Holy Tagging at Y-12

Dear Friends,

The three Holy Taggers of the Transform Now Plowshares – Greg, Megan and Michael – recently released evidence photos that make clear the real issues behind their July 28th Plowshares action at Y-12.  These three people of flesh and blood approached the fortress where uranium intended for nuclear weapons is stored.  They brought with them their blood, hammers, spray paint and crime scene tape.  They symbolically chipped away at the abomination that humans have made.  They poured out their own blood – that others may live.  Their holy graffiti is a clear message to the powers and principalities to repent, and turn away from the machinations of death making; choose life!  And of course the CRIME SCENE tape reminds us that the real crime here is the U.S. Goernment’s threat or use of nuclear weapons. Continue reading

What is our Cornerstone???

(Jail reflection from Transform Now Plowshares activist Greg Boertje-Obed, originally published in issue #167 of the Nuclear Resister newsletter)

~from Blount County

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. 
– Psalm 118.22-23 Continue reading

Transform Now Plowshares Arraignment

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Ralph Hutchison, of Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA), for his fine reporting of today’s arraignments.

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Michael Walli, Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed made
their initial appearance before federal magistrate Bruce Guyton in
Knoxville, Tennessee at 11:15am today—Monday, July 30, 2012. The proceedings
were nearly over before Greg required the judge to read the charges
against them—the trio were charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor,
for their Transform Now Plowshares action on Saturday, July 28 at the
Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge,  Tennessee. Continue reading

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.” Continue reading

Bix fasting for Leonard Peltier!!! What fast do we choose?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (Isaiah)

NEWS FLASH:  Bix is fasting yet again!!!  Does this guy ever sleep???  Well, actually NO (literally)!  Right after I sent out this morning’s email about the new Bix Action Figure I received an email from attorney Blake Kremer who got a letter from Bix.

Bix told Blake that he would be starting a new FAST today (February 1st) “in solidarity with a march and vigil on the 4th for Leonard Peltier and his release”.  Here’s what Blake told me:

I had gone to see him [Bix] on the 28th at the FDC and after waiting in the visitation room was told that he would not be brought out to me due to his non-compliance.  Bix wrote me later that same day and I received the letter yesterday.

Bix reports that he is “doing well.”  He is warm, but that he continues to get no sleep.  He also reports that he will begin another fast on February 1st, in solidarity with a march and vigil on the 4th for Leonard Peltier and his release.  He expects to end the fast on the 4th. 

Bix wrote that he is asking that a resolution be entered in the Tacoma City Council and Pierce County Council to support clemency for Peltier.

The upshot of all this:  Bix is calling on us to support Leonard Peltier!!!  February 4th is the INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SOLIDARITY WITH LEONARD PELTIER.  Click here to learn more and find many of the global actions happening that day to support Leonard.  You can also find more at Facebook.  Click here to learn about events in Portland, OR and Tacoma, WA on the 4th.

Leonard has suffered far too long as a result of a grievous injustice.  This must end, and the government will not respond without a huge groundswell of public pressure.  Spread the word.  Justice must be served!!!

Peace,

Leonard

Which fast do we choose? A reflection from Lynne

A Reflection by Lynne Greenwald
22 April 2011, Good Friday
FDC SeaTac

My second bunkmate at FDC SeaTac was Jan (not her real name).  She arrived one week after I began this short 6-month sentence.  She walked into our room cheerful and talkative, excited because the van that brought her from the airfield had a TV.

Jan explained she was here for “testing.”  Over 3 weeks time she gradually shared pieces of her life story.  I’m grateful to have gotten to know her for the short time we were on the same unit.  She’s left my life richer for putting a face and painful emotions onto a system of generational abuses and injustices.

Jan could not remember where she was or what the “rules” were.  Gradually, with a helpful community of women supporting her, she fell into the prison routine.  She has a great sense of humor, a transparency and vulnerability similar to a young child, loyalty to her family, pride in her Native American heritage, and a good, generous heart.

Jan is also a fighter.  I hear her voice so clearly when she would say, “I had to fight all my life, since I was a kid.”  She would take up a pose with her fists up, so it was possible to see this short, compact woman-child taking a stand against a threatening, often violent world.

Coming from a South Dakota reservation, Jan talked about having a job before having “brain surgery.”  It seems she had a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, leaving her weak on her right side and unable to speak.  Her recovery gives testimony to her survival spirit, and her challenges continue to frustrate her, taking her into patterns of conflict and self-destruction.

Jan was brought to SeaTac for a psychological evaluation to determine if she is capable of going to trial.  What led to this situation is unclear.  She drank, heavily at times, and spent time in holding cells.  The Reservation police knew her and seemed to have developed a way to keep everyone safe.  That is until one night when the responding officer didn’t know Jan.  She was home drinking heavily, there was a knife, “a long knife,” and Jan was shot in the abdomen.  She really doesn’t remember what happened.  She kept asking, “Why am I here when I was the one shot?”

