WOODSON OUT AND IN AGAIN
Helen Woodson was released from prison on March 9, 2004, after completing her 12-year sentence for the November 12, 1984 "Silo Pruning Hooks" disarmament action. Only at the last minute did federal agents release her from custody to board an interstate bus in Fort Worth, Texas. A parole official from Washington D.C. was on hand with a warrant, threatening immediate arrest had Woodson not signed a promise to report to the probation office in Kansas City within 48 hours.
Two days later, she was back in federal custody.
Anticipating her release, over the last year Woodson had made clear in conversations with prison and Department of Justice officials that she'd be back.
Woodson had been imprisoned at the Administrative Maximum Federal Prison for Women, a small high security unit located on the grounds of Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, within the confines of the medical center for women prisoners. For months, officials at the prison and the Department of Justice considered detaining Woodson under an Executive Order of the USA Patriot Act, or as dangerously mentally ill. However, to all who investigated, Woodson proved nothing but sane, balanced, and simply determined to do what she said she must do. Provisions in sentencing law at the time of her conviction for the '84 action left the government no choice but to release her for up to 72 hours on the promise she would report to probation authorities in Kansas City.
Woodson's probation situation was complicated by actions taken in 1993, when she was first paroled from the 1984 sentence. Upon that release, she had mailed letters deemed threatening to corporate polluters and the judges and regulators responsible for ongoing pollution. The next day, Woodson held up a Chicago area bank with a starting pistol, placed the loot on the floor of the lobby and ignited it, illustrating her statement that condemned the lust for money as the root of all evil. She was sentenced to nine years and seven months. When the minimum time had been served, she remained in prison because the new convictions violated her parole on the 1984 sentence. When released last March 9, she had nine months probation remaining on the 1984 conviction, plus parole restrictions for the remainder of her 1993 sentence. The two cases were consolidated in Kansas City.
"On the morning of [March] 11th, as agreed, I reported to the federal courthouse, which also houses the probation and marshal's offices. I had with me my release papers upon which I had written 'I will not abide by these conditions,' and a plastic coffee mug filled with red enamel paint. When the guards at the lobby desk called me over, I told them I was reporting, then since it was obvious I wouldn't get beyond them with the cup, I said, 'The government has blood on its hands,' and dumped the paint on their countertop. I was taken into custody by the marshals (one of whom I met 20 years ago)..." She was arrested and held for probation violation.
En route to report in Kansas City, she had mailed letters and made a phone call. The letters to the Kansas City federal judges and the commander of Whiteman Air Force Base, and the phone call to the courthouse emphasized the statement she made while pouring the red paint: "This is a warning. There is a weapon of mass destruction in your building. Choose life." The implication is that the people who command or legitimize it are no less abominable weapons than The Bomb itself.
(See above for the statement she prepared in advance of her action.)
On May 4, Woodson's parole was revoked. On June 4, Woodson received a proposed plea agreement that would reduce the charges if she agreed to cooperate with supervised release after prison. In rejecting this offer, Helen wrote to the U.S. Attorney, "I would rather die than enter into a plea agreement... (or) give even the barest impression of cooperation with representatives of a government which I consider guilty of mass murder, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. My life is committed to resistance to the secular authorities at whose hands God's creation is daily being destroyed. I will never cooperate with supervised release, and I will, upon every release from prison, continue to act in conscience and faith."
Brought into court on June 18, Woodson pleaded guilty to destruction of government property and five counts of making threatening communications to federal judges and Air Force personnel.
Finding no factual errors in the indictment, Woodson entered the plea to minimize her engagement in a legal process she does not believe in. She remains in jail, awaiting a sentence of up to ten years in prison.
Whiteman Air Force Base is the command center for the nuclear missiles in Missouri, including the one at Silo N-5, where the "Silo Pruning Hooks" - Woodson, Fr. Carl Kabat OMI, his brother Fr. Paul Kabat OMI (now deceased), and Ojibway spiritual leader Whitefeather (aka Larry Cloud Morgan, also now deceased) - were arrested in 1984 as they used a pneumatic jackhammer to begin dismantling the reinforced concrete silo. Fr. Carl Kabat's latest encounters of the federal kind are also reported in this issue.
Letters can be sent to Helen Woodson 03231-045, Bates County Jail, P. O. Box 60, Butler, MO 64730.