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This tag is associated with 19 posts

Video interview with Greg Boertje-Obed

I’ve been preparing for more than a year, discussing with other people and then specifically Megan and Michael.

Many months ago, Megan learned about the Disarm Now Plowshares, and she went to the trial on the west coast, and that moved her to want to explore doing a similar type action.  Because of the experience, all the expert witnesses they had, all the reasons why nuclear weapons are illegal.

And Michael has always felt that the rule of law is a key motivating factor for him.  He believes strongly that nuclear weapons are illegal, and that we have a duty and an obligation, especially according to Nuremberg Principles, to take steps to intervene in war crimes of building nuclear weapons.

Was there any physical fitness preparation, did you expect this to be a rigorous…?

I did ask Megan to practice walking.  Months in advance, you know, because she does lose breath when she walks a long distance.  And she had been practicing.

But not cardboard boxes.

That’s a recent problem.

We take responsibility for what we did.  We say, we are the people who did it, and we want to explain why we believe it was legal and the right thing to do.

In the early morning, 2:00, 2:30, whatever it may be, on July 28th, that morning — can you say, I think we talked somewhat about this, but I’m not sure — did someone actually drop you off at a certain point?

That’s another thing that we say: the Spirit led us there.  And we don’t want to implicate other people who might have not wanted to be known.

It boils down to, nuclear weapons are designed to be of mass destruction.  They are going to kill civilians.  The intent of killing civilians is a war crime also.  And preparing, just by building you are preparing for a war that will kill civilians.

Video by Michael Patrick, News Sentinel

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Reflection from Blount County Jail, by Greg Boertje-Obed

Greg Boertje-Obed at a November 2011 protest at the construction site of the new Kansas City nuclear weapons parts plant

(published in issue #167 of the Nuclear Resister newsletter)

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

When Megan, Michael and I were preparing for the witness that became the Transform Now Plowshares, we discussed this passage and were struck by how it might apply to the action we were considering. We learned of government and corporate plans to build a new factory for making “modernized” nuclear weapons, called the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF). Peace activists called for a campaign to halt the plans for this $7.5 billion death factory whose projected costs kept increasing. We knew that many of our international treaties committed us to stop building nuclear weapons and to reduce to zero our weapons of mass destruction.

When studying the above scripture, we read that Jesus quoted it in a parable in which he was the stone rejected by the religious and political leaders of his day. He was to become the cornerstone for followers of the Holy One. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the early disciples quoted this verse, applying it to the rejection of Jesus and his rising from the dead.

A thought that came to us was that the builders of nuclear weapons have rejected the teachings and example of Jesus. Our leading was to seek to act in the tradition of plowshares actions, to bring hammers and blood, and to attempt to hammer on a cornerstone of a building used for making nuclear horror weapons. We knew that a recent structure was built that was intended to be a counterpart to the proposed UPF.

Our intention was to reject nuclear weapons as a cornerstone of our national policy by symbolically and actually hammering on a cornerstone of the new building. We also intended to explain that our action was a rejection of the U.S. role in the world. We knew that our nation functions as an empire that viciously oppresses weaker peoples around the world.  Nuclear disarmament and rejection of imperial oppression are both necessary for justice and life.

We believe God clearly guided us through the fences to the uranium building where we put up banners, poured blood, spray painted, put up crime scene tape, and began to hammer on a lower corner of the wall beneath an imposing guard tower. After a few blows, the wall began to crumble. After a few more strikes, the hole widened. A short while later, Megan came with her tiny hammer and swung a few times. The wall continued to crumble.

We give thanks for the miraculous leading of the Spirit, which is how we understand the action occurred.  If God can raise people from the dead, then God can lead people past forces of death to continue the process of transforming structures of death to become structures for life-enhancing purposes.

