It is hard to believe this is my country.
About 40 folks went to this air force base to peacefully protest killer drones which are terrorizing and killing civilians in Pakistan and other countries. A Stanford NYU Study found that 98% killed by US drones are civilians. I also wrote about drones and helped to organize a protest in New Paltz, NY about them. You can see the write-up and video here.
One man, Brian Terrell who merely went to the gate to ask directions about how they could deliver a petition (an indictment of the immorality and illegality of drone warfare) was promptly arrested and now has to serve six months in a federal prison. Here is what Brian said at his sentencing.
"Each of the government's witnesses, all of them Air Force police personnel, testified that participants in this protest were nonviolent, respectful and peaceable in assembling at Whiteman Air Force Base, a government installation, to petition that government for redress of a grievance, demanding that the remote control killing carried out daily from Whiteman cease. They testified that at no time, before or during our protest, did they perceive us as a threat.
"Our expert witnesses testified that our behavior was consistent with the activities that the drafters of the First Amendment intended to be protected, not persecuted, by the government. The order and security of the base would not have been compromised had the security police allowed us to proceed to the headquarters to deliver our petition. No testimony to the contrary was offered this court.
"Instead of planning to accommodate a constitutionally protected peaceable assembly, however, the Air Force chose intimidation and conspired to deprive us of the rights they are sworn to protect. We learned from government witnesses that the phalanx of goose-stepping riot police is a 'Confrontation Management Team,' deployed only in the case of preannounced events. Whiteman security did not call out the Team to defend the base but to intimidate citizens engaged in lawful activities."
BRIAN TERRELL 06125-026
FEDERAL PRISON CAMP
P.O. BOX 700
YANKTON, SD 57078
And please sign the petition to ban weaponized drones from the world!