three activists found guilty for politically motivated break-in at tennessee nuclear facility

by Tim Phillips

The three pacifists responsible for the biggest security breach in the history of the U.S. atomic complex, which occurred last July, were found guilty yesterday. Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli, and Gregory Boertje-Obed, who broke into the Y-12 nuclear facility to publicize threats related to nuclear weapons, expected to be convicted. Yet they thought the jury might acquit them of one of the two remaining charges, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel:

It apparently was a foregone conclusion at the two-day trial that they would be convicted of depredation of government property, but defense attorneys argued long and hard in hopes of getting an acquittal on the charge of injuring, interfering with or obstructing the national defense. That charge required the government to prove they intended to disrupt the U.S. defense with their actions, and the protesters’ attorneys said that wasn’t their intent.

After the jury convicted them, they were taken to the Blount County Detention Center. A hearing today will determine whether they are eligible for release until their sentencing in three or four months. For going through three fences with bolt cutters, splashing human blood – including blood from activist Tom Lewis of the Catonsville 9 – on the building where enriched uranium is stored, and spray-painting antiwar slogans, they face decades in prison.