Monday, May 05, 2014
I don't know a perfect comparison, but Code Pink members seem to be equivalent to the American and Engish Suffragettes. A member and a friend, Martha Hubert, will start her own blog, but until then I will post her latest report here. Here is how those savage crusaders look when not fighting America-as-Earth's-Military-Empire, in favor of the frail echo of a democracy), followed by Martha's recent account of their labors.
Since our activities at Creech, more arrests at more bases! Yay!
Since our activities at Creech, more arrests at more bases! Yay!
Thanks to all who participate in our efforts to STOP KILLER DRONES!
Creech AFB Report Back (Part One)
(Sunday 4/6 - Thursday 4/10 am)
On Sunday, April 6th, Toby, Fred and I drove to Creech AFB via Fresno, where we visited the artist installation of a life size drone model.
We were greeted by Joseph DeLappe (the artist from Reno), Beverly and later, Teresa (both Fresno Activist friends).
We watched as the artist and his student assistants added the final wing to the Drone.
The point of this installation is to draw attention to drone warfare, and that it isn’t just another computer game.
Drone warfare is TERROR. We said our goodbyes and were on our way.
There were a lot of miles to cover before we reached Creech. We arrived at the Goddess Temple in Cactus Springs, a short drive from Creech AFB, at 10:00 p.m. Sunday night, glad to get out of the car.
Monday morning our friend John (VFP Albany) joined the three of us from the Bay Area to protest at the base entry.
Our numbers were small, but our messages were many (and STRONG), thanks to Toby’s obsession with banner making.
Between protests on Monday, we visited the wild horses at Cold Creek, not far from Creech at a higher elevation (cooler too).
On Monday night we were joined by our friend Barry (VFP Sacramento).
He was especially popular with some of us since he brought Coffee for Tuesday morning.
It’s wonderful being back here on the Goddess Temple property.
The huge Cottonwood trees provide shade and a great place to work on making new banners.
Barry picked up Catherine at the Las Vegas Tuesday afternoon, while some of us stayed behind.
We had banners to make!
CAUTION: MILITARY LIFE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH
It was nice to have both Catherine and Barry back with us for Tuesday afternoon's commute.
Was it ever HOT out there! Those cold beers that we got at the Oasis Bar in the tiny town of Indian Springs were exceptionally good!
The desolate landscape in this part of the country is a rock hound’s dream come true.
The Goddess Temple and grounds are evolving in a beautiful way, thanks to Candace Ross, the Temple Priestess.
We’re fortunate to have the Temple Guest House for a place to stay, a place filled with love and creative energy.
Each day we greet the commuters in and out of the base with our signs and banners.
We’re out at the most busy entrance to the base 6-8 am and 3-5 pm, sometimes longer.
Wednesday morning we dressed in black with white masks, carried tiny coffins, a baby (doll), and the huge banner saying
DRONE WARFARE IS TERROR, as well as another saying MOTHERS SAY NO TO WAR.
The five of us had a funeral procession down the highway next to the base.
We were back at the base entrance Wednesday afternoon, focusing on Justice for Chelsea Manning and all whistleblowers.
Wednesday evening we brought our messages to Las Vegas, and had dinner at Bacco, Lt. Ehren Watada’s restaurant there.
Edwina, Lisa, John, Mark, Ming and others joined us for dinner.
While waiting for our meal, we kept busy cutting out paper drones for an upcoming action.
It was very fitting to show our support of the restaurant owned and managed by the brave veteran who stood up to the lies of our government leading us to the war in Iraq. It was an excellent meal, enjoyed by all.
After dinner we split into two cars: one for grocery and hardware shopping and the other to pick up Renay and Peggy at the airport.
None of us got much sleep that night. Barry’s coffee was essential Thursday morning.
We were all up bright (well, it was actually dark) and early Thursday morning (with five new participants!)
We gathered at the entrance to Creech wearing white clothing and white masks.
We wore blue scarves in solidarity with the Blue Scarf Movement (thebluescarf.org)
"The Blue Scarf represents the expansive blue sky we all share and has become a global symbol for togetherness.
