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Federal prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the trial of “The Prophets of Oak Ridge” who last July broke into Y12, which until then had been known as the Fort Knox of Uranium.
Y12 is also the birthplace of the heart of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.
The trial of Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed began with testimony from Steven C. Erhart, the top federal official at the Y-12 National Security Complex and manager of the site who said the break-in “hurt the international credibility of the weapons plant.”
He also admitted under cross-examination that the [nonviolent] activists “exposed serious security flaws.”
The three face prison terms of up to 20 years if convicted of “sabotaging” the national security complex.
They call themselves "Transform Now Plowshares," referring to Isaiah:
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks."
Sister Rice's attorney, said the facts surrounding the case were not disputed, but he argued they amounted to symbolic acts:
"Offering bread, lighting candles, tapping with hammers on the side of the (facility) ... spraying of Biblical graffiti. What you're not going to hear is that what is kept in the HEUMF was touched or tampered with."
The DOE report said Y-12 security failures included broken detection equipment, poor response from security guards and insufficient federal oversight of private contractors running the complex.
The three trespassed and damaged government property motivated by their conscience and to raise awareness of the fallacy of national SECURITY by WMD!
“The Prophets of Oak Ridge” by the Washington Post, is a must read background story regarding the trios motivations and actions.
A few excerpts follow a little history:
The nuclear age began at 5:30 AM on July 16, 1945, when the first nuclear bomb was exploded by the American government at the Trinity Test Site, at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Plutonium and other toxic and radioactive chemicals were dispersed for hundreds of miles and some areas are still contaminated.
The bomb exploded over the New Mexico desert, vaporizing a tower and turning the asphalt to green sand. Seconds later a huge blast of heat scorched the desert.
No one could see the radiation generated by the explosion, but they all knew it was there. A half a mile away, the steel container called "Jumbo," weighing over 200 tons was knocked over as the orange and yellow fireball stretched up and spread into a second column, that rose and flattened into a mushroom cloud; imprinting upon the human consciousness a symbol of violent power and destruction.
The father of the atomic bomb, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer chose to name that harrowing happening the "Trinity" test.
"Why I chose the name is not clear, but I know what thoughts were in my mind. There is a poem of John Donne, written just before his death, which I know and love. From it a quotation: 'As West and East, in all flat Maps—and I am one—are one, So death doth touch the Resurrection.' That still does not make a Trinity, but in another, better known devotional poem Donne opens, ‘Batter my heart, three person'd God.'"
"Batter my Heart" continues:
Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labour to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
In the moment that followed the atomic inferno, Oppenheimer recalled this sentence from the Bhagvad Gita:
"Now I have become death, the destroyer of the worlds"
“The last shipment of highly enriched uranium bound for Japan left Oak Ridge on July 25, 1945, and arrived two days later on the island of Tinian in the oblivion of the Pacific Ocean. On Aug. 6, a 9,700-pound, 10-foot-long atomic bomb was loaded onto a B-29 bomber, flown 1,500 miles northwest, and dropped over Hiroshima."
As 160,000 lay dead, dying or injured and five square miles burned; the headline in the Knoxville News-Sentinel on Aug. 6, 1945 announced:
ATOMIC SUPER-BOMB, MADE AT OAK RIDGE, STRIKES JAPAN
Only then did the scores of East Tennessee high school girls who had been trained to operate the dials on complex machinery at the Y-12 site learn that “each flick of their wrists aided the gram-by-gram production of U-235, the uranium isotope that can sustain the chain reaction of fission necessary to create a nuclear explosion.”
Around 1900, “a middle-aged ascetic named John Hendrix gazed up at the sky and heard a voice like a clap of thunder. The voice told Hendrix to sleep in the woods for 40 nights. So he did. And he had a vision of the future, according to “The Oak Ridge Story,” a 1950 book by George O. Robinson Jr.
“And I tell you,” Hendrix said to his farming community after his retreat, “Bear Creek Valley some day will be filled with great buildings and factories and they will help toward winning the greatest war that ever will be…They will be building things and there will be great noise and confusion and the earth will shake…I’ve seen it. It’s coming.”
Decades after Hendrix’s death, the government wrote his son: “The War Department intends to take possession of your farm Dec. 1, 1942…Your fullest cooperation will be a material aid to the War Effort.”
The government paid Curtis Allen Hendrix $850 for his 60-acre farm, which was overtaken by the Manhattan Project.
Three thousand others were also displaced and the government built a city with 44,000 dwelling units and imported 75,000 workers.
The 14-square-mile “Secret City” of Oak Ridge was forested with billboards that said “Keep mum about this job” and “We will win in ‘44 with your help.”
In 2010, I went to Oak Ridge, for the July 4th weekend long celebration of 30 years of Nuclear Resistance, and met new friends, a few clowns and many prophets-and by prophet I mean one who points out the danger ahead and provokes those so inclined to think about God-to THINK!
