Desert Voices, Fall 2013: So Much News. Greetings from Megan. Goodbye, Jim.
I want to thank everyone for your increased intererst in and readership of Desert Voices during the five years of my tenure as Nevada Desert Experience Coordinator. Electronic newsletters like this are doing well if 10% of recipients just open them, much less click on any links. Desert Voices is consistently viewed by 20% of you! DV readers are clearly interested in under-reported items about disarmament, learning about different anti-nuclear hot spots, and exploring the connections between NDE issues and other justice struggles.
To keep NDE going though, we need more of you to click the DONATE buttons, send checks, and sign up to be monthly or quarterly "Friends of the Desert" sustainers.
And now I must tell you that my time at the helm of Nevada Desert Experience is at an end. At the end of September, the NDE National Council decided not to renew my contract and instead take greater leadership in steering the direction and work of the organization, I will leave at the end of October.
By the end of the year, you will hear from them about their renewed hopes and vision for NDE. A list of the current NDE National Council members and the organization's Mission Statement are included below for reference. I hope that readers and the Council together create a bright future for the organization. To contact the council, send an e-mail to <email@example.com>.
I take pride in bringing NDE to more people's attention in Las Vegas and in networks around the country and around the world. It has been rewarding to play "activist tour guide" to groups and journalists from Japan, France, Germany and elsewhere and to provide a warm desert welcome to groups like the Pacific Life Community, CODEPINK, and Voices for Creative Nonviolence. I often felt on the verge of igniting a spark of connection among concerned Nevadans that would compel environmentalists, labor activists, civil rights organizers and others to see the need for nuclear disarmament. The NDE candle still flickers, and the fuel here is more abundant and ready to burn than it has been in years.
NDE has also shown that we care about the interdependence of different struggles. I enjoyed bringing the pacifist NDE ethic to Occupy Las Vegas, Wonderground, Human Experience open mics, and commemorations of Martin Luther King, Jr. Alongside my late, dear friend, Peter Ediger, and the now-incarcerated Sr. Megan Rice, I encouraged the interfaith networks in the area to more actively take on the problems of war and nuclear weapons. I have not tired of the desert light and the changing colors of the mountains throughout the day, especially the sunrises while helping with the catholic worker soup line.
The Sacred Peace Walks have grown immensely, and I have felt greater connection to my Jewish roots because of the need to honor "Peaceover" during the course of the Holy Week walk. Bringing attention to the problems of Predator and Reaper drones controlled from Creech Air Force Base helped generate a larger movement to stop this insidious new tool of war. Every worst fear about these drones is coming to pass, and we all need to challenge the plans for a nuclear armed drone.
If you missed them, I encourage you to view the summer issue of Desert Voices which came out in late July. For the important update that came out in September, click here. See below for an encouraging letter from Sr. Megan, still being held in a jail in Ocilla, Georgia, her and the Transform Now Plowshares sentencing postponed until January 28, 2014, in large part at the request of the TNP defense team.
As always, NDE is grateful for and dependent on your continued interest and financial suppport. We're nothing without you! Since its inception, NDE has been a hands-to-mouth operation. Long-time supporters are less able to donate, or have to give less than before.
As generously as you are able, please donate now.
Lastly, I want to thank all my Las Vegas friends for welcoming me to this intriguing, glittering, diverse city. As we carry on in the movements of our time, I look forward to moving forward with each of you--spiritually, and as we encounter one another working for justice.
For peace sake,
Jim Haber, Coordinator
Nevada Desert Experience
"In a free society, few are guilty, but all are responsible."
-Abraham Joshua Heschel
"Peace is not the absence of tension. It is the presence of justice."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Megan and Transform Now 3 Sentencing Delayed Until Jan. 28, 2014 as Uranium Processing Facility Expansion Receiving Much Deserved Scrutiny!
Keep writing the judge!
Unfortunately, the judge in the Transform Now Plowshares case decided against the defense motion to throw out the more severe of the two charges they were convicted of--the intent to damage the national defense of the United States. Nonetheless, he spoke out against the wording of the law that makes no distinction between trespassers; pacifists and terrorists are to receive the same consideration from the court. Judge Thapar may be looking for legal justification so he can "downard departure" given the peacefulness of the TNP.
