Report Back: Shut Down Creech! Fall Action 2019

Marking 10 years of Drone Resistance at CREECH AFB, Nevada

by Eleanor Levine and Toby Blomé

Shut Down Creech Team, Fall 2019

After 10 years of activism at Creech Killer Drone Base, we remain committed to

-Ending ENDLESS War 

-Stopping the WAR MACHINE and Shutting down its TERRORIZING KILLER DRONE PROGRAM

-Building towards worldwide JUSTICE and PEACE in which safety, love, and compassion prevail for all. 

Susan Witka and others mourning the 32+ Pine Nut Harvesters massacred on Sept. 18 by a U.S. Drone 

Photo by Rev. Phil Sano.  

Over 2 Dozen CREECHERS accomplished a lot at SHUT DOWN CREECH  

The First Two Blockades at Main Entrance                                                           

“We were peaceful and we were loud!”

-We successfully interrupted the U.S. war machine in a nonviolent, extended blockade of two entrance gates, using 4 “waves" of blockaders, over a period of over an hour.  (Details below).   9 Second Video HERE.

-We held 8 two-hour vigils throughout the week during morning and afternoon shift changes at the entrance to Creech Air Force Base.

-We joined Veterans for Peace (VFP) for a protest against the expansion of Nellis Air Force Base onto the protected Desert National Wildlife Refuge near Nevada. (Details below)

We did good!   

Although we may not have Shut Down Creech, well not yet,  …  our daily presence forced personnel entering and leaving Creech and Nellis AFBs to think about the cost of ENDLESS WAR on all of us, including Mother Earth.  (See Attachment A)

Our messaging through banners, signs, and visuals were fresh, changing with each vigil, challenging base personnel to make connections between their actions, global war, and the environment.  Examples of our messaging can be found in Attachment B. 

AND …. Ta Da …. In the midst of all our hard work, we managed to squeeze in joyful recreational activities such as a hot springs trip, desert walks, fun team-building activities, and a visit to the Indian Springs Oasis on karaoke dance night.

The Nitty Gritty Details of What We Did

"First Wave” Blockaders at Creech Killer Drone Base, Photo by Rev. Phil Sano           

9 Second Video HERE.    

NONVIOLENT CIVIL RESISTANCE AT CREECH AFB

Our direct action on October 2, 2019 at Creech AFB interrupted the daily business of Drone Terror and Killing. By blocking entrances to the base for nearly an hour, we encouraged soul searching and discussion among base employees about the terrorizing killer drone program. 

With only 10 activists able to risk arrest, we successfully and amazingly created four separate “waves" of Creechers, peacefully blocking traffic into the gates using our bodies and long banners in consecutive interruptions.  First, after a half hour of vigiling, three Creechers, with supporters and banners, blocked the main road into the base. The traffic that was then diverted by police to a second entrance gate was met with an unexpected 2nd wave of blockaders. These other three Creechers, with a small support crew, successfully blocked traffic at the 2nd gate for an extended time.  Meanwhile, back at the first gate, once the lengthy “riot act”  2 minute warning was read by police in both English and also in Spanish for the first time, and arrests were made, that gate was re-opened.  Soon after, a third wave of four more Creechers, with long banners, formed a new blockade at the first gate.  Again, the “riot act” was read, this time without the Spanish translation and with only a 1 minute warning, and arrests were ultimately made. Concurrently, the blockaders at the second gate left their position, as the traffic was being detoured back to the first gate.  These 3 Creechers, with supporters, then hustled to the first gate by, and intiated a “fourth wave” blockade, stretching across the entrance with a long banner, and slowly walking down the entrance road in nonviolent resistance, holding up traffic again. They ultimately were arrested as well.  Those not risking arrest carried on vigiling until all arrestees were processed and transported to the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) in Las Vegas.  

