Transform Now Plowshares: SECOND ANNIVERSARY STATEMENT FROM MEGAN, MICHAEL & GREG

From Transform Now Plowshares:

OPEN LETTER FROM THE BROOKLYN METROPOLITAN DETENTION CENTER
from Sr. Megan Rice, on behalf of the Transform Now Plowshares
July 28, 2014

Our Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We send warm greetings and many thanks to all who actively engage in the transformation of weapons of mass destruction to sustainable life-giving alternatives. Gregory Boertje-Obed (U.S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas) Michael Walli (Federal Correctional Institution McKean, Bradford, Pennsylvania) and I are sending you some of our observations and concerns on the 2nd anniversary of our Transform Now Plowshares action.

On July 28, 2012, after thorough study of nuclear issues, and because of our deepening commitment to nonviolence, we engaged in direct action by cutting through four fences at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the U.S. continues to overhaul and upgrade thermonuclear warheads.

On that day, two years ago, when we reached the building where all U.S. highly-enriched (bomb-grade) uranium is stored, we prayed and also wrote messages on the wall, such as “The Fruit of Justice is Peace”. (Realistically, the higher and stronger fences built as a result of our nonviolent incursion can never keep humans safe from inherently dangerous materials and weapons.) We acted humbly as “creative extremists for love”, to cite one of our most important and revered leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are a number of reasons for what we did. We three were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear systems have already caused, and we realize that all life on Earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental, or technical error.

Our action at the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge exposed the storage of weapons-making materials deliberately hidden from the general public. The production, refurbishment, threat, or use of these weapons of mass destruction violate the fundamental rules and principles by which we all try to live amicably as human beings. The United States Constitution and the Laws of War are intended to ensure the survival of humanity with dignity. However, it is abundantly clear that harmony and cooperation among nations can never be achieved with nuclear weapons. (These arguments, we assume, will be made on our behalf during the eventual appeal of our convictions that accused us of sabotage, though it was never our intention to harm our country.)

Our “crime” was to draw attention to the criminality of the 70-year-old nuclear industry itself and to the unconscionable fact that the United States spends more on nuclear weapons than on education, health, transportation, and disaster relief combined.

We three Transform Now Plowshares consider it our duty, right, and privilege to heighten tension in the ongoing debate of Disarmament vs. Deterrence because history has repeatedly taught us that the policy of deterrence doesn’t lead to security, but rather to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. During our trial, the U.S. prosecutors and the U.S. courts accused the wrong people when they claimed that we violated the law, because what we did was to make America’s citizens aware of egregious preparations for mass murder.

We took action because we were acutely aware that our government has failed to keep its long-standing promise to pursue nuclear disarmament. (As Ramsey Clark testified during one of our pre-trial hearings, the U.S. entered into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the 1960’s because our country was finally facing up to the severe human and environmental consequences of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as to the hideous results of countless nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. government within and beyond our own borders.)

One of our pressing concerns is that U.S. prosecutors and the courts adhere to an obsolete view of security with no cognizance – or consciousness – of the horrific effects caused by nuclear weapons. Greg, Mike, and I believe that, undeniably, the U.S. is in a state of denial. It’s what Hannah Arendt called not evil, but the banality of evil. “There’s nothing deep about it. It’s nothing demonic! There’s simply the reluctance ever to imagine what the other person is experiencing, right?” (Hannah Arendt, “Eichmann was Outrageously Stupid” in The Last Interview and Other Conversations, Melville House, Brooklyn 2013, p. 48).

We citizens cannot permit ourselves to be rendered passive and mute by the banality of evil! Only complete nuclear disarmament can save humanity. At stake is the honor and dignity of the Hibakusha, along with the physical, environmental, emotional, and psychological trauma long suffered by victims of the nuclear system, from uranium miners to down-winders. (From 1946 to 1958, Marshall Islanders were bombarded with 67 atomic and thermonuclear tests that were carried out by the United States.)

