Friday, August 8, 2014

Transform Now Plowshares: SECOND ANNIVERSARY STATEMENT FROM MEGAN, MICHAEL & GREG

From Transform Now Plowshares:

OPEN LETTER FROM THE BROOKLYN METROPOLITAN DETENTION CENTER
from Sr. Megan Rice, on behalf of the Transform Now Plowshares
July 28, 2014

Our Dear Sisters and Brothers,

We send warm greetings and many thanks to all who actively engage in the transformation of weapons of mass destruction to sustainable life-giving alternatives. Gregory Boertje-Obed (U.S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas) Michael Walli (Federal Correctional Institution McKean, Bradford, Pennsylvania) and I are sending you some of our observations and concerns on the 2nd anniversary of our Transform Now Plowshares action.

On July 28, 2012, after thorough study of nuclear issues, and because of our deepening commitment to nonviolence, we engaged in direct action by cutting through four fences at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the U.S. continues to overhaul and upgrade thermonuclear warheads.

On that day, two years ago, when we reached the building where all U.S. highly-enriched (bomb-grade) uranium is stored, we prayed and also wrote messages on the wall, such as “The Fruit of Justice is Peace”. (Realistically, the higher and stronger fences built as a result of our nonviolent incursion can never keep humans safe from inherently dangerous materials and weapons.) We acted humbly as “creative extremists for love”, to cite one of our most important and revered leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are a number of reasons for what we did. We three were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear systems have already caused, and we realize that all life on Earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental, or technical error.

Our action at the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge exposed the storage of weapons-making materials deliberately hidden from the general public. The production, refurbishment, threat, or use of these weapons of mass destruction violate the fundamental rules and principles by which we all try to live amicably as human beings. The United States Constitution and the Laws of War are intended to ensure the survival of humanity with dignity. However, it is abundantly clear that harmony and cooperation among nations can never be achieved with nuclear weapons. (These arguments, we assume, will be made on our behalf during the eventual appeal of our convictions that accused us of sabotage, though it was never our intention to harm our country.)

Our “crime” was to draw attention to the criminality of the 70-year-old nuclear industry itself and to the unconscionable fact that the United States spends more on nuclear weapons than on education, health, transportation, and disaster relief combined.

We three Transform Now Plowshares consider it our duty, right, and privilege to heighten tension in the ongoing debate of Disarmament vs. Deterrence because history has repeatedly taught us that the policy of deterrence doesn’t lead to security, but rather to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. During our trial, the U.S. prosecutors and the U.S. courts accused the wrong people when they claimed that we violated the law, because what we did was to make America’s citizens aware of egregious preparations for mass murder.

We took action because we were acutely aware that our government has failed to keep its long-standing promise to pursue nuclear disarmament. (As Ramsey Clark testified during one of our pre-trial hearings, the U.S. entered into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the 1960’s because our country was finally facing up to the severe human and environmental consequences of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as to the hideous results of countless nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. government within and beyond our own borders.)

One of our pressing concerns is that U.S. prosecutors and the courts adhere to an obsolete view of security with no cognizance – or consciousness – of the horrific effects caused by nuclear weapons. Greg, Mike, and I believe that, undeniably, the U.S. is in a state of denial. It’s what Hannah Arendt called not evil, but the banality of evil. “There’s nothing deep about it. It’s nothing demonic! There’s simply the reluctance ever to imagine what the other person is experiencing, right?” (Hannah Arendt, “Eichmann was Outrageously Stupid” in The Last Interview and Other Conversations, Melville House, Brooklyn 2013, p. 48).

We citizens cannot permit ourselves to be rendered passive and mute by the banality of evil! Only complete nuclear disarmament can save humanity. At stake is the honor and dignity of the Hibakusha, along with the physical, environmental, emotional, and psychological trauma long suffered by victims of the nuclear system, from uranium miners to down-winders. (From 1946 to 1958, Marshall Islanders were bombarded with 67 atomic and thermonuclear tests that were carried out by the United States.)

