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Shut Down Creech

Thursday, January 27, 2011

‘Creech 14’ found guilty of trespassing, judge says ‘go in peace’

By Dave Toplikar
Las Vegas Sun

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, Creech Air Force Base

A Las Vegas judge on Thursday handed down a decision that got a mixed reaction from protesters of drone warfare who were arrested for trespassing nearly two years ago at Creech Air Force Base in Southern Nevada.

Judge William Jansen, in a 20-page decision, ruled that the "Creech 14" who protested April 9, 2009, at the base, were guilty of the crime of trespassing.

But the judge also decided that the defendants, who stood trial for the misdemeanor offense last September in his courtroom, would be given credit for the time they served in jail and would be free to go.

"Go in peace," were Jansen's final words to the defendants after an hour-long court proceeding this morning in Las Vegas Justice Court.

The judge also urged them to use diplomacy, rather than trespassing, in their attempts to get U.S. drone warfare policy changed.

There was some scattered applause in the crowded courtroom upon hearing the defendants wouldn't get jail time — but the defendants weren't pleased about the judge's guilty verdict.

The protesters had argued there was "necessity" that compelled them to act. As someone might trespass onto private property to save a child from a burning building, they said they were trying to stop drone warfare from killing civilians thousands of miles away in Afghanistan.

However, in his conclusion, Jansen said that "Defendants' motivation for why they committed the offense is irrelevant and does not constitute a defense to the charge. Moreover, defendants are unable to show that their conduct was compelled by true 'necessity' as that doctricne has been defined by various courts."

Before handing down sentences, the judge allowed each of the defendants to make statements. Each of those who spoke said they disagreed that what they were doing wasn't out of necessity.

Those found guilty of the misdemeanor charge are the Rev. John Dear, a Jesuit priest; Dennis DuVall; Renee Espeland; Judy Homanich; Kathy Kelly; the Rev. Steve Kelly, a Jesuit priest; Mariah Klusmire; Brad Lyttle; Libby Pappalardo; Sister Megan Rice, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus; Brian Terrell; Eve Tetaz; and the Revs. Louie Vitale and Jerry Zawada, both Franscican priests.

60 Years of Disaster

by Jim Haber, Coordinator of Nevada Desert Experience

January 27 marks 60 years since the first atomic bomb test in Nevada. Codenamed “Able” it was tiny for a nuclear weapon: the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT, about 1/15 the size of the bomb that killed upwards of 130,000 people in Hiroshima. Anniversaries are times to reflect, so what is the legacy of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), now called the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS)? What is the current state of the NNSS and what is going on there? Are the nation and world safer for all the Cold War and post-Cold War efforts? As the NNSS re-purposes itself to focus more on detecting and containing national security threats, it still stands as a world-wide symbol of the making of weapons of mass destruction. The name change is intended to reassert its relevance in the absence of exploding nuclear devices, but the inherent problem of the NTS remains. The NNSS is always able to resume testing nuclear weapons within two years should the president order it.

Testing of nuclear weapons didn't only happen at the Nevada Test Site. Historians even argue that using the bombs on Japan rather than demonstrating them on an unpopulated location constitute human experimentation. Treating victims as research subjects rather than patients was widely reported in Japan, as well as from victims of atmospheric testing in the 1950s. Targeting civilians was and remains a crime against humanity, as does threatening nuclear attack on non-nuclear states, no matter how repressive their leaders.

We, as a people, caused much worldwide grief for our part in the Cold War, which used small countries as battlegrounds with no concern for local populations or environments. Official tours of the NNSS and the displays at the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas exhibit great pride in the NTS' Cold War role. There is little mention in their history about efforts to stop testing and other parts of the nuclear weapons complex. Efforts to shut down the Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan or French test sites in Africa and the South Pacific garner barely a word. Only a limited view is presented.

At the NNSS which is run by the Department of Energy (blurring the lines between civilian and military in this country), military nuclear waste is buried even as remediation efforts elsewhere are undertaken. The detection and first responder trainings are only defensive in nature if we concurrently support the leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its mission to monitor nuclear programs around the world. Unilateral or bilateral agreements that ignore the mandate of the IAEA actually encourage other states to seek nuclear weapons to be seen as worthy players on the international stage.

The United States military budget is on par with military spending of all other countries combined. When the US attacks countries that don't have nuclear weapons, it makes the possession of nuclear weapons seem like a necessary deterrent. But if more countries have deterrent forces, then we've lost the disarmament fight.

