“YOU CAN JAIL THE RESISTERS BUT NOT THE RESISTANCE.”

Yesterday’s sentencing of Greg, Megan and Michael, the three members of Transform Now Plowshares, was the culmination of the government’s collusion with the Nuclear Industrial Complex.  It is collusion in the sense that the government is breaking many laws, including international humanitarian law, in its continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the courts cannot help but see and uphold established precedents, including the Nuremberg Principles. Supposed justice was “blind” to the wrong things in this case, and essentially every other case of this kind.

There is no lack of irony in the timing of yesterday’s sentencing. Seventy-one years ago on February 18, 1943 Sophie Scholl and other members of The White Rose were arrested at the University of Munich for dropping leaflets protesting the evils of the Third Reich.  Click here for an article on this piece of history.  Sophie, her brother, and the other members of The White Rose clearly understood the consequences of their actions, should they be caught.

tnp three sentenced

Greg, Megan and Michael also understood the probable consequences of their actions, and took their action with joyful hearts and fully prepared to accept those consequences. Judge Thapar gave all three significant prison time – Megan 35 months, and Greg and Michael each received 62-month sentences.  The judge’s intention by giving such long prison terms was to dissuade others to engage in such actions and instead to pursue “legal” means.

Of course, those of us pursuing nuclear abolition clearly understand the futility of legal means, which we have all tried over and over. As Felice and Jack of The Nuclear Resister said in a recent post about the Transform Now Plowshares sentencing: “YOU CAN JAIL THE RESISTERS BUT NOT THE RESISTANCE.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sister in resistance on the next stage of their journey.

 

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Transform Now Plowshares: Let the trial begin!!!

Dear Friends,

As I write this our dear friends Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed of the Transform Now Plowshares are in the thick of the second day of their trial in Federal District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Yesterday was jury selection. Today they get down to the real business at hand.

Bix travelled back to Knoxville to be with them, and based on the photo I saw of him whooping it up with Sr. Megan during yesterday’s street celebration, it should be quite a week.

This trial is NOT – although one might not know it from nearly any of the media coverage – about lax security at a major nuclear weapons production facility (although one might ask questions about that).

  • It is about the total lack of security provided by the continued pursuit of nuclear weapons.
  • It is about the fundamental immorality of weapons that kill indiscriminately and on a massive scale, and leave a continuous trail of death far into subsequent generations.
  • It is about the fact that it is impossible for nuclear weapons and true human security to co-exist.  Nuclear weapons are against all that is human, and do not fit within any moral framework.
  • It is about why the United States continues to consider itself above our own laws, international humanitarian law and treaty obligations.
  • It is about asking questions such as how does the continuing buildup (by the US) of its nuclear weapons infrastructure along with the production of new weapons systems (example: the new generation of ballistic missile submarines in research and development) move us towards a nuclear weapons free world???
  • It is about whether we will we choose to base our nation (and our world) on a culture of peace or a culture of violence?  And nuclear weapons are truly the taproot of violence.

The Transform Now Plowshares has a website/blog where you can keep up with trial developments on a daily basis.  While you’re at the  blog you can sign up (see the upper right hand column) to get updates by email.

Let’s hold Greg, Megan and Michael and all who support them through their trial in our thoughts and prayers this week and beyond.

In Peace,

Leonard

Transform Now Plowshares URL: http://transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com/

Prophets of Oak Ridge: The Fruit Of Justice Is Peace

Dear Friends of Plowshares,

Our Friends Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli (of the Transform Now Plowshares) will begin their trial next Tuesday, May 7th in US District Court, Knoxville, Tennessee for their July 28, 2012 Plowshares action at the Y-12 uranium facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The Washington Post did a major feature article in last Sunday’s edition about Transform Now Plowshares.  The article titled The Prophets of Oak Ridge” is well worth reading.  You can also view a Photo Gallery containing additional photos at The Washington Post.

