9 courageous anti-drone activists arrested at Creech AFB

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at about 8:10 AM, 9 courageous anti-war activists were arrested at Creech AFB when attempting to serve a War Crimes Indictment (indictment below) to  Creech AFB Commander Col. Jim Cluff.  The 9 are members of the 2014 NDE Sacred Peace Walk which will end at the Nevada National Security Site on Friday, April 18, 2014.


The illegality of  the CIA “secretive cluster of units within the wing called the 732nd Operations Group” can no longer be denied or covered up.  Hundreds of children have been murdered along with thousands of innocent men and women. The CIA is using Creech Air Force Pilots to carry out drone strikes in Pakistan. The War Indictment could not be delivered  at a more timely moment. 


The 9 courageous activists arrested today are:

Vera Anderson, Las Vegas, NV
Barry Binks Sacramento, CA

Darcy Ike, San Diego, CA

Seamus Knight, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Majors, las Vegas, NV

Margaret McChesney, Phoenix, AZ
Marcus Page, Sheep Ranch, CA
Dan Shay, Santa Rosa, CA
Brian Terrell, Maloy, Iowa

Attached photo: Closing the gate on war crimes at Creech AFB. The 9 anti-drone activists arrested from Left To Right are:
Vera, Anderson, Marcus Page, Robert Majors, Margaret McChesney, Brian Terrell, Seamus Knight, Barry Binks, Dan Shay and Darcy Ike in front. 

Closing the gate on war crimes at Creech AFB. The 9 anti-drone activists arrested from Left To Right are:
Vera, Anderson, Marcus Page, Robert Majors, Margaret McChesney, Brian Terrell, Seamus Knight, Barry Binks, Dan Shay and Darcy Ike in front.

NDE volunteer John Amidon said, “The unconscionable killing of so many innocent people by drone strikes will forever be a stain on the USAF.”


WAR CRIMES INDICTMENT
Colonel Jim Cluff 
Creech Air Force Base
Indian Springs, Nevada
April 16, 2014

To President Obama, to Secretary of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, to the full Military Chain of the Command, including Commander Colonel Jim Cluff, to all Service Members and civilian staff of Creech Air Base, and to the local police and Sheriffs Department of the Clark County, Nevada:
Each one of you, when you became a public servant, serving in a government position or when you joined the United States Armed Forces or police, you publicly promised to uphold the United States Constitution. 

We take this opportunity to call your attention to Article VI of the US Constitution, which states:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary not with standing.”

This clause is known as the Supremacy Clause because it provides that the Constitution and laws of the U.S., including treaties made under authority of the U.S. shall be supreme law of the land.
The Supremacy Clause provides part of the Supreme Law of the Land.
One Treaty duly ratified by the U.S. is the United Nations Charter. It was ratified by a vote of 89 to 2 in the U.S. Senate, and signed by the President in 1945. It remains in effect today. As such, it is part of supreme law of the land.
The Preamble of the U.N. Charter states that its purpose is to “save future generation from the scourge of war” and it further states, “all nations shall refrain from the use of force against another nation.”
This Treaty applies both collectively and individually to all three branches of government, on all levels, U.S. federal, state and local governments, starting with the executive branch: the U.S. President and the executive staff; the judicial branch: all judges and staff members of the judiciary; the legislative branch: all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and all departments of Law Enforcement and all civilian staff, who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, which includes Article VI.
Under the U.N. Charter and long established international laws, anyone–civilian, military, government officials, or judge- who knowingly participates in or supports illegal use of force against another nation or its people is committing a war crime.
Today you must recognize that when you promised to uphold the Constitution, you promised to obey Treaties and International Law – as part of the Supreme Law of the Land and furthermore, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice of the U.S., you are required to disobey any clearly unlawful order from a superior.
Based on all the above,

