Name ID# (if needed) (sentence) prison or support address (action & date - in date or out date if known)
Please be sure to include the prisoner's ID# in the address.
IMPRISONED NUCLEAR RESISTERS, USA:
Susan Crane #87783-011 (one year)
FCI Dublin, 5701 8th Street, Dublin, CA 94568.
Philip Berrigan #14850-056 (one year)
FCI Elkton, P.O. Box 10, Lisbon, OH 44432.
(Prince of Peace Plowshares direct disarmament action, 2/14/97 - in 2/2/01 for probation violation due to subsequent Plowshares vs. DU action)
Rev. Stephen Kelly S. J. #292-140 (27 months)
Roxbury Correctional Institution, 18701 Roxbury Rd., Hagerstown, MD 21746
("Plowshares vs. Depleted Uranium" direct disarmament of A-10 anti-tank warplanes, 12/19/99 - in 12/99)
Mark Kinney #14018-047 (6 months)
FPC, POB 1000, Duluth, MN 55814.
(Repeated trespass at StratCom, Offutt AFB - in 4/16)
Bonnie Urfer #04970-045 (6 months - out 11/4)
Federal Transfer Center, PO Box 898801, Oklahoma City, OK 73189-8801
Michael Sprong (2 months - out 7/22)
11416-047, Kingsbury Unit, FPC, Box 700, Yankton SD 57078
("Silence Trident" direct disarmament of Project ELF, 6/2000 - in 5/4/2001 and 5/24/2001)
Rev. Carl Kabat #03230-045 (awaiting sentencing)
FCI Englewood Federal Detention Center, 9595 W. Quincy Ave., Littleton, CO 80123
(Trespass at nuclear missile silo N-7 near New Raymer, Colorado, Aug 6 2000.)
Daniel Sicken #28360-013 (41 months)
FPC Lewisburg Unit 1, P.O. Box 2000, Lewisburg, PA 17837.
("Minuteman III Plowshares" disarmament of nuclear missile silo, 8/6/98)
Leonard Peltier #89637-132 (life)
P.O. Box 1000, Leavenworth, KS 66048.
(Native American political prisoner)
Calling our action “Silence Trident,” we used ordinary bow saws to
cut down three cedar poles that support the antenna for the illegal and dangerous ELF transmitter.
As a result, Project ELF was off-line for more than 24 hours —
unable to perform its sinister duty of signaling Trident submarines
to launch a nuclear sneak attack against innocent civilians.
by Michael Sprong
In the early afternoon of June 24, 2000, Nukewatch Co-director Bonnie Urfer and I entered the Chequamegon National Forest near Clam Lake, Wisconsin to commit a nonviolent act of direct nuclear disarmament and crime prevention.
Calling our action “Silence Trident,” we used ordinary bow saws to cut down three cedar poles that support the antenna for the illegal and dangerous ELF transmitter.
As a result, Project ELF was off-line for more than 24 hours—unable to perform its sinister duty of signaling Trident submarines to launch a nuclear sneak attack against innocent civilians.
It was the fifth time since 1984 that the transmitter has been shut down by peace activists who simply walked up to poles supporting the 28-mile-long transmitter antenna and cut them with handsaws.
After the poles were down, we attached a “criminal indictment” of the ELF/Trident system as well as several other documents to the poles and waited for authorities to arrive. An Ashland County Sheriff’s Deputy took over an hour to get to the site and then placed Bonnie and me under arrest on suspicion of sabotage and intentional damage to property.
Our friend Barb Katt was a witness to the action. The lone deputy also arrested Barb and charged her with “party to a crime.”
The three of us were taken to Ashland County jail and booked. There we waited to see what the system would do with our effort to interrupt nuclear terrorism. ...
MICHAEL SPRONG, 45, lives in Yankton, South Dakota.
He is a member of the Yankton Catholic Worker community, which operates the Emmaus House of Hospitality for families with loved ones in prison or receiving treatment at South Dakota's only state hospital.
Born in Chicago and raised in Northern Indiana, Sprong has spent most of the past three decades in the peace, resistance, and Catholic Worker movements, living and working in South Dakota and throughout the Midwest.
For his role in the "Silence Trident" Plowshares action, Sprong served two months in jail.
On June 24, 2000 he and Bonnie Urfer sawed down three nuclear weapons communications towers located in the Chequamegon National Forest in Wisconsin.
Sprong and his wife, Beth Preheim, also ran a small publishing house, Rose Hill Books, while working at a nursing home in Freeman, South Dakota.
The two met at the Community for Creative Nonviolence in Washington, D.C. where they did a stint in 1985.
a U.S. Air Force pontoon boat during a protest against nuclear weapons?