National Public Radio also did a piece on today’s All Things Considered. Of course, just like most every other media outlet, they focused on the lax security at Y-12 rather than the issues raised by Transform Now Plowshares.  Listen to Trial Begins For Protesters Who Broke Into Nuclear Complex.

Artwork from The Washington Post article on Transform Now Plowshares

Artwork from The Washington Post article on Transform Now Plowshares

Judge Amul Thapar issued a gag order ruling out using the necessity defense, any use of the Nuremberg principles, the first amendment, or any testimony about faith, religious or other good motives.  Not much left, is there?!?!?!  The judge will, however, allow the defendants to speak to their intent, which is good considering they have been charged under a little used sabotage law which includes, as an element of the charge, the intent to injure the national defense of the United States.  Geeeez!!!!!

May we all be in solidarity with and pray for these brave souls as they attempt to put the real culprits on trial next week – NUCLEAR WEAPONS and the policies of the US Government that continues to threaten other nations with the use of nuclear weapons.  May true justice be done.

The Fruit of Justice is Peace.

Leonard

Charges Against Transform Now Plowshares: Two Down, Two To Go

Greetings Friends of Plowshares,

It’s two down and two to go as it pertains to charges against the Transform Now Plowshares!!!  The update from Ralph Hutchison (read below) is good news.  Who knows; maybe they will drop that silly “sabotage” charge next.

Peace,

Leonard

*********************

Government drops one count against Transform Now Plowshares activists.

[April 25, 2013 • Knoxville, TN]  Since entering the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in July of 2012, Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice and Michael Walli have faced four charges ranging from trespass to sabotage. In November, the government dropped the trespass charge. Today, April 25, the government dismissed a second charge:

COUNT TWO

The Grand Jury further charges that, on or about July 28,2012, within the Eastern District of Tennessee, the defendants, MICHAEL R. WALLI, MEGAN RICE, and GREG BOERTJEOBED, aiding and abetting each other, at a place within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, namely, the United States Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Y-12 National Security Complex, did willfully and maliciously destroy, injure, and attempt to destroy and injure, a structure, and other real and personal property within the Y-12 National Security Complex, in violation of Title 18, United States Code,ı Sections 1363 and 2.

The charge carried a possible sentence of 5-10 years.

With this dismissal, two charges remain:

• one count charging damage to federal property in excess of $1,000 which carries a maximum ten year sentence

• one count under what is commonly known as the sabotage act charging intent to injure the national defense of the United States which carries a maximum 25 year sentence.

Jury selection for the Transform Now Plowshares case is scheduled for 1:00pm on Monday, May 6 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 before Judge Amul Thapar.

The defendants are awaiting a ruling, due within a week, from Judge Thapar on what testimony, if any, will be withheld from the jury during the trial. Judge Thapar heard testimony from former Attorney General Ramsey Clark on Tuesday, April 23, and received written testimony from several other experts, including Col. Ann Wright (USAF, ret) Dr. Ira Helfland (past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility) and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Ramsey Clark testifies on behalf of the Transform Now Plowshares

Dear Friends,

Yesterday (on April 23rd) the Transform Now Plowshares (TNP) were back in the courtroom this time for a status hearing in which the judge allowed them to call witnesses to provide testimony on the legality of nuclear weapons, the importance of civil disobedience, and other issues.  The judge will then decide whether Megan, Greg and Michael can use the necessity defense and other such defenses to demonstrate that a greater good was accomplished by breaking the law to prevent imminent harm.

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark appeared on behalf of the TNP, and as I read the transcript (see below) of his testimony I was carried back to the Disarm Now Plowshares trial in 2010 in which Clark appeared on their behalf giving another strong testimony before the judge there.  We are blessed by such people as Clark, Bill Quigley (who is part of the legal team assisting the TNP) and others who help bear witness to the immorality and illegality of nuclear weapons, and our nation’s continued threat of use of such weapons of mass destruction (or perhaps one should use the term annihilation).