WE, THE PEOPLE, CHARGE THE UNITED STATES PRESIDENT, BARAK OBAMA AND THE FULL MILITARY CHAIN OF COMMAND TO COMMANDER COLONEL JIM CLUFF, EVERY DRONE CREW, AND SERVICE MEMBERS at CREECH AIR BASE, WITH CRIMES AGAINST PEACE & CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, WITH VIOLATIONS OF PART OF THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND, EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS, VIOLATION OF DUE PROCESS, WARS OF AGGRESSION, VIOLATION OF NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY, AND KILLING OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS.
We charge that the United States Air Force, headquartered at Creech Air Force Base, home of the of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Commander Colonel Jim Cluff, is maintaining and deploying the MQ-9 Reaper robotic aircraft, called drones. These drones are being used not only in combat situations for the purpose of assassinations but also for killings far removed from combat zones without military defense, to assassinate individuals and groups far removed from military action.
Extra judicial killings, such as those the U.S. carries out by drones are intentional, premeditated, and deliberate use of lethal force to commit murder in violation of U.S. and International Law.
It is a matter of public record that the US Military has used drones in Afghanistan and in Iraq for targeted killings to target specific individuals which has nearly always resulted in the deaths of many other non-targeted innocents. Recent evidence has come forth indicating the personnel at Creech AFB also have used drones similarly in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia for the C.I.A. 
There is no legal basis for defining the scope of area where drones can or cannot be used, no legal criteria for deciding which people can be targeted for killing, no procedural safeguards to ensure the legality of the decision to kill and the accuracy of the assassinations.
In support of this indictment we cite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, who has said that the use of drones creates 

“a highly problematic blurring and the law applicable to the use of inter-state force…. The result has been the displacement of clear legal standards with a vaguely defined license to kill, and the creation of a major accountability vacuum…. In terms of the legal framework, many of these practices violate straightforward applicable legal rules.” 

See United Nations General Assembly Human Rights Council Study on Targeted Killings, 28, May 2010.

The drone attacks either originating at Creech or supported here are a deliberate illegal use of force against another nation, and as such are a felonious violation of Article VI of the US Constitution.
By giving material support to the drone program, you as individuals are violating the Constitution, dishonoring your oath, and committing warcrimes.                      
                                                                   
We demand that you stop participating in any part of the operations of MQ-9 drones immediately, being accountable to the people of United States and Afghanistan.
As citizens of this nation, which maintains over 700 military bases around the globe, and the largest, most deadly military arsenal in the world, we believe these words of Martin Luther King still hold true, ”the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government”.
There is hope for a better world when WE, THE PEOPLE, hold our government accountable to the laws and treaties that govern the use of lethal force and war. To the extent that we ignore our laws and constitution and allow for the unchecked use of lethal force by our government, allowing the government to kill who ever it wants, where ever it wants, how ever it wants with no accountability, we make the world less safe for children everywhere.
We appeal to all United States citizens, military and civilian, and to all public officials, to do as required by the Nuremburg Principles I-VII, and by Conscience, to refuse to participate in these crimes, to denounce them, and to resist them nonviolently.
Signed by:
Marcus Page
John Amidon
Nevada Desert Experience

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Nevada Desert Experience to serve Creech AFB with a War Crimes Indictment

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, between 6:30 and 8:00 AM, the Sacred Peace Walk conducted by Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) will serve a War Crimes Indictment to Creech AFB Commander Colonel Jim Cluff. The Indictment can be viewed online. Arrests seem likely when Sacred Peace Walk Representatives attempt to deliver this indictment in person. There will also be a vigil in front of the base.

Brandon Bryant, a former US Predator operator, in the newly released motion picture, DRONE, said, “There is a lie hidden within that truth. And the lie is that it’s always been the air force that has flown those missions. The CIA might be the customer but the air force has always flown it. A CIA label is just an excuse to not have to give up any information. That is all it has ever been.” (See reference below.)

In light of yesterday’s breaking revelations about the “secretive cluster of units with the wing call the 732nd Operations Group”, where the CIA is using Creech Air Force Pilots to carry out drone strikes in Pakistan, NDE’s War Indictment could not be delivered at a more timely moment. Clearly the illegality of the largest targeted drone killing program can no longer be denied or covered up.

