The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that it has entered into a contract with a newly established security firm for testing the security of the nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure.
The group, calling itself Isaiah's Investigators (II), was recently established by a consortium of Plowshares activists from around the country. No articles of incorporation were found in the public records.
Operatives from II will make unannounced incursions into any of the eight facilities, including three national laboratories, that make up the nation's nuclear security enterprise. Findings based on their incursions will be used to improve security at each facility, ensuring the safety and security of the nation's nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons materials.
When asked about the seemingly odd nature of such a company engaging in this line of work, company spokesperson William "Bix" Bichsel, a Jesuit priest, spoke from II's headquarters at the Tacoma Catholic Worker in Washington State. "Well, it's really not such a stretch. You see... we've got more experience doing this sort of thing than anyone in the government. Our staff has decades of collective experience in this line of work. And we do it well. I think our record speaks for itself."
Bichsel, at 84 years old, is not the only octogenarian on II's staff, while the youngest member is 57. When asked whether there was any concern about the age of the workforce at II, an NNSA spokesperson, who asked not to be named, said that the NNSA does not discriminate in any way based on age, sex or race. "I've read dozens of reports of these people's activities, and they are darned good at what they do. There is no question about their ability to get the job done. They run circles around any government agency charged with this kind of task."
|(from left) II founders Crane, Greenwald, Montgomery, Kelly & Bichsel|
When pressed for examples, Crane described the histories of a number of current employees. She, herself, has a long history of Plowshares actions. Her most recent action, along with Bichsel, Lynne Greenwald, Steve Kelly and Anne Montgomery, was an incursion into the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific at the Bangor Trident Base in 2009. Crane, Kelly and Greenwald are all in their 60s. Montgomery, an ex officio member of the staff in her 80s (and a Catholic nun), is also qualified in aquatic operations. Years ago, at the age of 62, Montgomery climbed up onto a Trident ballistic missile submarine at Groton, Connecticut.
Three new members recently joined the staff at II. Megan Rice (82), also a nun, Michael Walli (63) and Greg Boertje-Obed (57) engaged in a daring pre-dawn incursion deep into the Oak Ridge Y-12 Nuclear facility on July 28, 2012. All three reached the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF), one of the most high security facilities in the nation . They were able to spray paint messages on the walls and tie crime scene tape to the facility before being detected.
|Newest members of II, Walli, Rice and Obed|
Kelly's extraordinary discipline is renowned. Also a Jesuit, he once spent nearly 15 months mastering the art of solitary confinement. Kelly also conducts regular yoga sessions to help the staff stay centered and be physically prepared for the rigors of incursions into high security facilities that can take hours and involve cutting fences and long cross-country treks.
Company strategist Rice was asked if there are plans to expand operations internationally. "Well, that's an intriguing question. There are some wonderful, talented Plowshares activists in other parts of the world. It would be a great opportunity to work with our brothers and sisters in so many other parts of the world, such as England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia... oh, just imagine the possibilities."
Asked about the company's long-term prospects, Greenwald said, "Oh, rest assured that we're serious about our work. With current U.S. nuclear weapons policies and the continuing buildup of the nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure, we aren't going away anytime soon. We're in this for the long haul. You might say this is our retirement plan."
When asked if the Navy and Air Force plan to contract with II to test security at military nuclear weapons installations a Pentagon spokesperson, who asked not to be named would only say that "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons at any U.S. military installation."
When asked what benefits are included in II's employment package, Bichsel smiled and said "...well, you might say the benefits come after our work here is done. We're certainly not in it for the money."
OKAY!!! You've hopefully figured this one out by now, if not after reading the first paragraph. That being said, these people really are pros, and they put their hearts and souls into the good work of turning swords into plowshares in the best tradition of the Plowshares movement. And they really have put the security of the nations nuclear weapons facilities to the test, even though that was not their purpose.