Ramsey Clark & Sr. Anne Montgomery at the courthouse in 2010

Ramsey Clark & Anne Montgomery at the courthouse in 2010

You can read the transcript of Clarks testimony below (with thanks to Ralph Hutchison of OREPA for providing it). You can keep up with the TNP trial at the Transform Now Plowshares Blog.  You can learn more about the Y-12 facility (where the TNP action took place) and the issues surrounding it at the OREPA Website.

In Peace and Toward a Nuclear Weapons Free World,

Leonard

*********************

HE WALKS AROUND WITH IT BY HIS SIDE

The judge interrupted the questioning of former Attorney General Ramsey Clark as he testified at a hearing in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee in preparation for the Transform Now Plowshares trial in May.

Bill Quigley, counsel for the defense, had just asked Clark if the threat of the use of nuclear weapons was imminent.

“It’s omnipresent,” said Clark.

“Excuse me,” the Judge said. “Are you saying the President intends to use nuclear weapons? Are you in a position to know that? Are you tied in with the President?”

Clark said, “It’s not academic. We continue to build and to modernize these weapons, for what other reason than that we intend to use them?”

“But wasn’t our last use World War Two?”

“No, there has been testing.”

“A fair point,” said the Judge. “But as to an imminent threat—does the President have his finger on the button?”

“Well,” said Clark, “he walks around with it by his side.”

The exchange was one of many during the nearly one and a half hours the 85 year old statesman was on the stand.

What follows is not a transcript following from start to finish. It is a compilation of excerpts that is a true and accurate reflection of the course of the testimony and arguments. Some moments fall away as repetitious, others mundane, and one or two maybe just because my hand was too tired to keep writing.

One bit of news: The trial will begin May 7 as scheduled, but jury selection will begin at 1:00pm on Monday, May 6. The court expects to call 70 prospective jurors for the first round of voire dire and will set up a closed-circuit TV room for the public and press.

===

The occasion was a hearing on the prosecution’s motion to limit testimony at trial. In responding to that motion, the defense asked the judge to hear the testimony, a “proffer” in legal parlance, before deciding. Judge Amul Thapar agreed, and so we found ourselves in Courtroom 1A at the federal courthouse on April 23, 2013.

After dispensing with the niceties—Ramsey Clark was in the Justice Department from the first day of the Kennedy Administration to the last day of the Johnson Administration and he served as Attorney General from September 1966 until January 1969—Bill Quigley, who questioned Clark for the defense, began. Quigley’s questions were primarily aiming to establish that the defendants’ beliefs were reasonable.

=======

IT WILL DESTROY EVERYTHING IN ITS PATH

Quigley: The defendants believe that the nuclear weapons that are manufactured at Y12 are inherently uncontrollable and indiscriminate. Is that a reasonable belief?

Clark: Yes.

Quigley: Can you explain?

Clark: It is widely known to be true.

Judge Thapar: They are indiscriminate, no one would argue with that. But uncontrollable, do you have scientific evidence or knowledge of that?

Clark: I haven’t thought of it as a physics matter. What happens when you release the energy in a thermonuclear bomb is uncertain.

Judge: So if you drop it, you can’t control the harm.

Clark: It will destroy everything in its path.

Judge: But only on release.

Clark: It is extremely dangerous. If someone were to get ahold of one.

Judge: Yes, when released. But if the government secures them…

+++++++

YOU WILL DESTROY LIVES THAT ARE PROTECTED BY THE RULES OF WAR

That may have been the moment when it became clear how the day was going to go for the government. After the whole thing was over, a local reporter who has been following the case closely said it seemed to him the tables had turned and it was now the government that somehow was under indictment.

“If the government secures them…” the Judge had said.

Ramsey Clark took it up for him. “If you assume the government does its job. But if people can just walk in there, as these people did, people who were not equipped as, say, Rangers or Navy seals.”