“We also are here to call upon the airmen and airwomen to consider the spiritual impact of the horrifying physical violence conducted by Creech AFB,” said NDE Council member Marcus Page-Collonge.

Local Peace Group Welcomes Pakistan Peace Delegates for Air Force anti-Drone Demonstrations This Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

CONTACTS:
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.

Pakistani civilian victims vent anger over US drones

From: BBC News
Nov 2, 2011
By Orla Guerin BBC News, Islamabad

When tribal elders from the remote Pakistani region of North Waziristan travelled to Islamabad last week to protest against CIA drone strikes, a teenager called Tariq Khan was among them.

A BBC team caught him on camera, sitting near the front of a tribal assembly, or jirga, listening carefully.

Four days later he was dead – killed by one of the drones he was protesting against.

His family told us two missiles hit the 16-year-old on Monday near Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan. His 12-year-old cousin Wahid was killed alongside him.

The boys were on their way to see a relative, according to Tariq’s uncle, Noor Kalam, who we reached by phone.

He denied that Tariq had any link to militant groups. “We condemn this very strongly,” he said. “He was just a normal boy who loved football.”

The CIA’s drone campaign is a covert war, conducted in remote terrain, where the facts are often in dispute.

The tribal belt is off limits to foreign journalists. Militants often seal off the locations where drone strikes take place. The truth can be buried with the dead.

After the missile strike on Monday, Pakistani officials said four suspected militants had been killed.

If the strike actually killed two young boys – as appears to be the case – it’s unlikely anyone will ever be held to account.

There are no confirmed death tolls but several independent organisations estimate that drones have killed more than 2,000 people since 2004. Most are suspected to be militants.

Many senior commanders from the Taliban and al-Qaeda are among the dead. But campaigners claim there have been hundreds of civilian victims, whose stories are seldom told.
Photo: A drone aircraft of the kind used by the US military The use of drone missiles has soared

A shy teenage boy called Saadullah is one of them. He survived a drone strike that killed three of his relatives, but he lost both legs, one eye and his hope for the future.

“I wanted to be a doctor,” he told me, “but I can’t walk to school anymore. When I see others going, I wish I could join them.”

Like Tariq, Saadullah travelled to Islamabad for last week’s jirga. Seated alongside him was Haji Zardullah, a white-bearded man who said he lost four nephews in a separate attack.

“None of these were harmful people,” he said. “Two were still in school and one was in college.”

Asghar Khan, a tribal elder in a cream turban, said three of his relatives paid with their lives for visiting a sick neighbour.

“My brother, my nephew and another relative were killed by a drone in 2008,” he said. “They were sitting with this sick man when the attack took place. There were no Taliban.”
Legal challenges

Viewed from a drone, any adult male in the tribal areas can look like a target, according to Mirza Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer who is taking on the CIA.

“A Taliban or non-Taliban would be dressed in the same way,” he said. “Everyone has a beard, a turban and an AK-47 because every person carries a weapon in that area, so anyone could be target.”
Clive Stafford Smith, director of the British legal charity Reprieve, holding the fragment of a missile Campaigners like Clive Stafford Smith say drones are resulting in “murder”

Mr Akbar is suing the CIA for compensation in the Islamabad High Court, and plans to file a Supreme Court action.

He claims the US is getting away with murder in North Waziristan. It’s a view shared by the British legal charity Reprieve, whose director, Clive Stafford Smith, has been meeting drone victims in Pakistan.

“What’s going on here, unfortunately, is murder,” he said.

“There’s a war going on in Afghanistan, but none here in Pakistan, so what the CIA is doing here is illegal.”

The CIA would doubtless say otherwise, if it were prepared to discuss the drone programme, but US officials are usually silent on the issue.

In a rare public comment two years ago, the then director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, defended the use of drones.

“We have targeted those who are enemies of the United States,” he said. ” When we use it, it is very precise and it limits collateral damage.”

But the damage is not limited enough, say opponents like Mr Stafford Smith, who is gathering evidence about civilian deaths. From a shopping bag he produced a jagged chunk of metal – a missile fragment – believed to have killed a child in Waziristan in August of last year.

