Organizers pledge to return twice yearly until Drone Killing Operations are Shut Down.
A 5 day anti-drone protest at Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, last week culminated in a massive blockade on Friday of the 2 gates leading into the base, repeatedly blocking traffic for an extended time during the early morning commute. Over 150 activists from at least 18 states participated. 34 were arrested and charged with trespassing or blocking the roadway into Creech AFB, the most critical U.S. armed drone base in the country.
Among those arrested included Col. Ann Wright, a 29 year army veteran and former U.S. diplomat, whose inspiration last November led to the massive anti-drone protest at the base, after months of grassroots organizing. Wright said, "it is our duty as citizens to challenge government actions that not only are illegal, but also jeopardize national security-and the U.S. assassin drone policies do both."
Following the event, organizers and participants pledged to turn their effort into a twice a year campaign to put a halt to the illegal drone program. "We're going to keep coming back until we SHUT DOWN CREECH!," chanted the protesters as they were being hand-cuffed and detained.
Creech drone base is the site of control for CIA and Pentagon targeted drone killings that terrorize communities and remotely kill civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere. A recent independent study indicated that the identity of 28 out of 29 people executed by U.S. drone missiles are unknown, thus providing strong evidence that drone killings are primarily indiscriminate assassinations.
After being arrested by Las Vegas Metropolitan police, arrestees were driven in a bus 150 feet across Highway 95 and released at "Camp Justice," a three day, 24/7 encampment where many protesters had stayed in below freezing night time temperatures. On Thursday, when protesters were making final plans and preparations for Friday's resistance action, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird precision jet team flew six jets at extremely low altitudes over Camp Justice, making it nearly impossible to have discussions because of the noise of the jets. In spite of the purposeful interruption, creative plans were made and organizers were extremely pleased with the overall success of interrupting business as usual at the drone base;.
Traffic was backed up the highway and on frontage roads to the base multiple times in the morning, as waves of "affinity groups" staged independently planned actions at the gates to fulfill the intent to have a sustained interruption of base activities. These separate actions included a 40 person Veterans For Peace contingent that delivered a letter addressed to drone operators calling on them to not participate in war crimes related to targeted killing and to refuse to obey illegal orders. Another contingent blocked one gate with yellow crime scene tape, temporarily impeding traffic.
A third group marched in a long procession along the highway holding large colored photographs of drone victims, many of them children, passing along the backed up cars trying to enter the base, and ultimately laying down on the roadway in a "die-in" while doing a mass wailing to dramatize the grief and suffering experienced by victims. A fourth group carrie larged hand painted panels that depicted children, representing the young victims killed in Pakistan and Yemen, and created another wave of resistance to stop traffic.
These coordinated multi-wave efforts took the local law enforcement off guard, and plugged up traffic into both gates for some time.
Meanwhile, earlier in the week, in a completely independently sponsored effort, national anti-drone activists privately paid for an anti-drone ad to be aired on regional Nevada television, that criticized drone attacks and showed graphic images of mutilated children killed by drone attacks. The ad, (http://youtu.be/dP4vYOUDjQ8), was aired on CNN, MSNBC and other networks and was sponsored by KnowDrones.com.
The U.S.A.F. is having great difficulty keeping pilots in the drone program, as outlined in this article:
Nonetheless, U.S. government officials are ignoring the many signs that illustrate the failure of the very nature of drone assassinations and refuse to listen to the will of the people. Killler Drones make enemies.
During the protests, highway US-95 leading from Las Vegas to the base, renamed the Drone Victims Memorial Highway, was lined with nearly 100 tombstones, with the names and ages of children killed by U.S. drones. The Drone Victims Memorial Highway underscores the dark side of drone warfare and highlights Creech Drone Base as the criminal site where these unlawful killings are executed and from where drone pilots, following illegal orders, have caused the deaths of over 200 Pakistani children alone.
Activists will return to Creech Drone Base twice annually as a national mobilization until the last armed drone is grounded for good.