Michael Walli, Greg Boertje-Obed and I are in U.S. prisons because, ironically, our action at Oak Ridge was based on the common sense reality that we human beings have endured more than enough destruction and exploitation. We believe that we citizens can exercise our collective power to consciously transform our nation’s priorities. We all need to actively insist on more humane uses for the billions of dollars now budgeted for the nuclear weapons/industrial complex.

Two years ago, as we neared the building in Oak Ridge, we were extremely surprised by the ineffectiveness of the system that supposedly guarded our nation’s most important National Security Complex. We believed that we were about to expose the source of unfettered violence that has led to the chronic spiritual and economic decline in the U.S. As it turned out, it was the laxity of the security system at Y-12 that caught the attention of the courts and the mainstream media. Security weakness became the big story. There was no mainstream acknowledgement that the national security complex is rotting from its own irrelevance.

Most surprisingly, our July 2012 action and our court cases have revealed that it is not the U.S. government that is in control of the nuclear weapons complex, but in reality it is the corporations that are in control through their solicitation and manipulation of endless funding for the refurbishment of unlawful thermonuclear warheads. We three are incarcerated because we stood up to a nuclear weapons industry that is kept thriving by the interlocking and obsolete institutions that subscribe to the long-discredited notion that law and security can be enforced by ever-greater force.

Regarding the 22.8 billion dollar contract recently awarded for the operation of the Y-12 site in Oak Ridge and the Pantex site in Texas for the refurbishment of thermonuclear warheads and a new Uranium Processing Facility (UPF), the relevant corporations don’t actually operate under the long-discredited myth of “nuclear deterrence”. Rather, corporations such as Babcock and Wilcox, Lockheed, and Bechtel operate under limited liability subsidiaries, joint ventures, consortiums, and partnerships for the main purpose of making profits by engaging in huge nuclear weapons production/refurbishment contracts. By this time, Congress certainly is aware that valid contracts can be issued only for the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons and for the environmentally-sound treatment and disposition of all nuclear materials.

In order for the U.S. to negotiate for nuclear disarmament in good faith, we say it is essential to peaceably transform these very corporations so that they are no longer able to violate the most basic moral and legal principles of civilized society by deliberately precipitating planetary self-destruction.

We thank you for your letters and your concerns. We ask you to support the Republic of the Marshall Islands in their current legal actions against the United States in U.S. federal court and against the U.S. and all the other nuclear weapons states in the International Court of Justice, for failure to eliminate their respective nuclear arsenals. You can learn more and add your support by signing the petition at http://www.nuclearzero.org.

Blessings,
Greg, Michael and Megan

More news about the Transform Now Plowshares:  
Appeal filed for Transform Now Plowshares seeks reversal of convictions (Aug. 5, 2014)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Nun Behind Bars in Brooklyn

By: Helen Young Documentary filmmaker and Emmy award winning producer You could call it a homecoming of sorts, but without the welcome home party. After growing up in the shadow of Columbia University in Manhattan's Morningside Heights, serving the Catholic Church as a biology teacher in Africa for more than 40 years, and a peace activist in Nevada, 84-year-old Sister Megan Rice has landed back in New York City. She's at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn. It's Sunset Park, but without the grass and trees. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Sister Megan in all probability would have served her 35-month prison sentence at Connecticut 's Danbury Federal Prison. But female inmates are no longer being housed in that institution. So, Danbury's loss is Brooklyn's gain. Sister Megan is one of 78 low security female inmates known as "cadres". They're not awaiting trial or transfer. They've been convicted and, it appears, will serve their sentences at MDC. Although the prison system classifies this kindly, grandmotherly nun as "low security", prosecutors described her as a danger to the community during her recent Knoxville trial, and won a conviction for sabotage, which the law defines as a "federal crime of terrorism". Read more

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Grim Reaper acquitted


Court case against John Amidon, demonstrating as the Grim Reaper near Hancock Air Base, Syracuse NY

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

9 courageous anti-drone activists arrested at Creech AFB

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at about 8:10 AM, 9 courageous anti-war activists were arrested at Creech AFB when attempting to serve a War Crimes Indictment (indictment below) to  Creech AFB Commander Col. Jim Cluff.  The 9 are members of the 2014 NDE Sacred Peace Walk which will end at the Nevada National Security Site on Friday, April 18, 2014.



