Transform Now Plowshares Action

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Ellen Barfield for this narrative.  We will continue to post information and updates on transform Now Plowshares here at Disarm Now Plowshares Blog.

28 July 2012.

Michael R. Walli (63), Megan Rice shcj (82), Greg Boertje-Obed, (57), succeeded in a disarmament action at the Oak Ridge Y-12 Nuclear facility before dawn.

Calling themselves Transform Now Plowshares they hammered on the cornerstone of the newly built Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility (HEUMF), splashed human blood and left four spray painted tags on the recent construction which read: “Woe to the empire of blood; The fruit of justice is peace; Work for peace not for war; and Plowshares please Isaiah.”

Under the cover of darkness they intermittently passed beyond four fences in a walk for over two hours through the fatal force zone.“We feel it was a miracle; we were led directly to where we wanted to go” said Greg.

After navigating through the complex they came to a long,white, windowless building marked HEUMF. “It was built like a fortress”, Greg said describing the four guard towers.

Unimpeded by security, they attached two banners to pillars of the building. “Transform Now Plowshares” read the first with a green and black icon showing part bomb part flower. A second stated “Swords into Plowshares Spears into Pruning Hooks–Isaiah”. In addition, between the pillars they strung red crime tape.

When confronted by a guard they read aloud their statement. “He was on his walkie-talkie but he heard it”, Megan confirmed. Before receiving orders to halt they had opportunity to offer guards bread, and display a bible, candles and white roses. Though initially forced to endure a kneeling posture for an extended period, guards responded to complaint and allowed the activists to stand-off and on. Meanwhile they continued singing.

At this time they have been interviewed by the DOE investigative unit and have conditional charges of two felony counts for vandalism and trespass.  They spoke to supporters from Blount County Jail at 12:30 pm saying they had not been processed yet. All four are scheduled for arraignment in Blount County Court on Monday.

“We’re still opposing the filthy rotten system” Michael said.  “Jesus has no nukes in heaven and no torture in heaven.”

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21 Responses

  1. There was war in this world long before Nuc. weapons. Goliath was killed by a sling shot. So I guess we need to ban those too?
    You people need to go up. You must be out of your mind. As a Christian even I can see the need for self protection. The rest of the world is going to try and destroy the U.S.A. so I guess we should stand by and let it happen? The only friends this country truly has is Israiel. And we need to stand with them arm in arm to keep those many factions who are trying to distroy us from succeding. These people should be shot for treason.

  2. I agree with u hoss

    • In 1975, after refusing to help aim nuclear missiles at the people of the USSR, Robert Meyerson left the US Navy as a conscientious objector with an honorable discharge and then proved that any serious Christian can do a million times more for peace by pioneering in citizen diplomacy and doing ten years of volunteer work in the Soviet capital where he was the only American pacifist living full time and promoted freedom of speech on eight different fronts!

  3. I’m surprised at the offensive disdain the previous writers have for the activists who’s dramatic action comes at great personal risk and sacrifice. Nuclear weapons don’t really provide defense, and just because other weapons existed before nuclear weapons is no argument FOR nuclear weapons. Just because something CAN be done, doesn’t mean it is wise or preferable or necessary.

    • You should apply your last statement to the 3 TERRORIST: “Just because something CAN be done, doesn’t mean it is wist or preferable or necessary”. I feel that this is true in regard to their act of ATTACKING and DESTROYING property to gain access to a place they had no business going into. They have supported TERRORIST and should be charged as such if not as saboteurs or traitors. Their acts have in-steeled fear that the facilities they INVADED are vulnerable by those that would not be INVADING for the purpose of breaking bread. They have put the lives of the Loyal and Patriotic men and women serving to protect the facilities in jeopardy.

    • I am not sure why you think that nuclear weapons do not provide defense. Following that logic further, do battleships? Tanks? Soldiers? The presence of a dangerous weapon that can be used in war is a deterrent and, hence, provides defence.

      The existence of nuclear weapons in other countries’ arsenals is what argues for nuclear weapons.

  4. these people are still losers, if they dont like nuclear weapons goe some place that dont have them…I am here today because of nuclear weapons, My dad was to go fight in the japan invasion if the nuclear bombs didnt work. Many as a milion people, soldiers and civilians on both sides would have been killed if it wasnt for those two bombs, my dad maybe even too. so I have no problems with nuclear weapons.

  5. You have done the recon work for Al-qaeda, your acts should be considered treasonous and subversive, The three that perpetrated this act should be tried as terrorist or at best supporting terrorist activities.

