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John LaForge - Bonnie's fellow Nuke Watch staffer...
DAY THREE • 16 September 2011 • Part I, Carol Gilbert
Carol Gilbert, arrested at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak
misdemeanor trespass charge, appeared before Judge Bruce Guyton for
sentencing on Friday, September 16, 2011. Carol’s pre-sentencing
investigation determined her sentencing range—points for prior
offenses, added to points for the current offense—at 1-7 months.
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Kirby announced the government had
no objections to the pre-sentencing report and sought a “just and fair
sentence,” noting Carol had already served four months.
In her elocution, delivered just before the judge handed down his
sentence, Carol said, “We do not choose jail. We do choose nonviolent
direct action. We do choose to try to uphold Article 6 of the United
States Constitution which was not allowed in this courtroom. We do
choose life over death. But we do not choose jail.”
Carol declared that
upgrade nuclear warheads and, at the same time, adhere to humanitarian
law and the laws of war. She spoke of women she met in jail who had
horror stories to tell of the damage done to their families, health,
and the environment by the work at Y12.
Drawing a distinction between civil disobedience, which breaks a
specific law to accomplish a greater good, and civil resistance, which
acts to uphold a law based on the citizen responsibilities established
in the courtroom, along with her co-defendants, as drops of
water—drops of water that, over time, wear away the stone.
Carol closed her statement with a remembrance of Jackie Hudson, to
which the gathered audience responded, “Presente!”
The judge then sentenced Carol to time served, imposed no fine or probation.
DAY THREE • Part II, Ardeth Platte
It was the same and it wasn’t. Ardeth arrived in court four hours
after Carol Gilbert to face sentencing for the same civil resistance
act—trespass at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in July 2010
protesting the ongoing production of nuclear weapons components and
the plan to build a new bomb production plant at Y12.
The prosecutor stood and reminded the judge that Ardeth had already
served four months and asked for a sentence that would deter her
specifically and others generally—the same language we have heard for
he judge recited Ardeth’s points (history and offense) and status
(Cateogry 2) which placed her in the 1-7 months range. Ardeth’s lawyer
agreed they had no objection to the presentencing report.
And then it was Ardeth’s turn, and she addressed the court for her
elocution, beginning with a blessing of peace on the judge, the
judge’s staff, the prosecutors, the marshals, the audience—“everyone
who has brought us to this place today.” Then she told the judge she
would be sharing her history with him so he would understand a little
of who she is. Her statement, “I Refuse to Be Silent,” began by
calling Jackie Hudson to the gathering, and moved to reminding the
judge that she came to court expecting justice, expecting law-breakers
to be prosecuted, expecting killing and threats to kill to be brought
to trial. She noted the prosecutors instead chose to prosecute the Y12
Thirteen, limiting their testimony at trial, and ignoring law and treaties.
“Nuclear weapons are the taproot of violence,” Ardeth said, “and they
must be abolished. So I refuse to be silent.” Aligning herself with
her community and her church, Nobel laureates and legal experts, the
World Court and the world community, she said “We each in our own way
refuse to be silent.” She described her education in the church where
“the words of Jesus took root in me,” and her exposure to racism,
sexism and class-ism. The movements to address those issues taught her
“the way to bring about systemic change through legal, political, and
direct action.” She spoke of anti-war actions and efforts to declare
“During the 1980s and 1990s, under the tutelage of lawyers, we learned
the laws of the
our own nonviolent actions,” Ardeth said, “and our duty and
responsibility to stop them.”
“Nuclear weapons inflict indiscriminate and uncontrollable mass
destruction, violate fundamental rules and principles of humanitarian
law, and threaten the existence of life itself.” She spoke of the
specific work at Y12, refurbishing the W76 warhead, as breaches of
Article 6 of the Nonproliferation Treaty.
“So I ask you,” she said, “Is it our democratic right to stop
wrong-doing? Is it legal to defy treaties?…My commitment has been to
put my mind, body, spirit and voice on the line to stop war, weapons and killing.”
“You may wonder why I’m taking the time to add this to my record,”
said Ardeth. “I have two reasons: first to let you know my commitment
and my passio; second, with hope to invite you and all who are part of
the court to be agents for change in this key time of history as were
the courts in the abolition of slavery, voting rights for women,
stopping child labor, civil rights, unionization, and a multitude of
other laws protecting air, land and water… Join the movement to stop the killing.”
Ardeth concluding by invoking Jackie Hudson’s mantra, urging the court
to “take a step outside your comfort zone.”
The judge listened intently to the entire elocution and then handed
down his sentence: time served, no fine, no probation, and a $25
special fee to be paid immediately.
As Ardeth was taken away for processing, one of the marshals came over
with her hand extended. “This is Sister Carol’s watch,” she said. “She
left it here in May and told us we could give it away. But we aren’t
allowed to do that; we would just have to throw it out. So I decided
to keep it for her.” She then told us to expect them to be released
around 6:00pm, and we adjourned for the afternoon to see Bix off to
the airport and reconvene at the release.
For more info contact:
Oak Ridge Environmental Peace
phone: 865 776 5050
web page: http://orepa.org/