Weaponized Drones Are Real Threat To Security Say Protesters At Creech AFB Nevada


Afghans inspect damage of Ahmadi family house after U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi) Source: Military.com

Amid the chaotic and embarassing retreat from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan came a drone strike on the Ahmadi family whose aid worker dad was transporting water in his car with little children aboard. “The Pentagon admitted Friday an airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians, including seven children, but not any terrorist planners as officials first claimed,” according to Military.com.

Now it is even more urgent to demand the use of flying killer robots be banned. A large group of dedicated activists return each year to the Nevada desert where U.S. drone operators sit in trailers and decide to kill entire families without enough information to evaluate whether or not those targeted actually pose a threat to security. 

Weaponized drones are the real threat to security.

Here’s the organizers’ press release with detailed information on the week long protest.

2019: People protest against drone warfare at the entrance to Creech Air Force Base. Six people were detained and charged with misdemeanors during the week-long event, which is held several times a year. (John Locher/AP) Source: AirForceTimes.com

PROTESTORS FROM 12 STATES CONVERGE AT CREECH AFB FOR WEEK OF PROTEST TO DEMAND AN END TO REMOTE DRONE KILLING, AND BAN ON KILLER DRONES 

Kabul Killing of Afghan family, including 3 adults and 7 children, by U.S. Drone Last Month will be Memorialized


LAS VEGAS/CREECH AFB, NV – Anti-war/anti-drone demonstrators from the East and West coasts announced they are converging here Sept. 26-Oct. 2 to hold daily protests – which will include efforts to interrupt “business as usual”  – at the U.S. Drone Base at Creech Air Force Base, an hour north of Las Vegas, Nevada. 

U.S. anti-drone activists across the country will be holding solidarity protests at drone bases and in communities across the country during the same week, to amplify their common call for a ban on killer drones.  Contact Nick Mottern for more info:  (914) 806-6179.

In the aftermath of the horrific “mistake” from a U.S. drone attack on a civilian family in Kabul last month, that left three adults and seven young children dead, protesters are demanding that the U.S. cease its secret remote assassination program that they say is illegal and immoral. 

Vigils every morning and afternoon during commute hours will take place with varied themes each day. See schedule below. Nonviolent interruptions of flow of traffic into the base are planned during the week to oppose the inherent abuse, illegality and injustice of the U.S. targeted remote assassination program.  Rejecting the very nature of U.S. extrajudicial killings that has led to the death of thousands of civilians, protesters demand an immediate ban on all killer drones. 

Many military veterans, now members of Veterans for Peace, will be joining, including post-911 veterans. The event is co-sponsored by CODEPINKVeterans for Peace and Ban Killer Drones.

At Creech, U.S. Air Force personnel, coordinating with C.I.A. officials, are, regularly and secretly, killing people remotely using unmanned armed drone planes, primarily the MQ-9 Reaper drones.  

Thousands of civilians have been killed and injured, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere, since 2001, by U.S. drone strikes, according to independent investigative journalism.    

Over the last 20 years, the use of  armed drones have led to deadly atrocities that have included strikes on wedding partiesfuneralsschoolsmosques, homes, farm laborers  and in January, 2020, included direct hits on high level foreign military and government officials from Iran and Iraq.  

These drone massacres have, at times, resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians with a single drone attack. To date not a single U.S. official has ever been held accountable for these ongoing atrocities – Yet, drone whistleblower, Daniel Hale, who leaked documents revealing the high rate of civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes, is currently serving 45 months in prison.

“U.S. officials and military leaders exhibit total disregard for the value of human lives in the countries targeted under the so-called War on Terror,” said Toby Blomé, one of the organizers of the week long protest. “Over and over again, innocent lives are being purposefully sacrificed in drone strikes, in order for the U.S. to continue its ‘counter-terrorism campaign,’” said Blomé.

