Judge Amul Thapar issued an opinion on October 1 denying the defense motion to dismiss the sabotage charge against Michael, Greg and Megan. You can view the ruling by clicking on the title of this post and following the trail!
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mairead Corrigan Maguire has written to Judge Amul Thapar in support of the Transform Now Plowshares resisters as they await sentencing on January 28, 2014. Click on the title of this post and follow the trail to a copy of the letter.
Letters of Support for the Transform Now Plowshares resisters continue to pour in; more than a thousand cards and letters have been sent to the judge or the support team to date. The Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, DC, submitted a letter; you can see it by clicking on the title of this post and following the trail:
Judge Amul Thapar has reset the sentencing date for Megan, Michael and Greg at the request of the defense attorneys. All three are currently scheduled for sentencing on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee. They remain incarcerated at the Irwin County Detention facility in Ocilla, GA, pending sentencing. There is a renewed opportunity to write Judge Thapar on their behalf. Also, please continue to write Megan, Michael and Greg.
Editor’s Note: Here is a request from TNP supporter Marion Ward. Please note that with sentencing coming up later this month, there is still time to write to Judge Thaper on behalf of Greg, Megan and Michael (see Marion’s note below). Also, the book Marion attempted to send (that must have appeared too “subversive” to the prison staff) is a very worthy read. I highly recommend “Blood on the Tracks”! Hmmm… I wonder what other books would be banned from the infamous Irwin County Detention Center??? Perhaps we can come up with a list???
I have been corresponding with Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed who are awaiting sentencing in the Irwin County Detention Center for their action at Oakridge, Tenn . I have not heard as often from Sister Megan. Greg is requesting books … at one time he said they pretty much only had Westerns in their library. Michael and Greg share books….I have had books shipped from independent book sellers and they have all been accepted with one exception – the book, Blood on the Tracks, by Brian Willson. It was sent by an independent book seller through Amazon which gave me credit for the refused book. I also use Abe Books and they have been delivered without incident. It is important that books be sent from an independent source although Greg did say some paperbacks from individuals are getting through (no guarantee about that, however)
Greg is asking for more books and my budget is fairly limited. Can anyone send a book or two to Greg ? I know he would appreciate it and will share with Michael.
Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Dr.
Ocilla, GA 31774
People are being asked to write Judge Thaper on their behalf. Talking points and addresses are all listed on the following website: https://transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com/author/tnplowshares/.
Write a letter, send a postcard, and help others to send postcards to Judge Thapar.
Click here to view the postcard to Judge Thapar on behalf of the Transform Now Plowshares. Download it (PDF file) and take it to your local printer, get a stack of them made and take them to events and get people to sign them or just print off one copy for yourself, sign it, stamp it, and put it in the mail. We are hoping to get thousands signed and sent.
Greg Boertje-Obed, Michael Walli and Megan Rice are currently in the Irwin County Detention Facility in Ocilla, GA, awaiting their sentencing on Tuesday, January 28, 2014. The three were found guilty by a jury in Tennessee in May on two counts; interfering with or obstructing the national defense (sabotage) and depredation of government property. Both counts are considered violent acts and fall under the definition of “federal crimes of terrorism”
The maximum sentence that each of the three can receive is 30 years. Likely not to happen, however their sentencing guidelines which is often what judges use, can vary up to about 10 years.
At this point, the 3 have asked for their supporters and friends to write to the judge asking for justice to be brought back into their case in this sentencing phase. They are asking for downward departures from the high guidelines based on recognition that theirs was an act of nonviolence, hope, and love and NOT terrorism. There has been legal precedence for downward departures in at least 2 other plowshares cases where the defendants were convicted of “sabotage”.
The http://transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com/ blog site has posted 3 basic talking points for people to use in order to write a letter to Judge Thapar. The address for sending letters is also posted (see under “write the prisoners” tab on website). A personal letter to the judge will likely have a high impact on his discernment process.
Under the tab “write the prisoners” are 3 basic talking points for people to use in order to write a letter to Judge Thapar. The address for the where to send the letter is also there. A personal letter to the judge will likely have a high impact on his discernment process.
In order to make things even easier and in hopes of generating many letters to the judge, we have developed a postcard which has the letter and the address already written. All you need to do is sign it and put it in the mail. There is a bit of space for adding a sentence or two if you want.
So, download it and take it to your local printer, get a stack of them made on postcard stock and take them to events and get people to sign them or just print off one copy for yourself, sign it, stamp it, and put it in the mail. We are hoping to get thousands signed and sent.
We NEED to get thousands signed and sent!!!
