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Colorado Air Force bases shun food donations from ex-con nuns

Colorado's poor military families were denied food donations Tuesday when three nuns were stonewalled in their attempts to deliver dried and canned goods to local Peterson Air Force Base and the Denver-area Buckley Air Force Base.

The food, estimated to be worth $5,000, was gathered through a weeklong Denver-based drive initiated by three Dominican nuns recently released from jail. The nuns had hoped giving the food would absolve them of paying a fine for their four-year-old crime.

In 2002, Sisters Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert and Jackie Hudson cut through a chain on a fence guarding a Minuteman III missile silo in Weld County. (See "When nuns attack," csindy.com/csindy/2002-11-14/news2.html.) Carrying baby bottles filled with their own blood, they symbolically "disarmed" the weapon by tapping the device with small hammers and pouring their blood onto it. As punishment, they faced an aggregate 91 months in federal prison in part for their "intent to interfere with national defense materials."

To fulfill their supervised release last year, the sisters have been ordered to pay a $3,080.04 fine. Because the money would go to repairing the property, they claim paying it would contradict their anti-war beliefs.

"Conscience disallows us to pay into the military money that we know will go into war and killing," explains Platte, who says that various anti-war groups donated the bulk of the food.

But their judge has yet to agree to the nuns' proposition, and that's why neither base accepted the food. Local peace activist Bill Sulzman made arrangements with a Peterson representative to deliver a truckload of peanut butter, applesauce and jam, but was told to turn around a mere hour before the scheduled drop-off.

The food was instead donated to area charities.

The nuns are no strangers to Peterson, where they were arrested six years ago when they staged another "disarmament" at the base; charges in that incident were ultimately dropped.

"We recognize that peace-waging is costly," says Platte, who left Colorado with the sisters this week.

  • Colorado Air Force bases shun food donations from ex-con nuns

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