U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar today ruled that the time already served was sufficient for three Plowshares protesters, upheld that they are responsible for $52,953 in restitution costs for damages from their July 28, 2012 break-in at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, and imposed two years of “unsupervised supervision” with three conditions.
The judge’s conditions are that the three — Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed — not commit any state, local or federal crimes; that they not enter any U.S. government nuclear facility, unless specifically invited by the President of the United States; and that they report any arrests to their probation officer. Other than that, they only have to report to a probation officer one time before 5 p.m. Friday to sign up. Continue reading
Jeff Theodore, right, emerges from the federal courthouse on May 8, 2013 after gaining convictions on all charges against three Y-12 protesters. One of those convictions — on a charge of sabotage — was later reversed by a federal appeals court. (KNS photo/Saul Young)
A case that usurped much of his time over the past three years will apparently be Jeff Theodore’s last as a federal prosecutor, when he argues Tuesday morning to impose supervised release on three anti-nuclear protesters known as the Transform Now Plowshares.
Theodore, who specialized in national security cases, is leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office and will take a position with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He will teach at ATF’s National Academy near Brunswick, Ga., providing soon-to-be special agents with the skills needed for criminal prosecution. Continue reading
The Y-12 protesters, from left, are Greg Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice and Michael Walli. (KNS photos/Saul Young)
A Tuesday morning hearing via teleconference with U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar will decide whether the three Plowshares protesters — Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed — will be placed on supervised release or freed without restrictions. Continue reading
Plowshares protesters, from left, Greg Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli, in November 2012. (KNS photo/Saul Young)
U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar will hold a resentencing hearing for the three Transform Now Plowshares — Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed — via telephone. The hearing is set for 10 a.m. on Sept. 15.
Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and a member of the defense team, confirmed the arrangements in an email to supporters of the three. Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed were released from prison in May after the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned their conviction on sabotage charges for the July 28, 2012 break-in at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge. They face resentencing on other charges for damaging government property, but the three have reportedly already served more time than recommended for those convictions. Continue reading
Former security official Steve Gibbs’ new book, “Behind the Blue Line: Protecting Our Nuclear Weapons Complex,” is available in paperback at $20. Gibbs is still developing his book plans, but he has a book signing planned Sept. 20, 1-5 p.m., at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.
Gibbs can also be contacted via mail at P.O. Box 6412, Oak Ridge, Tn., 37831 or via email at SCGibbs@iCloud.com.
The 340-page book is subtitled, “My History in Oak Ridge from Guard to Senior Management.”
Author Steve Gibbs, a former security executive at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, holds a copy of his new book, “Behind the Blue Line: Protecting Our Nuclear Weapons Complex.”
It was late-night Friday, July 27, 2012, and Steve Gibbs was too excited to go to sleep. He turned on the TV to watch the opening ceremonies for the summer Olympic Games in London.
Earlier in the evening, Oak Ridge security guards had ratified a new six-year contract, and Gibbs was a hero. As deputy general manager of security contractor Wackenhut Services, he had gone head to head with negotiators at the International Guards Union of America and come away with an agreement. Not only did it prevent an immediate strike at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, the six-year term meant the contract would expire at a different time than other key government plants — thus eliminating the potential for a multi-site security crisis in the future.
Gibbs was euphoric, receiving congratulatory calls or messages from Washington, D.C. to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (Wackenhut’s corporate headquarters). He finally went to bed around midnight but still couldn’t sleep. By the time he did, he was awakened by a 5 a.m. telephone call that killed his euphoria and changed his life. Three individuals, including an 82-year-old nun, had defied Y-12’s vaunted security, cut through fences and reached an off-limits area where they protested the plant’s weapons work with spray paint and human blood. Continue reading
Today is the third anniversary of the Y-12 break-in by three Plowshares protesters — Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed. The three cut through four fences and ultimately reached the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, which they splashed with baby bottles of human blood. The event turned the security world upside down and resulted in multiple changes in the nuclear weapons complex. It also galvanized supporters of nuclear disarmament and anti-nuclear activists and drew increased attention to plans for a multibillion-dollar production facility at the Oak Ridge plant.
The Transform Now Plowshares, from left, are Greg Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice and Michael Walli. (KNS photos/Saul Young)
The Transform Now Plowshares, who were freed from prison in mid-May after the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned their conviction on sabotages charges, will be resentenced on other federal charges (damaging government property) on Sept. 15. That’s according to Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans Law School who’s a member of their defense team.
Quigley said the resentencing by U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar is set for 10 a.m. on Sept. 15, but he said there has been no decision yet on whether the resentencing will take place at the U.S. District Court in Knoxville or via telephone conference. Continue reading
Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, said he received word Wednesday night that the Plowshares protesters — Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed — had accepted an invitation to come to Knoxville/Oak Ridge in August for events surrounding the 70th anniversary of the Aug. 6, 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. Continue reading
The Transform Now Plowshares protesters pose for photo on the eve of their break-in at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in July 2012. From left, Michael Walli, Sister Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed.
Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, confirmed that OREPA had extended a special invitation to the Plowshares protesters — Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed — to return to Y-12 later this summer for activities related to the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Continue reading
I talked with Sister Megan Rice this afternoon via phone and asked her for reaction to the government’s decision not to contest the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last month that overturned the Y-12 protesters’ conviction on sabotage charges and freed them from their incarceration at various federal sites.
“I think we can all say it’s a great encouragement to carry on with this movement, to try to transform our weapons-of-mass destruction facilities into places where life can be pursued in all its fullness,” the 85-year-old nun said. Continue reading
Greg Boertje-Obed arrives at Knoxville’s Greyhound Bus Station following his May 16 release from Leavenworth Federal Prison.
Plowshares protester Greg Boertje-Obed, one of three peace activists who broke into the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant on July 28, 2012, was noticeably thinner when he was released from federal prison earlier this month. Continue reading
The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has approved the government’s request for an additional 30 days to consider whether to seek a new hearing on the court’s recent decision that overturned the conviction of three Y-12 protesters on sabotage charges. The new deadline for making the next move in the Plowshares case is June 22. Continue reading