We continue to pray for more transforming and are encouraged by the Spirit that sings:
This is the day that the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
– Psalm 118:24

“Know that we walk with you, Susan” — from Greg Boertje-Obed, Mike Walli, and Sr. Megan Rice

Day 3 and 4 of Lockheed to Lockup, a Walk for Nuclear Disarmament


(slideshow of pictures from all four days of the walk)

Today the four-day Walk for Nuclear Disarmament ended as Susan Crane returned to prison in Dublin, California.  Susan’s incarceration is a witness to peace and noncooperation with evil, and her physical confinement is a visible symbol of the very real imprisonment we all experience, living with the existence of nuclear weapons.

Mike Walli, Sr. Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed (himself in jail awaiting trial) sent Susan this note of solidarity:

Know that we walk with you, Susan, each day as you carry the Light of Hope, Love, faith and compassion, which is hourly bringing transformation of minds and hearts, beginning with each one of us, of course.
– Transform Now Plowshares, Megan and Mike and Greg

Below are some of the thoughts shared by the participants on day three of this four-day, 40 mile walk.

We walked though Niles Canyon today, it was a walk made possible by working support vehicles driven by Margo Shafer and Bill Joyce, and by George Cammerada, who had an orange vest and orange flag; George was able to slow the traffic down and let them know there was something happening ahead. At one point I counted the drivers who waved to us….out of the next 10 cars that came by, 7 gave us a wave or a peace sign! That is a lot to think about. 70% of the people in the US just knee-jerk want peace? Seems so. We believe it.

Our shoes are dusty, and our feet are tired. I guess that’s the nature of walks. We feel good together, and this walk for nuclear disarmament is too short.

Tonight we are staying at the Trinity Lutheran church in Pleasanton. Folks here are very friendly.

Sr. Fran Tobin, from Anne Montgomery’s community, walked with us today. Anne is getting weaker each day, so Fran walked with us in her stead.

–Susan Crane

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I love the community, the opportunity to meet with people along the way, the hospitality…

–Ed Ehmke

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I think that starting with the circle we had at Sunnyvale, it’s easy to look around such a small circle —it seems one could get the feeling that the circle is so small, but the whole walk makes me think of the spirit —we don’t know the effect of the prayer of our walking, and I gathered a lot of strength. We aren’t here to judge or measure, but just carry on.

Bob Russell

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Walking along Niles Canyon Road today (photo by Mary Jane Parrine)

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The main perk of driving the sag was the opportunity to repeatedly catch glimpses of the beautiful banner-bearing procession — led by george, so proficient at flagging cars down to slower speeds along the tight canyon curves. At each point, and especially when joined by the mother pushing her child in the baby carriage, inspiring enough to break your heart.

–Bill Joyce

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For me, this walk shows how widely people from diverse cultures, religions, and ages agree fully with the stand Susan has taken. Those we asked to host us HAD to agree because in their hearts they knew this is what they believe too about eliminating nuclear weapons. If we had asked them to come to a vigil or write a letter they may not have been so committed. It had to be a walk, close and personal, and, unfortunately for Susan, it had to involve a level of commitment that risks her own freedom, at least for a time. I’m grateful to be a part of this.

–Mary Jane Parrine

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I had the ultimate experience walking with Susan in support of her dedication to free the world of weapons of destruction. Susan is the most dedicated person who I know and her example give me strength to give my life to the Lord and serve the men in our county jail. I look forward to spending time with her in the coming months.

–Carlos Coffield

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Very cool experience today as a part-time anti-trident activist! One day in 1000 qualifies me. Humbling as cars/trucks buzzed by us flipping us off but more commonly smiling and signaling the peace sign. I felt privileged to walk with Susan; that’s why I came after all. She and God call me to witness against the horrors of the world and wear this cloak for a short time…wishing I could do it more full-time. Susan is a surrogate for so many of us; a hero; a courageous soul that stands tall to shout out love and resistance for the perpetuation of the species.

