinois
Jackie Hudson of Poulsbo, Washington
Bill Bichsel of Seattle Washington
Bonnie Urfer of Luck, Wisconsin
Mary Dennis Lentsch of Washburn, Tennessee
Beth Rosdatter of Lexington, Kentucky
Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte or Baltimore, Maryland
Michael Walli of Duluth, Minnesota
Dennis DuVall of Prescott, Arizona
Jean Gump of Bloomington, Michigan
See some wonderful photos by John Kernodle of the Celebration of Hope-Filled Resistance interspersed with photos of the July 2010 Y-12 action at the following links:
High resolution images can also be downloaded from the above gallery. Permission is hereby given for any and all uses that support peace.
May 29th: Jackie Hudson in Crisis!!!
Read Joe's report and get further updates at Disarm Now Plowshares Blog.
May 26th Update #2
from Joe Power-Drutis
Update on the movement from Blount to Irwin County May 26, 2011
We now have confirmation that our friends are indeed at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The following is their names and ID numbers and address in the town of Ocilla.
One of many disturbing things I was to find out this week about “business as usual” at Blount, was the majority of the mail that you all sent into the Blount County Jail in support of our friends was
never delivered to them. Oh they got to see the stacks of mail, but were informed they could not have it – generally because the guards didn’t have the time to go through their mail first. That which they thirsted for the most was withheld from them.
Well the green light is on, and they can get your mail now so do write and care for them.
I don’t yet know if the stacks of mail followed them, I sure hope so. It will be one of the first questions I have when I talk to the staff at Irwin County tomorrow.
I am so relieved to know that our friends are out of Blount and are now in a far more humane facility. There have been a number of people who have stopped over in Ocilla following detainment after an SOA action.
If you google Irwin County Detention Center you will get a few photo’s of a bus, the front of the detention center and a sign with the name of the facility. You will also get their phone# and Fax# and address along with the following description of the facility:
About Irwin County Detention Center
Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, GA is a private company categorized under Detention Center, Government. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of unknown and employs a staff of approximately 50 to 99. Companies like Irwin County Detention Center usually offer: Jpay Correctional Services, Correctional Facility Services, Correctional Health Services, Frontier Correctional Services and Judicial Correctional Services.
As you can see the web site doesn’t give you much however there is more info to be gleamed. In January 2011, 78 year old Nancy Smith visited here for a while after being given a 6 month sentence for crossing the line at Ft. Benning, School of Americas. Here are a few excerpts from a letter she wrote and placed on line:
..on the 5th day the mail arrived! And, oh my it was good. So many people wrote wonderful words of support and encouragement. I was just astounded by the wealth that just fell on me!
I’m in a dorm of 32 women, 4 to a room, with double-bunk beds. The facility here at Ocilla (GA) is clean, modern, warm (most of the time) with lots of heavy doors that bang shut throughout 24 hours. Food is inexcusably bad, but it comes regularly 3 times a day and a vegetarian like myself can usually trade the (what passes for) meat for (what passes for) vegetables.
There is a common room for the women in this unit, metal tables with attached benches, a TV set and microwave. The ceiling is very high and gives the feeling that we’re underground. There are three space
openings leading up to small skylights. That’s our only glimpse of what’s outside. I saw a small beam of sunlight this morning.
Thank you Nancy for the gift you give to all of us as we now have a little peek into what our friends are seeing inside of the Irwin County Detention Center.
I have placed 2 calls into the Detention Center today and each time my questions were answered very completely. When I next give you my final assessment on Blount you will understand how relieved I was to be talking with people who really did want to provide me with pertinent information in support of our friends.
What I am providing here is not comprehensive but it is an informative beginning. It seems that everyone arrived at Irwin nearly 24 hours ago. This morning a woman explained she was not allowed to give out information concerning new inmates until they were in the facility for 24 hours. She instructed me to call back after 8pm this evening and information would be provided.
Each person came with the support funds left over from Blount, what they have should carry them over for the next week or two.
Each inmate can purchase a phone card from the commissary or an account can be set up for them. I will call tomorrow and find out more about setting up an account, much the same that was done at Blount and
the facility Bix is in. The devil is in the details with these phone systems and it takes a few days to work them out. There is no getting around their high cost though.
Books and Magazines can be mailed into them via a book store. Tomorrow I will contact their mail room for more details. Also when I am talking with the staff in the mailroom I will get details on what can and cannot be sent into them.