Seeing the psychiatrist was especially traumatic.  “He thinks I’m stupid.   How would he like to have someone’s hands on his brain?”  Jan would explain, “Brain surgery changes you.”  She struggled to find names for objects, to recall names and recent events.  As her anxiety increased, her behavior deteriorated.  She would either “lash out” or “shut down.” 

Jan was put in the “SHU” today – Special Housing Unit, “the hole.”  Earlier this morning she came back from the psychiatrist’s office extremely upset, verbally lashing out at everyone.  “He thinks I’m stupid  Are you in on it too  You are, aren’t you?”  She went to her room and soon came out crying.  Tears ran down her face as she sat next to me, trying to explain what was going on.  Other women tried to comfort her.

As we were eating lunch, Jan went up to the unit counselor, stood too close and said something.  She was sent to the SHU.  My last image of Jan is seeing her standing defiantly in front of prison authority.  I was transferred from the unit shortly afterwards.

I think of Jan’s mother and family back home waiting for a phone call.  These frequent calls and her memories were all that kept Jan connected with home.  Tomorrow is her son’s birthday.  He’s locked up in Rapid City.  Jan once told me, in relation to her son’s imprisonment, “There’s meth on the reservation.  Can you believe it?  It was in all the news.”  He’s the same age as my son, Noah.

I’m not sure anything could have really prepared me for prison.  Everything operates so differently from my personal and professional life.  Things like empathy, compassion, helping, strength-building are at odds with this system meant to punish people and deter crime.

Although there are many good, kind people working here, workers are here to support the prison.

So I’m left with many questions and a reflection.  Why are so many poor and non-whites locked up for nonviolent crimes, leaving families torn apart?  Why are so many professionals caught up in a system of supporting prisons, not people?  Why does it seem too simple to shift resources into mental health care, drug and alcohol treatment, education and jobs?  Why are some individuals getting rich off of the prison system?

“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke, letting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke.” (Isaiah 58:6)

Many nonviolent resisters choose to witness within prison walls as part of an action intended to expose violence and injustice, and to begin the transformation process.  Let us pray for the strength to do this work.

Passion for the Possible: A Sunday Meditation…

Friends,

This morning I read an excellent, well-balanced article in the Kansas City Star (Yes Virginia, fair and balanced journalism is not dead yet) about nuclear weapons (U.S. trims its nuclear arsenal while upgrading production, Saturday, February 26, 2011) using the new Kansas City bomb plant as the central character in this endless story of nuclear madness.

And by the way; the article confirmed that “the biggest concentration of the operational nukes is at the Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific at Bangor, Wash., which sends out Ohio-class submarines operating in the Pacific and Indian oceans.Continue reading

Disarm Now Plowshares indicted for November 2009 witness

A federal grand jury finally handed down a litany of indictments against five nuclear  resisters who entered the U.S. Navy’s West Coast nuclear weapons storage depot in a plowshares action on November 2, 2009.

On September 3, 2010 the United States Attorney announced the indictments handed down by a grand jury in Tacoma, Washington, against members of Disarm Now Plowshares came ten months after their plowshares action in which they entered Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in the early morning hours of November 2, 2009, All Souls Day, with the intention of calling attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system.

During the action they held a banner saying…“Disarm Now Plowshares : Trident: Illegal + Immoral”,  left a trail of blood, hammered on the roadway and fences around Strategic Weapons Facility – Pacific (SWFPAC) and scattered sunflower seeds throughout the base.  They gained entry to the secure nuclear weapons storage facility known as Strategic Weapons Facility-Pacific (SWFPAC) where they were detained, and after extensive questioning by base security, FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), cited for trespass and destruction of government property, given ban and bar letters and released.

Sr. Anne Montgomery, 83, of Redwood City, California, Fr. Bill “Bix” Bichsel, 82, of Tacoma, Washington, Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore, Maryland, Lynne M. Greenwald, 61, of Bremerton, Washington, and Fr. Steve Kelly, 61, of Oakland, California, each face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the government’s charges of “conspiracy, trespass, destruction of property on a naval installation, and depredation of government property.”

Following a 10-month wait, the Disarm Now Plowshares defendants are ready to face trial in the Western District of Washington stemming from their Nov. 2, 2009 disarmament action.

In the months since her action, Greenwald, a retired community health nurse and social worker, and mother of three grown children, has welcomed her first grandchild into the world.  Knowing that Jack has been born into a nuclear-armed world has given her more of a sense of urgency “to wake people up” to the imperative of nuclear disarmament, and “to expose what we choose to avoid,” Greenwald said.

Moving to Kitsap County in 1983 to join the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action Greenwald participated in several nonviolent actions at the Trident Base and is currently on probation for “crossing the blue line” August 2009. She currently lives in Tacoma and works with the Tacoma Catholic Worker.