It was set in motion by a very brave group of women in Afghanistan ready to be heard
and is now being worn around the world as a way for people to express their solidarity as global citizens for a better world.”
Every day we’re joined by more protesters!
There’s one nut of a counter protestor, on his huge motorcycle with a big American flag. More on him later.
We’re having a blast. Let’s hope we’re having an impact!
Creech AFB Report Back (Part Two) Martha Hubert 4/23/14
Thursday 4/10 pm - Sunday 4/13/14
For the afternoon commute on Thursday, April 10th, we focused on KITES. We were joined by Kit and Keith from Washington state, and Josie from New Mexico. FLY KITES NOT DRONES!
We had dozens of hand made kites as well as a few store bought ones, beautiful artwork and signage. Many thanks to Shirley Osgood and the folks in Grass Valley for their contributions to this effort. And thanks to Barry for bringing them! Most of the kites were held by hand or strung together horizontally, though there was one brave soul (Lisa) who pranced around our protest with Renay’s kite high in the air. It was quite windy, and a bit unpredictable; but what a sight to behold!
On Thursday evening, Candace invited us to the Temple for a beautiful ritual dedicated to our activism for PEACE. During the ritual we were joined by Liz and Maggie from Arizona.
We regrouped at the Temple Guest House and discussed our intentions for Friday (Civil Disobedience). After much discussion, we finally settled on the seven of us who were willing to be arrested, and started writing a letter to the base commander.
Here is the letter we wrote to be delivered to the base on Friday morning 4/11:
Commander Col. Jim Cluff April 11, 2014
President Barack Obama
CIA Director John Brennan
We are here today as Americans who are deeply concerned about the global use of drones.
We are here to say, no more use of drones starting today.
We come from many places in the western United States, leaving families, time off from work and other commitments to be here. We will not tolerate the use of our military and our tax dollars to continue the killing of men, women and children without due process.
Some of us have been here many times, watching the drones fly overhead, as the service members go back and forth to the base. Our message has been “No More!”
We have lobbied the president and our congressional representatives with the same message:
“No more weaponized drones, no more killing!”
As concerned citizens we are here today to demand the following:
o An immediate ban on the use of all drones used for extrajudicial killing.
The US must immediately stop this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.
o Halt all drone surveillance worldwide, as it assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights.
US drone surveillance is currently terrorizing domestic life in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.
o Prohibit the sale and distribution of weaponized drones and related technology to foreign countries in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom and security.
o Stop global militarization. Close all US bases in foreign lands now. A nation’s military should be used for defense purposes only and the sovereignty of all nations should be respected.
o Halt the US occupation of foreign lands. It is illegal, immoral and perpetuates endless wars while sacrificing desperately needed services at home.
We are often accused of “trespassing”. However it is our view that the real trespassing is that of our military in its extrajudicial killings.
Toby Blome Catherine Hourcade Maggie Huntington
There was one obnoxious motorcycle riding, flag waving counter protester we’d been seeing for the past few days. Here you see him greeting us with the oh so familiar middle finger salute.
It was interesting that the police didn’t have a problem with this guy parking his bike on the shoulder of the road for two hours, though we would never have been permitted to park there. He wasn’t alone this time. There were already a few other counter protesters whom we’d never seen there before. Fortunately they were considerably outnumbered by our group. In addition to the large number of fellow activists in our contingent, we were joined by other peace activists from the Nevada Desert Experience in Las Vegas.
Here you see Catherine and Renay with the pink paper drones strung between them.
I led the funeral procession with a large sign that Toby made DRONES KILL CHILDREN. I was followed by the six other arrestees (Catherine Hourcade, Renay Davis, Toby Blome, Edwina Vogan, Maggie Huntington, and Lisa Marcus (holding another one of Toby’s great signs: ABOLISH WAR).
