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2013 Sacred Peace Walk (SPW)
March 23 - 29

Blockcade The Warriors: Prevent War Crimes at Creech

We walked in the footsteps of a long legacy of peace walkers and spiritual leaders to draw attention to the nuclear dangers that continue to threaten our sacred planet and the community of life. Please join us in transforming fears into compassion and apathy into action during NDE's annual Sacred Peace Walk (SPW).

World-Wide Media Coverage regarding the Sacred Peace Walk

Gallery of NDE's Photos

News Alerts
Code Pink & NDE
Creech Blockade
NNSS Yoga Dance Arrests

Media Coverage
LV CityLife March 20
AP Wire Story March 27
AP Story in .pdf format
Air Force Story on March 27
Military Story March 28
NBC Photoblog March 28
Reno G-J Story March 28
Indiana Story March 28
LV Sun Story March 28
LV Review-Journal March 28
Ch 8 Story March 28
Nuclear Resister Story March 30
KNPR's State of Nevada interview with Jim Haber about Creech arrests & drones April 2

Yoga Flashmob
SPW prayer-actions
SnakeDeathDance @ NNSS
Grim Reaper Blocks Grim Reaper Crews from Entering Creech

The SPW by Laura-Marie

See April Days of Action at
Know Drones

This page last updated April 12, 2013.

NDE's 65-mile, annual pilgrimage to the Nevada National Security Site (the NNSS, formerly called the Nevada Test Site) began on March 23rd and ended on on Friday, March 29th (which is "Good Friday" in the Christian tradition).

Media Alert from March 18th w/ CodePink (pdf)
Media Alert from March 29th re: NNSS Yoga Dance Arrest (pdf)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (pdf version of this Alert)

March 27, 2013

Air Force Suffers Unprecedented Defeat
At the Hands of Unheralded Peace Activists.

Jim Haber, 415-828-2506 Nevada Desert Experience Coordinator
Marcus Page, 702-646-4814 Nevada Desert Experience
Toby Blome, 510-541-6874 Code Pink
John Amidon 518-312-6442 Veterans For Peace

In an stunning upset, unheralded peace activists and members of the Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) Sacred Peace Walk handed Commander Col. James Hecker and the USAF 432d and the 432d Expeditionary Wing at Creech Air Force Base an extraordinary defeat. March Madness at Creech was temporarily interrupted by the NDE Sacred Peace Walk by slowing the flow of death by drone attacks that are executed from this base.

The Sacred Peace Walk is an annual event conducted by NDE to demonstrate honor for the local desert while respecting all life, supporting environmental justice everywhere, and making strong nonviolent statements regarding the misuse of the desert. NDE's Sacred Peace Walk focuses on ending violence by stopping the research and development of nuclear weapons at the Nevada National Security Site and stopping the drone warfare conducted at Creech Air Force Base.

Active involvement in killing dulls the conscience until all awareness of evil is lost. As peace activists blocked traffic, the grim reaper (on hand for the event) holding a model drone aloft symbolically executed 7 protesters with a drone attack. The Air Force and and local constabulary (Las Vegas Metro Police) responded by arresting the grim reaper and his fellow life affirming peace activists who lie dying in the road. Each activist also carried an indictment addressed to and charging Col. James Hecker and the 432d and 432d Expeditionary Wing with extrajudicial killings, violation of due process, wars of aggression," for the killings of innocent civilians by the use of drones controlled by Creech Air Force personnel.

The protesters arrested were:
John Paz Amidon of Albany, New York
Toby Blome of El Cerrito, California
Barbara Robinson of Los Angeles, California
George Killingsworth of Berkeley, California
Robert Majors of Las Vegas, Nevada
Rev. Felicia Parazaider of Berkeley, California
Rev. Louis Vitale, OFM of Oakland, California
Rev. Jerry Zawada, OFM of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

See images from the 2013 SPW, including today's nonviolent direct action at Creech
See the indictment regarding Creech's war crimes and civilian responsibility
See raw/unedited video of SPW prayer-actions


See images from previous Sacred Peace Walks: 2012 2011 2010 2009

Answers to some FAQ about Why We Took This Stroll Through the Mojave Desert

Full-scale nuclear tests at the NTS/NNSS were stopped in 1992, in large part to grassroots pressure by NDE and others. What is going on there now that motivates our action?

The government is working on new and expanded plans for the NNSS. Some of it is couched in the language of anti-terrorism and treaty verification, but the overarching work there undermines our commitment to nuclear disarmament.