“The Ahmadi family drone massacre that occurred in Kabul last month is not an example of accidental mis-judgement. It is an example of an ongoing reckless pattern of abuse whereby the U.S. assumes the right to kill a person on suspicion alone, just in case that person may be a threat, while also sacrificing everyone else who happens to be in the area,” Blomé added.

Organizers say that the only reason the truth about this recent drone tragedy was exposed is because it took place in Kabul, where investigative journalists were available to scrutinize the event. For 2 weeks after the incident U.S. military had insisted that they killed an ISIS affiliate. The evidence proved otherwise. Most drone strikes are underreported and not investigated because they occur in remote rural areas, far from international media.  

Participants of the week-long protest are calling for a complete ban on killer drones, an immediate end to the targeted killing program, and full accountability for the innocents killed, including reparations to the surviving victims of U.S. drone strikes, past and present.

“Given the murder of 10 innocent people in Kabul, including seven children, we know that the U.S. drone program is a disaster,” said organizer Eleanor Levine. “It makes enemies and it has to end now.”

Demonstrators are also calling for the immediate release of Daniel Hale  the drone whistleblower who exposed the criminality of the drone program. The documents leaked by Hale revealed that in many cases, up to 90% of those killed by U.S. drones were not the intended target. Demanding a pivotal shift toward justice, Shut Down Creech participants declare:  “Arrest the war criminals, not the truth-tellers.”

Mon, Sept 27, 6:30-8:30 a.m.
DRONE FUNERAL PROCESSION:  Dressed in black with white “death masks,” activists will process down the highway, in a solemn death march, carrying small coffins with the names of the countries that have been the primary targets of ongoing U.S. drone attacks that have led to high civilian casualties.  (Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and Libya)


Mon, Sept 27, 3:30-5:30 p.m. “DRONE ATTACKS ARE…”  
Participants will hold large bold signs with varied descriptive words to demonstrate the failure of the U.S. Drone Program:   ILLEGAL, RACIST, IMMORAL, BARBARIC, CRUEL, FUTILE, WRONG, DISGRACEFUL, etc.


Tues, Sept.28 , 6:30 – 8:30 a.m.THE DRONE MASSACRE MEMORIAL:  A long series of banners will be stretched along the highway, each one highlighting details of past U.S. drone massacres, including strikes that have hit wedding parties, funerals, schools, farm laborers and mosques.  Statistics on civilian deaths are included on each banner. This time, the horrific tragedy of the Ahmadi family killed in a Kabul neighborhood will be added to the historical record.

Tues, Sept 28, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. THE WAR IS A LIE;  To demonstrate the concept that the “first casualty in war is the truth,” a series of signs will convey examples: Presidents Lie, Congress Lies, Generals Lie, CIA lies, etc.  The messages will conclude with banners calling on more critical thinking:  Question Authority; Resist the Lies They Tell…Resist the Wars They Sell;  Truth-teller and Drone Whistleblower, Daniel Hale, will be featured:  “FREE DANIEL HALE.”


Wed, Sept 29, 6:30 – 8:30 a.m.GO BACK, WRONG WAY!  
A nonviolent, peaceful action will be planned to “interrupt business as usual” and to resist the illegal and immoral activity that takes place at Creech Killer Drone Base.  Details will be available later in the week.  NO MORE DEATHS! Other nonviolent acts of resistance may be planned at other times during the week.


Wed, Sept 29, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.  ALTERNATIVES TO WAR;  
A series of signs will offer alternatives to the military working at Creech AFB:  Doctors NOT Drones, Bread NOT Bombs, Housing NOT Hellfire Missiles, Peace Jobs NOT War Jobs, etc.


Thurs. Sept 30, 6:30 – 8:30 a.m.  “CREECHERS FOR THE PLANET”;  
In a playful approach to connect the very serious global problems of climate crisis and environmental devastation with militarism, participants will dress in their favorite “Creecher Costumes” (Creature Costumes) and/or hold large animal puppets, while holding educational signs “connecting the dots”:  U.S. Military #1 Polluter, War is Toxic, End War for Climate Justice, U.S. Military = #1 User of FOSSIL FUEL, War in NOT Green:  PROTECT EARTH, etc.


