Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dr. Lawrence Egbert goes on trial in Arizona/Disarm Now Plowshares sentenced

Family and Friends Reports on the Final Exit Network Trials in Arizona,
MaricopaCounty, Phoenix

I write to you about our trials about to start in Arizona

I hope you share information amongst yourselves and with other
family and friends.  All along we have been delighted that so many people are
working to improve the civil liberties of aging Americans.  Any political work
you are doing or suggesting, share with us.  Any teaching suggestions you have,
share with us. 

Some of you are on my list because you have asked (mostly several times) how is
it going?  You are concerned  for me and Frank Langsner and most of you have never
heard of Frank unless you are already googling the cases. 

You can get ideas from Final Exit Network, the web site, or ERGO or you can
google me.  I have on several occasions been dumbfounded what has been written
about my activities on this.  I nearly fainted when I read the article in
NEWSWEEK.  You should depend on public news for details of the actual trials and
it would be inappropriate for me to discuss these. 

Now my first report: Actually, this is rather a summary of how I got here.  I
joined  the Hemlock Society in the 80s and trained as a Caring Friend.  We would
sit with patients who had been accepted for guidance in hastening death in a more
dignified way (compared with a shotgun). 

When Hemlock leadership decided to politick more vigorously, they got
rid of the name, Hemlock and made sure no one was cheering for Dr. Kevorkian. 
Also, the Caring Friends work was reduced.  Ted Goodwin gathered a group
together and we created Final Exit Network to regain the vigor of the Caring
Friends work.

We have a national program with guides all across the country. My job
was to evaluate an applicant to check she had the horrible disease she said she
had and to evaluate the possibilities of her doing anything to alleviate the
disease sufficiently to continue with a life at least semi-tolerable. 

We had several hundred patients in our books and over 100 had died in
the period from our start until 2009.  The wife of a patient in Georgia and
sister of a patient in Arizona complained to the police and 7 of us were
arrested for this work.  That was just over two years ago, February 25th, 2009. 

We have carefully made sure we were obeying the law, never did
anything but suggest the patients do what they wanted to do and how to do it
properly.  I think our attorneys will be using the First Amendment’s guarantee
of freedom of speech. 

Larry Egbert
PS: You might also get reports from my wife, Ellen Barfield.

U.S. News

5 US peace demonstrators sentenced to prison


The Rev. Bill Bichsel of Tacoma, center, greats supporters outside the federal courthouse in Tacoma before a sentencing hearing Monday, March 28, 2011. Bichsel, along with the Rev. Stephen Kelly of Oakland, Calif.; Lynne Greenwald of Tacoma; Sister Anne Montgomery of Redwood City, Calif.; and Susan Crane of Baltimore, cut through fences in November 2009 to reach the weapons storage area at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor where they put up banners, scattered sunflower seeds and prayed until they were arrested to protest submarine nuclear weapons. (AP Photo - The News Tribune, Joe Barrentine)


The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com


From Associated Press


March 28, 2011 9:02 PM EDT

TACOMA, Washington (AP) — Two priests, a nun and two women in their 60s who cut through fences at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to protest submarine nuclear weapons were sentenced Monday to prison terms ranging from two to 15 months.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle sentenced Jesuit priest Stephen Kelly, 62, and retired teacher Susan Crane, 67, to 15 months in prison, U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Emily Langlie said.

Jesuit priest Bill Bichsel, 82, was sentenced to three months in prison and six months of home monitoring. Sister Anne Montgomery, 84, got two months in prison and four months home monitoring, and social worker Lynne Greenwald, 61, got six months in prison and 60 hours of community service.

All five defendants also were given one year of supervised release. They were ordered into custody Monday, Langlie said.

The judge praised the five defendants for their humanitarian work but said he was bound by the law to send a message that legal means must be used to bring about change, the News Tribune reported.

"Indeed, there is no indication of remorse," Settle said.

A federal jury convicted the five anti-war demonstrators of conspiracy, trespass and destruction of government property in December. They had faced up to 10 years in prison, and prosecutors recommended sentences ranging between six months and 36 months.

Court documents say the group cut through fences on Nov. 2, 2009, to reach an area near where nuclear warheads are stored in bunkers. The protesters put up banners, sprinkled blood on the ground, scattered sunflower seeds and prayed until they were arrested.

The Bangor base, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Seattle on Hood Canal, is home to 10 Ohio-class submarines, eight armed with Trident ballistic missiles and two with conventional weapons.

Prosecutors said in sentencing documents that the five trespassed into a restricted area, destroyed the Navy's property and placed themselves and others in jeopardy.

About 250 demonstrators gathered outside the federal courthouse before Monday's sentencing. Some demonstrators carried signs saying, "Blessed are the Peacemakers," according to Seattle radio station KOMO.

Kelly told KOMO before the sentencing that he was prepared to go to prison.

"I think it's really worth it. I have the solace of my conscience, as I think this is just one little step against nuclear weapons and someday we'll be free, and maybe not in my lifetime, but I have hope."

The five defendants said nuclear warheads stored at the base and on submarines there are illegal under international, national and humanitarian law, but a judge prohibited them from using international law and the lethality of nuclear weapons as a defense. The trial hinged on straightforward charges relating to trespassing and property damage.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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


"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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