Sacred Earth & Space Plowshares III

Citizen Weapons Inspection Team Disarms Weapons Of Mass Destruction

5 November 2002

by Jackie Hudson, Carol Gilbert, Ardeth Platte

Phone: 410.233.6238
Address: jonah house, 1301 moreland avenue, baltimore md 21216
05 Nov 2002

At 7:30 am Sunday, October 6, remembering the anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan, three women entered Minuteman III missile silo #N-8 in northern Colorado. Acting out Isaiah's prophesy, "they shall beat their swords into plowshares," Dominican sisters Carol Gilbert, Jackie Hudson and Ardeth Platte hammered on the concrete silo lid and the tracks that carry the lid to its firing position. Their disarmament action included cutting cables, spreading their own blood in the sign of the cross on the silo and the tracks, and cutting through the surrounding fence in three places. The women were inside the silo area for an hour, able to also complete a liturgy on top of the silo before they were ringed with humvees and military and police personnel with weapons leveled.

The sisters were dressed in mop-up suits used by toxic clean up crews, with Disarmament Specialists written on the front and CWIT (Citizen Weapons
Inspection Team) in big letters across the back. They were arrested and are currently being held at:

Clear Creek County Jail
Box 518
Georgetown, CO 80444

Their action is the 79th plowshares or related disarmament action since 1980 in the United States, Europe, and Australia. All three were involved in the Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares action at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado two years ago.

Carol, Jackie and Ardeth are charged with Sabotage and Malicious Destruction of Property of the United States. These two charges carry maximum sentences of 20 and 10 years respectively, and up to $250,000 in fines on each count. Their trial will be held at the federal court in Denver, Colorado.


We, women religious, naming ourselves SACRED EARTH AND SPACE PLOWSHARES II, come to Colorado to unmask the false religion and worship of national security so evident at Buckley AFB in Aurora, the Missile Silos, and in Colorado Springs: Schreiver AFB (the Space Warfare Center), the Air Force Space Command Center at Peterson AFB, Cheyenne Mountain (NORAD), and the Air Force Academy.

We reject the mission of these along with the U.S. Space Command and Stratcom in Omaha, NE.

We come in the name of Truth, an-Nur, the Light.   God alone is Master of Space, of the heavens that "pour forth speech-There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard"(Ps. 19:2), a voice that proclaims world community, not domination of the world's economy; peace, not planning for space warfare.

We hope in the light of that Word to name things what they are, to unmask the lies, abuses, and racism hidden in the rhetoric of patriotism, security and moral superiority.

We reject the U.S. Space Command Vision for 2020 - to dominate space for military operations; to exploit space as a U.S. 4th frontier, making all other nations vulnerable to U.S. conventional and nuclear attacks; to integrate space forces for warfighting; to abuse the Aleutian Islands and other lands with interceptors and spy satellites and to waste more billions and billions of dollars and more human and material resources, causing the destruction of Earth and desecration of Space.

We walk in the name of the Shepherd, ar-Rashid, the One who leads us on the path to justice for the "have-nots" rather than military power "to deny others the use of space" and even of their own resources.

We walk unafraid.

We trust in this Shepherd who is also the Way of active nonviolence and generous sharing that will lead to true security.

We act in the many names of God the Compassionate, ar-Rahim: our Life, our Peace, our Healer to transform swords into plowshares, our violence and greed into care for the whole community of earth and sky, not as masters but as servants and friends.

We pray in the name of al-Qabid, the One who holds the whole world, who said, "I will do whatever you ask in my name." (Jn. 14:13)

Shalom   Salaam Shanti   Peace

Carol Jackie    Anne   Ardeth


"As Roman Catholic sisters we feel an urgency to break our complicity and sound an alarm to the madness of these times. We must abide by God's law which challenges the United States government on both the national and international levels. We in the U.S. are losing our humanity. We pray that this action may bring us back to our human hearts."

  • Carol Gilbert OP, 54, entered the Grand Rapids MI Dominican Sisters on September 8, 1965. She is currently missioned to peace and justice organizing at Jonah House in Baltimore, MD, and is a member of the Atlantic Life Community. She has been a junior high school teacher, a 20-year MI peace activist and more recently a plowshares activist. In this disarmament action she hopes to enflesh the spirit of Dominican life "to give to others the fruits of their contemplation" and "to speak truth to power."

"This Plowshare action on the anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan is a passionate cry to reign in a nation gone mad - a nation which prefers dictating to diplomacy - an empire reaching out to control earth and space. We pray that we as citizens will be awakened and demand a sane/human approach to life in today's world. We must not fight terrorism with terrorism."--

  • Jackie Hudson OP, 67, entered the Grand Rapids MI Dominicans on September 8, 1952.   She is currently living in Bremerton, WA and missioned to peace and justice organizing with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, WA.   Prior to her work with Ground Zero, she was a teacher and peace activist in Michigan.   In this disarmament action she hopes to enflesh the spirit of TRUTH, which is the hallmark of Dominican spirituality.

