Open Letter to Friends and Supporters of Helen Woodson
Dear Friends of Helen,
Helen has prepared the following statement for her sentencing, expected soon.
With only one day's notice, Helen was brought before the federal court
in Kansas City on June 18, where she pled guilty to five counts of
sending threatening communications, and one count of destruction of government property.
>She told the judge that she considered her actions to be truthful,
>and not a threat, but a warning.
>Although she refers in her sentencing statement to Carl Kabat being in
>prison, at this writing he is not. Follow Helen's statement is Carl's
>story is reported by Bill Sulzman, and his own recent sentencing
>At the end, I have added the Kansas CIty Star report on
>At this time, Helen is still at the Bates County Jail in Missouri. You
>still write to her at
>Bates County Jail
>P. O. Box 60
>Butler, MO 64730
>Helen Woodson: Statement for Sentencing
>The theme of my witness on March 11 was, "The Truth Bears Repeating."
>has been said that the first casualty in war is the truth, and it was
>intention to recover the truth about weapons of mass destruction, the
>subject of letters and a phone call for which I will be sentenced
>We know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but
>to home, the story is different. This past Good Friday, Fr. Carl
>co-defendant in this court in 1984, went looking in a nearby state and
>announced, "I found some! Right here in Colorado!" For his faithful
>presence at a Minuteman 3 missile silo, my dear friend is now in
>But I would like to move beyond the narrow definition promulgated by
>government. The term "weapons of mass destruction" is new, but human
>beings have been seeking bigger and better ways to kill each other for
>thousands of years. The Roman, Lucretius, wrote of "the horrible
>increasing day by day the terror of war. They even tested bulls in
>thick of battle and drove wild boars against the enemy." He described
>panicked animals trampling friend and foe alike into a slurry of
>In modern times our weapons of mass destruction have become more
>sophisticated. We can speak of the firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo,
>atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the napalm and Agent Orange
>Vietnam. And now the Depleted Uranium widely used in Kosovo,
>and Iraq. Many Gulf War veterans are ill, and in Iraq cancer rates
>soaring. One obstetrician said that birth defects are so common,
>no longer ask about the baby's sex; they ask only, "Is it normal?"
>500,000 Iraqi children dead of starvation and disease caused by U.S.
>economic sanctions. That also was a weapon of mass destruction.
>200 million have died in the last century's wars, but we should not
>with the human casualties. The noted Indian writer Arundhati Roy,
>us, "Never counted in the costs of war are the dead birds, the charred
>animals, the murdered fish, incinerated insects, poisoned water
>destroyed vegetation. Rarely mentioned is the arrogance of the human
>toward other living things. This arrogance will probably be the
>undoing of the human species."
>I was literally a child of war. My father, the late Carl Strauch, was
>mentor, and he taught me reverence for life against the backdrop of
>and the Korean War. I came of age during the Vietnam War, and my two
>oldest sons were born during the years that young men of my generation
>coming home maimed or in body bags. So I stand today in spirit with
>courageous veterans like my friends George Vesey, Louie de Benedette,
>Cal Robertson who returned from Vietnam to oppose all war.
>They speak eloquently about the lingering pain of both physical
>disabilities and mental anguish, and I repeat Cal's simple declaration
>behalf of those dying in Iraq, "This is not ok." (Show large photo
>Time Magazine of flag-draped coffins.)
>For the victims on both sides, military and civilian, warfare itself
>weapon of mass destruction and so I wrote to the Commander at Whiteman
>telling him that there were such weapons on his Air Force base. That
>and is the truth, and "The Truth Bears Repeating."
>I began with war, but I cannot end there, for this nation's weapons of
>destruction exist in many forms. After WWII, national leaders
>the conversion of military products to civilian use, and thus was born
>age of chemical agriculture. In 1998 and '99 alone, the U.S. used 5
>billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides. Since the late 1950's
>than 750 million tons of toxic chemical waste have been discarded. We
>know the results, both in nature and in the human population. Is
>anyone who has not lost a loved on to cancer? Our nation's pesticides
>truly weapons of mass destruction.
>Another non-military weapon of mass destruction is abortion. I
>that this is a sensitive issue, and I do not judge those who make that
>choice. But surely there is something wrong when the wealthiest nation
>earth has seen the loss of more than 40 million unborn children to
>since its legalization.
