From March 4-6, about 120 peace activists from across the country gathered at Camp Justice across from Creech AFB, 50 miles outside Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in a Mass Mobilization to Stop Drone Wars -- A Convergence for Peace in the Nevada Desert. We are community from Catholic Workers, CodePink, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative NonViolence, etc. I arrived on Tuesday March 3rd and funded ARCWP sponsorship. We gathered to name and nonviolently stop drone warfare and targeted assassinations that originate at Creech where the robot drones fly every few minutes with the scenic mountains in the background . Here is the belly of the beast where sensor and drone operators train and push the buttons of Predator and Reaper drones that incinerate babies, children, mothers, fathers, elders on the otherside of the planet. Because of the cold weather and thin sleeping bags, a number of us shared hotel rooms in Las Vegas, then caught rides to the morning vigil (6-8 a.m.). I wore my "Children of the World Stole" and carried my "desconocida" cross as the workers entered the base and left (3-5 p.m.). "Listen to your conscience. You are not a robot!" I called out. Local communities brought in our meals. My first night we watched the play "Grounded" about a female drone operator. Well written and acted, this one-woman play carries a prophetic message that brought us to tears. In April it will begin its Off Broadway run starring Anne Hathaway. My hope is that it will awaken citizens to the immoral, illegal and de-stabalizing proliferation of drone warfare which at present is unregulated and unconstrained.
During my previous visit to the Nevada Desert Experience three years ago last August, I met CODEPINK's Co-founder Medea Benjamin who was introducing her book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. That week we did die-ins and I wailed over the victims as I've done at the NSA, CIA, White House, etc. By luck and grace I got a media pass from NCR into the Drone Convention at the Mandalay Hotel where I was one of only several women of the 8,000 men who attended workshops sponsored by DARPA and others about the use of drones (surveillance and targeted killings), autonomous robots, commercial drones etc. In the hall filled with 5,000 exhibits from the weapons industry, I recalled the words of my Old Testament teacher Walter Brueggemann: "Follow the money" to the source of injustice. Recently, I've completed a review-essay of Drones and Targeted Killings: Legal Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, a volume of 14 essays edited by legal scholar Marjorie Cohn.
On Thursday we planned our Friday actions in various affinity groups as the Thunderbirds demonstration squadron flew over us zigzaggin through the skies. Here I met friends from from various Catholic Workers, East and West. Our group planned to shut down Creech's West Gate as others (Franciscans Louis Vitale and Jerry Zawada, Voices' Brian Terrell and former Col. Ann Wright crossed thru the commercial (main) entrance. Meanwhile our affinity group, mainly women, carried placards of photos of the victims and processed toward the West Gate parallel to the cars entering. Ellen Grady from Syracuse and I lay down in front of the lead car. After a few minutes we all decided to proceed to the West Gate where our die-in took place. In the video above you'll see me in the purple jacket carrying the white cross and wailing over the dead. We shut down Creech at least for awhile! Janice