Taking the land of the Western Shoshone and other native peoples to use it for nuclear testing is not just. Forcing the people of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands to live on tiny Ebeye Island, creating one of the most densely populated places on Earth is not just. Stealing and contaminating native hunting and fishing grounds is not just.

Thank God so few countries have tested or possess nuclear weapons. The global consensus is clearly to eliminate all nuclear weapons. "Stockpile Stewardship" tests at the NNSS, along with missile tests in the Pacific are undermining the credibility of the U.S.'s agreement to seriously reduce nuclear stockpiles. Sharing nuclear technology with violators and abstainers of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while threatening countries not in egregious, well-documented breaches of the NPT is not just and promotes horizontal proliferation. Hence, continued testing whether they're full-scale tests or not, signals to the world that the US will keep its finger on the button and will brook no new players in the nuclear game.

When we devise ways for nuclear weapons to be more precise and kill fewer civilians, to be more militarily useful, we undermine the international consensus against all weapons of mass destruction. And how many design upgrades and revisions can be implemented and still not require a real test? At some point, unless we in the United States get serious about pressuring our government to cut its nuclear weapons arsenal, the Nevada Desert will again quake with detonations...and be filled with peacemakers crashing the gates like in the 1980s to shut it down once and for all. This anniversary should serve as a time to work for peace and disarmament.

# # #

Jim Haber is the Coordinator of Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) which organizes interfaith resistance to nuclear weapons and war. Jim is on the War Resisters League National Committee, and he edited the 2008 WRL Peace Calendar. Jim is also very active with Jewish Voice for Peace, the G.I. Rights Hotline and the Catholic Worker movement. He can be reached at: jim[at]nevadadesertexperience.org.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Judge Will DECIDE!

January 27, 2011
The Creech 14 were arrested in April 2009, the State of Nevada prosecuted the case on September 14th 2010. The judge recognized the social justice significance and decided to withhold judgement for at least 90 days. 

Come hear his announcement with the Creech 14 at the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave., Las Vegas, (8th Floor).

That will coincidentally be the 60th anniversary of nuclear testing at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS--formerly the NTS/NPG).

January 27 from 7:30 to 8:15am: Pre-verdict rally @ Lewis St and 3rd (outside Regional Justice Center). This rally/vigil happens just prior to the court hearing in which Hon. William Jansen will pronounce his verdict--4 months and 13 days after the trial ended.

January 27 from 3:00 to 5:00pm: Public Vigil @ Las Vegas Blvd at Tropicana on pedestrian overpasses

January 28 from 6:30 to 8:00am & 3:30 to 5:00pm: Vigils at Creech Air Force Base in opposition to remote-controlled "hunter-killer drones" from Indian Springs.

January 29 from 11am to 1pm: Prayerful Memorial Observance of the 60th Anniversary of 1st Nuclear Bomb Test in NV. This event is @ the entrance to the Nevada National Security Site (formerly called the Nevada Test Site)--Mercury exit of US-95, 65 miles northwest of Vegas. The actual anniversary is January 27th, but our Memorial Observance is January 29th.

Peace Platoon in Las Vegas

This year, Nevada Desert Experience, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, the Las Vegas Catholic Worker and the Sekhmet Temple to Goddess Spirituality walked as the "Peace Platoon" in the Las Vegas Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration.

Our handouts, and the excerpts of Dr. King that we played on our sound system brought to light the pacifist King, the man who preached against the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism. It was a fun, beautiful, uplifting day!

(Photo of Mark and the others: Jim Haber. More photos here)

Nuclear abolitionists to face trial at the birthplace of the bomb

For Immediate Release: January 19, 2011

On February 8, a jury in Los Alamos, New Mexico, will hear the case against six people charged with trespass during a demonstration against expansion of the nuclear weapons production complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The August 6, 2010 demonstration involved over 120 people, led by Think Outside the Bomb youth at the conclusion of their ten-day Disarmament Summer encampment in nearby Chimayo. They observed the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, with a spirited march through the town and up to the gate of the plutonium processing facility.

Eight people joined a sit-in at the gatehouse for half an hour until they were taken into custody by Los Alamos police. They were cited and released the same day. Two later pled no contest, and were sentenced to fines and probation.

