portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements united states

energy & nuclear | police / legal | prisons & prisoners

Open Letter to Friends and Supporters of Helen Woodson

Dear Friends of Helen,
Helen has prepared the following statement for her sentencing, expected soon.
Helen is second from left
Helen is second from left
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,
factual,
>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
statement.
>
>At the end, I have added the Kansas CIty Star report on
her
>plea hearing.
>
>At this time, Helen is still at the Bates County Jail in Missouri. You
may
>still write to her at
>Helen Woodson
>03231-045
>Bates County Jail
>P. O. Box 60
>Butler, MO 64730
>
>Peace,
>Jack Cohen-Joppa
>----------------
>
>Helen Woodson: Statement for Sentencing
>
>The theme of my witness on March 11 was, "The Truth Bears Repeating."
It
>has been said that the first casualty in war is the truth, and it was
my
>intention to recover the truth about weapons of mass destruction, the
>subject of letters and a phone call for which I will be sentenced
today.
>
>We know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but
closer
>to home, the story is different. This past Good Friday, Fr. Carl
Kabat, my
>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
prison.
>
>But I would like to move beyond the narrow definition promulgated by
the
>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
weapons
>increasing day by day the terror of war. They even tested bulls in
the
>thick of battle and drove wild boars against the enemy." He described
the
>panicked animals trampling friend and foe alike into a slurry of
tissue and
>blood.
>
>In modern times our weapons of mass destruction have become more
>sophisticated. We can speak of the firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo,
the
>atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the napalm and Agent Orange
of
>Vietnam. And now the Depleted Uranium widely used in Kosovo,
Afghanistan,
>and Iraq. Many Gulf War veterans are ill, and in Iraq cancer rates
are
>soaring. One obstetrician said that birth defects are so common,
parents
>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
stop
>with the human casualties. The noted Indian writer Arundhati Roy,
reminds
>us, "Never counted in the costs of war are the dead birds, the charred
>animals, the murdered fish, incinerated insects, poisoned water
sources,
>destroyed vegetation. Rarely mentioned is the arrogance of the human
race
>toward other living things. This arrogance will probably be the
ultimate
>undoing of the human species."
>
>I was literally a child of war. My father, the late Carl Strauch, was
my
>mentor, and he taught me reverence for life against the backdrop of
WWII
>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
were
>coming home maimed or in body bags. So I stand today in spirit with
>courageous veterans like my friends George Vesey, Louie de Benedette,
and
>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
on
>behalf of those dying in Iraq, "This is not ok." (Show large photo
from
>Time Magazine of flag-draped coffins.)
>
>For the victims on both sides, military and civilian, warfare itself
is a
>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
was
>and is the truth, and "The Truth Bears Repeating."
>
>I began with war, but I cannot end there, for this nation's weapons of
mass
>destruction exist in many forms. After WWII, national leaders
encouraged
>the conversion of military products to civilian use, and thus was born
the
>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
more
>than 750 million tons of toxic chemical waste have been discarded. We
all
>know the results, both in nature and in the human population. Is
there
>anyone who has not lost a loved on to cancer? Our nation's pesticides
are
>truly weapons of mass destruction.
>
>Another non-military weapon of mass destruction is abortion. I
realize
>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
on
>earth has seen the loss of more than 40 million unborn children to
abortion
>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
a
>weapon of mass destruction in this building. The weapons of war, the
>millions of tons of toxic chemicals, the tens of millions of
abortions, and
>capital punishment which is condemned throughout the civilized world -
all
>are legal. The laws of the United States upheld by the federal courts
are
>thus themselves weapons of mass destruction, and so my warning was and
is
>the truth. I poured red paint on the security counter in this
building and
>said, "the government has blood on its hands." That also was the
truth and
>"The Truth Bears Repeating."
>
>--end--
>
>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
Shaffer
>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
was
>given until noon Monday July 12 to report in to the St. Louis federal
>probation office. Numerous other conditions were set down which make
it a
>very onerous probation. Carl is free for the moment and headed back
to St.
>Louis by bus this evening.
>The prosecutor and Carl himself (see below) had asked for the maximum
of 6
>months incarceration. There were about a dozen supporters on hand.
The
>judge tried to put the best spin on his decision and defend his
earlier
>rulings at trial which eliminated any consideration of nuclear weapons
in
>his courtroom. So once again nuclear weapons got a full approval in
>federal court.
>We'll keep you advised of future developments
>Bill Sulzman
>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
kill
>about 2 or 3 million people. 2/3 of the American people say that we
should
>get rid of nuclear weapons. We are a democracy. So what does the will
of
>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
them
>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
will be
>won, but in the jails and sometimes on the gallows." I never
completely
>understood why, when found guilty by the courts, Gandhi asked for the
>maximum sentence possible, but I do understand it a bit better now,
and I
>ask for the maximum sentence now.
>
>Lawyer friends have told me (not anyone in this room) that the courts
are
>not a matter of Truth and Justice but a matter of power - and we know
who
>has the power. Everything that Hitler did was legal. If you have
enough
>power you can get any evil that you wish made legal. The great evils
of
>history have all been 'legal': slavery, segregation, and apartheid
have
>been legal but that does not make them morally correct.
>
>The author John has Pilate asking, "What is truth?" and then had the
one to
>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."
Vatican
>Council II, ending in 1965 with all of the world's Catholic bishops
>assembled said, "Nuclear weapons are a crime against humanity." We
also
