News Release

Nuclear Protesters Raising Fundamental Issues, Not Posing “Security Concerns”

The banality of "evil": Protestors face felony charges for peaceful demonstrations.

KnoxNews.com is reporting: “A federal grand jury has returned a three-count indictment against three Y-12 protesters, consolidating the previous charges lodged against them and adding another felony count of ‘depredation’ of government property, involving cutting, painting and defacing that resulted in damages exceeding $1,000. The new charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“The indictment supersedes previous complaints filed against the three defendants — Sister Megan Rice, 83; Michael Walli, 63; and Greg Boertje-Obed — and a new trial date has [been] set for Oct. 10 in front of U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Phillips. The protesters, who labeled themselves the ‘Transform Now Plowshares,’ reportedly infiltrated the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in the predawn hours of July 28, eventually finding their way to the plant’s highest-security area and performing various protest acts — including spilling human blood on the exterior of a storage facility for bomb-uranium.”

The action targeting a major nuclear weapons facility was just before the anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Aug. 6 and Aug. 9). The activists state on the Transform Now Plowshares website that they did their action “because our very humanity rejects the designs of nuclearism, empire and war. Our faith in love and nonviolence encourages us to believe that our activity here is necessary; that we come to invite transformation.”

LEONARD EIGER, subversivepeacemaking at gmail.com
Eiger is media and outreach coordinator for Disarm Now Plowshares, a like-minded group. He said today: “The three Plowshares activists who breached security at the Y-12 nuclear weapons facility did so not to demonstrate the lack of security as has been the focus of most, if not all, of the mainstream press. They engaged in their action, as do all Plowshares activists, to hasten the process of disarmament and to stress that there is absolutely no ‘security’ in nuclear weapons.

“These Plowshares activists firmly believe that the continued rebuilding of the nation’s nuclear weapons infrastructure and continued threat of use of nuclear weapons is not only immoral, but illegal under both U.S. law and international humanitarian law. Real security comes from a reliance on diplomacy and nonviolent conflict resolution rather than military strategies.

“The Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility at Y-12, which cost $549 million to construct, is just one of many facilities in the nation’s nuclear weapons infrastructure that has been (or are being) totally rebuilt. The Transform Now Plowshares activists are asking why our nation continues to squander precious economic resources on weapons that will only bring about vast human suffering if ever used while there is no funding available for essential human needs.

“Members of Transform Now Plowshares believe that they upheld both a higher moral law as well as the law of the land in their action at Y-12. They are trying to start the process of disarmament that the U.S. government refuses to begin. Plowshares activist and priest Daniel Berrigan once said, ‘Plowshares began disarmament in 1980, doing what the government refused to do… The weapons exist because our fear, violence and hatred built them. Plowshares must address these realities…'”