Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bonnie Urfer is given 4 more morths of prison for Y12 Oak Ridge demo.



Sr. Carol Gilbert is to be sentenced on September 16 at 9:30 AM, and Sr. Ardeth Platte at 1:30 PM, also on Friday.  Let us hope for the best, and imagine the judge being hit with a nonviolent thunderbolt.  Afterwards, he sends all of the resisters home.






Published on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by


Anti-Nuclear Activist, Bonnie Urfer, Fights Crime in Sentencing Statement

by John LaForge


Bonnie Urfer, 59, of Luck, Wis., is being sentenced in federal court

in Knoxville, Tenn., today, even though she’s been in federal custody

ever since her May 11 trespassing conviction. A long-time nuclear

weapons resister and nonviolence trainer, she’s spent most of the last

four months in a private, for-profit jail in southeast Georgia.


After working for Nukewatch for 25 years, Bonnie’s learned something

about nuclear weapons and she’s done more than four years in jail for

peacefully resisting them. She joined 12 others in walking onto the

property of the Y12 nuclear weapons fabrication complex in Oak Ridge,

Tenn., in 2010. Convicted of the federal misdemeanor with the others,

she could get a year in prison.


A gifted graphic artist, Bonnie always says, “I are not a writer.” But

her sentencing statement, written for presiding Magistrate Bruce

Guyton is worth repeating. She titled it, “So Many Crimes, So Little



“To the Court: One of the most unpleasant things in life is to go to

jail. But because they are places with some of the worst human rights

violations in one of the most unjust systems, it is important that

people know what happens in them. We need people in jails who have a

voice, and people who know to tell the truth.


“In the past 126 days I have been booked into three different jails.

The hardest part of the experience is being just one person in the

midst of so much systematic crime.


“I have a decision to make.


“Do I refocus and put my energy into exposing the on-going crime of

medical negligence in these jails? Do I begin a campaign to highlight

the illegal starvation diet in the Blount County jail, for which no

one has been arrested? Do I join the effort to condemn the practice of

overcharging mostly dirt poor inmates for phone calls, and commissary,

so that corporations and counties receive greater kickbacks? Should I

add my voice to those in this courthouse who show up protesting unjust

sentences for nonviolent conspiracy charges? Or should I spend all of

my time researching how many prosecutors, judges, attorneys, court

clerks and law enforcement personnel who hold stock in the private

prison industry, commissary companies, phone providers or medical

contractors in these human warehouses? I see so many literal and moral

crimes, and I’m just one person.


“My final answer is none of the above. I will continue to resist the

ultimate crime of nuclear weapons and their production here and around

the world.


“I heartily disagree with this court that Y12’s production of nuclear

bombs does not equate to imminent nuclear war. I can tell you about

the women I met in the jails who lost family members from cancer after

exposure to radiation while working at Y12. The government pays

$150,000 to those with cancer or to their family after a death, if

they can prove Y12’s liability. Thousands of people are dead or dying

from weapons production. How many deaths does it take to convince the

courts that Y12 is killing its own in a nuclear war? How many does it

take to name it a crime? In my mind — just one.


“I have just one life and there is so much to do.


“It doesn’t matter what my sentence is. If I am returned to jail, I’ll

expose more crimes. If I am set free, I’ll expose more crimes.


“Now, it is your decision.” — Bonnie Urfer, Ocilla, Grorgia


John LaForge is on the Nukewatch staff and edits its Quarterly




Sept. 14, 2011

740A Round Lake Road, Luck, WI 54853

(715) 472-4185


Contact: John LaForge

(715) 491-3813


Anti-nuclear Activist Sentenced to Eight Months for Misdemeanor Trespass


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee – Bonnie Urfer, 59, of Luck, Wisconsin, a

long-time staff member of the nonprofit nuclear watchdog group

Nukewatch, was sentenced by the federal court here today to a total of

eight months incarceration. Urfer has been in jail since May 11 and

will now serve another four months.


Presiding Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton had Urfer incarcerated May 11,

2011, immediately following a jury trial involving 12 activists, all

of whom were convicted of trespass for a sit-down protest that took

place July 5, 2010 at the Y12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge,



The government prosecutor made no recommendation as to the sentence at

today’s 1:00 p.m. (ET) hearing, beyond noting that Ms Urfer has

already served four months incarceration. Earlier in the week, two

co-defendants, Bill Bichsel, 83, of Tacoma Washington, and Jean Gump,

84, of Bloomington, Mich., were sentenced Monday to three months, and

“time served,” respectively.


Magistrate Guyton noted that the federal probation department had

earlier recommended that a sentence of between two and eight months.

Guyton also referred to a list of what he said were of Urfer’s 50

prior convictions and that “The only way to prevent her more-or-less

routine is to separate her from the community.” Guyton neglected to

mention that all of Urfer’s prior arrests for nonviolent protests

against nuclear power or weapons.


In a statement to the court before the judge ruled, Urfer described

the production of nuclear weapons as a crime, and described many of

the rights violations to which she was an eye witness in the Blount

County jail, in Tenn., and in the Irwin County Detention Center in

Ocilla, Georgia -- a private institution that takes federal prisoners

on a contract basis --where she and six co-defendants have been held

for the last three months.


"If I am returned to jail I will continue to expose crimes there, and

if I am released I continue to expose the crime of nuclear weapons.”



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