>have the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights followed
by
>the international covenant on civil and political rights article six,
from
>which the human rights committee established under article 28 says,
"The
>production, testing, possession, deployment, and use of nuclear
weapons
>must be prohibited and recognized as crimes against humanity. The
bottom
>line is that we are all criminals - since this is our country.
>
>What is Truth? Are these truths or falsehoods? I believe these are
truths.
>
>Einstein said, "There is no secret, there is no defense. What is
needed is
>an aroused peoples of the world." We have a grave responsibility
because we
>have used nuclear weapons and have more of them in our possession than
the
>rest of the entire world combined. Almost 900 of our young men and
women
>have been killed supposedly because of weapons of mass destruction.
The
>responsibility of what has happened in this room and is happening
today in
>this room resides with the people of this room. There was no jury to
whom
>the responsibility could be shifted.
>
>I take responsibility for my actions and in fact am proud of them.
You,
>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
Mutlangen
>where Pershing II nuclear armed missiles were stationed - they are now
>gone. Humanitarian law, the UN charter, US soldiers manual, Kellogg
Briand
>pact, the 1996 world court opinion in regards to nuclear weapons and
the
>even stronger dissenting opinion and many other things such as
necessity,
>competing harms, and such things are pertinent in regard to insane
nuclear
>weapons. Bill Quigley, law professor at Loyola University School of
Law in
>New Orleans, titled a release "Felony criminal charges dismissed
against
>blood pouring peace activists." International law defense was used;
the
>jurors were deadlocked 9-3 in favor of finding the defendants
innocent. He
>further says that prosecutor Dentes said that he would not try to
>re-prosecute because he thought another trial would have the same
outcome.
>
>In Iowa and in England, the international court opinion regarding
nuclear
>weapons was allowed to be presented and the individuals were found not
>guilty. You, Brother Magistrate Judge and Brother Prosecutor are the
ones
>who have ruled out the international court opinion in regard to
nuclear
>weapons. You, brothers Magistrate Judge and Prosecutor could have
allowed
>all the truth to be presented and then ignored it, but you chose not
to.
>
>What is Truth? (God is Truth. God is Justice.) We can deny both.
>Shakespeare has Mark Anthony, after the murder of Caesar, say of
Brutus,
>"for he is an honorable man." The judge, who sentenced Franz
>Jaegarstaetter to be beheaded for refusing service under Hitler, cried
when
>he sentenced Franz. He too was an honorable man. And as Shakespeare
said,
>"and so they are all." If this planet is destroyed it will be because
of
>honorable men. Our late president Ronald Regan said, "A nuclear war
can
>never be won and must never be fought." If that is true then I ask why
we
>still have nuclear weapons and why you defend them.
>The End
>
>I ask you, Brother Magistrate Judge to relieve my lawyer, Ms. Sue
Tyburski
>from any duties she has to this court, since I will not appeal (and
who has
>done a wonderful job under the restrictions that you and the
prosecutor
>imposed) so that she could sit with the sisters and brothers who
attempt to
>stand for Truth—all of us in our own feeble ways. I would invite you
to ask
>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
my
>back on this court as a symbol that Truth was not able to be spoken
here. I
>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
this
>country.
>
>----------
>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
Kansas
>City today to vandalism and threatening federal judges and Air Force
>personnel.
> Helen Woodson, 60, was detained by deputy U.S. marshals on March 10
after
>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
>Courthouse.
> The day before she had mailed threatening letters to the judges and
the
>commander of Whiteman AFB Base in Knob Noster. She followed those the
next
>morning with similar letters entitled "Second Warning." And before
coming
>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
your
>building. Choose life,'" Woodson recalled.
> Woodson and three others received long prison sentences in 1985 for
using
>a jackhammer to chip the concrete lid of a nuclear missile silo near
>Whiteman AFB. The four identified themselves as the Silo Pruning
Hooks, in
>reference to the Biblical admonition to beat swords into plowshares
and
>spears into pruning hooks.
> Three days after her parole in 1993, Woodson walked into a Illinois
bank
>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,
burned
>it and told witnesses: "Money is evil. You don't believe in God; you
only
>worship money."
> She subsequently was convicted of bank robbery and other violations
and
>was sentenced to more than nine years in prison. After her release
March 9,
>she had been instructed to return to Kansas City and meet with a
probation
>officer to review the terms of her probation.
> "I will never abide by the terms of supervised release," Woodson
said.
> Her lawyer, Henry Stoever, said Woodson considers herself a "soldier
for
>peace," and deeply opposes nuclear weapons and abortion.
> Woodson's moral convictions were reflected in her answers to
questions
>posed by Chief U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple. Asked what she
considers
>to be her home, Woodson replied: "Right now, I live in this courtroom.
I
>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
>decades.
> "I don't believe in the court process because of my religious beliefs
and
>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
"witness."
> "She doesn't worry about whether it's effective or not," Stoever
said.
>"She just believes she needs to do this."
>
>-end-
>_____________________________________
> the Nuclear Resister
> "a chronicle of hope"
> P.O. Box 43383
> Tucson AZ 85733
> - information about and support for
>imprisoned anti-nuclear and anti-war activists -
> Jack & Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors
> phone/fax (520)323-8697
> email:  nukeresister@igc.org
>US$15/year/US$20 Canada/US$25 overseas
> - selections from current issue
> - updated prisoner addresses
> - & more can be read at:
>  http://www.nonviolence.org/nukeresister
> * FREE SAMPLE ISSUE ON REQUEST *
>(please supply a postal address for samples)
whether you agree or not 26.Oct.2004 10:37

deborah keller sage1014@yahoo.com

whether one agrees or not, we CANNOT allow the incarceration of humans just because of their political, religious or moral beliefs. Regardless of politcs and how politicians bastardizes the Constitution, we live in a country and was founded on these freedoms...that document is worth everything.