>And with that word "legalization" I come to the letters and phone call
>which I addressed to the judges of this court, warning that there was
>weapon of mass destruction in this building. The weapons of war, the
>millions of tons of toxic chemicals, the tens of millions of
>capital punishment which is condemned throughout the civilized world -
>are legal. The laws of the United States upheld by the federal courts
>thus themselves weapons of mass destruction, and so my warning was and
>the truth. I poured red paint on the security counter in this
>said, "the government has blood on its hands." That also was the
>"The Truth Bears Repeating."
>Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004
>Subject: Judge Shaffer's sentence and Carl Kabat's sentencing
>Fr. Carl Kabat was sentenced to 3 years probation by Judge Craig
>today, July 8. The first 6 months of the sentence are a form of house
>arrest with rigid rules about movemnt outside the St. Louis area. In
>addition Carl was ordered to do 300 hours of community service. He
>given until noon Monday July 12 to report in to the St. Louis federal
>probation office. Numerous other conditions were set down which make
>very onerous probation. Carl is free for the moment and headed back
>Louis by bus this evening.
>The prosecutor and Carl himself (see below) had asked for the maximum
>months incarceration. There were about a dozen supporters on hand.
>judge tried to put the best spin on his decision and defend his
>rulings at trial which eliminated any consideration of nuclear weapons
>his courtroom. So once again nuclear weapons got a full approval in
>We'll keep you advised of future developments
>Citizens for Peace in Space
>P.O. Box 915
>Colorado Springs, CO 80901
>719 389 0644
>July 8th, 2004 Sentencing Statement
>- Carl Kabat
>I presume that everyone in this room knows that the bomb at N8 could
>about 2 or 3 million people. 2/3 of the American people say that we
>get rid of nuclear weapons. We are a democracy. So what does the will
>the people matter? If George Bush got rid of nuclear weapons he would
>probably be killed.
>Gandhi, a lawyer said, "Open wide the prison gates and we must enter
>as a bridegroom enters the bridal chamber. It is not in the courts, or
>halls of justice, or the assemblies of power that truth and justice
>won, but in the jails and sometimes on the gallows." I never
>understood why, when found guilty by the courts, Gandhi asked for the
>maximum sentence possible, but I do understand it a bit better now,
>ask for the maximum sentence now.
>Lawyer friends have told me (not anyone in this room) that the courts
>not a matter of Truth and Justice but a matter of power - and we know
>has the power. Everything that Hitler did was legal. If you have
>power you can get any evil that you wish made legal. The great evils
>history have all been 'legal': slavery, segregation, and apartheid
>been legal but that does not make them morally correct.
>The author John has Pilate asking, "What is truth?" and then had the
>whom the question was addressed crucified.
>In 1983 the World Council of Churches declared, "The development,
>deployment, or use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity."
>Council II, ending in 1965 with all of the world's Catholic bishops
>assembled said, "Nuclear weapons are a crime against humanity." We
>have the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights followed
>the international covenant on civil and political rights article six,
>which the human rights committee established under article 28 says,
>production, testing, possession, deployment, and use of nuclear
>must be prohibited and recognized as crimes against humanity. The
>line is that we are all criminals - since this is our country.
>What is Truth? Are these truths or falsehoods? I believe these are
>Einstein said, "There is no secret, there is no defense. What is
>an aroused peoples of the world." We have a grave responsibility
>have used nuclear weapons and have more of them in our possession than
>rest of the entire world combined. Almost 900 of our young men and
>have been killed supposedly because of weapons of mass destruction.
>responsibility of what has happened in this room and is happening
>this room resides with the people of this room. There was no jury to
>the responsibility could be shifted.
>I take responsibility for my actions and in fact am proud of them.
>brother magistrate judge Craig Shaffer and brother prosecutor must do
>likewise. I would say that if someone knows a better way to get rid of
>nuclear weapons, please, in God's name, do it.
