Ann Wright at Shut Down Creech

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“Absolutely no remorse”

thursDear friends,

The Transform Now Plowshares sentencing has been set for September 23rd.  No decision has been made yet about whether the defendants must be held awaiting sentencing; lawyers have until Tuesday to submit more material for the judge to consider, and Michael, Megan, and Greg are being held until then.  After about an hour of combing through case law, conditions and sub-conditions this morning to determine whether or not the three should be held until sentencing, Judge Thapar asked the prosecution in frustration, “Don’t you find it a little troubling that Congress would write a law that wouldn’t let me distinguish between peace activists and terrorists?”

When Megan, Greg, and Michael arrived in the courtroom they were wearing tan prison jumpsuits marked “FEDERAL INMATE,” with their hands shackled to their waists.  We sang to them, “Sacred the Land, Sacred the Water.”  Francis Lloyd noted that Megan had begun to suffer from the cold, and got permission from the judge to lend her his jacket. 

Much of the morning was spent exploring legal references, a purely academic effort to understand and apply the logic from previous cases.  “I mean, you may win under the B analysis, but I’m still on the A analysis,” the judge told the prosecution at one point.  Greg, who had been passing the time by toying with the shackles on his wrists, looked up with an amused smile on his face.  None of the defendants seemed particularly invested in the outcome of the morning.  At one point, Megan whispered loudly to Bill Quigley, “This is bothering my conscience.  I don’t want time wasted on this!”

There was an occasional break in the legalese when the judge would stop to reflect on the seriousness of crimes related to United States “national security” matters, and when the prosecution would remind the judge that the defendants showed “absolutely no remorse” for their action and were “of a VERY recidivist nature.”

Before the hearing was brought to a close, Bill Quigley asked to state for the record that “the defendants would like to point out that they were there to prevent a crime of violence far far greater than that of which they are accused.”

As Megan, Greg, and Michael were taken away from the courtroom, Kathy once more led the gallery in song: “We ain’t gonna study war no more!”

Outside, Paul Magno and Ellen Barfield briefly summarized the morning’s events for the press then introduced them to a range of eloquent speakers: Clare Grady to talk about the role of resistance in contributing to the evolution of law, and Father Bix, Chrissy Kirchhoefer, and Jim Haber to speak about the action in the context of ongoing nuclear resistance nationwide.

Below is the transcript of Clare Grady recapping for you all what she told the press:

So today what we heard was a lengthy, lengthy examination of the law, and yet the supreme laws of our land were left out of the courtroom, left out of this trial.  The Constitution, Article Six Section Two: “All treaties, pacts, and protocols that are signed and ratified become the supreme law of our land; every judge is to abide by them.”  And those laws have evolved over the years to outlaw war of aggression; outlaw weapons of mass destruction; outlaw killing civilians; outlaw occupation; outlaw stealing the earth’s resources to build these weapons.  We are not upholding those laws.

Our friends in this courtroom have manifest the original law that is written on our hearts, the law to love one another.  We all bring each other forward, help each other when we each manifest that law; then our human laws will start to reflect that as well.

This is not just about Greg and Megan and Michael.  It’s a collective that has offered us this by example, and then we offer each other this by example.  This is a tag team, a relay race — whatever you want to call it, but it’s something that’s done in a collective, it’s not done alone.

Protestors at Creech AFB, March 27th 2013


The NDE Sacred Peace Walk brought the message of love and life to Creech AFB on Wednesday March 27, 2013. Demonstrators presented an indictment accusing Col. James Hecker and drone crews of war crimes citing both US and international law, making it clear that they are in violation of the law with the hope that they will understand that peace can not be achieved by violent means. We are releasing this video on Easter in the spirit of hope and transformation.

Scientific American: About Pepper Spray

From the Blog of Scientific American:

By Deborah Blum | November 21, 2011

One hundred years ago, an American pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville developed a scale to measure the intensity of a pepper’s burn. The scale – as you can see on the widely used chart to the left – puts sweet bell peppers at the zero mark and the blistering habanero at up to 350,000 Scoville Units.

I checked the Scoville Scale for something else yesterday. I was looking for a way to measure the intensity of pepper spray, the kind that police have been using on Occupy protestors including this week’s shocking incident involving peacefully protesting students at the University of California-Davis.

As the chart makes clear, commercial grade pepper spray leaves even the most painful of natural peppers (the Himalayan ghost pepper) far behind. It’s listed at between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units. The lower number refers to the kind of pepper spray that you and I might be able to purchase for self-protective uses. And the higher number? It’s the kind of spray that police use, the super-high dose given in the orange-colored spray used at UC-Davis.

The reason pepper-spray ends up on the Scoville chart is that – you probably guessed this – it’s literally derived from pepper chemistry, the compounds that make habaneros so much more formidable than the comparatively wimpy bells. Those compounds are called capsaicins and – in fact – pepper spray is more formally called Oleoresin Capsicum or OC Spray.

Photo courtesy: California Aggie

But we’ve taken to calling it pepper spray, I think, because that makes it sound so much more benign than it really is, like something just a grade or so above what we might mix up in a home kitchen. The description hints maybe at that eye-stinging effect that the cook occasionally experiences when making something like a jalapeno-based salsa, a little burn, nothing too serious.

Until you look it up on the Scoville scale and remember, as toxicologists love to point out, that the dose makes the poison. That we’re not talking about cookery but a potent blast of chemistry. So that if OC spray is the U.S. police response of choice – and certainly, it’s been used with dismaying enthusiasm during the Occupy protests nationwide, as documented in this excellent Atlantic roundup – it may be time to demand a more serious look at the risks involved.

read the rest here.