The Stockpile Stewardship Program was established in response to the Fiscal Year 1994 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 103-160), which requires, in the absence of nuclear testing, a program to:

1. Support a focused, multifaceted program to increase the understanding of the enduring stockpile;
2. Predict, detect, and evaluate potential problems of the aging of the stockpile;
3. Refurbish and re-manufacture weapons and components, as required; and
4. Maintain the science and engineering institutions needed to support the nation’s nuclear deterrent, now and in the future.

Stockpile stewardship is inconsistent with the mandate under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which requires that the United States and other nuclear armed countries to work to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Under the pretense of making sure that what nuclear arms exist are reliable and safe, new types of bombs and delivery systems continue to be designed and tested.

The US is actively seeking new warhead designs for new warfighting scenarios under the Reliable Replacement Warhead program. . . .

New missiles and other delivery systems that are more accurate have prompted weapons designers to promote the manufacture of new, smaller nuclear warheads. The size of the bomb doesn't change the fact that a new weapon is in contradiction of the agreement to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the stockpile.

What is happening at the Nevada National Security Site (or NTS for Nevada Test Site, its former and more common name)?

The NTS hosts classified experiments, many of which are designed by teams of scientists from the Lawerence Livermore National Weapons Laboratory or the Los Alamos National Weapons Laboratory. As such, one can't be sure of all that is going on there. Some of the facilities at the NTS are the most highly secure buildings in the world(like the U1a complex) or the most secretive (like Groom Lake, aka Area 51, in the northeast of the NTS). The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) maintains a website that describes research and facilities at the NNSS although clearly some activities are not detailed publicly.

Capabilities specific to the NNSS include: Atlas, the Big Explosives Experimental Facility (BEEF), the Device Assembly Facility (DAF), the Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research (JASPER) Facility, and the U1a Complex for subcritical nuclear tests.

The last subcritical test was in December, 2012 codenamed Pollux. After a four year hiatus,subcritical tests resumed in 2010. These explosive tests were started when Bill Clinton signed the (still unratified) Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996 after George Bush ended full-scale testing on September 23, 1992. The global anti-nuclear community expressed dismay at the resumption of these tests and cries out in protest. Unfortunately, the governement no longer warns the public in advance of subcritical tests, so mounting an oppositional campaign is difficult. What do these tests say about the US commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world?

The Atlas pulsed-power program is in "cold standby" meaning that the building with the machinery has no electricity. At this time there are no plans to restart Atlas experiments. BEEF has "limited activity" according the the Nevada Site Office. The DAF remains ready ready to assemble bomb tests, though none are scheduled. Because of the DAF is the most secured most "hardened" of research facilities, it gets used for other experiments with highly radioactive materials. The DAF also houses the JASPER

For a brief roundup of NTS activities and NDE's concerns, click here.
For a list of subcritical tests conducted by the United States as well as critiques of this program from around the world, click here.
For the Final Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for the NTS and "Off-Site Locations in the State of Nevada" which was issued in February, 2013, click here.

What is happening at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs?

Creech AFB is home to the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing which is responsible for flying the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper "unmanned aircraft systems" (UAS), sometimes called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and commonly refered to as "drones." Most drones are small and slow, equiped with cameras for spying. However, the Predator and Reaper are armed, and control for the firing of Hellfire missiles or the dropping of bombs (which the Reaper can also carry) comes from crews at Creech. Ground crews on site where a drone is deployed launch and land the aircraft. Control is transfered to Creech or one of a few other air force bases during a mission.

Since NDE first vigilled outside Creech Air Force Base in September 2008, demonstrating against Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) attacks, several other groups around the country have taken up our call. The Drone, as UAVs are commonly referred to, has become the icon of Obama’s wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The military is responding to the widespread deaths of civilians by these robotic hunter-killers and the outcry against them, but not by reducing the attacks. Rather, they are adjusting their “spin” here and “in theatre.” They are also designing smaller missiles, allowing UAVs to carry more of them—not a positive development, even if each one destroys less. The resource page on the NDE website has links to many articles and reports about these weapons although even more frequently updated sources of drone reports and activism are Know Drones and CODEPINK's Drones Watch.

We continue to receive much encouragement to link our work for nuclear disarmament to the need to stop these new weapons from becoming the new arms precipice like the A-bomb before it. The following excerpt from our ground-breaking April, 2009 action, Ground the Drones...Lest We Reap the Whirlwind expresses well our opposition to these tools of war:

With audacity that would confound Orwell, the Pentagon touts the “true hunter-killer role” of these robot “drones.” Armed with Hellfire missiles and other weaponry, they have names that suit their lethal uses: the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator. Such tools can kill but not pacify. By killing civilians, UAV drones do not prevent or eliminate terrorism, but instead incite more violence and retaliation. Proponents of the use of UAVs insist that there is a great advantage to fighting wars in “real-time” (with a 2-second satellite delay from Nevada to the Middle-East) by pilots sitting at consoles in offices on air bases far from the dangerous front line of military activity.