Defendants Jason Ahmadi, 25, and Jeff Freitas, 26, from California; Bryan Martin, 24, from Boise, Idaho; Lisa Fithian, 49, from Austin, Texas; and Sr. Megan Rice, 80, from Las Vegas, Nevada, will be represented by attorney Mary Lou Boelcke, while defendant Jack Cohen-Joppa, 54, from Tucson, Arizona, and will represent himself. Their trial is set to begin at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 8, in the Los Alamos County courtroom of Magistrate Pat Casados, 2500 Trinity Drive, Los Alamos. Jury selection will begin at 8:00 a.m.

Expert testimony about the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the proposed expansion of the plutonium pit facility is expected to be heard from Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch of New Mexico, and Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group. The recent passage of the START Treaty has created an illusion about disarmament. The Obama Administrations is seeking $180 billion + to rebuild the nation's nuclear weapons production capacity and delivery systems.

Opposition to the Obama administration's plan is growing and resulted in arrests last year at the three major factory sites in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; and Los Alamos.

The February 8 trial in Los Alamos will be the first of these cases heard by a jury. Fines, probation and short jail sentences resulted from state trials in Missouri and Tennessee, while thirteen people still await trial May 9 in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee, after crossing the line at Oak Ridge last July 5.

For more information contact:

Lisa Putkey, 505-351-0970 or 650-303-1353 (messages)

Updates posted at http://tna.lovarchy.org/trial.html

Dear friends and supporters:

On August 6, 2010, the 65th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, eight people were arrested blocking the gate to the plutonium pit production facility at Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory, following a demonstration against the expansion of the nuclear weapons complex. Six of us will face a jury trial on February 8 in Los Alamos, New Mexico. We could use your support.

We are asking for donations from both individuals and groups - even $6 - one dollar for each of us will be a big help! Your contribution will support educational work around the trial, expenses for the volunteer expert witnesses and our pro bono attorney.

Take a stand with us against new nuclear weapons production and help protect our right to do it.

Contributions can be made payable to TOTB and mailed to Think Outside the Bomb, c/o Lisa Putkey, POB 508, Chimayo, NM 87522.

You are also invited to be present at our trial! Details about other events at the time of the trial are forthcoming. (We invite you to circulate the preceding media/movement advisory on activist lists along with this appeal for donations! Thanks!)

With great appreciation,

The LANL Six:

Jason Ahmadi
Jack Cohen-Joppa
Lisa Fithian
Jeff Freitas
Bryan Martin
Sr. Megan Rice

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bangor protestors face prison with no regrets

From King 5:

Posted on January 15, 2011 at 5:51 PM
Updated yesterday at 6:05 PM 

POULSBO, Wash. - At the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action on Saturday there was a celebration of what Martin Luther King Junior stood for, and a celebration of the Bangor 5.

Eighty-four-year old Anne Montgomery is the oldest of the "Disarm Now Plowshares," convicted in December of breaking into the Kitsap Bangor Naval Base outside of Bremerton.

Now in their golden years, they face 10 years in federal prison with no regrets.
"We take responsibility, we don't walk away, and prison comes out of that," said Montgomery.

For decades they stood outside of the base - protesting the storage of nuclear weapons. But two years ago, they cut through barbed wire and onto the base.
The five were charged with trespassing and destroying property.
"We have a responsibility and we're grateful we had that opportunity to speak out the atrocities that exist on the other side of the fence here," said Lynne Greenwald.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sister Rosemary Lynch, 93, founder of group against violence, dies after car hits her

Justin M. Bowen
Rosemary Lynch (right) and Ida Antoszewska talk with Sen. Harry Reid Saturday, October 16, 2010 during the rally with the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans at Painters Hall in Henderson.
Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 | 1:55 a.m.
Click to enlarge photo
Sister Rosemary Lynch (standing) is shown during a meeting in August 2008.
Click to enlarge photo
Sister Rosemary Lynch during a 90th birthday celebration at the Nevada Test Site in 2007.
Friends say the legacy of Sister Rosemary Lynch, who died Sunday in Las Vegas at age 93, will be carried on in the many lives she touched along her journey fighting for the well-being of all people.

Lynch, who co-founded Pace e Bene, an organization promoting nonviolence, was walking with fellow Franciscan Sister Klaryta Antoszewska in their Las Vegas neighborhood Wednesday near Bartlett Avenue when a car "brushed" against her and she fell, said Jim Haber, coordinator of the Nevada Desert Experience, a movement Lynch became affiliated with tied to the Nevada Test Site.