Judge: But how easy would it have been to steal?

Clark: They were seventy-five to eighty percent there. All they had to do was get a truck and steal one.

Judge: Well, I don’t think they were ever standing next to one.

Clark: No, but if they were experts at breaking and entering, how hard could it have been to get in once they got where they got.

Bill Quigley took the steering wheel back from the judge. “Back to uncontrollable when they are used. The defendants believe indiscriminate weapons are illegal under US military code. Is that a reasonable belief?

Clark: By definition it follows they are illegal. If you can not control the direction of the blast, you will destroy lives that are protected by the rules of war.

++++++

WE DON’T BUILD THEM TO STORE THEM

Quigley: The defendants believe these weapons, by design, present an imminent risk to generations yet unborn. Is that reasonable?

Clark: Not only reasonable, it is inevitable.

Judge: You are not speaking as a scientist, but giving your opinion.

Clark: My judgment. No, I am not a scientist.

Quigley: Is it reasonable to believe these weapons pose a threat of death or serious injury?

Clark: That’s what they’re made for. If they’re used, it’s a disaster.

Quigley: If they are used. These weapons are made to be used, they are used as a threat?

Clark: I’m afraid so. We don’t build them to store them.

++++

ATTENTION HAD TO BE PAID, AND IT ISN’T BEING PAID

At one point, Ramsey Clark noted the building of nuclear weapons has “gone on for years and years. It’s what causes proliferation. If we do it, others will do it. The magnitude of the expenditures. These weapons present a clear and present danger to life on earth.”

Quigley: But is there no reasonable, legal alternative?

Clark: This is the only way people have to tell the truth. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. If we keep on building them, we are on the path to total destruction. Attention had to be paid, and it isn’t being paid. We have to get the government to pay attention. That’s why this was necessary.

Quigley: Is it reasonable for the defendants to believe that weapons of mass destruction are illegal under US and international law?

Clark: It is reasonable. It also recognizes the violation of Article Six of the Nonproliferation Treaty—the obligation that is in the treaty we signed when I was the attorney general. The obligation of the weapons states was to stop the arms race and eliminate them from the planet.

+++++++

THE LIFE OF THE PLANET IS AT RISK FROM THIS ONE PLANT IN TENNESSEE

Quigley: Is it reasonable to believe that what is being refurbished at Y12 are weapons of mass destruction?

Clark: It’s an established fact.

Quigley: And reasonable to believe they violate international law?

Clark: Reasonable. Under the NPT we agreed to eliminate them.

Quigley: And I believe I just heard today or yesterday that the Boston bomber was indicted for use of a weapon of mass destruction—that is part of our criminal code…

The Judge stepped in. “A weapon in the hands of a terrorist or a citizen is different than a weapon in the hands of the government. A machine gun, or a tank—is that a fair statement?”

Clark: It’s fair if you limit it to machine guns or rifles, but weapons of mass destruction—the US is in violation of the intent of the most important treaty we ever signed.

Quigley: Do you believe the continuing threat of the use of Y12 weapons constitutes a war crime?

Clark: It is a reasonable and fair statement of belief.

Quigley: And a soldier can commit war crimes?

Clark: Yes.

Quigley: And using, or preparing to use weapons of mass destruction is a war crime.

Clark: That is reasonable to believe.

Quigley: The defendants believe the work at Y12 is preparation for genocide, could be carried out by civilians or armed services. But they believe the weapons activities at Y12 are in preparation for genocide and a violation of international law.

Clark: That is reasonable. Because of the magnitude of the program at this time. One sub, one sub can carry one hundred warheads. Eight submarines, on alert at all times, eight hundred warheads in a position to strike. Think of maps. Eight hundred places in Europe… or on the continent of the Americas. It is criminally insane.

Quigley: Not homicidal, but omnicidal.

Clark: The life of the planet is at risk from this one plant here in Tennessee.