With less risk to the lives of our soldiers and hence to the popularity and careers of politicians, the deaths of “enemy” noncombatants by the thousands are counted acceptable. The illusion that war can be waged with no domestic cost dehumanizes both us and our enemies. It fosters a callous disregard for human life that can lead to even more recklessness on the part of politicians.

The idea that technology can provide a cleaner and safer battlefield is seductive but has been proven a lie. From the catapult and crossbow, through the use of poison gas and airplanes in World War I, the atom bomb, helicopters and napalm in Vietnam to the “smart bombs” of the Gulf War, war has only grown deadlier. Technological advances may reduce the danger of casualties among the military personnel in the short run, but with each advance the number of civilian deaths multiplies and every war of the past century has numbered more children than soldiers among its victims.

Why is Nevada Desert Experience bringing attention to Creech Air Force Base?

NDE's mission includes trying "to mobilize people of all faiths to work toward nuclear abolition and nonviolent social change." While the drones aren't armed with nuclear weapons (although some may contain depleted uranium, poisoning people and the environment), the United States' history of threatening to use nuclear weapons and the various ways the U.S. has selectively spread nuclear technology including for nuclear weapons and hasn't worked to really eliminate nuclear weapons but rather wants to enhance our nuclear threat by modernization, every modern war or conflict that includes the United States, is a nuclear war in spirit, and a radioactive war in practical physics.

Remote military systems like UAVs are able to threaten others without putting one's own soldiers in harm's way. That seems like an obvious "good" in a military sense. But new weapons get used and used again. NDE has based our years of activism on engaging the opposition, not trying to harm or even berate the opposition. NDE doesn't support new weapons development.

One tactic of NDE's praxis of nonviolence is to facilitate the EXPERIENCE of this part of the Mojave desert, here in Nevada and Newe Sogobia. Living in the desert for a week on the Sacred Peace Walk in the context of an interfaith community helps people respect and adore our desert. Creech AFB, Nellis AFB, the Yucca Mountain Project and the NTS are all situated in this awesome, delicate, intense desert. The violence of our opponents in this land and abroad can be thwarted through the practice of loving all living beings, including the vibrant wilderness of this desert.

Physical distance doesn't always insulate one from the harmful effects of killing. It is easier to drop a bomb and leave than to see the death and destruction that one has caused. Still, the sensor operators in UAV crews are watching, and feeling the remorse that comes with such violence. More chaplains and counselors have been brought in, and we can take solace that the video-gaming of making war isn't as dehumanizing as we might fear.

Nestled between Nellis Air Force Base, with its world-leading stockpile of nuclear weapons, and the Nevada Test Site, the most bombed place on Earth, Creech Air Force Base is in the heart of the desert that NDE reveres and is yet another desecration of this beautiful land.

Why Do This Now and At This Place?

Join a spiritual pilgrimage from the epitome of unsustainable excess consumption to the place of the greatest violence on earth. Come help us stop this suicidal nuclear violence! Come walk the ways of peace in the desert! Hundreds of people have walked from Las Vegas, Nevada to the Nevada (Nuclear) Test Site/Nevada National Security Site for the cause of abolishing nuclear weapons. (The NNSS is situated unlawfully on lands belonging to the Western Shoshone Nation. Since 1951 the U.S. has contaminated the desert and the earth 1000 feet below by exploding over 900 nuclear weapons tests which included over 1000 detonations of nuclear bombs.)


A Few Words on our Commitment
to Nonviolent Social Change

Nevada Desert Experience is committed to a nonviolent campaign of change. Our work seeks to connect issues and humanize the many victims of nuclear weapons and war-making. A peaceful paradigm will only come into its fullness when we make love our first motion. Click here to read more about Nevada Desert Experience's commitment to nonviolence.

Activists and peace-makers have different ways of communicating with the opposition or enemy. Not everyone who wants to stop war, nuclear weapons, and other emerging arms races shares our commitment to the type of determined but respectful communication that is a hallmark of NDE actions. To the extent that one may view an action as belonging to someone, NDE asks that people coming to actions we organize or co-sponsor review our nonviolent covenant. A guiding question everyone can consider is, how can my contribution move us towards our collective goal. We must encourage each other's dedication and drive, and we must all speak from our hearts. What we each do reflects on us all. Together, may we all reflect the world we strive to create.


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