Friday, February 20, 2009

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance Year 2009 Report on Resistance Against U.S. Policies

National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

Year 2009 Report on Resistance Against U.S. Policies


 Thanks to all of you who were able to risk arrest or to support such protests against the occupation of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan or other atrocities involving policies of the U.S. government.  Let us continue to take the risks of peace.  This list of appeals, arrests and legal cases is not all-inclusive.  Please send additions, corrections and updates to mobuszewski at  Included are arrests and pending cases from 2008 and further back.


MAY 2009


8—[WDC] Eight activists held in contempt after refusing to pay an assessment fee ordered by Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King III are scheduled for a show cause hearing.  Maria Allwine, Johnny Barber, Michelle Grise, Joan Nicholson, Max Obuszewski, Kay Warren, Bill Wylie-Kellerman and Jerry Zawada were convicted on charges relating to protests on Capitol Hill against war funding on either Sept. 26 or 27, 2006.  King found them in contempt on May 11, 2007, and wanted to jail them.  They demanded a trial.


They are scheduled to appear before Judge John Bayley, Jr.  The previous judge ruled that the contempt case will be continued until after the appeals of the conviction are completed.  A decision on the appeals is expected some time in 2009.




3—[WDC] Seventeen members, including Pete Perry and Eve Tetaz, of the March of the Dead, who were arrested on Jan. 6 in the Hart Senate Office Building have a status hearing in Superior Court of the District of Columbia.




12—[Santa Barbara, CA] Defendants Dennis Apel, Jeff Dietrich, Fr. Louie Vitale, OFM, and Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, are to be sentenced after being found guilty of trespass on Dec. 4, 2008.  They were arrested outside Vandenberg AFB on May 19, 2007. Prior to the trial, the judge granted the prosecution’s motion in limine, which prohibited the defendants from making a comment or statement with regard to their religious or political reasons or views for their act of trespass. This ruling essentially gagged the defendants from making any meaningful statement in their defense since the foundation of their action was inspired by their beliefs.


After an evidentiary hearing on defendant Mike Wisniewski's motion to dismiss the trespass charge, the magistrate ruled against the motion. However, during the trial, a video of the witness at the base was shown.  After the prosecution rested its case, Wisniewski's public defender made a motion to acquit, which was granted as the government failed to prove Wisniewski was given a warning. He hopes to have the life-time "ban and bar" from Vandenberg removed.


6—[Alexandria, VA] Eleven people arrested at the Pentagon on Dec. 29, 2008 are scheduled for trial in U.S. District Court.  They acted as voices for the voiceless and confessed a need to act more consistently against the weapons and war that make that institution such a curse against humanity and the earth. The arrested--Beth Brockman, Danny Burns, Mary Jo McArthur, Peter DeMott, Bill Frankel-Streit, Mary Grace, Brian Hynes, Sr. Margaret McKenna, David Ryle, Kim Williams and Steve Woolford--attempted to block entrances.




20—[Washington, D.C.] Don Muller, Max Obuszewski, Perry Reeve and Lynn Robinson, arrested on Sept. 26, 2005 outside the White House and convicted of demonstrating without a permit on Dec. 21, 2005, are to respond to the government’s appeal brief.  However, a federal public defender involved in the appeal will be requesting an extension, since he is currently engaged in a separate matter.  This matter is before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The convictions were affirmed by Chief Judge Thomas Hogan. 


13—[Chicago] Martin Bates, Janie Stein and Joe Wyse pled guilty to trespass after participating in a die-in outside the headquarters of Boeing on Jan. 19. The action was taken to honor Martin Luther King’s call to end racism, militarism and poverty and was conceived during a Christian Peacemaker Teams training.  The die-in highlighted Boeing’s deadly connection to Israel's massacre in Gaza.  Boeing makes the GBU-39 "bunker buster" bombs and the Apache helicopters used by the Israeli military during its recent offensive on Gaza.  Tracey Hughes was also arrested in this action, but her case was dismissed on Feb. 3.


The judge did not permit the activists to make a statement. However, Janie, right before pleading, said "If it please the court, it's not O.K. for corporations to build bombs that kill innocent people.  If I'm accused of trying to stop that, then I am guilty as charged."  The judge said she had read the details of the report & understood what the group did and why it went to Boeing.  The defendants were given three months of unsupervised probation, and good behavior could expunge the record in two years. After sentencing, the activists interacted with the two Boeing representatives, who indicated respect for the protesters.


11—[WDC] The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ordered that the appeals filed by Ellen Barfield, Tim Chadwick, Max Obuszewski, Manijeh Saba and Eve Tetaz were to be consolidated and that within 30 days a report must be filed regarding the acquisition of a transcript from the trial of the Ghosts of the Iraq War, the post-verdict hearing and the sentencing.  The activists are appealing the Oct. 24 guilty verdict rendered by the jury.  The appeal will challenge many of the judge’s decisions.


9—[Pettus, WV] Fourteen people, including Chad Stevens, were arrested trying to stop Massey Energy's mountaintop removal "madness.”  This demonstrated the environmental activists' growing willingness to take nonviolent direct action in the fight against dirty coal.  The action took place on Coal River Mountain where Massey plans to begin a mountaintop removal operation that will involve blasting over underground mines and near the Brushy Fork Impoundment -- a dam holding some 7 billion gallons of toxic coal sludge.  Opponents of the operation are asking the company to consider using the site for a wind farm instead.


9—[Des Moines, IA] Ed Bloomer, Frank Cordaro, Renee Espeland and Mona Shaw, calling themselves "Catholics For Life: from womb to tomb,” disrupted Rep. Steve King’s speech as he is pro-war, pro-death penalty and anti-immigration. Cordaro and Shaw were removed by the police, but not arrested.