  6. […] three protesters snuck through fences at the plant and spray-painted slogans and splashed human blood on a high-security uranium storage […]

  7. There is no real need for nuclear weapons. The only need for slingshots is for food, but there are other ways to keep the birds and rats out of the corn. There is huge need for resistance. I hope I’m able to be as active as Sr. Megan when I’m 62, let alone 82.

  8. Remember those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for the people who kept their swords. Enough Said.

  9. Um lets focus on the main point: they were able to get in there, no problem!

  10. To me, a Christian should follow Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the 10 Commandments- “Blessed are the Peacemakers” and “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.
    Those posting above in opposition to this wonderful action are not Christians although they may go to church- I can hear them now- “No it actually meant- thou shalt not murder”- or “Peacemakers could be the S A C”- always the doubters and pagans will dance on the head of a pin.
    Old men who sit behind the lines send their sons and daughters to die. Well actually, I think Biden may be the only member who had a son in the wars. I say- throw yr weapons away- do something for peace as did these.
    This country, in my opinion, has not fought a just war since World War 2.
    Those opposing this action should put their money where their mouths are and volunteer.
    Thank you, you three- for actually doing something for peace- disarmament- wow.

    • I respect your right to say it what you say but only that. A right by the way brought about by the use of military force in the creation of this nation, I just don’t think what you say or believe is valid. First I’m not a Christian I am a Pagan an expression of belief that your religion would have once respected by burning anyone associated with it at the stake. I also am a retired US Army Master Sergeant and am all too aware that in this world there are people who for no other reason than they want to will hurt you and the people you love these folks only respect force. I often see the bumper stickers that say “War is not the answer” I wish it weren’t but it was the way we secured our freedom, ended slavery and in 1940 destroyed Nazism. Also please read your own scriptures and highlight the passages where whole nations were destroyed because your god simply told some group of desert tribesmen to do so. As for nuclear weapons I served with a Pershing unit in Europe and was quite prepared to do what ever was necessary to pull the plug on any attempt of the Soviet Union to move against NATO. That thankfully never happened and it never happened because of our nuclear arsenal and the ability to retaliate. The Soviet leadership was not crazy enough to make a first strike because we had enough Poseidon missile subs to make any attempt suicide. Now in a world full of insane two bit leaders who would just love to get their hands on a nuclear weapon the ability to retaliate and retaliate with terrible force I believe is a plus. You may print publish demonstrate or do whatever you want as long as you do it within the law. Violation of national security to espouse your view puts you on the wrong side of the laws of this nation and is wrong. By the way there are still a number of places in the world where if you tried the stunt that those people pulled they would have never made the news except as an obituary.

  11. andrew- a well thot out response- still- to me- u r dancing on the head of a pin- why not relax and work for non-violence? best wishes
    the two bit leaders are not a threat-
    could non violence involve computer disruption of nuclear spinners?
    and if it could in iran? why not here?
    (equal opportunity disruption)
    “war is not the answer”? (but what is the question?) lol
    by the way-what war has the us waged since w w 2 that one could justify?!?!?
    the fact that these protestors were not shot on the spot? so what? they chose to do this HERE!
    wld there b a similar protest in yemen? does yemen have nuclear weapons?
    please engage on a higher level

    • David

      Thanks for the reply I wanted to send something but have gotten slightly sidetracked. This is only the second day home after having a total knee replacement and the work up to it as well as the recovery is sort of all consuming.

      I was impressed that you didn’t try to flame me. Maybe it’s just a (pardon the term) Knee Jerk reaction but I have found that it’s very hard to enter into discussion with people as rapidly it degenerates into a name calling mud slinging contest. I think and I believe you would agree that there is way too little of that lost art called dialog in this world, the idea that people can discuss opposing points of view without coming to personal attacks, and eventually blows. Frankly I believe if there was more of this in daily life both our ends would be met. Even with all the bravo attached to those of us who have the quote “warrior spirit” when it comes down to the reality of things most of the greatest military commanders and thinkers have to agree warfare is a hell of a way to settle differences. Right off the top of my head I think of Sun Szu “The highest art of war is to win without fighting” or our own Robert E, Lee “it is good that war is so terrible less we come to love it too much”.