She suffered a concussion, internal bleeding and fractures in the fall and died four days later at the hospital.
"Her legacy will be many spiritual children who have learned from her who will carry the vision of Sister Rosemary — the vision of what it means to be created in the image of God and respect each other," said longtime friend Peter Ediger, who helped co-found Pace e Bene.

Lynch wore many hats during her life — teacher, religious servant, social activist — but her mission in all roles resembled the meaning of Pace e Bene, which is Italian for "peace and good," Ediger said.
"Her passion was to find the divine in people and cultivate that," he said. "Beyond the people, she also had a deep compassion for honoring all of created life."

Born in Phoenix, Lynch became a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity community in 1932. After taking her vows in 1934, she went on to teach at a Catholic school in Los Angeles followed by a stint as principal at a high school in Montana.

From there, she went to Rome as a representative for her congregation. Her 15 years in Rome included the Second Vatican Council.

Lynch joined the staff of the Franciscan Center in Las Vegas when she returned to the United States in 1977. Once in Las Vegas, she began visiting Nevada's nuclear test site.

She was part of the first "Lenten Desert Experience" at the Nevada Test Site in 1982 to protest ongoing nuclear testing and violence. The movement later became known as the Nevada Desert Experience, which still exists today.

It was during those protests that Ediger said Lynch's character was exposed: She protested issues involving the test site — not the people on the other side of the debate, he said.
In fact, Ediger said, through her social activism, Lynch developed "very warm human relationships" with the people in support of the test site.

"In our culture, no one listens to each other," he said. "She was able to go beyond that."
Lynch retired in 2004 and became the first "Pace e Bene elder," continuing to promote nonviolence.
Haber said Lynch demonstrated her passionate personality in November when David Rovics, an acoustic performer who plays songs of social significance, visited with her.
"Some other people left as time went on, but Rosemary was so grateful for the beauty of the music and the political content that she stayed until the end," he said.

A memorial service will be held for her Jan. 23 at St. James Catholic Church, 1920 N. Martin Luther King Blvd. Memorial gifts in honor of Lynch may be sent to Franciscan Sisters Social Programs, 6517 Ruby Red Circle, Las Vegas, NV, 89108. The funds will be used for local refugee ministries, Pace e Bene and the Nevada Desert Experience.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Remembering Sr. Rosemary Lynch (1917-2011)

Sr. Rosemary Lynch, OSF:
Apostle of Nonviolence
  In full bloom

this desert Rose

four score years and ten

speaks truth petals across continents

gardens the spirituality of nonviolence

through the generations.

—Peter Ediger, marking Sr. Rosemary’s 90th birthday in 2007

Franciscan Sister Rosemary Lynch, who throughout her life was an instrument of peace nurturing reverence and love for all living things, died on January 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

On Wednesday, January 5 Sr. Rosemary was hit by a car while she and Franciscan Sister Klaryta Antoszewska were on a walk in their neighborhood.  After being unconscious for several days, she died peacefully on Sunday night.  Her Franciscan sisters are in process of planning her funeral, which will be held in California.  A memorial service will be held at St James Catholic Church in Las Vegas on Sunday, January 23, at 4:00 pm.

A co-founders of Pace e Bene, Sister Rosemary lectured and led retreats on nonviolence in many communities across the US and around the world, and with Sister Mary Litell developed Pace e Bene’s Peace Grows curriculum.  In 2005 she retired from the staff and was designated a “Pace e Bene Elder” by the organization.

Sister Rosemary lived life to the fullest.  It was this dedication to the fullness of life that motivated her unceasing commitment to removing every barrier to this fullness for all beings.
We at Pace e Bene join with people everywhere in celebrating Sister Rosemary’s life, a powerful journey for peace and justice.

Here is a brief overview of this journey, with a special emphasis on her participation in the effort that emerged in the 1980s to end nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site and throughout the world.

Thank you, Sr. Rosemary, for the innumerable gifts of peace that you showered into the lives of so many of us!

Peace always,

Ken Butigan, for Pace e Bene
Above photo: Banner created by Leslie Klusmire to honor Sr. Rosemary on her 90th birthday (Nevada Desert Experience)

Gonna take Us All, Jon Fromer (RIP

To keep the spirit!


We are all Bradley Manning!