3—[Chicago] Tracy Hughes, arrested on Jan. 19 with three others and charged with trespass during a die-in outside the headquarters of Boeing, had her case dismissed. 




29—[Washington, D.C.] Sisters Ellen Grady and Clare Grady of Ithaca, NY and Heidi Schloegel of Bronx, NY were scheduled to appear for a status hearing in the District of Columbia Superior Court, charged with unlawful entry and crossing a police line.  The defendants were to argue, based on video footage, that they never crossed the line.  They were arrested on Dec. 30, 2008 outside the Israeli embassy in a protest against the massacre in the Gaza Strip.


26—[Fort Benning, GA] Six human rights advocates were found "guilty" of trespass at the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC).  They had crossed the line on Nov. 23, 2008.  The sentences were as follows: Father Luis Barrios and Kristin Holm—two months in federal prison and a $250 fine; and Sr. Diane Pinchot and Al Simmons—two months in federal prison.  Theresa Cusimano and Louis Wolf are awaiting sentencing.


19—[Bangor, WA] Holding a large sign quoting Dr. King; Larry Kerschner, Jessica Smith, Gilberto Perez, and Jessica Artega were arrested for blocking the entrance to the Trident sub base.


16--[Chicago] Voices for Creative Nonviolence joined other justice advocates in a sit-in at the office of Sen. Richard Durbin. Four participants met briefly with two staff members and informed them they would not leave until Durbin issued a public statement decrying US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza.  Ten of the activists were arrested on a federal charge of “failure to comply with a lawful directive to leave the office.”


14—[Omaha, NE] Catholic Worker Jerry Ebner was released from the Douglas County Jail after serving a 9-day sentence.  While in jail, he caught the flu and suffered from an attack of gout.


On Jan. 5, he went to the Douglas Co. Court House and told a Judge he could not in good conscience pay a $500 fine which was assessed when he was convicted on Nov. 12, 2008 of being in "violation of an ordinance with the City of Omaha.”  Ebner was arrested on Oct. 8 with seven others during a die-in at the Qwest Center during the 2008 Strategic Space and Defense Conference, sponsored by STRATCOM/OFFUTT AFB. He will remain on probation until Nov. 2009, and a violation could result in a 30-day jail sentence.


13—[Tacoma, WA] Three civil resisters of nuclear weapons, Fr. Bill Bichsel S.J., Rev. Anne Hall and Tom Karlin, were acquitted of trespass in federal court.  They were arrested on May 31, 2008 when they tried to invite the base commander at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to engage in dialogue to establish the Puget Sound Nuclear Weapon Free Zone. Twelve people were arrested at the anti-nuke protest. Seven--Father Bill Bichsel, Jessica Smith, Joe Power-Drutis, Thomas Karlin, Denny Moore, Joe Marinello and Rev. Anne Hall--were arrested while trying to deliver the letter, and five demonstrators--Lynne Greenwald, Sallie Shawl, Mary Gleysteen, Kim Wahl and Glen Milner--were arrested while trying to display a banner on a freeway overpass. The banner activists were charged with disorderly conduct and failure to disperse.  Only three of the letter carriers were cited for violation of 18 USC 1382--trespass on a military installation.


Early in the trial, the judge granted the motion to dismiss charges against Anne Hall and Tom Karlin on the basis that the trespass statute requires knowledge of debarment (which was not proven by the government). After further proceedings in which Judge Kelley determined that the government had not proven certain essential acts in the case, he allowed a motion to give a directed verdict, thereby acquitting Fr. Bichsel.

12—[Madison, WI] Charged with trespass, twelve participants in WITNESS AGAINST WAR, a 450 mile walk from Chicago to last summer’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN  “to challenge and nonviolently resist our country’s continuing war in and occupation of Iraq,” were convicted in U.S. District Court.  Thirteen activists from around the country were arrested by Department of Defense Police on Aug. 10, 2008 as they attempted to enter the gates of Fort McCoy, a military installation in Wisconsin’s Monroe County. They had hoped to convey a message to the soldiers to not go to war.

Kathy Kelly, Chicago, was arrested at Fort McCoy, but had her trial postponed since she was in Egypt trying to get into the Gaza Strip. Kelly was detained after the arrest and transported to another country to face a warrant from 1999 when she refused to pay a fine after being convicted of trespass at the now-closed Project ELF nuclear sub antenna. Kelly’s fine was paid anonymously, and she rejoined the walk two days later.

Col. Daniel A. Culver of the fort’s Office of the Command Judge Advocate, cited “risk of disruption to Fort McCoy’s mission” as grounds to ban the activists from the installation.  The defendants, who represented themselves at trial, were Jeff Leys,  Joy First; John Bachman, Brian Terrell, Renee Espeland, Kryss Chupp, Ceylon Mooney, Eileen Hanson, Joshua Brollier, Lauren Cannon, Alice Gerard, and Gene Stoltzfus. Fort McCoy is an open base, so the defendants argued their First Amendment rights were denied because of their message.  The activists were ordered to pay a $75 fine by Feb. 13. When some of them informed the judge they would not pay a fine, he indicated that he would see if the money could be paid to a victim’s compensation fund.

12—[Mountain Home, ID] Peter Rickard was to be sentenced.  As a pro se defendant, he was convicted of trespass and battery by a jury on Dec. 3. On June 16, he was arrested at an “open house” for a nuclear power plant,  after an employee of the pro-nuclear group claimed he was accosted.  




Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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