Their visitation days are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – Tuesday is the day I am to call to receive more information about visitation. It takes time for visitation to be set up but I suspect
that it should be in place by the later part of next week – at this point I am planning on going down Thursday thru Saturday of next week to see them and scope out the landscape.
On going financial support for our Y-12 Resisters:
Sue Ablao and I continue to reach out for funds to support the ongoing phone and commissary needs of the Y-12 resisters. If you wish to contribute please address your checks to Sue Ablao and write on the
check Y-12 support – Sue’s address is: Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action, 16159 Clear Creek Road NW, Poulsbo, WA 98370.
Visiting with Bix on his Birthday:
It never happened! Erik and I did show up this evening but found out there wasn’t any visitations on Thursday evening. Bummer! But he did call me this morning – yes I finally got my line set up, it only took me two weeks! I did wish him a happy birthday from all of us – wonder if the jail gives you a 24 hour pass so you can go out and party on your birthday – probably not. Erik and I are retuning tomorrow morning – it will be close but belated.
Susan called this evening:
Susan continues to bask in the California sun – how awful. She states she is doing very well especially as compared to the grief all of the Y-12 resisters are going through. Susan is learning to play a couple of musical instruments and said that she is learning the “Star Spangled Banner” – now that’s going to take some thinking! Way to go Susan. She also has a job teach English as a second language to other inmates
– now that is very cool.
May 26th Update: Prisoners on the Move! and more...
from Joe Power-Drutis
May 26, 2011
Sometime in the last 24 hours, 6 of our 7 friends at the Blount County Detention Center have been moved. Those moved are: Sister Carol Gilbert, Sister Ardeth Platte, Sister Jackie Hudson, Bonnie Urfer, Jean Gump and Steve Baggarly.
Michael Walli has not been moved – unsure at this time why, possibly his pre sentencing investigation, which has to be completed before any transfer can occur, has not been completed. Could be other reasons also, I am not privy to that information.
People who should know have told us in the last several days that a move can be expected and that when it happens they most likely will be sent to the Irwin County Detention Facility in Ocilla Georgia.
I was told by an official at that facility that they cannot confirm at this time if they are there or not; but they can confirm after 8 PM this evening.
I would be very surprised to find out they were anywhere else than Ocilla.
Today I am going to write to each of them and I would encourage you to do the same. Every day counts, much of the mail that was sent into them at the Blount County Detention Facility was not received by them. (more on that in my next news brief)
When they arrive at the Irwin County Detention Center they will be receiving an ID # and this number should be written underneath their name when sending them in mail; however, I was assured by a woman in the mailroom that they would still receive their mail even without an ID # at this time. In the future when we find out their numbers we can add it in.
So, their address is:
Sister Carol Gilbert
Sister Ardeth Platte
Sister Jackie Hudson
Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Dr.
Ocilla, GA 31774
Anne Montgomery – At the Sea Tac Federal Detention Center: As I write these words, 1 PM my time, Anne Montgomery is being released from the SeaTac Federal Detention Facility in Seattle. It is 10 AM in Seattle and Anne has just completed 2 months of detention after being sentenced for her part in the All Souls Day, November 2, 2009, Disarm Now Plowshares Action at the Trident Nuclear Sub Base 30 miles from Seattle. It is there where she, Bix, Steve, Susan and Lynne, went through one outside fence and 2 of 3 perimeter fences that house the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the U.S. and probably in the world. There they prayed we might beat our swords into plowshares and plan for war no more. Welcome home Anne; Bix sends to you words of welcoming and love and wants you to know that Tacoma will be blessed by your presence as you continue to endure 4 more months on house arrest.
Happy Birthday to Jean Gump and Bix”
Yes our daring felons Jean and Bix moved one more year into the octogenarian decade this week. On Tuesday, Jeans 84th Birthday, while Erik, Ralph and I were visiting Ardeth, Jean came walking through the visitors room on her way to her presentencing interview with the probation officer and her attorney. We wanted to once again sing her one more healthy round of ‘happy birthday’, but I think she preferred
we save our voices for Bix. So very considerate of her, well that’s just the type of woman Jean is.
Erik and I are ready for tonight. With our voices rested and ready to go we will see Bix this evening and will treat him accordingly. He has been bothered by fluid in his ears since coming to Knoxville, could be this will provide him the only significant buffer from Erik’s and my gift. Please know we will be taking with us all of you who love and care for him on this his 83rd birthday.
