A

Life in Our Scared National Security State

By Murray Polner

I’ve been thinking lately about Sister Megan Rice, an 84-year old nun and two army veterans, Michael Walli, 65, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, all of whom are now behind prison bars for doing far less than the fraudsters and political thugs who took us into Iraq and killed and tortured so many. Sister Rice & Friends are in prison for daring to protest America’s long love affair with nuclear weapons, a dilemma which has drawn little or no media or popular interest. Sister Megan received a 35 month sentence and the two men 62 months each.

So what was their crime? Cutting a hole in a barbed wire fence in one of Oak Ridge’s ultra-secret National Security sites on July 28, 2012, and then crossing over into sacred, prohibited ground, hammering on the Highly Enriched Uranium Material Facility and spray painting some “Biblical graffiti,” leaving behind Isaiah’s subversive aphorism about beating swords into plowshares.

You would think that the break-in at the highly secretive, presumably well-protected Y-12 National Security Complex at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, nuclear facility, their subsequent federal trial in Knoxville, why they did it yet failed to convince the jury, let alone the American public, would merit some serious attention from the handful of remaining inquisitive American newspapers, or network TV’s evening “news.” But no one was murdered or even wounded by a hail of bullets from vigilant guards. No one was captured and beaten. No one resisted arrest. The trio did what they did, and surrendered, willing and eager to explain.

The NY Times’ William J. Broad did have a substantial piece, “The Nun Who Broke Into the Nuclear Sanctum” about Sister Megan Rice but that was back on August 12, 2012, after the break-in. The last time I’m aware of any interest on the paper’s part was October 31, 2012, when an article discussed the failure of the site’s security, where incredibly, no-one at the facility shouted, “Halt, who goes there?” at the trespassers. Since then, silence except for a tiny Reuters sidebar last Feb. 19, 2014 announcing their sentences.

In any event, the trio was tried and found guilty in federal court in Knoxville and fined $52,053--which the government will obviously never collect since in all probability a nun, a house painter, and an unemployed activist do not usually generate much financial gain from a personal portfolio of stocks and bonds or a hedge fund. And anyway, what they accomplished wasn’t much, just shutting down some Oak Ridge activities for two weeks. But they also reminded the guardians of the nuclear site that apparently anyone—even people bent on doing real damage—could just saunter in and possibly do as they pleased. So here’s another question for our national media, print and online media: What are we paying those private security companies for?

It’s as if Dan and Phil Berrigan suddenly returned for a second act. It was Phil’s quixotic brainstorm, which he called the Plowshares movement and which flatly rejected our never-ending unaccountable government-sponsored violence. Some one hundred men and women during the eighties and nineties hammered on and spray- painted MX missiles, Trident submarines, B-52 bombers and components of the strategic nuclear triad, sending some to prison but essentially unnoticed by a bored and distracted nation.

Phil Berrigan once spoke about how hard it was to get fellow Americans interested in what they were saying. “Even sympathizers thought Plowshares actions look ridiculous now, a sermon to the converted, ignored by the government and the media, the public no longer listening.” Of course he was right. All the same, he and his friends left a gift to anti-nuke radicals like Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed who never lost their faith in the power and majesty of nonviolence.

But back to Oak Ridge If obsolete cameras and barbed wire fences could not keep three older people out of the Y-12 National Security Complex, should any independent investigative journalists still left in the Obama Era of Espionage Act Violations not ask why all those pricey weapons? Against whom are they supposed to be used? At the trial, the prosecuting U.S. attorney told the jury that nuclear deterrence was vital for our defense but no-one outside of that Knoxville courtroom seemed very interested in asking why.

But what if we have a nuclear accident, or just another Petrov Incident? Remember that? When Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov in 1983 saw a missile heading for Moscow on his radar screen and soon after, four more U.S. missiles approaching, he didn’t report it because he was smart enough to suspect a computer glitch. Had he done so and his bosses retaliated with their nukes, most of us would no longer be among the living. There have been other near-misses, some reported, some not. You’ll need an FOI request to find out. Given the frightened and often bewildered reactions in our Nuclear/War on Terror Age anything can happen.