Michael Walli, Greg Boertje-Obed and I are in U.S. prisons because, ironically, our action at Oak Ridge was based on the common sense reality that we human beings have endured more than enough destruction and exploitation. We believe that we citizens can exercise our collective power to consciously transform our nation’s priorities. We all need to actively insist on more humane uses for the billions of dollars now budgeted for the nuclear weapons/industrial complex.

Two years ago, as we neared the building in Oak Ridge, we were extremely surprised by the ineffectiveness of the system that supposedly guarded our nation’s most important National Security Complex. We believed that we were about to expose the source of unfettered violence that has led to the chronic spiritual and economic decline in the U.S. As it turned out, it was the laxity of the security system at Y-12 that caught the attention of the courts and the mainstream media. Security weakness became the big story. There was no mainstream acknowledgement that the national security complex is rotting from its own irrelevance.

Most surprisingly, our July 2012 action and our court cases have revealed that it is not the U.S. government that is in control of the nuclear weapons complex, but in reality it is the corporations that are in control through their solicitation and manipulation of endless funding for the refurbishment of unlawful thermonuclear warheads. We three are incarcerated because we stood up to a nuclear weapons industry that is kept thriving by the interlocking and obsolete institutions that subscribe to the long-discredited notion that law and security can be enforced by ever-greater force.

Regarding the 22.8 billion dollar contract recently awarded for the operation of the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge and the Pantex site in Texas for the refurbishment of thermonuclear warheads and a new Uranium Processing Facility (UPF), the relevant corporations don’t actually operate under the long-discredited myth of “nuclear deterrence”. Rather, corporations such as Babcock and Wilcox, Lockheed, and Bechtel operate under limited liability subsidiaries, joint ventures, consortiums, and partnerships for the main purpose of making profits by engaging in huge nuclear weapons production/refurbishment contracts. By this time, Congress certainly is aware that valid contracts can be issued only for the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons and for the environmentally-sound treatment and disposition of all nuclear materials.

In order for the U.S. to negotiate for nuclear disarmament in good faith, we say it is essential to peaceably transform these very corporations so that they are no longer able to violate the most basic moral and legal principles of civilized society by deliberately precipitating planetary self-destruction.

We thank you for your letters and your concerns. We ask you to support the Republic of the Marshall Islands in their current legal actions against the United States in U.S. federal court and against the U.S. and all the other nuclear weapons states in the International Court of Justice, for failure to eliminate their respective nuclear arsenals. You can learn more and add your support by signing the petition at http://www.nuclearzero.org.

Blessings,
Greg, Michael and Megan

More news about the Transform Now Plowshares:  
Appeal filed for Transform Now Plowshares seeks reversal of convictions (Aug. 5, 2014)

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The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence

The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence was held in Las Vegas on September 23, 2012.

Here is YouTube coverage of the two-day Celebration, made by John Amidon.

The first two clips are from the afternoon plenary session with Kathy Kelly and Vincent Harding in conversation with moderator Jim Haber.

After a good meal and some music, Mary Litell led the group in some exercises used by Capacitar International to help people survive and recover from trauma and extremely violent situations.

Then Rae Abileah shared some of her experiences and reflections on nonviolent activism.

Ahmed Younis offered some observations of society and the Islamic worldview based on the day’s conversations.

The next day, a group held a Tashlich ritual, traditional for Jews during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

This service had spiritual and political significance as it was held in the Palazzo, a casino owned by Sheldon Adelson. The liturgy was created by members of Jewish Voice for Peace and included asking for repentance for the continuing occupation of Palestinian territories and for the ongoing oppression of Palestinians in Israel as second class citizens.

The ritual involves casting coins or small stones or bread crumbs in a moving body of water. The Palazzo has a waterfall, so it seemed just too perfect!

Here are photos taken by Jim Haber of the NDE during the conference.

Video 1 of the List of video’s:

Putting Nuclear Missiles on Trial: Oct 16-17th, Santa Barbara, CA

From the civil resistance of the Vandenberg 15 and the work of Veterans For Peace,
a new campaign to de-alert and stand down (eliminate) the Minuteman lll missile is happening.