As I write a Tennessee downpour with lightning and thunder is putting on a show. How I wish Bix could be here, he would really love the power, sound, smell and feel of natures gift; each rain drop is huge, reminds me of tears, the valley of tears. We cry nor just for him and Jean,Carol, Ardeth, Jackie, Bonnie, Michael, Steve Baggarly and Steve Kelly, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald, Anne Montgomery and all the peacemakers in our world who suffer prison and hardship in order to do their part to prevent nuclear devastation; but especially for those who war and plan for war. Heavenly tears flow for those of us refusing to see with our eyes and hear with our ears and apply the brakes to the runaway train we are all riding.
One Last Reminder:
The great soul/subversive himself, Leonard Elger, invites you to link onto the Disarm Now Plowshares Website and Blog to read and learn much more than I could ever write here. It really is a very well done web site and Leonard, at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, and Chrissy Nesbitt, at Jonah House, have done and continue to do a marvelous job keeping us informed. Thank you Chrissy and Leonard.
May 22nd Update: Read Witness to a Reprehensible and Uncaring Prison System.
May 18th Update: on jail and the connection between Y-12 and Plowshares
As I write this, Erik Johnson and Joe Power-Drutis are preparing to vigil outside the Y-12 bomb plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Joe, who is from the Tacoma Catholic Worker, is staying in Knoxville to provide support for Bix and the other members of the Y-12 July 2010 non-violent nuclear resistance action.
Joe wrote an update yesterday that elaborates on the connections between Plowshares and the Y-12 action, and also provides insights into the jail situation for the Y-12 prisoners of conscience. You can read the full article at the Disarm Now Plowshares Blog.
If you live near Tacoma, Washington I invite you to join Plowshares supporters at the continuing Festival of Hope on Sunday, June 5th at 6:30 PM. Click here to learn more.
May 16th Update from The Nuclear Resister
Eight of the twelve Y-12 nuclear resisters convicted of federal trespass on May 11 in Knoxville, Tennessee will remain in custody in local lockups until their sentencing, after the seven not already in custody declared they would no longer accept supervised release. They were arrested last summer on the federal side of the fence at the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, at the conclusion of the Resistance for a Nuclear Free Future gathering.
Bonnie Urfer, Sr. Jackie Hudson, Sr. Carol Gilbert, Sr. Ardeth Platte, Jean Gump, Michael Walli and Steve Baggarly are all being held at the Blount County Adult Detention Center in Maryville. The men are reported to be together in one small unit, while the women have been split between two separate units. Fr. Bill Bichsel, who was already serving a three month prison sentence for the Disarm Now Plowshares action, remains at the Knox County Sheriff's Detention Facility, where federal marshals had delivered him before trial from a prison in Washington state.
Members of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and other supporters have begun visiting the prisoners during the one hour per week they are permitted to have visitors, and commissary accounts have been established for all of the defendants. Contributions for that purpose should be sent by check payable to Sue Ablao and note it is for the Y-12 Resisters. Sue¹s address is: Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action, 16159 Clear Creek Road NW, Poulsbo, WA 98370.
The complete postal addresses for the peace prisoners can also be found at http://www.nukeresister.org/inside-out/.
Individually addressed letters to the activists held in Blount County may not contain photos, cards, or any enclosures in addition to your letter. Your letter should be written on standard 8.5 x 11 paper.
May 14th, Update from Ralph Hutchison
here is a report of our visit with jackie hudson this morning. we have not apparently been approved to visit others at this point. we know jean submitted a visitation list the same time as jackie but we asked and were not permitted a visit. we don't know if the others have submitted lists. apparently, lists can have 4 people and can be changed every 60 days. it may be possible to get accommodations for people traveling from out of town, but i would sure clear it with the jail and get it set up before i made the trip…
joe power-drutis has set up commissary accounts for each of the defendants in blount county jail. we are also working on setting up phone accounts, but they don't seem to be working yet. we talked to another visitor there and she said she had managed to get one set up that worked, so we'll keep trying. apparently it's quite expensive; if the info we got was right, the minimum amount is $40.85; it covers five 15 minute calls…
jackie was fine; chatting and joking and in good spirits. she reports the food is jail food—bland and little variety. the jail is crowded; there are 3 in her cell. she and jean are together; the others are in a different area, so contrary to what was earlier reported, they don't get to visit with them. they do make visual contact on their way to the rec area, but it is one-way visual contact. jackie reported that she and jean borrowed a radio from another inmate and shared ear buds and listened to NPR last night. when i told her she was missing "wait, wait, don't tell me" as we visited, she rose as if to leave—so sense of humor fully intact.
