In May Greg Boertje-Obed, Michael Walli and Sister Megan Rice were convicted of damage to federal property and sabotage. The court ruled that the convictions were defined by Congress as federal crimes of terrorism. They are currently in the Irwin County Detention Facility in Ocilla, GA, awaiting their sentencing on September 23, 2013. The three were found guilty by a jury in Tennessee in May on two counts. They face up to 30 years in prison.
The Prophets of Oak Ridge. from The Washington Post.
Last summer, in the dead of night, three peace activists penetrated the exterior of Y-12 in Tennessee, supposedly one of the most secure nuclear-weapons facilities in the United States. A drifter, an 82-year-old nun and a house painter….And if they had been terrorists armed with explosives, intent on mass destruction? That nightmare scenario underlies the government’s response to the intrusion. This is the story of two competing worldviews, of conscience vs. court, of fantasy vs. reality, of history vs. the future. Read the full text of this remarkable article that appeared in one of the most important US papers here:http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/2013/04/29/the-prophets-of-oak-ridge/
How You Can Support Them – First: Send letters to them.
Here are the addresses:
· Gregory Boertje-Obed 22090 Irwin County Detention Center 132 Cotton Drive Ocilla GA 31774
· Michael Walli 4444 Irwin County Detention Center 132 Cotton Drive Ocilla GA 31774
· Megan Rice 22100 Irwin County Detention Center 132 Cotton Drive Ocilla GA 31774
You must make sure to include your entire return address on the outside of the envelope. No staples or paperclips can be included in your mail; no oversized envelopes. Magazines and books must be sent directly from the publisher or bookstore/Amazon. Photocopies of brief articles are likely to be permitted (based on our past experience). If you include inappropriate material or fail to comply with these rules, your mail will not get through—it will be returned to you.
Second: Send a letter to Judge Thapar. Orepa has suggested guidelines for your letter, and is asking people to send their letter to Bill Quigley, lawyer for Mike Walli (address below), so they can be collected and delivered to the judge.
Invite Judge Thapar to think about sentencing in light of the fact that this was an act of nonviolent civil disobedience intended to awaken the conscience of the nation, and no evidence was presented that it was an act of terrorism meant to harm anyone. You could write that you share the court’s concern that Congress would write a law that wouldn’t allow a judge to distinguish between peace activists and terrorists, and are disturbed that the government defines the crime they stand convicted of as a violent “crime of terrorism”.
As testimony of the defendants showed during trial, they carried out their action in a spirit of nonviolence and hope.
Without making it the focus of the letter, you could mention that the action was carried out with the clear understanding of the illegality and immorality of nuclear weapons, and intent to uphold higher laws.
Encourage him to consider downward departures from the high guidelines for the charges, and to use his discretion at sentencing to bring more justice into the situation by recognizing that the defendants are NOT violent terrorists as the government has implied through its interpretation of the crime; and remind him of the intentions of the three nonviolent activists: to follow the words of the prophet Isaiah to beat swords into plowshares, and build a safer and more secure world for all.
Our purpose with these letters is not to reargue the case, nor is it to condemn nuclear weapons production—the judge is not engaging those issues at this time. Our purpose is to address the legal system’s distortion of the nonviolent action of the TNP resisters and to provide support to the judge for a sentencing decision that takes into account the nature of their action and their nonviolent behavior throughout their action.
Letters should be sent to:
US District Judge Amul R Thapar c/o Professor Bill Quigley Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice 7214 St. Charles Avenue Campus Box 902 New Orleans, LA 70118
If you care to send a copy to OREPA that would also be appreciated:
OREPA P O Box 5743 Oak Ridge, TN 37831