A few of my photos from that weekend:
Three time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Kathy Kelly, in front of the banner made from the cloth cut from the clothes of PLOWSHARES 8, Father Philip Francis Berrigan
Just moments before the arrests began we shared a few laughs at the premier of the “National Insecurity Complex Hotline: The Doctor Is In” written by Ralph Hutchison of Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance
America’s Founding Fathers wrote truths to be self-evident: that all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men and women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.
The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 indicted a government that engaged in barbaric conduct contrary to the laws of Humanity that included "works of death, destruction and tyranny unparalleled in the most barbaric ages" until the Age of Now!
Current Law requires an end to all planning, preparation and production of nuclear weapons and about 200 people of Conscience had gathered on July 4, 2010 at Y-12 to demand our Government honor the Law, Whereas:
"The dominant mission of Y-12 today is the production of new and or/refurbished thermonuclear secondaries for existing US nuclear warheads as part of the Stockpile Life Extension Program [LEP]. These include life extension upgrades to the W-76 that will result in the W-76 Modification 1, a warhead with new military capabilities."-Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance [OREPA], November 2009.
"All W-76 and W-76-1 thermonuclear secondaries produced at Y-12 are designed and produced to unleash 100 KT of uncontrollable and indiscriminate heat, blast and radiation, six times more than the Hiroshima Bomb."-Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, March/April 2009.
The International Court of Justice's summarized the indisputable facts of all nuclear weapons:
"The destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in either space or time. They have to potential to destroy all civilization and the entire ecosystem of the planet."-ICJ Opinion, 8 July 1996.
The ICJ also affirmed the "fundamental, cardinal and intransgressible" rule that "States must never make civilians the object of attack and must consequently never use weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilians and military targets."
Whereas citizens have both rights and duties people of conscience must ensure future generations their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,
Whereas under the principals of democracy people of conscience must charge our government to fulfill its promise and responsibilities to nuclear disarmament.
"Indeed anti nuclear civil resistance is the right of every citizen of this planet for the nuclear threat attacking as it does every core concept of human rights, calls for urgent and universal action for its prevention. If if is a basic human right to be free of threat or violence, if the right to life is a basic human right, if the protection of children and future generations is a basic human duty, international law must unhesitatingly recognize that the right to non violent resistance activities for the prevention of such an international crime is basic to human dignity."-Judge Weeramantry, "The Trident and International Law, Scotland's Obligations" Feb. 3, 2009.
Whereas "No government, not even the most democratic, can force us to live under this threat. No state in the world can offer any kind of security against this menace of a nuclear holocaust, or guarantee to prevent it…
"Any country, which manufactures and stocks nuclear weapons, is first of all endangering its own citizens. This is why the citizens must confront their government and warn it that it has no right to expose them to this danger. Because, in effect, the citizens are being held hostage by their own government, just as if they have been hijacked and deprived of their freedom and threatened…
"When governments develop nuclear weapons they are violating the basic rights of their citizens, the basic right not to live under constant threat of annihilation." -Mordechai Vanunu, 1987, from Ashkelon Prison.
In 2005, I told Vanunu:
“Did you know that in America there are Christians who actually want Armageddon? They believe they will escape the nuclear holocaust because they are now the new chosen ones. They think they will be raptured; they think they will be lifted out of the world. They believe a theology of escapism and they ignore that Christ promised that ‘The peacemakers shall be called the children of God’ and that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.”
Vanunu replied, “The time has come for the United States to see the truth of Zionism. It began as a secular nationalist movement, not a religious one. Then some Christians believed that when Israel became a nation, it was the beginning of the second coming. They are deluded if they believe peace will come through atomic weapons.
"Atomic weapons are holocaust weapons. Christians should be the first people against them. The Christians in America should be helping the Christians here. America needs to wake up to this fallacy that Jesus will come back by nuclear war. America needs to wake up to the fact that the Palestinian Christians here have no human rights. Aren’t Christians supposed to be concerned about other Christians? Aren’t Christians supposed to be concerned about all the poor and oppressed?”
I asked, “Have you ever considered the idea that the anti-Christ may not be a man at all? I keep thinking how nuclear weapons are promoted by governments as instruments of peace, but they only bring destruction. I can’t imagine that God intended for man to blow up this planet, but instead, to learn how to share it.”
Vanunu responded, “The only way to peace is peace; the only way is nonviolence. The only answer to Israeli nuclear weapons, their aggression, occupation and oppression, and the wall and refugee camps is to answer them with truth and a peaceful voice. When I became the spy for the world, I did it all for the people of the world.
"If governments do not report the truth, and if the media does not report the truth, then all we can do is follow our consciences. Daniel Ellsberg did, the woman from Enron did, and I did. The United States needs to wake up and see the truth that Israel is not a democracy, unless you are a Jew. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where America can right now find WMDs. America can also find where basic human rights have been denied Christians: right here in Israel.”