Thurs. Sept 30, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.  TBD:  Creech AFB may or may not have a vigil.  Stay tuned for updates.  A Las Vegas Anti-drone Street Theater Action planned at the Fremont Street Pedestrian Mall (4:00 – 6:00pm) in Las Vegas.  Details to come later. 


Fri. Oct. 1, 6:30 – 8:30 a.m.  FLY A KITE, NOT A DRONE;  In a colorful display of beautiful kites in the sky, participants will hold their final demonstration of the week, focusing on the positive benefits of alternatives to war, where all sides win.  The central large banner:  DIPLOMACY NOT DRONES!  The vigil will also honor the Afghan People, who have been forced to live under the terror of U.S. drones for 20 years, with immeasurable human losses.  The U.S. has “officially withdrawn” it’s troops and closed it’s bases in Afghanistan, the most droned country on earth; however, the drone strikes are expected to continue under Biden’s unspecified “Over the Horizon” policy.  Another large banner will declare:   STOP DRONING AFGHANISTAN:  20 YEARS ENOUGH!

Contact:  
Toby Blomé, 510.501.5412;  toby4peace@sonic.net
Eleanor Levine, 510-290-7071;  eastbaycodepink@gmail.com

For more details:   www.ShutDownCreech

‘The Temptation Not To Question It’ — Daniel Hale, Drone Warfare Whistleblower

Afghanistan War veteran Daniel Hale pled guilty to revealing the truth about U.S. drone warfare on civilians. Although there’s no indication he shared what he knew with opposing forces, he wrote an anonymous chapter in the book The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program (Scahill et al., 2016) and provided documents to the lead author.

Hale later pled guilty to charges under the Espionage Act and will be sentenced today. 

Hale’s handwritten letter from prison explains his motivations for the choices that ruined his life and the lives of many others; it is full of eloquent wisdom. 

Some excerpts:

…I sat by and watched through a computer monitor when a sudden terrifying flurry of Hellfire missiles came crashing down, splattering purple-colored crystal guts on the side of the morning mountain.

Since that time and to this day, I continue to recall several such scenes of graphic violence carried out from the cold comfort of a computer chair. 

Not a day goes by that I don’t question the justification for my actions.

how could it be that any thinking person continued to believe that it was necessary for the protection of the United States of America to be in Afghanistan and killing people, not one of whom present was responsible for the September 11th attacks on our nation.

in spite of my better instincts, I continued to follow orders and obey my command for fear of repercussion. 

Yemen,  2014 from “Are US military drone strikes legal?” SBS Australia, 2014

Yet, all the while, becoming increasingly aware that the war had very little to do with preventing terror from coming into the United States and a lot more to do with protecting the profits of weapons manufacturers and so-called defense contractors

contract mercenaries outnumbered uniform wearing soldiers 2-to-1 and earned as much as 10 times their salary. 

I was starting to wonder if I was contributing again to the problem of money and war by accepting to return as a defense contractor. Worse was my growing apprehension that everyone around me was also taking part in a collective delusion and denial that was used to justify our exorbitant salaries for comparatively easy labor. 

The thing I feared most at the time was the temptation not to question it.


Source: The Indypendent, 2021

I believe that any person either called upon or coerced to participate in war against their fellow man is promised to be exposed to some form of trauma. In that way, no soldier blessed to have returned home from war does so uninjured.

on that day, years after the fact, my new friends [gasped] and sneered, just as my old ones had, at the sight of faceless men in the final moments of their lives. I sat by watching too, said nothing, and felt my heart breaking into pieces.

Left to decide whether to act, I only could do that which I ought to do before God and my own conscience. 

The answer came to me, that to stop the cycle of violence, I ought to sacrifice my own life and not that of another person.

So I contacted an investigative reporter with whom I had had an established prior relationship and told him that I had something the American people needed to know.

Respectfully,

Daniel Hale