  • Anne Montgomery RSCJ, 75, became a Religious of the Sacred Heart on September 8, 1948, is currently living in New York City and is a member of the Kairos Community there.  She has been a teacher, plowshare activist and member of peace teams in Iraq, Bosnia, and most recently of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron. Because of the immediate need, Anne has returned to the Middle East to serve with the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron and Voices in the Wilderness in Iraq as our government speaks of war. Hence, she is able to be present in spirit only in this Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II action. (Anne was a member of the first plowshare action.)

"Our nation's governing bodies have become lawless and guilty of crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, and war crimes. They mimic the terrorists by killing indiscriminately, threatening to change regimes and assassinate leaders, and refuse to bring evildoers to a court of law. We act to bring light into this darkness."

  • Ardeth Platte OP, 66, became a Grand Rapids MI Dominican Sister on September 8, 1954.  She is currently missioned to peace and justice organizing at Jonah House in Baltimore, MD and is active with the Atlantic Life Community.  She has been a high school teacher and principal, a City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem in Saginaw, MI, a plowshare activist and nonviolent civil resister to injustices and warmaking. In this disarmament action she hopes to enflesh the Scriptures and spirit of her religious and intentional communities: to praise God, to bless all of God's people and creation, to preach truth with love.

NUNS EXPOSE CRIMINALITY OF WEAPONS AND STRATEGIES MINUTEMAN III missiles are offensive weapons designed to be used in a planned first-strike attack.  The missile reaches its target in about 30 minutes. A single warhead flattens buildings and kills most people in a 2.5-mile ring from ground zero and starts fires in an area twice that size. The U.S. is spending billions of dollars to improve the accuracy of the Minuteman III and equip them with instantaneous re-targeting ability. They are genocidal weapons on alert status.

IT FITS INTO A MILITARY STRATEGY that is all about oil, control, domination and corporate globalization. Bush's nearly $400 billion Pentagon budget sailed through Congress this year. There was not a moral question about U.S. empire building, economic and military control or world domination.

GLOBAL OPERATIONS COMMAND or "GoCom" is a new command designed to "streamline the military's strategic decision making process." It is in charge of missile defense, cyber operations, protection of space resources, and "keeper of the keys" for nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles - bombers, submarines, and ICBM's.

In quick succession Bush repudiated the Kyoto Protocol, the International Criminal Court, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), an international convention to regulate the trade in small arms, a verification Protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention, the World Conference Against Racism, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems Treaty (ABM).

Bush has renamed the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and has directed that all future tests of the system be done in secret. Test launches have had a string of failures and thus Bush and the MDA want to keep Congress and the public in the dark in order to keep funding secure.

Without the restraints of the ABM Treaty the space warriors are calling for a "robust" research and development program to create a Star Wars system of multiple layers. The key to this whole new direction is expanded testing and production of Theatre Missile Defense (TMD), or boost-phase systems that would be forward deployed in the Middle East and the Asian-Pacific region.

The new emphasis is an interventionist, proactive strategy in which the U.S. stands ready to strike militarily around the world wherever and whenever it feels threatened. The new strategic watchword is "forward deterrence" - a new and expanded commitment to the creed of distant warfare. That means the U.S. military is a global strike force capable of unilateral action anywhere, with minimal risk to American lives. The U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense has publicly admitted that "almost" all U.S. nuclear forces are really "offensive" and not "defensive." It is an ominous sign of the times that the Pentagon is brazenly admitting U.S. nuclear criminality to the world.

WEAPONS/STRATEGY ARE JOINED TO NEW BASES - Central Asia, sitting on the inland border of China, has large deposits of oil and natural gas. U.S. military and oil interests have leased bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (less than 200 miles from China) and U.S. troops are in Afghanistan for a "long time." These bases place American forces on China's western frontier, Russia's southern border, and next door to Iran, which Bush has labeled part of the "axis of evil." The U.S. has deployed 10 combat helicopters and 150 military instructors to train a "rapid reaction force" in the Republic of Georgia which will guard strategic sites there - particularly oil pipelines.

The second phase of the "war on terrorism" will focus on expanding U.S. military operations in the Philippines, Somalia, Yemen, and Indonesia. Nearly 1,000 U.S. troops have been sent to the Philippines in the past year. "We are exploring options to homeport 3-4 additional surface combatants in the region, as well as guided-missile submarines to improve our forward deterrent posture." (Deputy Secretary of War, Wolfowitz) And the new approach is said to carry the advantage of the old Cold War
deterrence strategy: "We must develop new assets, the mere possession of
which discourages adversaries from competing." (Secretary of War, Rumsfeld)

NEW WEAPONS - The Bush administration plans to build missile defense test ranges in Fort Greely CO, North Dakota, and Maine - silos to house missile defense interceptors and support structures. "Over time, once you start building a defense system of this nature, you're never done... If you are done then one of two things happened - either you no longer need the system or the threat has stayed still. In the history of war and military affairs, threats never stay still." (Ronald Kadish, MDA CHIEF)

New interest is being shown in anti-satellite weapons. New test facilities on Kodiak Island, Alaska and Kauai, Hawaii allow for a host of new programs. The Airborne Laser (a converted 747 with a laser on its nose) is designed to shoot down missiles in their boost phase.

