Trial to start on May 6, support needed for Transform Now Plowshares

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Dear Friends,

Next  week (May 6th) our friends from the Transform Now Plowshares community will begin trial before Federal District Judge Amul Thapar in Knoxville, TN.

Since last year their disarmament action has kept the government and its contractors hopping as they have sought to downplay the significance of this witness and kept the focus off the dangerous criminality of the nuclear arsenal itself and the role of the Oak Ridge Y12 plant in that continuing threat to creation.  For their truthfulness on July 28th and subsequently, Greg Bortje-Obed, Megan Rice and Michael Walli are facing two felony charges, including a charge under the Sabotage Act, and risking 30 years in prison.

We are encouraging supporters who can join us in Knoxville the week of the trial to make plans as early as possible and to let our host activists in Tennessee know as soon as possible, so they can plan hospitality accordingly.  In addition to the trial there will be activities over the weekend leading up to and each day surrounding the trial. Click here for more information if you will be joining us in Knoxville.

On Sunday May 5, in preparation for trial, there will be a vigil at Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant — 5 p.m. at Y12 in Oak Ridge, followed by a Potluck and Festival of Hope — 6:30 p.m. at Church of the Savior UCC, 934 Weisgarber Road, Knoxville.

For those of you who will not be able to come to Knoxville, please consider public witness in solidarity with the trial in your locality and please consider sending on financial support for the witness. The legal effort itself entails bringing several expert witnesses and other legal resource people to Knoxville and the additional support needed to stand with Greg, Megan and Michael and their peace witness during their trial will also be significant .

If you can provide financial assistance, you can contribute via the website or mail your contribution to Catholic Worker, PO Box 29179, Washington DC 20017 and designate it for “Transform Now Plowshares”.

We look forward to embodying a community of peace and justice with you in Knoxville in May.

For the Transformation of our World,

The TNP Support Crew

For more information on this update:
Ralph Hutchison, OREPA  865 776 5050

Transform Now Plowshares

Government drops one count against Transform Now Plowshares activists.

[April 25, 2013 • Knoxville, TN]  Since entering the Y12 Nuclear
Weapons Complex in July of 2012, Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice and
Michael Walli have faced four charges ranging from trespass to
sabotage. In November, the government dropped the trespass charge.
Today, April 25, the government dismissed a second charge:


The Grand Jury further charges that, on or about July 28,2012, within
the Eastern District of Tennessee, the defendants, MICHAEL R. WALLI,
MEGAN RICE, and GREG BOERTJEOBED, aiding and abetting each other, at a
place within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the
United States, namely, the United States Department of Energy,
National Nuclear Security Administration, Y-12 National Security
Complex, did willfully and maliciously destroy, injure, and attempt to
destroy and injure, a structure, and other real and personal property
within the Y-12 National Security Complex, in violation of Title 18,
United States Code,ı Sections 1363 and 2.

The charge carried a possible sentence of 5-10 years.

With this dismissal, two charges remain:

• one count charging damage to federal property in excess
of $1,000 which carries a maximum ten year sentence

• one count under what is commonly known as the sabotage
act charging intent to injure the national defense of the United
States which carries a maximum 25 year sentence.

Jury selection for the Transform Now Plowshares case is
scheduled for 1:00pm on Monday, May 6 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The
trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 before Judge Amul

The defendants are awaiting a ruling, due within a week,
from Judge Thapar on what testimony, if any, will be withheld from the
jury during the trial. Judge Thapar heard testimony from former
Attorney General Ramsey Clark on Tuesday, April 23, and received
written testimony from several other experts, including Col. Ann
Wright (USAF, ret) Dr. Ira Helfland (past president of Physicians for
Social Responsibility) and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of the Archdiocese
of Detroit.