Michele Naar-Obed, firstname.lastname@example.org
This will make a difference and the TNP needs your help with this. Thank you for your support.
PLEASE NOTE! The PDF document has two pages; one side is the text of the postcard, and the other is the address side.
Greg Boertje-Obed, Michael Walli and Megan Rice are currently in the Irwin County Detention Facility in Ocilla, GA, awaiting their sentencing on January 28, 2014. The three were found guilty by a jury in Tennessee in May on two counts—Judge Amul Thapar revoked their pre-trial release saying they were technically guilty of a crime of violence and must be held.
There are two things you can do to support Michael, Megan and Greg.
One is to send letters to them. Here are the addresses:Gregory Boertje-Obed 22090 Irwin County Detention Center 132 Cotton Drive Ocilla GA 31774
***Michael Walli 4444 Irwin County Detention Center 132 Cotton Drive Ocilla GA 31774
***Megan Rice 22100 Irwin County Detention Center 132 Cotton Drive Ocilla GA 31774
You must make sure to include your entire return address on the outside of the envelope. No staples or paperclips can be included in your mail; no oversized envelopes. Magazines and books must be sent directly from the publisher or bookstore/Amazon. Photocopies of brief articles are likely to be permitted (based on our past experience). If you include inappropriate material or fail to comply with these rules, your mail will not get through—it will be returned to you.
The second thing you can do is send a letter to Judge Thapar. We have suggested guidelines for your letter, and we are asking people to send their letter to Bill Quigley, lawyer for Mike Walli (address below), so they can be collected and delivered to the judge. If you want to send a copy of your letter to us, that would be great—our address is also below.
• Invite Judge Thapar to think about sentencing in light of the fact that this was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience intended to awaken the conscience of the nation, and no evidence was presented that it was an act of terrorism meant to harm anyone. You could write that you share the court’s concern that Congress would write a law that wouldn’t allow a judge to distinguish between peace activists and terrorists, and are disturbed that the government defines the crime they stand convicted of as a violent “crime of terrorism”.
http://blogs.knoxnews.com/munger/2013/05/judge-rules-convicted-y-12-pro.html As testimony of the defendants showed during trial, they carried out their action in a spirit of nonviolence and hope.
• Without making it the focus of the letter, you could mention that the action was carried out with the clear understanding of the illegality and immorality of nuclear weapons, and intent to uphold higher laws. Read some of Ramsey Clark’s testimony at a pre-trial hearing re: the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and international law: http://transformnowplowshares.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/ramsey-clark-on-nuclear-weapons-and-update-on-charges/
• Encourage him to consider downward departures from the high guidelines for the charges, and to use his discretion at sentencing to bring more justice into the situation by recognizing that the defendants are NOT violent terrorists as the government has implied through its interpretation of the crime; and remind him of the intentions of the three nonviolent activists: to follow the words of the prophet Isaiah to beat swords into plowshares, and build a safer and more secure world for all.
Our purpose with these letters is not to reargue the case, nor is it to condemn nuclear weapons production—the judge is not engaging those issues at this time. Our purpose is to address the legal system’s distortion of the nonviolent action of the TNP resisters and to provide support to the judge for a sentencing decision that takes into account the nature of their action and their nonviolent behavior throughout their action.
Letters should be sent to:US District Judge Amul R Thapar c/o Professor Bill Quigley Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice 7214 St. Charles Avenue Campus Box 902 New Orleans, LA 70118
If you care to send a copy to OREPA that would also be appreciated:
We will post Megan, Greg, and Michael’s new register numbers when we know them. For now, here is the address and phone number of the detention center. When I called to ask our friends’ register numbers, they said to call back during business hours tomorrow.
Name, Register Number
Irwin County Detention Center
132 Cotton Drive
Ocilla, GA 31774
Thanks to these citizens for sharing their thoughts through the Knoxville News Sentinel. The quotes below are only excerpts — click the links to read the full articles.
The recent verdict of guilty in the Transform Now Plowshares case is a miscarriage of justice. All evidence presented at the trial showed incontestably that the three protesters are deeply committed to nonviolence and that all their symbolic actions were nonviolent, intended to bring a message of peace and healing to the bomb plant. … The defendants clearly felt they were following the path of Jesus, who preached peace and abhorred violence. The Prince of Peace was also accused of sabotaging the Roman Empire.
Petition is both a noun and a verb. … If a nun shows up at a government fence with a bottle of wine, some bread and blood to give a message to the government about not bombing innocent children with really bad bombs, she is delivering a petition. … You don’t violate her First Amendment rights because the federal government has ineffective personnel policies.