–David Taxis

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The walk has been a journey in many ways. It seems like we have been walking so much longer than three days with all the people who have greeted us along the way and people of peace who joined us for any amount of time that they could spare to help us say ” No to nuclear weapons, no to nuclear war, and no to nuclear proliferation.” Tonight we are tired but it is a good tired and we have definitely formed a community and I can feel it to the core. I am grateful to have witnessed this message. Tomorrow will end our time together when we take Susan to the prison but in many ways it will be new beginnings with future walks along the way.

–Peggy Coleman

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I’m writing this as a driver of one of the two sag support vehicles. The walk really was a complete success – very colorful – and the walkers’ energy was so impressive. I was continually amazed at the speed with which they walked and their consistent energy. However the Nile’s Canyon section of the walk was on the nerve-wracking side for us drivers. The road had lots of turns, the cars were moving fast, especially in our direction, (which was the opposite side of the road from the walkers), and there were many sections of the road that had no shoulder. We would pull into a turnout (all of which strangely had “no stopping any time” signs – why make a turn out if you can’t stop?), then we’d wait for the walkers to pass, and when they got out of view we would drive to the next turnout and wait. This stop and start pattern went on all day, but the morning was the more stressful Niles Canyon part. At one turnout Bill’s battery went dead, and I drove on by myself until AAA got him going again. We’re very tired tonight, but relieved that the walk went so well. We’ll all be there in the morning to give Susan our love and to see her off to prison.

– Margo Shafer

Day 2: Friends of Megan Rice, Michael Walli, & Greg Boertje-Obed walk in Bay Area against Nuclear Weapons

The walkers at the end of Day 2

Reflection on the day by Jim Haber

Here is a photo from today’s walk. It seemed like our visit to that Methodist/Episcopalian community was something that the different congregations there came together to support. Our faith and action was a little different than theirs, but several people clearly were intrigued and grateful for the reflections our activism and anti-nuclear cause stirred in them.

The pastor Ernie walked with us for the first leg in the morning too. Angie’s chicken adobo and their homemade Egg McMuffin-type things kicked our morning off right. The presence of Margo’s granddaughters brightened everyone’s day, even after they left. Couldn’t resist the photo by the valley of peace.

During the march today, we were on well-traveled streets almost the whole way. A few residential neighborhoods were mostly devoid of pedestrians, but other, busier areas had plenty of traffic (though still not a lot of walkers). We received many peace honks even though we didn’t bring a “Honk For Peace” sign; people just knew!

We spoke with Steve Kelly and Megan Rice. At all junctures, while the occasion of these people’s trials and general legal issues is the context for raising anti-nuclear issues, the real point we are making isn’t that nuclear weapons are unsafe, it is because the very existence of nuclear weapons makes the world unsafe.

Day 1: Friends of Megan Rice, Michael Walli, & Greg Boertje-Obed walk in Bay Area against Nuclear Weapons

Reflection on the day by Susan Crane

It was a beautiful, sunny day as approximately 40 of us gathered for an outdoor mass near the Lockheed-Martin plant in Sunnyvale where they manufacture the Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Invoking the God of Peace while standing in the shadow of the merchants of death was not new to Fr. Louie Vitale who conducted today’s mass.

The City of Sunnyvale was kind enough to send five or six police cars to ensure a peaceful gathering. They must have misinterpreted Fr. Louie’s rap sheet in deciding how many cars to dispatch.

Eric Debode’s rousing music inspired everyone who had come to share this time together.We also remembered Sr. Anne Montgomery who, while our mass was being conducted, was being presented with the Courage of Conscience Award. Anne is quite weak, although she continues to want to hear about our activities.

After mass we walked one block to the Main Gate area of Lockheed Martin, arguably the world’s largest exporter of weapons. We vigiled there with most of the forty of us standing over the blue line.