>Some pertinent facts and truths that should have been allowed into the
>courtroom: About a hundred German judges, possibly knowing of the
>conspiracy of silence during the Nazi era, blocked the US base at
>where Pershing II nuclear armed missiles were stationed - they are now
>gone. Humanitarian law, the UN charter, US soldiers manual, Kellogg
>pact, the 1996 world court opinion in regards to nuclear weapons and
>even stronger dissenting opinion and many other things such as
>competing harms, and such things are pertinent in regard to insane
>weapons. Bill Quigley, law professor at Loyola University School of
>New Orleans, titled a release "Felony criminal charges dismissed
>blood pouring peace activists." International law defense was used;
>jurors were deadlocked 9-3 in favor of finding the defendants
>further says that prosecutor Dentes said that he would not try to
>re-prosecute because he thought another trial would have the same
>In Iowa and in England, the international court opinion regarding
>weapons was allowed to be presented and the individuals were found not
>guilty. You, Brother Magistrate Judge and Brother Prosecutor are the
>who have ruled out the international court opinion in regard to
>weapons. You, brothers Magistrate Judge and Prosecutor could have
>all the truth to be presented and then ignored it, but you chose not
>What is Truth? (God is Truth. God is Justice.) We can deny both.
>Shakespeare has Mark Anthony, after the murder of Caesar, say of
>"for he is an honorable man." The judge, who sentenced Franz
>Jaegarstaetter to be beheaded for refusing service under Hitler, cried
>he sentenced Franz. He too was an honorable man. And as Shakespeare
>"and so they are all." If this planet is destroyed it will be because
>honorable men. Our late president Ronald Regan said, "A nuclear war
>never be won and must never be fought." If that is true then I ask why
>still have nuclear weapons and why you defend them.
>I ask you, Brother Magistrate Judge to relieve my lawyer, Ms. Sue
>from any duties she has to this court, since I will not appeal (and
>done a wonderful job under the restrictions that you and the
>imposed) so that she could sit with the sisters and brothers who
>stand for Truth—all of us in our own feeble ways. I would invite you
>the marshals to remove me from this court and that I be sentenced in
>absentia. When I leave here and return to the table I intend to turn
>back on this court as a symbol that Truth was not able to be spoken
>think it is not so much contempt of this court but rather sadness that
>Truth could not be spoken in this room, as it is in most courtrooms of
>Fri, Jun. 18, 2004
>Peace activist pleads guilty to vandalism and threats
>By MARK MORRIS
>The Kansas City Star
> A peace activist who has spent 20 years in prison pleaded guilty in
>City today to vandalism and threatening federal judges and Air Force
> Helen Woodson, 60, was detained by deputy U.S. marshals on March 10
>she threw a mixture of red paint and cranberry juice, which resembled
>blood, on a security desk and screening device at the U.S. District
> The day before she had mailed threatening letters to the judges and
>commander of Whiteman AFB Base in Knob Noster. She followed those the
>morning with similar letters entitled "Second Warning." And before
>to the courthouse March 10, she called a courthouse employee, who
>remembered her saying, "This is a warning, there is a weapon of mass
>destruction in your office, get out now!"
> At her hearing today, Woodson recalled the statement differently.
> "I said, 'This is a warning. There is a weapon of mass destruction in
>building. Choose life,'" Woodson recalled.
> Woodson and three others received long prison sentences in 1985 for
>a jackhammer to chip the concrete lid of a nuclear missile silo near
>Whiteman AFB. The four identified themselves as the Silo Pruning
>reference to the Biblical admonition to beat swords into plowshares
>spears into pruning hooks.
> Three days after her parole in 1993, Woodson walked into a Illinois
>and used an unloaded starter pistol to get $25,000 from a teller.
> According to press reports, she then piled the money on the floor,
>it and told witnesses: "Money is evil. You don't believe in God; you
> She subsequently was convicted of bank robbery and other violations
>was sentenced to more than nine years in prison. After her release
>she had been instructed to return to Kansas City and meet with a
>officer to review the terms of her probation.
> "I will never abide by the terms of supervised release," Woodson
> Her lawyer, Henry Stoever, said Woodson considers herself a "soldier
>peace," and deeply opposes nuclear weapons and abortion.
> Woodson's moral convictions were reflected in her answers to
>posed by Chief U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple. Asked what she
>to be her home, Woodson replied: "Right now, I live in this courtroom.
>live wherever God takes me."
> She also asked Whipple to sentence her quickly so she can return to
>prison, which has been her home for all but five days of the last two
> "I don't believe in the court process because of my religious beliefs
>don't wish to participate in it," Woodson said. "Therefore, a speedy
>resolution is good for me."
> Stoever described Woodson's commitment to peace protests as a
> "She doesn't worry about whether it's effective or not," Stoever
>"She just believes she needs to do this."
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