      I am a military historian and live in one of the centers of American Military History; my home is just one mile from the center of down town Gettysburg. We are right on part of the first days battlefield and a year or so ago my wife was taking out her dogs and found a dropped confederate mineball next to our house that had worked it’s way up through the soil. It was a dropped bullet and had never been fired either the cartridge was wet or the solider just dropped it by accident either way it came up in the spoilage from the construction of the house. I told her after examining the artifact that the last human who handled it was probably a young man from Georgia between the age of 17 and 26 whose fate is unknown but linked to us across 149 years by this small deadly artifact. This man was the enemy but he was also the son of some family in Georgia who may have never known what happened to him. Possibly this is some guy you would buy a beer in a local bar in another time and place. But on July 1st 1863 he was here at war not with a foreign power but his own country. When people ask me to suggest books to read covering the Battle here or the Civil War as a whole I have a number that I recommend but there is one that surprises them it’s called “A Strange and Blighted Land” by Gregory Coco. The book deals with the days after the battle and what the people of Gettysburg went through dealing with the disaster of three days of intense fighting in one of the Civil Wars deadliest battles. Unfortunately Greg passed away a couple of years ago he was a Vietnam vet who worked here as a part time ranger. Greg brought a very no-nonsense view of the war to our area. Something that unfortunately gets lost in the tourist hype that is the bread and butter of our town.

      Anyway before this becomes book length thanks for the reply I can make no promises but would enjoy entering into that lost art of dialog and promise to not be too “Hooah” in any response I might make. Right now my wife wants to get me cleaned up as this afternoon I need to have a blood test to make sure that blood thinners I’m taking are working and then get me to Physical Therapy. You have no idea how difficult it is for MSG Chmyr (ret) to submit to “She Who Must Be Obeyed” but right now she outranks me. Actually she has always outranked me. 

      • We have too few people who actually get off their duffs for peace- militant, non violent civil disobedience is the way I believe- a la Jesus, M L King, etc.
        Why the so many who are gung ho for violence and guns and war in the U.S, Did the sane guys stay home in England?
        We ought to be more like women, but NOT Sarah Palin..
        Hopefully that young confederate dropped the bullet on his way to desert- I urge it- I think all thinking youth should throw their weapons away and go swimming.
        That’s what some of my buddies did here in Md. at Frederick back in 1860’s (Battle of Monocacy) – abandoning the front to go swimming in the Monocacy. They lived to love again. (a fantasy)
        What’s the closest river to Gettysburg?
        I say we youths (I’m 71 lol) should resist the old creeps who try to send us to war- whether here or in Yemen. These pols should be the ones in prison.
        Could be some nice fishing in the Yemen River (see the movie- Salmon fishing in the Yemen).
        I spent 21 months federal prison for my beliefs- for pouring b lood on draft files- I have walked the walk, thus I am privileged to congratulate my brothers and sisters who acted for disarmament in Tenn, unlike a Condoleeza Rice or a Kissinger- they DID something for peace.
        I urge young men to resist- do not sign up for any military- throw sand in its gears- also the gears of the military-industrial complex.
        I’m not a ;big fan of imperial Rome (I meant the US)- the biggest weapons exporter and terrorist in the world!

  12. I just want to express my gratitude for their actions.

  13. re y 12 nuclear protestors: Knoxville should be proud to have these protestors in their midst- if not proud of the proceedings that the government will invoke against them- piling on charges and attempting, as they do in all such trials, to disallow any defense based on Nuremberg Law or higher moral principles- i e God’s law. The U S government does not follow God’s law.

    Regardless of the security laxities exposed, the Y-12 Plowshares
    protestors have done a good thing- a Christian thing. They are the real heroes of the season-surely as much as any returning Afghanistan vet or World War II Pearl Harbor survivor.

    Would you be willing to risk your life in a lethal zone? to leave such
    truly meaningful slogans as “Disarm, Transform”, or “The Fruit of
    Justice is Peace”?

    And were their skin a darker shade of brown, their faces Arabic- how
    would they have been treated? Terrorists they are not!

    Take a good look at these protestors. ..an 82 year old nun?- slight
    unimposing figures but with the stature of giants.

    Hopefully the good citizens of Knoxville will come out in support of
    such truth telling. If the world has a future- it is on the side of the protestors.

    david eberhardt

  14. A character in a play by Ignazio Silone says, “If your soul is at peace and without remorse, prison can even be a pleasant place for a rest. Fear of prison is a trick invented by the authorities to demoralize good Christians. Many acts of cowardice, in fact, are excused by the fear of ending in prison.”-

    2012 Quote by Brian Terell as he enters federal prison for a protest to drone warfare.

    “I am grateful for support here at home and for solidarity and prayers of friends near and far as I accept this judicially awarded sabbatical.”

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