we get one 1-hour visit/week, 9:00am on saturday, and four people can go at once. this morning we found out at 7:45, and erik and libby johnson, joe and i got to the jail by 8:45 and had a nice visit. it's on the phone through the glass. (erik was told on the phone he was not on the list, but he came anyway and turned in his ID and they sent him up.)
we have no word yet on sentencing. dennis duvall was staying around to see if his attorney could set up an interview and was told thursday night to go back to arizona, so he left this morning. joe power-drutis is staying around until bix is released. at least one attorney reported their is a pre-sentencing report backlog of several months, so it is difficult to know at this point when to expect sentencing.
i think that is the gist of it for now. we had a very nice visit, playing round robin with the phone. i asked jackie what she might need and she said she needed nothing. apparently, no cards or postcards are acceptable, nor books or magazines—only 8 1/2 x 11 paper and photographs. i will try to send some sudoku puzzles to jackie on the back of letter pages, so we'll see what gets in.
we conveyed the support of many to jackie and asked her to share it with the others.
May 11th, Trial Over: All Found Guilty!
Editor's Note: I'm sorry for the brief lack of post-trial information; Blogger was down for a while. This brief report came from Joe Power-Drutis following the trial verdict.
Right on the money, at 5PM, a jury of 12 returned after less than 30 minutes recess to deliver a unanimous verdict of “GUILTY” for 12 Y-12 nuclear resistors at the Knoxville Court House.
The following peace activists were charged with trespassing at the Department of Energy Y-12 Project on July 5, 2010. Thirteen people took part in the action, David Corcoran, because of health reasons has been granted a later court date.
Carol Gilbert,OP,Ardeth Platte,OP,Jackie Hudson,OP, Bonnie Urfer,Michael Walli,Jean Gump and Steve Bggarly were immediately taken into custody.
Bradford Lyttle,Dennis DuVall,Sr. Mary Dennis Lentsch and Beth Rosdatter remain free on bond until a later sentencing date is arranged.
In the meantime link onto http://www.knoxnews.com for the latest local news of the hearing. Knox news covered this event in court all three days; log onto Knox News for May 11th for another insightful report.
On Thursday May 12, an overview of the three days of this trial will be covered.
Fr.Bill Bichsel,S.J., who is currently serving a sentence for the Disarm Now Plowshares action of November 2, 2009, is remanded to the Knox County Detention Facility until his sentencing for this Y-12 action, on June 27, 2011.
Editor’s End Note: You can read Ralph Hutchison’s full length trial wrap-up by clicking here.
Here are the addresses to which you can send postal mail to those in prison. Click here for more information on both mail and telephone contact at the Blount County Adult Detention Center Website. Please note: Bix is in a different facility (address also below).
(Inmates Name) Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert, Jackie Hudson, Bonnie
Urfer, Jean Gump, Steve Baggarly and Mike Wallie
Blount County Adult Detention Center
920 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804-5002
Bix's mailing address remains the same:
William Bichsel, IDN 1155703
Knox County Sheriff's Detention Facility
5001 Maloneyville Rd
Knoxville, TN 37918
*******************May 10, 2011 Evening Update
I've just heard from our roving reporter, Sue Ablao. The prosecution wrapped up shortly after lunch, the defense jumped right in. First off was defendant Mary Dennis Lentsch, followed by Bix Bichsel. Bix, who had been looking pretty sleepy earlier in the day, was 100 percent once he took the stand. Both defendants covered a lot of territory.
When the defense focused on the government upgrading the W76 warhead for Trident, the government kept responding that it is a "refurbishment." Yeah, right! W76 becomes W76-1... Refurbishment indeed!!!
Tomorrow morning the defense will put three or four more defendants on the stand before the Judge instructs the jury before sending it off to deliberate. It is likely that it will be late afternoon before the jury heads out to deliberate.
And for those of you freezing (and soggy) in the barely 60 degree weather, it was 85 degrees in Knoxville today! More news tomorrow.