The war in Afghanistan introduced the world to pilotless planes, directed by satellite technology that give the U.S. "real time" intelligence and reconnaissance capability. Then the Air Force put weapons on them. Their "hunter-killer" capability proved so valuable that commanders have gone from waiting days to see reconnaissance photos to watching videos streaming from Afghanistan.

Rumsfeld wants the military to focus on developing weapons and forces capable of undertaking "unwarned strikes ... [to] swiftly defeat from a position of forward deterrence." That means development of a "high-volume precision strike," using large quantities of smaller, more precise munitions, many delivered by unmanned aircraft, greater emphasis on collecting intelligence about possible enemies and the threats they could pose, new techniques for waging cyber-warfare against communications and information technology systems, and greater emphasis on the Special Forces.

The new document calls for better American capability to strike "hardened and deeply buried targets" in three rogue nations simultaneously. This includes building up special operations capabilities and cyber-warfare, as well as accelerating the development of a "survivable" earth penetrator fitted with an existing nuclear warhead. Laser and other "directed energy" weapons such as high-powered microwave weapons are also called for to attack underground targets (troops and computer and communications networks) impervious to explosive attack.

The U.S. is the world's only superpower. It has the capability to launch an offensive first-strike strategic nuclear attack on any adversary. For that reason, deploying "national missile defense" (NMD) has become a critical objective. At that point, the United States will proceed to use this capability to enforce its Hegemonial Will upon the rest of the world. Strategic nuclear "thinkers" call this doctrine "compellance" as opposed to "deterrence." With NMD the world will become dominated by this U.S. "compellance" strategy.


"Thou shalt not kill!" "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." The second command is the "law and the prophets" - meaning all law. If we atomize the human family and incinerate the planet, we trash all law, including


More coverage on this plowshares action can be seen at:

Nuns Arrested at Colorado Missile Silo

Three Dominican sisters arrested in missile silo protest

For a good introduction to the history of plowshares "direct disarmament"
actions, see this article by Art Laffin:

Update from Jonah House
Nov. 7, 2002

The nuns are, as you may know, charged with sabotage and destruction of government property. They are looking at 30 years in prison on the charges; their guidelines would put them at risk of something like 7-8 years if convicted on both charges.

They have decided to fight the charges in the court (sabotage has to do with interference with the national defense and with national defense material and it is clear that there is nothing defensive about the Minuteman III ICBM). As it looks now, Ardeth will go pro se; Carol will be represented by Ramsey Clark; Jackie by two local lawyers one of whom defended Carl Kabat a couple of years ago. Anabel Dwyer will coordinate the defense. They have asked for more time to prepare for court, and, to date, have determined to refuse release conditions and so remain in jail. They are well and getting into the rhythm of things there and their own rhythm of prayer and reflection and reading and work with the women and, of course, preparing for trial.

There is a short article on their action in the most recent NCR written by Patrick O'Neil. Unfortunately, NCR did not deign to include a photo of them.

We just received the following from Bill Sulzman which will give you a sense of the local support:

There will be a jail vigil and rally outside the Clear Creek County Correction Center in Georgetown, CO on Sunday November 10 at 2 PM.  Members of Sisters on Pilgrimage a Colorado based group of Catholic Nuns will lead the vigil in support of Dominican Sisters Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert and Jackie Hudson (held at the jail) who undertook a disarmament action October 6 at nuclear missile silo N-8 in Weld County Colorado.  Sisters Carol, Jackie and Ardeth called their Scripture inspired action Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II.  They had carried out a disarmament action 2 years ago in the Colorado Springs area.  They face a two count grand jury indictment calling for maximum penalties of 20 years for one charge and 10 years for the other.

It is hoped that their action will bring attention to the massive stockpile of weapons of mass destruction housed in Colorado. The 49 nuclear armed missiles in our state have recently been refitted with w-87 warheads (hydrogen bombs) each with  an explosive power of 300 kilotons ( at least 30 times the size of the Hiroshima bomb)  The national debate about weapons of mass destruction (WMD's) totally ignores the huge U.S. investment in WMD's. Coloradans have gotten used to total ignorance of these doomsday weapons as well.

The trial will likely happen in January or February.  It depends on the working schedule of the defense team which is still in formation .

Please continue to hold them in heart and prayer - them and the cause for which they are serving time right now - the heavens giving glory to the creator...

For more information:

Box 915, Colorado Springs, CO 80901 719-264-67

1301 Moreland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21216 410-233-6238


( Other reports on 3 ploughshares nuns here )

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