Call President Obama today at 202-456-1111 and ask him to de-alert and stand down the minuteman lll.

Come to our trial of The Vandenberg 15 in Santa Barbara, CA with events starting on Oct.16, a public forum: “Putting Nuclear Weapons on Trial” in the Santa Barbara library and the trial beginning on Oct. 17, 2012.

More information by emailing jajaja1234@aol.com.

Edit:
Here is the latest:

Minuteman III Missiles:
Dangerous, Deadly and Time to Decommission

The US nuclear arsenal includes 450 land-based Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) armed with thermonuclear warheads. These ICBMs are deployed in hardened silos in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. They are easily detected and targeted. The missiles cannot prevent a nuclear attack on the United States – there is no way to preemptively eliminate all of an adversary’s nuclear weapons. A launch would ensure retaliation by a nuclear adversary.

These missiles are on high alert every moment of every day. The decision to launch would be made by the President in 13 minutes or less if he believed there was an impending attack. The Washington Post recently called this “13 minutes to doomsday.” Thirteen minutes with the very real possibility that false information, an electronic glitch or bad signal, or an error in human judgment would bring the world as we know it to an end.

An immediate step that could be taken would be to de-alert the missiles so that 24 to 72 hours would be needed to launch. This would increase our security by eliminating the possibility of accidental or unauthorized launch. A more significant step would be to make the decision to retire and eliminate all land-based ICBMs. They are expensive to maintain and do not address 21st century threats.

In a major unilateral nuclear attack without retaliation from the other side, the smoke from burning cities would block sunlight sufficiently to destabilize the environment, reduce warming sunlight to the lowest levels in at least 1000 years, shorten growing seasons and decrease sustainable agriculture, lower food production and create nuclear famine worldwide. Simply put, even a one-sided attack without retaliation would be tantamount to suicide. Nuclear weapons have no application without inflicting harm on oneself.

It is time we fully understand that any nuclear war that attacked another side’s cities would have consequences for the well-being of everyone on the planet, regardless of wealth, political affiliation, race, etc. The United States and the world would be far more secure by eliminating nuclear weapons, beginning with the Minuteman lll Intercontinental Ballistic missiles.

Please call or send a message to the White House today (call the White House at 202-456-1111) and ask President Obama to de-alert and decommission the US land-based missile force. It is unneeded, provocative, and could be launched to a false warning. US citizens and people throughout the world will be safer and more secure without them.

This is the next video please watch and pass it along. First call the White House so you can affirm you havecalled. You will feel good for having done so (like I do) and this is a team effort. Truly I need you to do this. Thanks. Paz, John

Putting Nuclear Weapons on Trial with David and Carolee Krieger

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have
guided missiles and misguided men.” MLK

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the
whole staircase.” MLK

Review on Y-12 before July breach: accomplishments were deemed to have an "exceeded level of high quality performance."

This week, Congressmen scold DOE in Tennessee for security breach of Y-12 nuclear facility, after Congressional hearing:

Read more here: http://blogs.knoxnews.com/humphrey/2012/09/congressmen-scold-doe-over-oak.html

and:

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/munger/2012/09/nnsa-touted-y-12s-security—.html

See also of Sept 19th:
Y-12 Firm Sees No Fraud on Guard Exams

We had a short phone conversation with Sister Megan Rice, and she pointed us to several websites about the Oakridge, TN Y-12 Facility, for instance here, about the cheating on security tests, and she said to check out this website too: Global Security Newswire.

Here is a YouTube featuring:

“Greg Boertje-Obed, the last of three Plowshares protesters to be released from jail pending their trial scheduled for Feb. 26 in U.S. District Court, talked about his cause Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012 before boarding a bus for Minnesota to be with his family and prepare for trial.”

Also follow Frank Munger’s Atomic City Underground-blog on KnoxNews, for instance here when he writes about “Y-12.”