During the trial, the judge said he hadn’t found the defendants “contrite.” Kathy Boylan, a longtime peace worker, testified in their behalf, even alluding to the Holocaust. She quoted Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, peace and nonviolence activist, opponent of conscription, all wars. and a faithful Catholic who may yet wind up beatified by the Church, saying, “If we wouldn’t put people in gas chambers, why would we fling gas chambers at them?”

“Michael,” Boylan told the court, referring to Walli, “is trying to save lives. Your life,” she told the Judge, and then turning toward the prosecutor, “Your life. All our lives.”

*******

P.S. On May 8, 2015 an appellate court ruled that the Federal government had been over-zealous in charging them with sabotage and ordered all three defendants released. The Justice Department will have to decide if it wants to appeal the court’s ruling. Meanwhile, all three are out of prison. Sister Rice says that she will return to protesting America’s wars.

A

Life in Our Scared National Security State

By Murray Polner

I’ve been thinking lately about Sister Megan Rice, an 84-year old nun and two army veterans, Michael Walli, 65, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, all of whom are now behind prison bars for doing far less than the fraudsters and political thugs who took us into Iraq and killed and tortured so many. Sister Rice & Friends are in prison for daring to protest America’s long love affair with nuclear weapons, a dilemma which has drawn little or no media or popular interest. Sister Megan received a 35 month sentence and the two men 62 months each.

So what was their crime? Cutting a hole in a barbed wire fence in one of Oak Ridge’s ultra-secret National Security sites on July 28, 2012, and then crossing over into sacred, prohibited ground, hammering on the Highly Enriched Uranium Material Facility and spray painting some “Biblical graffiti,” leaving behind Isaiah’s subversive aphorism about beating swords into plowshares.

You would think that the break-in at the highly secretive, presumably well-protected Y-12 National Security Complex at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, nuclear facility, their subsequent federal trial in Knoxville, why they did it yet failed to convince the jury, let alone the American public, would merit some serious attention from the handful of remaining inquisitive American newspapers, or network TV’s evening “news.” But no one was murdered or even wounded by a hail of bullets from vigilant guards. No one was captured and beaten. No one resisted arrest. The trio did what they did, and surrendered, willing and eager to explain.

The NY Times’ William J. Broad did have a substantial piece, “The Nun Who Broke Into the Nuclear Sanctum” about Sister Megan Rice but that was back on August 12, 2012, after the break-in. The last time I’m aware of any interest on the paper’s part was October 31, 2012, when an article discussed the failure of the site’s security, where incredibly, no-one at the facility shouted, “Halt, who goes there?” at the trespassers. Since then, silence except for a tiny Reuters sidebar last Feb. 19, 2014 announcing their sentences.

In any event, the trio was tried and found guilty in federal court in Knoxville and fined $52,053--which the government will obviously never collect since in all probability a nun, a house painter, and an unemployed activist do not usually generate much financial gain from a personal portfolio of stocks and bonds or a hedge fund. And anyway, what they accomplished wasn’t much, just shutting down some Oak Ridge activities for two weeks. But they also reminded the guardians of the nuclear site that apparently anyone—even people bent on doing real damage—could just saunter in and possibly do as they pleased. So here’s another question for our national media, print and online media: What are we paying those private security companies for?

It’s as if Dan and Phil Berrigan suddenly returned for a second act. It was Phil’s quixotic brainstorm, which he called the Plowshares movement and which flatly rejected our never-ending unaccountable government-sponsored violence. Some one hundred men and women during the eighties and nineties hammered on and spray- painted MX missiles, Trident submarines, B-52 bombers and components of the strategic nuclear triad, sending some to prison but essentially unnoticed by a bored and distracted nation.

