Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Graffiti-Spraying 84-Year-Old Nun Jailed for Three Years for Breaking into Nuclear Facility

00 Sr Megan Rice. 19.02.14


On Tuesday, local media reported that a federal judge sentenced an elderly nun who broke into the supposedly-most carefully-guarded nuclear facilities in the USA to nearly three years in prison. Sister Megan Gillespie Rice, 84, cut through fences and several layers of security at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge TN along with two other members of Transform Now Plowshares (a part of the Plowshares Movement pacifist group) in July 2012. They spent two hours in the complex before security guards caught them. During that time, they hoisted banners, spray painted messages like “work for peace, not war”, and tossed human blood on a building used to store and process highly enriched uranium used to make nuclear bombs. The incident prompted a congressional review of security at American nuclear facilities.

Rice, imprisoned since her conviction last year, urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence for her crimes at a four-hour sentencing hearing. The Tennessean quoted Rice as saying, “Please, have no leniency on me. To remain in prison for the rest of my life would be the greatest honour you could give me”. Federal judge Amul Thapar {a Hard Right appointee of G W Bush: editor} said that he struggled to find the right sentence to balance Rice’s past good works with the need to deter others from breaking the law to pursue political goals. Thapar didn’t oblige, but he did say that breaking the law wasn’t the right way to pursue political goals. He said that he hoped a significant prison sentence would deter others from following the same path and bring them “back to the political system I fear that they’ve given up on”. The newspaper reported that he sentenced Rice to 35 months in prison. Thapar sentenced fellow anti-nuclear activists Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, to five years and two months in prison because of their “criminal histories”.

The court didn’t immediately update its records to show the sentences imposed and we couldn’t reach either the prosecutors or the Plowshares group for an immediate comment. The New York Times said that Rice, a native New Yorker, has had 50 arrests for acts of civil disobedience and once served a six-month prison term. It said that the authorities arrested her in 1998 she at a protest at the School of the Americas, a US Army school at Fort Benning in Georgia that taught Latin American soldiers to fight leftist insurgencies. It said that some went on to commit human rights abuses. Rice served six months in federal prison. She said in a 2012 interview with the Times, “It was a great eye-opener. When you’ve had a prison experience, it minimises your needs very much”. Rice said that nuclear arms were “the issue”, the most pressing one of our times, noting, “It’s the criminality of this 70-year industry. We spend more on nuclear arms than on the Departments of Education, Health, and Transportation, disaster relief, and a number of other government agencies that I can’t remember”.

19 February 2014

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Judge Thapar is an extreme Hard Rightist… not only was he a Bush appointee, he hangs around with nutter groups such as the Federalist Society, a Hard Right “libertarian” group (they believe in “free enterprise” anarchy with no government regulation to protect people from the rapacious rich). One can see why he sentenced these “criminals” to such disproportionate terms. It looks like he wants to muzzle the left… but that he doesn’t want to seem to be “unconstitutional” about it (at least, that puts him a notch above McCarthyites, who didn’t care how they attacked people).

Betcha that Thapar makes a fuss about “Russian totalitarianism” in his rants at the country club and amongst his rightwing pals. His sentence proves that the clamour raised by the USA about Russian “illegality” and injustice” is just mere wind. The USA DOES have political prisoners and I’d say that judges like Thapar are the Freislers of today. The USA has no grounds to complain about the Pussy Riot sentence or the Russian laws on homosexuality and minors… the USA puts people in prison for embarrassing the government. I’ll bet you that one reason Thapar issued these sentences was that his greedster pals at the country club would ostracise him if he didn’t, and he’d lose his entrée to Hard Right venues. Of course, I don’t know this for certain, but it isn’t without the realm of possibility. Shitbirds of a feather DO flock together. The nun and her pals deserved a year in the can for trespassing, creating a public nuisance, and vandalism… that is, the judge should’ve sentenced them to “time served”. The sentence he actually passed was overly harsh and out of proportion. You can see what hanging around Hard Righties does to one’s sense of propriety, don’t you?

One last thing… the security at the nuclear site was “privatised“… that is, the greedsters cut corners on operations so that the owners could get more “return” (it also shows us that entrusting our security to private corporations is a joke). They were the ones who deserved to be in the dock. If there was real (not bogus) security, the activists would’ve never even gotten in. Note well Judge Thapar’s SILENCE on that. Ah, yes, they JOYS of the “Free Enterprise” system…


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