The “Last Wave,” completing nearly an hour of disruption of the U.S. Killer Drone Machine.
The Last Arrest: George Killingsworth,  2 Second Video HERE.
In all, 10 Creechers were arrested and ultimately charged with “failure to disperse.”  (Arrestees included Toby Blomé, Norie Clarke, Don Cunning, Maggie Huntington, Michael Kerr, Don Kimball, George Killingsworth, Eleanor Levine, Denny Riley, and Susan Witka) All were released with citations later that day, though 4 women were held 5 hours longer because they refused to be scanned by the newly installed full body micro-scanner. They were individually interrogated and intimidated, but all held strong to their positions.  As a result, they were isolated together in a separate cell for hours, to eliminate the risk of “contaminating” the other inmates, according to the guards. These four middle-aged white woman found creative ways to use up the “punishment time” together, such as dancing, laughing, and good story telling, and were often greeted with looks of dismay, smiles and laughs from some of the  prisoners and guards that passed their cell windows.  
Veterans for Peace members, Denny Riley and Michael Kerr, standing up for peace & justice, during arrests, Oct. 2.

Once again the arrestees were witness to the oppressive and frequently cruel environment that is the Las Vegas jail system, a reminder that the “injustice system" is one guided mostly by punishment and control, and not by rehabilitation and justice.  For example, numerous shared inmate stories over many years have revealed  how the well being of even very young children present during parental arrests is often of little concern to arresting officers.  Alternative approaches to minimize trauma on children are not considered, even over very minor misdemeanor violations.  The degree of unnecessary harm and thoughtlessness is shocking, and, as expected, it is people of color and the mentally ill who endure the most abusive treatment.   Although we were relieved to be released, we were once again reminded of and deeply saddened by the dysfunctional and abusive nature of the U.S. prison system.

Arraignments are scheduled for November 12, 2019 in Las Vegas.  

A Las Vegas lawyer, Waleed Zaman, has just confirmed that he will represent all of us at our arraignment.   Thank you Waleed!  

Memorializing another U.S. drone massacre along commuter highway….

Themed VIGILS throughout the week at CREECH AFB

-FUNERAL PROCESSION honoring those killed by US Drone Wars. Vigilers carried coffins representing the countries (AFGHANISTAN, SOMALIA,YEMEN, LIBYA, SYRIA, NIGER, PAKISTAN, MALI, IRAQ) we know the US is currently droning.

Read Nick Mottern's  US Drone Program May Have Helped Turkey Kill Kurds for Over a Decade

-WAR IS A LIE, identifying those who conspire to lie to justify war. (Presidents, Congress, Media, Generals, CIA, etc.)

-NO DRONE KILLING!  A nonviolent Direct Action to halt the war machine

-HAPPY BIRTHDAY GANDHI  featuring a tall poster of Gandhi honoring his legacy of nonviolence, and celebrating his 150th Birthday.

-WAR IS NOT GREEN linking militarism to worldwide environmental destruction and climate change 

-FLY A KITE, NOT A DRONE in solidarity with the Afghan Peace Volunteers.  www.OurJourneyToSmile.com

A PUBLIC READING:   (Organized by Andrea Assaf)   We closed two of our vigils by performing a public reading of personal testimonies by U.S. drone strike survivors and witnesses.  Our goal was to educate nearby military personnel, police, and the three counter-protestors about the gravity and horror of U.S. mass drone killings.

Nellis AFB Action to stop theft of protected land

Did you know that the military wants to take over a million acres of protected land from the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (DNWR) north of  Nellis? The military claims it needs the land to enhance bombing and combat training. Don’t they have enough land already? Haven’t they wrought enough destruction? 