The Air Force pontoon boat sunk as a result of the "Sacfest 84" occupation of an island in the middle of Lake Offutt, located in the Offutt AFB recreation area.
The event took place on Hiroshima Day, Aug. 6th, 1984.
After entering the base (located just south of Omaha) and swimming to the island, Sprong and six others decared it a nuclear free zone and for nearly two hours liberated the land from the U.S. Air Force.
Offutt security borrowed a pontoon boat from an Air Force officer, piloted it to the island and overloaded it with base security and protesters ... despite protests from the protesters that the boat exceeded it's weight limit.
About 100 feet from shore, the boat sank and Offutt personal and the peacemakers waded to shore.
The seven resisters were given "ban and bar letters," released and were never prosecuted.
NAD: Mike, hello, welcome.
Who's idea was Emmaus House, anyhow?
What do you do there?
"... my time at the Federal Prison Camp in Yankton taught me about how many prisoners have family in need of hospitality when they make the long trip to our little corner of the map."
Emmaus House is the result of the formation of our little band of Catholic Workers in 2003.
Beth and I would drive from the farm (near Freeman, SD) to Yankton once a week to meet with a small group to pray and discuss the history and tradition of the CW movement.
This was done with the goal of forming an active CW group in southeastern South Dakota.
The folks we met with were already familiar with Peter Maurin, Dorothy Day and the movement.
They were also already involved in efforts to promote progressive/radical activism for social justice and peace. All of us had a commitment to service.
Of course, my time at the Federal Prison Camp in Yankton taught me about how many prisoners have family in need of hospitality when they make the long trip to our little corner of the map.
More compelling was the number of prisoners who never received visits because family couldn't conceive of travelling here without some support and hospitality.
In addition to the federal camp, there is a state penitentiary located in a remote town about 30 miles from Yankton.
Nearly 1,400 men are incarcerated there.
More than 300 men are held at a state "trusty unit" also located within the city of Yankton.
We also welcome families visiting the only state-run hospital which is on the north edge of town.
All of this in or near a town with a population of roughly 13,500.
You can imagine how many locals we know who depend on this cancer-like growth prison industry.
So we settled on a "stated mission" of opening a house to provide hospitality for women and children visiting loved ones in prison.
Typically, this means a houseful of eight to 12 folks each week from Thursday thru Sunday. Those are the regular visiting days at the institutions.
However, there are people who arrive with unusual needs: some families moving to Yankton to be closer their loved one in prison find that the housing they expected is either not ready or not as advertised.
If we have space, they stay with us for up to two weeks while finding something else.
Perhaps we have to suddenly put up someone who was on the road when their partner or a family member suffered a psychotic episode and landed in the state hospital.
Often, folks need some help repairing vehicles that have broken down or with gas money.
In all of these cases — and in other scenarios too numerous to mention here — we have to make a plan to get people on to their destination or into a more long-term situation so we have room for the visiting families.
In short, we have our stated "mission," but then reality dictates what need there will be and we respond as we are able.
As to why we do this: Service is simply part of our life.
We are compelled by the words of Jesus in the 25th chapter of Matthew's gospel.
As poorly as we do it, we are certain that hospitality is a revolutionary act that when practiced in the best traditions of humanism (faith-based or secular) will help erode that which Dorothy Day called "this filthy rotten system."
"Staying on the margins, getting close to the poor and oppressed, that is how to survive these imperial actors. "
NAD: How did you survive the Bush years?
The same way I survived the Reagan, Bush I and Clinton years: community and resistance.
When one understands that we live in an empire and that in the big picture presidential administrarions are basically different flies buzzing around the same shit, one is freed from the expectation that any capitalist regime will bring peace with justice.
Staying on the margins, getting close to the poor and oppressed, that is how to survive these imperial actors.
Also, living and working within the "beloved community" to actively resist militarism and the domination system is refreshing and balm for the spirit.
Building alternatives to the dominant culture — again, as poorly as we do it — is our best hope for real change.
NAD: Do you find hope in Obama?
No. See above.
NAD:. Would you like to choose one of these to answer, elaborate on?
We don't ask this to make fun. We ask because we really seek the answers.
— Are UFOs real?
— Did we land on the moon in 1968?
— Did Bush knock down the towers?
— Was Paul Wellstone's death an accident?
— Is Bigfoot real?
— Is there a God?
... What makes you think that?
I'll take on the question of 9/11.
I don't put it past any administration to waste thousands (millions?) of human lives in order to advance its ideolological, economic, militaristic goals.
My point is, the things we know they do, the very acts of evil to which they will admit are bad enough.
We don't need to know all of what they do to know that by their very nature, these forces are criminal and baneful.
I believe W. and all who work for the empire are children of God, and their lives are therefore sacred.
