Inspectors to speak in Lansing
Ardeth Platte, 66, and Carol Gilbert, 55, two of the three Michigan
nuns who broke into a nuclear silo in Colorado in early October, will
be in Lansing for a press conference June 6. They accepted the invitation
of the Greater Lansing Network Against War and Injustice, which is hosting
the event at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Lansing.
Platte and Gilbert and their accomplice, Jackie Hudson, 68, were arrested
for breaking into a Minuteman III missile silo site near Greeley, Colo.,
Oct. 6. They poured their own blood onto the nuclear missile lid in
the form of six crosses, hammered on the lid of the Minuteman-3 silo
with a ball-ping hammer, and cut down three panels of fencing to open
the site for public inspection.
by Bill Sulzman
Platte, Carol Gilbert and Jackie Marie Hudson (left to right), after
they were released from jail on Sept. 16, 2000.
held in the county jail until after their trial April 7, at which they
were found guilty of trespassing and the malicious destruction of property.
After nearly seven months of incarceration at the Clear Creek County
Jail, on April 30 the sisters were set free on bond. They must return
before Judge Robert Blackburn in the Denver Federal District Court for
sentencing July 25, where the elderly nuns are likely to be sentenced
to a prison term of more than six years.
Before their sentencing, the sisters want to say farewell to family
members who may be dead by the time of their release, and to divest
their clothing and other belongings to other people who can use them.
They also want to take care of personal medical needs before sentencing
and imprisonment, thank peace makers for their faithful support, and
take time to retreat and pray for spiritual strength with their congregation
The sisters took part in anti-nuclear protests during the 1980s and
early 1990s at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscaba, Mich., and at Williams
International, a company that makes parts for the bombs.
Platte, Gilbert and Hudson, who belong to the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in Grand Rapids, have said they were
compelled to act, as war with Iraq moved closer, and because the United
States has never promised not to use its nuclear weapons. The
United States threat or use of any weapon of mass destruction is every
bit as illegal and criminal as anyone else's, said East Lansing
resident Annabel Dwyer, an adjunct professor in human rights and humanitarian
law at Cooley Law School and a legal adviser in the case.
The Greeley silo is one of 49 nuclear missile sites. Each silo carries
the explosive power of 300 kilotons, which is approximately 25 times
the size of the Hiroshima bomb. The three sisters had argued that international
law protects people who take action against a government with a murderous
U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn dismissed the sisters arguments.
The women were charged with interfering with the nations defense
and causing property damage amounting to more than $1,000.
Dwyer said the attorneys have filed motions asking Blackburn for an
acquittal, a declaration of mistrial, or order a retrial. The
prosecutor has never presented proof that the nuns actually injured
national defense material, Dwyer said. She said that cleaning
blood from a missile silo and repairing fences amounted to much less
Based on five eye-witness reports the attorneys also claim that a U.S.
Marshal separated one juror from the rest of the jury while they were
still deliberating. This misconduct would constitute grounds for a new
trial, argue the sisters attorneys.
The legal team's motions were turned down. Dwyer said they will now
consider filing an appeal after the three are sentenced.
It will be in the conference room upstairs at the Central United Shalom
Center for Justice and Peace at Central United Methodist Church, which
is located at 215 N. Capitol Ave. in Lansing. The press conference will
be 11 a.m. June 6.
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