Phil Berrigan once spoke about how hard it was to get fellow Americans interested in what they were saying. “Even sympathizers thought Plowshares actions look ridiculous now, a sermon to the converted, ignored by the government and the media, the public no longer listening.” Of course he was right. All the same, he and his friends left a gift to anti-nuke radicals like Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed who never lost their faith in the power and majesty of nonviolence.

But back to Oak Ridge If obsolete cameras and barbed wire fences could not keep three older people out of the Y-12 National Security Complex, should any independent investigative journalists still left in the Obama Era of Espionage Act Violations not ask why all those pricey weapons? Against whom are they supposed to be used? At the trial, the prosecuting U.S. attorney told the jury that nuclear deterrence was vital for our defense but no-one outside of that Knoxville courtroom seemed very interested in asking why.

But what if we have a nuclear accident, or just another Petrov Incident? Remember that? When Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov in 1983 saw a missile heading for Moscow on his radar screen and soon after, four more U.S. missiles approaching, he didn’t report it because he was smart enough to suspect a computer glitch. Had he done so and his bosses retaliated with their nukes, most of us would no longer be among the living. There have been other near-misses, some reported, some not. You’ll need an FOI request to find out. Given the frightened and often bewildered reactions in our Nuclear/War on Terror Age anything can happen.

During the trial, the judge said he hadn’t found the defendants “contrite.” Kathy Boylan, a longtime peace worker, testified in their behalf, even alluding to the Holocaust. She quoted Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, peace and nonviolence activist, opponent of conscription, all wars. and a faithful Catholic who may yet wind up beatified by the Church, saying, “If we wouldn’t put people in gas chambers, why would we fling gas chambers at them?”

“Michael,” Boylan told the court, referring to Walli, “is trying to save lives. Your life,” she told the Judge, and then turning toward the prosecutor, “Your life. All our lives.”

*******

P.S. On May 8, 2015 an appellate court ruled that the Federal government had been over-zealous in charging them with sabotage and ordered all three defendants released. The Justice Department will have to decide if it wants to appeal the court’s ruling. Meanwhile, all three are out of prison. Sister Rice says that she will return to protesting America’s wars.

A

Life in Our Scared National Security State

By Murray Polner

I’ve been thinking lately about Sister Megan Rice, an 84-year old nun and two army veterans, Michael Walli, 65, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, all of whom are now behind prison bars for doing far less than the fraudsters and political thugs who took us into Iraq and killed and tortured so many. Sister Rice & Friends are in prison for daring to protest America’s long love affair with nuclear weapons, a dilemma which has drawn little or no media or popular interest. Sister Megan received a 35 month sentence and the two men 62 months each.

So what was their crime? Cutting a hole in a barbed wire fence in one of Oak Ridge’s ultra-secret National Security sites on July 28, 2012, and then crossing over into sacred, prohibited ground, hammering on the Highly Enriched Uranium Material Facility and spray painting some “Biblical graffiti,” leaving behind Isaiah’s subversive aphorism about beating swords into plowshares.

You would think that the break-in at the highly secretive, presumably well-protected Y-12 National Security Complex at the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, nuclear facility, their subsequent federal trial in Knoxville, why they did it yet failed to convince the jury, let alone the American public, would merit some serious attention from the handful of remaining inquisitive American newspapers, or network TV’s evening “news.” But no one was murdered or even wounded by a hail of bullets from vigilant guards. No one was captured and beaten. No one resisted arrest. The trio did what they did, and surrendered, willing and eager to explain.

The NY Times’ William J. Broad did have a substantial piece, “The Nun Who Broke Into the Nuclear Sanctum” about Sister Megan Rice but that was back on August 12, 2012, after the break-in. The last time I’m aware of any interest on the paper’s part was October 31, 2012, when an article discussed the failure of the site’s security, where incredibly, no-one at the facility shouted, “Halt, who goes there?” at the trespassers. Since then, silence except for a tiny Reuters sidebar last Feb. 19, 2014 announcing their sentences.