++++++

Later, Ramsey Clark again noted nuclear weapons threaten all life of the planet. “Yet we proliferate,” he said. “I lived through Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1968, we came up to sign the NPT. We realized if we let weapons spread, they would threaten life on earth. So in Article I the non-nuclear powers agreed not to procure nuclear weapons, and in Article VI, the nuclear powers took on the obligation—it places an obligation on us. It was highly idealistic, even commits us to complete disarmament. We put it on the shelf. We didn’t read it.

Quigley: The defendants believe the United States is in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, specifically Article six…

Clark: If you’re an informed person, it’s the only belief you could have.

+++++

THE OBLIGATIONS ARE SERIOUS AND MUST BE OBEYED

When the subject turned to Nuremberg, Quigley asked the Attorney General about his knowledge. “I was there, for one day,” Clark said. “But I read about it.”

Quigley asked about the Nuremberg principles as binding US law. Clark said they were the supreme law of the land.

Quigley asked, “Is it reasonable to believe they outlaw crimes against humanity?”

Clark: Not only reasonable, but highly desirable.

Quigley: And they not only outlaw the killing, but planning and preparation.

Clark: That is the only way to prevent the killing.

Quigley: The principles do not obligate people to wait until after, but confer on them the right and obligation to act to prevent…

Clark: If you can only punish, and not prevent, that is not sufficient for human survival.

Quigley: So it was reasonable for the defendants to believe they had a right and a duty to act to prevent?

Clark: Yes.

Judge Thapar broke in: Could the defendants be convicted of a war crime?

Clark: They might be convicted of trespass, though I don’t consider it trespass.

Quigley: Your honor, the defendants believe it is the government that is committing the war crime.

Clark: The conduct of the US government—it was a treaty we signed, we should be the first to respect it. The obligations are reasonable and serious and must be obeyed.

+++++

At one point Clark inserted a historical note for context: “If you look at the threat to life on the planet in 1945, one country had atomic bombs and others were seeking them. It’s a sad fact, but if two countries have a controversy, a dispute, or a difference of ambitions, and if one country has nuclear weapons and the other doesn’t, they have to get them in order to be free, to live free.”

+++++

THESE DEFENDANTS SOUGHT TO PRESERVE SOCIETY

Quigley: The defendants believe international treaties are binding law, is that reasonable?

Clark: Reasonable belief and a correct statement of the meaning of the Constitution.

Quigley: And the NPT is binding law…

Clark: It is the supreme law of the land.

Quigley: The defendants believe the program at Y12 which modernizes nuclear weapons violates the NPT.

Clark: It is the only reasonable belief. Our laws have to seek to preserve society. These defendants sought to preserve society.

+++++

BY A GOOGLE

Quigley: A moment ago, the judge asked if the government has the right to criminalize trespass. Is the trespass of these defendants miniscule compared to the crimes they are trying to prevent?

Clark: They were justified. There is a long history of justifying minor infractions to prevent grave injury. The only requirement is courage. If they had to cut through a fence, so be it. It was a minor infraction to prevent calamity.

Quigley: The law of proportionality favors the defendants. Is it reasonable to believe the small matter of harm they did is less than the harm that would come from nuclear weapons?

Clark: By a googol. It’s googol to one.

++++

Quigley: Since the use of these weapons on Japan, there have been thousands of tests around the world.

Clark: Yes, it was a race. Proliferation.

Quigley: And the defendants believe these tests have caused harm to thousands, on Bikini, the Marshall Islands, downwind of the Nevada Test Site—in ways that violate our treaties.

Clark: Based on clear knowledge, and a lot more than you have described.

+++++

Greg Boertje Obed closed the initial questioning of Clark with a question about drone warfare. Referencing the statement read by the Transform Now Plowshares resisters when they were at the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility on July 28, 2012.  “Is it reasonable to believe that drone warfare is illegal?

Clark answered: As used, in a time of peace, they are clearly illegal because they are indiscriminate. They are also lawless—first we execute, then the trial.