“I have a three-year-old son myself, and the idea that this thing killed someone very much like my little Wilf really tugs at your heart strings,” he said.

Mr Stafford Smith says drones are changing the nature of modern warfare.

“If you are trying to surrender and you put your hands up to a drone, what happens?” he asks.

“They just fire the missile, so there are all sorts of Geneva Conventions issues which are not being discussed.”

Campaigners also warn that drone strikes are counter-productive, generating more radicalism and more hatred of the West. They say the drone strikes are a Taliban recruiting tool.

At Tariq Khan’s funeral, many mourners spoke out against the US, according to his uncle Noor Kalam.

But Washington is unlikely to heed the anger here. Under President Barack Obama, the use of drone missiles has soared – there’s an attack on average every four days.

Increasingly, these remote-controlled killers are Washington’s weapon of choice.

Justin Raimondo on mechanized imperialism

The Obama administration has found a good way to avoid both the domestic political and international fallout that comes of waging constant warfare: let machines do the dirty work. Of course, the Obamaites don’t get the full credit for the discovery – drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan were part of the Bush team‘s strategic plan, but the Obama White House has gone much further in utilizing this tactic to escalate and extend American military operations around the world, and they’re doing it in secret – without congressional oversight, without public debate, and without the knowledge or consent of the American people.

The theater of operations is vast – potentially as vast as the world itself, given the rationale of pursing “terrorists” wherever they might be detected – and, so far, the range extends from the tribal regions of Pakistan to the African savannah, where pilotless “Reapers” take off from airfields in Ethiopia and Djibouti in search of prey. According to reports, US bases have also been established in Saudi Arabia and the Seychelles for this purpose. The latter, I hear, are quite happy about what this has done for local business: Americans may be standing in the unemployment lines, while their taxes go to fund endless war, but the Seychellois are in relatively good shape these days.

In any case, the latest targets of these unmanned killer-drones are located, as far as we know, in Somalia, where the Islamic group al-Shabab is alleged to have some vague ties to al-Qaeda. But that’s just what they’re telling us: because this is a secret war, we don’t know the real targets. It is highly likely, however, that among those targets are numerous rebel groups rising against the tyranny of Ethiopian “president” Meles Zenawi.

Further reading.

Quick denial of number of civilian deaths due to drones

CIA drone strikes have led to far more deaths in Pakistan than previously understood, according to extensive new research published by the Bureau. More than 160 children are among at least 2,292 people reported killed in US attacks since 2004. There are credible reports of at least 385 civilians among the dead.

In a surprise move, a counter-terrorism official has also released US government estimates of the numbers killed. These state that an estimated 2,050 people have been killed in drone strikes – of whom all but an estimated 50 are combatants.

Further reading.

"No collateral damage due to drones"

On May 6, a Central Intelligence Agency drone fired a volley of missiles at a pickup truck carrying nine militants and bomb materials through a desolate stretch of Pakistan near the Afghan border. It killed all the militants — a clean strike with no civilian casualties, extending what is now a yearlong perfect record of avoiding collateral deaths.

Or so goes the United States government’s version of the attack, from an American official briefed on the classified C.I.A. program. Here is another version, from a new report compiled by British and Pakistani journalists: The missiles hit a religious school, an adjoining restaurant and a house, killing 18 people — 12 militants, but also 6 civilians, known locally as Samad, Jamshed, Daraz, Iqbal, Noor Nawaz and Yousaf.

The civilian toll of the C.I.A.’s drone campaign, which is widely credited with disrupting Al Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan’s tribal area, has been in bitter dispute since the strikes were accelerated in 2008. Accounts of strike after strike from official and unofficial sources are so at odds that they often seem to describe different events.

The debate has intensified since President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, clearly referring to the classified drone program, said in June that for almost a year, “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.” Other officials say that extraordinary claim still holds: since May 2010, C.I.A. officers believe, the drones have killed more than 600 militants — including at least 20 in a strike reported Wednesday — and not a single noncombatant.

Further reading.