In any event, the trio was tried and found guilty in federal court in Knoxville and fined $52,053--which the government will obviously never collect since in all probability a nun, a house painter, and an unemployed activist do not usually generate much financial gain from a personal portfolio of stocks and bonds or a hedge fund. And anyway, what they accomplished wasn’t much, just shutting down some Oak Ridge activities for two weeks. But they also reminded the guardians of the nuclear site that apparently anyone—even people bent on doing real damage—could just saunter in and possibly do as they pleased. So here’s another question for our national media, print and online media: What are we paying those private security companies for?

It’s as if Dan and Phil Berrigan suddenly returned for a second act. It was Phil’s quixotic brainstorm, which he called the Plowshares movement and which flatly rejected our never-ending unaccountable government-sponsored violence. Some one hundred men and women during the eighties and nineties hammered on and spray- painted MX missiles, Trident submarines, B-52 bombers and components of the strategic nuclear triad, sending some to prison but essentially unnoticed by a bored and distracted nation.

Phil Berrigan once spoke about how hard it was to get fellow Americans interested in what they were saying. “Even sympathizers thought Plowshares actions look ridiculous now, a sermon to the converted, ignored by the government and the media, the public no longer listening.” Of course he was right. All the same, he and his friends left a gift to anti-nuke radicals like Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed who never lost their faith in the power and majesty of nonviolence.

But back to Oak Ridge If obsolete cameras and barbed wire fences could not keep three older people out of the Y-12 National Security Complex, should any independent investigative journalists still left in the Obama Era of Espionage Act Violations not ask why all those pricey weapons? Against whom are they supposed to be used? At the trial, the prosecuting U.S. attorney told the jury that nuclear deterrence was vital for our defense but no-one outside of that Knoxville courtroom seemed very interested in asking why.

But what if we have a nuclear accident, or just another Petrov Incident? Remember that? When Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov in 1983 saw a missile heading for Moscow on his radar screen and soon after, four more U.S. missiles approaching, he didn’t report it because he was smart enough to suspect a computer glitch. Had he done so and his bosses retaliated with their nukes, most of us would no longer be among the living. There have been other near-misses, some reported, some not. You’ll need an FOI request to find out. Given the frightened and often bewildered reactions in our Nuclear/War on Terror Age anything can happen.

During the trial, the judge said he hadn’t found the defendants “contrite.” Kathy Boylan, a longtime peace worker, testified in their behalf, even alluding to the Holocaust. She quoted Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, peace and nonviolence activist, opponent of conscription, all wars. and a faithful Catholic who may yet wind up beatified by the Church, saying, “If we wouldn’t put people in gas chambers, why would we fling gas chambers at them?”

“Michael,” Boylan told the court, referring to Walli, “is trying to save lives. Your life,” she told the Judge, and then turning toward the prosecutor, “Your life. All our lives.”

*******

P.S. On May 8, 2015 an appellate court ruled that the Federal government had been over-zealous in charging them with sabotage and ordered all three defendants released. The Justice Department will have to decide if it wants to appeal the court’s ruling. Meanwhile, all three are out of prison. Sister Rice says that she will return to protesting America’s wars.

Comments

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 4 years 15 weeks ago
#1

Stutter much? ;-} I know, we've all had the repeated message problem before. Key bounce? But these posts can be edited and the repeats can be deleted. But that shouldn't be a problem for a "famous" editor and author, right?

https://www.laprogressive.com/author/murray-polner/

I'd have to say that we have to draw the line when protestors do property damage. We have a right to peacefully demonstrate but not to break and enter and do something totally stupid like "hammering on the Highly Enriched Uranium Material Facility and spray painting some “Biblical graffiti,” "

These people were not only endangering themselves but the lives of anyone affected by a possible leak....downwind...or even a much worse disaster. Although I suspect those structures were pretty much impervious to mere hammers. Some people are nuts as we know from the many crazies that have strapped on explosives to their bodies to kill a bunch of people. While I don't think that a nun is so dumb, or perverted, to believe that if she dies in a "jihad" that she will go to heaven and get 79 (or whatever) virgins, I believe she probably still has been brainwashed to believe that she will go to heaven (what ever the hell that is).