It was 11:56. Ramsey Clark had been on the stand for an hour.

+++++

I COULD IMAGINE A COURT IN THE FUTURE…

Under cross examination, Clark was patient, plain spoken, and profound. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Theodore, specialist in national security, asked, “Are you contending that operations at Y12 are criminal?”

Clark: They are unlawful. Had we met our obligations, we could be living in a world where these acts could not be committed. But there is no specific statute.

Theodore: You don’t believe these are war crimes, do you?

Clark: I could imagine a court in the future…

Theodore: But you don’t believe that.

Theodore turned the conversation to international law, pointing out that Congress is not bound by international law. Clark noted the Supremacy clause of the Constitution declares treaties to be the Supreme Law of the Land.

“So court opinions to the contrary are wrong?” Theodore asked. Clark said he would have to read the opinion. Judge Amul Thapar broke in, “Does supremacy mean Congress can not ignore international law?”

Clark: Congress can. But when we sign a treaty, and it enters into force, it becomes the supreme law.

Judge: But a treaty doesn’t trump the Constitution.

Clark: It’s in the Constitution.

Judge: But if there is a contract.

Clark: It says, “The Constitution and Treaties” are the supreme law of the land.

Judge: But take this case on chemical weapons. Whether Congress can pass a law in accordance with a treaty in the absence of another basis. If international law said marijuana was legal. Can Congress pass a lawmaking it illegal?

Clark: If Congress signed a treaty?

Judge: We can have statutes that are inconsistent with customary international law.

Clark: You’re talking about international law, not a treaty.

Judge: I think I understand.

++++++

THAT’S THE ADMIRABLE THING ABOUT IT. SOMEBODY HAD TO ACT, AND THEY DID.

Later, the Assistant DA tried to hammer Clark on whether or not the Plowshares activists had other alternatives to civil disobedience. He appeared to confuse written statements from another prospective witness, but Clark took up the discussion.

Theodore: Do you agree their action was civil disobedience?

Clark: It could also be for the greater good.

Theodore: But if it was civil disobedience, was it direct or indirect?

Clark: Mostly I would say it was indirect. Their motivation was clearly affirmative.

Theodore: But there are alternatives. There are always alternatives. Always the political process.

Clark: There are always alternatives. But they are not restricted to them, especially if they don’t seem to work.

Theodore: But the court said, after Schoon…

Clark: The alternatives may not be adequate.

Theodore: But just because they don’t get the result they want, the democratic process does work, doesn’t it?

Clark: It’s not working on this.

Theodore: But on any number of issues, people’s views have changed.

Clark: Yet militarism has grown and grown.

Theodore: But we have had a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons since 1969.

Clark: Not in the destructive capacity. You think of the power of the warheads on just one submarine. It is unbelievable.

Theodore: But democracy works, doesn’t it?

Clark: It’s pretty darn good on most things.

A moment later, after a discussion of Nuremberg during which Theodore attempted to limit the imperative of Nuremberg to cases where citizens were being forced to undertake unlawful acts, he said, “They weren’t compelled, these three.”

Clark answered, “That’s the admirable thing about it. Somebody had to act, and they did.”

Theodore drew his cross examination to a close: “A minute ago, you testified that the activities at the Y12 site were unlawful. Are the people who work there criminals?”

Clark: They are engaged in a criminal enterprise.

++++++

WE COULD NOT FEEL THEIR PAIN

Bill Quigley, on redirect, reached through the tangle of legalese for the heart.

“Mr. Clark, in the 1960’s, when you were in the Justice Department, was it necessary for African Americans to commit civil disobedience to force you to act?”

Ramsey Clark was silent for just a moment. “Sadly, yes,” he said. “We could not feel their pain. We could not feel the misery of their lives. We came to understand it, finally, but without their initiative, we would not have the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act or any of that. Without Martin Luther King…”

Then, suddenly, the Judge entered the discussion, agreeing that Martin Luther King was an apt example. “It shows that civil disobedience may be honorable, but still illegal.”

