US sentences anti-war activists to jail
Anti-war protester Brian Terrell (L) speaks during a rally at the Regional Justice Center against Creech Air Force Base (Photo: Las Vegas Review).
Fourteen anti-war protesters have been found guilty of trespassing for a 2009 protest in Nevada against US military drone attacks deployed from the Creech Air Force Base.
The peace activists were attempting to make people aware that the military was directing bombing in Afghanistan from a military base in the Nevada desert.
The judge found Brian Terrell of Maloy guilty of a misdemeanor trespassing charge but gave him and 13 other activists credit for jail time served after their arrests and released them.
"The harm is imminent. The harm is real," Terrell said. "I feel no crime was committed" on April 9, 2009.
Among the "Creech 14" were four priests, a nun and a Des Moines peace activist.
The protesters had argued there was "necessity" that compelled them to act.
As someone might trespass onto private property to save a child from a burning building, they said they were trying to stop drone warfare from killing civilians thousands of miles away in Afghanistan.
The US military is increasing the use of deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill alleged Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.
However, civilians have been the main victims of violence in Afghanistan, particularly in the country's troubled southern and eastern provinces, where they are killed by both militant and foreign fire.
The Afghan interior ministry says more than 2,000 civilians lost their lives in violence across Afghanistan in 2010.
Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in the US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming more outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults.
The non-UN-sanctioned attacks by US unmanned planes on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan claimed the lives of almost 1,200 people last year.
"To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea." James Madison