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February 7th Motions Hearing

The defense lawyers did a great job today at the motions hearing in Knoxville. The most recent motions submitted by Bill Quigley in January (see Legal Arguments) are being considered by the magistrate judge and were not addressed today by the defense or the prosecution.

Francis Lloyd, counsel for Sister Megan Rice, argued to dismiss the sabotage charge, based on the fact that Y-12 is not a national defense facility. The judge asked both sides tough questions and did not indicate a leaning.

Mr. Lloyd then asked, in the event the sabotage charge isn’t dismissed, for the prosecution to present a bill of particulars—an explanation of what exactly the defendants did that constitutes sabotage. The judge agreed that a bill of particulars would be unusual, but also seemed to agree this is an unusual case. “It’s not unique,” argued Mr. Theodore, the prosecutor. “Have we ever had one before?” asked the judge. “Not here,” said Mr. Theodore. “Then it’s unusual for me,” the judge said. In the end the judge pushed the prosection, “I know it’s unusual, and I’m not ruling, but if I did, in this one case, just this one unusual case, would it injure your prosecution? Don’t we all already know what you will say? Couldn’t I answer the question?” Mr. Theodore actually started to outline things in his response and the judge interrupted, “I’m not asking you to answer now, I’m asking you if there really is any harm in answering, just this one time.”

Finally, the question of intent was raised. Mr. Lloyd argued very well that the prosecution can’t have it both ways. If they charge intent, they have to allow some testimony as to intent. Mr. Theodore and the judge seem to agree that intent is specific, as opposed to motive which is broad and about nuclear weapons policy. “Isn’t that really about trial management?” asked the judge. Mr. Lloyd said he feared the issue would be lurking if the judge didn’t decide, and that the prosecution would try to infer intent from conduct and not allow testimony. “Is that what you are planning?” the judge asked the prosecutor. “No, we won’t do that,” he answered.

Meanwhile, Greg, Megan, and Michael have been traveling around the Knoxville area, building connections with the community and sharing their vision for a nuclear-free world.  They have spoken at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, at the University of Tennessee, and at Maryville College, among other places.  Sister Megan reports that they have been seriously listened to, and that excellent questions have been raised for discussion and reflection.

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Recent news digest: TNP interviews; NNSA & G4S statements

Nun broke in to Oak Ridge to bring ‘truth’
S.L. Alligood
The Tennessean

Like his compatriots, Boertje-Obed believes life is a spiritual mission and, sometimes, that mission leads to uncomfortable challenges.

Like breaking into Y-12 at the risk of being shot.

… “We talked about it in advance on many occasions, and we all felt our consciences were leading us to risk our lives. We didn’t feel that if we were shot that they would be taking (our lives),” he says.

Instead, the activist says, dying by deadly force would be giving of their lives.

“We think that’s a distinction that Jesus made and the greatest love a person can have, according to the New Testament, is to lay down your life for others. That’s what was motivating us, the love we had for others,” he notes. …

NNSA: Cost of Y-12 break-in at least $15M — so far
Frank Munger
Knoxville News Sentinel

OAK RIDGE — The government’s response to the July 28 security breach at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant has cost taxpayers about $15 million so far, according to an estimate from the National Nuclear Security Administration, and possibly a lot more. …

G4S ready to ready to move past the ‘punishment stage’; security firm’s CEO says 20 minutes at Y-12 wiped away 20 million hours of exceptional service
Frank Munger
Atomic City Underground

In one of the most detailed and dramatic statements since the July 28 break-in at the Y-12 nuclear weapons palnt, Paul Donahue, president and CEO of G4S Government Solutions, said the security company is ready to move past the punishment stage for the Y-12 incident and work to restore its image. …

Sister Megan Rice offered a response to Paul Donahue’s allegation that she, Greg, and Michael were “clearly seeking to embarrass” G4S and the security at Y-12:

Dear Paul Donohue, our friend and brother,

We, peace activists, entered Oak Ridge Y-12 Nuclear facility only to bring reality of our love, desires to heal, befriend, and enlighten with transparency and truth, because of our genuine compassion, respect for and reconciliation with each you, the employees, our sisters and brothers.

We trust that you, as a responsible administrator, would share our hopes for the transformation of this facility into projects which can truly enhance all of life on this sacred Planet, and thus contribute to creating a far more sustainable economic system where no embarrassment need be experienced by any who participate in creating alternatives for genuine security, and not the risks of global extinction. This we all now experience, and fear over the 7 decades of inhumane nuclear weapons production and recurring war-making, to the embarrassment and shame of the 1% who presently are profiteers from instruments only for death.