Megan Rice

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Megan Rice

Megan Rice is a is a nuclear disarmament activist and Catholic nun.

Her parents Frederick Rice and Madeleine Rice "were active participants in the Catholic Worker movement and considered Dorothy Day a good friend."[1]

'Progressive' Elementary School

Well, yes. The elementary school that I went to also was very much interested—it was a progressive school run by a person who was very involved in Columbia and Barnard for the Catholic, Roman Catholic students since the twenties, Father George B. Ford.

Plowshares Movement

Arrest for breaking into American nuclear facility:[2]

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”.

Letter to Judge Thapar asking for leniency for the Oakridge 3

Megan Rice was a member of the "Oakridge 3"

A letter dated January 9 2014 asking for leniency for the "Oakridge 3":[3]

January 9, 2014
The Honorable Amul R. Thapar United States District Judge 800 Market Street, Suite 130 Knoxville, TN 37902
Dear Judge Thapur: The Defending Dissent Foundation is a 53 year old civil liberties organization that recognizes the value of dissent in a vibrant democracy. As such, we regard the actions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli on July 28, 2012 as nonviolent civil disobedience in the finest American tradition. Therefore, we respectfully request that you exercise your right to judicial discretion in sentencing these three individuals. The Defending Dissent Foundation takes no position on nuclear weapons facilities or the content of the protest, but it is clear that the three sought to call attention to an issue of national importance and, through symbolic action, voice their concern and opposition. Their goal never was to harm anyone, and no one was harmed. The fact that the three were able to find their way into the facility and reach the uranium storage unit reflects the abysmal security system of the facility. These activists should not be held liable for the closure of the plant for two weeks to address security lapses. It should not be a factor in their sentencing. Non-violent civil resistance and civil disobedience have long played an important role in our democracy, bringing important issues to the public sphere and advancing our society toward justice, freedom and peace. Like others who have undertaken such action, Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli are willing to serve time in jail, which they have done without complaint. However, to sentence the three to terms of up to twelve years would be an injustice. In your October 1, 2013 Memorandum Opinion and Order you wrote, “Of course, the defendants’ non-violence will be relevant at sentencing, since the Court must account for both the “nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics” of the defendants… Given the obvious differences between the defendants and the paradigmatic saboteur, those factors surely will be worthy of discussion”. We applaud your wisdom and insight and strongly encourage you to sentence the three with downward departures from the sentencing guidelines.

Board of Directors

cc: Bill Quigley

Fasting against “Star Wars”

In 2008, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space promoted a June 22 “Global day of fasting to Stop Star Wars”.

The global day of fasting to Stop Star Wars on June 22 is one important way for the public to become involved in this debate. All over the world the U.S. is dragging the "allies" into Star Wars and active resistance to the insanity of an arms race in space is growing.

Included on the “fast’ list was Megan Rice of Las Vegas, Nevada.[4]


  1. accessed December 10 2019
  2. Graffiti-Spraying 84-Year-Old Nun Jailed for Three Years for Breaking into Nuclear Facility accessed December 10 2019
  3. Letter to Judge Thapar asking for leniency for the Oakridge 3 accessed December 10 2019
  4. Organizing Notes blog: STAR WARS OR SOCIAL PROGRESS - YOU DECIDE, June 21, 2008 (accessed on April 21, 2010)