While thousands march and camp and get arrested to protest the corporate/financial evils that have turned 99% of us into have-nots, environmental activists like Tim DeChristopher and little known anti-nuclear protestors like 46-year-old Steve Baggarly spend time in jail for their beliefs. Baggarly, a “repeat offender,” I imagine takes to heart these words by the historian Lewis Mumford in 1946.
“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased…to obey the laws of life.”
Here’s an excerpt from from the Nuclear Resister, 9-2011, thanks to SueM.
From the Irwin County Detention Center
by Steve Baggarly
September 5, 2011…
Steve Baggarly will be sentenced September 20 in federal court in Knoxville, Tennessee, for trespass July 5, 2010 at the Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
[Update: Baggarly was sentenced to eight months in the Blount County Jail, four of which he had already served. The judge declined to add any probation time to that sentence. No fine was levied.]
The Y-12 nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee is an icon of our national commitment to use brute force – heat, blast and radiation – against human flesh. Part of the World War II Manhattan Project, Oak Ridge enriched the uranium used in the first atomic bomb, dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, August 6, 1945.
Y-12 provides the enriched uranium that is in every warhead in today’s U.S. nuclear arsenal. The Hiroshima bomb killed 100,000 people instantly and another 100,000 over the next few months.
Today’s 2,150 operational U.S. warheads can yield over 55,000 times the explosive power of that first bomb. Hundreds more warheads are kept in reserve and can be deployed in a relatively short amount of time. For 35 more years, Y-12 will work to modernize every warhead in the stockpile, increasing the explosive power of many, and ensuring their functionality for up to 100 years. All three atomic bomb manufacturing sites, including Oak Ridge, are in line for new multi-billion dollar facilities which will increase production capacity eightfold.
Nuclear weapons remain the cornerstone of the U.S. empire; there seems no reason to believe that when it is the empire’s turn to fall, or if its nationhood is ever threatened, that it will not launch them. The Obama Administration’s Nuclear Posture Review still rejects a no-first-use policy and continues nuclear strike planning against non-nuclear adversaries. Indeed, whenever a Defense Department or State Department representative insists that in dealing with an adversarial nation that “all options remain on the table,” they are threatening nuclear holocaust. From the foot of my bunk to the nuclear armed Trident submarines roaming the oceans, H. Rap Brown’s insight still holds, that “Violence is as American as apple pie.”
If nuclear weapons are the imperial cornerstone, war is the foundation. The United States is the only nation that currently attacks or invades other nations. Every other military conflict is within national borders, while the U.S. is at war in or occupying Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Libya. U.S. special operations forces track down and kidnap or assassinate suspected terrorists around the world.
The U.S. floods the planet with weapons and military training, intelligence, and technology, stoking current wars and sowing the seeds of future wars. The country itself is one vast armaments industry and military base, with over 17,000 military contractors in every city, hamlet, and town, and some 700 bases at home and abroad.
The economic benefits of empire seduce the citizenry into believing ourselves peace-loving people, with a unique respect for life, and allow us to maintain history’s most lethal professional military that keeps the blood from staining our own knuckles.
At his hearing, when invited by the judge, Steve had this to say:
“To require children to live in a world threatened by nuclear weapons is an unspeakable evil, and the United States has a moral responsibility to make sure it never happens. If we have any hope for a nuclear weapons free future, the United States must lead, acting with the relentlessness of the Manhattan Project, a nuclear disarmament race.
“We must depart from the Gods of metal. Depart from evil and seek good, and only then will we see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”