Over trails, side roads, bike paths, and highways, we walked 11 miles to the St. Joseph the Worker Episcopal Church/Holy Child Episcopal Church/Sunnyhills United Methodist Church. We were invited to share a bountiful and delicious meal with the Filipino community there, who gave not only food but also encouragement for our work abolishing nuclear weapons. It was a wonderful coming together in community.

Jim Haber, of Nevada Desert Experience, kept us walking and amused throughout the walk with his bullhorn patter. Ed Ehmke reflected on the day saying, “The peace walk was a wonderful experience in bringing people together. It brings us together in a special way.”

I give thanks for all who came together today – those who prayed together, walked together, and who provided hospitality to us. We welcome everyone in the name of Peace to join us.

With Gratitude and In Peace,

Susan

For more information or to join the walk, see the Disarm Now Plowshares events page.

Fellow Resisters with Megan Rice, Michael Walli, & Greg Boertje-Obed walk in Bay Area against Nuclear Weapons

Plowshares activist Susan Crane will be accompanied by members of the Pacific Life Community as she walks to federal prison in Dublin, California.  The walk will start on August 19th at nuclear manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

As a continuation of the plowshares action she undertook with four others in 2009, Susan has refused supervised release and will serve two months in prison, having already served her original fifteen month sentence for protesting the Trident nuclear-armed submarines.

All those participating in the walk join their committed efforts with those of Greg Boertje-Obed, Sr. Megan Rice, Michael Walli, and all who resist nuclear weapons.

From the Disarm Now Plowshares website:

Our friend Susan Crane has been ordered to return to the prison at Dublin, California on August 22nd. If you haven’t read the summary of Susan’s July 23rd probation hearing you can read it here. She was given 60 days of additional prison time.

The court continues to protect the very weapons that threaten all of humanity with destruction by incarcerating those who speak out against the illegality and immorality of these horrific weapons and our nation’s continuing pursuit of them. The prisons are the hammer that protects the bombs.

It is therefore appropriate that Susan has chosen to make the long walk to the Dublin prison from the Lockheed Martin facility in Sunnyvale. This is the facility that manufactures the Trident II D-5 ballistic missile that is deployed on the Trident submarines.

This Peace Walk for Nuclear Disarmament: From Lockheed to Lock-Up will be an opportunity to connect the oppression of a retributive justice system to the nuclear weapons that are the ultimate expression of oppression over the entire world.

There will be one or more support vehicles following the walkers, and lodging each night.

For more information, see the Disarm Now Plowshares events page.

