Local Peace Group Welcomes Pakistan Peace Delegates for Air Force anti-Drone Demonstrations This Week;
Prepares for “Sacred Peace Walk” Stepping Off on March 24
Jim Haber, 415-828-2506
Nevada Desert Experience Coordinator
Toby Blome, 510-541-6874
Ann Wright, Ret., 818-741-1141
March 18, 2013
As Nevada Desert Experience makes final preparations for its annual desert sojourn known as the “Sacred Peace Walk,” a group of demonstrators are converging on the gates of Creech Air Force Base to hold constant vigil against the rising tide of robotic hunter-killer air systems like the Predator and Reaper “drones” controlled by crews at the Indian Springs installation.
The Sacred Peace Walk begins on Palm Sunday, March 24, with a day of marching in Las Vegas taking in the Strip and Fremont Street Experience and a stop at the Dept. of Energy’s North Las Vegas facility. Then the group moves to the desert for its walking meditation and peace demonstrations at Creech and the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).
Until then an additional set of actions are taking place at Creech including three members of the activist group CODEPINK who went to Pakistan in October, 2012 as part of a peace delegation there to show solidarity with Pakistanis who are suffering under the constant threat of “death by drone.z’ People there are marching in the tens of thousands against the Pakistan and United States wink-and-a-nod targeted assassinations. Retired Army Col. Ann Wright of Honolulu, HI, Toby Blome of El Cerrito, CA and JoAnne Lingle of Indianapolis, IN also were all arrested in Washington DC recently during the Senate hearings for John Brennan’s appointment to direct the Central Intelligence Agency.
Col. Wright explained “I came to Creech Air Base to challenge the US drone program at a base from where pilots fly drones in Afghanistan and other places–killing innocent civilians. The anger of the world is focused on the US assassin drone program and is making the United States less safe.” Lingle added, “It is vitally important that we address both drone crews as well as policy-makers to say these surveillance and attack drones are illegal and immoral. We have a responsibility to do all we can to stop them nonviolently. That includes standing up in Washington and here at Creech.”
Wright added that the CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan–and other countries the US isn’t officially at war with–are dwarfed by the number of strikes in Afghanistan. Dept. of Defense statistics available on their website until late February according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, showed that of the missile strikes in Afghanistan in 2012, 25% of them, almost 500, were fired from drones. There were 46 CIA drone strikes in Pakistan in the same year. “Creech drone crews have fired 10 times as many missiles into Afghanistan as CIA operators have into Pakistan,” added Wright.
The Sacred Peace Walk began as the “Lenten Desert Experience” in 1982 with prayer times and acts of resistance to full-scale nuclear weapons testing being conducted at the Nevada Test Site that time. Over the years, the annual pilgrimage to the United States nuclear sacrifice zone has expanded to raise concerns about other emerging arms races with activities in southern Nevada. “When I came to Las Vegas five years ago, I couldn’t work to resist nuclear weapons and just walk past the air force’s ‘drone central’. Unfortunately, we’re still developing new bombs and warheads, so that race continues too. In any arms race, there are no winners. ”
For route and schedule details of the walk and other background information, visit NevadaDesertExperience.org. Over 30 walkers are already signed up for this year’s walk.