On October 3, 2019under the leadership of Garett Reppenhagan, Executive Director, Veterans For Peace, and VFP national staff person Samantha Ferguson, more than 30 VFPers and CodePinks, and other environmental activists gathered at the entrance to Nellis to stop the land grab that would imperil endangered wildlife, increase pollution, and further threaten our fragile climate. (Attachment A) 

Holding signs such as “DON’T BOMB THE BIG HORN!” “VETERAN’S SAY …. STOP WAR AGAINST EARTH,” and “NO EXPANSION of NELLIS AFB ONTO THE DESERT NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE,” we vigiled for about 90 minutes until the Las Vegas and Nellis AFB police arrived claiming we were trespassing on military property, though we were outside the controlled entrance gate. We were ordered to leave and, not surprisingly, the AFB boundaries mysteriously “moved” with each new position we occupied. For a first Nellis action, it was a success, with good coverage by the Las Vegas Sun:

Veterans, anti-war activists protest proposed Air Force base expansion in Nevada

Locally, expansion of Nellis is opposed by environmental groups, tribes, individuals and government entities that share access to the Wildlife Refuge.  (Attachment A)  The Nevada State legislature has voted against base expansion. We thank Veterans For Peace for inviting us to join them in this important effort to stop further assault on our protected wilderness.

Unexpected incident:  

In the early morning of Friday, Oct. 4, a driver of a huge 18 wheeler flatbed truck, loaded with hay, pulled off the highway to the shoulder,  and parked so close that the front of the truck was practically “kissing” the banner furthest down the highway, being held by a single female activist.  It was undeniably a provocative act, intending to intimidate and harass us. To our disappointment, but not surprise, the Nevada State Trooper that was present refused to intervene in any meaningful way.  Needed info was noted, including the name and vehicle number of the state trooper and the license plate number and company name of the truck in order to file formal complaints later.

SUMING IT UP

- Our actions against ENDLESS WAR and the TERRORIZING KILLER DRONE Program, were mighty and strong, and successfully connected the dots between U.S. militarism and environmental destruction and the global climate crisis. Even after 10 years of drone resistance at Creech AFB, we remain undeterred in our desire to build towards worldwide PEACE and JUSTICE. Obviously we did not stop ENDLESS WAR by our week of action; however, we know that with each passing year, the military and it’s employees are forced to note our actions and our messaging. They are forced to examine their role in the war machine. 

-We, members of CODEPINK, Veterans For Peace, and supporters, worked collaboratively at Creech and Nellis, linking Militarization with Environmental Concerns and Climate Chaos. 

Read:  10 Ways that the Climate Crisis and Militarism are Intertwined, by Medea Benjamin.

-As we look to the future, we seek to expand our network to include activist groups in the Las Vegas area. If you have any connections, please let us know. 

- We received some good media coverage locally and nationally. (See attachment C)

Special Thanks to our Veterans for Peace Allies who participated.

We love working with YOU!

Veterans For Peace Members:  Dave Patterson and Ray Cage
Caroline and VFP members, Andrea, Ray, Chris and Garett

Acknowledgments

- We thank all the enthusiastic, creative, and dedicated CREECHERS, old and new, who participated in SDC Fall 2019. We did good! Really, we did!

- We thank Veterans For Peace for participating and supporting our work all these years, and especially Garett Reppenhagen, VFP Executive Director and Samantha FergusonVFP National Staff, for partnering with us this year, being present at many of our vigils, and for organizing the Nellis action. We look forward to future collaboration.

- We thank Andrea Assaf, author of the forthcoming play, “DRONE,” for bringing a different and very welcomed voice to SDC, this fall. Hopefully Andrea will join us again.

-We thank the staff at NevadaDesertExperience.org who provide the critical Las Vegas local support that we depend on, with special appreciation this year to Ming and Laura-Marie.

- We thank Candace Ross, Priestess at the Goddess Temple of Sekhmet, for hosting us this year and in years past.

- We thank Cres Velluci for his fabulous work informing the press of our up to the minute Creech actions and to Democracy Now and the Las Vegas Sun, for covering our story.

-We thank all the lawyers in Las Vegas who have provided the critical pro bono legal assistance over the years, allowing us to more easily take risks and participate in nonviolent civil resistance. Extra special thanks to Chris Grasso and Waleed Zaman, who have been professional, reliable and helpful every step along the way.  We can’t thank you enough!

-We thank the many others not mentioned who have helped in numerous ways this year, including those who could not attend SDC, but who supported us in other ways.

