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Archive for July 2012

Arraignment proceedings: a second account

Knoxville Federal Courthouse, photo by Frank Kehren

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.

In court, the defendants were calm and composed. They spoke clearly, answering the judge’s questions directly. It was a pro forma hearing until the judge asked them each if they had a chance to review the complaint against them.

“Yes,” answered Mike Walli, the first to be questioned. Do you have any questions, the judge asked. “I note the charge listed relates only to what I have done,” Mike said, “and does not include the illegal nuclear weapons production taking place at Y12.” Continue reading

Arraignment of Transform Now Plowshares

Knoxville Federal Courthouse, photo by Frank Kehren

Arraignment proceedings took place this morning in Knoxville Federal Court for plowshares activists Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed. In a concerted effort all three declared that charges facing the Y-12 were not addressed.

“Blessed are the peacemakers!” said Erik Johnson of Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA), audibly, as they entered the courtroom. After more than 48 hours detention not one appeared shaken.

They currently face one charge of federal trespass which carries a potential sentence of not more than one year imprisonment and not more than one year of supervised release as well as a maximum fine of $100,000. Preliminary information had indicated that a second felony charge of vandalism would be brought. Additional charges are possible as the legal process unfolds. Continue reading

The story of the action

from http://www.y12.doe.gov/news/report/toc.php?vn=7_1&xml=p08

Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility – HEUMF

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 today.

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.”

–Please Circulate Widely.–

Send letters of support.

RETURN ADDRESS MUST HAVE FULL NAME AND FULL ADDRESS OR INMATE WILL NOT RECEIVE MAIL.
[money order only, if mailed]

INMATE’S FULL NAME: _____________
BLOUNT COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
920 E. LAMAR ALEXANDER PARKWAY
MARYVILLE, TN 37804-5022

Plowshares Movement Slideshow

Plowshares actions take their name from Isaiah 2:4: “They shall beat swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.”

Each action community, grounded in prayer, seeks to disarm a weapon or delivery system for a nuclear weapon or weapon of mass destruction.

The first plowshares action was September 1980 at the General Electric plant in King of Prussia, PA. Eight people, including Philip Berrigan, hammered and poured their blood on the Mark 12A nuclear missile components. Since then there have been more than 100 plowshares actions.

The video below gives a brief plowshares chronology, from 1980 to 2009.

(To watch the same slideshow at a slower pace, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqzsL-Z2kI4.)

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