The illegality of  the CIA “secretive cluster of units within the wing called the 732nd Operations Group" can no longer be denied or covered up.  Hundreds of children have been murdered along with thousands of innocent men and women. The CIA is using Creech Air Force Pilots to carry out drone strikes in Pakistan. The War Indictment could not be delivered  at a more timely moment. 

The 9 courageous activists arrested today are:

Vera Anderson, Las Vegas, NV
Barry Binks Sacramento, CA
Darcy Ike, San Diego, CA
Seamus Knight, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Majors, las Vegas, NV

Margaret McChesney, Phoenix, AZ
Marcus Page, Sheep Ranch, CA
Dan Shay, Santa Rosa, CA
Brian Terrell, Maloy, Iowa

Attached photo: Closing the gate on war crimes at Creech AFB. The 9 anti-drone activists arrested from Left To Right are:
Vera, Anderson, Marcus Page, Robert Majors, Margaret McChesney, Brian Terrell, Seamus Knight, Barry Binks, Dan Shay and Darcy Ike in front. 

Closing the gate on war crimes at Creech AFB. The 9 anti-drone activists arrested from Left To Right are:
Vera, Anderson, Marcus Page, Robert Majors, Margaret McChesney, Brian Terrell, Seamus Knight, Barry Binks, Dan Shay and Darcy Ike in front.

NDE volunteer John Amidon said, "The unconscionable killing of so many innocent people by drone strikes will forever be a stain on the USAF."


WAR CRIMES INDICTMENT
Colonel Jim Cluff 
Creech Air Force Base
Indian Springs, Nevada
April 16, 2014

To President Obama, to Secretary of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, to the full Military Chain of the Command, including Commander Colonel Jim Cluff, to all Service Members and civilian staff of Creech Air Base, and to the local police and Sheriffs Department of the Clark County, Nevada:
Each one of you, when you became a public servant, serving in a government position or when you joined the United States Armed Forces or police, you publicly promised to uphold the United States Constitution. 

We take this opportunity to call your attention to Article VI of the US Constitution, which states:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary not with standing.”
This clause is known as the Supremacy Clause because it provides that the Constitution and laws of the U.S., including treaties made under authority of the U.S. shall be supreme law of the land.
The Supremacy Clause provides part of the Supreme Law of the Land.
One Treaty duly ratified by the U.S. is the United Nations Charter. It was ratified by a vote of 89 to 2 in the U.S. Senate, and signed by the President in 1945. It remains in effect today. As such, it is part of supreme law of the land.
The Preamble of the U.N. Charter states that its purpose is to “save future generation from the scourge of war” and it further states, “all nations shall refrain from the use of force against another nation.”
This Treaty applies both collectively and individually to all three branches of government, on all levels, U.S. federal, state and local governments, starting with the executive branch: the U.S. President and the executive staff; the judicial branch: all judges and staff members of the judiciary; the legislative branch: all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and all departments of Law Enforcement and all civilian staff, who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, which includes Article VI.
Under the U.N. Charter and long established international laws, anyone--civilian, military, government officials, or judge- who knowingly participates in or supports illegal use of force against another nation or its people is committing a war crime.
Today you must recognize that when you promised to uphold the Constitution, you promised to obey Treaties and International Law – as part of the Supreme Law of the Land and furthermore, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice of the U.S., you are required to disobey any clearly unlawful order from a superior.
Based on all the above,

WE, THE PEOPLE, CHARGE THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, BARAK OBAMA AND THE FULL MILITARY CHAIN OF COMMAND TO COMMANDER COLONEL JIM CLUFF, EVERY DRONE CREW, AND SERVICE MEMBERS at CREECH AIR BASE, WITH CRIMES AGAINST PEACE & CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, WITH VIOLATIONS OF PART OF THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND, EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS, VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS, WARS OF AGGRESSION, VIOLATION OF NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY, AND KILLING OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS.