Thanks Sister Megan!

The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence

A major event we have coming up soon:

Nevada Desert Experience, The Interfaith Council of Southern Nevada, and Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service proudly present

The Ediger Memorial Interfaith Celebration of Active Nonviolence

A stimulating Sunday of dynamic, thought-provoking discussions, uplifting music, delicious food, and the sharing of useful tools for dealing with violence and its aftermath.

Time:
Sunday, September 23, 3:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Place:
Islamic Society of Nevada
4730 East Desert Inn Road, Las Vegas

Active nonviolence is any creative alternative to passive inaction on the one hand,
or countering violence with more violence on the other hand.

Presenters include:
Vincent Harding Chairperson, Veterans of Hope Project: A Center for the Study of Religion and Democratic Renewal

Kathy Kelly Founder, Voices for Creative Nonviolence (just back from another trip to Afghanistan)

Mary Litell Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service and Capacitar International

Rae Abileah CODEPINK Women for Peace and Young, Jewish & Proud

Ahmed Younis Co-author of American Blackness: Reflective Thoughts by Men of Faith (Roman & Littlefield, Fall 2012) and from 2008 to 2012, Senior Analyst for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

St. James the Apostle Catholic Church Gospel Choir (singing A Cappella)
Under the direction of Susan Briare

Help decorate our Graffiti Wall of Free Expression

Complementary Dinner Courtesy of the Islamic Society of Nevada

Free Admission ($10 donation suggested)

Peter Ediger (1932-2012) was a poet and peace-maker, a veteran of many nonviolent campaigns who first envisioned this event. We are honored to bring this celebration to life!

For all inquiries and to request Free Child Care, RSVP to Nevada Desert Experience
702-646-4814
info @ NevadaDesertExperience.org

Sign onto this event on Facebook too.

Good Friday In A Nuclear World: 10 arrested at the Nevada National Security Site

Press Release
Nevada Desert Experience
Friday, April 6, 2012
Contact: John Amidon or Jim Haber, 702-646-4814 (office),
518-312-6442 (mobile John) 415-828-2506 (mobile Jim)

Good Friday In A Nuclear World:
10 arrested at the Nevada National Security Site

Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) concluded its 26th annual Sacred Peace Walk this morning at 11:00am. Thirty people participated in this year’s walk from Las Vegas to the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). Ten were arrested in an often-repeated act of civil resistance standing for global nuclear abolition and Western Shoshone sovereignty in this region. The peaceful and prayerful demonstration included dozens of participants, with the final element of ten who crossed the line and were arrested by the Nye County Sheriffs and Wackenhut Security forces guarding the infamous nuclear testing grounds.

NDE continues its mission of supporting “personal renewal through desert spirituality, reconnecting with each other and the earth to end subcritical tests and other war-making preparations at the Nevada National Security Site and preventing the return of full-scale nuclear testing.” The NNSS continues its mission of promoting global domination through nuclear weapons prowess, as supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Today’s activities began with a Western Shoshone sunrise prayer service led by Shoshone Chief Johnnie Bobb. The weekend will continue the formation of a reunion of former peace- campers from the 1980s gathering at the Peace Camp across US Highway 95 from the NNSS Mercury Exit. Earlier this week, the Sacred Peace Walkers held vigil at Creech Air Force Base as well, prior to the vigil for peace at the NNSS.

The ten NDE participants arrested today are Miki Tracy of WI, Rev. Felicia Parazaider of CA, Fr. Louie Vitale of CA, Laura-Marie Taylor of CA, John Amidon of Albany, NY, Theo Kayser of Los Angeles, CA, Erik Johnson of TN, Dennis Duvall of Prescott, AZ, and local Las Vegans Charlie Smith and Robert Majors. Two days prior to this prayer-action which ended in arrests at the NNSS, four of the above-named Sacred Peace Walkers were arrested at Creech Air Force Base while standing for international human rights (see the NDE news release) after serving an indictment to Col. James Hecker for violations of human rights.