I do agree, however, that what our US government is doing is far more criminal. And it's going to take far, far more people to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with what our government does before anything is going to change. But, if they go beyond peaceful protests into destroying other people's property like they have recently done in various US cities they are risking large fines and prison sentences. They will be seen as hothead criminals who deserve what they get when they are hauled off to jail. Not only that, but the violence and destruction greatly, negatively, impacts what most people think about the demonstrations. The demonstrators won't manage to persuade or positively influence the great majority of people who see these violent actions.

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 4 years 15 weeks ago
#2
Quote Palindromedary:Stutter much? ;-} I'd have to say that we have to draw the line when protestors do property damage.

Absolutely.

Damn that bunch of destructive Boston Tea Party radicals. Shame. They should have been jailed, fined and made to pay for all the tea they threw into Boston Harbor. Just look at what happened: the episode escalated into the American Revolution.

Nightowl420's picture
Nightowl420 4 years 15 weeks ago
#3

Maybe I saw a different video, although the nun and cutting through a fence are pretty specific, I don't believe there was a hammer or biblical grafiti. I believe she had buckets of red paint signifying blood and splashed it from at least a few feet away... She was an anti-nuclear activist, why would she try to unleash it on the public???

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 4 years 15 weeks ago
#4
Quote Ray Raphael for historynet.com:Privately, some people knew who was behind those Indian disguises, but publicly, nobody said a word. Moreover, many patriots viewed the destruction of tea as an act of vandalism that put the Revolution in a bad light. Patriots also downplayed the tea action because of its devastating impact. That single act precipitated harsh retaliation from the British, which in turn led to a long and ugly war.

The Boston Tea Party is now an iconic event suffused with myth, but below the surface is the story of a true act of revolution, carried out in a context of power politics, with surprising parallels in the modern era.

Myth 1: The dispute was about higher taxes
Myth 2: Tea taxes were an onerous burden on ordinary Americans
Myth 3: Dumping British tea unified the patriots

In addition to which the East India Company had competition from colonial smugglers who didn't impose "taxes" but because the East India Company had 18 million pounds of surplus tea, and with the European markets already saturated, they realized that they could sell a lot more tea to the colonies if it wasn't taxed, or at least, taxes greatly reduced. That's something the smugglers and colonial merchants didn't want to happen. It was like the giant East India company was failing and Parliament was going to "bail them out". They were "too big to fail" and people resented them for that especially the merchants and the smugglers. The colonists were not protesting a tax hike so much as they were protesting a corporate tax break.*

Quote Ray Raphael for historynet.com:

In the Tea Act of 1773, Parliament left the American import duties in place but decreed that the East India Company would no longer have to pay any duties on tea landing in Britain and headed to America, nor would it have to sell the tea at British public auctions. It could deliver its product straight to American consumers, untouched by middlemen and almost untaxed, save for a modest American import duty. The only people who stood to incur financial losses from the arrangement were American smugglers who had been peddling duty-free tea from Holland.

Quote Ray Raphael for historynet.com:
Common folk might enjoy a sip or two of tea, but participating in the elaborate British ritual of teatime—with an array of fancy crockery and silver utensils—was prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of Americans. Calls for a continued boycott of tea dovetailed nicely with lower-class resentments. Tea was an easy target, a symbol both of Parliament's arrogance and a crumbling social hierarchy.