Bichsel said he feels compelled by his faith to continue risking his freedom for peace, despite two open-heart surgeries that require him to take frequent rests during even light exertion.  “The power of the resurrection is much stronger than our destructive ways,” he said. “I believe the presence of God made manifest through the witness of nonviolent action will break the bonds of fear, hopelessness, and death in which nuclear weapons imprison us.”

The fact that five unarmed, nonviolent, peace activists could enter a deadly-force, high-security installation without being detected exposes the lie that nuclear weapons make us secure, Bichsel said.  “We hope to expose the fact that these weapons create absolutely no security.  They bring nothing but fear and further proliferation of weapons and war.”

Thirty years ago this month, Montgomery was involved in what was the first of more than 100 Plowshare disarmament actions when she was among a group of eight people who hammered on components of a Mark 12A nuclear missile at General Electric’s King of Prussia, PA weapons plant.

“It is distressing that 30 years later the nuclear weapons are still here,” Montgomery said. “And the reason that I’m acting is that they’re still here. As citizens of a nation ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’ we must take our responsibility to use every nonviolent means necessary to eliminate these illegal weapons of mass destruction.”

Kelly, who has spent more than six years in prison for anti-war actions, said the abolition of slavery, an institution many people thought would never end, gives him hope that humans will turn away from nuclear weapons. The abolition of slavery required leadership, Kelly said.   The same kind of leadership from the Unites States will be required to abolish nuclear weapons.   “We’re not asking for unilateral disarmament,” Kelly said. “Somebody has got to lead, and the most reluctant party in all of this is the United States.  We’ve got to get rid of these things.  Everybody’s got to get rid of them, period.”

Funding for war and the nuclear arms race is coming at the expense of programs for the poor, Kelly said. “We’re going to crumble from within.”  As he faces trial once again, and the prospect of another long federal prison sentence, Kelly said he remains hopeful that humans will turn away from war and nuclear weapons.  “It gives me tremendous hope to live for what I may not be able to see achieved in my lifetime,” he said.

Kelly said he expects the Disarm Now Plowshares trial to be “another act of resistance” because the government will try to limit what the defendants have to say about nuclear weapons and war. The judicial body functions as a legitimizer of nuclear weapons, Kelly said. “Our actions, which could be part of the solutions, are deemed illegal, because nuclear weapons are legal,” so that courtroom becomes a place of further resistance.”

Crane, a mother of two grown children, and who is expecting her first grandchild, said one of her goals at the trial will be to show the jury that the five had no intent to break any laws, but rather they came to the Navy base to uphold international laws.  The Trident D-5 warheads at the base, highly accurate first-strike weapons “are against international law by their very existence,”

Crane said. “The nuclear warheads, if used, indiscriminately kill civilians, cause radiation burns, poison the environment and create sickness and genetic damage for generations to come.  “Additionally, these weapons are our responsibility.  They were made with our tax dollars, and will be used in our name. We are the ones who have the duty and responsibility to disarm them.”

The Disarm Now Plowshares defendants will appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for arraignment on September 24, 2010, at 1:30 p.m.

There have been more than 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore.”

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles west of Seattle, is home to the largest single stockpile of nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal, housing more than 2000 nuclear warheads.  In November 2006, the Natural Resources Defense Council declared that the 2,364 nuclear warheads at Bangor are approximately 24 percent of the entire U.S. arsenal.  The Bangor base houses more nuclear warheads than China, France, Israel, India, North Korea and Pakistan combined.

The base has been rebuilt for the deployment of the larger and more accurate Trident D-5 missile system.  Each of the 24 D-5 missiles on a Trident submarine is capable of carrying eight of the larger 455 kiloton W-88 warheads (each warhead is about 30 times the explosive force as the Hiroshima bomb) and costs approximately $60 million.  The D-5 missile can also be armed with the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.  The Trident fleet at Bangor deploys both the 455 kiloton W-88 warhead and the 100 kiloton W-76 warhead.

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Editor’s Note: Click here to read the press release announcing the indictments for Disarm Now Plowshares from the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington.  Of interest is the statement by U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan that “All citizens are free to disagree with their government. But they are not free to destroy property or risk the safety of others.”  A November 4, 2009 article in Military.com, 5 Arrested for Breaking Into Navy Base, contradicts Durkan’s allegation; the Military.com article quoted a Navy press release as saying, “At no time was the safety of Navy personnel, property, or the public threatened in any way.”

Disarm Now Plowshares Statement

DISARM NOW PLOWSHARES

“I will purify you from the taint of all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you.  I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put my Spirit within you and make you conform to my statutes.” Ez. 36:25-27

We walk into the heart of darkness, the Naval Submarine Base Kitsap-Bangor, housing and deploying over 2,000  nuclear warheads for Trident submarines.  By their very existence they are endangering the environment, threatening  the indiscriminate destruction of life on earth, and depriving the hungry, homeless, and jobless of billions of dollars that could supply human needs throughout the world. Continue reading

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