We charge that the United States Air Force, headquartered at Creech Air Force Base, home of the of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Commander Colonel Jim Cluff, is maintaining and deploying the MQ-9 Reaper robotic aircraft, called drones. These drones are being used not only in combat situations for the purpose of assassinations but also for killings far removed from combat zones without military defense, to assassinate individuals and groups far removed from military action.
Extra judicial killings, such as those the U.S. carries out by drones are intentional, premeditated, and deliberate use of lethal force to commit murder in violation of U.S. and International Law.
It is a matter of public record that the US Military has used drones in Afghanistan and in Iraq for targeted killings to target specific individuals which has nearly always resulted in the deaths of many other non-targeted innocents. Recent evidence has come forth indicating the personnel at Creech AFB also have used drones similarly in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia for the C.I.A. 
There is no legal basis for defining the scope of area where drones can or cannot be used, no legal criteria for deciding which people can be targeted for killing, no procedural safeguards to ensure the legality of the decision to kill and the accuracy of the assassinations.
In support of this indictment we cite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, who has said that the use of drones creates 
“a highly problematic blurring and the law applicable to the use of inter-state force.... The result has been the displacement of clear legal standards with a vaguely defined license to kill, and the creation of a major accountability vacuum.... In terms of the legal framework, many of these practices violate straightforward applicable legal rules.” 
See United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council Study on Targeted Killings, 28, May 2010.
The drone attacks either originating at Creech or supported here are a deliberate illegal use of force against another nation, and as such are a felonious violation of Article VI of the US Constitution.
By giving material support to the drone program, you as individuals are violating the Constitution, dishonoring your oath, and committing warcrimes.                      
                                                                   
We demand that you stop participating in any part of the operations of MQ-9 drones immediately, being accountable to the people of United States and Afghanistan.
As citizens of this nation, which maintains over 700 military bases around the globe, and the largest, most deadly military arsenal in the world, we believe these words of Martin Luther King still hold true, ”the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government”.
There is hope for a better world when WE, THE PEOPLE, hold our government accountable to the laws and treaties that govern the use of lethal force and war. To the extent that we ignore our laws and constitution and allow for the unchecked use of lethal force by our government, allowing the government to kill who ever it wants, where ever it wants, how ever it wants with no accountability, we make the world less safe for children everywhere.
We appeal to all United States citizens, military and civilian, and to all public officials, to do as required by the Nuremburg Principles I-VII, and by Conscience, to refuse to participate in these crimes, to denounce them, and to resist them nonviolently.
Signed by:
Marcus Page
John Amidon
Nevada Desert Experience

Nevada Desert Experience to serve Creech AFB with a War Crimes Indictment

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, between 6:30 and 8:00 AM, the Sacred Peace Walk conducted by Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) will serve a War Crimes Indictment to Creech AFB Commander Colonel Jim Cluff. The Indictment can be viewed online. Arrests seem likely when Sacred Peace Walk Representatives attempt to deliver this indictment in person. There will also be a vigil in front of the base.

Brandon Bryant, a former US Predator operator, in the newly released motion picture, DRONE, said, "There is a lie hidden within that truth. And the lie is that it's always been the air force that has flown those missions. The CIA might be the customer but the air force has always flown it. A CIA label is just an excuse to not have to give up any information. That is all it has ever been." (See reference below.)

In light of yesterday's breaking revelations about the "secretive cluster of units with the wing call the 732nd Operations Group", where the CIA is using Creech Air Force Pilots to carry out drone strikes in Pakistan, NDE's War Indictment could not be delivered at a more timely moment. Clearly the illegality of the largest targeted drone killing program can no longer be denied or covered up.

"We also are here to call upon the airmen and airwomen to consider the spiritual impact of the horrifying physical violence conducted by Creech AFB," said NDE Council member Marcus Page-Collonge.

Gonna take Us All, Jon Fromer (RIP

To keep the spirit!

Drones etc in other media

Loading...

SOAW News

We are all Bradley Manning!