FOR IMMEDATE RELEASE
March 17, 2014
Seven Arrested At “Cast the Snakes and Drones Out of Iowa” St.
Patrick’s Day Protest at Iowa Air National Guard Drone Base
Three Iowans, three Minnesotans, and one New Yorker were cited with simple misdemeanor criminal trespass and released on their own recognizance
Des Moines, Iowa -
Seven people, including three Iowans, three Minnesotans, and one New Yorker, were arrested on St. Patrick's Day during an anti-war protest at the Iowa Air National Guard drone base in Des Moines.
Those arrested were:
Reverend Chet Guinn
Ed Bloomer, 67 years old, a Des Moines Catholic Worker and Veteran for Peace member from Des Moines.
Protest organizers say Des Moines Air National Guard base is now one of several major targets across the country for peace movement mobilizations that are catching fire across the country as the use of drones for assassination and reconnaissance overseas in the so-called “War on Terror” has increased under the Obama Administration, sparking a public debate that will only intensify into the 2016 presidential elections and the Iowa caucus season.
The group picked St. Patrick’s Day because of the symbolism of the saint’s miracle of driving all the snakes out of Ireland, and also because St. Patrick is remembered as saying, “In Christ, there is no killing.”
“St. Patrick once said ‘in Christ, there is no killing,’ and we will continue the work to drive the drones and warmakers out of Iowa just like St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland,” said Julie Brown, a Des Moines Catholic Worker arrested Monday just days after she returned from occupied Palestine.
“This is only the beginning. Resistance to drone warfare has spread from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and Hancock Air Base in New York right here to the American heartland and Des Moines, Iowa.”
The group has also issued the following statement:
We come to the Des Moines Air National Guard base as members of faith based and Catholic Worker communities who annually join for a week of nonviolent resistance to war and injustice. This week, we aim to raise a call against the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) commonly known as drones. We recognize that the slaughter of war always requires war makers to dehumanize the victims. Reliance on drones exacerbates the dehumanization because the technology allows war makers to kill a target without identifying clearly who the person is or what the person has done or is doing.
Therefore we bring to this base the faces of several who have been killed as well as the desire of a young Afghan friend who says, "We want to live without war."
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "In a free society, few are guilty but all are responsible." If weaponized drones are flown from this base, we, along with RPA crews, share responsibility for consequences including death of targeted victims and whatever trauma is sustained by those who operate the drones.
Julie Brown says the next step in the local Iowa movement’s efforts will come on Saturday, April 5, when best-selling, award-winning journalist Jeremy Scahill will deliver a speech in Des Moines on drone warfare and the changing face of U.S. foreign military occupation.
Scahill is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute and the author of the best-selling books Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield andBlackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.
As National Security Correspondent for The Nation, Schahill has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, the former Yugoslavia, and elsewhere across the globe.
"Seven arrested protesting drones in Des Moines" by Regina Zilbermints, DM Reg., March 17 http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2014/03/17/seven-arrested-protesting-drones-in-des-moines/article
Seven activists were arrested outside the Iowa Air National Guard base in Des Moines protesting the U.S. military’s use of drones.
The 30-person protest was smaller than a Saturday rally at the base that attracted 100 people but was the only event that escalated to arrests in an annual week of anti-war rallies and meetings organized by the Catholic Worker and Veterans for Peace.
The Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing is in the process of transitioning from maintaining and flying a fleet of F-16s to missions involving remotely piloted aircraft.
“Iowa is known for being the Field of Dreams. This is making Iowa into killing fields,” said Catholic Worker Frank Cordaro, who helped organize the event. “This is making my neighborhood a legitimate war target.”
Monday morning, about 30 people carrying signs, including one bearing the theme of the protest – “Cast the snakes and drones out of Iowa” – gathered in front of the air base at 3100 McKinley Avenue.
Chet Guinn, 85, a retired Methodist minister from Des Moines, was one of seven planning to risk arrest.
“As a pastor I’m opposed to war. Look at what it’s doing,” he said, holding photos of children injured in drone strikes. “It’s killing children. How can we be silent?”
After the group had marched to the end of the driveway into the base, Jim Haber read a prepared statement.
“We recognize the slaughter of war always requires war makers to dehumanize the victims,” he said. “Reliance on drones exacerbates the dehumanization.”
Then Guinn and six others from Des Moines, Minnesota and New York who had volunteered to be arrested approached the gate and read what they called an indictment against the use of drones.
The sound of their chant mingled with an announcement from inside the base demanding the protesters move.
