Speaker: Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
Where: White House (north side on Pennsylvania Ave.)
“The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk.1:15)
Summary Notes of Michael Walli’s Pre-Sentencing Statement
- Stated that he was offended by the fact that the Nazi regime had a legal right to exist and that either by silence or overt support Catholics consented to it.
- Quoted St. Thomas Aquinas: “Laws that do not serve the common good are unjust.”
- Quoted St. Augustine: “An unjust law is no law at all.”
- Stated that he acted in accordance with Jesus. Jesus’ declaration, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” was a call to action.
- Stated that his actions at Y-12 did not constitute a violation of law, but rather his obedience to God’s law. “I am a citizen of heaven. We engaged in our lawful, missionary work at Y-12. I committed no crime. I have no remorse.”
- Stated that he was acting in support of the rule of law. “I am the face of tomorrow. The face of total demilitarization and vindication of the prophets.”
- In response to a comment made during the hearing by U.S. District Attorney Jeff Theodore, he stated that we both have something in common in admiring Rosa Parks as he commended him for sitting on the same seat of the bus that Rosa Parks was arrested in during a visit he made to Michigan where the bus was on display.
* Read the TNP action indictment.
Summary Notes of Greg Boertje-Obed’s Pre-Sentencing Statement
- Read an excerpt of Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech re: why he opposed the Vietnam war.
- Read an excerpt from Dan Berrigan’s poem: “Hymn To A New Humanity.”
- Stated that people around the world see that the U.S. is breaking the law. Three new Bomb plants are being built, including at Oak Ridge, which will maintain nuclear weapons for over 80 years. If the U.S. were to abide by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it “would promote respect for the law.”
Summary Notes of Sr. Megan Rice’s Pre-Sentencing Statement
- One of the great problems is that people don’t know the 70 year history of nuclear weapons and the secrecy that surrounds nuclear policy. Encouraged the Judge and everyone in court to read the book Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen.
- Spoke of how every single day and all of life is a miracle and how the Bomb is a threat to that miracle.
- Referred to the book A Beautiful Mind and how many of the best minds today agree that there is an alternative to nuclear weapons.
- Spoke of a “cloud of deception” surrounding the economic extortion going on at Y-12 and that this was never mentioned at the first sentencing hearing regarding the restitution the TNP were ordered to pay.
- Acknowledged the support the TNP have received from all over the world and showed the court a signed card from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers that was recently sent to her by Kathy Kelly.
- Appealed to the judge not to show leniency toward her and that it would be an honor to spend the rest of her life in prison.
- Spoke of the injustice she has witnessed first-hand in the for-profit detention complex and the dehumanizing jail conditions.
- Spoke of the connections between the rich controlling the wealth and resources at the expense of the poor and how the military budget constitutes a theft from the poor.
- Cited an Appellate Court’s overturning the conviction of the Plowshares Eight and Appellate Judge Spaeth’s opinion regarding the catastrophic danger posed by nuclear weapons.
- Referred to German Judge Ulf Panzer who was arrested for opposing the deployment of Pershing II nuclear missiles at the U.S. air base in Mutlangen in 1987 and lawyers and jurists worldwide who declared nuclear weapons to be illegal.
- Judge granted her request to sing the song “Sacred the Land.” All present in the main courtroom and the overflow courtroom joined in singing the song.
Report of Sentencing of Transform Now Plowshares to Prison Terms Ranging From Nearly Three Years to Over 5 Years
I have just returned from the sentencing hearing of our three Transform Now Plowshares (TNP) friends in Knoxville, Tennessee who were given prison terms ranging from 35 months to 62 months, three years supervised release and nearly $53,000 in restitution. From the Festival of Hope the night before the sentencing (see below reflection) to the witness Mike Walli, Greg Boertje-Obed and Sr. Megan Rice offered in court at their sentencing, this was a deeply inspiring hope-filled time despite the heavy sentences that were given. The spirit of community, the loving welcome and special hospitality offered by friends of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA), and the speaking of truth by our three friends in the empire’s court was, for me, an infusion of hope!
Let us all continue to keep our eyes on the prize as we strive to create the Beloved Community and a nonviolent disarmed world. And let us be filled with the same joy and hope of our three imprisoned friends. As Mike, Greg and Sr. Megan were taken out of the courtroom in chains our gathered community sang: “Rejoice in the Lord Always.”
With gratitude, Art
January 28th Pentagon Solidarity Vigil For Transform Now Plowshares Sentencing–Sentencing Postponed Until February 18th
Eleven supporters of the Transform Now Plowshares (TNP) braved chilling temperatures (under 10 degrees) during a Pentagon vigil earlier this morning from 7:00-9:00 a.m. to be in prayerful solidarity with Mike Walli, Sr. Megan Rice and Greg Boertje-Obed of the TNP who are being sentenced today in Knoxville, Tennessee. During the vigil, which was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker (DDCW), signs were held thanking the TNP for their action and calling for a world without nuclear weapons and war, where all swords are hammered into plowshares and where we practice love for enemies. Also a sign previously made by Mike Walli, a member of the DDCW, stating that nuclear weapons are immoral, illegal and unpatriotic, was prominently displayed. The vigil also included a reading of the TNP action statement several times, the TNP war crimes indictment of the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex and U.S. government, a reflection by me (see below), and an of offering scripture readings, songs and a closing prayer. Ultimately, we were able to witness to hundreds of military and civilian workers as well as many others walking to the bus or metro and inform them about the TNP action and sentencing.
We give thanks for the prophetic witness of Mike, Sr. Megan and Greg who by their actions at Y-12, in court and in jail, remind us all of our responsibility to nonviolently resist government nuclear war preparations and to work for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.
With gratitude, Art
Reflection by Art Laffin at Pentagon Solidarity Vigil for Transform Now Plowshares
As you, judge Thapar, prepare to sentence Sr. Megan, Gregory and Michael, please know I and many others will be praying for you. I pray that you will use your judicial discretion and grant a downward departure from the high sentencing guidelines for the charges they were convicted, including even a sentence of time served.”
So let’s pray today for the Judge Thapar and for the U.S. District Attorney, that they listen to their conscience and be open to the truth, and not be blinded and feel trapped by law’s and sentencing guidelines. And let us pray for the defendants and all who are attending the sentencing today. We ask God’s blessing on our three friends to be sentenced as they continue to witness in court to the same spirit of truth and love that compelled to act at the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex.
The Transform Now Plowshares action stands as a timeless testimony to making God’s dream for the human family a reality: a world where people love one another–a world without exploitation, violence, weapons and war. As we witness at the Pentagon, the center of warmaking on our planet, we invite all Pentagon personnel, weapons manufacturer’s, politicians, all who comprise nuclear national security state, and all people everywhere to transform their minds and hearts and heed the prophetic call to beat all the swords of our time into plowshares and to abolish war!