For details of how to write Megan, Greg and Michael, and for Judge Thapar's address and how to write him, see the TNP blog.
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, OREPA's latest newsletter, ncludes a report on penny-pinching at Y-12. At the same time OREPA members continue to visit and support the TNP3.
To stay up to date on developments at Y-12, the Uranium Processing Facility and the Transform Now Plowshares, keep checking the NDE website, the TNP Blog, the OREPA website
and the Nuclear Resister .
Letter from Sr. Megan
[Compiled from communiques from Sr. Megan in September and October. -Jim]
Dear Transform Now Friends:
Please don’t let your heart ache for us three! We are so grateful for more time, as awareness of the real issues simmers, grows, and heats up into a massive movement in this country! Hopefully more people will be aware and making creative efforts to resist and reform the corporate elites and federal government cronies lobbying to maintain the status quo in the war-profiteering industries epitomized by the nuclear weapons expansion project. Despite all the evidence of massive fraud, they try to intensify the growth of a security state as never before dreamed possible.
As long ago as 1928 wars were declared illegal under Pres. Calvin Coolidge in the international Kellogg-Briand Pact treaty outlawing war as a means of resolving international disputes. Just think where this country and a hundred others could be today just for implementing that agreement!
And now you can see, we only have to mourn and ache over the cutbacks and delays, the inability to get on with the transformation – now of nuclear weapons, e.g. illegal facilities and factories. We are glad for the extra months here with the awareness-building among our fellow victimized companions in this privately owned, for profit, human warehouse, which just “holds” citizens while awaiting sentencing, or space in the overcrowded Fed prisons, with no opportunity to engage in productive projects, except to sit snuggling from the exaggerated air conditioning system, which like much else, unproductively does function in this in-justice system for, fear, “security” and disempowerment of its citizens.
Once again, with this rampaging letter, I really want to say deeply from the cockles of my heart, how grateful I am for each of your letters, books, cards, lobbying, researching relevant laws and educating our particular court so well before January 28th. Many of you have noted the history which could be made by pursuing the only obvious truth in this matter, and calling on the government to acknowledge its guilt of sabotage, destruction of property and pollution of the entire planet – immoral and illicit activities in the myth of achieving “security” using terrorizing threats to life as we have known it. Let us keep up the resistance for Transformation Now!
Most gratefully above all for the power of your spirit life,
[Megan also told me to tell you to support Nevada Desert Experience. Donate now! -Jim]
More Missile Tests? Really?
In the last DV update, we encouraged you to send an on line letter to President Obama telling him to cancel upcoming demonstrations of US ICBMs. Unfortunately, those tests went forward as planned.
Another ICBM test scheduled for October 22 was postponed because of the government shutdown (even though it was over by then). In the past few months, three tests of US submarine launched ballistic missiles were conducted
Thank you to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation as well as NDE friend MacGregor Eddy for bringing increased attention to such tests. If we're going to prevent nuclear war, we need to stand in the way of bombs and warheads, as well as their means of delivery.
Keep Telling Gov Sandoval, "NO!" to U233/CEUSP Waste Burial in Nevada.
DOE and State Officials meeting quietly to resolve disagreements and alleviate public fears.
Let Governor Sandoval know that as high level meetings progress between the Department of Energy and his staff, people everywhere are paying attention so that the safety of people here and along the transportation route is being protected. You may also want to suggest that he express concern about the current waste classification system which puts the CEUSP waste in the same category as less dangerous waste.
To send him an e-mail, you have to go to his website <gov.nv.gov/Contact/Governor>. Let him know that you are paying attention and that you want him to inform you of developments regarding the CEUSP waste.
Governor Biran Sandoval
State Capitol Building
101 N. Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: (775) 684-5670 or Fax: (775) 684-5683
or Phone: (702) 486-2500 to his Las Vegas office.