For an incredibly thorough coverage of today's courtroom shenanigans read Ralph Hutchison's report, With enemies like this, who needs friends? or Day 2 of the Y-12 resister's trial.
May 10, 2011 Update (Lunchtime in Knoxville)
I just got a phone call from Sue Ablao who is in Knoxville for the trial. Here is a bief update:
Things are moving quickly on the second day of trial. The head of security for Y-12 spoke extensively of the history and mission of Y-12. The judge subsequently allowed much latitude in the conversation about nuclear issues, allowing the defense to get a great deal of information to the jury.
During the voir dire (jury selection) prospective jurors were asked - if they felt something was justified, but illegal, should they still do it? Rosa Parks was used as an example; some of the prospective jurors did not know who Rosa was. Sue noted that all but one or two jurors have guns in their homes for protection. Also, none of the sitting jurors currently works at Y-12.
Steve Baggerly posed a provocative question when he asked (and I paraphrase here), "What about Jesus in the temple overturning the money changer's tables and healing on Sunday (which was illegal)?" This definitely got the jury's attention.
This (Tuesday) afternoon the prosecution will call one or two more witnesses, and then the defense will present its case. Depending how this goes the judge could send the jury out to deliberate by tomorrow morning or afternoon.
Sue said that Bix is doing holding up and doing OK. Read further for Ralph Hutchison's update from court, and an article on the trial. Stay tuned for more.
**************Update from Ralph Hutchison, Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) May 9th
First day of trial went fine. had a great Sunday vigil the evening before at Y12 as we revisited the scene of the crime. celebration of hope-filled resistance was powerful and grand. a group of students from Miami Dade University, about 15, visiting the area, came to both events, from US, Cuba, Venezuela, and they loved it. one young woman sang a song at the celebration.
Monday morning: processed to the courthouse led by Buddhist drumming and chanting. tall peace crane banners, people on stilts. channel 10 (WBIR) covered and ran a story. haven't look at it but it can probably still be found. morning and into afternoon on jury selection. we heard openings ‹Mike Whalen, Brad Lyttle (now pro se) and Steve Baggarly. they were great, and I wish I could recap, but that will have to wait. Courtroom packed with supporters.
Ted Sherry, Y12 manager testified and opened the door to a lot of things, we think. today we cross examine.
It's not unthinkable that the trial will end today, but we will see. we start promptly at 9:00.
Knoxville news sentinel had a decent article on the web site; haven't seen the print paper. photographer came late and took a picture of Denise drumming and chanting; she kept vigil outside the courthouse
for several hours before they ran her off. people also stood on the street with 13 posters of defendants and handed out leaflets to passers-by.
We retired to Lissa's house for curry and sipping and thinking and relaxing and John LaForge on muted cornet and Jake on accordion playing Guantanamera.
peace to all,
Anti-nuclear activists' trial continues
Federal attorney: Case a matter of crossing a line
By Matt Lakin, Knoxville News Sentinel, Posted May 10, 2011 at midnight
Prosecutors say the trial amounts to a simple case of crossing the line.The defense says it's about the survival of the human race. Testimony continues today in the federal misdemeanor trial of a dozen anti-nuclear activists accused of trespassing on the grounds of the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. Another protester will be tried separately because of illness.
The activists, whose ranks include academics and Catholic nuns, don't deny they crossed the blue line in front of Y-12 during a peace rally July 5. They say they were obeying a higher law.
"These arsenals are not safe," said Bradford Lyttle, one of the protesters who's acting as his own lawyer. "A mathematical probability analysis shows they will be used, accidentally or intentionally. That use will mean the end of civilization. What we did was not something that should be condemned, does not deserve the word of guilt and does not deserve punishment."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Theodore said the whole case comes down to a line on the pavement.
"They exercised their First Amendment rights," he told the jury. "That wasn't enough. They decided to cross the line. They openly and intentionally broke the law. They knew what they were doing. They wanted to be arrested."
U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton ruled last month the activists can't argue U.S. nuclear policy violates international law. That didn't stop the defense from comparing their clients' protest to the Boston Tea Party, civil-rights pioneer Rosa Parks' refusal to sit at the back of the bus, and other acts of civil disobedience from biblical times to the present.
Y-12 manager Ted Sherry testified the protesters didn't put up a fight but couldn't have overlooked the warning signs and orders from guards to stop.
The case could take two to three days.
Matt Lakin may be reached at 865-342-6306.