I also know that any good person (yes, even me if I qualify as "good") inserted into such a system cannot resist and will lie and kill as a matter of course.
"At age 15 I left home.
I later became an emancipated minor and wandered
until the summer of 1981.
Then, at age 18, I landed at the Des Moines Catholic Worker."
NAD: How did you find your way into the whole peace movement Catholic Worker style of life?
Why do you stay?
At age 15 I left home.
I later became an emancipated minor and wandered until the summer of 1981.
Then, at age 18, I landed at the Des Moines Catholic Worker.
Like a duck to water, I took to the ideas of community, service, manual labor, scholarship, peacemaking, and revolutionary faith.
I was already destitute, so to just be poor (also part of the CW lifestyle) was a move of upward mobility.
I stayed because I've not found a better way to live my life.
NAD: Please tell us more about yourself, the things you have done, what you would like to do, what you did today.
In other words, what is your current passion? What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today?
How about by Christmas 2010?
My role at Emmaus House is mostly that of servant.
I am humbled (not humiliated) by cleaning floors, scrubbing toilets, doing dishes, etc.
Most days begin with these tasks in service to EH guests and to my community. Believe it, this is good for me.
I don't have any hobbies, as such.
Moving into middle age, I look forward to picking up a skill or craft of some sort.
I have recently been spending time learning to cook.
Japanese and Indian cuisine are especially appealing.
Beth Preheim and our guests have been good sports in trying different creations.
Beth and I spend a usual Saturday evening cooking with fresh ingredients and producing healthy, yet inexpensive, meals for the week.
We are without health insurance, so Beth says this discipline is part of our "plan for enduring health."
By this time in 2010 I hope to semi-fluent in spanish and to have been more involved in active resistance against our permanent state of war.
NAD: What are your deepest, gut feelings about the American prison system.
Disgust. The punishment-based system requires workers to dehumanize prisoners and encourages prisoners to dehumanize one another.
The for-profit operations, like Corrections Corproration of America are the most odious segment of the system.
I recognize there is a small percentage of the population who must be confined. But the conditions under which they are confined ought to be compassionate and foster reconciliation and physical and mental health.
Restorative justice models are viable and need to be utilized. Victim Offender Reconciliation Program and similar efforts are a real alternative to the punitive approach to dealing with offenders.
I am one who believes that we need to take personal reponsibility for our actions. However, this does not mean that I ignore how our society sets people up to act in ways that are criminal, inhumane, objective. The consequences one suffers for adopting these characteristics seem to run along class and race lines, thus amplifying the injustice. As has been said: "Steal a little and they'll put you in jail, steal alot and they'll make you king...."
NAD: What else would you like to add? What else should I have asked?
No, that's enough from me.
NAD: Please insert a link here to something you would like linked to, with a brief tag re: where that link goes:
A campaign to close the US detention center at Guantanimo Bay, Cuba within the first 100 days of the new administration.
http://toolbar.Care2.com Make your computer carbon-neutral (free).
http://www.Care2.com Green Living, Human Rights and more - 8 million members!
If you search the archives below, you will find, in a sort of order [last to first], interviews with:
Brian Terrell, Des Moines Catholic Worker
Bob Graf, One of the Milwaukee 14
Loren Coleman, Bigfoot researcher
Monty Borror, Sci-Fi artist from Virginia
David Ray, Great American Poet
Jack Blood, radio show host, in Austin, Texas
Danny Schechter, A Real Reporter
Bob Kincaid, host, Head-On Radio Show
Tony Packes, Animal Farm Radio Host, Keeping An Eye on Big Brother
Richard Flamer, Working With the Poor in Chiapas
David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Truth activist author
Barry Crimmins, U.S. comedian, author, social activist
Bret Hayworth, political reporter for the Sioux City [IA] Journal
Lisa Casey, publisher of website All Hat No Cattle
Joe & Elaine Mayer, activist couple in Rochester, Minnesota
Fr. Darrell Rupiper, U.S. priest revolutionary
Whitney Trettien, MIT student, Green Party activist
Meria Heller, radio show host
Phil Hey, professor, poet
John Crawford, book publisher
Steve Moon, Iowa Bigfoot researcher
Carol Brouillet, California social activist, 9/11 Truth
Russell Brutsche, Santa Cruz artist
Kevin Barrett, professor, radio show host, 9/11 Truth activist
A'Jamal Rashad Byndon, social activist in Omaha
Chris Rooney, Vancouver, Canada Catholic Worker, website publisher
Marc Estrin, political novelist, from the left
Peter Dale Scott, poet, professor, author, activist
Anthony Rayson, anarchist zine publisher, works with prisoners
Alice Cherbonnier, editor of The Baltimore Chronicle, an independent newspaper