At the Sept. 18 meeting of the Nevada Site Specific Advisory Board (NSSAB), NDE asked the community oversight body to raise the waste classification system as an issue with the DOE. Members of the NSSAB don't want to look at questions of the immorality and illegality of nuclear weapons, but since they represent communities near nuclear facilities, safety concerns are part of their mandate. Scott Wade, representing the DOE, responded that a revision of the Radioactive Waste Management Manual (DOE M 435.1) is underway although he doesn't know the full scope of what they're considering. Many of the community liaisons expressed concerns about how nuclear waste is classified, and the NSSAB is considering ways to participate in that review process.
In related matters, Wade told the meeting that the official record of decision for the Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statment of the Nevada sites continues to be delayed. Similarly, the Greater than Class-C EIS is still not quite ready for release. Both should be out sometime around the end of the year, but maybe not.
The government shut down definitely impacted the timetable for some of the follow ups related to the CEUSP and the NSSAB.
Prop.1 for Peace (HR 1650) Reintroduced to US House of Representatives
[Special thanks to Ellen Thomas, anti-nuclear activist and friend of NDE who has worked with Rep. Norton of DC for years to keep "Prop 1 for Peace" on the House floor all these years.
HR 1650 IH 113th CONGRESS 1st Session
Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act of 2013'
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 18, 2013
Ms. NORTON introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on Armed Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
Presenting the NDE Council
Marcus Page-Collonge — Council Co-Convener
Sheep Ranch, CA
Full-time Catholic Worker volunteer for a decade, and currently a biointensive gardener and retreat coordinator. Since 2007 has spent at least one hour every month picketing at nuclear weapons sites with Trinity Nuclear Abolitionists.
Ming Lai — Council Co-Convener
Permaculturist, registered nurse, and father. Invested in a nuclear weapon free world.
Dr. Bonnie Eberhardt Bobb — Officer
Cross-cultural psychologist who studies the effects of environmental change on native lifeways. Conducted a study of residual radiation products from the nuclear era on soil samples taken from Western Shoshone traditional use areas.
National Council Members
Johnnie L. Bobb Austin, NV
Spiritual person and Chief of the Western Shoshone National Council. For 13 years he has led the Western Shoshone Walk/Run, which he originated, to give prayerful witness that the Nuclear Test Site and Yucca Mountain are on Ruby Valley Treaty land.
Janet Chisholm Albany, CA
Peace activist & founder of national nonviolence training program; past Chair Episcopal Peace Fellowship & past Executive Director of Fellowship of Reconciliation; retired from social services, college teaching & Christian Education.
Chelsea Page-Collonge Sheep Ranch, CA
A Sisters of Loretto co-member, supports HIV+ folks at the Catherine's House retreat center on the Catholic Worker Farm in Calaveras County, CA. Currently working on her Masters in Divinity at Cambridge's Episcopal Divinity School. Also a former coordinator of NDE.
JoAnn Yoon Fukumoto Pearl City, HI
Served 8 years on the United Methodist Church (UMC) General Board of Church and Society, a national board for the church. Currently serves on the UMC Commission on Religion and Race.
Bishop Tom Gumbleton (Ret.) Detroit, MI
Retired auxiliary bishop of the Detroit archdiocese. Co-author of the 1983 U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference Pastoral Letter, "The Challenge of Peace." Founding member and past president of Pax Christi USA. Founder and former president of Bread for the World.
Mark Kelso Las Vegas, NV
Father of three, and a grandfather. Catholic Worker and peacemaker. Longtime NDE participant. Mediator with the Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center.
Claudia Peterson St. George, UT
Downwinder of nuclear testing having been born and raised in Cedar City, UT. Lost many family members and friends to cancer and illness caused by the testing. Involved in the work for removal of anything nuclear since 1987.
Anne Symens-Bucher Oakland, CA
Co-founder of Nevada Desert Experience, an activist for more than 35 years, currently executive assistant to Joanna Macy and residing at Canticle Farm in East Oakland.
Laura-Marie Taylor Sacramento, CA
Writer and independent publisher living in Sacramento, California. In addition to doing peace work, she is a mental health activist and involved with the Icarus Project.
Iris Wolfe Prescott, AZ
Master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming with a masters degree in counseling. Practicing Buddhist and artist. Founding member of GMO-Free Prescott.