Protester arrested for trespassing at Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, TN

photo sent by Ralph Hutchison

photo by Ralph Hutchison

Christopher Spicer, a graduate student at Boston College’s Master of Divinity program, was arrested by Oak Ridge City Police and charged with trespass when he apparently stepped across the blue-line boundary at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on Sunday, January 26, 2014.

Spicer was attending the Sunday vigil sponsored by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and had been listening to a reading of the testimony of former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who testified in federal court in Knoxville in April 2013 at a motions hearing in the Transform Now Plowshares case.

Spicer told Paul Magno later from the Anderson County jail that he was moved by Clark’s statement in which Clark compared the trespass of the Plowshares activists to the crimes against humanity represented by the nuclear weapons being produced at Y-12. “Is it reasonable to believe the small matter of harm they did is less than the harm that would come from nuclear weapons?” asked Defense Council Bill Quigley, and Ramsey Clark replied, “By a googol. It’s a googol to one.”

Spicer was in town with dozens of others who have come to Knoxville for the sentencing of the Transform Now Plowshares activists, Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli. The three were convicted by a jury in May 2013 on charges of sabotage and depredation of federal property; on July 28, 2012 they entered the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex, cut their way through four fences, crossed the ultra-high security zone, and painted messages of peace and poured sacramental blood on a building housing hundreds of tons of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium. The point of the Transform Now Plowshares action was to call attention to the ongoing production of nuclear weapons in Oak Ridge, an activity that is in violation of U.S. Treaty obligations, and to call for the transformation of Y-12 from a bomb building to a bomb-dismantling plant. The government has asked the court to sentence the plowshares peace activists to sentences ranging from six to ten years.

OREPA has held Sunday peace vigils at the gates of the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge every Sunday evening for more than fourteen years. “The vigils are simply a witness to life in the face of the death of the planet,” said OREPA coordinator Ralph Hutchison. “We have not had an intentional act of civil disobedience at a Sunday vigil before, so this took us be surprise. But it is not inconsistent with the spirit of the vigils—as long as the bomb plant continues to build weapons of mass destruction, we are required to stand to say, ‘No.’”

Officials at Anderson County Jail indicated Spicer has been arraigned, but the General Sessions Court Clerk’s office in Oak Ridge said no arraignment had occurred and no initial appearance has been scheduled.