Transform Now Plowshares Indicted on Three Counts

This is the fourth report from federal court in Knoxville, TN on the Transform Now Plowshares case.
At least a dozen supporters gathered before Judge Shirley in federal court in Knoxville, TN, at 9:30am on Thursday, August 9, 2012, mindful of the people of Nagasaki who perished in the atomic bombing of that Japanese city sixty-seven years ago. We were in court for the proceedings against the three people whose courageous witness, Transform Now Plowshares, sought to bring attention and justice to the continuing production of nuclear weapons at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Judge Shirley began by announcing that a grand jury had handed down an indictment charging the Plowshares activists with three counts:
            1. aiding and abetting each other in the depredation of federal property at the Y12 National Security Complex and causing damage in excess of $1,000 (maximum penalty 10 yrs imprisonment and $250K fine);
            2. aiding and abetting in each other in the damage or injury or planned damage or injury to real or personal property at the Y12 National Security Complex (maximum penalty 5 yrs. imprisonment and $250K fine);
            3. trespass on the Y12 National Security Complex (maximum penalty 1 year imprisonment; $100K fine).
            Special assessments totaling $250 are added to each defendant, along with the possibility of supervision after completion of any prison sentence for up to 3 years.
The charges were not a great surprise. After reading the indictment the judge indicated the hearing would now turn into an arraignment. He reaffirmed the appointment of counsel for each defendant and asked for pleas. Mike Walli and Megan Rice pled “Not Guilty,” Greg Boertje-Obed offered an initial plea “for the disarming of all weapons and hearts.” The judge asked him again to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Greg pled “for the transforming of our nation and the world.” Frustrated, the judge reminded Greg of the rules governing the court and threatened to  revoke his self-representation unless he “conducted himself properly” by conforming to the rules of the court. Greg said he wanted to enter a “creative plea;” the judge said that was not possible under the rules of the court, and Greg pled not guilty.
The judge said Mike and Megan would be allowed to remain free until trial, noting the government’s exception to his ruling, and that Greg would remain in custody. Both Mike and Mega will be traveling to the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, DC on Saturday, August 10. Supporters can write to them at 503 Rock Creek Church Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010.
Magistrate Judge Shirley noted that, with the handing down of an indictment, the actual trial would be handled by US Judge Thomas Phillips, but Shirley will continue to preside over the preliminaries.
A revamped schedule was developed:
October 10:                        Trial
August 16 (w/leniency):            Discovery
            The judge had a bench conference at the request of the prosecution about the discovery. A later comment by Megan’s attorney, Francis Lloyd, intimated that the government may be considering a contention that some discoverable material can not be seen by the counsel and defendants; the judge said that would be ruled on if/when such a motion were made.
September 4:                         Motions cut off
September 17:             Response to Gov’t motions
September 18:                        Pretrial conference/motions hearing (if necessary) 9:00am
                                    Reciprocal discovery deadline
                                    Plea cut-off
The last thing before adjournment was the dismissal of the earlier charges filed by the government in lieu of the indictments handed down by the grand jury.

People power takes on nuclear power with blockades and protests across the country

ear to earth

WNV, August 7, 2012

Occupy Nukes demonstrations were held in towns and cities across the United States on Monday, marking the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Approximately 140,000 civilians were killed by the bomb, code-named Little Boy, while hundreds of thousands died later of cancer, and thousands more inherited birth defects. Nothing before or since has approached the instantaneous and horrific carnage reaped by Little Boy except, perhaps, Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki three days later.

In a joint declaration, those of us taking part in the nationwide protests said, “Nuclear weapons allow us to gauge the full extent of brutality that the 1 percent — which rules through exploitation, coercion and violence — is capable of committing.” August 6 was a day of remembrance, but also one in which the 99 percent took action “to ensure such destruction [as took place…

View original post 1,551 more words

August 6: National Day of Action Against the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Arsenal

Hiroshima was bombed 67 years ago today.  Disarmament is the only way to say, NEVER AGAIN.  Continue reading

Felony charges and two releases for Y-12 plowshares activists

from: Ralph Hutchison

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As the afternoon wore on in Judge Clifford Shirley’s courtroom it seemed we might never get to the question of the day—would Mike Walli, Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed continue to be held in Blount County Jail, or would Judge Shirley release them? Stay tuned…

As Judge Shirley began the proceedings, Francis Lloyd, counsel for Megan Rice, reported that hypothermia, possibly brought on by the failure to provide Megan with her medicine, might compromise her ability to participate in the hearing. Francis had already draped his raincoat over Megan. Court took a recess while officials scrambled to locate a blanket. In the end, Judge Shirley reappeared with a space heater to direct on Megan and a staff person found a sweater and blanket.

We began with the announcement that the government had submitted a new criminal complaint, charging a felony—that the defendants had, at a place within the special maritime or territory of the United States, namely the Y12 National Security Complex, did willfully and maliciously destroy or injure or attempt to destroy or injure a structure, conveyance, personal or real property. The new penalty is a $250,000 fine and not more than 5 years in prison; not more than 3 years supervised release; and a special assessment of $100. Continue reading

Support Transform Now Plowshares

Contributions for jail support for the Transform Now Plowshares activists are welcome and needed! You can mail checks to:

Catholic Worker
PO Box 29179
Washington DC 20017

please mark your check for "Transform Now Plowshares" in the memo line.

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