[HCCN] Creech Air Force Base Trial: Go in Peace

Judith Robbins JUDY at ROBBINSandROBBINS.com
Wed Sep 15 21:13:42 EDT 2010

Published on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 by Las Vegas CityLife
Vegas Drone Trial Makes History

by Jason Whited
Fourteen anti-war activists may have made history today in a Las  
Vegas courtroom when they turned a misdemeanor trespassing trial into  
a possible referendum on America’s newfound taste for remote- 
controlled warfare.

The so-called Creech 14, a group of peace activists from across the  
country, went on trial this morning for allegedly trespassing onto  
Creech Air Force Base in April 2009.

 From the start of today’s trial, prosecutors did their best to keep  
the focus on whether the activists were guilty of allegations they  
illegally entered the base and refused to leave as a way to protest  
the base’s role as the little-known headquarters for U.S. military  
operations involving unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, over  
Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

But a funny thing happened on the way to prosecutors’ hope for a  
quick decision.

Appearing as witnesses for the Creech 14 today were some of the  
biggest names in the modern anti-war movement: Ramsey Clark, former  
U.S. attorney general under President Lyndon Johnson; Ann Wright, a  
retired U.S. Army colonel and one of three former U.S. State  
Department officials who resigned on the eve of the 2003 invasion of  
Iraq; and Bill Quigley, legal director for the New York City-based  
Center for Constitutional Rights.

By the time those three witnesses finished their testimony as to why  
they believed the activists had protested at the base, they’d managed  
to convince Las Vegas Township Justice Court Judge William Jansen to  
delay his verdict for four months — and had managed clearly to  
frustrate prosecutors.

For the better part of the day, Clark, Wright and Quigley testified  
under direct questioning from witnesses and a surly cross-examination  
from the Clark County district attorney’s office.

Each witness spoke eloquently, and at length, about the need for  
nonviolent civil disobedience in the face of criminal actions by the  
U.S. government — which is how most in today’s anti-war movement and  
many international observers have characterized America’s drone war.

“[People] are allowed to trespass if it’s for the greater good — and  
there are certainly exceptions [to the law] when there is an  
emerging, urgent need,” said Quigley, while on the stand.

By all accounts, the Creech 14 trial is the first time in history an  
American judge has allowed a trial to touch on possible motivations  
of anti-drone protesters.

No one knows how Jansen will ultimately rule, but most took it as a  
good sign when, at the end of the day’s proceedings, applause flooded  
the courtroom and Jansen sent the Creech 14 — all of them part of a  
robust Catholic anti-war movement — on their way by echoing the words  
of Jesus Christ with his call of “Go in peace!”

Copyright © 2010 Las Vegas CityLife

Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org

URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/09/15-0
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