SF Bay Area

34 Arrested at Mass Mobilization Against Drones.

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On Friday March 6, 2015 34 actvists were arrested after staging a “die-in” during the mass mobilization anti-drone protest at Creech Air Force Base, about 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Creech Air Force Base mission is to carry out remote controlled assassinations using the MQ-1 Predator and Reaper drones. Though officials deny it many civilians including women and children are killed by drones.  About 100 anti-drone activists stood or laid down on the road in front of the two access gates. Others were stationed along the highway carrying photos and tombs to represent drone warfare victims.

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CodePink along with activist groups from 18 different states such as Nevada Desert Experience (NDE), Veterans for Peace (VFP), Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WINPF), Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) and others gathered for a week in the desert to speak out against remotely piloted aircraft flying armed missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia and spotlight war crimes and connect with pilots.

Casey Stinemetz of Veterans for Peace said the St. Louis-based organization saw the event as an opportunity to reach out to the “cogs in the machine,” such as the pilots and other Creech personnel who carry out drone operations.” It’s a huge opportunity to reach across the line, even if it’s just planting a seed in their mind.”

The 34 people who were arrested were cited on misdemeanor charges and released, but another person was taken into custody for an outstanding warrant, according to the Las Vegas police.

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Base commander Col. Jim Cluff said:  “The protesters are exercising their Constitutional right to peacefully assemble, which is a right we as members of the United States military are honored to uphold and protect. That being said, the protests have not and will not affect our mission here at Creech,” He defended the operation in a statement, saying its mission was to provide life-saving intelligence and surveillance.

CodePink and other activists groups at the mass mobilization question whose life are they saving? It is not making U.S. citizens safer the whole region where drones are being used to kill al-Qaida members is aflame with people crying death to America. The Houths, who have taken control of the capital Sanaa and nine of Yemen’s 21 provinces, are sworn enemies of al-Qaida, and received no support from Iran, but they are also hostile to the U.S. Their slogan is “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damnation to the Jews, victory for Islam.” Why CodePink asks are they so angry with the U.S.? The answer is oblivious U.S. is blowing up their houses, injuring and killing their children.

Followers of the Houthi group demonstrate against the Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, in Sanaa

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For more than a decade, the CIA and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command have carried out parallel targeted killings in Yemen, and the U.S. military has trained elite Yemeni counterterrorism units. In September, President Barack Obama cited Yemen as a success story when he detailed his strategy against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, which involves targeted U.S. strikes on militants with the cooperation of friendly ground forces.

Now in April the U.S. drone campaign against al-Qaida Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is in disarray. About 100 U.S. military advisers withdrew last March from al-Annad air base, where they had been leading the campaign. The Houthis have overrun the base, which was hit in recent Saudi Arabia air raids. Yemen is not much of a success story more a tragic failure. The drone strategy and taking sides and supporting a non-democrat corrupt regime instead of producing a peaceful Yemen, is pushing Yemen towards civil war. As the whole region where drones have been used is mired in civil war and cries of death to America

CodePink’s message to Base commander Col. Jim Cluff it is time for a new mission to provide life-saving intelligence and surveillance. We need to stop killing women and children and destroying cities to protect American citizens, this strategy is not working. Instead the U.S. government needs to admit the failure of this mission declare an immediate ceasefire, hold talks with all parties involved, including al-Qaida. Then begin rebuilding schools that girls can go to; build and staff health clinics; rebuild infrastructure and offer low interest loans to farmers, shopkeepers and women to help rebuild their war shattered lives. The Obama/Bush doctrine is taking the U.S. down the road to life taking war, not to life saving peace. In the name of peace Col. Cluff CodePink wants to “SHUTDOWN CREECH.”

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CodePink is a women's grassroots-initiated, worldwide organization of women and men working for peace, social justice and a green economy. CodePink SF serves the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.


 

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The national CodePink organization organizes for justice for Iraqis and to hold war criminals accountable. CodePink actively opposes the U.S. war in Afghanistan, torture, the detention center at Guantanamo, weaponized and spy drones, the prosecution of whistleblowers, U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and repressive regimes.

Rooted in a network of local organizers, CodePink's tactics include satire, street theatre, creative visuals, civil resistance, and directly challenging powerful decision-makers in government and corporations. And, of course, wearing pink!

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