We were all wearing pink paper drones (each with the name of a drone victim) strung around our necks. Our supporters (Liz, Susan, Migene, Kit, Keith, Barry, Eleanor, Peggy, …) followed with Josie keeping a steady drumbeat going as we walked beside highway 95, along the perimeter of the base. As advised by one of the police officers, the drum beat quickened as we scurried across the oncoming traffic into the base, so that we could all get across the base entry safely. After processing back and forth a bit, we angled down to the base entry “boundary” and those of us who risked arrest kept going until (and sometimes after) we were stopped by “law enforcement” - mostly Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. At first, they grabbed some of us roughly, though that didn’t last long. We actually had some decent conversations with some of the arresting officers. Toby observed a significant positive change in the attitudes of the Las Vegas officers throughout the entire arrest/detainment/jail experience. Many of them were very interested in hearing what we had to share about drone warfare, asking us questions and even joking with us in a humorous and friendly way. There was a significantly increased tolerance to our intentions and actions.
Here you see Toby talking with one of the officers before the arrest (with Nico, our friend from Reno who is making a documentary on Drone Proliferation in Nevada).
There was a somewhat playful mood as we wiggled around crossing the (arbitrary) boundary and approached the gate entrance as close as possible. They really didn’t want to arrest us. But our actions were making a statement, and the arrests were part of our plan. Along with confronting the President and the Congress, we feel it’s important to confront the judicial branch of the government, and the arrest process is an important part of that picture.
Lisa and Martha being arrested
Our supporters were in full force with signage and singing as we were reigned in and put in transport for the trip to the Las Vegas jail. They held us there in the base driveway for a while, long enough for us to think we’d be cited and released. But, that didn’t happen. They split the seven of us into four cars to drive to Las Vegas. I went solo in the back seat of a police car. After talking with the driver, struggling to be heard through the bullet proof glass, I settled on listening to his country music and looking out the window. Though Edwina and I were arrested last, we were the first to arrive at the police station. (I noticed that my driver was going considerably above the speed limit.) They took our shoes, socks and jewelry, and we were given floppy sandals to wear. We were photographed and finger printed, went through a “medical exam”, and were sent to sit and wait for the process to continue. One by one, we saw our activist friends going through the same. Edwina was pulled aside because of an unresolved prior arrest during an earlier drone protest at Creech (walking in the wrong direction on the side of a highway???). I was sent off to a cell where I met two inmates, already there. They were both very nice; one a vegan sex worker and another young woman was there for yelling at her young child when he had a tantrum (child endangerment). The young mother snuck behind the “privacy wall” in the cell to express breast milk. She had another child, a newborn who wasn’t being fed and her loaded breasts were quite painful. Those two were taken away, and I was alone for a while.
Then Catherine, Maggie and Renay showed up in my cell. We sang some songs, and tried to entertain each other. By mid afternoon I was called, given my possessions, and released out the back door of the jail, where I waited alone for the others to come out. It was a little tough since all I had was $20 and my drivers license. Next time I’ll bring my cell phone! After waiting alone for 45 minutes or so, the others started appearing, all but Edwina, whom we didn’t see until quite late that evening due to her outstanding bench warrant.
Thanks to the amazing support from NDE Las Vegas friends, Marcus, John, Mary Lou and Ming, Lisa hightailed it out of there to catch a plane. Catherine, Maggie and Renay were given a ride back to Indian Springs for the afternoon Creech vigil.
Fred drove down from Indian Springs to join Toby and me as we waited for Edwina’s release. It seemed like forever. They had told us it would be up to four hours, but when the first four hours ended, they said it could be another four hours. Ugh. Finally Edwina appeared. She was starved, though in remarkably good spirits, happy to be released. We stopped at a restaurant on the way back to Indian Springs. We were back at the Goddess Temple Guest House a little after midnight. That was one LONG day!
Saturday we took the day off and some of us visited Bailey’s Hot springs in nearby Beatty, NV.
On Sunday Renay, Susan, Eleanor and I drove back to the Bay area, through Death Valley and the mountains, a beautiful way to go.
Toby, Fred, Catherine and Barry stayed behind for NDE’s Peace Walk.
We’ll surely be back to continue questioning authority!
And we won’t be alone. The Wednesday after our Friday arrests, nine more were arrested at Creech, including Barry Binks, our VFP friend from Sacramento.
Not Bad! Sixteen arrests in one week!
Thanks to Josie Lenwell, Fred Bialy and John Amidon for the pictures I didn’t take!
Please excuse any omissions and/or errors. This report back is to the best of my memory.