The trial of 14 faith-based peace activists charged with criminal trespass for entering the grounds of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada in April 2009 to voice their concerns over the use of unmanned aerial vehicles –- UAVs — in Pakistan and Afghanistan opens today in Las Vegas.
Several individuals in the group, which calls itself the Creech 14, are longtime Catholic peace activists who have been involved in a variety of actions and prayer vigils over the years calling for peace.
Those arrested during the annual Nevada Desert Experience vigil at the base were Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence; Jesuit Fathers John Dear and Steve Kelly; Franciscan Fathers Louis Vitale and Jerry Zawada; Holy Child of Jesus Sister Megan Rice; Catholic Workers Mariah Klusmire of Albuquerque, N.M., Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa, and Renee Espeland of Des Moines, Iowa. Others in the group are Dennis DuVall, Judy Homanich, Brad Lyttle, Libby Pappalardo and Eve Tetaz.
Kelly told Catholic News Service after the incident that the group entered the base through an open gate and wanted to ask the pilots who operate the unmanned vehicles via a long-range communication network at Creech why attacks on innocent people were being carried out.
Jim Haber of the Nevada Desert Experience told CNS the activists’ defense is built around international law, which they say requires them to actively oppose what they consider the illegal use of the UAVs, or drones, and the First Amendment right to assemble peaceably for redress of grievance.
The group plans to ask the court to include as expert witnesses former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, attorney Bill Quiqley, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and retired Army Col. Ann Wright, a former U.S. diplomat who has opposed the war in Iraq, he said.
Prior to the trial a series of events, prayer vigils and rallies in Las Vegas called attention to the use of drones and the role of the air force base in military activities in Pakistan.
Incidentally, the Nevada Desert Experience conducts annual retreats and activities to support personal renewal in the desert tradition through prayer, education, dialogue and nonviolent direct action in an effort to stop nuclear weapons testing and other acts of war.
The trial was a singular experience, even for all the seasoned activists, lawyers and expert testifiers for the defense. The judge didn’t rule perfunctorially as usual. He is taking 4 months to review the case and render a decision. Verdict to be given on Jan. 27, 2011. Not striking the expert testimony of Bill Quigley, Ann Wright and Ramsey Clark and not ruling immediately against the activists are notable victories in the drive to open US court practice to the requirements of the constitution in how cases are tried. What a shot in the arm to everyone who was there. The post-trial press release is on the Nevada Desert Experience website.
-Jim Haber, Coordinator, Nevada Desert Experience
Yes, we will reap the whirlwind but it won’t be for the war in Afghanistan. It will be for the 1.3 million little murders committed in the US each year. This is how mother Theresa put it: “”But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?..Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. ” So when was the last time any of this group spoke out against the Obama adminestration for it’s promotion of abortion?
Ifind it wrong ,not to accept all GODS CHILDREN in our church.
NOT TO GIVE BIRTH CONTROLL ,IS VERY OLF FASION ,the chrch only drives poeple away.
GThere has to be swifft action for chid abuse ,it is a CRIME,AND NOMATTER WHO ,DOES SUCH A HORREBLE CRIME ,PUT THEM AWAY ,IN JAIJ FOLR LIFE TIME
THIS PICS CAN NOT BE IN OUR SOCYITY,THERE IS NO HELP NORE CURE .
Thea mixes truth with a lack of understanding. We are called not only accept all God’s children. We are also to welcome life. Contraception has been one of the major contributers to the demise of family in the US and other parts of the world. Many of us are sinners in that regard and don’t want to accept the truth of the Church’s teaching.
Yes, Child abuse is a horrible crime! The victims are often scarred for life- often with the lack of hope or cure for thier affliction. I once worked in a program treating such victims and I have seen the depth of their pain. I have also witnessed the pain of women suffering the affects of abortion. They experience the same kind of pain as the victims of child abuse and some suffer the pain of BOTH child abuse and abortion. We must do all we can to help these people heal.
You have to love this wonderful Constitution!
That this is happening, gives me chills.