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

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.

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

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

An invitation from Susan: Begin the process of conversion

[A reflection from Susan Crane, February 1, 2012, FCI Dublin on the US military base Camp Parks]

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your prayers and letters, articles and books.   Life here continues to be simple in some basic ways. In prayer I don’t have to discern whether to live or work here or there, to cross the line at this or that military base, or to begin to disarm these drones or that nuclear capable missile. What I can do is be neighbor to the people around me, sharing, listening, reminding myself and others that the use of violence is never in conformity with the gospel or the god of love.

I was having a conversation with a friend here about a woman who had just been taken to the SHU. She had been fasting from water and food as part of her prayer for her daughter who has cancer. A drug test (urine) was demanded of her, and (we hear) she didn’t break her fast to drink water to be able to comply. My friend said, “A woman of God would be obedient, not stubborn and rebellious.” And that statement pretty much sums up the thinking among many women here. How is it that we so easily confuse the authority of the state with God’s will?

And here I sit, in general population, while Steve and Bix are both in the SHU. Am I confusing the authority of the state with God’s will? How much does fear or the desire for comfort influence my thinking?

I’m reminded of the story of Eleazar (2 Maccabees 6:18-31) who refused to act in contradiction to the tenets, as he understood them, of his faith.

The doomsday clock was just moved a minute closer to midnight. Our country still spends half of our federal tax dollars on warmaking. Stringfellow’s words about the state still ring true to me. He reminds us that the only sanction the state relies on is death, or some status that embodies the same meaning as death: imprisonment, deportation, loss of reputation or property or employment, or intimidation that causes fear and conformity.

If we were living in WWII Europe and there was a concentration camp in your neighborhood, would you work there and demean and kill people? If you didn’t work there, would it be enought to live a good life doing works of mercy?

The crimes of our government are not talked about on Fox news or in many places of worship. But we still have a responsibility to speak out and act nonviolently to begin to convert our warmaking hearts and economy and Empire.

Pray with friends! Breathe together! Practice love of friends and enemies! Walk into Lockheed Martin and other weapons manufacturers. Walk onto military bases. Begin the process of conversion!

We are all responsible for the collective acts of our warmaking state. Here in prison, there is a special kind of rest for my conscience. Join me! For love of the world we hammer swords into plowshares.

An invitation from Susan: Turn swords into plowshares

From Susan Crane, February 1, 2012, FCI Dublin on the US military base Camp Parks

Dear Friends,

Thanks for your prayers and letters, articles and books.   Life here continues to be simple in some basic ways. In prayer I don’t have to discern whether to live or work here or there, to cross the line at this or that military base, or to begin to disarm these drones or that nuclear capable missile. What I can do is be neighbor to the people around me, sharing, listening, reminding myself and others that the use of violence is never in conformity with the gospel or the god of love.

I was having a conversation with a friend here about a woman who had just been taken to the SHU. She had been fasting from water and food as part of her prayer for her daughter who has cancer. A drug test (urine) was demanded of her, and (we hear) she didn’t break her fast to drink water to be able to comply. My friend said, “A woman of God would be obedient, not stubborn and rebellious.” And that statement pretty much sums up the thinking among many women here. How is it that we so easily confuse the authority of the state with God’s will?

And here I sit, in general population, while Steve and Bix are both in the SHU. Am I confusing the authority of the state with God’s will? How much does fear or the desire for comfort influence my thinking?

I’m reminded of the story of Eleazar (2 Maccabees 6:18-31) who refused to act in contradiction to the tenets, as he understood them, of his faith.

The doomsday clock was just moved a minute closer to midnight. Our country still spends half of our federal tax dollars on warmaking. Stringfellow’s words about the state still ring true to me. He reminds us that the only sanction the state relies on is death, or some status that embodies the same meaning as death: imprisonment, deportation, loss of reputation or property or employment, or intimidation that causes fear and conformity.

