Nuclear Plant Protesters Denied Request for New Trial

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 4, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

A U.S. fed­er­al judge this week turned down a re­quest to al­low a new tri­al for three peace act­iv­ists that were ar­res­ted in 2012 for sneak­ing in­to a se­cured area of the Y-12 nuc­le­ar weapons fa­cil­ity in Ten­ness­ee, the Knoxville News-Sen­tinel re­por­ted on Thursday.

Megan Rice, an 83-year-old Cath­ol­ic nun, along with fel­low Trans­form Now Plow­shares mem­bers Greg Bo­er­tje-Obed, 56, and Mi­chael Walli, 64, were found guilty in May on two felony charges of in­ter­fer­ing with na­tion­al se­cur­ity and dam­aging gov­ern­ment prop­erty through their Ju­ly 2012 break-in at the Y-12 Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Com­plex. The aging pro­test­ers cut through a num­ber of fences in or­der to reach the ex­ter­i­or of the site’s highly en­riched urani­um store­house, which they pro­ceeded to dec­or­ate with peace ad­vocacy signs. They also dumped a buck­et of blood onto the scene be­fore they were ar­res­ted.

Dis­trict Judge Amul Thapar in his rul­ing, re­leased on Tues­day, dis­agreed with the de­fense’s ar­gu­ment the act­iv­ists did not plan to cause harm to na­tion­al de­fense, say­ing their court testi­mony and phone con­ver­sa­tions while in jail sug­ges­ted they wanted to un­der­mine the Y-12 com­plex’s ca­pa­city to man­u­fac­ture and stock­pile war­head parts.

“The de­fend­ants are en­titled to their views re­gard­ing the mor­al­ity of nuc­le­ar weapons,” Thapar wrote. “But the de­fend­ants’ sin­cerely held mor­al be­liefs are not a get-out-of-jail-free card that they can de­ploy to es­cape crim­in­al li­ab­il­ity.”

The judge also re­fused a sep­ar­ate mo­tion to ac­quit the act­iv­ists.

The three pro­test­ers are presently in jail in south­ern Geor­gia. Sen­ten­cing hear­ings have been planned for late Janu­ary. The charges carry pen­al­ties of a max­im­um of 30 years be­hind bars.

The break-in in­cid­ent was a huge em­bar­rass­ment to the con­tract­ors that op­er­ate and guard the Ten­ness­ee site and to the En­ergy De­part­ment’s Na­tion­al Nuc­le­ar Se­cur­ity Ad­min­is­tra­tion, which man­ages the U.S. nuc­le­ar-weapons com­plex. Mem­bers of Con­gress have sug­ges­ted dif­fer­ent ac­tions for im­prov­ing the agency’s abil­ity to mon­it­or U.S. weapon fa­cil­it­ies.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
17 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Maher Weighs in on Bernie, Trump and Palin
18 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.

Source:
×