Moreover, tea consumption was deemed suspect, even sinful, by a large segment of the American public. "That bainfull weed," as Abigail Adams called it, was an artificial stimulant, what we would call today a recreational drug. Promoters of virtue, who had long been expounding the evils of tea, suddenly became patriots.

http://www.historynet.com/debunking-boston-tea-party-myths.htm

Interesting bit of information about the Boston Tea Party:
10 Things You May Not Know About the Boston Tea Party

* http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-boston-...

Quote ushistory.org:The Tea Act, passed by Parliament on May 10, 1773, would launch the final spark to the revolutionary movement in Boston. The act was not intended to raise revenue in the American colonies, and in fact imposed no new taxes. It was designed to prop up the East India Company which was floundering financially and burdened with eighteen million pounds of unsold tea. This tea was to be shipped directly to the colonies, and sold at a bargain price. The Townshend Duties were still in place, however, and the radical leaders in America found reason to believe that this act was a maneuver to buy popular support for the taxes already in force. The direct sale of tea, via British agents, would also have undercut the business of local merchants.

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/teaact.htm

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 4 years 15 weeks ago
#5

Besides... the American Revolution was against a foreign power separated by an ocean. There was a far broader consensus among the people in the colonies that resorted to armed insurrections. It's one thing for a bunch of lawless nincompoops that are taking advantage of a situation and rioting without a conviction of laying their lives on the line so that they can smash and grab (knowing full well that the typical thing that will happen to them if they are caught is to be arrested and put into jail for a few days...not much fortitude there!) ; and, another thing if they are unified with the majority of people sporting arms willing to kill and be killed in order to change a grievous wrong done to them by the entrenched powers. And unless you have an army and the backing of most of the people, you can just forget about a real revolution. It ain't gonna happen!

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 4 years 15 weeks ago
#6

I'll stick with Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party

The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution. Parliament responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts, or Intolerable Acts, which, among other provisions, ended local self-government in Massachusetts and closed Boston's commerce. Colonists up and down the Thirteen Colonies in turn responded to the Coercive Acts with additional acts of protest, and by convening the First Continental Congress, which petitioned the British monarch for repeal of the acts and coordinated colonial resistance to them. The crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775.

A number of colonists were inspired to carry out similar acts, such as the burning of the Peggy Stewart. The Boston Tea Party eventually proved to be one of the many reactions that led to the American Revolutionary War.[citation needed] In his December 17, 1773 entry in his diary, John Adams wrote:

Last Night 3 Cargoes of Bohea Tea were emptied into the Sea. This Morning a Man of War sails.

This is the most magnificent Movement of all. There is a Dignity, a Majesty, a Sublimity, in this last Effort of the Patriots, that I greatly admire. The People should never rise, without doing something to be remembered—something notable And striking. This Destruction of the Tea is so bold, so daring, so firm, intrepid and inflexible, and it must have so important Consequences, and so lasting, that I cant but consider it as an Epocha in History.[70]

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 4 years 15 weeks ago
#7

Sourcing wikipedia is usually just fine but you do know that wikipedia is heavily censored by right wingers, don't you? Yes, anyone can edit but the edits often don't last long when those overseers see something they don't like.

And besides, back in 2011 it was alleged that the Koch Brothers were paying sock-puppets to go onto Wikipedia and edit the entries to their liking. I'm sure the Koch brothers would not want to deviate much from the many decades of school text book history lessons that were actually propaganda rather than historical fact.

Are the Koch Brothers Paying People to Rewrite Wikipedia?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl33f30jh5Y

I even made an edit to Wikipedia once several years ago, or so, and it was very short and sweet (one short sentence) and very factual. Every time I made the change, it was soon removed. As I remember, it had something to do with 9/11. What I said was not in any way considered a "conspiracy theory". But, someone sure didn't want it on Wikipedia.

And wikipedia sure did buckle under to the prurient interests who thought Wikipedia had pornography. So, they removed all those photos...at least that's what I just read. I wasn't aware of it previously.

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