E-bulletin February 2014

February 2014








35 & 62 month prison sentences for Plowshares nuclear disarmament action

[On the morning of February 28, Sr. Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were removed from the Knoxville area jails where they were incarcerated on and around the time of their sentencing hearings.  Updates about their whereabouts will be posted here.  Information about how to donate to their commissary fund and for other needs can be found here.]

Nine months after their conviction on charges of sabotage and criminal damage at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, three nuclear abolitionists were sentenced to lengthy prison terms on February 18 in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Federal Court Judge Amul Thapar imposed prison terms less than what federal guidelines recommend and prosecutors asked for: 35 months for Sr. Megan Rice (84 years old), and 62 months for Michael Walli (64 years old) and Greg Boertje-Obed (59 years old), followed by 3 years of supervised release. Divided among them, the three Transform Now Plowshares activists must also pay restitution totaling $52,953.

Read more here.Memo to judge: Really?

by Ralph Hutchison

We’ve heard it from the bench in Oak Ridge city courtrooms and from state judges in Clinton, Tennessee. And on February 18 we heard it from a federal judge—there are two variations. The first: There are plenty of ways for you to protest and deliver your message without breaking the law. The second: If you people would just put this time and energy into working for the change you want in the political system, you might get the change you seek.

Both sentiments are either disingenuous or naïve.

Read more here.

Hancock drone resisters jailed

On Friday, February 7, Town of DeWitt Court Judge David Gideon found twelve of the Hancock Drone War Crimes Resisters guilty of disorderly conduct, but acquitted them of trespassing.They had gone to Hancock Air National Guard Base near Syracuse, NY on October 25, 2012, to bring a Citizens War Crimes Indictment to the base and symbolically block the gates. Their nonviolent action had called for an end to drone warfare.

Saying, “At some point this has to stop,” the judge gave the defendants the maximum sentence – 15 days in jail (starting immediately) and a $250 fine with a $125 court surcharge. He also imposed a two-year Order of Protection, prohibiting the defendants from going to the home, school, business or place of employment of Col. Earl A. Evans, Commander of Hancock’s mission support group.

On February 25, Elliot Adams (the last of the group to go to court) received the same sentence and was taken to jail from the courtroom.

Read more here.

California drone protesters convicted of trespassing

The “Wheatland 4” were arrested in April last year, while protesting drone warfare at Beale Air Force Base. They were found guilty of trespassing after a day-long trial in a Sacramento Federal Court on Monday, February 3.  Judge Claire sentenced them to ten hours of community service. She denied the prosecution’s request for a “deterrent” fine of $300.  However, the judge did alert the defendants to expect a harsher sentence next time due to the “Ban & Bar” letter that was served them by the military at the time of their arrest.

Read more here.

Japanese activist’s tweet leads to criminal charge

In a highly political case, a Japanese anti-nuclear activist faces criminal prosecution over a Tweet she sent in July. Mari Takenouchi is the founder of Save Kids Japan and a free-lance English-bilingual journalist. She advocates that mothers and children, who are most sensitive to radiation exposure, be supported and relocated outside of the contaminated zones around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power site.

She tweeted a pair of quotes dismissive of radiation concerns – one from the CIA-funded father of Japan’s nuclear industry, Mr. Yasuhiro Nakasone, and the second from Ms. Ryoko Ando, director of the Fukushima ETHOS project.

Read more here.


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