Photo by Shirley Tung
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2023
Five Anti-Drone Warfare Activists – Including Three Veterans – Arrested Wednesday Morning at Main Gates of Holloman Air Force Base Drone Training Center Near Alamogordo, New Mexico
HOLLOMAN AFB, NM—Five anti-drone warfare activists, including three military veterans, were arrested here shortly after dawn on Wednesday morning for allegedly blocking the entrance to the main gates of Holloman Air Force Base. Holloman is the site of the largest U.S. killer drone training program in the U.S. (700 killer drone pilots/operators graduate annually).
Toby Blomé, Ken Mayers, Elliot Adams, Michael Kerr and Richard Bishop were arrested by Otero County, New Mexico deputies, and charged with misdemeanor obstruction of a roadway. They have a trial date for May 15 in Otero County, New Mexico.
The national coalition of groups Shut Down Drone Warfare (SDDW) has been holding peaceful pickets at the drone training center at Holloman Air Force Base since last Saturday, and will continue through Sunday, April 22.
The April 19 action was a nonviolent Day of Resistance and peaceful civil disobedience: “You do not have our consent,” modeled on the words of Martin Luther King Jr., these acts of nonviolent direct action serve to “create and foster such a tension” as to demand a response. He wrote, “Nonviolent resistance is one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their quest for social justice.”
Organizers plan additional outreach to the local community of Alamogordo with several educational public events, including a panel at 7:30 p.m. on April 20 at Patron’s Hall, Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts, 1110 New York Ave., with music and singing by Emma’s Revolution.
Participants hope to educate Air Force personnel about the full effects of the worldwide drone program and to urge those training to reconsider their participation, which can lead to severe psychic trauma and moral injury.
“Despite 14 years of persistent opposition to the U.S. drone program and the terror it brings to vulnerable communities, the Pentagon and the drone industry profiteers are plowing forward, creating an ever more destabilized world of weaponized drones,” said coalition organizer, Toby Blomé.
Blomé added, “We will not be silent while young recruits continue to be trained in these heinous acts of remotely controlled violence, ultimately becoming victims themselves from the consequences of moral injury. This is not the world we want for our grandchildren, nor for the generations that follow them.”
“With the rise of drone use in the war in Ukraine, and the recent announcement by North Korea of a test with an underwater drone that can carry a nuclear warhead, we are concerned that this ever-expanding use of drones threatens us all,” says SDDW organizer Edwina Vogan.
Vogan added, “The downing of the US MQ-9 drone flying near Crimea by Russian fighter jets exemplifies this potential risk for serious escalation. In today’s volatile political climate, the heightened potential for misinterpretation and error when these weapons violate sovereign air space puts us at much greater risk of nuclear confrontation and annihilation.”
Organizers believe we do not achieve peace through preparing for war, but by preparing for peace.