Challenges

Due to financial and other reasons, future actions at Creech will face new challenges as the Goddess Temple Guest House is no longer able to accommodate groups such as ours. Although we are welcome in the future to camp on the Temple grounds, we will no longer have access to guesthouse beds, kitchen, and other facilities.   

All suggestions are welcome in our search to find other accommodations suitable for our group of Creechers with its range of needs. Let us know what helpful suggestions you might have.

Of course we are always in need of money. Those wishing to donate to SDC may write a tax deductible check made out to CODEPINK, with "SHUT DOWN CREECH." written on the memo line.

Please send checks to:    

SHUT DOWN CREECH, 1925 Hudson St., El Cerrito, CA 94530

For Additional information Go Directly to SHUT DOWN CREECH.

 

WE WILL RETURN! WE WILL PREVAIL!

We are planning to return to Creech in the spring and fall of 2020, although the dates and details have yet to be determined.  Please contact us asap if you are interested in participating in the spring action.  

Until next time, in Justice and in Peace and, of course, lots of love, compassion, and determination - Toby, Eleanor, and Maggie

--

Attachment A   

Recommended Reading

Drone Teams are haunted by the work they do. They are conscious of the terror, death, and destruction they cause and the military is fully aware of the toll it takes on Drone Teams.

ANG Considering Placing Top Secret-Cleared Support Staff in RPA Squadrons, Air Force Magazine, 9.18.19. 

New York Times “The Wounds of the Drone Warrior” 6.13.2018

 

The US military is the single-largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world. Popular Resistance  “Major Media Bury Groundbreaking Studies of Pentagon’s Massive Carbon Bootprint”  10.12.19

 

Las Vegas has warmed 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970. That’s more than any other city in the United States. Rounding out the top five fastest-warming cities were El Paso (4.7 degrees F), Tucson (4.5 degrees F), Phoenix (4.3 degrees F), and Burlington (4.1 degrees F).”   

"Las Vegas is Getting Hotter Faster than any other city“   Nevada Current, 4.23.19                                                                             

VFP statement about the expansion of Nellis AFB.

 

Empire of Borders:  The Expansion of the US Border Around the World, 2019

 

Attachment B

(A Sampling of Our Large Banners)

-WHEN DRONES FLY, CHILDREN DIE

-KILL THE DRONES, NOT INNOCENT PEOPLE 

 

 SUPPORT PEACE

- WE WILL NOT RAISE OUR CHILDREN 

TO KILL THE CHILDREN OF OTHER MOTHERS

-U.S. DRONE WARFARE IS TERRORISM

 

-STOP DRONING AFGHANISTAN

18 YEARS ENOUGH!

- SHUT DOWN CREECH (Giant Banner)

- STOP KILLER DRONES

- STOP KILLING FOR EMPIRE

- A LIVABLE PLANET ….ACT NOW

- FLY A KITE, NOT A DRONE

     FROM KABUL TO SAN FRANCISCO 

- US DRONE STRIKES

    PINENUT PICKERS

    30+ DEAD…….40+ WOUNDED

- TIRED OF ENDLESS WARS?

 REFUSE….RESIST…..DISARM

- #1 USER OF EARTH’S OIL

US MILITARY

- GI RIGHTS HOTLINE

    1-877-447-4487

  

Attachment C

MEDIA. VIDEOS & PHOTOS

 

Democracy Now

10 Arrested in Anti-Drone Protest at Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base

(Headlines:  SDC at 13:50 min)

Las Vegas Sun

Veterans, anti-war activists protest proposed Air Force base expansion in Nevada

(Note:  SHUT DOWN CREECH was completely censored by mainstream media this time!)

 

Independent Videos:

The First Two Blockades at Main Entrance  

(30 min:  First Blockade starts at 4 min.)

9 Second Video of First Wave HERE.  

The "Third Wave" Blockade  

(Just Prior to Arrests, 2 min.)

MORE PHOTOS:

Rev. Phil Sano’s Photos:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/eXE3myn8chag8X8y5

Sam Ferguson’s Photos/Video:    

bit.ly/CreechFall2019

 

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.