After they refused they were arrested, charged with trespass and released. As the arrests were happening, Haber read the names of people killed by drones.
The base in Iowa is one of several across the country being targeted by anti-war groups because of their shift to drone warfare.
In Iowa, the next event will be a speech by journalist and author Jeremy Scahill.
"Seven arrested in protest outside Iowa Air National Guard base" by Dar Danielson, March 17, 2014 Radio Iowa
Seven people were arrested during a protest at the Iowa Air National Guard air base in Des Moines today. Members of the Des Moines Catholic Worker community, Veterans for Peace, and affiliated organizations were protesting the guard’s new mission to fly drones. Some members of the group read a statement and stood nearby with signs — while seven who blocked a service road into the base were arrested after being told to move.
Organizer Frank Cordaro of the Des Moines Catholic Workers says those arrested ranged in age from 26 to 85. “We’re fighting from Des Moines, we’re killing people from Des Moines. When these drones get here we’re bringing the front lines of our empire’s war making to the south side of Des Moines, making my neighborhood a legitimate war target,”Cordaro says. The Iowa Air National Guard is in the process of training personnel to remotely operate the aircraft after the drones have taken off from other bases.
Michele Naar of Duluth, Minnesota says she and six others were issued citations for criminal trespassing and released after being transported to the Des Moines Police station. “Our intention was not to trespass or block their gate, we asked them to come in and talk about this situation, and if we could talk to the people who are planning to train the soldiers,” Naar says. Naar says she and the other six activists are now deciding whether they’ll plead guilty or not-guilty in court later this month.
Cordaro says the group picked St. Patrick’s Day for the protest because of the symbolism of the saint’s miracle of driving all the snakes out of Ireland, and also because St. Patrick is remembered as saying, “In Christ, there is no killing.” The Iowa Air Guard learned of its change from flying the manned F-16′s to the unmanned drones about one year ago, and say they are ahead of schedule in their training. They are scheduled to begin flying the drones at the end of 2015, but say they are ahead of schedule and could begin earlier.
Seven arrested in anti-drone protest: by Alison Sullivan,The Globe Gazette Mason City Globe Gazette March 17, 2014 http://m.globegazette.com/news/iowa/seven-arrested-in-anti-drone-protest/article_1b279d94-a74e-526f-9b3a-97990b4b5a9e.html?mobile_touch=true
DES MOINES | Anti-war protesters likened their efforts against the U.S. military's use of drone warfare to St. Patrick, the missionary to Ireland, who legend has it purged that country of snakes in the fifth century.
“St. Patrick once said, ‘In Christ, there is no killing,’ and we will continue the work to drive the drones and warmakers out of Iowa just like St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland,” said Julie Brown, part of the Des Moines Catholic Worker movement who was arrested Monday, in a statement before the morning protest on St. Patrick’s Day.
Brown and six others were arrested outside the Iowa Air National Guard Base in Des Moines for their activism. A group of 30 other protesters gathered near the road away from the base clutching signs and touting their message with a megaphone.
"We recognize that the slaughter of war always requires warmakers to dehumanize the victims," said Jim Haber, a Catholic Worker from San Francisco, Calif. "Reliance on drones exacerbates the dehumanization."
The military’s increased use of drones for surveillance and aerial attacks continue to receive criticism from global activists. Iowa Air Guard's 132nd Fighter Wing is shifting focus from F-16 fighter jets, which have not been used out of the Des Moines base since 2013, to a program for remotely operated aircraft.
Officials at the Iowa Air National Guard Base did not respond to requests for comment.
As those who risked arrest marched to the gates of the base clutching signs, the chants of the protesters mixed with announcements from inside the base calling for the protesters to move. Three Des Moines residents, three Minnesotans and one New Yorker were among the volunteers who chose to be at risk for arrest.
When they refused to move they were arrested by the Des Moines Police, charged with trespass and later released.
“Unmanned drones in Des Moines, Iowa, is madness,” said Frank Cordaro, Des Moines Catholic Worker, during the protest. “It’s bringing the front lines of our war on terrorism to the southside of Des Moines and making us a legitimate war target because of these illegal, immoral and unjust unmanned drones.”
Cordaro said he believes a drone program in Iowa is dangerous, and the protests send a statement that people want the military to “keep drones out of Iowa.”
The Monday morning protest, organized by the Des Moines Catholic Workers and Veterans for Peace Des Moines chapter, followed a larger weekend rally on March 15 in which around 100 marched against drones at the same location.
Other drone protests have taken place across the country including Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and Hancock Air Base in New York.
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