If we were living in WWII Europe and there was a concentration camp in your neighborhood, would you work there and demean and kill people? If you didn’t work there, would it be enought to live a good life doing works of mercy?

The crimes of our government are not talked about on Fox news or in many places of worship. But we still have a responsibility to speak out and act nonviolently to begin to convert our warmaking hearts and economy and Empire.

Pray with friends! Breathe together! Practice love of friends and enemies! Walk into Lockheed Martin and other weapons manufacturers. Walk onto military bases. Begin the process of conversion!

We are all responsible for the collective acts of our warmaking state. Here in prison, there is a special kind of rest f0r my conscience. Join me! For love of the world we hammer swords into plowshares.

Unconsionable Senate Vote on War Spending

Friends, Steve Kelly was able to squeeze this little note into a letter I just received, and asked that I share it here.  Peace, Leonard

(Friday, December 2, 2011)

I just read that the Senate voted (by a vote of 93 to 7) a $662 Billion Pentagon budget so as to override any veto by President Obama.  CAUTION: This figure could numb the mind if left on paper.  Not too late, Thank God, to act – Beating $662 Billion Swords to much better Plowshares: infrastructure, education, health care, etc.

Praying for Conversion: A Lenten Reflection

Turn our hearts
Turn our minds
Make us branches holding fast to the vine
Patient Keeper, hold us in your tender mercy, Tree of Life.

This Lenten journey has been one of prayer and conversion. I wake each morning asking god to turn my heart and mind toward nonviolence, love and compassion. It is very humbling to be here with the women being held, waiting for their cases to come up, waiting for sentencing, waiting for a destination. Their stories touch my heart. Their generosity and kindness brings a smile and a disarmed heart minute by minute.

During Lent, we follow the journey of Jesus as he prepares for his arrest, trial and execution. He was tortured and executed by the Roman occupying forces, by the Roman empire that didn’t want any unrest or challenge to its power. Jesus, who taught nonviolence, who healed, fed, and encouraged people, was a threat.

As Jesus is about to be arrested, Peter brings out his sword to defend him. John Dear, SJ, reminds us that if there ever was a time to use violence to defend someone, it would be to defend Jesus, the incarnate God. But Jesus tells Peter, NO. Put away the sword (Matthew 26:52).

He rejects violence, even knowing the consequence can be his own torture and death.

“Put away the sword” is good advice to us today. Put away our nuclear weapons. Put away our military spending. Put away our war making.

Archbishop Hunthausen once said, “Jesus’ acceptance of the cross, rather than the sword raised in his defense, is the Gospel’s statement of unilateral disarmament.”

We 5 are held here at SeaTac Federal Detention Center for saying No to nuclear weapons: No to the trident nuclear warheads.

Archbishop Hunthausen called Trident the “Auschwitz of Puget Sound”. The trident nuclear warheads, like flying ovens, are ready to be launched from the Trident submarines and incinerate millions of people anywhere in the world.

The parishioners of St. Leo Parish sang a hymn of conversion, Tree of Life, at the Mass where we were blessed and commissioned to federal prison. The love, prayers and encouragement of the people at St. Leo’s strengthens us everyday.

We pray for the women and men held here at SeaTac and for the guards; we pray for disarmed hearts in a disarmed world, and for the conversion of our hearts and our weapons.

Peace,

Susan

Relevant Links: 

Archbishop Hunthausen’s 1981 speech on Faith and Disarmament

Click here to learn about the Vancouver Declaration.

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

Choose Joy

Role Models

Written by Zach Pflederer from Illinois, and posted on his blog,  Choose Joy

Today I read the following:

On December 13, a Tacoma-based jury declared five Disarm Trident Now Plowshares activists “guilty” of trespass, felony damage to federal property, felony injury to property, and felony conspiracy to damage property. The charges against the Disarm Now Trident activists resulted from their November 2, 2009 Plowshares action at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base, which is located just outside of Bremerton, Washington. The activists, who will be sentenced on March 28, 2011, each face a potential prison sentence of 10 years. Continue reading

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