Clark: We always hope the law understands the moral value of conduct.

Judge Thapar: But as Attorney General, that was your call, a prosecutorial discretion call.

Clark: Not just discretion.

Judge: But it, take an onerous example, one I think or I hope we would all find—the Klan. If a prosecutor brings charges, and if the judge is sympathetic, he is not then at liberty to ignore the law. If the prosecutor decides to bring the case, the judge’s action flows from it. Civil disobedience, though moral, is maybe not legal.

Clark heard the judge’s plea for absolution but did not grant it. “The final call is with the judiciary,” he said. “The judge disposes.”

Thapar: In accordance with the law.

Bill Quigley reentered the conversation with a question to Clark. “Did Nuremberg prosecute judges?”

“I believe they did.”

“And prosecutors?”

“I believe there were some.”

+++++

IT IS AN HONOR TO BE HERE

By now, Ramsey Clark had been on the stand for more than an hour and a half. Bill Quigley led him to the close. “Is there anything else you would like to say?”

Clark allowed a brief smile. “I could make a speech, but I will restrain myself.” And then he was serious. “It is an honor to be here.”

Yes, Ramsey Clark, it was an honor to be there.

###

Transform Now Plowshares Trial: An Invitation

Dear Friends

In only a few weeks (May 7th) our friends from the Transform Now Plowshares community will begin trial before Federal District Judge Amul Thapar in Knoxville TN.

Since last year their disarmament action has kept the government and its contractors hopping as they have sought to downplay the significance of this witness and kept the focus off the dangerous criminality of the nuclear arsenal itself and the role of the Oak Ridge Y12 plant in that continuing threat to creation.  For their truthfulness on July 28th and subsequently, Greg Bortje-Obed, Megan Rice and Michael Walli are facing three felony charges, including a charge under the Sabotage Act, and risking 35 years in prison.

Michael Walli, Sr. Megan Rice, and Greg Boerje-Obed

Michael Walli, Sr. Megan Rice, and Greg Boerje-Obed

We are encouraging supporters who can join us in Knoxville the week of the trial to make plans as early as possible and to let our host activists in Tennessee know as soon as possible, so they can plan hospitality accordingly.  In addition to the trial there will be activities over the weekend leading up to and each day surrounding the trial. Click here for more information if you will be joining us in Knoxville.

On Sunday May 5, in preparation for trial, there will be a Vigil at Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant — 5 p.m. at Y12 in Oak Ridge, followed by a Potluck and Festival of Hope — 6:30 p.m. at Church of the Savior UCC, 934 Weisgarber Road, Knoxville.

For those of you who will not be able to come to Knoxville, please consider public witness in solidarity with the trial in your locality and please consider sending on financial support for the witness. The legal effort itself entails bringing several expert witnesses and other legal resource people to Knoxville and the additional support needed to stand with Greg, Megan and Michael and their peace witness during their trial will also be significant .  

If you can provide financial assistance, you can contribute via the website https://www.wepay.com/donations/transform-now-plowshares or mail your contribution to Catholic Worker, PO Box 29179, Washington DC 20017 and designate it for “Transform Now Plowshares”.

We look forward to embodying a community of peace and justice with you in Knoxville in May

For the Transformation of our World,

The TNP Support Crew

Save the “Saboteurs”: Sign the Petition!!!

My Dear Friends,

Let’s start with a couple of definitions.

Sabotage: Destruction of property or obstruction of normal operations, as by civilians or enemy agents in time of war (Free Dictionary).  Destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation’s war effort (Merriam – Webster).

It appears that the U.S. Attorney’s office is hard at work trying to figure out the most expeditious way to get the Transform Now Plowshares to cop a plea and get them behind bars with a minimum of public attention.  Hmmm… wonder why??? Continue reading

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