Organizers pledge to return twice yearly until Drone Killing Operations are
Contacts: CODEPINK, Women for Peace;
Col. Ann Wright: 808-741-1141
Toby Blome: 510-541-6874
Martha Hubert: 415-722-332
Marcus Page-Collonge: 505.379.6942
A five-day anti-drone protest at Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada,
last week culminated in a massive blockade on Friday of the two 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. Thirty-four 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
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 on 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 lying 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 carried large 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
was aired on CNN,
MSNBC and other networks and was sponsored
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.